Mashing modern big brewery malts

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Mark Farrall, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,302
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Spent the last few days at the Australian homebrew conference. The concept that kept coming up was the idea that mashing schedules no longer matter for modern malt made for craft or macro brewers. It is just so full of enzymes and highly modified that step mashing, decoction, mashing low or mashing high doesn't really matter. 80% of the extract will be done in 15 minutes regardless of what you do. So all you're doing is fiddling around with how much of that last 20% you get out.

    The person who spent the most time talking about how mashing parameters mattered was a researcher that spent his whole talk focused on that last 20% and completely ignored that 80% of the extract was done at 15 minutes for temperatures from 62C - 70C (143 - 158F). Probably because the biggest consumers of his research are the macros looking to eek that extra 1-2% efficiency out of their process. Me, I'd prefer to drop my efficiency in the calculator by 5% and pay the extra cents (or dollars for the high gravity stuff).

    So for me I'm thinking of just mashing at 65C (149F) for everything from now on. If I'm after relatively unfermentable I'll cut the mash short (probably 30 minutes) but I'll be adding in the insurance of a relatively unfermetable malt as well. If I'm after extremely fermentable I'll just grab a book and leave it for 90 minutes. Other than those variations it's really just sounding like I'm kidding myself I can change the wort through mashing.

    Anybody have any thoughts/evidence on giving up on the variations of mashing?
     
    J A likes this.
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    I think there’s a big difference between small and large batches and the saturation is the most important part, a large batch say 50 pounds of grain will not all be saturated at once so even if 1/4 were and done the rest will take time and that's the issue, it's hard to guess when all grain is fully saturated without a guideline that most people use today, I will say I can tell from my circulating wort when the mash is done the grain drops and the wort on top is perfectly clear and that seems to always be about 45 minutes for my 25 pound batches so yes in a small cup in testing it will be converted as stated but as a large batch I wouldn't believe it would yield the same results
     
    J A likes this.
  3. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2018
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Occupation:
    Nurse
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
    I agree with what you heard Mark and for the most part see no benefit in doing anything besides a single infusion mash. I do vary the temp of the mash based on what I'm going for in terms of fermentable sugars but so no value besides tradition in step or decoction mashing. Other results may vary but it's worked great for me :)
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    I mash all my beers at 149f to 150f and I have a slow rise to mashout 168F so that can pick up anything needed at a higher temp and all beers finish fine, never dry and always exceed my numbers so that part is fine
     
  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,476
    Likes Received:
    2,690
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I'm having the same experience as Ozark and approach it pretty similarly. I will say that when I hang out at 148 for as long as I think I should, I get less body that I'd sometimes like to have. When I pushed higher a little sooner than I usually do on a recent batch of .070 IPA, the body and flavor was hugely improved over my typical mash.
    For lagers I'll stay at 148 to keep things clean and crisp and let the malt bill control the body and flavor. For IPA, Stouts, etc, I'll definitely start moving upward sooner than my accustomed 30 to 45 minutes. I'm making some improvements to my system to be able to monitor and control mash temp better, also. That should help me with getting consistent results and gaining good data for making changes.
     
  6. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Since I mash in a coleman cooler whatever temperature I start with it what it stays at until I batch sparge.
     
    IPLAYDRUMS and thunderwagn like this.
  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    813
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    I did an experiment recently with the mash. I have always seen people claiming to get 82-84% AA with lager yeasts. I was always landing at 76-78%. The beers were very good, but always with a mild sweetness to them.

    I tried mashing at 146F for 120 minutes instead of 60 minutes. I got my AA up to 83%, the beer was malty, but drier. My conclusion is if you mash lower, you need to add more time. I think 2 hours is too long, but 60 minutes is too short.

    30 minute mashes don’t allow the enzymes enough time to do their job, and the wort is less fermentable.
     
    J A likes this.
  8. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    426
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Verdun, quebec
    I attended a talk a while back given by a local malt producer (PhD in biochemistry specializing in malting science, as I recall) and he said essentially the same thing. Modern malt is made for macro brewers and that there is little to be gained doing anything other than a single infusion mash. And yes, most conversion happens in 15-20 minutes, the other 40 or so minutes are optional as long as you don't mind sacrificing a few gravity points.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,399
    Likes Received:
    6,638
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    I was waiting to chime in on this until I had a keyboard. Yes, the presenter was correct in the sense that if all you're looking for is conversion, a short mash is enough. That's what the big guys want, to free up the mash tun for the next million gallons of Megaswill as quickly as possible. You can add 50% adjuncts, no problem, modern pale two-row will convert it.

    That absolves the presenter from any direct guilt; however, it isn't the whole story. Yes, you can convert the malt with a single infusion in the low 150's in a half hour. But if you want less body, you'll need two rests, one at about 144 degrees and one about 158 degrees, to convert the dextrines to fermentable sugars. And if you want to develop Maillard products, you might want to do a decoction mash.... Bottom line, the presenter was correct, but it wasn't the whole story.
     
    J A likes this.
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I'm yet to see any science that says you can get a Maillard reaction at the temperatures involved beyond simple assertion.
     
    thunderwagn likes this.
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,439
    Likes Received:
    9,502
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    What ever gets you a tasty beer at the end of it all do that. There is a lot of malt to wade through in this hobby as long as your having fun and enjoying the beers is what's important me thinks:). And then theres the science behind it all...
     
    Mase, IPLAYDRUMS and Medarius like this.
  12. wobdee

    wobdee Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Lake Wissota
    Even if you think you dont need the extra few points of conversion, a 20-30 min Alpha rest at 70-73°c will help with foam and head retention as well as body.
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,399
    Likes Received:
    6,638
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Hawk, you can get Maillard reactions at room temperature. Number one cause of LME spoilage, aside from oxidation. But to see that it works, pour a Pilsner Urquell, made from floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt, and compare it to a German pilsner, made from conventionally malted grain, both about the same degree Lovibond. The Urquell is much darker and redder. I haven't been to the Czech Republic to see the beer made but if memory serves, Urquell is decocted, most German pilsners these days are not. The color difference (and flavor) is the Maillard reaction. I was a decoction non-believer for the longest time. I still don't do them routinely but now, after having done this test, I believe it has an effect.
     
    Mase likes this.
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I feel like you're misusing the term Maillard Reaction, that is a reaction that occurs north of 140C. Not an aging of materials. That seems more like a chemical based reaction.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,399
    Likes Received:
    6,638
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Not quite: High temperatures accelerate the reaction (allowing us to generate Maillard products in a 100°C boil much quicker than at room temperature, for example, or much, much quicker in a 200°C oven). Oxidation is not likely a factor since there's very little O2 in the repacks our LHBS sells and likely none in commercially packaged products. Key is LME ages and does not do so gracefully.
     
  16. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    813
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    That would work, but you will lose a little efficiency. The second effect will be a higher level of dextrins or complex sugars, which will give you better head retention. The draw back is a less fermentable wort, which can add to a sweeter finish.
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    yes also there are several ways to achieve the same thing today, you can mash for texture and head or just add certain grains to do the same thing and mash lower for a higher efficiency
     
  18. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    813
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    This is true. Below is a statement from Briess' website about their LME:

    Just as heat changes the color of your grains in a steep, it also has an effect on the product in a canister over time. CBW®s will experience a Maillard reaction at various temperatures and periods of time. A CBW® stored at 60° will experience minimal browning over a six month period, where as a CBW® stored at 90° on a hot summer day in a truck or warehouse will see exponential browning in just a few days. This rapid change can lead to an undesired sharp malty or tangy flavor in your brew.

    It's obvious that this method of browning (Maillard effect) is much less desirable than when it is accelerated with heat.
    I don't think it's big problem for DME or malted barley.
     
  19. wobdee

    wobdee Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Lake Wissota
    I should of said along with your Beta rest or main conversion temps, my bad.
     
  20. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I understand what is being said but I still think this is an abuse of the term Maillard Reaction.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white