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Mashing Temperatures

November 10, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


from http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-5.html
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The temperature most often quoted for mashing is about 153°F. This is a compromise between the two temperatures that the two enzymes favor. Alpha works best at 154-162°F, while beta is denatured (the molecule falls apart) at that temperature, working best between 131-150°F.

The brewer can use iodine (or iodophor) to check a sample of the wort to see whether the starches have been completely converted to sugars. As you may remember from high school chemistry, iodine causes starch to turn black. The mash enzymes should convert all of the starches, resulting in no color change when a couple drops of iodine are added to a sample of the wort. (The wort sample should not have any grain particles in it.) The iodine will only add a slight tan or reddish color as opposed to the flash of heavy black color if starch is present. Worts high in dextrins will yield a strong reddish color when iodine is added.

What do these two enzymes and temperatures mean to the brewer? The practical application of this knowledge allows the brewer to customize the wort in terms of its fermentability. A lower mash temperature, less than or equal to 150°F, yields a thinner bodied, drier beer. A higher mash temperature, greater than or equal to 156°F, yields a less fermentable, sweeter beer. This is where a brewer can really fine tune a wort to best produce a particular style of beer.

A compromise of all factors yields the standard mash conditions for most homebrewers: a mash ratio of about 1.5 quarts of water per pound grain, pH of 5.3, temperature of 150-155°F and a time of about one hour. These conditions yield a wort with a nice maltiness and good fermentability. 

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