Friday, March 7, 2008

Tips for Better Infusion Mashing

To follow up on a post about 3 methods of "doughing-in," I'd like to share some useful tips for better infusion mashing. It is important to pay careful attention to this stage in the process. Especially, keeping the grains "in-suspension" allows converted sugars to dissolve more completely in the surrounding water. Recording Ph and conversion readings regularly will take the mystery away and put you in the driver's seat when mashing. Below is a procedural list of tips based on a process I use that works.

1. For dough-in/mash-in use Method #3: Grains over Water
2. Keep mashtun and grains at room temp before mashing (or other known temp)
3. Use an accurate thermometer (scientific)
4. Pour in strike water 6+°F above the strike temp (or more)
5. Allow water's temp to fall to the exact strike temp
6. Pour in grains steadily & evenly while stirring gently
7. Avoid stirring the mash in a way that forces grains under a false bottom
8. Attach a length of string to the end of the thermometer
9. Cover mashtun with thermometer inside and string under the lid
10. Check the temp after 5 minutes
11. If it is too hot, stir the grains by folding over
12. Close the lid with thermometer and check in another few minutes
13. One more light folding stir should get it perfect
14. Use a "slicing" technique to loosen mash every 15-20 minutes
15. Stir by slicing evenly and swiftly
16. Take a small sample every time it's sliced and cover immediately
17. Cool sample, and analyze Ph and conversion
18. When conversion is complete proceed with varlauf & sparge
19. Add mashout infusion water if batch sparging
20. Add sufficiently heated (170+) water if fly sparging


Other Tips

1. Increase the qt/lb ratio as the gravity goes up (I prefer thinner mashes if possible)
2. Know your water's hardness & chemical make-up
3. Check and record mash Ph for every beer (this info comes in hand over time)
4. Get to know your mash Ph at different colors (similar until very dark)
5. Condition strike water as necessary (Calcium, acid blend, etc...)
6. Condition mash-out and sparge water if preferred
7. Batch sparge for most brews usually lower in original gravity
8. Fly sparging may be easier with larger batches or higher gravities
9. Use reliable brewing software or equations for all infusions (vol & temp)
10. Make sure the grains don't compress, stir it into suspension
11. Avoid letting out heat while stirring, replace lid quickly

I feel like things are missing,
so more may be added later.

6 comments:

Gaius Jozka said...

Happy Birthday my boy! Hope all is well for you on your day. Much Love!

Ted Danyluk said...

Thank you my friend, Jozka. Everything is well in deed.

marcus said...

Ted, does stirring the mash every 15-20 release any unwanted tannins from the grains? This was a recent topic with my homebrew club QUAFF.

Happy B-day by the way!
Marcus

Jason said...

Ted, what software do you recomend. I've heard from numerous people that Promash is the best.

Cheers,
Jason

Ted Danyluk said...

Jason,

Though I'm still stuck on using an accurate program at Tastybrew.com, and since I don't have recipes saved, it's forced me to rewrite recipes over, over, and over. I'm proud of the fact that I can hash out a recipe in my head that is very close to how it will turn out with projected stats.

I do like Promash. It is technical, yet easy to use. I have intentions to purchase it. I like how it keeps track of inventory. Other than that, I'm not too versed on other programs/softwares.

Brian said...

Ted-Happy bday!!!

I'm fairly certain I'm late on that note..but hey late is better then never?

Anyhow, give me a ring sometime soon, I'd like to hit up the Hop Leaf with you at some point in the near future!
Cheers!
Brian