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Mashing systems (techniques)

There are various mashing techniques and the choice of technique is linkd to the
equipment available, the level of expertise, the beer style produced, the level of process
control and the number of brews to be produced per day.

Iso-thermal Infusion Mash

The iso-thermal infusion mash is the simplest way to make wort, however, since the
technique lacks a protein rest, it is recommended that you use mostly well modified
malts. The infusion mash is also referred to as the one-step mash, since the process
requires only one step.

Iso-thermal obviously refers to the single mash temperature. In this system mash
conversion (the malt starch is converted to sugars) takes place in the same vessel as
wort separation. As there are no heating stages it is not necessary to have an agitation in
the mash tun.

The ideal situation you want is to attain is one in which your mash rests at a temperature
between 66° and 70° C (150°-158° F) to allow the amylase enzymes to do their work.
The colder the rest, the more fermentable sugars will be available for fermenting, and
therefore the higher alcohol content in the final beer. The hotter the temperature, the
more unfermentable sugars will reach fermentation, and thus the fuller the mouth-feel.
This is, of course a comparison of otherwise duplicate mashes. Remember, the enzymes
will work outside their optimum temperatures, so given an adequate amount of time, all
starches can be converted to fermentables.

For an infusion mash, mix a measured amount of hot water in a container with your
grist (milled malt) and allow the mash to rest for 30 to 60 minutes. For every pound of
grain, you will use 1 quart of water. At this ratio, the mash will stabilize at a
temperature 9°-10° C (16°-18°F) lower than the temperature water added. For example,
adding 10 quarts of water at a temperature of 78°C (172°F) to 10 lbs of grist will
stabalize at a temperature of 68°-69°C (154°-156°F). You will be well served to take
temperature readings at regular intervals to make sure you are maintaining the optimal
temperature range. Adding small amounts of hot water to bring the temperature back up
is permitable, however avoid bringing the temperature too high as the higher
temperatures will negatively affect enzymatic activity, just as much as too low.

Decoction Mash

Decoction mash is the most complex technique used to extract sugars from grain. The
technique was born out of the lack of accurate temperature measurements, with the only
accurate points of measurement being freezing point of water (0° C or 32° F), blood
temperature (~36°C or 98°F), and the boiling point of water (100°C or 212°F). This
method also is believed to result in better yield. However, because of the complexity,
and the unlikelihood of a homebrewer choosing to use decoction, detailed instructions
will not be given here at this time.
The basic method begins by infusing a measured amount of boiling water with water
and grist at blood temperature to bring the mash up to the initial rest temperature. This
initial rest can be an acid rest, or the mash could begin with a protein rest. Near the end
of this rest a measured amount of water and grist is stolen from the mash, heated to a
boil, and then returned to the main mash to bring the temperature up to the next
temperature rest. This process is called decoction. Sometimes, when an extended rest
time is expected, the mash is decocted again, or even a few more times to maintain rest
temperature.

Step Mash

If you are planning to use undermodified malts, or just simply want a better quality
product, the Step Mash (or Program mash or Temperature-Controlled Step Infusion
Mash), is only slightly more complicated than iso-thermal mashing. There can be two or
three steps, or rests, in your mash.

 Proteolytic stand Mashing takes place to achieve a strike temperature of about 50°C
(122°F) and held there for roughly a half hour for the protein rest.
 Saccharification stand The mash is brought to 63°- 65°C (150°-158°F),(20 to 60
minutes depending on the required fermentability of the wort) for the beta-amylase to
produce the fermentable maltose sugars for another half hour.
 Conversion stand The mash is raised to 71 - 72°C (about 20 minutes) for the alpha
amylase to break down any large starch particles and to achieve starch conversion. The
end of this stand is confirmed with the starch test - see below.
 Mash out stand the mash is finally raised to 76°C for 5 minutes to denature all
mashing enzymes.

In practice, for every pound of grist in the mash, you will use 1 liter (1 qt) of water at
54°C (130°F) to get the mash to the initial protein rest. Then, for each pound of grist,
you will use .5 liter (½ qt) of 93°C (200°F) water to raise the temperature 10°C (18°F).
These are rough figures, since the more water added, the larger the volume, and
therefore the more water required to raise the temperature a comparable amount.
However, if you use these figures to figure the amounts needed, you will be pretty well
off.

End of mashing

Mashing usually takes about 30 minutes with a typical pale malt - however times may
be more or less depending on the enzymatic activity (diastatic) power of the malt.

To test for mash conversion we test for the presence of starch: this can be done by
mixing 1g of Lite salt (potassium iodide) with 50 ml 3% iodine solution and adding a
drop to a sample (a teaspoon full) of the mash. If it turns deep blue starch is present.

Priming

The most common way to restart fermentation is to add a mixture of water and corn
sugar or dry malt extract (DME) to the fermented beer. For a 19 Liter (5 Gallon) batch
of beer, you will use 180 ml (¾ cup) of corn sugar or 300 ml (1¼ cups) of dry malt
extract. More sugar can be used for a higher level of carbonation, but avoid using more
than 240ml (1 cup) of corn sugar or 400 ml (1⅔cups) of DME. The measure of sugars
should be dissolved into 0.5 l (1 pint) of boiling water, allowed to boil for a few
minutes, and then quickly cooled to the temperature of the beer. Stir this mixture into
the beer, carefully so as to avoid splashing and exposure to oxygen.

Some experts state that you should "rack," or let sit, the primed beer for about 24 hours
before bottling to allow fermentation to restart, however in practice, it seems that as
long as the newly added sugars are sufficiently mixed into the beer, consistency will be
fine, and the time from priming to enjoying will be the same. The most notable problem
with priming beer is the introduction of new flavors that would not be in the original
wort. This can impart a subtle flavor that will exist in beers that otherwise would be
completely different. The best way to avoid this is to kraeusen your beer.

Advanced Priming

Priming Tablets (Carbonation Tablets) or "Primetabs" are an advanced method of


priming beer in homebrewing, They are small, sanitized corn sugar tablets which come
in packages of usually 250 tablets per package, and are used when bottling your beer.
Some priming tablets also contain DME (Dried Malt Extract) in the tablet with the corn
sugar. When bottling your beer you usually add from 1 to 5 primetabs to a regular 12 oz
/ 330 ml bottle, depending upon how much carbonation you desire. 2 for lowly-
carbonated beers like British Ales, and up to 4 or 5 for highly carbonated beers like
Hefeweizen and others. There is typically no boiling or other handling required - simply
put the desired number of tablets in the bottle, fill with beer, then cap, and that's it.
Some priming tablets like Coopers Carbonation Drops only require 1 tablet per a 12 oz
[345 -375 ml] bottle so be sure to read the package directions before using. For
example, Munton's CarbTabs are different in amount of tablets required verses Cooper's
Carbonation Drops. The tablets can be added before or after filling as there no
difference either way. However, once the bottle is capped it should be turned on-end 2
or 3 times until the tablets dissolve in the liquid. After the bottle is capped in the first
few hours, it is good idea to swirl or tip the bottle end to end to ensure a good mixture
throughout the bottled beer. This ensures that the added priming sugars are accessible to
the remaining yeast in the bottle, then the bottles can be left in a dark 60F to 70F (15C
to 20C) environment for the standard week or two, which is long enough for the
carbonation to develop in the bottled beer.. For best results the bottle should sit for two
weeks. The only downside with priming tablets or "Primetabs" is their price tag, as they
are usually more expensive than your regular run-of-the-mill corn sugar that is typically
used to prime beer with.

CO2 volume

British ales 1.5-2.0


Porter, Stout 1.7-2.3
Belgian ales 1.9-2.4
American ales 2.2-2.7
European lagers 2.2-2.7
Belgian Lambic 2.4-2.8
American wheat 2.7-3.3
German wheat 3.3-4.5