From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: mashing control and beer body
Date: 1989-01-19 18:01:21 GMT

In the January 18th digest, Tom Winkler discusses his experiences with
mashing. His difficulty is maintaining the body of his beer. He doesn't
say what his technique is, but I do several things to obtain and keep a
rich body, when I want it. The saccharification rang eof rmost malts is
in the range of 148-158F. At the lower end, beta amylaze is active, and
at the upper end alpha amylaze is busy. Beta amylaze is an inefficient
converter of starch to sugar, but it only produces maltose, which is what
the yeast like. Alpha amylaze cuts starch at more arbitrary points.
After a few minutes at 158, beta amylaze denatures and becomes inactive.
Similarly, alpha amylze quits above about 168.

To get high body, you must mash low; to get thinner body, mash high.

By mashing at 150 or 152 until you get a negative from your iodine test,
you are letting the beta amylaze convert as much as it can and keeping
the alpha amylaze working slowly. This will result in lots of long chain
sugars being left over.

By mashing at 156-158, you have the alpha amylze working at full speed,
cutting things down to size while the beta is still active. Even when
the beta eventually flicks it in, the alpha is still floating around
cutting up any sugar chains it bumps into, making lots of little fragments.
Although yeast can't take these short chain sugars in through their cell
wall, they do excrete enzymes that can cut them down further.

The enzymes are very quick-acting in these ranges. It is surprising
just how fast a negative iodine test can come up when things go well.
(My most recent batch of bitter came up negative after we reached
our proposed sacch. temperature--immediately after. I was so amazed
that I thought my iodine must be contaminated and tested it on some
corn starch to be sure!)

After you have mashed to the point you want to quit, you must stop all
enzyme action. By raising the mash to 170 or so for 10 or 15 minutes,
you are denaturing any enzymes left and you don't have to worry about
falling back into saccharification range while sparging. If you don't
do this and you fall back, you are giving the enzymes another go at
breaking things down and you'll lose body.

--Darryl Richman
(The Falcon's Nest homebrewer's BBS 818 349 5891)

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