Will it mash

Will it mash DEFAULT

Mashing is the key that unlocks real beer.  When you make the jump from extract to all-grain brewing you have made a fundamental jump in skill and awareness.  In no way will I detract from the efforts and fine beer made from extract.  For beer hobbyists, it is a fine realm to dwell within.

Mashing makes a pure product as it extracts sugar directly from the barley malt itself.  The key to successful mashing is the temperature.

You hit a specific temperature and keep it for a specified time, say 90 minutes.  What if you miss it, is the beer ruined?  Let’s explore this idea.

Target single-infusion mash temperatures are 148-158° F (64-70° C).  Sometimes we miss and go too high.  Enzymes can die quickly, but there is a short window to save your beer.  You may add cold water sparingly, and also, stir, stir, stir.  Act quickly and decisively. The mash is forgiving, to a point. 

The Mash Process in Homebrewing Explained

mash surface

Successful mashing begins a successful brewing session.

It is an advanced method of brewing beer, but one you can begin within just a few months of beginning your homebrew journey.

You will need 1-1.25 quarts of water per pound of grist, heated to between 168-172º F (75-77° C).

Add ¼- ½ teaspoon of gypsum (CaSO4).

Your desired mash temperature will be between 149-158º F (65-70° C).

The water needs to be at least 18°F (10°C) higher than this when you strike (begin your mash).

In my experience, I usually went higher, say 22-24ºF (12-13°C) higher.

It will depend on the vessel you use.

I used a 54-quart drink cooler like this one found on Amazon.

Coolers maintain temperature, cold as well as hot!

Important! If you start mashing in a cooler, I recommend using it for beer making only.

Do not picnic in it, nor sit in it. Keep its seal and integrity as perfect as you can.

And I used a 15 bbl. double-jacketed insulated Mash- Lauter at the brewery.

You will have to see what works for you. It had a single-walled domed lid with water ports and a manway.  The insulated walls and steel top worked nearly identically to the insulated plastic cooler.

The Parameters of Mash Process

To mash well means to hit the correct strike temperature. This is the temperature to which you heat the water to mix with the malt.

Stir and handle the grain conservatively.

It is like a cake, the more you beat it, the less body it will have.

As the grain is fully hydrated, gypsum added, you should have a mash; about 4-6 minutes have passed.

I added all of the water first and then added the malt.

Some brewers add both at the same time; this was just my process.

I found the grain was easier to mix.

10 Minutes to Set a Mash

If too hot, 2-3 degrees, stir it aggressively to knock off the heat.

You may also add some cold water, but only a little, ½ pint or less.

Stir well, let it sit 90 seconds with the lid closed check the temperature again.

Try to be done with all mashing and adjustments within 10 minutes, this is your optimal windowThis is called setting your mash.

If it takes longer OK…if it takes only 6 minutes great.

Ten minutes or less is what you shoot for.

Once you get it set, take a break.  Listen to some tunes, have nice beer, as you just accomplished something that very few people can do.

The Crisis – Too High Mash Temp

mash measuring

A good benchmark to keep in mind, is that your strike temp needs to be about 18-20° F (10° C) hotter than your mash temp.

Now this varies depending on materials, ambient temperature, and the stasis of the water temp, is it still rising or falling?

In summer brewing you can strike at 168-169°F (75°C) and in winter 170-172°F (77°C).

Also keep in mind your kettle or hot liquor tank.  Heat your water and reach strike temperature yet be aware of how long it sits.

For the first 5-10 minutes the kettle temp will rise a little as the water absorbs the heat from the steel.

Let the water temperature stabilize before mixing with the malt.

Over time you will determine when your water reaches stasis, for those few moments neither rising nor falling in temperature.

This is the optimum time to mash-in.

Overcoming the Missed Strike Temp – Too Hot

It is easier to cool a mash down than to heat it up, so start a little high if necessary, but get the temp down quickly

If you miss it and it is too hot, like 162º F (72° C), add a few ounces, not cups, of cold water, not too much.

Problems come when your mash reaches 162-166° F (72-74° C).

It is hard to cool down quickly, within our ten-minute window.

You will need to add more water, maybe a quart or more.  Add it slowly, in small amounts at a time, ½ pint, then 1 pint.  Stir quickly, wait 90 seconds and measure.  

You could have some mineralized mash water in the fridge, ready for such an emergency.

I never did, just offering an option.

I don’t advise on this method either way.  It is too easy to knock it down too far in the opposite direction- below 148° F (64° C) and make it too cold.

Problems Arise

mashing temp

I have cooked mashes, killing off enzymes at 162-165° F (72-73° C) and disabling the bulk of their mashing capacity. 

There is good news.  Some enzymes – alpha amylase – will work into the high 160’s (above 71°C), not efficiently, not for long, nor optimally.

So, set your mash between 148-158°F (64-70° C) and hold it for 90 minutes to reap the benefits of the malt’s sugar content.

The mash becomes overly liquefied when you add too much water, hot or cold.  Our malt to water ratio is 1-1.25 quarts per pound.

If it is diluted more than this, it will affect the efficiency of conversion.

In the end, if you miss your strike, and the mash goes north of 160°F (71°C), stir, stir, stir, add cold water deliberately and keep the thermometer in the mash, constantly checking.

What to Do if the Mash is Too Cool?

Add your mercury thermometer, close the lid and wait 90 seconds. Pull it out and check it.

If you are too cold, add a little extra hot water, not too much, perhaps one pint (for 5 gallons).

Unfortunately, if you strike too cold, it is difficult to correct.  Your mash will become watered down and lose its maximum efficiency.

It is exceedingly hard to heat a mash up once in the mash-tun.

You can pour the mash itself into the kettle and try to heat it a bit; messy and risky.

If you overheat, you can leach tannins (astringent compounds in the husk) or you kill all the enzymes!

Also, your grain consistency may become soupy and lose firmness, destroying the integrity of your filter bed and making it hard to sparge smoothly.

Understanding the Mash

Barley malt holds carbohydrates, complex sugar chains not accessible for fermentation.  In mashing, the enzymes break down the complex carb chains into shorter pieces, making maltose.

This breaking down process happens under high, constant temperatures.

After a prolonged rest at a temp from about 148-158º F (64-70° C), the process is complete, and you have the wort (converted sugars from raw malted barley) you need to make proper beer.

There are two primary enzymes to aid you in your quest for authentic beer. 

The first is Alpha-Amylase and the second is Beta Amylase.

They both do different jobs and sometimes work together.

Beta works best at about 146-152º F (63-66° C).

It munches the sugar molecule chains from the ends.

It makes a dryer beer, with a slightly thinner mouthfeel.

Alpha-amylase works best at about 153-158º F (67-70° C).

It breaks the chains in half, eating from the middle.

It gives you a fuller bodied beer, leaving behind dextrins, leftover starch molecules that make a sweeter, possibly thicker taste.

Getting the Perfect Strike Temp Everytime

With repetition and adversity, you will become a master masher; and in the very least an accomplished journeyman!

6, 12, 24, 48 mashes later, it will be like making a cup of coffee or the perfect pancake on Sunday, so joyful, well-earned and natural perfection.

There is a shortcut I will share; a little pricey but worth knowing about.

I didn’t use these electric kettles in my time but it is an option for you.

Now available are stainless steel Mash / Lauter / Kettles.You can set your strike temp exactly with an electric coil and the help of an LED readout.

Those 2 are some of the most liked by homebrewers at the moment.

Brewer's Edge Mash and Boil
Brewer's Edge Mash and Boil
  • Mash up to 16lb of Malt
  • Maximum Capacity of 7.5 Gallons
  • Double Wall, Stainless Steel Construction
  • External Stainless Steel 1/2in Valve
  • Plugs Into Standard Wall Outlet

With varying degrees of hardware, you have a complete brewing system where you can accurately control your environment and have early and sustained success.

Be warned, technology is not a cure all for problems.  It is an efficient refined toolThe rules for mashing are exactly the same and MUST be followed.

Follow the brewing road using the equipment that is comfortable for you and feels right.

In Conclusion

In the end, if you miss your strike, and the mash goes north of 160° F (71° C), stir, stir, stir, add cold water deliberately and keep the thermometer in the mash, constantly checking.

Try to set the mash within ten minutes.  If it goes longer, 20 minutes, then so be it.

You will convert, just not optimally.

There are 6-12 other enzymes at work in your mash.  They will back you up, so to speak.

Beta and alpha amylase have broader temperature parameters then widely known, so you have a 146° or 165° F (63-73° C) mash, it really will be OK.  You will convert, just not perfectly.

Pay attention to the variables of your system and take good notes.

It is easy to mash yet takes years to master.  Brew fearlessly and when adversity strikes, adjust.

With exacting methods and attention to detail, the beer will be forgiving, and you can overcome setbacks on brew day.

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sours: https://www.kissmybrew.com/mashing-too-hot/

Missed Your Mash Temp? Don’t Panic. Here’s How to Fix It.

Low Mash Temp

Just as Steph Curry will occasionally botch a 3-pointer, you will occasionally botch a mash in.

Whether it’s from a miscalculation, a cold mash tun or other outside factors, it happens to us all!

A few weeks ago, I had some friends over for a brew day. As the strike water heated up, we cracked open some brewskis and played a few songs on Rock Band. This was going to be a great day!

I mashed in at 163F with a target temp of 152F. The thermometer needle was creeping up, but slowly… too slowly. To my dismay, the mash temp capped out 15 degrees below target.

“Son of a biscuit… I forgot to preheat the mash tun!”

As I stood there in denial staring at the thermometer, I began to think of the implications of my forgetfulness. Will this giant bowl of porridge produce anything usable? If so, how will this affect the outcome of my beer?

Why your mash temp matters

The bad news is that it will likely affect the outcome of your beer. The good news is it’s probably not as bad as you think, and you can mitigate the effects by taking swift action.

We’ll get to the swift action in just a moment.

First, know that the normal mashing temperature range is 145 – 158F (63 – 70C). In general, mashing at the higher end of that range produces longer sugars which are harder for the yeast to eat. More sugar will be left over after fermentation resulting in a more full-bodied beer.

Mashing at the lower end of the range produces shorter sugars, which the yeast will gobble right up. This leaves behind a thinner, drier beer.

Mash too much lower than that and you’ll end up with poor starch conversion and a really thin, “watery” beer.

You’ll also start breaking down precious proteins needed for head retention.  On the other hand, if you mash too high (168-170F), you’ll run the risk of permanently killing the conversion process.

But don’t rage-throw your mash tun into the yard just yet – we can fix it!

What to do if your mash temp is too low

Here are a few options to consider:

Add hot water

Boil a small pot of water and slowly add it to the mash, stirring as you pour until you reach your target temp.

Adding Boiling Water to Mash

If you don’t have any fancy equipment, this is your best bet.

The big thing to keep in mind here is that you are adding volume to the mash. You should take note of the amount of water you are adding so you can make any necessary adjustments to your calculations.

Tools like this Mash Infusion Calculator, will calculate exactly how much water you need to add based on your current mash conditions and the target temperature.

Some brewers will subtract the calculated volume from the sparge water volume to make sure they aren’t adding to the total volume.

Heat the mash directly

Applying Direct Heat

This is a great option if you’re mashing in a kettle because you won’t need to add any water. Just turn on the heat and stir.

Don’t crank the heat, though, or else you might scorch the wort at the bottom.

You can vorlauf to help avoid scorching. Grab a pot or pitcher, slowly drain the kettle into the pot and then pour it back on top of the mash. This will heat the mash more evenly too.

If you’re rocking a RIMS or HERMS, you already know what to do.

For the unacquainted, these equipment setups utilize a pump to recirculate the wort. Mob Barley wrote a great article about RIMS/HERMS. You can also check out Billy’s Brutus 10 build to see exactly what it takes to build a top-notch automated homebrew system.

A more exotic (and dangerous) method is the use of a heat stick. A heat stick is typically a modified water heater element you hold in your hand. You can buy pre-made heat sticks online, or take the DIY option if you’re feeling extra brave and adventurous.

Heating elements are extremely hot and must be submerged at all times while in use. These things are capable of boiling water fairly quickly, so you must be very cautious and constantly stir with the heat stick to avoid scorching the grains.

I know a guy who built his own and he swears by it!

Perform a decoction mash step

Decoction Mash

This might take a little longer and require more effort, but this might be a good option if your kettle is available.

Pull a portion of the mash out (usually around 1/3 of the total mash) and gently bring to a boil in a separate pot. Make sure to stir frequently to avoid scorching. As soon as the mash starts to boil, return it to the mash tun, stir, and check the temperature.

What to do if your mash temp is too high

In general, this is an easier problem to fix. You don’t need any fancy equipment, and it usually doesn’t take as long to reach the target temperature.

Add cold water

Adding Cold Water

Just as you would add boiling water to raise the mash temp, you can add cold water to the mash to cool it down. The tools mentioned above (Beersmith, Brewtoad, etc.) will also tell you how much cold water to add if your mash temp is too high. Just as before, you’ll want to take note of how much water you’re adding so you can update the water/grist ratio.

Add ice cubes

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes will lower the mash temp faster and with less water. Drop a few in and stir well.

Just be careful not to drop the temp too much. You only need a handful.

Use frozen containers


Some brewers keep a small arsenal of frozen containers (gel packs, ice packs, frozen water bottles, etc.) handy for things like ice baths or swamp cooler fermentations. Toss a few of these into the mash and stir as if they were ice cubes.

Frozen containers are easier to scoop out when you reach the target temp, ensuring you don’t over cool the mash. Plus, you’re not adding any volume.

Use a wort chiller

Wort Chiller

If you’ve got an immersion wort chiller by your side, dunk that bad boy directly in the mash and turn on the water to quickly chill the wort.

Just be careful not to over cool the mash. Stir with the chiller and check the temperature very frequently.

Can you think of some other ways to get your mash temps back on target?

Todd is a man of many hobbies. Obstacle course racing, programming, cooking, snowboarding, thinking of random business ideas, weight-lifting, beards, and most recently homebrewing. With little time to become a full-fledged beer geek, Todd focuses on the practical side of brewing. He’s always looking for ways to improve his process and shorten the brew day without sacrificing quality or control. Todd is an up-and-comer in the exploding Richmond, VA craft beer scene.

Sours: https://homebrewacademy.com/missed-mash-temp/
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Author: Phil Rusher

The mash step involves steeping crushed grain in hot water for a certain amount of time, during which enzymes convert starches to fermentable sugars in a process referred to as saccharification. Depending on the temperature and, to some degree, duration of the mash, a brewer is able to create wort with a predictable profile of fermentable sugars, hence the effort many invest in overall mash management. One concern some brewers have has to do with the temperature drop that occurs during the lautering step, as enzymes remain active and thus can influence one’s intended wort profile.

A simple solution employed by those worried about this involves raising the temperature of the mash to around 170°F/77°C prior to lautering in a process referred to as the mashout. In addition to rendering enzymes impotent and curtailing any further activity, essentially locking in the wort profile, this step also reduces wort viscosity, making for smoother lautering.

On the commercial scale, employing a mashout is important for the purposes of consistency, predictability, and yield. As it is with many brewing processes, some homebrewers have adopted the method and use it as a matter of course, while others ignore it under the belief it has no impact. Interested to see for myself, I put it to the test!


To evaluate the differences between two beers of the same recipe made either with or without the using a mashout step.


I thought a nice pale lager would emphasize any impact of this variable well and designed a recipe inspired by Czech Premium Lager with a slightly higher OG.

Over The Fence

Recipe Details

Batch SizeBoil TimeIBUSRMEst. OGEst. FGABV
5.5 gal60 min34.2 IBUs4.8 SRM1.0611.0156.1 %
Actuals1.0611.016.7 %


Mecca Grade Pelton: Pilsner-style Barley Malt10.5 lbs89.36
Mecca Grade Metolius: Munich-style Barley Malt1.25 lbs10.64


NameAmountTimeUseFormAlpha %
Saaz35 g60 minBoilPellet2.4
Hallertau Magnum10 g60 minBoilPellet11
Saaz35 g30 minBoilPellet2.4
Saaz35 g10 minBoilPellet2.4
Saaz35 g10 minBoilPellet2.4


Urkel (L28)Imperial Yeast73%52°F - 58°F


Water Profile: Ca 20 | Mg 0 | Na 13 | SO4 15 | Cl 35

A couple days before brewing, I made a single large starter using two pouches of Imperial Yeast L28 Urkel.

I then started collecting the proper volume of RO water for both batches.

After adjusting both sets of water to my desired profile and hitting the switch on my Grainfathers on brew day, I weighed out and milled two identical sets of grain.

When each volume of water was properly heating, I stirred the grains in then checked to ensure both hit my target mash temperature.

Click pic for Thermapen review

While waiting on the mashes to finish, I weighed out the kettle hop additions for each batch.

At the end of 60 minute mash rests, I immediately removed the grains from one batch and sparged while I began raising the temperature of the other mash.

Click pic for Grainfather review

Once the mashout mash reached 175°F/79°C, I removed the grains, sparged, and proceeded to boil both worts for 60 minutes. At the completion of each boil, the worts were passed through a CFC on the way to sanitized Brew Buckets.

Refractometer readings showed both worts achieved the same OG.

Left: standard 1.061 OG | Right: mashout 1.061 OG

The filled fermenters were placed next to each other in my chamber and allowed to finish cooling to my desired fermentation temperature of 66°F/19°C. Once the worts were cool, I split the yeast starter evenly between them. Activity was observed a few hours later and proceeded similarly over the next 6 days, at which point fermentation appeared to be completed. Hydrometer measurements confirmed both beers reached the same FG.

Left: standard 1.010 FG | Right: mashout 1.010 FG

I let the beers sit a few more days then took a second set of hydrometer measurements confirming no change in FG before racking them to CO2 purged kegs.

Click pic for Ss Brewtech Brew Bucket review

The filled kegs were placed in my cool keezer, burst carbonated them overnight, then reduced the gas to serving pressure and let them condition for a week before serving to tasters. The beers looked identical at this point (despite shitty lighting in the pic below).

Left: standard | Right: mashout


A total of 23 people of varying levels of experience participated in this xBmt. Each participant was served 2 samples of the standard mas beer and 1 sample of the mashout beer in different colored opaque cups then asked to identify the unique sample. While 12 tasters (p<0.05) would have had to identify the unique sample in order to reach statistical significance, only 9 (p=0.35) made the accurate selection, indicating participants in this xBmt could not reliably distinguish a beer made using a mashout step from one made without a mashout step.

My Impressions: Out of the 7 semi-blind triangle tests I attempted, I correctly identify the odd-beer-out twice, which aligns nicely with random chance. To me, these beers were indistinguishable from one another– solid malt flavor with supportive herbal Saazer hop character, and the bitterness was firm yet not distracting or harsh despite the somewhat generous hopping rate. The fermentation character was very clean, exactly what I expect from a pale lager, no off-flavors associated with the warm fermentation temperature at all.


The primary purpose of a the mashout step is twofold– in addition to halting enzymatic activity and locking in the intended wort profile, raising the temperature at the end of the mash also reduces viscosity to make for easier lautering. This step is appealing on the commercial scale where maximizing efficiency is a major focus, and until recently, it was viewed as a standard homebrewing practice as well. While there are conflicting opinions as to the perceptible impact a mashout has on beer, the fact tasters in this xBmt were unable to tell apart pale lagers produced with or without this step suggests it’s rather small.

Additionally, a commonly touted risk of the mashout step is tannin extraction from the grain, leading to increased risk of astringency. Considering the findings of this xBmt, it would appears astringency levels in both beers were similar, which according to participant reports following completion of the survey, was very low. As for the more objectively measurable claims made about the mashout step, I neither saw better extraction nor a difference in lautering between the beers in this xBmt, which suggests to me a lack of necessity on the homebrew scale.

The act of honoring the traditional step mashes can be satisfying, especially when one is able to program mash steps with electric brewing rigs. I’ve performed many mashouts over the years using various brewing setups and I can say I never noticed it having much of an impact. For commercial breweries who need to reduce as much risk as possible, performing a mashout step makes sense, but I’m not personally convinced it has any benefit on the homebrew scale. At the same time, for those who prefer to emulate the pros or simply honor tradition, it also doesn’t seem to have a negative impact. My main goal being to keep the brew day as simple as possible, I’ll be skipping the mashout step henceforth.

If you have any thoughts about this xBmt, please do not hesitate to share in the comments section below!

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Posted in exBEERiments and tagged beer, BIAB, brew in a bag, brewing, brulosopher, craft beer, exBEERiment, experiment, experimental, home brew, home brewing, homebrew, homebrewing, xbmt on by Phil Rusher. 47 CommentsSours: https://brulosophy.com/2019/08/12/the-mashout-effect-exbeeriment-results/
cornell campbell mash you down

MLT Size Spreadsheet / Can I mash it / What tun should I get?

Mind you, I'm only posting this because you solicited suggestions.

You've got some really good numbers going on here, but the presentation could use work. Hell, I've made one of these for myself a year ago and it took me several minutes to figure out what I was looking at on yours.

Let me give you an example. For a living, I work in a 4-person IT Security shop with 3 (me), 12, 15 and 18 years in the industry respectively. We work for the big boss and his ~half a dozen subordinates, who command a multi-thousand-person data processing campus crammed to the teeth with servers and workstations. If I handed this to my boss, he'd look at it for all of 8 seconds, hand it back, ask "the f*** is this? i'm not showing this to the big guy", and walk away. That 8 seconds is how long you have to communicate the meaning of the chart before a non-sympathetic viewer will move on. The big guy will give it about half of that.

Essentially, you're attempting to boil all of the math down to two pieces of information: max gravity points at a specific mash thickness vs size of the mash tun. To make this super easy to read, you should convey those two pieces up front, toss the cool customizable variables on Sheet 2, and hide the calculations (or toss them on Sheet 3). For example, on a quality wrist watch, the time readout is front-and-center on the face, the adjustment knobs are on the side, and the gearing is hidden entirely (skeleton watches excepted).

On mine, I added a third axis: quality of fit. This can be conveyed by color.

Still with me? Here's a good example of such a chart. You've probably seen it before. If you can emulate this table, you're in the money.



Sours: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/mlt-size-spreadsheet-can-i-mash-it-what-tun-should-i-get.443654/

Mash will it

How Various Mash Temperatures Impact Your Homebrew

Mashing is a brewing term for the hot water steeping process which hydrates the grains being used, activates the malt enzymes, and converts the grain starches into fermentable sugars. Different temperatures result in different outcomes and flavor profiles within the final beer.

What Happens During Mashing

In the mash there are many enzymes that can be taken advantage of. Enzymes in the mash are not only responsible for the conversion of starch, but also to help lower pH, break down gums and proteins, and help produce yeast nutrients. There are also several enzymes to convert the starches to different types of sugars, some more fermentable than others.

There are seven main types of mash enzymes are:

EnzymeTemperature RangePreferred pHFunction
5.0-5.5Also called the “Acid Rest”, it used to be used to lower the mash’s pH, but it has been discontinued with the proper use of water chemistry.
Debranching 95-113°F
5.0-5.8Helps to increase the solubility of starches resulting in increased extraction for certain malts. This enzyme breaks down the 1-6 links in starches.
Beta Glucanase95-113°F
4.5-5.5Working within the same temperature range as debranching, this enzyme is best at breaking down gums.
4.6-5.3Peptidase breaks down the smaller amino acid chains released by proteinase, but only works from the ends, releasing yeast nutrients such as Free Amino Nitrogen (FAN).
4.6-5.3This is “protein rest” breaks up large proteins that form haze.
Beta Amylase131-150°F
5.0-5.5The final enzymatic process involves the conversion of starches into dextrins and fermentable sugars. The starches must be gelatinized for this to take place.
Alpha Amylase154-162°F
5.3-5.7Temperatures above 155°F favor this enzyme, producing a more dextrinous wort, which is less fermentable and results in a fuller body.

The most common temperature for mashing is 152 °F (67 °C). At this temperature there is a good mix of both Beta- and Alpha-Amylase enzymatic activity that extracts the highest amount of fermentable sugars.

How to Fix Your Mash Temperature

Missing your mash’s temperature can result in thin watery beer, missed alcohol potential or missed style guidelines. However, just because the mash temperature is not correct at the start, doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.

Testing it Right

It is imperative to get a good thermometer. We like the ThermoPro brand, and have the wireless remote version. It gets used for our grill/smoker as well as homebrewing. I love the thing.

After you have the right thermometer, it is important to stir the water and grains if you are adjusting the temperatures. This is doubly important if doing BIAB as the grains inside that bag will hold on to their original temperature for way longer if you don’t stir. While this is an anecdote, there has been plenty of times my kettle has heated up to 170°F, then after stirring everything good, it has dropped back down to below 150°F. Please stir… it’s the only way to ensure you have consistent temperature in your whole setup.

Temp Too Low

By mashing low will give you more fermentable sugars, leaving the beer thin and dry. Leave the mash temp too low (below 140 °F) for too long, then you run the risk of ending up with a “watery” beer that does not taste good.

If your mash temperature is too low, you have the ability to quickly raise it by adding boiled hot water to the mash tun. Add the hot water in small amounts, and stir the kettle/mash tun after each addition. Add enough until your grain’s temperature is at the correct level.

If you are using a Brew-in-a-Bag (BIAB) setup, you can directly heat the kettle with the grains still inside. This works with both propane burners and all-in-one systems. Nylon bags have a melting point of 515 °F (268 °C), so you should be more than safe heating directly in the kettle. I do usually hold up the bag slightly as I turn the burners on to prevent any chance at scorching.

Temp Too High

If your mash is at too high of a temperature (168-170 °F), you’ll run the risk of permanently killing or stalling the conversion process. However, luckily enzymes don’t get destroyed immediately at these temperatures. If you were to try to destroy (denature) the enzymes as with a “mash out”, it would take about 10 minutes to complete.

Another risk of mashing or sparging at or above 170 °F is the extraction of tannins from the grain husks. I’ve had this happen to me occasionally, so it’s definitely possible. As tannins are extracted, they make your beer astringent, which will typically not fade at all as the beer matures. Astringency is an off-flavor that tastes like a mix of bitterness and dryness. Imagine if you sucked on a teabag – that’s what it tastes like. Because of this, I never mash or sparge with any temperature any higher than 165 °F.

Add cold water or ice cubes directly to your mash container to lower temperature. It will take more cold water than ice cubes to get your temperature down, so remember this when it comes time to ensuring you hit your final volume correctly.

If you can’t afford to add extra water to your mash, then the next best option would be to use freezer ice packs or your immersion chiller to get the temperature down.

Benefits of a Low Mash Temperature

Mashing at the low end of the optimal temperature range (142-151 °F) will provide you with shorter and more fermentable sugars in your wort. Once the yeast is added, they will chew through those sugars quickly, leaving a thinner and drier beer. Usually mashes at this temperature end up with a lower final gravity (FG).

Dry beer is usually synonymous with little-to-no sweetness. There are a lot of beer styles that should be thin and dry, but never “watery”.

Thin beers are simply those without that fullness like a New England IPA or Stout. These are typically referred to as “crisp” and are light ales or lagers.

Benefits of a High Mash Temperature

Higher mashing temperatures (152-162 °F) produce longer sugars which are harder for the yeast to eat and convert to alcohol. More sugar will be left over after fermentation resulting in a more full-bodied beer with a higher final gravity (FG).


Brulosophy did a test that had the same grist mashed at two different temperatures: one high (161°F), one low (147°F). The higher temp beer resulted in a + 0.009 SG difference between the two. The low mash temp beer had a calculated 4.4% ABV while the high mash temp beer clocked in at a much lower 3.4% ABV. Perhaps higher mash temps are just the ticket for those who prefer making flavorful examples of big beers with lower amounts of alcohol.

Sours: https://beermaverick.com/how-various-mash-temperatures-impact-your-homebrew/
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