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Grain Brewing Advice

Mashing (Grain Brewing)

Mash made beers offer the brewer almost unlimited ways to craft specialty types with unique flavours. They do take additional time over kits and can be fickle to produce consistently. However, with the growth of micro and public brew centres, high quality beers can be made using the latest in equipment and technology.

Dave Whiteheads Easy Mash System

This is a greatly simplified, no nonsense foolproof way of mashing for the beginner and the more experienced. Use a standard 20 ltire 'poly pail' which is usually 390mm high, by 290mm diameter at the top and 260mm at the base. Fit the tap as close as possible to the bottom but allow enough room for the nut to go on the inside.

Make a sieve (false bottom) approximately 260mm to go inside, just above the tap. The sieve can be made of perforated stainless steel, aluminium or a piece of plastic, with many small holes drilled into it. The false bottom will need to be supported in position just above the tap.

Mark the pail on the inside for correct grain level.mashing pail

  • 3.5kg - 190mm from the bottom
  • 4.0kg - 210mm from the bottom

This is the hot water level before the crushed grain is poured in. 3.5kg will be adequate for most beers, but 4.0kg of grain can be used for stronger beers such as Best Bitter. Most kinds of beers or lagers can be made using this method.

Mashing Instructions

Infusion Mash

  1. Fill mash tun with hot water to 3.5kg mark or 4.0kg mark for a stronger beer.
  2. Check and adjust temperature to 72degC (75C in winter). This is called the 'strike' temperature.
  3. Pour in the grist (crushed grain) and stir.
  4. Check and adjust the temperature to approximately 65C. This is called the 'rest' temperature.
  5. Put the lid on the mash tun, wrap and keep warm for two to three hours.

Sparging

  1. Gently fill the mash tun with hot water, temperature between 70 and 75C. Do not disturb the grain bed.
  2. Slowly run the tap and return the wort (liquid) back into the mash tun until the wort runs fairly clear. It may require three to four litres of wort for this to happen. Maintain the water level above the grist while you recirculate the wort.
  3. When the wort is clear it can be run off slowly into the boiler.
  4. Boil the wort for 90 minutes with half the hop pellets. Add the remaininghalf of the hops after 80 minutes. You need to watch the boiler initially as the wort can boil over and may require stirring.
  5. Allow to cool for at least one to two hours, then rack or pour into the fermenter.
  6. Add water to make up the volume to 22 litres. Check the temperature and when below 35C add the yeast and fit an airlock.
  7. Leave for one week, then rack into a clean fermenter. After one more week, check Specific Gravity and when it is below 1008, bottle.
  8. Wait two weeks, then enjoy.