New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association

Brewing => Technique => Topic started by: Jake on November 13, 2011, 01:56:46 PM

Title: Mash Ratio
Post by: Jake on November 13, 2011, 01:56:46 PM
I typically just use a mash ratio of 1.33qts/lb. When I was first getting into brewing, I was told that a water ratio of 40% for the mash and 60% for the sparge was ideal. When you're doing low alcohol batches with 8-10 pounds of grain, I find that these ratios usually work out, using the 1.33qts/lb ratio that is.

I've been doing some higher alcohol beers lately using much more grain, and obviously with that ratio of 1.33, most of the water is going into the mash, and it's more like 60 or 65% of the water is going into the mash, and 40 or 35% is used to sparge.

How will this effect efficiency, if at all? ... should I lower the mash ratio, or what?
Title: Re: Mash Ratio
Post by: sdixon on November 13, 2011, 04:23:14 PM
I'm not sure what the answer to your question is, but I use Brew In A Bag (BIAB) process for making my beer and it is 100% of water all at once. Today I brewed a 5 barrel batch of stout at Big Tide Brewery and we didn't use the 1.33 qt ratio and it converted just fine. My thoughts are that it is really hard to fuck it up.  :wavebeer:
Title: Re: Mash Ratio
Post by: Richard on November 13, 2011, 08:36:07 PM
I've posted about this elsewhere, and it's not just a case of "anything goes", although for the most part it's pretty damn hard to screw it up too badly.

Basic rule of thumb (I'm de-nerdifying here); stiff (1.25 or less) mash will be less fermentable and more malty, whereas a watery (2.0 or more) mash will be more fermentable and be less malty. The stiff mash will also convert faster than the thin mash. Thicker mash = thicker body of resulting beer. Thinner mash = higher efficiency.

You might notice you achieve similar end-results with temperature differences in the mash - I tend to just shoot for 1.25qt/lb and vary temperature, just works for me. I'd been meaning to experiment with different mash thicknesses to see if any extra trade-offs are reachable with that parameter that I couldn't better control with temperature.

And now I'm getting back into nerd-speak, so I'll stop :P