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Video:Brew Beer: How to Create a Mash

with Chris Sheehan

The mash is the first stage in beer brewing where the hot water and malted barley are mixed together. This video from About.com will show you how to create a mash for beer brewing.See Transcript

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Transcript:Brew Beer: How to Create a Mash

Hi, my name is Chris Sheehan. I'm the brewer at J.J. Bitting Brewing Company in Woodbridge, NJ. I'm here for About.com to explain how a mash is created from malted barley and hot water.

Heat Water and Add Grains to Make Mash

To start the brew, most home brewers would heat water on a stove to a desired temperature, 165 to 170 degrees as the starting water to begin the dropping of a mash.

And now, we're going to start mixing a mash. You don't want to just dump all the grain in in one big bulk because you want to fully mix the grain with the water nice and evenly, and that's why I'm using this paddle to agitate it as I stir it in. If you don't do this, the grain will tend to what we call "ball up." You'll get balling of the starches, where it'll settle in in chunks, which can be problematic for the future brew. 

Creating Sugar Out of Grains in Mash

We have a mix of different grains, but it's mainly pilsner malt with a few different specialty grains mixed in. This is a grain bill for an IPA. So, I'm going to just keep on dumping the grain in and mixing it in. It's all about an efficient blending of the grain with water preventing it from balling up. Basically, what's going on is you have enzymes that go to work, and they convert starch in the grain into sugar, and our objective here is to create sugar out of all this starchy grain.  

Mixture Should be Homogenous

And so, the next step is going to be to make sure that we have a proper temperature in order to achieve a starch conversion, and then the next step after this will be to extract all the sugar from the grain. And so, I'll give this a final stir now that we have everything in there. Make sure everything's homogenous. I don't see any balling of starches. You can see that's it's all nice and porridge-like, which is ideal. That's what we want to see in the mixture. 

And put lid on that and let it rest. In a moment, I'll take a temperature reading on it, and see how it looks. Alright, I'm going to go ahead and asses a temperature reading on this. Perfect: 152 degrees. So, that's the start. We're going to allow this mash to rest for an hour.

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