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I'm a new homebrewer and have a newbie question: can I skip the mash out time just replacing it by sparging since the water temperature is the same? What kind of things can happen doing this?

Thanks!

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Great question! Curious to see the answer... –  hookedonwinter Mar 7 '10 at 20:32
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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In short: Yes, no problem, go for it, relax, don't worry.

Like many all-grain brewers, I used a cooler for a mash tun making it difficult to raise the temperature to mash out. I still made good beers.

So why would you want to do a mash out?

This step achieves two things.

First, it halts enzyme activity. If you are really, really good at mashing you know exactly when you have the perfect mix of fermentables & unfermentables in your sweet wort and any more exposure to enzymes would change the beer's profile.

Also, the heat makes the sweet wort and grainbed less viscous. This makes it easier to lauter & sparge because the liquid flows more freely.

If you are brewing a beer with a large percentage of wheat or other gummy stuff a mashout may help. In most cases you can skip right to sparge.

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In the close to 5 years I've been brewing I have only "Mashed Out" maybe twice. Also now that I'm brewing at a commercial level and have for a few breweries, none of them mash out either. Recirculate and start your sparge.

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Great, thanks for the answer! It's very useful for beginners like me. –  loop0 Mar 7 '10 at 23:52
    
It's my understanding that you mashout to bring the entire mash bed up to 168 so that sugars are more easily run off. By not mashing out you should get a lower efficiency. Also if you are are using a high water-to-grist ratio, say .5 qts per lb, it takes quite a while to get back down to the grain bed, all the while the mash is cooling. Then it takes very hot sparge water to raise the bed up over 160. Jeff, how does the brewery handle this? What's their efficiency? –  Tim Weber Mar 8 '10 at 20:20
    
We don't do any type of mash out. We go right from mash temp to recirculation, runoff and sparge. Efficiency is consistently in the 75-80% range. When I brewed with Avery they did the same thing, no mash out of any kind, their efficiency was over 80%. –  Jeff Porn Mar 9 '10 at 17:50
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Mashout is useful at the homebrew level if your wort is going to be sitting in the kettle for a long time prior to boiling and you want to lock in the mash profile. The other thing Mashout can help with is boosting poor efficiency a little bit as the warmer temp improves the viscosity of the wort a bit.

Aside from those two areas, I don't routinely mashout either.

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Remember that to denature enzymes, you need to hold that 170+ temp for 20 min. or more. Few homwebrewers do that. While it was once thought that hotter sparge water reduced the viscosity of the wort leading to easier runoff and increased efficiency, that has been pretty well disproven by the work of Kai Troester (www.braukaiser.com). What does happen (and does increase efficiency) is that the higher temp leads to a more complete mash conversion.

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I don't mash-out either but I do raise my sparge water to 180f in the kettle which translates to 170f water on top of the grain. I think this helps with my efficiencies (80-85%) by thinning the sugars in the grain. mark www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com www.thebackyardbrewer.com

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