Take the 2-minute tour ×
Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I just did my first AG brew today. It went very well!

My question comes with the mash. I know normally, you determine your mash thickness with 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound of grain. If I were to use, say, 1 or 2 qts per pound, what would the difference be in the end product? I'm very interested in forming my own recipes, and I'm wondering if this is a big deal.

Thanks!

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In general, as said, mash thickness between 1-2 qt./lb. will make little to no difference. Even as high as 3 qt./lb. is fine. Kai Troester (www.braukaiser.com) has performed detailed experiments that show that higher rations lead to greater conversion efficiency. I've pasted in a chart from his work below. He has said that thinner mashes convert more quickly and completely. Here is a quote from his study...""But while thick mashes offer better protection for the enzymes, they also inhibit the enzymatic activity through the reduced availability of free water and the sugars acting as competitive inhibitors [Briggs, 2004]. In addition to that the gelatinization of starch is also slower and happens at higher temperatures in thick mashes and as a result thinner mashes are known to give more fermentable worts at normal mashing temperatures. " (source). Having a higher conversion efficiency means that you don't need to shoot for a really high lauter efficiency, which can lead to better quality beer. If you batch sparge, it works really well to use a ration that gets you approximately half your total boil volume from the mash. That's usually the main factor for me in deciding on ratio. I find that I usually end up around 1.6 qt./lb.

Kai Troester chart

share|improve this answer

I usually try to go with 1.3 quarts/lbs. that's comfortable for me to work with (relatively easy to stir), and with a stainless braid, i usually get around 70% efficiency with smaller beers.

I have seen my efficiency drop when I'm closer to 1 quart/lbs, but that's usually with target OGs above 1.090.

share|improve this answer
    
I wonder if efficiency will drop on the other end as well. If I have a watery mash, will it not convert all the sugars? I imagine it wouldn't hold the temp as well. –  Brian Mar 20 '11 at 0:09
    
It would hold temp better because of increase thermal mass. It will most certainly still convert, it may just take more time. But there will be no noticeable difference between 1 or 2 qt/lb. If you went to 4 or 6 you'd notice the time change requirement. Efficiency usually goes up with more mash water because you are creating a larger gradient for the sugars to dissolve into. –  brewchez Mar 20 '11 at 12:23

Answers will vary, but for the most part you won't notice a difference in a beer with 1 vs 2 qt/lb. In theory mash chemistry can be effected by thickness, but at that range and on the homebrew scale you'd be hard pressed to really taste a difference in side by side comparisons.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.