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So from what I've read, a lot of professional brewers mash all their beers at the same temps (usually around 150F), and use ingredients to adjust the "body" or "sweetness" of the final beers. At their scale, its preferable to keep the mashing process identical for all their batches. I guess they find it easier to fiddle with the grain bill slightly than to adjust mash temps for each recipe.

Anyway, I am considering moving to this approach for my homebrew. My question is this, if I mash all my beers at 150F, how can I mimic mashing at, say, 152F or 154F or 156F with ingredients? Does anyone have any experience in this area? I could just start with adding 8oz of Cara Pils and seeing where that gets me, but I'd rather hear from someone who's done this alteration before, with the intent of figuring out how to translate a lower mash directly into increased CaraPils or Malto Dextrine.

(And on those same lines, having used both CaraPils and Malto Dextrine before, but not in identical beers, can anyone chime in on the differences in the final flavor between the two?)

6/29: Still hoping someone of the same opinion chimes in here.

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Are you referring to dextrine powder or dextrine malt? –  brewchez May 14 '11 at 11:25
    
Sounds like both since he refers to carapils (malt) and malto dextrine (powder). –  Denny Conn May 14 '11 at 15:16
    
Sure, but sometimes people don't know the difference...that's why I asked. The shop closest to me labels it as dextrin malt, I hear many people coming in looking for cara-pils and "can't find it". –  brewchez May 14 '11 at 16:45
    
Yup I was asking about both Malto Dextrine powder and Cara Pils malt. My understanding is that they do similar (but not identical) things to a beer's body. –  Graham May 14 '11 at 18:07
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Not meaning to be a wise guy, but that's kind of like asking "how long is a piece of string?". For one thing, adding carapils or malto dextrine might increase the body, but it won't necessarily mimic what happens at higher mash temps. Also, it's going to be highly subjective, depending on your tastes and exactly what you hope to accomplish. Finally, we're homewbrewers. Why would the approach that commercial brewers take be right for us? It's much easier to adjust mash temp than it is to experiment with recipe adjustments. Why not take advantage of the freedom we have rather than try to do something that can easily be avoided?

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"but it won't necessarily mimic what happens at higher mash temps." Denny, do you think you might comment on how they are different? Also, not to knock your response here, but I am still hoping for someone to chime in here who's done a side-by-side of higher temps vs more ingredients. –  Graham May 18 '11 at 13:49
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IMO, and my experience, mashing at a higher temp will affect the flavor of the beer, and only secondarily affect the body. Using carapils seems ti affect the primarily the body, not the flavor. –  Denny Conn Jun 29 '11 at 18:55
    
Ahh excellent. That's the sort of info I was after. Thanks! –  Graham Jul 5 '11 at 16:57
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