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2

Other answers are pretty complete. Basically trial and error, decoction allowed for step mashing. More interesting is that yeast wasn't known yet. Family's would have a "stirring stick" that would be passed down generations, it's speculated that this stick would harbor the yeast and inoculate the beers aside from spontaneous fermentation. Giving each family ...


2

In decoction mashing you don't need neither thermometers nor clocks. You keep you main mash in one container. To increase the temperature, you take some of the mash into a different vessel and bring it to a boil. You can easily tell when it's boiling without a thermometer. You put that boiling mash (the decoction) back into the main vessel to raise the ...


4

It's simple - experience. Brewers practiced under more experienced brewers. After few years, they could tell by hand - literally - if temperature is right, and they could taste if it's as sweet as it should be. That was how mashing was done. Mashing temperature is actually low enough to put your finger in. I can keep my finger in mash for about 4 heartbeats ...



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