Some brewers mash-in for two hours, whereas it seems that most of the sugar is extracted during the first 30mn.

While the difference between 30 and 60mn mash duration have been explored, I still don't understand what mashing for two hours would be useful for.

It seems from this table took from Briggs that the difference between 60 and 120mn of brewing is of 2% of non-fermentable extract and 0.8% of fermentable extract, at 65°C, which seems very low.

So, if this was in order to extract more fermentable sugars, why not continuing the mash-in for an extra hour ? Is there something else hapenning when you mash-in for two hours?

1 Answer 1


Most mash schedules can be completed in about an hour. Basically yes, there's other stuff going on in longer mashs.

A step mash to hit a protein rest, beta-amylase, alpha-amylase, mash out can easily take a couple hours depending on how quickly your system can heat the mash. Also, if your water grist ratio is too thin, it could take a long time for conversion. A coarse grind will also benefit from a longer mash time to extract starches from the larger endosperm chunks.

Ultimately your mash is done when all starches are converted, unless you want to manipulate proteins or produce other flavor profiles like clove by producing precursor compounds that can benefit the yeast for those esters.

If you just want a basic mash with a split of simple and complex sugars 152°F is good. I've done these mashs in as little as 20-30 minutes, confirming conversion is simple with an iodine test. So no time is wasted. Also it works very quickly because both enzymes beta and alpha are active even though beta amylase is being denatured at this temp it hangs on for about 30 minutes.

  • So, if I understand correctly, this is mainly a matter of water-grist ratio and the size of the grinds. Nothing more than sugar (simple and complex) is extracted at this point that is useful for the beer — For instance the fact that nitrogen is extracted doesn't really count here? Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 9:08
  • 1
    Correct once a mash hits 131°+ It's all about sugar production. Nitrogen / FAN, protient manipulation etc happen at lower temps. Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 13:09
  • After some research, it seems that FAN actually is extracted even at 150°F, see vieuxsinge.com/images/empatage/extraction-time-nitrogen.png (Briggs) Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 19:14

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