Still back on extract brews due to time/equipment constraints, but I am making a cream ale this week. Have one lb of flaked maize for a 5 gallon batch (along with 6 lbs of DME), and I understand that maize doesn't contain the enzymes to convert starches in mashing. I picked up 2lbs of crushed 6-row to do a mini-mash with my flaked maize. Most 'speciality grain steeping' procedures call for a half hour steep/mini mash @ 150-160. Given the fact that I have maize in the mash, should I do a full hour steep?

I was also planning on adding the 6 lbs of extract with about 10 minutes left in the boil as well to try to come somewhere close to an appropriate SRM/color.

2 Answers 2


With two pounds of base malt, and one pound of maize, you can certainly get away with 30 minutes and expect full conversion. Thats been the case in my experience, especially at 154F temps. The warmer the mash the faster things progress.

And most flaked maize is pre-gelatinized, BTW.

  • my supplier recommends boiling the cereals since hot rolling alone doesn't fully gelatinize the starch. You need water also to gelatinize, so it's only cereals that have already been cooked to some degree that are fully gelatinized.
    – mdma
    Feb 7, 2012 at 7:45

You're right - maize doesn't contain any enzymes and needs to be mashed alongside a high Lintner grain, like the 6-row you've chosen.

If the maize is pre-gelatinized, then you can just hit your target mash temp for the fermentability profile you want. For ungelatinized maize, you'll need to hold it at 170F for 15 mins to make the starch soluble and then boil for 15 mins to break down the cellulose. The corn is then ready for mashing, so you then add cold water and stir to bring the temperature down to your your target mash temperature. Dried cereals can absorb lots of water so start with 2 qt/lb to be sure you don't end up with a thick gloopy sludge that's easily burnt.

How long to mash? I would probably just leave it for an hour, but if you want to be sure conversion is complete, then you can perform an iodine test, although it's been questioned if these tests are really useful.

  • I guess this is technically a 'steep' and not a 'mini-mash' (I don't believe I've brewed with the latter method. My understanding is that flaked maize (or rice) is pre-gelatinized, so you don't need to do a cereal mash/pre-boil boil, as you state above. Is a sparge necessary, or can I just steep for one hour like you do w/ a specialty grain/extract brew?
    – Pietro
    Feb 6, 2012 at 19:29
  • This is a mini mash and not a steep, since you are converting starch into simpler sugar via enzymatic activity. With a steep, you only extract precoverted sugars, such as from crystal malts, or highly kilned malts.
    – mdma
    Feb 6, 2012 at 20:12
  • Whether the flaked cereals are already gelatinized depends upon the temperature they were pressed at, but most are not boiled, so you still need to boil to release as much starch as possible. Sure, you don't have to boil, nor do you have to sparge - but the extraction efficiency will be less - typically 50 percent. If your recipe is designed with that efficiency in mind, then it's fine to skip the sparge. Extract varies, but you may find that it leaves enough residual sweetness that you don't taste the maize at all. let us know how it turns out!
    – mdma
    Feb 6, 2012 at 20:16
  • These days 2 row malt has about equal diastatic power to 6 row. Unless you want 6 row specifically for its "grainy" flavor, 2 row will work fine.
    – Denny Conn
    Feb 6, 2012 at 21:12
  • Breiss say this about the two varieties -- Enzymes. As a rule of thumb, 6-Row base malts have higher Diastatic Power (DP) than 2-Row, and slightly lower alpha amylase. Newer varieties of North American 2-Row malting barley, however, are starting to bridge this gap. Because 6-Row is an enzyme animal, you may want to use it as a base malt when the grist includes large quantities of non- or low-enzymatic specialty malts. --
    – mdma
    Feb 7, 2012 at 6:20

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