Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements

Site Map
Section 1
Brewing Your First Beer With Malt Extract
Section 2
Brewing Your First Extract and Specialty Grain Beer
Section 3
Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
14 How the Mash Works
15 Understanding the Mash pH
16 The Methods of Mashing
17 Getting the Wort Out (Lautering)
18 Your First All-Grain Batch
Section 4
Formulating Recipes and Solutions


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Chapter 14 - How the Mash Works

An Allegory

Picture this: There has been a big windstorm that has blown down a big tree and a lot of other branches in the backyard. Your dad decides that some yardwork will build character; your task is to cut as much of it as you can into two inch lengths and haul it out to the road. You have two tools to do this with: a hedge trimmer and a pair of hand-held clippers. The hedge trimmer is in the garage, but the last time anyone saw the clippers, they had been left outside in the grass, which has since grown knee high. Plus, there are a lot of brambles growing around the tree which will make access and hauling it away difficult. Fortunately your dad has decided that your older brother and sister should take part in this too, and will send them out there with the weed whacker and lawn mower right now. Likewise, he will do you a favor and cut off a few of the big limbs at the joints with the chainsaw before you start. He won't cut many because the football game is starting soon. As soon as the grass is cut, you can find your tools and get them ready.

Your tools are rather limited for the amount of work you have to do. The hedge trimmer will be really useful for cutting all of the end twigs off, but will be quit working once you get back towards the branches. The clippers will be useful then- they will be able to cut the middles of all the branches, but aren't strong enough to cut through the joints. When you are done, there will be a lot of odd branched pieces left over in addition to your little pieces.

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How the Mash Works
An Allegory"
Mashing Defined
The Acid Rest and Modification
The Protein Rest and Modification
The Starch Conversion/Saccharification Rest
Manipulating the Starch Conversion Rest
Real Beer Page

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Appendix A - Using Hydrometers
Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy
Appendix C - Chillers
Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun
Appendix E - Metric Conversions
Appendix F - Recommended Reading

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All material copyright 1999, John Palmer