Does Mash Length Matter? :: exBEERiment Results!

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brulosopher's picture
Does Mash Length Matter? :: exBEERiment Results!

I compared the impact different mash times have on a finished beer, results are here:

I do BIAB, and my mash times

I do BIAB, and my mash times have varied from 10 minutes to all night. Of course the temp loss even with insulation, and denaturing of enzymes means that mashing all night really does not effect attenuation significantly. Longer mash I believe is like steeping tea longer, it brings out more of the grain character. Most of my beers these days are very heavily hopped for flavor and aroma, as I love hops, so plain old American Two Row, with some Munich make up the bulk of my grain bills, though I often use some wheat or rye malt, and some flaked barley. Pale ales are what I really like and most of my friends like so I make few specialties like Dunkels, Octoberfests, etc. Summer brings on the Saisons though, which I like to ferment very hot (ambient). The point here is that I find little discernible difference between a 30 minute mash and a 4 hour (all afternoon) mash in the beers I brew. Depending on my frame of mind on brew day....... or what I am brewing, I may mash for 20 or 30 minutes, and hour, or all afternoon while I'm off working. Clearly in a grain and malt forward beer, a longer mash / steep time makes sense. In a hop forward pale ale, like a recent 5 gallon smash I did that had a full half a pound of Columbus hops spread between boil, whirlpool, and dry hop, and all 2 row, nobody is going to tell the difference between MO and two row, or detect a difference in mash time.
The point of this diatribe being that short mash times make sense for some beers and not for others....