Mash and Lautering Tips and Tricks

Question

I have a couple of procedural questions about all-grain brewing.

1. After the mash is made and has been left to set for however long it should be there, 30-60 mins at the given temperature, do you pour the mash into the mash tun directly or ladel it into the tun then lauter? What is the accepted method of transferring the mash to the mash tun? This is generally glazed over in most of the procedures I have read up on. Some say ladel the mash and the water in alternation, mash, water, mash, water. Some dont say anything at all.

2. During the lautering process, do you pour your freshly hot water over the grains after draining the mash and then cycle the water from the wort pot back over the grains after you have 5 gallons? How does this cycle work? I know at the end you’re supposed to have roughly 5 – 5.5 gallons of wort if you’re making a 5 gallon batch depending on your evaporation rate, etc.

Answer

1. What is the accepted method of transferring the mash to the mash tun?

Generally speaking it is best not to splash too much at this stage. Hot side aeration (HSA) can lead to oxidation in the finished beer. So you should generally try to avoid splashing too much even at this stage so I would probably ladel the mash/water into the lauter tun.

2. During the lautering process, do you pour your freshly hot water over the grains after draining the mash?

Once you have an inch or so of water covering the grain bed you want to add the water at a rate of about the same as it is being removed. If you remove the water too quickly the grain bed will compress and you may end up with a stuck sparge. This is to be avoided if at all possible.

Initially you drain the wort into a small pot and periodically add it back into the mash until the runnings are relatively clear. You want to slowly add the cloudy wort back so as to not disturb the grain bed.

Once the wort is running clear you then can allow it to flow into your brew kettle.

To avoid HSA it has been recommended that wort not simply pour into the kettle but rather flow within a piece of tubing thus avoiding excessive splashing. Again it is unclear whether or not hot side aeration is really all that big a problem.

 

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