Home Brewing: Grain mashed beers
Only the very real enthusiasts brew their beers from grains, but they declare that the quality obtained is well worth the trouble. Temperature control during the mashing period is most important since this affects the production of the maltose and dextrin. It can be achieved with a thermostatically controlled immersion heater or with insulation. The degree of your enthusiasm will determine the trouble you take towards perfection. For a number of grain brewers, it is sufficient to mash the grains late at night, cover the bin with an old coat or blanket and leave until morning. This long infusion ensures complete conversion and avoids the need for iodine testing to ascertain when the end point of conversion is reached somewhere between 2 and 6 hours.
Bitter beers should be mashed in hard water at 66.7°C/152°F. Brown ales and stouts in soft water at 64.4°C/148°F.
Three-quarters of the total solids used should be crushed pale malt grains. Up to one-sixth of the total could be sugar in one form or another and the remainder may be in a mixture of adjuncts. The infusion should be in about two-thirds of the total quantity of water to be used to obtain the best results. After straining off the wort, the grains should be rinsed or sparged with just a little hot water – about 300 ml/1/2 pint per 4.5 litres/1 gallon is enough to remove the maltose sticking to the grains.
The hops are then added to the wort, thoroughly welled and boiled vigorously for up to 1 hour. However, before straining off, the liquor should be allowed to stand, covered, for about 30 minutes while the solids settle down and leave the wort clear for the fermentation.
The wort is best drained off through the hops. Cold water is added to the wort to bring the quantity up to that required and when cool, an activated yeast is stirred in. The processes that follow are exactly the same as already described.