In our recent series about all-grain home brewing we have talked a lot about the mashing and sparging processes. If you read any all-grain recipes you will hopefully be able to understand what these processes consist of at this point. One term comes up regularly that you might find confusing, though. At the end of the mashing process, just before sparging, it is pretty common to see “mashout.” What does this mean?
The Definition of Mashout
Mashout is actually pretty simple. It means to bring the temperature of the mash up to 170 degrees F. This might be done by adding hot water to the mash, or by applying external heat to the vessel. Mashout can be usually be skipped without major consequences, but there are a couple of good reasons to perform this procedure.
Why Perform Mashout?
Raising the temperature of the mash to 170 degrees F stops any enzyme action that is going on in the mash. It essentially “freezes” the profile of sugars that will be in your wort. It is important to note that the tannins in grains will become more soluble above 170 degrees and will contribute off-flavors to the beer, so holding the temperature right at 170 degrees is important.
A second reason to mashout is that raising the temperature of the mash to 170 degrees also decreases the viscosity of the mixture by making the sugars a little more fluid. This will increase the flow of the liquid and decrease the time needed for sparging.
Have you utilized the mashout process in your brewing? What were your results?