Mash Out Explained

Mash Out Explained: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you have heard the term “mash out” or not, this step could be one of the most impMash Out Explainedortant in a good homebrew process in the brewing world. A mash-out is the part of the brewing process where the temperature must be raised to start your sparge.

A high temperature of anywhere from 167 degrees F to 170 degrees F is necessary to help your brew slow down, turning starches to sugar.

This step will help you stop the enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars, which will ultimately make your mash or wort, or even both, much more fluid.

If you are still confused about the process, don’t worry, in this guide, we have mash out explained and all the information you ever needed on what exactly mash-out is and how it’s used.

What Is Mash Out?

As we briefly described above, mash out, sometimes called lautering, is used to raise the temperature to a high setting to stop all enzymatic action, which will preserve any fermentable sugar profile.

Sugars, after all, are what is used for fermenting, so this process slows down the actual destruction of your sugar, and instead, it preserves it. This step usually happens before the wort is drained from the mash, usually as the grain is rinsed off any leftover sugars.

Many brewers perform a mash out to help promote a more fluid wort. A mash-out is best performed on thicker mash with more than 25 percent heavy elements such as wheat or oats.

You don’t want to have a set mash or a stuck sparge, so this process will help prevent any grain beds from plugging up with no liquid to flow through.

A mash-out will help you control the sparge from getting stuck by making the sugar in your brew much more fluid and easier to work with.

Pros & Cons of a Mash Out

Beer Mashing in

Pros

  • Help make the sugars more flowable
  • Can help the taste of your overall brew
  • Works with larger quantities of grain to water
  • Helps preserve sugars
  • Helps the fermenting process

Cons

  • Can be tricky
  • Only works for larger batches
  • Time-consuming

What Is Lautering?

Lautering is the process of a brew where you separate the sweet wort from the actual mash. This works by using a lauter tun which will easily hold the mash in a larger, suspended vessel, with a false bottom below it to allow the wort to drain out, leaving behind the drained grain. This is the overall process which can include mash out.

The three basic steps to a lauter include mash out, recirculation, and sparging. All of these steps, in conjunction, go under the term lautering. The main goal here is to make sure your enzymes and sugars are not being destroyed or at least are being preserved to the degree you want to ferment the sugars into alcohols.

What Is Sparge?

A sparge, or sparging, is when you rinse the grain bed to get out as much of the sugars from that grain as possible. But without extracting too many tannins from your grain husks.

You will usually need double the amount of water that you would need for a mash-out. Where mash out needs at least 170 degrees F, the water temperature for sparging should be right under that.

You don’t want your water temperatures to be very high because a grain husk will create tannins that will be more soluble depending on your overall pH levels. This could mean your beer will be very astringent and sometimes too sour to drink. It’s all about monitoring the temperature settings and time.

Is Mash Out Important to Brewing?

Yes. Mash-out is important to brewing because it will help you start your sparge, and it will help you slow down your starch to sugar production. This means your sugars will be more easily dissolved into your wort, and it will move more freely throughout your brew.

The only time a mash-out would not be that important to brewing is if you are making a brew with very little need for sugar.

As most brews need sugar to turn into fermented alcohol, a brew with very little sugar means it will have minimal potency and minimal flavor. Fuller-bodied beer, such as stouts, pilsners, and wheat beers, need a lot of sugar to create their necessary levels of alcohol and taste profiles.

Mash in Vs. Mash Out

Beer Mashing

A mash-out is a term used when you raise the temperature of your mash to 170 degrees F or higher to stop sugar conversion. Mashing in happens at the very start of your brewing process when you actually mix your crushed grains with water to make your oatmeal-like mixture called the mash.

Your mash is where malt and starches are transformed into sugars on its own. Mash-out is boiling that up to halt this process.

How to Perform a Mash Out

Performing a mash-out is actually quite simple if you just follow these easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1: Direct Heat

Apply direct heat to your mash. While constantly stirring, turn up your temperature until it reaches the correct temperature of 170 degrees F. You will need to continually stir your mash so you don’t have any burn or hotspots. This will promote an even mash process.

Step 2: Adding Hot Water

Suppose you can’t turn up your applied heat. In that case, you will want to add in your hot water already set at 170 degrees F. You will still need to constantly stir your mash so that the temperature affects all of your mash as evenly as possible. This is the simplest way to create your mash-out process.

Tools Needed to Perform Mash Out

There are a few tools that you’ll need to help you create a successful mash-out, so here are just a few finds you can purchase right away.

Brew Bags

Brew Bags

Brew bags are great as they are made from a fine mesh ideal for straining your mash.

  • Product type: Brew Bags
  • Price: Less than $15
  • Range: Can be used for a variety of brews
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

These bags can be used within your mash-out process, on top of being used for other brewing needs, such as when you brew a blend of hops, grains, or fruits. Best yet, these bags come with a drawstring so you can easily help your mash get rid of water.

Pros

  • Most efficient
  • Great drawstring design
  • Comes in a three-pack

Cons

  • May be a bit messy

Who Should Buy This?

Brew bags are great to have in general, especially for draining your own mashes at home.

Mash & Fermentation Kit

Mash & Fermentation Kit

If you are a starting brewer and you would like an easy-to-use kit to help you with your first mash, this kit is the kit for you.

  • Product type: Mash & Fermentation Kit
  • Price: Less than $50
  • Range: Only for cracked corn, malted barley, or rye whiskey mash fermentation
  • Warranty: N/A

It comes complete with cracked corn, malted barley, and rye whiskey mash, so you can easily try all different types of mash-out steps for different types of brews. It’s a great way to start to learn about the process and how each mash tastes differently.

Pros

  • Great for starters
  • Contains all ingredients needed
  • Easy to follow instructions

Cons

  • May be a bit too pricey for some

Who Should Buy This?

This kit is great for anyone interested in specific cracked corn, malted barley, or rye whiskey mash brews.

Hydrometer & Testing Kit

Hydrometer & Testing Kit

Ideal for all kinds of brew steps, not just for your mash out but also highly useful during your mash out, this hydrometer and testing kit will help accurately test the ABV and gravity of your brew.

  • Product type: Hydrometer & Testing Kit
  • Price: Less than $20
  • Range: Can be used for a variety of brews
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

Whether you love to make beer, wine, or even kombucha, this kit will help you keep track of the temperatures and alcohol content.

Pros

  • Comes with a complete kit
  • Great for testing temperature
  • Great for monitoring alcohol

Cons

  • May be too many pieces depending on your brew type

Who Should Buy This?

This hydrometer and the testing kit are great for anyone starting out brewing their own beers or wines. Or for anyone who needs a good testing kit in their kitchen.

Stainless Steel Hop Filter

Stainless Steel Hop Filter

With a wonderful hop spider design, this micron mesh stainless steel hop filter is ideal to use for straining your mash.

  • Product type: Mesh Stainless Steel Strainer
  • Price: Less than $30
  • Range: Can be used for all types of strainer needs in brewing
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

The large size of this strainer makes it perfect for a large brew bucket fermenter or for large brews. It will keep up some good filtration throughout your brewing steps and is easier to use than cloth or mesh bags.

Pros

  • Easier to use than bags
  • Clean up is a breeze
  • Large size

Cons

  • May be too big for some

Who Should Buy This?

This hop filter is great for anyone experienced with brewing and has a large mash to drain.

Eight Gallon Kettle

Eight Gallon Kettle

This eight-gallon steel kettle is a perfect pot for beer brewing as it includes a stainless-steel lid, thermometer and comes complete with a ball valve spigot.

  • Product type: Eight-gallon sized kettle
  • Price: More than $75
  • Range: Can be used for all types of steps in brewing
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

This pot is ideal for doing your mash out for your brew, along with other great beer or wine brewing needs.

Pros

  • Perfect for many aspects of brewing
  • Large size
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • May be a bit pricey for some

Who Should Buy This?

This kettle would be great for anyone experienced with brewing and needs a large-sized kettle for larger brews.

Mash and Boil Pump

Mash and Boil Pump

Brewer’s Edge has created an incredible mash and boil set with a pump for easy brewing at home. This all-in-one setup includes a pump to make your mash out as easy of a process as possible.

  • Product type: Mash and boil set with pump
  • Price: More than $350
  • Range: Can be used for all types of brewing
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

You don’t need an outdoor burner or even a brewing stand, as this comes complete, ready to use from the get-go.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • All in one setup
  • Doesn’t need an outdoor burner

Cons

  • Expensive

Who Should Buy This?

This mash and boil pump is ideal for the consistent brewer who prefers an all-in-one setup.

FAQs

Question: Is Mash Out the Same as Sparging?

Answer: No. Mash out is when you raise the temperatures to stop sugar production, and sparging is when you rinse the grain of sugars.

Question: What Is the Point of a Mash Out?

Answer: A mash-out will help keep your brew more soluble with better-infused sugars.

Question: How Does Mash Out Work?

Answer: Mash out works by heating up your brew to slow the production from starches to sugars.

Question: How Long Should You Mash Out?

Answer: About 10 minutes or so.

The Bottom Line

So, there you have everything you ever needed to know about how to mash out and what a mash-out does for your brew. Even what kinds of materials you should look for if you want to try to mash out on your own.

Depending on your type of brew, the mash-out process could be the most important step that you will surely taste in your finished product.

Did you find this article useful? We hope you did. Do you have any experience with a mash-out or other brewing steps? We would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop your comments and insights below! And for more tips, check out our guide to growing hops!

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