The Monster Mash

Written by Kirk Agostini on March 23, 2015

Mashing converts the starches released during the malting stage into sugars that can be fermented. The milled grain is mixed with hot water in a large vessel known as a mash tun.

In this vessel, the grain and water are mixed together to create a cereal mash. During the mash, naturally occurring enzymes present in the malt convert the starches (long chain carbohydrates) in the grain into smaller molecules or simple sugars (mono-, di-, and tri-saccharides).

This “conversion” is called saccharification. The result of the mashing process is a sugar rich liquid or “wort”, which is then strained through the bottom of the mash tun in a process known as lautering. Prior to lautering, the mash temperature may be raised to about 75–78 °C (167–172 °F) (known as a mashout) to deactivate enzymes. Additional water may be sprinkled on the grains to extract additional sugars (a process known as sparging).

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