Chapter 8


(book excerpts)

Mashing is essentially a continuation of the malting process. During malting, germination induces production of enzymes in the seed. The endosperm cell walls are degraded, but the process is halted before extensive hydrolysis of the starchy endosperm. Removal of water during kilning suspends enzyme activity. Mashing involves mixing milled malt and solid adjuncts (if used) with water in a mash tun or mash conversion vessel (i.e., mash mixer) at a set temperature and volume to continue the biochemical changes initiated during the malting process. The malt and adjunct particles swell, starches gelatinize, soluble materials dissolve, and enzymes actively convert the starches to fermentable sugars producing a “sweet wort.” These sugars include maltose, glucose, maltotriose, and a host of others that can be consumed by yeast during fermentation. While fermentable sugars are the primary product of the mashing process, mashing also creates non-fermentable sugars. Mashing also reduces the size of some of the proteins that are extracted from the malt. Many of these proteins are essential as nutrients for the yeast during fermentation, mouthfeel, and the properties of the head of the final beer. The composition of the wort will vary according to the style of beer.

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