Mashing is an important step in process of brewing or distilling when it involves grain washes. Grain washes needs addition preparation techniques so that it will be suitable for the fermentation process prior to distillation. Basically, mashing is the simple process of mixing crushed grains with water and subjecting this to certain heat temperatures in order to trigger the release of the enzyme that will convert the grain starch into fermentable sugars. Most common examples of grains being used in the process are rye, malted barley, corn and wheat. Typically, the recommended temperatures for heating are 45, 62 and 73 degrees Celsius. The heating time depends on how long starches will break down into sugars. This process may be crucial if you have little idea on preparing grain washes for distilling moonshine. Yet, by researching, you will absolutely find why mashing is an essential step in preparing grain washes for distilling moonshine.
Essentially, there are two known methods utilized for mashing various grains and these are almost similar to the techniques being used in brewing beer. The most popular method is called infusion mashing. In this method, the mashed grains and water are heated straight from rest temperature to rest temperature. The usual variation of this method is to pour hot water to the prepared mash to implement the change in temperature instead of heating it directly. The other method is called decoction mashing which involves putting a certain part of the grains to a boil and bringing these back to the mash which in turn increases its temperature. Out of the two, the infusion technique is most preferred by home distillers due to its simplicity.
In doing this, the plainest type of mash tun that you can use is beer boiler that can be bought in homebrew stores or a large metal pot placed over a stove. A big pot and a stove may not be the first thing that may enter your minds most especially if you are already an expert in making moonshine, but by trying it accompanied with a bit of practice, you will realize that these equipments are quite effective and efficient most especially if you already have these at hand. On the other hand beer boilers are much different than the usual coffee makers that you find in homes and offices. These are commonly made of stainless steel and you will also find units with an electric element attached in the boiler which is apart for the mash. If this is not the case, the mash will stick to the element and this will create a mess that is too difficult to clean. The boiler can be used in a number of ways such as the boiler of the condenser or the still used in the distillation process. The most used type of boiler is the one the one that makes use of beer keg made of stainless steel and uses a propane burner in order to produce heat. The beer keg [check this out] in this kind of boiler usually has a foam and mesh in order to aid in draining the mash.
The edge of having a reliable set of beer boiler or a delectable pot over the stove is that most grains like certain rice and what variety as well as corn needs to undergo gelatinization before they can be mashed. This requires boiling these grains for a very long period in order to achieve its mushy or soft consistency. This lets the starches present in the grain to be easily transformed to sugars.
The kind of mash tun that is gaining popularity in these days is rectangular coolers or beverage coolers. Using coolers as a mash tun is highly recommended if you are new to making moonshine because it is easy to use. These picnic coolers are available in various sizes and you may not even have to buy anymore because you may have one in your garage already. The best features of these coolers are its insulated interiors which promotes indirect heat. These coolers can be used by adding hot waiter in order to set the temperature of the mash as needed. Placing the lid can maintain the temperature inside which may decline for a degree or two in a span of one hour. This makes it very easy and convenient to use for beginners.
After mashing has been done, all that is left is a liquid with traces of hanging particles of spent grain. These particles must be separated or sparged from the liquid. This can be performed by placing using a mesh when pouring the contents from the mash tun to your fermenter. Another way is to palce a tea towel or screen mesh directly on top of your fermenter so that you can easily starin the contents of your mash tun. This task can be messy, but with much patience and determination, this can be done completely.
In some cases, home brewers use a modified beverage cooler. This type of cooler involves a false screen bottom and a spigot. This allows the mash to drain leaving all the unnecessary particles behind. It is very advantageous because it does not require extensive labor aside from the fact that it is really effective.
Yet, an innovative method in mashing just entered the scene and this is referred to as Brew in Bag. This is probably he ultimate solution for separating the grains from the liquid. This works by placing the grains in a muslin bag or loose nylon before it is added to the mash tun. The entire process is just the same it is just that separating or straining is no longer required because the grains remain inside the bags. You just have to pour the liquid directly into the fermenter and the job is finished.