Sometimes Mike throws down a challenge for himself and brings the science to the Brew Dudes’ audience. He’s been brewing since 1998 and there’s been some nagging questions about the rules of mashing that he has wondered about but hasn’t taken the time to really test, until now. This video explores the effects of acidity, basicity, and “too hot” and “too cold” temps to the process of mashing malt. Take in these Mash pH and temperature experiments:

The Experiment Setup

So Mike wanted to know what effect different pH levels and temperature extremes would have on the starting gravity of these mashes.

There were four experimental mashes along with one control. The control was a mash that follow the recommended pH and temperature for the mash. We’ll call that The Perfect Mash. The next mash he discussed was one with a pH of 4, but in the ideal temperature range. We’ll call that The Acidic Mash. Then, he made a mash with a pH of 8 (ideal temperature range), which will be known as The Basic Mash. Lastly, he made mashes using water that was “too cold” (35°F/1°C) and “too hot” (180°F/80°C) but within the ideal pH range. Let’s call them The Cold Mash and The Hot Mash.

The Experiment Results

Since gravity readings were the collected data point of the experiment – just dissolved solids into the water (he tasted the mashes too to see if they were sweet), here are the numbers:

  • The Perfect Mash – 1.055 starting gravity (tasted malty sweet)
  • The Acidic Mash – 1.048 starting gravity (tasted tart but weakly sweet)
  • The Basic Mash – 1.030 starting gravity (tasted awful and no sweetness)
  • The Cold Mash – 1.016 starting gravity (no sweetness)
  • The Hot Mash – 1.070 starting gravity (tasted robustly malty sweet)

Interesting results for sure.

Mike took it a bit further to see what conversion happened with each of the mashes:

  • The Cold Mash – no conversion
  • The Basic Mash – no conversion
  • The Acidic Mash – weakly converted
  • The Perfect Mash – conversion
  • The Hot Mash – conversion

So, the best result outside of the Perfect Mash is The Hot Mash. If you’re mashing at a too hot temperature, you’ll probably be able to brew a good beer. Wacky pH levels will prohibit your ability to brew good beer.

Hope you enjoyed this video as much as we did making it.