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What Is Mashing in Home Beer Brewing?

Learn about mashing, a process used in brewing beer at home, from home brewer Chris Cuzme in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!

So this is the beginning of your brew day. You are either going to do an all grain batch, or you're doing an extract batch, or, or a partial mash. A partial mash is a combination of both all grain brewing and extract brewing. This is extract. This is liquid malt extract. This is dried malt extract. And this is the malt before it becomes malt extract. So this, these are our base malts. What defines the beer on top of this. This will give us a lot of fermentable sugars, and the base of the beer. What defines a beer is the percentage of which you use that in combination with specialty grains, specialty malts. These have all been kilned, and heated to different temperatures to get different flavors out of it. And this is what will make the beer we're making today a ground porter. We're gonna use some crystal malt. We're gonna use some brown malt, some chocolate malt, and just experiment and have fun. So with a partial mash, and partially, all grain partially extract, we are going to...Firsthand, we are going to take our specialty grains, which define the beer. We're gonna grind them up in the malt mill, such as this. And we are going to put them into a mesh bag like this. And we're gonna steep them for about half an hour, so that we can get all the sugars, and all the defining characteristics of these malts, and make our beer. And then, after that, we will end up adding our malt extract. Whether it's dry malt extract or liquid malt extract. So first, we have to grind our grist. Doing this does get very, very tiring. So what a lot of us homebrewers do, is we get a drill, and replace this handle with a drill. Now, what this mill does, it's just enough to crush these up, and expose the enzymes in the middle, so that we can extract the sugar. But it's not gonna be too fine, so as to get the extract bitterness. Here we have our specialty grains. We're gonna pour them into our mesh bag. In essence, making a teabag with which to steep at 154 degrees. Right now, this water is 152 degrees. We're going to basically steep these grains in here to create our beer. So now, it's been half an hour later. We have what we want our, we have our desired flavors from our specialty malts. And we're going to use malt extract to complete this, and get us the work that we need for our boil. So that's 2 cans of malt extract. It varies from recipe to recipe, so, whatever your recipe tells you, do that. Now what you don't want to do is you don't want to squeeze this mesh bag. If you squeeze it, much like a teabag, you're gonna get a lot of bitterness and astringent flavors that are just unwanted flavors. You don't need to, you've got enough of the good stuff, trust me.

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