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The Mash

Site Map



How To Use This Site

Equipment You Will Need

DIY Corner

Materials You Will Need

Water Treatment

A Walk Through A Brew

  The Mash

Wort Collecting and Sparging

Boiling and Topping Up

Cooling and Pitching

Initial and Secondary Fermentation



A Few Recipes

Creating Your Own Recipes

Danger - Quicksand!

Frequently Asked Questions

Links and Further Reading

What Is Sensible Mole?

Contact The Head Brewer

First things first, we need to start the mash fairly logically, and for this you need your calculator and stockpot. You need to heat up some of your treated water, at a rate of 2.8 litres for however many kilograms your ’grain bill’ is. In this case your grain bill (total weight of grains used in the recipe) is 5.5Kg so 5.5 multiplied by 2.8 comes out at 15.4 litres, but as we’re not anal about this, we’ll call it 16 litres. Put the 16 litres in your stockpot or large pan, stick it on the gas oven on the largest ring, and heat it up to 67°C - so don’t forget to stick in your thermometer.

Whilst you’re waiting for your mash water to heat up you should sterilise a jug, your big mixing spoon and your mash tun. When you’ve done that, and rinsed it out with cold water (including running some cold water through the tap on the mash tun) you need to heat up the tun, and this is done, when your mash water is nearly at 67°, by filling up your mash tun with hot water, letting it stand for a few minutes, then pouring away the water.

Crush two Campden tablets using a plate and the back of a sturdy teaspoon and weigh out your pale malt, crystal malt and torrified wheat. Also lay out your mash tun insulation on the floor and get something to weigh it down with... my traditional device is the fruit bowl!

tun insulation laid out ready to receive the mash tun...

mash tun trussed up like a turkey with fruit bowl holding insulation in place!

When the mash water is at the required temperature, carefully pour it into the mash tun (making sure the mash tun tap is in the ’off’ position!). 15 litres of water is heavy so jug it out from the boiler rather than risk doing your back in by lifting the boiler and attempting to pour it straight into the tun. Pour in to the water the pale malt, crystal malt, torrified wheat and the two crushed Campden tablets. Don't forget to add the DLS if you're using the Water Analysis Method.

adding the grain and campden tablets

Take your spoon and stir the grain; what you’re trying to do here is make sure there are no lumps - smash up the lumps against the side of the tun using your spoon but do it quickly as you don’t want to lose heat by turning it into a long drawn out performance.

Smash the Mash: getting rid of all those lumps

When you’re satisfied the ‘porridge’ is nice and smooth put the lid on, wrap the insulation around the tun, and hey presto - Congratulations, you’ve just begun your first mash! At this stage, just to avoid any timing mistakes or any doubt, look at your watch and write down the time your mash began and the time it should end (ie. In 90 minutes).

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve nothing to do for the next 90 minutes - time to get to work!

After the mash has begun:

1. Set up the outside burner.

2. Weigh out the hops and crush 2 Campden tablets.

3. Sterilise sparging equipment, which is the jug, recirculation sprinkler and sparging jug.

4. Begin heating your sparge water, say, 18 litres or so, to 62°C .

5. Measure how much 25 litres is in your pot - measure from the top of the liquid to the top of the pan, write this down and keep it safe. For instance, I know that when there is roughly 120 millimetres from the top of the liquid to the top of my pan, I have 25 litres in there.

90 minutes after you put the lid on your tun the mash has ended and it's time for the next step, which is collecting the wort and sparging...

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