1. WATER QUALITY
Your tap water may require some adjustments in terms of mineral content. If the beer type allows, add 1-2 grams of Mg+ or Ca+ salts to a 20L/5gal batch without affecting the flavor. It will increase enzyme activity. Starch conversion typically works best when the mash pH is roughly 5.4 or slightly higher. Add lactic acid to bring down the pH if required.
Adjunct-rich mashes and darker malts (Vienna, Munich etc.) tend to have lower enzymatic power, longer mash time is needed for full conversion.
Iodine reacts with starch and gives a blue color to the solution.
We recommend milling malt with 0.70-0.85mm/0.028-0.034 inches gap (bank card thickness) in case of a two cylinder. The finer the particle size is, the better the conversion, however, if the grit size is too small, it can cause
stuck sparge and other problems. Add rice hull if required, it helps to keep the grain loose.
4. GRIST-TO-WATER RATIO
Thinner mashes tend to convert more readily than thicker ones. The minimum ratio is 2.5L/kg malt (0.3 gal/lbs), for the best results go for max allowed volume of water.
5. MASH-IN TEMP
Add water below the gelatinization temperature (<60°C/140°F), otherwise dough balls may form which prevents enzymes in accessing the starch.
6. MASH SCHEDULE
Longer rests and higher temperatures (max 72°C/162°F) promote faster conversion than shorter rests and lower temperatures.
Stirring or agitating the grain during mashing also helps the saccharification.
Give the sparging water time to extract all the sugars from the grain bed, minimum sparging time can be as short as 10 min, but you can do a 45 min sparge as well. The temperature should be at least the temperature of your last mash step, ideally at 78°C/172°F. After the liquid has been transferred to the boiling tank when sparging or mashing completed, you have 20 minutes to do manual sparge. In every 5 minutes the dripping wort is being transferred to the boling tank 4 times. Adjust the pH of the sparging water to 6.4.
9. ADDING SUGAR
If you’re not satisfied with the gravity, you can still ramp up the OG with some sugar. Mostly it is considered as cheating, for Belgian ales it is part of the tradition.
10. DRAINING OPTIONS
After the brew there is still 2L of hot wort in the hop tanks which can be added to the fermenter. Don’t add the yeast prior to draining as the heat may kill the cells. When draining, the “Leave sediment” option leaves around 3L of wort in the tank. If you don’t expect to have huge amount of trub in the tank after sedimentation, you can just use the “Drain all” option.