To Mini mash is not difficult. Essentially you are heating water to a set temperature, adding grains and maintaining that water temperature for up to 1 hour. Grains have enzymes on their husk which activate at temperatures between 60°C – 72°C. These enzymes love eating up starch. Grain is 80% starch and these enzymes turn starch into sugars (malt). This Mini Mash method is called a Thin Mash as opposed to a Thick Mash which requires the grains to be sparged (washed). Most of the sugar dissolves into our hot water and do not require sparging. With our Mini Mash we are not using the grains to provide the bulk of the malt but rather to add flavour, body, sweetness and particular characteristics applicable to selected grain; your Kit and brewing sugar do the rest.
MINI MASH TOOLS OF THE TRADE
A small esky (we will be using a small 6 bottle foam esky), a thermometer, a jug or similar to measure the water with, a grain bag, masking tape, a pot big enough to boil in (a 10 litre boiler is usually big enough) and a colander to help strain most of the liquid from the grains.
MASHING THE GRAINS
Place grain bag into the esky & drape over the edges. Empty the grain into the bag and knot the bag so the grain still moves freely. Add 4 litres of water to your boiling pot and bring the water to 72°C. TIP: You need to achieve a temperature of approx. 65°C. 5-7°C is a normal temperature drop when you mix the water with the grain. About 1 litre of water will be lost to the grain by absorption. Once your water in the boiler reaches 72°C pour the water into your esky, leave open for a few moments and check the temperature. Stabilize between 64°C & 67°C. You may need to raise or lower the temperature slightly with Hot (boil the kettle) or cold water from the tap, as long as your temperature falls between 62°C & 68°C you are fine. Close esky and tape lid good and tight. Leave mash for 1 hour. You may want to use this hour to clean and sterilise your fermenter, weigh up your hop pellets for the boil and any other preparation that may be required.
OK the hour is up what now? Open the esky and lift the grain bag out and into your colander that you have placed over your boiler, careful it’s hot. Tip remaining fluid from esky into boiler. All this fluid is basically malt and malt by itself is sweet so we are going to add some hops. Add 1 litre of water and your brewing sugar to your boiler, aim to have 3 – 4 litres total volume, get the boiler on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Once it is rolling set a timer (most mobile phones have one these days) for ½ an hour. Depending on your recipe, the hops added can vary significantly but as a guide the more malt you use the more hops you use.
AFTER THE BOIL
Now the ½ hour is up, you have almost finished. Remove the boiler from the heat and immerse in cold tap water, the laundry tub is usually a good place to do this due to its size. After 10 – 15 minutes remove from the tub and make the brew in your normal way i.e. add warm wort and kit together together in your sterile fermenter, add cold water to achieve the volume that your recipe requires e.g 23 litres. Check temperature, you should have around 24°C – 25°C Take a specific gravity reading and pitch your yeast.