h20 -> grain ratio question

what’s the rule for a the water to grain ratio? Is a thicker mash mean a fuller bodied beer? or the other way around?

The ratio really makes very little difference in the finished beer. It certainly has nothing to do with the body of a beer. In general, any ratio from about .75-2 qt./lb. produces about the same result in the finished beer.

The only help is thinner mashes (higher water/grain ratio) are easier to stir, and you are more likely to get all the dough balls.

However, if you get used to your methods, most any reasonable ratio will work. It is most likely dependent on the size of your mash tun.

Edited: Stir was store.

I guess the one thing I did find was that thinner mashes seemed to increase my efficiency very slightly.

A thicker mash can sometimes be beneficial to enzyme activity but I don’t think at the hobbyist level we could truly see much of a difference. For us I think it is much more important to hit the temperature points during the mash than being overly critical on the ratios as long as you’re in the ballpark.

cool. I’ve gotten in to some brew in a bag stuff, our efficiency is down, but I didn’t know if i added more grain to thicken the “mash” if it might affect the body of the beer. I guess not.

I’m doing a lot of no-sparge brewing where I add all my water to the mash. Takes a little longer to convert but it works fine and I get similar efficiency to a batch sparge. You just have to have a big enough MLT, and a way to heat all the water. And you can get around the latter by doing a step mash version so you can add the water in two or more increments.

My own water/grain ratio selections are driven by MLT volume, not any potential difference in outcome.

I’d think the best way of doing that would be to mash with a proper ratio, and add the extra water at the end. Still a single runoff if you have a reason for doing it. I can imagine if we examine the science of the mash ratio we’ll find that such a dilute mash has disadvantages for the quality of the resulting beer, and also including simply taking extra time for the mash for no reason.

To me (maybe only me) it is cutting a corner just to get through the process without regard for the quality of the end result.

Actually there are those that claim no-sparge is the superior method. I think the theory is that the water is fully buffered when in the primary mash and you aren’t risking over-rinsing with a sparge. I add it all at once because I can, and because I think having more solvent extracts somewhat more solute (in this case flavor). Doing a conventional mash and then adding more water late, I don’t see as quite as effective at flavor extraction. But it could be. The other aspect is that if you have the room for all the water, if you don’t add it up front your cooler MLT will be less full and I’ve had more issues with temp drops when the MLT is not as full. The extra mash time is probably about equivalent to the amount of time it would take to do a batch sparge.

Having done multiple batches both ways (no-sparge and batch sparge), my observation is that the two make equivalent beer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this method is superior, just functionally equivalent. For some reason I tend to prefer no-sparge. In fact I just scored a 100qt cooler (on sale woohoo) for no-sparging my 15gal batches.