Optimal Mash Temperature

Hey guys, just getting into all grain brewing and I was wondering what is the optimal temperature to maintain the mash at? I have read a lot of people try to keep it at 154. I generally use 2-row pale with mixed other grains. This would be my second AG batch. The first one turned out pretty good. Not as high of efficiency as I would have liked to have but then that’s life. :cheers:

There really is no ideal temperature, it depends on what you want in the beer and the style. For a pilsner you would want to mash at the lower end, say 147° to make the wort more fermentable and help dry the beer out. On the other hand you may want to mash at the higher end, like 158° for a porter or stout to make a less fermentable wort giving the beer more body and mouth feel.

Scientifically some say 153 F is optimal – I forget why exactly. But personally I almost always shoot for a lower temperature of 150 F as this produces a slightly drier beer which is my personal preference.

It varies based on what your goal is. Simply stated: Mash lower for lighter body/drier beer or higher for more body/residual sweetness.

Since you’re just starting out, I’d suggest aiming for somewhere in the neighborhood of 150-154. That range should work well for most beers. How to Brew
is a great place to learn about how mash conditions (mainly temp and pH) affect beer.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]Since you’re just starting out, I’d suggest aiming for somewhere in the neighborhood of 150-154.[/quote]That’s a good point. Until you get solid procedures and consistent at hitting your mash temperatures I’d shoot for the mid to lower 150s.

According to tests done by Greg Doss at Wyeast, 153 produced the most fermentable wort.

I agree - starting out, 150-154 is going to make good beer. Keep it in the ballpark and you are going to be just fine. Once you get the hang of your system, dialing in temps might make some subtle differences. But, to be honest, I am a 152-154 range guy with about 100% of the beers I brew.

Ok, so I brewed my second batch tonight, it was a Pale ale. Used 8#'s of Breiss 2 row and 2#'s of Crystal 20. I tried my false bottom that i made from a cut off keg top. Yes, I drilled about a 1000 holes in it. It took two weeks. I was so pissed when I tried to sparge and NOTHING came out. Grrrrr. So I scooped into my cooler MT with my home-made copper bottom and continued the sparge, fly sparge with my home-made sparge arm. I will post pictures at some time. LOL. Finally got the wort in the keggle and started the process. I think I lost a few degree’s during mash because of the FG was only about 1.053. I was shooting for 1.060; where life starts, LOL. At the end of the night, I calculated my effeciency was 75%, not bad for the second batch. I will be getting a REAL false bottom, or I just may keep using my cooler MT, it works great and holds temp like a champ. Not sure what my mash temp was because when I installed my thermometer, it was a bit high, OOPS. I guess it will work great for 10 gallon batches. I hope to have this batch in the keg in about ten to twelve days. :cheers:

Using that much crystal, you’re going to end up with lower attenuation and therefore high residual sweetness. This is a case where you would have wanted to mash at a lower temp–even below 150. Good luck.