Miscellaneous Parts

 

Mash paddle

When the strike water and milled grain is first mixed in the Mash/Lauter Tun (called 'mashing in' or 'doughing in'), the two need to be mixed thoroughly to ensure that there are no dough balls (dry pockets of grain).

We use a mash paddle to do this.

Dough balls form when the starch around grain gelatinizes and provides a barrier from the water. If they are not broken up early, they can later release unconverted starches into the mash.

Dough balls happen most often when mashing in at or above the gelatinization temperature of barley starch (140F and above) which is the temperature that most home brewers (including ourselves) use most of the time when mashing in. 

Most of the malted grain sold today is already highly modified and does not require the brewer to mash at multiple temperatures (starting low and working up). Our Electric Brewery does of course allow for multiple temperatures during mashing if the brewer chooses to use multiple temperatures.

While the grains should always be added to the strike water rather than the strike water to the grains (to minimize the formation of dough balls), we still need to stir well to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly. We are also mixing well to ensure that our mash brewing salts are properly mixed before taking a pH reading.

We choose to use an all stainless steel mash paddle instead of the many wood ones that exist today, as stainless steel is easier to clean and is more resilient. Some of the wooden mash paddles can supposedly affect head retention in beer because of the oils used.

The 36" length is perfect for getting a good grip on the handle to mash in with just about any homebrewing sized kettle from 10-55 gallons, including the 20 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker kettle we use as our Mash/Lauter Tun.

The holes in the mash paddle help make mixing easier as grain passes both through and around the paddle as you stir. Some brewers believe there's a whole science behind the placement and size of the holes that can affect the outcome of the beer. That seems a bit far fetched to us, and we take our brewing seriously!

'Mashing in' (mixing the grains with the strike water):