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All Grain Whiskey
The final product that comes out of the Clawhammer Supply Moonshine Still is only going to taste as good as the ingredients that went into the mash. An all grain mash will have a better flavor and it will be a lot smoother than sugar shine. Making an all grain mash using the mash in a bag process is not difficult and does not require expensive equipment.
Mashing is simply a process that combines crushed malts with hot water in a mash tun in order to convert complex sugars into simple sugars that are more easily fermented. There are quite a few ways to mash grains including fly sparging, batch sparging, step mashing, and the mash in a bag method. This article will focus on the mash in a bag process as it is the easiest and requires the least amount of equipment.
The mash in a bag method is the easiest way to mash grains for an all grain mash. In this method, the malted and unmalted grains are added to a mash strainer bag - the mash strainer bag acts as a filter which makes it very easy to remove the grains from the wort at the end of the mash. After the mash is complete, the mash bag is simply lifted out of the mash tun, allowing the wort (the liquid after mashing) to drain back into the kettle.
Checkout our equipment guide for equipment recommendations
- 10 Gallon Mash Kettle (or larger)
- Mesh Bag For Mashing
- 6.5 Gallon Fermenter
- Air Lock
- Mash Paddle Or Spoon
- Immersion Chiller ( used to cool the mash )
- Brewing Thermometer
Mash In A Bag Brew Day Process
- First, sanitize everything that is going to come in contact with the mash. Cleaning and sanitizing all equipment is the best defense against getting an infection that will contaminate the mash. Use a cleaner such as PBW and a sanitizer such as star-san, and you will decrease your likelihood of a contaminated batch of wash.
- Add enough star-san solution to the 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket, then add all of the equipment that will come in contact with the mash, including airlocks, mash paddle or spoon, scissors for opening yeast, the paint strainer bag, thermometer, and auto-siphon. Once the mash needs to be transferred to the fermentation bucket, dump the star-san solution to another bucket and use it for any future sanitizing.
- When doing the mash-in-a-bag process, add all of the mash water at the beginning of the mash.
- The first step in cooking a mash is to get the mash water up to strike temperature. Strike water temperature is usually 10 to 15·°F higher than the target mash temperature. The strike temperature is higher than the target mash temperature to compensate for the heat loss of the grains and the mash tun.
- Heat the mash water with either an electric hot plate or a turkey fryer with propane. If using an electric hotplate, use an electric controller to easily regulate the mash temperature.
- Once the strike water is at temperature, add the mash bag to the mash-tun and then dump the grains into the pot.
- Once the grains have been added, mix the grains with the mash paddle so there are no clumps or "dough balls".
- After all of the grains are mixed with the water, check the brewing thermometer and make sure the mash temperature is correct.
- If the temperature is low, add add heat or boiling water and stir. If the temperature is too hot, add ice and stir.
- Leave the grains in the mash-tun for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the recipe.
- Once done mashing, carefully pull out the mash bag and let the liquid drip back into the pot. A colander placed across the pot works great and saves your arms.
- Once the liquid has been extracted from the mash bag, insert the immersion chiller and chill the mash to yeast pitching temperature -- normally 70 degrees, but refer to your yeast packet. If you don't have an immersion chiller you can cool the mash with an ice bath.
- Once the mash has been chilled to yeast pitching temperature, transfer the mash with an auto-siphon to your fermentation vessel.
Simple Mash In A Bag Single Malt Whiskey Recipe (5 Gallon Recipe)
- 7.5 gallons of water
- 13 Pounds Of Crushed US 2 Row (Pale Malt)
- Dry Yeast ( Bread Yeast, Safale US-05 Ale Yeast, or any yeast you prefer)
- Heat the water in the mash tun to 158F (this is called the strike water)
- Once the strike water is at 158F add the mash bag and the crushed grains
- Stir the grains with the mash paddle so there are no clumps or "dough balls"
- Check the brewing thermometer and make sure the mash temperature is around 150
- If the temperature is low, add heat or boiling water and stir. If the temperature is too hot, add ice and stir
- Once the mash temperature is close to 150 add the lid and let mash for an hour. Add heat as needed while stirring to keep the temperature around 150
- After 60 minutes carefully pull out the mash bag and let the liquid drip back into the pot
- Once the wort is done dripping from the mash bag, insert the immersion chiller and chill the mash to yeast pitching temperature -- normally 70 degrees, but refer to your yeast packet. If you don't have an immersion chiller you can cool the mash with an ice bath
- Take a hydrometer reading and write down the starting gravity
- Once the mash has been chilled to yeast pitching temperature, transfer the mash with an auto-siphon to the fermentation vessel
- Add the yeast to fermenter and then add the airlock