The Methods of Mashing
In chapters 14 and 15 you learned about the chemistry going on in the mash tun. In this chapter we will discuss how the mash can be manipulated to create a desired character in the wort and the finished beer. There are two basic schemes for mashing: Single Temperature - a compromise temperature for all the mash enzymes, and Multi-Rest- where two or more temperatures are used to favor different enzyme groups. You can heat the mash in two ways also, by the addition of hot water (Infusion) or by heating the mash tun directly. There is also a combination method, called Decoction Mashing, where part of the mash is heated on the stove and added back to the main mash to raise the temperature. All of these mashing schemes are designed to achieve saccharification (starch conversion to fermentable sugars). But the route taken to that goal can have a considerable influence on the overall wort character. Certain beer styles need a particular mash scheme to arrive at the right wort for the style.