Overnight dough in versus overnight mash

Post #1 made 4 years ago
Hi all.

For various reasons I am investigating the possibility of starting the brew day the night before.

I have read a few threads on overnight mashing but would like to pose a few thoughts/questions in relation to mashing hot versus doughing in cold and then mashing the next day.

The overnight mashing I have read seems to centre around doughing in at mash temp as normal then insulating and leaving the mash overnight. Then next day heating up to mash out and moving on with boil etc as normal.

Q: I am guessing it is not a problem to leave it longer the next day and say start heating to mash out temp late morning or lunch time?

I have a Braumeister so can leave it set for a certain mash temp and that should be maintained all night without incident and obviously it would be simple to increase to mash out temp the next day. I haven't actually checked the timer yet but I am assuming I can set a mash time schedule for 8 hrs or so.

My question is whether there are any advantages or dis advantages to doughing in cold overnight and then heating it up to mash temp the next day so the grain is steeping in colder water overnight? I am uneducated but I can't see why this would be an issue to leave it in cold water (cold steeping) overnight but what about heating it up the next day? It is obviously going to take time to get up to the desired mash temp and in getting there the grain is going to be subjected to lower temps for a period of time as the water heats and passes on. So with the broad brush knowledge that lower temps produce higher fermentable wort and higher temps the opposite, am I running the risk of having too much highly fermentable wort and therefore potentially a drier finish if for example I am trying to brew a darker ale that needs more residule sweetness?

I hope those questions are clearer than mud.

As I said I have read a bit about overnight mashing but that all seems to be based on starting your normal mash and insulating it to loose as little as possible overnight rather than starting with cold water and heating it up the next day.


Post #2 made 4 years ago

I haven't done it myself. I don't remember anyone saying it didn't work? The only thing off hand is. Would Tannin extraction be a problem with a long mash? It starts just above 170F (76.6C) Maybe the longer mash would extract tannins? I don't know?
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Post #3 made 4 years ago
I think the reason people do an overnight mash is to save time/shorten the brew day. I am wondering if this is your goal because the act of dumping the grain in the water takes at most a few minutes. If you are still mashing the next day I guess I just don't understand why you would want to dough in the night before, since it would really only save a very small amount of time. :think:

As far as making your beer dryer, I don't believe this should happen since mashing is about activating certain enzymes at certain temps, and I think (not positive here) that the lowest temp this conversion will start is around 30c and up from there, and the main conversion that has the biggest effect on sweetness-dryness happens between 61-71c. So unless your water is around 30c or hotter I don't think there will be much, if any conversion going on...

As far as wether there would be a problem trying it anyway or other advantages/disadvantages to overnight dough in, hopefully a more experienced brewer than me will jump in with answers for you. Happy brewing! ;)
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Post #4 made 4 years ago
I remember this question coming up a while back and like goulaigan, my first question was, "What is the time advantage?" as I imagined that overnight, the mash would lose most of it's heat and so any time saved would be lost in re-heating. The answer I received was that the heat held very well overnight (can't remember what climate the brewer was in but I'm guessing not Antarctica).

There are other issues but I think these can probably be ignored for a lot of levels of brewing. In other words, the time that the mash is held at different temperatures apparently does bring out different qualities.

As Bob implied above, it's probably something you can do with no problem if it serves you. (I don't think tannins will be a problem as I suspect they won't 'melt' at those temps. Definitley somethig to consider though.) At the end of the day, on all this stuff, the big question is, "Do you enjoy the end result?" I think given the same recipe, most brewers would say, "Yes," or "No," regardless of whether they overnight mashed or not so, go for it!

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Post #5 made 4 years ago
One question I would have wound be is - would the wort begin to sour in that time? The raw grain would not necessarily be very "sterile" and pasteurization wouldn't be reached until later. I guess the longer the period the more this might apply.

You might get a pleasant twang? Maybe give it a test on a small batch, or steep some grain for the period you have in mind and see if it has any unexpected smell or taste.
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Post #6 made 4 years ago
Thks everyone for your input.

As you guessed time saving is not really the most important aspect for asking this question. Currently I am recovering from an operation and I am on light duties so I cant dough in and stir the pot myself. Given the availability of my brewing buddies we can set up on a fri night, dough in and mash. However my buddies aren't available until sometime in the early arvo.

Therefore mashing the night before is easy done and I can get help with that, as we are using a Braumeister there is no issue with maintaining mash temp until we are ready to boil the next day, however as my mates aren't available until the arvo I really cant start the boil until later in the morning which means it will sit at mash temps for at least 12 hrs or more. Hmm maybe I can get my wife to help lift the malt pipe, its on a pulley so not really very heavy.

This doesn't sound like a problem except the use of power to keep it warm. I know I can lag the pot to keep it warm which would save some energy.

I am not overly concerned about the energy costs but I thought if we could dough in and steep cold overnight this helps with the physical part I cant do and saves money then I can mash mid morning in time to finish of the mash when the cavalry arrive.

Not sure if that makes sense but I think I will opt to mash overnight and keep it warm then get organised for when the mates arrive. I dont like taking the chance on anything being sour and from what I have read there doesn't seem any side affects of mashing overnight and holding it at that mash temp.

I am not sure if my other question was understood, that is, if say you wanted a mash temp of 67C, if you were to dough in into cold water (say 20c) and then heat to mash temps, the water will be in the low 60'sC for a time before it reaches your desired mash temp. Therefore would the time at low 60'sC affect the fermentability of the wort? I guess that depends on how quickly the water warms (degrees per minute) Maybe it would move through that quickly that it would not make much of a difference.

Not a biggy just a thought.

cheers again for your input.

Overnight dough in versus overnight mash

Post #7 made 4 years ago
In my experience overnight mashes gave me thinner beer and lower FG. I stopped because if this, however it may have been due to temp loss causing prolonged periods at lower mash temps, which won't affect you with a braumeister. I now mash out and pull grain before bed then boil on day2 and have brewed excellent beer this way. Also, none of my overnight mashes caused any sourness and sometimes temp dropped to around 50C.
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