Mashing with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #14

by Brad Smith on April 20, 2011 · 9 comments

This week I interview Dr Charles Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch endowed Professor of Brewing Science a the University of California at Davis. We talk about the entire all grain mashing process for beer brewing from start to finish. Charlie explains how mashing actually works, how changes in the process affect the finished beer, and the role that multiple step mashing, decoction mashing and lautering play in brewing beer.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (42:41)

  • This week’s guest is Dr Charlie Bamforth, Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis.
  • Dr Bamforth starts by explaining his endowed chair at UC, Davis
  • We overview the mashing process itself – starting with a simple single infusion mash
  • Dr Bamforth explains how the mashing process breaks malt sugars down into simple sugars that can be fermented. He also talks about the role that alpha amylase, beta amylase and limit dextrinase play in mashing all grain brewing.
  • We talk about how malting temperature affects the body of the beer and also fermentability of the beer.
  • The role that malt modification plays in brewing beer – and how the highly modified modern malts have changed things from many early brewing methods.
  • Charlie explains why a single step infusion mash is perfect for just about any barley based beer, and additional steps are not really needed.
  • We talk about decoction mashing as a method – and why its probably not needed with modern ingredients
  • Charlie explains some of the reasons to do a mash out – though he agrees it not always needed in all cases
  • The iodine test and how it can be used to determine that a mash is complete
  • We talk about mash hopping – though we both agree that it is unlikely that mash hopping provides any real benefit other than slightly lowering the pH
  • Charlie shares a few sparging tips as well as a quick tip for homebrewers on hygiene

Thanks again to Dr Charles Bamforth of UC Davis who was kind enough to appear on the show!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd April 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

I think then that mashing is bulk of all grain home brew would some one compare/challenge the RIMS and HERMS to just sitting in a mash tun? sounds like air being splashed about because of returning liquid to the mash tun may open up a chance to alter the wort. I have started to collect stuff to build a RIMS and now wonder that I’ve wasted time ?
Thank you Todd

Brad Smith April 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I’m not a RIMS expert, but I am sure someone here can chime in on the merits of RIMS/HERMS.


Phillip October 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm

This is a very old post, so I understand no answer, but I would have liked to hear more talk on the benefits of step mashing in between the beta and alpha amylase enzymes. For instance, I always just use a single infusion mash, but recently wanted to make a traditional belgian table beer and through reading many belgian websites found they often would focus on each rest to obtain a low alcohol beer that has high attenuation with still a decent mouthfeel. I made this beer with a rest at 145 and 153, as those are around the optimum temperatures for both enzymes respectively (according to IBD articles), and it is definitely a very well attenuated and refreshing beer. My question is was this an effort in futility? Would I have achieved the exact same product with a mash at 149?

Norm December 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Is Dr. Bamforth no longer Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis?

Miguel October 22, 2015 at 6:06 am

By Bobby Thomas July 14, 2011 – 1:53 amThanks for the interest in our bwerery! Right now we’re looking at late August or the first of September for our official bwerery tours and tasting opening. Like us on Facebook or keep checking back to our website for an official announcement. Hope to see you soon.

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