E - like mashing in

Mashing in

What is meant by mashing in?

The term mashing-in summarizes the mixing of ground barley malt with hot water and the subsequent conveyance into the mash tun, the Mash Tun. At St. Kilian Distillers, this water is taken from the hot liquor tank. When the required amount of barley malt grist is mixed with hot water, this mixture is called a mash. As soon as this mash is conveyed into the mash tun, this process is called mashing-in. The actual whiskey production begins with the mashing process here in Rüdenau.

How is a mash created?

The quantity of barley malt weighed and processed into grist - approx. 2.2 tons for us - is conveyed from the grist bin via special conveyor systems, such as the trough chain conveyor and an elevator, to our mash tun. In this process, the milled malt first falls into the so-called mashing machine, which is a vertically positioned pipe in which a spindle with attached paddles rotates. With the help of this spindle, the incoming hot water is mixed with the grist falling in at the top, forming a flowable barley malt slurry - the mash - which is conveyed into the Mash Tun via the pipe.

What should be considered when mashing in?

It is important to note that the process takes place at a certain speed. For mashing should not take more than 30 minutes. This means that the conveying of grist and the addition of hot water must be precisely coordinated so that this period of half an hour can be observed. In addition, mixing must take place completely. This is also crucial to avoid lumping so that the mixture of ground barley malt and hot water is as homogeneous as possible.

Why is the temperature so important?

In addition to the optimum time and homogeneous mixing, the temperature plays an enormously important role in mashing. This is because the malt contains naturally occurring enzymes that now want to act during this production step. These enzymes break down the starch contained in the barley malt into fermentable sugars and the proteins into amino acids. The optimum temperature for these enzymes is around 63.5°C. For mashing-in, this means that the temperature of the incoming water from the Hot Liquor Tank must be set slightly higher so that the mixture with the milled malt, which enters the mashtun via the pipe, has a final temperature of 63.5°C. The enzymes are now able to ferment their biochemical activity. Now the enzymes can do their biochemical work.

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