In cooking I’m not a very calculating man. I usually just set the oven from anywhere between 350°F – 400°F and wait till I sense it’s doneness. I am one with the food (and if it’s burnt all just suck it up and eat it, cause I’m a man, a hungry one). With all grain brewing however I’ve learned much that you must monitor your temperature closely or you could be loosing delicious flavors or chances at getting that ABV you’re looking for.
What I thought most interesting was how precise the temperature needs to be for these damned enzymes. If you want to get at dem Alpha amylase and increase your chances at making more sugar it’s best to hit the Saccharification rest at anywhere of 154-162°F. But you know you gonna want dem Beta amylase eatin’ up all at the tiny straight chain bonds found in the starches so you gonna need to hit a temp of 131-150°F.
Typically however you shoot for a Saccharification rest at 153°F. This allows for you to get a fairly high conversion of starches to sugars but still preserves some of that sticky sweetness you want in the final product. So get yourself like 3 thermometers because I’ve had one break on me in the midst of brewing and had to do some weird wild things to it so I could get an approximate temp. Nothings worse than not know temperature when it’s so important.
More Reading: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-5.html
Photo: Mattie Hagedorn