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Thread: Dough Balls While Mashing-In

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Dough Balls While Mashing-In

    I saw this question from Scott Isham on another forum and wondered if you have a theory. :

    I use either Durst or Crisp as my base malt and have noticed a strange phenomenon while using Crisp(primarily Marris Otter). I end up with about 30 to 50 golf ball sized dough balls. This only happens while using Crisp malts. The grist is hydrated using an inverted cone as it enters the mash tun and I don't have paddles so I have to mix by hand. The mash to water is fairly thin since I have to mix by hand. The grind size is the same for all my grists and I mix the water at the same rate. Basically everything is the same except for a lot of dough balls. I hesitate to call it a problem because my efficiency is still about 90%, it just takes about an extra 10 minutes to break up the balls after mashing in. Is there a reason for this? I cannot slow down the speed of the mash entering the mash tun and cannot speed up the amount of water. Any suggestions?

    Scott Isham
    Harper's Brewpub
    East Lansing, MI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I have used Crisp Maris Otter for about 8 years and it always performs this way. If you have a question about why, I would give William Crisp a call and he would be glad to explain why this phenomenon occurs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Duluth, MN
    As I e-mailed Scott-
    Perhaps Crisp has a higher friability and produces more dust even though the mill setting is the same? Use a set of screens to find out then adjust the mill if needed.
    Brewmaster, Fitger's Brewhouse
    "Your results may vary"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!
    I mash in my entire grist by hand - we're doing 800 litre batches.

    Two things in my experience:
    Low moisture contents in malts cause them to ball up quicker. I wouldn't be surprised if your Marris Otter is about 3.5% and your other Durst is 4 - 4.5%. This will cause them to break up more completely on milling and ball up quicker during mash in.

    Secondly, higher temperature strike water favours starch balling. I dough in at 75 C. to hit 68 C. for many of my Ales, and find that starch balls occur quickly in these beers. If I do beers where I mash in at 60 C. and later raise to 68 C. I find less starch balls, and those that are there get broken up during my underletting.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Dough Balls

    I agree with a few of the previous posters. Higher levels of flour are likely due to high friability and low moisture. If the malt is plumper than the other base malts you use this problem will be exacerbated as you will get more flour development with the relatively smaller mill gap as compared to the kernal size. I would suggest opening your mill progressively until you just start seeing whole berries in the spent grain. Move one step back from this setting which should theoretically be the coarsest grind you can manage without losing significant extract. If you are still seeing a lot of flour I would suggest a call to the technical people at the plant to see if you can explore the issue further.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Better yet, get a set of inexpensive sieves and do an EBC or an ASBC sieve analysis on your grist. The expense and time would be more than offset by the increase in yield and lautering efficiency.

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