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Mashing is a working process in beer brewing , winemaking and the production of whiskey , grain, potato and fruit schnapps and fruit wines . The raw material to be processed is mixed with suitable yeasts, usually pure yeasts .

Mash in whiskey production after three days
Mash tun ( Mash-do the Glenfiddich Distillery)


A general distinction must be made between a) a mash in which starch is converted into sugar (starting product: grain / malts or potatoes ) and b) the fruit mash in which sugar is fermented into alcohol .

In case a), various starchy natural products such as grain or potatoes are used as raw materials. First, the long-chain starch has to be broken down into yeast-usable, short-chain fragments, that is, saccharified. Since, in contrast to fruits like bird cherries , sour cherries , pears or apricots, there is usually no fruit juice at the same time, water must be added depending on the nature of the raw material. The mixture of liquid and starch or sugar-containing substance is called mash . In detail, mashing is divided into different phases in order to control the mashing process. Time and temperature are varied here. Mashing takes place in special mash tuns, in which attention is paid to corrosion-free material, effective stirring (fast / homogeneous), effective cooling (continuous / coolant requirement ), hygienically perfect execution and perfect steam / vapor extraction .

In case b), crushed fruits are also referred to as mash, from which the alcohol is then made directly through fermentation.

Potato mash

Before mashing, potatoes are first steamed with water; microbial enzymes (saccharification substances) or plant-based enzymes from malt are used to break down the starch . The classic fermentation time of the mash is 3 days (initial fermentation ≈ 20 hours, main fermentation ≈ 18 hours, secondary fermentation ≈ 30 hours) at temperatures between 20 and 36 ° C.

In colder regions, potatoes for house fire were simply exposed to frost, through which the starch is converted into fermentable sugar, and the addition of enzymes could thus be dispensed with.

Grain mash

Grain during mashing

In the production of beer and whiskey, malted or unmalted grain is ground and mixed with water .

More information can be found in the articles on brewing beer and under whiskey .

Grape mash

During winemaking , the berries are freed from the stem frame with a destemmer ( Rebel machine or Entrapper ) and crushed with nip rollers. This mixture of must , berry peels and grape seeds is known as the mash.

For white wines, the targeted use of the maceration time is of particular importance in the endeavor to produce wines typical of the grape variety. During the maceration period, certain substances are released that influence the sensory properties of the later wine. The standing time of the white grape mash is relatively short and lasts up to a maximum of 24 hours. Special attention has been paid to the mash for dry white wines since the 1980s. Pod mashing was developed for this type of wine .

If, as is the case with red wine making, a must fermentation is desired, this mixture is left to stand. It begins to ferment, releasing phenols and tannins from the skins. Simple wines are made by standing on the skins for two to three days during fermentation . In addition, some wines are left on the mash for a long time.

Mash fermentation plays a key role in winemaking using the Quevri method in the Kakheti style. The grapes are placed in Quevris along with the skins, seeds and stems and left together for a long time. In this way, additional tannins and polyphenols are released into the wine, making it very long and full-bodied. According to the state of archaeological finds, the expansion in the Kakheti style is probably the oldest form of expansion in the world.

Fruit mash

For the production of fruit brandies and wines , the fruit is roughly ground, the mash consists of fine pieces of fruit and the must that flows out. This mixture is fermented and then burned.

The sugar is located in the cells of the fruit, which are held together by a cement substance, the pectin . In order to accelerate the fermentation process, the pectin can be broken down by adding enzymes (so-called anti - gelling agents ). Pome fruit in particular contains a lot of pectin, so that these mashes are often very thick. During fermentation, the pectin is slowly broken down so that the mash becomes thinner. This results in better pumpability, faster and more complete fermentation, reduced blanket formation, better heat transfer and easier stirring in of various mash treatment substances.

In order to avoid incorrect fermentation and loss of flavor, the mash can be treated differently:

  • In addition to the desired wild yeasts, there are also some undesired yeasts in the distilling mash . So that these do not prevail during fermentation, which is called spontaneous fermentation, pure yeasts are added to the mash in the form of dry yeast, liquid yeast and pressed yeast. In order for the yeast cells to multiply, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds as well as vitamins (especially vitamin B1) are needed. These can be added to the mash together with fermentation salts or yeast nutrients.
  • In addition to the yeast, there are numerous other microorganisms in the fruit and thus in the mash that can spoil the mash. Although these are inhibited in their growth by the alcohol produced during fermentation, none of them is present in the mash at the beginning of fermentation. In order to ensure the inhibition of undesired bacteria and to set the optimal pH value for added enzymes , acid is added. The addition of acid is therefore particularly recommended for low-acid fruits, such as the Golden Delicious apple variety . Adjustment to pH 2.8-3 would be ideal acid protection. The problem, however, is that when acid is added, the enzyme effect is greatly inhibited at a pH value below 3. If the fruit is clean and healthy and the mash is distilled immediately after fermentation has ended, a pH of 3.2 to 3.5 in the mash is sufficient. At this pH value there is still sufficient enzyme action. If longer mash storage is necessary, acid can be added at the end of fermentation so that a pH value of around 2.8 is reached.
  • In order to avoid acetic acid fermentation and to preserve the fruit flavors, anaerobic conditions must be present (i.e. oxygen excluded). Therefore, the mash is transferred to fermentation tanks closed with a fermentation lock.

Depending on the type of fruit, fermentation of the mash takes 2 to 3 weeks. The subsequent distillation extracts the ethanol produced during fermentation and the flavor and aroma carriers.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heinrich Kreipe: Grain and potato distillery . 3rd revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-8001-5810-8 ( Handbook of Beverage Technology ).
  2. Sigismund Friedrich Hermbstaedt: Chemical principles of the art of distilling spirits: together with a compilation of the most important distillers at home and abroad; taking into account the latest discoveries and improvements in this field according to the current requirements of science , Amelung, 1841, p. 427
  3. Gerhard Troost : Technology of Wine . 5th revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-8001-5800-0 ( Handbook of Beverage Technology ).
  4. Hans Joachim Pieper, Erich-Ernst Bruchmann, Erich Kolb: Technology of the fruit distillery. Biotechnology, practice, operational control . Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-8001-5808-6 ( Handbook of Beverage Technology ).

Web links

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