By mashing we mean to combine water and grain then heat to between 145º and 158º. By holding the mash at these temperatures, we convert the grain's starch to sugar. Then by rinsing the mash, we extract the sugars, flavors, color, and body. Not all malts are convertible. The specialty malts (crystal, chocolate, black, and roasted) have previously been converted and kilned to give flavor. The base malts (2-row, 6-row, pale, Munich, wheat) need to be mashed for their sugars.
Here's how to do it:
1. Mashing. The rule of thumb for mashing is, 1 quart of water for every pound of grain. Using this combination it's easy to hit your mash conversion temperature. Let's assume you are using 3 lbs of grain, so you will need 3 quarts of water. Using a 1.5 gallon kettle, heat the water to 170º. When you add the grain and you'll see the temperature drop to approx. 150º. Now you need to hold that temperature for one hour. The easiest method I found is to set the oven at 150º, cover the kettle, and put it in for the hour. In brewing terms, you've created a mash tun.
2. Lauter Tun. While the grain is converting we need to prepare our lauter tun, which is a device to rinse the grain. We will use our 6 gal. bottling bucket with a spaghetti colander suspended on top. The grain will go into the colander and the bucket will collect the run off from the rinse. The plan is to rinse the grain of its sugars and leave the grain particles behind. If your colander has holes larger than the grain pieces, line it with a grain bag, cheese cloth, or similar material.
3. Sparge Water. Another rule of thumb for mashing is to use 2 quarts of water for every 1 lb of grain for sparging (rinsing). For this recipe we will use 6 quarts (1.5 gallons) heated to 170º. You can use your regular boiling kettle for this.
4. Lautering. Now that the grain has sat for an hour and the sparge water has been heated to 170º, we are ready to separate the sugars and grain. Transfer the grains into the colander and begin to slowly rinse the grain using the hot sparge water. Evenly distribute the water across the grain to extract the most sugar.
Congratulations, you've taken the next step in brewing. Transfer the collected runoff into your brew kettle, add the additional malt extract, and bring to a boil. Add your hops and, well, you know the rest.
Example: Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout