BYO-BBR #7, used my idea for an experiment

Updated:  Added a helpful hints section


Hey homebrewers time for a Science-Off!  Please forward to your friends!

The latest BYO-BBR experiment took my idea for an experiment:  Determining when Starch conversion really happens during the mash.

This is based off of a statement Chris Colby made about Conversion really happening in 10-15 minutes.  The experiment is simple:

When mashing (Partial or All Grain), do an iodine starch test every 5 minutes (from the top).

Record the results.

Enter results on the web form below (This includes the grain bill, temp, etc.)

Now I came up with a clever way to record this.  Get a (or two) pill-a-day boxes with a white background like you can get them at Bartells etc. for about a dollar.  I got 2, since 7 days only goes to 35 minutes.100_5613

Take a photo when you are done, and you can send that into Basic Brewing.  That way people can compare photograph results as well as times.

helpful Hints

  • Setup everything you normally setup during Mashing beforehand.  Testing/Photographing every 5 minutes takes up a fair amount of time when you thought you had an hour block
  • Have a 5 minute timer or mash in on a 5 minute mark.  It makes it easier to know when you have to pull the sample.
  • Close the other compartments so you do not drip in the wrong compartment
  • Do not shake, they are not water proof and they leak under the lid
  • Put the containers on a plate, see next hint.
  • Do not spill the iodine.  if you do make sure you have a plate
  • Take a before and after picture of the tests so you can be sure there was a color change

An Example:



If you notice, something is very wrong about my results.  It looks like starch appeared later in the mash.  Well I think that is because I was doing a pumpkin ale, and I believe the pumpkin was releasing starch as the mash was going on.  So lesson learned, puree the pumpkin!



One factor they are looking at is, does stirring makes a difference, so if you brew twice this month, try stirring the mash one time, and not the other.  Other Factors:

1) Stir vs. Non Stirring

2) Mash thickness

3) SG at time of reading

4) Total SG

5) Types of grains

6) Top reading vs. deep reading (not really looking at this)

7) Does the beer taste different if you stop at l

Even if you are not doing AG or PG, you can do the experiment by getting a small amount of grain and just mashing by soaking the ground grain in a measured amount of heated water. (Say 1lb in 1 quart of water).  They describe how to do an iodine test in the podcast, and below.

The Deadline for submitting data is End of February.

I was unaware they were going to use my idea because I was working on doing a quick talk on the idea.  Therefore the more people submit data the better!  So please submit data!


Page to enter data:

Link to BBR podcast and BYO Blog:

The experiment is described from minutes from 8 min to 20 min.

February 3, 2011 – BYO-BBR Conversion Experiment Intro

Chris Colby, editor of Brew Your Own magazine, and James invite you to take part in Collaborative Experiment Seven. Also, Steve Wilkes joins James to talk cider, lagering, and other homebrew business.

iTunes | Streaming mp3

February 10, 2011 – Mash Time Experiment

Home brewer Charles Hoffman and James conduct an experiment comparing the effects of different mash times on a single recipe. Chris Colby and Kai Troester help interpret the results.
Kai’s starch test page

iTunes | Streaming mp3

Chris does not have a blog on it yet.


One Response to BYO-BBR #7, used my idea for an experiment

  1. justin ware says:

    Right on! As a science nerd and a brewer I’m always excited to see homebrewers doing these experiments!! Keep up the good work. (barring sick kids and cold weather) I’m brewing a Biere De Garde and a BerlinerWeiss in the next weeek or two. I’ll take measurements.

    Rock out with your mash paddle out!!!

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