36" stainless steel mash paddle with holes
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When the strike water and milled grain is first mixed in the Mash/Lauter Tun (called 'mashing in' or 'doughing in'), the two need to be mixed thoroughly to ensure that there are no dough balls (dry pockets of grain).
We use an all stainless steel mash paddle (shown in picture) instead of one made of wood as stainless steel is easier to clean and is more resilient. Some of the wooden mash paddles may also affect head retention in beer because of the oils used.
The 36" length is perfect for getting a good grip on the handle to mash in with just about any homebrewing sized kettle from 10-55 gallons, including the 20 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker kettle we use as our Mash/Lauter Tun.
The holes help make mixing easier as grain passes both through and around the paddle as you stir. Some brewers believe there's a whole science behind the placement and size of the holes that can affect the outcome of the beer. That seems a bit far fetched to us, and we take our brewing seriously!
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