After building a mash tun and running my first batch of beer through it, I realized very quickly that trying to stir the mash with a kitchen spoon is not an easy task. There are many types of paddles available to buy online, but in the spirit of homebrew DIY and not wanting to spend much money, I decided to make my own.
Most of the mash paddles you see for sell online are made of oak or some other exotic hardwood. I don’t know why this would be necessary so I used a piece of scrap pine 1×4 trim I had in the garage. I cut a piece off about 2 or 2.5 feet, drew a basic design on it with a pencil and cut it out with a jigsaw. Then I drilled a hole in the handle to be able to hang it and sanded down the edges so it was nice and smooth.
I thought about adding some sort of finish to protect it, but I wasn’t sure what I could use that would be safe to use in a mash that will eventually be beer that I and others will drink. Since it was so cheep to make (free) I decided to leave it unfinished and see how it held up. So far it hasn’t had any problems. I just wash it off and hang it up to dry when I’m done with a session and it looks as good as new.
Edit: I’ve been reading lately that butcher block oil is good to use on mash paddles. I might have to give that a try.
If you have made your own mash paddle, especially as a result of my post, let me know!
Pine has toxins that can come out of the wood whn stirring hot wort. Also, you may want to put some holes in your paddle to break up the dough balls.
Interesting. Do you have any source about toxins in pine?
I thought about drilling holes in it, but I didn’t have any problems with it, probably because of it’s smaller size.
Soft woods like pine have larger pores, which leave more area for wort and eventually bacteria to be harbored. Since this is preboil, this isn’t a huge concern, but something to be avoided anyhow. Also, I’d be worried about off-flavors from the pine leaching into the wort. Might be a good idea to boil the paddle for a few minutes before the first use to avoid this. In all honesty, it probably matters very little what type of wood you choose, but why not spend a couple of bucks per foot for a good hardwood?