Your new hard maple mash paddle will last a very long time, if you treat it right. Here are a few quick tips:
- Use it as a mash paddle only
- Do not use it to stir your wort during the boil.
- Do not use it to aerate your beer.
- Rinse off completely after use
- Soak in StarSan for a few minutes once mash is complete (1oz/5gal)
- Hang to dry
- Store it in a cool dry location
Coldbreak Hard Maple Mash paddles come unfinished. We decided not to treat the paddles because the research we did prior to launching them was that no matter what wood treatment option we chose, we couldn't guarantee that chemicals and oils wouldn't wind up in you mash.
All options had their pros and cons so we left it up to you on how you wanted to take care of your paddle. Here is what we found
Leave it natural (how we use it)
Pros: No chemicals come into contact with your mash.
Cons: Wood is very porous. It is very susceptible to mold and rotting if not properly taken care of. It's also hard to sanitize, so do not use it in your wort after the boil.
Butchers Block Oil
Pros: Treats the maple and will resist moisture
Cons: May leach oil into mash causing head retention issues.
Varnish (not recommended)
Pros: Completely seals maple
Con: Harsh chemicals wind up in your mash
Stain (not recommended)
Pros: Looks nice
Cons: Harsh chemicals wind up in your mash
What to do if mold forms
Mold does not mean the end of your paddles life. Mold is present on your grain prior to mashing and does wind up in your wort in some way or another. This is one of the reasons we boil our wort, to pasteurize any living organism that may be present. Scrub your paddle to remove as much of the mold as possible. If spots persist, sand it with 200 grit sandpaper.