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Old 06-22-2013, 03:12 AM   #1
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Default step mash - Lagers only - benefits or waste of time?

Hi,
I have an E-BIAB setup.
So step mashing is easy for me.
I am interested in step mashing for lagers only.

I listened to the podcast the other day about Vienna lagers and the author recommended a mash of 130, then 150 then 160.

I ask the lager brewers, are there any taste benefits to a lager beer by doing a step mash?

thanks Kevin

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Old 06-22-2013, 04:10 AM   #2
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With today's well modified malts, probably not so much. But decoctions are super fun and I do believe they make for better beer, especially with lagers.

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Old 06-22-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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My friends who do decoctions swear there's a definite difference. I think they're unnecessary. That being said, I'll do it eventually b/c it's a traditional practice I'd like to add to my repertoire.

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Old 06-22-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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The reasoning that malt is high modified, low protein, therefore, a step mash nor decoction isn't needed. Was started by a guy that didn't understand that certain things, having nothing to do with high modification, are created during the step or decoction method. A step mash or decoction create minerals and nutrients that aid yeast reproduction and an environment that aid enzymes. When some one mentions that 2 row, high modified malt is low in protein, is true. However, the term protein is a broad term. Excess protein is responsible for chill haze. During the 130F step that the recipe calls out. Protein, though less of it in high mod. malt, is broken down into albumin. It's albumin that creates body and head retention in the beer. When using high mod. malt, the 130F rest can be over done, resulting in a thin beer. Keep the rest short. Lagers are meant to be aged, not boiler to belly in 4 weeks. The step mash mimics the decoction except for the boiling part. The process is done to create a cleaner beer, free of excess starch and chill haze protein. The beer has the ability to age, and have a longer shelf life. George Fix developed the step mash method.

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Old 06-22-2013, 02:39 PM   #5
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I do a very short rest at 133 for many of my lagers. I normally decoct, but infusion works well also especially for lighter lagers.

Is it strictly necessary? No, probably not. But I feel that I get a cleaner tasting lager with the right mouthfeel.

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Old 06-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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How short? I am currently drinking a Munich Helles that I mashed at 132 for 15 minutes and I ended up with no head retention. It pours with a pretty nice foam cap of really tight bubbles, but they totally disappear at high speed. It's almost like you can hear them fizzing out. Glassware is clean and retains head on other beers. I also did an overnight mash that I started too low (148f), and the beer went from 1.053 to 1.005 - so I may have just wiped out the protein with my entire mash.

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Old 06-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #7
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I have experimented many times making the same recipe using step infusion mashes, decoction, and single infusion. I have never found any improvements (and minor, if any differences) by using step infusions or decoctions.

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Old 06-22-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
I have experimented many times making the same recipe using step infusion mashes, decoction, and single infusion. I have never found any improvements (and minor, if any differences) by using step infusions or decoctions.
Denny, the rational part of me suspects this is true. But I still don't want to admit it.

I do think there's a difference for a ferulic acid rest. Or maybe not. But I still do it anyway.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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I have experimented many times making the same recipe using step infusion mashes, decoction, and single infusion. I have never found any improvements (and minor, if any differences) by using step infusions or decoctions.

Might depend on whether taste buds are stunned. Or, there is a failure within the processes used in the experiment. Experimenting means just that, experimenting. Experimenting would prove little, it it was done according to the way a person figured it should be done, if the person figured the wrong way. Perhaps, that's why you see minor, if any differences.


OP. Overnight mashing accomplishes little, enzymes become denatured with time and temp. After an hour or so at 148, beta is denatured. In a couple of hours alpha denatures. The grav. dropped low, due, to the 148 temp rest. The 148F rest makes a more fermentable wort. The beer will be thinner. Before a certain rest can accomplish what it is supposed to do, mash pH needs to be in the park. The degree of protein reduction during the protein rest can be based on how thick and slimy the protein sludge is, that lays on top of the filter bed. It should be pretty thick and kind of powdery. If it's gummy, the mashing process needs improvement. Doing BIAB or batch sparge methods, make it harder to determine if certain things take place, if those processes are blended with a step mash or decoction method, that are usually fly sparged through a filter bed.

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Old 06-22-2013, 11:52 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies thus far.

The people who have done the same recipe both ways, were they lager recipes?
Just asking if a light lager would show through any taste differences for a step vs single infused mash.

thanks Kevin

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