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Old 02-22-2005, 03:08 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Janx
There's no doubt, especially with all-grain, that seeing it done first hand will really clarify a lot of the steps. Good luck!
I don't know if the format of the FAQ would support this, but it would be great if we could post a photo illustrated step by step of a basic all grain mashing procedure, along with a description like the one you gave. Just a simple thing to give those of us just starting on all grain the confidence to tackle it.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:32 AM   #22
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Default Mash temp subtleties

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Originally Posted by Janx
It needs to be pretty much held at the right temps for the right amount of time. It's not a simmer, like a slow bubble or low boil. It really is holding the grain at certain temps so that the enzymes present in the grain convert starches to sugars.
I understand that there are several distinct types of protein action that occur in a mash: protein rest, beta amylase, and alpha amylase. And I guess the beta produces the fermentable sugars (alcohol potential) and the alpha produces the unfermentable sugars (body and head retention). Is this why people go to all the trouble of step mashing/decoction etc? Is their any kind of rough guide as to how much one would want to try and encourage the beta vs. the alpha (I suppose it would depend on the style of beer? A rich ale would want more alpha, while a light bodied lager would be all beta?). And what about that protein rest deal? Is that something I should worry about? I don't know if such a thing exists (in a book maybe), but I think it would be cool to see some sort of chart divided along the lines of different beer styles (or grain constituents) and the optimal mash temp/temps along with timing guidelines.
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:22 PM   #23
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You should never worry about anything

I don't muck about with different steps. With 2-row, a protein rest is completely unnecessary and is just a pain. Likewise multiple mashing steps. It's such highly converted grain that it takes all of 5 minutes to convert the starches to sugars. So other steps would be extraneous IMO.

Now decoction and fancy mash steps can be useful for doing fancy styles. But for your basic ales, I just do a single infusion at about 150 degrees. I don't think with standard 2-row, you'll see much difference trying to hit the alpha or beta steps precisely. Plus, I imagine most homebrewers can't control temp that precisely.

I'd try playing with different base malts if you want to imitate different styles. Check out morebeer.com for some of the other options for base malts that will give very different flavor profiles. But, in general, I wouldn't worry about the numerous mashing steps. I've tried it, but don't see any benefit to the finished beer.

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