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-   -   Let's talk mash analysis! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/lets-talk-mash-analysis-15619/)

sonvolt 10-29-2006 02:40 PM

Let's talk malt analysis!
Okay, as a result of my step decoction thread, I want to start a discussion of malt analysis. I usually buy Briess malts. Here are the statistics provided on the analysis sheet for Briess malts. Some of these numbers I think I understand - most I do not. So, let's talk about each as a way of better understanding the malts we use.

Mealy %
Half %
Glassy %
Plump %
Thru %
Moisture %
Extract FG %
Extract CG %
Extract Difference %
Protein %
Alpha Amylase
DP - Degree Lintner
Color Degree Lovibond

I am going to reply to this message with a quote from Kaiser on the thread where this dicussion started.

sonvolt 10-29-2006 02:41 PM

Here is what Kaiser had to say about the S/T statistic:


This is the soluble to total nitrogen (protein) ratio. Also known as SNR (soluble nitrogen ratio) or Kolbach index. It gives you how much of the protein in the malt is already soluble. The higher the number, the more the malt has been converted. everything over 40 I would call well modified and everything over 45 is over modified.

If the number is below 38, Noonan suggests holding the protein rest at 50C (122F) to make sure you get enough FAN (free amino nitrogen) for the yeast. If the malt SNR is near 40, I'd hold the protein rest around 55F (133). A rest at this temp will not break down as many medium chained proteins as the rest at 50. This is important for better modified malts.

If the malt is even less modified, lets say 35% SNR, you may even start worrying about the beta glucan rest and are in need for decoction for other reasons that color and flavor.

Another indication of malt modification is the fine grind to coarse grind extract difference. For the fine grind extract the malt is ground to a flour and the potential extract is determined in the lab. Then the malt is ground to grits (as brewers do it) and the potential extract is determined. The less the malt is modified, the more the grinding to flour helps the extract, because the cell walls have not been broken down as well, and you will see a higher difference in the potential extracts. But don't grind your malt into flour just to get the efficiency up. Just to a beta clucan rest to pick up where malting left of.


BigEd 10-30-2006 11:49 PM

No sense in re-writing a synopsis of this so I'll just post the link. What you need to know should be there.


Dr Malt 10-31-2006 06:50 PM

Thanks BigEd. A few additional comments may be helpful.

The malt that is available to brewers and homebrewers today is well modified. There is no need to scrutinize the malt analyses numbers for that. In fact, if you desire a less modified malt for a brew, you actually will have a difficult time finding it. It will be a special malt made in such a way as to slow down the natural process of malting.

As a homebrewer, if you are looking at the analyses of your malt, the main things I suggest you focus on is color, enzyme levels and flavor. Color, because if you are making a light colored brew you don't want to use too dark a malt. Also if you are making a red ale, you want malts that provide some red color. Enzymes because you don't want to try and mash with a large quantity of a malt that has low enzyme levels such as a Munich 10 or 20. Your base malt should have a DP of 100 or better and be at least 50% of the malt bill. Flavor because that is what you are focused on in your finished beer. If you want a certain malt character to your beer such as maltiness, toffee, chocolate flaovr, etc, you need to select the malt that provides that character. All those other things such as mealiness, S/T, coarse and fine grind extract, F/C difference, sizing and protein have to do with modiifcation and yield. As homebrewers, yield, or getting the last half a cup of wort out of your grain, is not important. And as I mentioned earlier, all the malt available to us today is well modified.

So that's my 2 cents. However, if you are interested in understanding more about malt analyses once you have read Greg Noona's article, let me know and I will try and answer your questions.

Dr Malt

sonvolt 10-31-2006 07:06 PM


Originally Posted by Dr Malt
The malt that is available to brewers and homebrewers today is well modified.

Actually, this conversation started in another thread. In that thread, we were discussing best practices for using Breiss' Pilsner malt - which is not only easy to get but seems like an undermodified malt to me.

Dr Malt 11-01-2006 10:20 PM

I would suggest using Briess Pilsen malt like any other 2-row base malt. It has the enzyme levels and soluble protein levels such that a protein rest is not necessary. By Noonan's article, it is not an undermodified malt. However, compared to Briess 2-Row Brewers malt, it is slightly less modified. These two Briess malts differ in their Typical Analysis as published by Briess as follows:

2-Row Brewers / Pilsen
Plump (%) 80 / 90
Moisture (%) 4.0 / 4.5
F/C Dif 1 / 2
Protein 12.0 / 11.3
S/T 42 / 37
Alpha amylase 50 / 45
DP 140 / 130
Color 1.8 / 1.0

So what does this tell us? Briess Pilsen malt should be a little higher in plump kernels (this affects extract volume or yield); a little lower in protein (again extract and yield); slightly higher in moisture (this is to get a lower color of 1.0); lower color (for making a light colored pilsen beer); slightly lower enzymes (DP, Alpha, but this difference is negligable in terms of enzyme activity); and a higher F/C difference and lower S/T (an indication of modification). However by Noonan's article a S/T of 36 -42% is fine for infusion mashing and an undermodified malt is one with an S/T in the 30 -33% range. Therefore, the Briess Pilsen malt is a modified malt, it is just slightly less modified than their 2-Row Brewers malt. The Pilsen malt will provide a brewer sufficient soluble protein for healthy fermentations without a protein rest. However, if you want to do a protein rest that is OK too.

I use Briess Pilsen malt in my lagers for the low color and the clean crisp flavor I associate with certian lagers.

I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.

Dr Malt:mug:

Kaiser 11-01-2006 10:57 PM

With and SNR of 37%, which is borderline well modified, I'd still rest at 55C (133F) for 10-15 min. That's what I do with the pilsner I use and I still have to get the malt analysis for that :(.

I did a single infusion with that pilsner recently and am curious how that turns out with respect to clarity.


Dr Malt 11-01-2006 11:30 PM

Let me ask this question. As homebrewers who generally make all malt brews (no adjunct like corn or rice), why do you want more malt modification and what SNR or S/T number indicates a well modified malt to you?

Dr Malt

sonvolt 11-01-2006 11:38 PM


Originally Posted by Dr Malt
Let me ask this question. As homebrewers who generally make all malt brews (no adjunct like corn or rice), why do you want more malt modification and what SNR or S/T number indicates a well modified malt to you?

Dr Malt

I am not sure how to answer these questions. What I am sure of is that i am not satisfied with the efficiency I got when I did a single infusion with Briess Pilsner malt. I think that a decoction might improve efficicency. My intuition and my (2-brew) experience with the malt make me feel like that grain needs something more than a single infusion mash.

I did a decoction with it the last time I brewed, and I have yet to see how this practice will affect my beer.

Sir Sudster 11-01-2006 11:58 PM

After reading the posts by the gentlemen above I'm wondering
if your efficiency concerns should be more focused on your processing parameters.

Parameters such as mash ph/temp/time, sparge time/temp, water analysis and final volume.

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