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Old 01-13-2009, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Protein = Body - the Scotch experiment

Ok, so I brewed up my IPA on Sunday and I come home yesterday to see it blowing off through the airlock. I rigged up a blow-off. Well, this beer is sitting on a chair in front of our TV (it is ~65 F at 4 ft off the floor) and I'm sitting there watching the foam come out. Later in the evening I decide I''d like a little glass of Chivas Scotch - neat - no ice. Now, my hop strainer is very efficient so I've got this nice clean foam coming out. As I was getting down towards the bottom of my Scotch, I thought, hmmm, what would blow-off foam (lots of proteins and hop oils) taste like in my Scotch? I dipped a couple fingers in the foam and then added it to my Scotch and swirled it in. I licked my fingers, and yup pretty bitter. Then I tasted the Scotch...................not bitter at all, but man, did this smooth out and add body to the Scotch!!!!! Being a scientist, I had to repeat the experiment again, this time with a lower quality Scotch. I drank half the Scotch to calibrate it's taste in my head and then added the foam. Same result. Much smoother with more body.

I know Kaiser has been a proponent of protein = body in beer, but it seems a lot of people haven't really picked up on this. It seems that the consensus is that if you want more body, then mash higher. While this may be true, it has resulted in people either ignoring or discounting the contribution of protein to the body of a beer. I'm thinking now that messing with protein is a much more efficient way to manipulate body. Of course it is very easy to simply mash higher.

I'm also wondering if the statement that "today's malts are well modified such that a protein reast is not needed" is being interpreted too blindly. The question arises in my mind as to what does "not needed" mean? Not needed for what? Good starch conversion? Lack of haze? I'm pretty sure this is true for both of these. However, just because it is not needed, that doesn't mean that it won't still benefit from other treatments. I've just started brewing my Pils series (4 similar brews only changing late addition hops) and I tried a 20 min protein rest at 124 F (I've been doing just 5 min. at 130 F). Man did this beer have a head of foam on it when it went into the fermenter. Even the addition of my normal amount of Fermcap-S didn't totally knock it down. I'm very curious to see what the body is going to be on this series of beers.

Now with this IPA I grabbed the foam from, I "cheated" as I've found that lots of hopping often leads to poor head so I added 1/2 lb of carafoam. The foam coming out of the airlock when I got home had made a nice 3D sculpture, almost doubling the airlocks size because the foam was so rock steady. This might be a simpler way to get more useful body contributing proteins, similar to the additions of other specialty malts to mimic the results of a decoction

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Old 01-14-2009, 05:31 PM   #2
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Well, worst case, you now have a good reason to drink scotch more often, or to brew more often, how ever you look at things

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Old 01-14-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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Regardless of the question, Scotch is usually the answer.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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Caution! Druck scientist at work!

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Old 01-14-2009, 08:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for bring this up. I have been thinking about this for a while:

I just don’t see a correlation between dextrines and body of the beer. Common (home)brewing knowledge dictates that the more dextrins you have in the beer the more mouthfeel you’ll get. But in many cases I have experienced the opposite:

* When I compared my Doppelbock against Spaten’s Optimator I found the Optimator to have more mouthfeel but its FG was less than the FG of my Doppelbock
* I have a wheat yeast that can bring a beer down to 1.006 but the resulting beer has as much mouthfeel as a beer brewed with the same wort but different yeast which finished higher (1.012)
* My current Dunkel finished at 1.017 but I consider its mouthfeel as thin and watery.

This led me to rethink the idea that dextrins are the main source of mouthfeel and I came to the conclusion that they aren’t. This is also supported by many of the literature sources I have been reading in the recent past.

The reason why dextrinous beers tend to go along with an increased mouthfeel seems to be the fact that they tend to be mashed at higher temps. Higher temps mean that the protoelytic activity, which degrades proteins and is active even outside the protein rest temps albeit for a shorter time, is shorter and that more large proteins will remain in the beer. Now that is my theory of what is happening and I don’t have much to support that. The literature also mentions a 68-70C (154.5 – 158F) being beneficial to mouthfeel and head retention. It just happens that many dextrinous beers are mashed in or very close to that range.

So much about dextrins and mouthfeel.

Large foam and body positive proteins are not just removed during mashing. Many of them are also removed though excessive boiling. This is one of the reasons why many (German) brewers prefer 60 min boils these days as it will leave more protein in the beer which is better for body and head.

One interesting experiment would be to add some maltodextrin to the scotch and see how it would change the mouthfeel.

Kai
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:33 PM   #6
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I'll have to get some maltodextrin and try that! I've got a few other misc. kitchen "chemicals" that I may play with too

I recently made a twisted Scottish 80 that I mashed in at 156 F. This beer tastes fairly dry, and is definitely not full bodied. Two new variables to me with this beer is that I used Golden Promise pale malt for the first time in this beer, and I fermented it with an Alt yeast instead. My Alts using this yeast end up fairly dry which I like, so that may be part of it. I'm going to tweak this recipe and add a 20' protein rest and see what happens.

I also have a 10% ABV Belgian beer on tap (I guess it'd be a Golden Strong, brewed with a Saison yeast) with a FG of 1.008 that is extremely full bodied. Much more so than my Scottish at 1.015. The Belgian is mostly Pilsner malt and did undergo a protein rest.

At this point, I'd associate a high FG more with "sweetness" level rather than body. Sure that plays some role in body, but I suspect not as much as is commonly believed.

I was just talking with Zoebisch and his recent experience with wheat beers and protein rests (and decoctions) and he is coming to many of the same conclusions. I don't brew many wheat beers, but in my experiments to define what is the taste of wheat versus the yeast strain I have decided that wheat, with its higher protein levels, significantly adds to the body of a beer. I just kegged up this year's remake of my rye bread bear (half malt/half bread). This beer scored fairly well in the NHC last year. One judge scored it very high, and the other was 5 pts less (still pretty good), his main complaint being he thought it should have had more body. This annoyed me as when you think about it, brewing with bread actually gives a very light bodied beer as much less malt is used compared to a similar beer of the same OG. So this year I replaced one of the lbs of pale malt with 1 lb of wheat malt in an attempt to get more body in the beer. I'll see how if it worked in a couple more weeks.

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On Tap: Ger. Pils, OKZ (std Amer. lager), CZ Pils, Maibock,
Kegged and Aging/Lagering:CAP, CAP II, Wheat lager, Imperial Pilsner, Ger. Pils, OKZ (std Amer. lager), OKZ II (for base malt comparison), light beer - yes, light beer, Belgian IPA, IPA,
Secondary:
Primary: Pale Ale
Brewing soon: Saison
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