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Old 01-28-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
seanppp
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Default Protein rest effects on mouthfeel in oatmeal beers

I've read that if you're doing a high-adjunct brew (my interest is mostly in high-oatmeal grists) you should do a protein rest to break the long chain proteins into medium-chain mouthfeel-enhancing proteins. But I've also read that a protein rest can reduce body and "thin out the beer". The first claim is by John Palmer in How To Brew, the second by Gordon Strong in Brewing Better Beer.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Thanks!

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Old 01-28-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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While I have no experience in the subject matter I find this interesting and I'd love to learn more. Do either pieces of literature point to an effective duration of the rest? If the enzymes are left to their devices too long I can see how it would continually break down proteins until you are left with a pile of amino acids (great for yeasties but not so much for mouthfeel).

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Old 01-28-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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The use of a protein rest depends on the grain bill. Grain bills heavy in malted wheat, or unmalted wheat or barley are often good candidates for a protein rest (or you can skip it). These are protein rich ingredients and help to add body to a beer (and potentially haze).

As far as base malts go, I've played around with this and I didn't find much benefit with pale malts, but I do with pilsner malt. These days I just use pilsner malt for ALL of my beers. The benefit that I get is not huge, but to me, it is noticeable. One thing you will read is that too long a protein rest will result in a thin beer. This usually gets misinterpreted into ANY protein rest will result in a thin beer, which is not the case. (I do 20 min. at 122 F)

Now oatmeal is a little different. It has a lot of beta glucans which are "goopy" and high oatmeal beers can be tricky to sparge. The same is true for rye, and to a lesser extent unmalted wheat and barley. For high oatmeal beers, a beta-glucan rest might be a good thing (~110 F). The idea is the same for protein rest, which break proteins into small pieces, but in this case it is larger carbohydrates being broken into smaller pieces so the mash is not so "goopy" and will improve the sparge, and can improve the body.

Another benefit is it often will boast the efficiency of conversion as the proteins are part of the matrix in the endosperm and breaking them down helps to expose more starches for the enzymes to attack

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Old 01-28-2014, 03:47 PM   #4
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I have some very recent experience with this. Protein rests will rob you of head retention as well as body. There really isn't a good reason to do them most of the time with the well-modified grains home brewers use.

I would suggest doing a beta glucan rest at 105*F, however. A Beta Glucan rest will help remove some of the gumminess in flaked grains that can cause problems in the mash / lautering. Some sources have claimed better efficiency from this step as well, but I can't really speak to that.

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Old 01-28-2014, 05:23 PM   #5
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Everyone's brew house is different. I have great success with protein rests. Lots of body and thick rocky head. Again I use lots of pilsner malt, and no pale malt. It may not be for everyone, but for some of us, it works very well.

My brewhouse efficiency runs in the low 90's

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