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Old 07-11-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
Boodlemania
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Default Step Infusion Mashing Question

I'm planning my first step mash for a Helles-style lager and I've got a dumb question.

I'm trying to replicate this mash schedule within the limitations of my equipment. I'm planning to do a 3-step infusion mash instead of the triple decoction. FWIW, I use a 10G Igloo with braid.

My question is whether or not to use boiling water for steps 2 and 3 in order to keep the mash from getting above 2 qt/lb. I would assume that adding boiling water can potentially damage the enzymes in the mash. Therefore, my plan was to add the step volumes slowly while stirring with my drill/paint mixer. If I don't use boiling water, the mash gets rather large (volume) and thin.

Per Beersmith, the steps would be as follows:
- Dough In - 7.6 qt at 134.8F to reach 122F, 15 minute rest (0.9 qt/lb)
- Maltose Rest - 3.3 qt at 211F to reach 145F, 30 minute rest (1.3 qt/lb)
- Dextrine Rest - 4.5 qt at 212F to reach 162F, 40 minute rest (1.8 qt/lb)
- Drain then Batch Sparge 3.5G water

Any thoughts/experience would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-11-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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Boiling water is Ok to add to the mash, just add slowly. I don't know how necessary it is to mix with a drill. It could be detrimental to the beer if it splashes too much and gets oxygenated.
Have you ever thought about doing a decoction or two? You can increase temp without increasing mash volume and would create some nice traditional flavor for a helles lager.

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Old 07-11-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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From my personal experience I would say just skip adding boiling water all together and do the mash in the boiling kettle instead. Much easier and more straight forward.

Just do your multi step mash in your boiling kettle, then move the whole mash into your MLT for the sparge. This works much better for me, I never had much luck with a multi-step mash with boiling water additions. In practice this method is only good for a temp adjustment in a single step mash, or maybe a 2-step mash at best.

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Old 07-12-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
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Thinking about this some more, a steam injection system (pressure cooker, manifold, and the requisite hardware) might be a better solution. I've got a SS ball valve, spare pressure cooker. I'd just need to make a manifold, etc. If the step mash turns out to be a disaster, I think this will be my next step (no pun intended).

Scooby: Good idea, thanks. Not really keen on doing it in my BK though as I don't have a good way to insulate the BK for the rests or to move the mash to my MLT, other than my historically bad back.

Lizard: I dough-in with my drill, so I can do it without splashing, etc. I've found this is great for ensuring a good mash-in without dough balls and without taking alot of time. Decoctions seem to me to be alot of extra effort with negligible benefits from what I've read here.

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Old 07-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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Dude, you're overthinking it.

Boiling water is not a problem. You'll need more than your calculators think, I can just about guarantee that, but 2 let alone 1.8 qt/lb is nowhere near thin. You have a lot of leeway there.

Decoction should easily be within your purview if you have a separate kettle and tun. It is extra work, but so is a stepped infusion, and you'll be more likely to reach your temp targets.

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Old 07-12-2011, 03:14 PM   #6
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I'm not sure why a lot of folks dread the infusion steps. I'm a newby, yet I've still done it 3 times, with my 5 gallon Igloo setup, with excellent results. I always add boiling water, and just add it slowly, and stir with my mash paddle. Have hit temps pretty much on, when using the calculator from my BeerAlchemy.
I do fly sparge, but I don't see that that would make any difference. Good luck!

Mike

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Old 07-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby_Brew
From my personal experience I would say just skip adding boiling water all together and do the mash in the boiling kettle instead. Much easier and more straight forward.

Just do your multi step mash in your boiling kettle, then move the whole mash into your MLT for the sparge. This works much better for me, I never had much luck with a multi-step mash with boiling water additions. In practice this method is only good for a temp adjustment in a single step mash, or maybe a 2-step mash at best.
+1 to this ...works great and really no need for insulation when the kettles on the burner , plus more leeway with temp control and ratio.
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Old 07-12-2011, 05:14 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the ideas and feedback, guys. I appreciate it. This is why HBT is such a great site. Open discussions of ideas and experiences without all the unnecessary and unprofessional things.

Bottom line is I want to expand to step mashing in order to brew different beer styles. I have a very long commute for work, so I have the time to think through stuff like this. I have yet to decide for sure which way I will approach my first stepped mash, though. I guess I have to continue weigh the pros/cons of each technique against the limitations of my own setup. I'm in no hurry, no starter on the stirplate, that sort of thing.

Again, thanks.

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