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Old 11-02-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
shamilton
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Default Step-mashing Benefits

So I have just recently purchased a brew kettle that has a thermometer and a ball valve. The main reason for purchasing this new set-up and shying away from the cooler was so that I could much more easily perform multi-step infusions as part of my mashing process.

That being said, I want your guys' opinions. Does including a step-mash really make that big of a difference in the body/flavor/head retention of your beer since most of the malts now-a-days are highly modified?

If it does, then how about some of these questions.

Acid rest - is it necessary? If I am doing a wheat beer?
Protein Rest - What styles of beer or types of malt will benefit the most from this rest?
Sac Rest - How high and low can I go? If I let it sit at a low temp for a long period of time (145 degrees at one hour), am I lessening my ability to convert those protein at higher temperatures? By this, I mean, can I get the best of both worlds? The complete conversion by the enzymes at such a low temperature PAIRED with complete conversion by the enzymes at a higher temperature? Or if my little enzymes start eating the protein chains at that lower temperature, will those half-eaten protein chains be worthless to the enzymes at a higher temperate (say 155) because they have been sitting at the lower temperature too long?
Mash Out - Optimal temperature for this without completely denaturing every last enzyme?

And finally, again, is all of this work worth it? Opinions please...

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Old 11-02-2012, 04:16 AM   #2
BigEd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
So I have just recently purchased a brew kettle that has a thermometer and a ball valve. The main reason for purchasing this new set-up and shying away from the cooler was so that I could much more easily perform multi-step infusions as part of my mashing process.

That being said, I want your guys' opinions. Does including a step-mash really make that big of a difference in the body/flavor/head retention of your beer since most of the malts now-a-days are highly modified?
A multi-step infusion mash is not going to change the flavor. IMO a multi-step decoction mash can although there is a large contingent who believe otherwise. A multi-step mash can be used to manipulate things like body and finish but so can the mix of ingredients in the grist bill. One doesn't replace the other and you can use both variables to achieve your desired targets in the beer.


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Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
Acid rest - is it necessary? If I am doing a wheat beer?
Unless you have no other way of controlling the pH of the mash there is no need to ever do an acid rest IMO. I don't drink nor brew wheat beers so I'll let someone else address them.


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Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
Protein Rest - What styles of beer or types of malt will benefit the most from this rest?
Unless you have some old-style under-modified malt the traditional low temperature range of 114-124F is of no value as far as I know. There are still a lot of recipes floating around the recommend a 122F rest but that information is out of date.

I do some multi-temp rests starting in the 128-133F range which is the high range of the so-called protein rest. This is also the beginning of the low range of the beta amylase rest so by using this range you get a start on starch conversion to maximize yield and you escape the potential problems of the 122F which can break down some peptides beyond what is beneficial. This is one of the side benefits of modern highly-modified malt as most of those molecules have already been degraded during the malting process.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
Sac Rest - How high and low can I go? If I let it sit at a low temp for a long period of time (145 degrees at one hour), am I lessening my ability to convert those protein at higher temperatures? By this, I mean, can I get the best of both worlds? The complete conversion by the enzymes at such a low temperature PAIRED with complete conversion by the enzymes at a higher temperature? Or if my little enzymes start eating the protein chains at that lower temperature, will those half-eaten protein chains be worthless to the enzymes at a higher temperate (say 155) because they have been sitting at the lower temperature too long?

Saccharification is the reduction of starch chains into dextrins and sugars, not protein chains. You can go anywhere from 144F to 158F. The lower range optimizes beta amylase and the higher range alpha amylase. Yes you can combine temperatures during the mashing procedure to help produce the ratio of long chain and short chain sugars you want.


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Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
Mash Out - Optimal temperature for this without completely denaturing every last enzyme?
One of the purposes of mash out is to denature the remaining enzymes. The standard mash out temp is 168-170F which will denature the alphas, the betas denature at a lower temp.

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Originally Posted by shamilton View Post
And finally, again, is all of this work worth it? Opinions please...
That's up to you. I suggest reading up on the topic. John Palmer's "How to Brew" is very good, Greg Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer" is even better if you want a more detailed slightly geeky view.
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