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Old 10-14-2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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Default HERMS Step Mash Question?

I just build a HERMS system, that is similiar to the Pols. Main difference being that I use a seperate 1.5 gallon heat exchanger instead of my HLT. While I don't plan on doing step mashes all that much, I would like to know if it is feasible.

It hear that with a 10 gallon batch and the time needed to recirculate the hot wort you get about 1 degree per minute in the MLT. So to go from a protein rest in the upper 120s to 150 would take about 25 minutes.

People talk about this as if it's a bad thing, but never real explain why? Is it simply the time required or does it have negative impacts on the beer? Or is it simply a control issue? Are you really converting some of the starches when going through the 40s and your target conversion temp was say 153?

Another question is, could I just dump boiling water on top of the mash tun to raise the temp in conjunction with the heat exchanger.

Thanks in Advance!!!

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:39 PM   #2
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IMHO, with today's fully-modified malts, protein rests are really a waste of time. Dumping boiling water on your mash will tend to kill the enzymes that are converting the starches into sugar.

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:41 PM   #3
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(shuttering in absolute horror)

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
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What about a beer that uses a lot of wheat malt?

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:49 PM   #5
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I regularly use protein rests. I do them, with boiling water infusion, decoction, and direct firing.

Adding small portions of boiling wort will do nothing to your enzymes. It is a traditional German technique used to both raise temps and to thin the mash at various times to help certain enzymes.

Decoctions are nice but time consuming.

Direct fired is fine, but with my non-automated system (for now) it is a bit tricky to hit my numbers exactly.

All techniques have pluses and minuses.

You will be able to use your HERMS for step mashes no problem and if you tune your PID controller properly you should be able to step WAY faster than 1º/min

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarondrich View Post
What about a beer that uses a lot of wheat malt?
I don't think it matters. Some German less modified malts may benefit from a protein rest. Palmer claims that a protein rest on a fully modified malt can remove some of the body from the beer.

Here is an except from "How to Brew" by John Palmer.

Chapter 14 - How the Mash Works

14.4 The Protein Rest and Modification

Modification is the term that describes the degree of breakdown during malting of the protein-starch matrix (endosperm) that comprises the bulk of the seed. Moderately-modified malts benefit from a protein rest to break down any remnant large proteins into smaller proteins and amino acids as well as to further release the starches from the endosperm. Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified. Less modified malts are often available from German maltsters. Brewers have reported fuller, maltier flavors from malts that are less modified and make use of this rest.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:53 PM   #7
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In what way do I tune my PID controller? I'm very interested in this?

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:58 PM   #8
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... I was shuttering because if you do a search for step mashing and herms, you'll find more than a few fairly heated debates on every aspect of this topic. Opinions rnge from "yes, I'm doing it now with my herms system" to "no you're not because it is impossible" and everything in between.

There is a fair amount of variance in people's opinion on how long the step takes and what that will do to your mash (stepping very quickly vs dragging your mash through a long range of temp as you step... as you mention above). Does it hurt your mash to overshoot in the heat exchanger before returning to the mash? Do the laws of thermodynamics ALLOW you to efficiently step up without overshooting...

etc etc etc... and like I was saying, it's gotten kinda heated in the past, especially when you have such a huge range of opinions....

... layered on top of ALL of that is the above debate: is it even worth it

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Pol does not use a PID for his HERMS (at least I don't think so). But basically you can tune a PID controller so that it recognizes your system and can account for thermal momentum (not really but it makes more sense saying it like that). Basically, you can crank the heat in your HERMS and the controller will realize when to stop adding heat so your system does not overshoot.

What kind of controller are you using?

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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I agree that protein rests should not be extended because theoretically they will damage head stability.

However, I often use protein rests and have produced beers with which I could build walls with the resulting foam.

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