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Brewing a Helles - Protein rest?

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KatoKiyo

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Hi all,
I've moved and lost some of my equipment in the process, so I've decided to try this recipe by conducting a sort of mini-mash by steeping grains. I want to brew a Munich Helles (got a taste for Augustiner while in Munich last summer). I want to steep about 6 lbs (about 3 of german pilsner malt and about 1 of carapils) to supplement 6 lbs of pale malt extract. When steeping the pilsner malt, would there be any point in attempting a protein rest to really get that malty character? Or am I simply not getting enough conversion steeping the grains for it go matter?
Anyways, any other tips for a first time lager brewer would be awesome!
Thanks guys!
Tom
 

menschmaschine

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Well, honestly, I've never brewed partial mash... only all-grain. But I've brewed a heck of a lot of Helles. I can tell you that a standard protein rest with today's standard pilsener malt may do more damage than good.

Unless your malt is specifically under-modified (unlikely), it is probably well modified and has a soluble nitrogen ratio over 40. Protein rests of ~50°C for this malt may result in what I stated above. If you really want to do a protein-related rest, I would do either 57°C and then a saccharification/dextrin rest at ~69°C or do a rest at 63°C and a dextrin rest at 71°C.

But to answer your original question, no a protein rest won't give a more malty flavor, but a decoction will.:D You could throw in some melanoidin malt to get a more malty flavor. Oh, and not sure of your batch size, but that 1 lb of Cara-pils will probably result in too many unfermentable sugars for a Helles and, therefore, less attenuation. Maybe not as much for a ~40L batch, but definitely for a ~20L batch. I'd half it.
 
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KatoKiyo

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That's what I was wondering... I was basing this specifically on the eventuality of having undermodified malts. If they were ok, I imagine it would start harming the beer; poor head formation etc. I'm probably just wanting to do a protein rest because I can't brew it all grain, so I need to exercise some other form of control :) . Please do comment on my recipe:
batch 5.5 gal (20.8L)
OG 1.050
18 BU
3-4 SRM
6 lbs liquid pale malt extract
6 lbs pilsner malt
0.5 lbs carapils malt

0.5oz hallertauer @ 60
0.5oz hallertauer @ 20
0.5oz hallertauer @ 5

Ferment with WLP838 Southern German Lager

Thanks!
 

menschmaschine

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That's seems pretty good. A couple suggestions:

-Get Pilsner malt extract if you can. (This isn't that big of a deal.)

-Lose the 20 min. hop addition and put some of it into the 60 min. to get about the same IBUs. Helles don't need flavor hop additions. Otherwise you border on Pilsener (beer) territory. Enough of the hop flavor will carry over from the bittering addition. This will also add to malt taste perception.

-This next suggestion is more my preference than anything. Lose the 5 min. hop addition. Helles also don't have much hop aroma either (if any). What I do is add about .25 oz. at 1 min. just to get a touch of aroma in the head as you bring the glass to your mouth. It's subtle, but distinctive and gives it the type of delicacy you're looking for in a Helles.

Also, if you don't already know, do a 90 min. boil for using pilsener malt (DMS). Other than that, good temperature control is key... as well as a nice size starter. It's best to ferment cool from beginning to end, rather than than starting warm just to get the yeast going. Good luck!
 

Schlenkerla

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I have a PM Helles that I'm kegging right now.

Here you go if you're interested... Its a single step mash. Did 4lbs in a 2 gallon thermos.

What The Helles


A ProMash Brewing Session - Recipe Details Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
-------------------------------

01-D Light Lager, Munich Helles

Min OG: 1.045 Max OG: 1.051
Min IBU: 16 Max IBU: 22
Min Clr: 3 Max Clr: 5 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
----------------

Batch Size (Gal): 6.00 Wort Size (Gal): 3.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.30
Anticipated OG: 1.047 Plato: 11.57
Anticipated SRM: 4.4
Anticipated IBU: 19.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts
----------------

Evaporation Rate: 18.00 Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 4.11 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.068 SG 16.59 Plato


Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
9.0 0.75 lbs. Munich Malt(2-row) America 1.035 6
3.0 0.25 lbs. Melanoidin Malt 1.033 35
36.1 3.00 lbs. Pilsener Germany 1.038 2
39.8 3.30 lbs. Muntons LME - Extra Light England 1.037 3
12.0 1.00 lbs. Muntons DME - Extra Light England 1.046 3

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.25 oz. Liberty Pellet 4.50 19.0 60 min.


Yeast
-----

Fermentus S-23 Saflager S-23


Mash Schedule
-------------

Mash Type: Single Step

Grain Lbs: 4.00
Water Qts: 4.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Water Gal: 1.00 - Before Additional Infusions

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.00 - Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest Temp : 152 Time: 60
Mash-out Rest Temp : 162 Time: 10
Sparge Temp : 0 Time: 0


Total Mash Volume Gal: 1.32 - Dough-In Infusion Only

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
 
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KatoKiyo

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Thanks for the heads up about the 90 minute boil. As for the starter, do you usually pitch the yeast in the starter at 50-55F ie. the temperature you are going to ferment the wort at, or do you start it at a higher temp and drop it down, possibly decanting any of the beer on top to avoid off flavours?
Thanks for the advice!
 

MOSFET

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. I can tell you that a standard protein rest with today's standard pilsener malt may do more damage than good.
What damage specifically?

And, related, how does one know how well-modified his malt is without empirical data? This has always left me disturbed as I am trying to nail down these subtle details. I hate guesswork and generalized assumptions. I have yet to see a scale measuring how modified a malt is, just general statements that they have improved over time.

thanks
 

menschmaschine

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As for the starter, do you usually pitch the yeast in the starter at 50-55F ie. the temperature you are going to ferment the wort at, or do you start it at a higher temp and drop it down, possibly decanting any of the beer on top to avoid off flavours?
Thanks for the advice!
Somewhat of a debate among lager brewers. Some say you're just making yeast, so it doesn't matter. Others say the yeast should reproduce/ferment in the starter at the same temp they will reproduce/ferment the beer. I've not seen empirical evidence either way and have yet to come to a conclusion on it myself.

In any case, make the starter a lot longer ahead of time than you would for ales. 7-10 days is normal. It's better to step up the starter as well... starting off with, say, 1 liter, then add another in a day or two, then add 2 more in another day or two. If you decide to keep the starter at room temp, plan on crash-cooling and decanting the starter beer off before pitching. If you keep the starter at primary temps, you can pitch the whole thing or crash cool and decant some off and pitch the rest. It will take at least 2 days to crash cool a lager yeast starter because they don't give up as easy as ale yeasts do when the temp drops.

I usually decide (for starter temps) by how much time I have until brew day and how big I'm making the starter. If I'm stepping up to a 4 liter starter and have less than 7 days until brew day, I might ferment it warm, crash cool and decant. If I'm trying to squeek by with a 2 liter starter and have 10 days until brew day, I'll ferment it at 50-55°F and just pitch the whole thing (there's plenty of yeast still in suspension too even if you crash cool).

OR... you can forget the starter altogether and use 2 packets of Fermentis' Saflager W34/70 dry lager yeast. It's supposed to be the same strain as WLP830 and Wyeast 2124, which are great for a Helles. Brewers have had mixed results with this dry yeast in regards to esters, etc., but on the whole it seems to be a good option. (I have yet to use it myself, but plan to give it a try.)
 

menschmaschine

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What damage specifically?

And, related, how does one know how well-modified his malt is without empirical data? This has always left me disturbed as I am trying to nail down these subtle details. I hate guesswork and generalized assumptions. I have yet to see a scale measuring how modified a malt is, just general statements that they have improved over time.

thanks
A traditional protein rest in well-modified malt (i.e., that with a soluble nitrogen ratio (SNR) of the upper 30s or more) can cause the proteins that you want for head formation/retention to get broken down to the point that head formation/retention is reduced.

The only way to know this for sure about your malt is to have the lot-specific malt analysis. These are often-times hard to get, but some maltsters post them (or at least an average analysis for a crop year) on their web pages. A few suppliers can get them for you as well. North Country Malt Supply gives them to you with every order. Weyermann is particularly hard to get (just ask Kaiser;)).

That being said, practically all the malt available to homebrewers is very well modified and has a high SNR. I recently saw one supplier (Northern Brewer?) that sold low-modified malt for homebrewers who want to do these types of rests (and decoctions). With the average Pilsner malt available, and without a malt analysis, it's best to assume a high SNR and, if you want to do a protein-style rest, do it somewhere between 135°F and 145°F.

You'll hear of commercial brewers who will do these low protein rests, but you have to keep in mind that they (Moortgat-Duvel, for example) specify to the maltster(s) how much to modify their malt. They buy under-modified malt so they can do these rests and reap the benefits from it without any negative effects.
 
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KatoKiyo

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I usually decide (for starter temps) by how much time I have until brew day and how big I'm making the starter. If I'm stepping up to a 4 liter starter and have less than 7 days until brew day, I might ferment it warm, crash cool and decant. If I'm trying to squeek by with a 2 liter starter and have 10 days until brew day, I'll ferment it at 50-55°F and just pitch the whole thing (there's plenty of yeast still in suspension too even if you crash cool).

Maybe a bone question but I've only ever made liter starters. Here, do you mean by "stepping it up" that you say, pitch the yeast into a liter of wort, and then a few days later, add another liter of wort and so on up to the desired size?
Thanks!
 

menschmaschine

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Here, do you mean by "stepping it up" that you say, pitch the yeast into a liter of wort, and then a few days later, add another liter of wort and so on up to the desired size?
Exactly. Time between step-ups (or is it "steps-up"?, like "Sergeants Major":cross:) only needs to be a day, maybe 2 if you step it up by a lot (like starting with 2 liters and going straight to 4).
 
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KatoKiyo

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Cool! That's great. Very helpful. I'll be getting my supplies tomorrow and keep you posted with regards to the results!
 

MOSFET

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A traditional protein rest in well-modified malt (i.e., that with a soluble nitrogen ratio (SNR) of the upper 30s or more) can cause the proteins that you want for head formation/retention to get broken down to the point that head formation/retention is reduced.

The only way to know this for sure about your malt is to have the lot-specific malt analysis. These are often-times hard to get, but some maltsters post them (or at least an average analysis for a crop year) on their web pages. A few suppliers can get them for you as well. North Country Malt Supply gives them to you with every order. Weyermann is particularly hard to get (just ask Kaiser;)).

That being said, practically all the malt available to homebrewers is very well modified and has a high SNR. I recently saw one supplier (Northern Brewer?) that sold low-modified malt for homebrewers who want to do these types of rests (and decoctions). With the average Pilsner malt available, and without a malt analysis, it's best to assume a high SNR and, if you want to do a protein-style rest, do it somewhere between 135°F and 145°F.

You'll hear of commercial brewers who will do these low protein rests, but you have to keep in mind that they (Moortgat-Duvel, for example) specify to the maltster(s) how much to modify their malt. They buy under-modified malt so they can do these rests and reap the benefits from it without any negative effects.
Thanks for the thorough answer!

I can't get past saying "signal to noise ratio" whenever I see "SNR". :p
 

Bittertooth

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Also, if you don't already know, do a 90 min. boil for using pilsener malt (DMS).

I've seen this in places but am ignorant as to the reason for it. Just brewed a Helles by using one of Jamil's recipes, and he calls for a 60 minute boil. What advantage does a 90 minute boil offer, aside from an extra 30 min to enjoy a HB?
 

menschmaschine

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I've seen this in places but am ignorant as to the reason for it. Just brewed a Helles by using one of Jamil's recipes, and he calls for a 60 minute boil. What advantage does a 90 minute boil offer, aside from an extra 30 min to enjoy a HB?
The answer is in my post.;)... DMS- dimethyl sulfide. Pilsner malt has enough of the precursor which causes DMS to cause an off-flavor in your beer. Doing a 90 min. boil and a [relatively] fast cool will virtually eliminate the possibility.
 

cactusgarrett

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Jamil does 60min boils for his recipes with pilsner malt because he has some uber whirlpool chiller that gets hot wort to pitching temps in around 1-2min, thus drastically reducing DMS or DMS precursor formation.

Standard rule (that i go by, at least): the more pilsner malt you use, the longer you boil (90min should be sufficient with 100% of the grist). The faster you chill, too, the better off you'll be with regards to DMS.
 
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