Diastatic power over time (historical)

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aggieactuary

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I recently purchased a sack of Fawcett Golden Promise, and the malt analysis lists the diastatic power as 58 degrees Lintner. That's relatively low compared to lots of modern base malts that often go well over 100 degrees Lintner. This got me thinking about the total diastatic power in the mash historically.

Does anyone know if people are using carapils and other specialty grains more often to develop body these days, since the base malts are so high in diastatic power?

My guess is that you rarely had issues with body in your beer in the old days; instead you had issues with conversion.

Also, it seems that homebrewers report little differences between step and infusion mashes. That could be a result of the higher diastatic powers, right?
 

BigEd

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Re the 58 L on the Golden Promise. Compared to US and Continental malts the number is low but it is right in line for a UK pale malt. In my experience and AFAIK there is no relationship between diastatic power and body. That some malts that are high in diastatic power are also low on the beer body meter are due more to the genetics of the barley strain and the way they are malted.
 
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aggieactuary

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I'm saying the opposite. I'm saying low DP, high body.

Maybe body is the wrong descriptor. People seem to describe British pale malts like MO and GP as very malt and/or sweet.

I'm wondering if there's a connection between their low DP and their favorable characteristics.
 

BigEd

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I'm saying the opposite. I'm saying low DP, high body.

Maybe body is the wrong descriptor. People seem to describe British pale malts like MO and GP as very malt and/or sweet.

I'm wondering if there's a connection between their low DP and their favorable characteristics.

Partly coincidence but diastatic power is related to protein content. UK barleys, particularly the heirloom varieties like GP & MO, tend to be low in protein. Protein is not something you want a lot of in brewing barley but it is a plus in barely used as a more direct food source. Sort of analogous to modern types of tomatoes bred to stand up being shipped coast-to-coast compared to old style varieties that were more valued for the way they tasted. However, some of the Continental European barley malts are much higher in protein & diastatic power than most UK versions but still have a rich, malty flavor.
 

pjj2ba

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I don't think the diastatic enzymes levels really affect body. It will affect conversion rate. How the grain is mashed is what would make the difference in body, whether you have a high or low diastatic malt. Both could make lighter beers and both can make maltier beers - with the right mash schedule.

The other proteins (non-enzymatic) can however play a significant role in the body of a beer. Here is it a bit tricky as, yes more protein will add body to a beer, but the downside is you are also more likely to get haze. The trick is to flirt with the boundary - if you want to maximize body (different than malty)
 
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