Did protein rest kill my Belg Golden Strong's head retention?

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Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2009
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Lancaster, PA
So I was reading this article before brewing my most recent Belg Golden Strong.


I think out of that I read it wrong and was thinking that even with modified malts (like the standard Dingemans Pils that I used) a protein rest would still benefit, so I set my temp controller on my direct fired mash to 125 and mashed in. Held it there for 20 min, and then stepped up to 148, then up to 162. Biggest downside of this beer...the nonexistent head retention. Strikingly obvious lack of it, it pours with 1/2" of head, and it's gone in about a minute. Little to no white lace ring on this golden light beer. So, with more reading it seem that if you protein rest modified malts it will result in what I'm seeing, a lack of head retention. Just wanted to confirm.


enthusiastic learner
May 22, 2017
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Glasgow, Scotland
My own experience with a protein rest is that we need to be careful for there is a very fine line here and we could strip our beer of proteins that lend themselves to foam retention and body. If you held your protein rest at 125F (52 Celsius) then you were targeting the optimal range for peptidase enzyme. Had you gone a little higher you would have targeted the optimal range for proteinase. Its this later enzyme that is thought to diminish haze but not negatively impact on head retention and body.

Brewers do not want a lot of longer chain proteins in their wort. A high level of big proteins can lead to haze and instability. However, brewers do want medium length protein chains because they are beneficial for a beer’s body and for foam retention. The optimal range for peptidase is between 113–128 °F (45–53 °C) while the optimal range for proteinase is 131–137 °F (55–58 °C). A 15–30 minute hold in the proteinase range was thought to diminish haze, but not negatively impact foam or body. - https://byo.com/mead/item/1497-the-science-of-step-mashing

Rest temperatures closer to 122ºF (50ºC) tend to produce more short chained proteins (amino acids) while depleting the long and medium chained proteins. In sufficiently modified malts, this depletion of medium chained proteins can lead to a loss of body and head retention.

Overmodified malts (like English or American Pale malts) do not require a protein rest. Since the protein conversion has been driven to a fairly advanced point during the malting process a protein rest may actually hurt by depleting the head and body positive medium chained proteins. - http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Theory_of_Mashing