Mash temp question

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beerisyummy

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I received an article in my email from Craft Beer & Brewing called "The Battle of the BrewBots." I'm not personally that interested in automated brewing because I like being involved in all the steps ... hell I'd do my own malting if I could! BUT, I ran across this sentence, describing the BEERMKR machine: "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way and produces 80% efficient mashes on average." I thought, well now that's different. So, hive mind: is there any advantage to this? Like, should I just heat my mash from room temp. up to mash temp and not worry about calculating strike temp?
 

palmtrees

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This reminds me of something I've been reading about in Lars Garshol's book Historical Brewing Techniques. He describes some methods where mashes are baked in the oven. Assuming the oven is being heated relatively slowly, it worked well because it hits all the temps on the way up to oven temperature. In other words, you could effectively mash without a thermometer.
 

Barbarossa

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I use an all-in-one Anvil and with the starch conversion that can happen in under 20 minutes, I am very worried about slowly raising the mash temp from the protein rest to the sacc rest. I do decoctions on my white beers now to avoid over favoring the beta amylase.
 

cactusgarrett

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"Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way..."
That doesn't say that it ramps it linearly. It could likely do what a lot of people do either electronically or manually (via infusion or decoction: just hit a couple temp rests before mashing out.
 

Barbarossa

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That doesn't say that it ramps it linearly. It could likely do what a lot of people do either electronically or manually (via infusion or decoction: just hit a couple temp rests before mashing out.
It's a kettle, not a magic fire. It has an element that heats up the mash from the bottom. And it takes a while to move between steps. It's by no means instant. Even slower if you do full volume strike.
 

cactusgarrett

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It's a kettle, not a magic fire. It has an element that heats up the mash from the bottom. And it takes a while to move between steps. It's by no means instant. Even slower if you do full volume strike.
No, what I mean is that it doesn't say that it's taking a linear approach. When it says "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way..." it likely means it's still pausing at the rests as illustrated below. But i think i see the concern you're putting forth - the initial rise from ambient through the protein rest before it gets to the beta and that it's actually going through those lower temps instead of just getting to the beta straight away.

1614286278434.png
 

Barbarossa

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If it takes 15 minutes to heat up from 130 to 150, it's 15 minutes in the 130-160 beta range. Alpha activates at 150, so you'll spend 15 minutes with active beta amylase while alpha are inactive.
 
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beerisyummy

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If it takes 15 minutes to heat up from 130 to 150, it's 15 minutes in the 130-160 beta range. Alpha activates at 150, so you'll spend 15 minutes with active beta amylase while alpha are inactive.
Thanks for your comments - I'm not great with the sciency stuff, do you mind explaining why this is a concern? As I understand it, beta will produce maltose while alpha will produce maltose along with other sugars & dextrins.
 

day_trippr

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No, what I mean is that it doesn't say that it's taking a linear approach. When it says "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way..." it likely means it's still pausing at the rests as illustrated below. [...]
Is that plot actually taken from this product's performance, or just a generic illustration of a multi-step mash?

While it does seem an app-controlled appliance such as this should be capable of it, I can't find any data that confirms the ability to program a stepped mash profile of any stripe. What I can easily find is a fairly wimpy heater that never actually gets close to a boil and perhaps has such a slow ramp rate for the yield it just naturally hangs around in pretty near every rest temperature imaginable short of a denaturing temperature :)

Cheers!
 

Vale71

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So, hive mind: is there any advantage to this?
The only advantage would be from a production cost point of view. You wouldn't need a controller or even a temperature probe but only an on-off switch to start the process, a heating element and a thermostat factory-set at the final temperature to signal that mash-out has been reached.

I'd say calling such a system "automated" would be quite a stretch as it basically would do away with any actual automation, so all in all quite lame.

I won't even comment on the ridiculous claim of being able to make "a gallon of craft beer in a week's time". More like a gallon of drain cleaner...
 

Barbarossa

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Thanks for your comments - I'm not great with the sciency stuff, do you mind explaining why this is a concern? As I understand it, beta will produce maltose while alpha will produce maltose along with other sugars & dextrins.
Starch is like a big tree branch. It needs to be broken down into smaller parts or else the yeast will not eat it. To do that, you need the help of the amylase. Beta turns everything into fermentable sugar. Alpha will leave some big parts of sugar that the yeast can't eat. Depending in the type of beer you want to do, you might want everything turned into small parts and have a dry beer. Or leave some behind to have a sweeter beer. I have yet to find a recipe that only favors the alpha. But we can find recipes that only favors the beta.

Now when I do a white beer, i dont want it dry. I want some maltiness and sweetness. But not too much. That why I mash at around 154. If I spend too much time in the low range, the beta might have a chance to break everything down and when it reach the temp where the alpha comes into play, there won't be much starch left. That's why temperature control should be tight. And move quickly between steps. Because if not, you will never brew the same beer twice.
 

bwible

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I received an article in my email from Craft Beer & Brewing called "The Battle of the BrewBots." I'm not personally that interested in automated brewing because I like being involved in all the steps ... hell I'd do my own malting if I could! BUT, I ran across this sentence, describing the BEERMKR machine: "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way and produces 80% efficient mashes on average." I thought, well now that's different. So, hive mind: is there any advantage to this? Like, should I just heat my mash from room temp. up to mash temp and not worry about calculating strike temp?
And then that whole thing is negated by the fact that Beermkr does not boil the wort at all. They want you to buy “steam hops” because there’s no boil to extract any hop utilization. That right there is a total deal breaker for me.

I do a step mash with pilsener malt. Last time I did a rest at 136 for 10 min before going to 155 in my Anvil Foundry. I like the results.
 

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I just did a NEIPA yesterday and hit better than 83% brewhouse efficiency with a two-step mash. Started with 7 gal water and 14.5 # grain - 6.5 gal preboil gravity was 1.076 and at least 5 gal went into the fermenter at 1.088. Strike water started at 150F and after adding the grain, I held the mash at 145F for 45 min, then raised to 154F for another 45 min all with re-circulation. Mashed out and sparged at 172F.
 

Birrofilo

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I received an article in my email from Craft Beer & Brewing called "The Battle of the BrewBots." I'm not personally that interested in automated brewing because I like being involved in all the steps ... hell I'd do my own malting if I could! BUT, I ran across this sentence, describing the BEERMKR machine: "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way and produces 80% efficient mashes on average." I thought, well now that's different. So, hive mind: is there any advantage to this? Like, should I just heat my mash from room temp. up to mash temp and not worry about calculating strike temp?
The Beermkr machine is a machine which automatizes all the production. You put the grains in, and it makes mashing, boiling, and fermentation.

Regarding extended step mash though, it makes more or less what every automatic kettle (also known as "all in one" kettle, AIO, "brew in a pipe", BIAP etc.) can do: you can program the mash steps, the duration of each step, and the heat for the ramp to each next step.
I don't know about the Beermkr machine, but an AIO kettle would usually just employ a pump for wort recirculation.

In theory, you can program all the multi-step mashing, step by step.
The machine will beep and pause after the first step, to give you time to do the "dough in". Then you press a button to tell the machine to continue.
The machine will perform automatically all the steps at the various temperatures, and the ramp-up at the set wattage.
Then it will stop before the boiling step, to give you time to do the mash out and the sparging if you want. Then you press a button and the machine goes automatically to the boiling phase, ringing a bell for each (programmed) hop addition.

This is something that all AIO systems can do, from the expensive ones like the Braumeister to the inexpensive ones like mine.

Same people modify their kettle putting a smart PID controller in place of the stock controller.

The efficiency will not be better by programming the controller rather than by executing all the steps and the ramps manually, of course.
 

day_trippr

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Very little of that applies to this particular machine.
BeerMKR does not boil, period. No pump, either. No sparging. Needs special hop compounds...
 

BigEd

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I received an article in my email from Craft Beer & Brewing called "The Battle of the BrewBots." I'm not personally that interested in automated brewing because I like being involved in all the steps ... hell I'd do my own malting if I could! BUT, I ran across this sentence, describing the BEERMKR machine: "Automatically brings your mash up to temperature in an extended step mash. This hits all of the enzyme activation temperatures along the way and produces 80% efficient mashes on average." I thought, well now that's different. So, hive mind: is there any advantage to this? Like, should I just heat my mash from room temp. up to mash temp and not worry about calculating strike temp?

It's called a ramped-infusion mash. Some of the mega-brewers (A-B for instance) used it and perhaps they still do. It will help squeeze almost every last molecule of sugar out of the mash which is one of the reasons it was done. If you can save a couple of pennies on every gallon of beer and you brew beer in the billions of gallons range it will add up to real money. If you want to do it for home brewing mash in at about 128F/53C and slowly raise the temp (about +1F/min) until you reach you main saccharification step.
 

Birrofilo

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Very little of that applies to this particular machine.
BeerMKR does not boil, period. No pump, either. No sparging. Needs special hop compounds...
True, I have just seen one of the videos. I don't understand why would someone buy this particular machine. I have seen different machines which actually do the entire process in an automated way, although I never had an interest in those as well (and they cost some thousand € if memory serves).
 
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beerisyummy

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I appreciate all the discussion. Just to be clear, I'm not at all interested in the machine. Only reason I would own something like this is if I want to keep brewing my own beer after I'm too old to lift a carboy!
I am just wondering whether it makes any sense at all for a 5-gal batch home brewer to dump the grist into the water and heat it up to whatever mash temp. you want (I am a BIAB-er so, mashing in the kettle, I could actually do this).
Barbarrossa thinks he doesn't want the mash to spend too much time below alpha-amylase activation temp unless he wants a drier beer.
BigEd seems to think a ramped infusion temp would be okay, but wants to dough in at about 128°F to begin.
Jerrylotto likes the two-step mash, and I've had good luck with those as well.
So I'm not hearing any compelling reason to try just heating everything up from room temp, and a bit of caution about it as well. So I think I probably will not change my MO, unless anyone wants to encourage me ... I mean I'm not really into a Beersperiment that might ruin 5 gallons :oops:
 

BigEd

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BigEd seems to think a ramped infusion temp would be okay, but wants to dough in at about 128°F to begin.
:oops:
You can do it if you want to but I can think of no practical reason why it should be done for a batch of homebrew. The reason I suggested 128F to start is that nothing below that is going to accomplish anything worthwhile with modern malted barley. Again, do it whatever way you wish. Our validation is not necessary.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I am just wondering whether it makes any sense at all for a 5-gal batch home brewer to dump the grist into the water and heat it up to whatever mash temp. you want (I am a BIAB-er so, mashing in the kettle, I could actually do this).
I have been doing single infusion mashing almost exclusively for many years...but I can add

The info that I have is that Saison Dupont is made with a steadily rising mash temp. It is a pretty darn good beer. Fermentability is a goal though, so it might not be the best fit for all styles. It also might be a better fit for European Pils vs North American grains.

Brulosophy did a similar experiment that turned out non-significant as I recall (I recalled wrong...this one was a significant finding): The Mash: Single Infusion vs. Rising Temperature | exBEERiment Results!

I could see it as an interesting way to save time (if it in fact does save time).
 
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beerisyummy

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You can do it if you want to but I can think of no practical reason why it should be done for a batch of homebrew. The reason I suggested 128F to start is that nothing below that is going to accomplish anything worthwhile with modern malted barley. Again, do it whatever way you wish. Our validation is not necessary.
How liberating! :ghostly:
 
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beerisyummy

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I have been doing single infusion mashing almost exclusively for many years...but I can add

The info that I have is that Saison Dupont is made with a steadily rising mash temp. It is a pretty darn good beer. Fermentability is a goal though, so it might not be the best fit for all styles. It also might be a better fit for European Pils vs North American grains.

Brulosophy did a similar experiment that turned out non-significant as I recall (I recalled wrong...this one was a significant finding): The Mash: Single Infusion vs. Rising Temperature | exBEERiment Results!

I could see it as an interesting way to save time (if it in fact does save time).
ooooooo this is great. Love these guys who have the extra equipment to make two batches!
So cherry-picking from the article, here's what strikes me:
"I fully expected the raised mash temperature beer to be overly dry and thin with a higher OG compared to the single infusion beer, but that’s not at all how things turned out."
and
"Of the 14 correct tasters, 9 chose the single infusion beer as their most preferred, 2 liked the raised mash temperature beer more, and 3 reported no difference having no preference despite perceiving a difference."
So, I *might* try it sometime just for giggles ... or I may just not. Didn't appear to hurt anything in this xBmt but also didn't necessarily make better beer.
And I don't think it would be a huge time-saver for me actually as my MO is to grind the grain whilst heating the mash water.
Thanks for that link!
 
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