Mashing at single temperature vs step mashing

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sup3rh3ro

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Hi guys

it's been a while but I just ordered hops and grains for some new brews! My partner wanted to try some of the brew dog recipes so I thought, why not.

I'm not a beer brew expert at all but I've had some successful brews. I usually do step mashing with rests at several different temperatures to try and get the most of the mash. This usually means that mashing takes a while, too, but I don't mind. The brew dog recipes however are very different. They only set a short mash at one temperature, for example for 30 mins at 64°C for a 4.8% IPA. It does sound very short, and it does worry me, especially with it being just one temperature. What's your take on this?
 

VikeMan

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30 minutes at 64C should be more than long enough for pretty much any reasonable grain bill, reasonably well crushed, to reach full conversion.

However, full conversion just means conversion of all starches into things that are not starches, which includes fully fermentable sugars, partially fermentable complex sugars, and unfermentable higher dextrins. A longer mash will further break down some of the unfermentable/less fermentable stuff into more fermentable stuff.

In the case of the recipe you're going to make, I would have to assume that the recipe's authors were aware that a 30 minute mash will make a less fermentable wort (resulting in a higher final gravity and higher lower ABV) than a longer mash, and that that's what they wanted.
 
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sup3rh3ro

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30 minutes at 64C should be more than long enough for pretty much any reasonable grain bill, reasonably well crushed, to reach full conversion.

However, full conversion just means conversion of all starches into things that are not starches, which includes fully fermentable sugars, partially fermentable complex sugars, and unfermentable higher dextrins. A longer mash will further break down some of the unfermentable/less fermentable stuff into more fermentable stuff.

In the case of the recipe you're going to make, I would have to assume that the recipe's authors were aware that a 30 minute mash will make a less fermentable wort (resulting in a higher final gravity and higher ABV) than a longer mash, and that that's what they wanted.
Thank you! This is really interesting. I always (wrongly ?) thought that the longer you mash and the more starches you can get out of the grains, the higher the OG and the higher the ABV will be in the end. Is that not the case?
 

VikeMan

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Thank you! This is really interesting. I always (wrongly ?) thought that the longer you mash and the more starches you can get out of the grains, the higher the OG and the higher the ABV will be in the end. Is that not the case?

If a longer mash continues to increase the OG, it's because conversion was not yet complete. But no properly executed mash should be leaving significant amounts of starch unconverted.
 
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sup3rh3ro

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If a longer mash continues to increase the OG, it's because conversion was not yet complete. But no properly executed mash should be leaving significant amounts of starch unconverted.
Ok. Would you then just stick to the recipe?

Also do you have experience with step mashing and how it compares to single temp mashing? I know that it is widely used in homebrewing in Germany for example. And I personally have only had good results with it - but I only did one (my first) beer with a single temp mash
 

VikeMan

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Ok. Would you then just stick to the recipe?

If I wanted to make the same beer, or at least as close as possible, and if I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the recipe, yes.

Also do you have experience with step mashing and how it compares to single temp mashing? I know that it is widely used in homebrewing in Germany for example. And I personally have only had good results with it - but I only did one (my first) beer with a single temp mash

Yes I've done a fair amount of step mashes, for various reasons. But the term "step mash" covers a lot a possibilities. What do you mean by it, specifically? But just a few thoughts in general:

- Acid rests are almost never needed (or even useful) unless you are making a hefeweizen (or similar beer) and want to produce more ferulic acid for the (appropriate strain of) yeast to turn into 4VG (the compound that smells/tastes like clove),

- Protein rests are almost obsolete, unless you are using very low modified malts from a boutique maltster. Protein rests turn large proteins into smaller proteins, polypeptides, etc. The reason they are almost obsolete is that well modified malts have already had that work done during malting, and doing it again can break the proteins down to the point that body and foam retention is hurt. The only reason I would do a protein rest with well modified malts would be if I had a problem with unwanted haze with a certain recipe, or for some reason wanted to get the absolute thinnest body possible.

- Multiple Saccharification rests, for example a "beta" rest at (say) 144F and an "alpha" rest at (say) 156F, rather than a single saccharification rest, can yield a more fermentable wort, if that's the goal.

- Glycoprotein rests (at ~162F or so) can enhance foam retention.

- Mash Out (at ~168-170F) can denature enzymes and help "lock in" the wort's current sugar/dextrin profile, which is particularly useful if it's going to take a while (perhaps a variable amount of time, depending on the weather if brewing outside) to heat the wort in the boil kettle.
 

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In the case of the recipe you're going to make, I would have to assume that the recipe's authors were aware that a 30 minute mash will make a less fermentable wort (resulting in a higher final gravity and higher ABV) than a longer mash, and that that's what they wanted.
I understand how a less fermentable wort results in a higher FG; but how does it result in higher ABV? - not disagreeing- just confused, (which lately is all-too-frequent in my case!)
 

VikeMan

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I understand how a less fermentable wort results in a higher FG; but how does it result in higher ABV? - not disagreeing- just confused, (which lately is all-too-frequent in my case!)

Good catch. Thanks! It was a "typo." I fixed it to make the post safe for future googlers.
 

AlexKay

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If I wanted to make the same beer, or at least as close as possible, and if I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the recipe, yes.



Yes I've done a fair amount of step mashes, for various reasons. But the term "step mash" covers a lot a possibilities. What do you mean by it, specifically? But just a few thoughts in general:

- Acid rests are almost never needed (or even useful) unless you are making a hefeweizen (or similar beer) and want to produce more ferulic acid for the (appropriate strain of) yeast to turn into 4VG (the compound that smells/tastes like clove),

- Protein rests are almost obsolete, unless you are using very low modified malts from a boutique maltster. Protein rests turn large proteins into smaller proteins, polypeptides, etc. The reason they are almost obsolete is that well modified malts have already had that work done during malting, and doing it again can break the proteins down to the point that body and foam retention is hurt. The only reason I would do a protein rest with well modified malts would be if I had a problem with unwanted haze with a certain recipe, or for some reason wanted to get the absolute thinnest body possible.

- Multiple Saccharification rests, for example a "beta" rest at (say) 144F and an "alpha" rest at (say) 156F, rather than a single saccharification rest, can yield a more fermentable wort, if that's the goal.

- Glycoprotein rests (at ~162F or so) can enhance foam retention.

- Mash Out (at ~168-170F) can denature enzymes and help "lock in" the wort's current sugar/dextrin profile, which is particularly useful if it's going to take a while (perhaps a variable amount of time, depending on the weather if brewing outside) to heat the wort in the boil kettle.
TL, DR: single temperature infusions are the best choice for beginners, and a totally reasonable choice for everyone else, at least for many styles.

Hochkurz (beta and alpha saccharification rests) might help sometimes if you’re looking for a lot of attenuation. Maybe. I haven’t noticed a big difference.
 

bwible

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64C (147) is lower than some of our recipes call for. People would say Miller at 147. Beginners especially are usually told to aim for about 155 (68C) for ales. 147 would at least in theory produce a more fermentable wort than a higher temp like 155, even over the 30 min. I do step mashes for lagers. I have an Anvil foundry which makes it easy to do. Most of the time for ales I shoot for 152 (66C) if I’m only doing one temp rest. But I almost always do 60 min. Depends on what the recipe is.
 

hotbeer

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I've only done single temp. Never a step mash.

So far, I have not found anything lacking or any need for a slightly more complicated step mash. But what type beer you are brewing might lean more toward a stepped mash.

I also don't think that I understand well enough what the different temps might do for the enzymatic action that goes on at different temps with my specific blend of malts. So that's another thing that keeps me at one temp.

I only brew Ales, IPA's and similar Most of it BIAB.
 

Brooothru

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64C (147) is lower than some of our recipes call for. People would say Miller at 147. Beginners especially are usually told to aim for about 155 (68C) for ales. 147 would at least in theory produce a more fermentable wort than a higher temp like 155, even over the 30 min. I do step mashes for lagers. I have an Anvil foundry which makes it easy to do. Most of the time for ales I shoot for 152 (66C) if I’m only doing one temp rest. But I almost always do 60 min. Depends on what the recipe is.
I always do Hoch-Kurz step mashes. Why? Because I can.

Controlling mash times and temperatures between Beta and Alpha max rests allows me to affect not only attenuation but also body and perceived dryness or maltiness. By hitting the best temperatures for both enzymes you can get the best of both worlds and shape the final beer to more than just ABV %.

It only takes a minute or two to program the PID controller, and my mashes are seldom longer than 1:15 hr., including a :15 minute mashout at 70°C.
 
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