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Who decided on 154F and how?

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Soulive

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Since its the starting point for mash temps, who came up with it and how? We all know going down means drier and going up means maltier, but how did 154F become the middle ground? Was it researched for years by old school brewers?
 

cubbies

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I dunno. I rarely mash that high honestly. I am usually in the 152 range. My heavier beers like my stouts, I will mash around 154, but my pales, bitters and wheats are usually around 151-152. I have even done a couple mashes around 149.
 

Beerrific

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John Palmer says it is simply the 'middle' ground for the activity of alpha and beta amylase. The optimum ranges for these enzymes were undoubtedly researched in a lab, but I have feeling that they were well known through mashing experiments first.
 

TexLaw

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I don't agree that 154F is the starting point or even the midpoint. I tend to think like Cubbes, that 152 is more like it. I learned that you can mash anywhere from 146-158, although I rarely see anyone mash below 150. Really, I don't think of any sort or starting point with mashing.

154 seems fairly popular around here, but this place isn't the be-all, end-all store of brewing knowledge. :)

Step away to avoid the lightening, folks. It's only meant for me.


TL
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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TexLaw said:
I don't agree that 154F is the starting point or even the midpoint. I tend to think like Cubbes, that 152 is more like it. I learned that you can mash anywhere from 146-158, although I rarely see anyone mash below 150. Really, I don't think of any sort or starting point with mashing.

154 seems fairly popular around here, but this place isn't the be-all, end-all store of brewing knowledge. :)

Step away to avoid the lightening, folks. It's only meant for me.


TL
I'm not saying 154F is my middle ground. I'm more like 152-153F as I like my beers closer to the dry side. But the probrewers I've spoken to seem to think 154F is the middle ground. My question is still, who decided this and why?
 

TexLaw

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Again, I do not think anyone decided upon 154F as a starting point for planning universal mashes. Some individual brewers may think along those lines, and others may not. I do not.

It is certainly a middle range, and no one decided that, either. As Beerrific showed, 154F is a good compromise point for alpha and beta amylases to do their things at the same time. That is just the way the enzymes work. You can achieve the same result with rests at 145-46F and 158-60F, but that is more time, work, and complexity. So, compromise with 154F.


TL
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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TexLaw said:
Again, I do not think anyone decided upon 154F as a starting point for planning universal mashes. Some individual brewers may think along those lines, and others may not. I do not.

It is certainly a middle range, and no one decided that, either. As Beerrific showed, 154F is a good compromise point for alpha and beta amylases to do their things at the same time. That is just the way the enzymes work. You can achieve the same result with rests at 145-46F and 158-60F, but that is more time, work, and complexity. So, compromise with 154F.


TL
Do you think the level of modification has changed things? Obviously the malt is different today than it was 20 years ago...
 

jdoiv

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No, the enzymes are only going to work in those ranges. No matter how the malt is modified, it isn't going to change how the enzyme works. You may have more enzymes with newer malting procedures, but they work the same. There is a great article in the wiki that discusses all the enzymes in detail. I read it yesterday and learned a few interesting tidbits.
 

david_42

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It isn't a matter of someone "deciding" to set a temperature. The mash temperature determines the unfermentable/fermentable profile. This is basic to the process and not subject to the whims of the brewer. If someone wants a maltier profile, they mash at 154F or even higher. Too high and the enzymes denature. Too low and the starches don't completely gelatinize.
 

TexLaw

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Soulive said:
Do you think the level of modification has changed things? Obviously the malt is different today than it was 20 years ago...
It may have, since highly modified malt allows a brewer to do single step infusion. If you can avoid a protein rest, why not avoid an extra saccharification rest, too? Single-step infusion mashing has helped a lot of small brewers work their way into the market.

Highly modified malt has been available for a very, very long time in the UK, so you have to look far back beyond 20 years to see the difference, though.


TL
 

Bobby_M

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I've been generally unhappy with single rests at 154 or higher. The ferments stall out on me up in the 1.017-1.020 area and that's on a 1.055 or so OG beer (and I inject 02 and pitch well). I know, people want body etc but I think a rather full body on an OG that low is something like 1.014-15. Maybe I just don't know how to balance them out properly but that's just my experience. APAs and IPAs have been getting the 152F rest lately and I like it.
 

CBBaron

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Bobby_M said:
I've been generally unhappy with single rests at 154 or higher. The ferments stall out on me up in the 1.017-1.020 area and that's on a 1.055 or so OG beer (and I inject 02 and pitch well). I know, people want body etc but I think a rather full body on an OG that low is something like 1.014-15. Maybe I just don't know how to balance them out properly but that's just my experience. APAs and IPAs have been getting the 152F rest lately and I like it.
I really like my porters, stouts and brown ales to finish in that 1.017+ range. I guess I just have a taste for full bodied beers. But then again I seldom drink more than 2 at a sitting so filling up an being bloated from beer isn't usually a problem.
Thats not to say that I don't prefer my Belgians and IPAs to finish a little dryer.

Craig
 

ohiobrewtus

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I use 154 as a standard for most of my brews and I've been pretty happy with it so far.
 

Kaiser

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I think Jamil is to blame for that one :)

He has been saying that this is his sweetspot. But he also says that this may change from brewer to brewer. So you shouldn't feel bad if your beers come out better at 152. At the end you target a limit of attenuation and not a mash temp. But to figure that out you have to start somewhere. 154 is a good starting point and so is 152.

disastatic power does affect fernmentability simply by the fact that you will have more beta amylase at the beginning of the mash. That's why you won't get the same limit of attenuation for 100% Pale vs. 100% Munich mashes when mashed at the same temperature.

Kai
 

Moonpile

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What would be the effect of a stepped mash that starts squarely in the Beta range, say 140F, then goes up to the Alpha range, say 156-157F?
 

pjj2ba

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jdoiv said:
No, the enzymes are only going to work in those ranges. No matter how the malt is modified, it isn't going to change how the enzyme works. You may have more enzymes with newer malting procedures, but they work the same. There is a great article in the wiki that discusses all the enzymes in detail. I read it yesterday and learned a few interesting tidbits.
Just to clarify this. The boxes in the chart represent the OPTIMAL activity range, not the limits of activity. All of the enzymes in that table will work at temperatures below those in the boxes. What is important is the upper temperature limit, once that is passed the enzyme is inactivated. The barley seed uses these proteins during germination and they like to grow in cooler conditions. One could mash at 60 F and all of these enzymes would be active, just maybe not it a pattern than would make great tasting beer. It would take longer too, but it would work.
 

Kaiser

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Moonpile said:
What would be the effect of a stepped mash that starts squarely in the Beta range, say 140F, then goes up to the Alpha range, say 156-157F?
That's the 2 step saccrification that most German breweries do. As TexLaw said, it depends on the length of each rest.

I'm always surprised to see German homebrewers doubt the effectiveness of a single step saccrification rest and American homebrewers doubt the effectiveness of a multistep sacc rest.

For a while now I have been on a quest to find out which of the mash schedules (single rest vs. multi rest saccrification) is more predictable when it comes to the limit of attenuation of the produced wort. The idea behind this is that it is easier for the home-brewer to control time than temperature. The LoA (limit of attenuation) for the single stage saccrification is fairly sensitive to the actual mashing temperature and being 1 *F off can make a significant difference. If the LoA for the 2 step saccrification is less sensitive to the actual rest temperatures but mostly determined by the length of the 1st rest (called Maltose Rest), then it should be easier to hit a desired LoA by controlling the length of that rest vs. the temp of a single sacc rest.

To this day I don't have a definitive answer to this and are pretty happy with the control that I have over the single saccrification rest. Mostly b/c I can hit its temp fairly precisely by hot water infusions and having a thin mash that is easy to stir.

Kai
 

TexLaw

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Kai, I've had a couple two-step saccharification rests on accident, due to missing a mash temperature on the low side and then adjusting with either an infusion or a pseudo-decoction (i.e., small, brief, and without regard for conversion). From that small, uncontrolled, anecdotal sample, I did not notice a signficant difference from a single step.

I expect that I would not find much difference if I ever really studied and worked on an experiment, but I would rather just brew something. :)


TL
 

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The point that brewers differ is an important one. But when you start out you should pick a temp and then go from there. I was a 150 brewer for years, and still often go there. I like 154, but it is on my upper range. Other brewers are very different. I have also become a single step brewer 98% of the time. The grains allow it and actually almost dictate it. But there again, I see it as a brewer to brewer thing. Really, whatever works for you. Kai's point about Jamil's influence is probably the most accurate on the 154 front. It is hard to argue with success like he has had, but as he says, play around with the temps yourself and see what works.

There are so many variables that it can be easy to get lost in the haze. My advice is go slowly and methodically so that you are making choices based on your experience and not based on what somebody else tells you.
 

TexLaw

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Brewpastor said:
There are so many variables that it can be easy to get lost in the haze. My advice is go slowly and methodically so that you are making choices based on your experience and not based on what somebody else tells you.
Absolutely, and let me add a little something to what you said. Unless you pursue some commercial or stylistic goal, you need to brew what you want. If you don't like your AIPA sort of thing mashed at 150, or you want to mash your stout at 149, go nuts. I can argue with Jamil's success, in that there is no medal that tells me what I actually like and do not like. I've scored beers in the 40s for a competition, even though I did not like them. Oh, I appreciated them for the outstanding beers they were, but that did not mean I wanted any more than the few ounces I judged.

It's a matter of brewing for your audience. If it is the beer buying consumer, you need to figure out what will sell easily and how you can go about marketing the rest. If it is a BJCP judging panel, then you should understand the current trends in the different regions. If your audience is you, though, you just brew what makes you smile.


TL
 

Donasay

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I came up with 154, I got sick of step mashing and decoction mashing and said darn it I need to just pick a temperature and mash there. Boom 154 jumped into my head as it seemed like the perfect number. From that point on I went out and told all the companies making malt to malt in such a way as to ensure that everything worked out when brewers mash at 154 and they did that at my bidding. Don't use any number other than 154 or your beer will be cursed and die a horrible death by being filtered through a human liver and flushed down the toilet.
 

Brewpastor

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Donasay said:
I came up with 154, I got sick of step mashing and decoction mashing and said darn it I need to just pick a temperature and mash there. Boom 154 jumped into my head as it seemed like the perfect number. From that point on I went out and told all the companies making malt to malt in such a way as to ensure that everything worked out when brewers mash at 154 and they did that at my bidding. Don't use any number other than 154 or your beer will be cursed and die a horrible death by being filtered through a human liver and flushed down the toilet.
Thank you. Now I know who to blaim for screwing up all the malt so it no longer works with my 150 mash temp. I will be sending you the bill for all that wasted grain.
 
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