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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: roguejim on July 17, 2012, 02:50:48 pm

Title: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 17, 2012, 02:50:48 pm
In Jamil/Palmer's Classic Styles book, there is a hefe recipe that uses a single infusion mash. Is this the best way to go for a hefe? I'm not looking for the easiest way, but the best. I wonder if there have been any triangle tests comparing hefes brewed with single infusion, step mashes, and decoction...

In reality, I think I would consider a step mash if I was convinced that it would produce a better hefe.  Not ready for decoction, yet...I did a search and found this below.  Are all these steps of equal importance?  And, how long for each step?

"...The flavor benefits from ferulic acid formation at the 95-113F temp range, which promotes the banana/clove characteristic in the yeast profile (and it also helps lower pH for the mash as well as providing a tartness in the finish).  A 122F-131F step helps break proteins down to shorter chains for better head formation and retention. A beta rest (140s) helps develop fermentables and a 154F rest will provide dextrins and mouth feel..."
Title: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: majorvices on July 17, 2012, 09:16:56 pm
IME a ferulic acid rest may help help pronounce some clove characteristic. It's hard to say exactly since it is nothing I have ever done side by side, but it seems to give me more clove-like phenols. Some breweries also do a protease rest to help break down the beta glucans and help the lauter go easier. I don't bother with it, personally. I have brewed some great weissbiers employing a double decoction. But it is a hell of a lot of work. I'm lazy now and the last few I have brewed have all been single infusion, with satisfactory results.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: euge on July 17, 2012, 11:51:40 pm
My last was fermented at 60-62 instead of my normal 65F. The phenols were significantly more pronounced and I wasn't very impressed with the beer.

Didn't employ a step mash so can't comment as to the effectiveness, but if Jamil suggests it should be done then it might be worth investigating. FWIW I've only done single infusions with decoctions and feel this gives satisfactory results.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 18, 2012, 01:16:24 am
Well, the recipe in Jamil's book employs a single infusion-no step mash or decoction.  But, it seems like the guys who brew hefes on a regular basis, seem to use a combo of step mashes and decoctions.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: mmitchem on July 18, 2012, 06:30:49 am
I heard Jamil once say that he couldn't really tell a big difference between decoction mashing and single infusion, so he goes with the easier method of single infusion. Opinions vary on this topic, so experiment and see if you can tell a difference, and in turn find out which method you prefer.
Most guys I know do step mashes on Hefe's FWIW...
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: dbarber on July 18, 2012, 06:35:41 am
I've done both a triple decoction and a 2-step mash (111 and 152) and although I didn't taste them side by side both were excellent.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: thebigbaker on July 18, 2012, 07:00:55 am
I've done several Hefe brews with batch sparge/single infusion method and they have all turned out great.  My brew set up doesn't allow me to do step mash easily, so I've never attempted to do so.  Interested to hear if a step mash does make a significant difference in a Hefe.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 18, 2012, 07:30:29 am
http://braukaiser.com/lifetype2/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=130&blogId=1

"Conclusion: For the chosen yeast holding the ferulic acid rest didn't make any noticeable difference in the clove flavor that was produced during fermentation. While additional experiments should be made to confirm these findings it is very much possible that this rest is not worth the additional work. "
Title: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: majorvices on July 18, 2012, 07:40:40 am
http://braukaiser.com/lifetype2/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=130&blogId=1

"Conclusion: For the chosen yeast holding the ferulic acid rest didn't make any noticeable difference in the clove flavor that was produced during fermentation. While additional experiments should be made to confirm these findings it is very much possible that this rest is not worth the additional work. "

Yeah, I remember Kai posting those findings. I'm not sure that his findings match my experience. Ferulic acid rest does seem to increase the clove-like phenols to me. I do agreee that yeast selection and fermentation temp is more important. I certainly do enjoy my single infusion weissbiers but the double decoction, step mash with ferulic acid rest always just seemed to be better.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on July 18, 2012, 07:45:31 am
I think with a beer this dependent on yeast character, the fermentation schedule is more important than the mash schedule.

As with Belgian strains, the beer's character can be dialed in with fermentation temp, pitch rate, and O2 concentration.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 18, 2012, 08:09:40 am
Here's an interesting thread to read through, in case any of your missed it: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=9206.15

I'm going to copy and paste what Ron said, because I thought it was really interesting:
I want to get the 4-vinyl guiacol or clove like phenol. An acid rest at 111F helps to produce ferulic acid which helps promote 4VG upon fermentation.

F. Nitzsche

Investigations into Optimizing Wheat Beer QualityBrauwelt, Vol32, 8 Aug 1991
•The taste and smell threshold is 0.8 mg of 4VG/L
•4VG levels over 2 mg/L bring a strong/severe character to the beer
•The fact that the levels of ferulicacid can fluctuate widely in malt can effect the levels of 4VG in beer
•As a rule, wheat malt has less ferulicthan barley malt
•The highest levels of 4VG occur after the final limit of attenuation is reached
•More 4VG is present when the final limit of attenuation is reached in 4 days as opposed to 2 days
•The levels of 4VG don’t decrease significantly with the age of the beer, although other staling by-products may cover up the taste of 4VG
Here's an intersting paper on German Wheat Beers.

Pitching rate and ferm temp are critical for producing that classic German profile in this beer:

Dr. Narziss
16thTechnological Seminar at Weihenstephan1983
Fermentation
•Pitching Rate 12-18 million cells/ml
•Starting Temperature 12-15 C (lower starting temps more common when starting tank is used to settle cold truband then transfer to fermenterbefore start of fermentation where free rise occurs)
•Max temperature 18-22 C
•Main fermentation is 2-4 days
•Maximum Cell count is 60-80 millionBottle Conditioning
•Lager yeast is less likely to autolyzeand settles better
•If top-fermenting yeast is used, shelf life should be limited to 4-6 weeksFermenterShape
•Cylindrical tanks produce only 2/3 the esters of shallow open fermenters
•Horizontal tanks perform like open fermenters

http://www.mbaa.com/Districts/MidSouth/presentations/Wheat_Beer_Yeast__Fermentation2.pdf
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 18, 2012, 08:17:29 am
I wonder how much ferulic acid as actually generated during the ferulic acid rest. If barley generally has more ferulic acid, would a ferulic rest with a 70/30 wheat/barley split have more or less ferulic acid than a single infusion with a 50/50 split? 

The pitching rate is interesting. "Common knowledge" seems to be that underpitching increases ester formation. For a 1.050 hefe I'd bet most people would pitch around 9m/ml, so Narziss' recomendation is quite a lot higher than most people would pitch. I'm sure Narziss is assuming a high level of yeast health, too, so in a homebrew setting you might want even more yeast.

Bottling with lager yeast is something Eric Warner mentioned in his book. Dried lager yeast is kind of pricey for bottle conditioning, so I haven't tried it, but that might be something to look into.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: mmitchem on July 18, 2012, 08:28:49 am
I also remember watching a Northern Brewer video with Wyeast who said that your pitching rate will affect the flavor of the beer. If you underpitch you get banana, overpitch and get clove...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEkwp_2Yezo&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: macbrews on July 18, 2012, 08:30:05 am
Man, I didn't realize how prolific Nietzsche was.....Philosopher, poet, brewer........

F. Nitzsche

Investigations into Optimizing Wheat Beer QualityBrauwelt, Vol32, 8 Aug 1991
•The taste and smell threshold is 0.8 mg of 4VG/L
•4VG levels over 2 mg/L bring a strong/severe character to the beer
•The fact that the levels of ferulicacid can fluctuate widely in malt can effect the levels of 4VG in beer
•As a rule, wheat malt has less ferulicthan barley malt
•The highest levels of 4VG occur after the final limit of attenuation is reached
•More 4VG is present when the final limit of attenuation is reached in 4 days as opposed to 2 days
•The levels of 4VG don’t decrease significantly with the age of the beer, although other staling by-products may cover up the taste of 4VG
Here's an intersting paper on German Wheat Beers.

Pitching rate and ferm temp are critical for producing that classic German profile in this beer:

Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 19, 2012, 05:54:15 am
I was planning on making another batch of weizen soon. Over on the HBD board I saw Chris White recommends 5-7m/ml for a weizen. I've never tried pitching one that low, or as high as what Narziss recommends. It sounds like an experiment is in order. It wouldn't be too hard to do a split batch and see which one turns out better.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: hulkavitch on July 19, 2012, 08:41:43 am
I swear in the bavarian hefe podcast of the Jamil show he said ferulic acid is the precurser to the banana character not the clove.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: morticaixavier on July 19, 2012, 09:12:49 am
I swear in the bavarian hefe podcast of the Jamil show he said ferulic acid is the precurser to the banana character not the clove.

If he did he misspoke. but that's no biggie. it happens.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: erockrph on July 19, 2012, 09:22:46 am
I was planning on making another batch of weizen soon. Over on the HBD board I saw Chris White recommends 5-7m/ml for a weizen. I've never tried pitching one that low, or as high as what Narziss recommends. It sounds like an experiment is in order. It wouldn't be too hard to do a split batch and see which one turns out better.

It would be interesting to further split things out and ferment each of them at different temps. It would be nice to see what makes a bigger difference - temperature or pitching rate, and also whether the two are additive or whether you max out on phenols or esters at a certain point.

FWIW - I typically pitch 1 smackpack of 3638 with no starter for a 5-gallon batch of a 1.050ish weizen, which is right at the lower end of the range Chris White gives. Fermenting at 64-65 gives some real nice phenols (clove with a bit of cinnamon/vanilla) but the banana is still there. I couldn't keep the temp down as well as I wanted on my last batch and it ended up fermenting at 68F. I lost most of the phenols, but didn't get as much banana as I would have liked either. These have all been extract batches, so YMMV.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: majorvices on July 19, 2012, 11:03:08 am
I swear in the bavarian hefe podcast of the Jamil show he said ferulic acid is the precurser to the banana character not the clove.

If he did he misspoke. but that's no biggie. it happens.

+1 - the ferulic acid is the precursor to the 4 vinyl guaiacol which is the clove-like phenol predominant in hefeweizens.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: thcipriani on July 20, 2012, 12:43:17 am
I was planning on making another batch of weizen soon. Over on the HBD board I saw Chris White recommends 5-7m/ml for a weizen. I've never tried pitching one that low, or as high as what Narziss recommends. It sounds like an experiment is in order. It wouldn't be too hard to do a split batch and see which one turns out better.

What I've always thought was weird is that Dan Gordon has said he pitches at 6E6/mL in a hefe AND his original doctoral project was to translate Narziss into English. Why would someone who studied directly under Narziss, who still follows the Rheinhisgibot, go against tradition/teachings like that? I really think the presentation that is quoting Narziss is MISquoting him.

Also, the Eric Warner book quotes many modern German breweries pitching roughly 7E6/mL.

I brewed 2 hefes back-to-back both 1.048—one at 20E6/mL one at 6E6/mL. The idea was that since there would be less Acetyl Co-A used in cell sterol production (in the 20E6/mL) there would be more available for the production of esters (in conjunction with alcohol)—basically, I thought that under pitching was a bad idea and I wanted to prove it to myself.

I ended up proving the exact opposite. The 20E6/mL hef was initially sulfury and then just insipid—boring, some clove, nothing much as far as yeast character really. The 6E6/mL was beautiful—great balance, really nice.

I saw some slides from Neva Parker recently that showed a very wide range of pitching rates that all resulted in the same terminal gravity. Frankly, I think that homebrewers ought to play with pitching rate a bit more. Pitching rate has become a bit too dogmatic recently.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 20, 2012, 06:50:59 am
Also, the Eric Warner book quotes many modern German breweries pitching roughly 7E6/mL.

Which book? In German Wheat Beer he states pitching rate should be 10-15m/ml on page 71, and again on page 97.

FWIW he also says you should experiment with fermentation parameters to dial in the flavor you want, but he only lists stuff like temp, open/closed vessels, and wort gravity. He doesn't suggest the pitching rate is one of the variables you should adjust.

For anyone interested, here's an experiment Kai did on this topic: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Experiment_Pitching_Rate_and_Oxygenation
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: thcipriani on July 20, 2012, 11:27:01 am
Also, the Eric Warner book quotes many modern German breweries pitching roughly 7E6/mL.

Which book? In German Wheat Beer he states pitching rate should be 10-15m/ml on page 71, and again on page 97.

FWIW he also says you should experiment with fermentation parameters to dial in the flavor you want, but he only lists stuff like temp, open/closed vessels, and wort gravity. He doesn't suggest the pitching rate is one of the variables you should adjust.

For anyone interested, here's an experiment Kai did on this topic: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Experiment_Pitching_Rate_and_Oxygenation

hmm...
Thought it was German Wheat Beer—definitely in Brewing With Wheat—the part where he talks about Franziskaner (also, possibly, in the section on New Glarus—I'll double check all these sources when I get home tonight).

In any event, when I did my 20E6/mL vs 6E6/mL I emailed Wyeast and it jived with some experiments they did. Hopefully, they won't mind me posting the text in the entirety (hopefully no one on this thread mind, too :))Text below:

Quote
-----Original Message-----
From: thcipriani@gmail.com [mailto:thcipriani@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:40 PM
To: Customerservice
Subject: Question From Wyeast Labs website for I have general question.


QUESTION:
Hello,

I have a question that pertains to Wyeast 3068 and other of the 'plastic' yeasts that may produce sulfur. I know that these yeast have a propensity to produce sulfur; however, I don't know what makes certain fermentation schemes produce a greater amount of sulfur.

One of my current theories is that older yeast cells have a greater propensity to produce sulfur. I recently pitched a (12°P) hefeweiss beer with 20 million cells/mL and that fermentation was very sulfury. I'm using that information along with a a paper I read from the MBAA recently (it was from 1999, IIRC) that said a beer with a higher pitching rate has a greater amount of older cells in the finished beer since the final cell volume of the finished beer was the same regardless of pitching rate.

Can you provide any info on the 3068 yeast and sulfur  production. Also, can you confirm that these yeast are slightly more elongated than the typical round fat yeast cells when viewed under a microscope. Or is the slightly elongated appearance indicative of something else?

Thanks!

FROM:
Tyler Cipriani thcipriani@gmail.com 80501

-----------------------------------------------
On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM, Labservices <Labservices@wyeastlab.com> wrote:
Hey Tyler,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.  We don't have info on sulfur production specifically related to 3068.  One thing we know is  3068 does not store well after fermentation.  It will die off quickly.  This coincides with your info on population dynamics with respect to older populations of yeast when using higher pitch rates.  For this strain, it is advised to use low pitch rates around 6 million cells/ml to promote ester production, specifically isoamyl acetate.  At the pitch rates you mentioned, this ester will be at low levels.  Possibly so low that you will not get the banana or bubblegum aromas desired with this strain.

As for cell morphology, yes, it is very normal for the cells to be elongated.  Also, this strain is a chain-former, so it is common to see large groups of attached cells.

Let me know if this answers your questions.


Jess Caudill
Brewer/Microbiologist
Wyeast Laboratories, Inc.
P.O. Box 146
Odell, OR  97044  USA
Phone:  541-354-1335   Fax:  541-354-3449
jess@wyeastlab.com
www.wyeastlab.com

-----------------------------------------------
From: Tyler Cipriani [mailto:thcipriani@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 9:31 AM
To: Labservices
Subject: Re: Question From Wyeast Labs website for I have general question.
 
Hey Jess,
 
Quick followup question about yeast growth and ester formation. You stated that 6 million cells/ml would promote ester production; however, I've read some conflicting information about this.
 
During intra cellular ester formation, from my reading I've surmised, enzymatic reactions create esters using alcohol and an acid - typically, Acetyl CoA. While many authors tend to agree that increased biomass production (i.e. creation of cell walls) reduces the Acetyl CoA that is available for ester production and leads to reduced ester levels in the beer (Narziss 2005, Cone, Noonan 1996, Fix 1999) authors differ with respect to ester production and yeast growth. Fix (Fix 1999) writes that any, "increased activity on the acetyl CoA branch", whatever that means, will increase ester production while other authors (Narziss 2005, Cone) state that increased yeast growth leads to a decrease in esters since more of the acetyl CoA is used for sterol synthesis.
 
Is there more consensus on this topic now? Overall I'm confused about it - hence pitching a hefe (that I normally pitch around 7x10^6 cells/ml ) with double that rate - I was trying to get an increase in esters; however, the excess sulfur production made this "experiment" inconclusive.
 
Thanks for all your help! I just re-read my email and realized that customers like me are likely a giant pain in the ass.
 
Thanks Again,
Tyler
 
Sources:
--------
Cone - http://www.danstaryeast.com/library/yeast-growth
Fix - George J. Fix Ph.D, Principles of Brewing Science, Brewers Publications, Boulder CO, 1999
Narziss - Prof. Dr. agr. Ludwig Narziss, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Werner Back, Technische Universitaet Muenchen (Fakultaet fuer Brauwesen, Weihenstephan), Abriss der Bierbrauerei. WILEY-VCH Verlags GmbH Weinheim Germany, 2005
Noonan - Gregory J. Noonan, New Brewing Lager Beer, Brewers Publications, Boulder CO, 1996
------------------------------------------
Tyler,
 
Yes, customers like you are a total pain in the as[sic].  Just kidding.
 
I am definitely aware of the articles and text that describes lower ester production with higher yeast growth.  But, as you know, what actually happens in practice and what books say and experiments show can be completely different things.  We ran trials using 3068 at pitch rates of 3, 6, 12 and 24 million cells per ml.  The 3 and 6 had strong banana aromas, the 12 million had very slight banana aroma and 24 million and no banana, and for a completely non-technical description, tasted like crap.  More specifically, it had a strong styrene aroma along with burnt aromas.
 
Once we conducted these trials, we helped a ton of breweries refine the flavor profile of beers made from this strain.  Basically most of the breweries were pitching the correct amount on the initial pitch from us.  Upon repitching, they were losing the banana aroma completely.  Most were reptiching 2-3 times the pitch rate of the original.  When they reduced the repitch volumes the banana came back.
 
Jess
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 20, 2012, 12:13:21 pm
Tyler - Interesting Q&A with Wyeast. I need to think about that for a little bit before I can form an opinion.

Re: the pitching rate in Brewing with Wheat here's what I found, emphasis mine:

German Brewing literature suggest pitching 4-7 million cells per ml in brewing a standard Bavarian hefeqeizen. Schneider currently pitches 7m in Weisse Original, a 12.8*P beer, although brewmaster Drezler and lab technicians were exploring a plan in the fall of '09 to boost that rate. "You've got to be careful when talking about pitching rates" Said Dan Carey at New Glarus Brewing. "Are you talking about sending in 5 million little old ladies from a rest home or 5 million soldiers ready for battle? Until you calculate the vitality of the yeast, that number doesn't mean much." Carey pitches 7m/ml in Dancing Man (16*P) and 5m/ml in Crack'd (13.5*P), however he has a yeast propagator and knows he is putting particularly vital yeast to work, as does Schneider.

In fact, very high and very low pitching rates increase ester production. The danger of underpitching is creating higher rates of ethyl acetate, the solventy character best described as nail polish remover and a bad complement for clovy phenols in a weizen.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 20, 2012, 12:42:47 pm
Very interesting info on pitching rates.  In actuality, this is likely more important than decoction versus step mashes versus single infusion.  In your opinions then, how many healthy yeast cells do I want to pitch into a 5.5gal batch for optimum ester formation?

For kicks, I went to recipe Wiki and looked up the NHC hefe winners since 2004.  Two used decoction; one, single infusion.

Regarding decoction now, I copied this from the 2009 winner:
"Dough-in at 111° F (44° C) and hold for 15 minutes. Ramp up to 131° F (55° C), and rest 10 minutes. Pull thick decoction and slowly heat to 158° F (70° C), and rest 20 minutes. Boil 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, ramp main mash up to 149° F (65° C) and hold. Recombine, and equalize at 158° F (70° C). Rest for 10 minutes. Mash out at 170° F (77° C). Sparge, collecting 7 gallons (26.5 L). Chill to 58° F (14° C) before oxygenation and pitching."

Since I mash in a 48qt cooler, would I want to dough in with a 1qt/lb water to grain ratio since I will be ramping up the temp to 131F...149F by direct infusion?  How long would I hold the mash at 149F?  Also, what portion of the mash would I pull to decoct?  Thanks in advance.  I can see I'm going to have to do some research before I decoct for the first time.     

   
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: erockrph on July 20, 2012, 01:27:05 pm
Wow... there is some great information here. If nothing else, it seems clear to me that there is a lot more to pitching rate than the generalization "Ales should be pitched at X and Lagers at Y". And I'm sure yeast health/activity play a huge role as well.

Having said that, I will still be doing what Mr Malty or YeastCalc recommend 90% of the time. I will continue to pitch my weizens at a lower rate than my ales (I won't call it underpitching at this point, because as far as those strains go, I'm not convinced that it is), and I may toy with a little bit of low pitching on certain Belgians as well.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 20, 2012, 02:18:08 pm
I thinks it's safe to assume that any yeast in your house will not be as vital as yeast from a propagator in a pro brewery. That's probably true even if you have an active starter. There's no easy way to test vitality that I know of.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 20, 2012, 03:25:17 pm
Very interesting info on pitching rates.  In actuality, this is likely more important than decoction versus step mashes versus single infusion.  In your opinions then, how many healthy yeast cells do I want to pitch into a 5.5gal batch for optimum ester formation?

For kicks, I went to recipe Wiki and looked up the NHC hefe winners since 2004.  Two used decoction; one, single infusion.

Regarding decoction now, I copied this from the 2009 winner:
"Dough-in at 111° F (44° C) and hold for 15 minutes. Ramp up to 131° F (55° C), and rest 10 minutes. Pull thick decoction and slowly heat to 158° F (70° C), and rest 20 minutes. Boil 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, ramp main mash up to 149° F (65° C) and hold. Recombine, and equalize at 158° F (70° C). Rest for 10 minutes. Mash out at 170° F (77° C). Sparge, collecting 7 gallons (26.5 L). Chill to 58° F (14° C) before oxygenation and pitching."

Since I mash in a 48qt cooler, would I want to dough in with a 1qt/lb water to grain ratio since I will be ramping up the temp to 131F...149F by direct infusion?  How long would I hold the mash at 149F?  Also, what portion of the mash would I pull to decoct?  Thanks in advance.  I can see I'm going to have to do some research before I decoct for the first time.     

   

sounds familiar
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 20, 2012, 05:13:31 pm
Geez, how'd I miss that, Gordon...

Care to address my decoction questions?  Thanks.
Title: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 20, 2012, 05:54:22 pm
You can dough in thick. I don't measure but you can make it oatmeal-like. As long as all the grain is wet.

When I said "ramp", I meant by direct firing while recirculating. You can infuse. Use brewing software to calculate how much to infuse.

Hold the mash at 149 until the decoction step is done. The decoction is timed but it is variable how long it takes to move between parts of that process. So just leave it at 149 until the decoction is done then remix.

I normally pull about 33-40% or so of the mash. The thick part but I take liquid too. Like getting soup from a big pot where you dig down and drag along the side to get the most good stuff. I usually pull more because it's easier to drop a few degrees than raise.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: hulkavitch on July 21, 2012, 11:14:08 am
So can someone put pitching rates into a context that a relatively new brewer can understand? I am brewing a bavarian hefe this week and from the sounds of things I want to pitch 3-6 million cells per mil for the flavor i am looking for. I plan to use wyeast 3068 smack pack dated 6/12.

Do i need a starter? I was just going to smack and pitch. It will be approx 5 gal 1.050.

Sorry for the hyjack but you guys got me thinking.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 21, 2012, 11:35:45 am
Hulk: From what I've read, you can get increased ester formation from over- and under-pitching. If you underpitch, you're more likely to have increased fusel production, decreased head retention and lacing. "Standard" pitching rate is 1m/*Plato/ml. So for a 5 gallon, 1.050 batch, that's 1m/12.5/20k ml. So it'd be about 250b cells total, for a "standard" pitching rate. 3m/ml would be 60b, 6m/ml would be 120b.

I wouldn't recommend pitching that low. The pros that pitch 6-7m/ml are using very fresh, very healthy yeast which you don't have access to.

Assuming your yeast wasn't abused along the way, yeastcalc tells me your pack should have 69b viable cells, though I think their vitality would be quite low.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: hulkavitch on July 21, 2012, 12:49:24 pm
Brew smith calculates 96 bill cells for a smack pack dated 6/12 and the wyeast site states that 1 smack pack is necessary for a beer with an OG less than 1.060. If i understand correctly your are saying the yeast are not as viable as stated by these sources? The thing that confuses me is that both wyeast and brew smith are mostly inteded for homebrew use. Wyeast wouldnt mind if i had to buy 4 packs of yeast to make a good brew so i dont know what they stand to gain from saying i should buy 1 pack for a 1.050 beer.

Confused
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: erockrph on July 21, 2012, 01:11:09 pm
Mr Malty and Yeastcalc both say 69% viability for a smackpack dated 6/12, recommend 1.75 billion cells, and recommend a 2.2-2.3 liter starter.

FWIW, my SOP for a 5-gallon batch of a ~1.050 weizen is to pitch 1 smackpack of WY3638 with no starter. With a fairly fresh smackpack, this equates to about 4-5 m/mL. When fermented at 65F, this yields a phenol/ester balance that I really enjoy. I've never noticed any fusels with this fermentation regime.

Having said that, just because I found a procedure for a specific yeast that suits my palate well doesn't mean I'd recommend it empirically for everybody and for all weizen yeasts. In fact, with all the conflicting and/or inconclusive information that's out there I will probably play with pitching rates with a weizenbock this winter to really dial in what suits my palate the best.

My recommendation would be to build a starter based on Mr Malty or YeastCalc's recommended pitching rate, then use fermentation temperature to control your desired phenol/ester balance. I think this is most likely to put you in the ballpark of where you want to be. Then, if you want to tweak something like pitching rate you can do it on a future revision.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: dcbc on July 21, 2012, 01:17:16 pm
In my opinion, unless you setup to do step mashing easily, i.e. HERMS or RIMS, it's more trouble than it's worth.  When I brewed my first hefeweizen, I employed a step mash, and it was a sloppy pain in a miss your numbers sort of way.  Since then, I have done single infusion mashes at 152 fermented at 62 and have turned out many batches that have all of the good qualities I look for in a hefeweizen. 

For what it's worth, I tried Jamil's very straightforward recipe and found it to be not the best I have made.  I have made the Great Bavarian Weissbier project recipe from the NB forum on multiple occasions and have found that to be very good, particularly if you drop the carafa ii addition or even sub in about 2% Melanoidin malt for it. 

As with anything, YMMV.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 21, 2012, 01:38:21 pm
Jess Caudill at Wyeast recommends 6 million cells/ml for WY3068 to obtain optimum ester formation. 
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 21, 2012, 02:25:44 pm
Jess Caudill at Wyeast recommends 6 million cells/ml for WY3068 to obtain optimum ester formation.

Who is she recommending that pitching rate for? Is that for the probrewer who buys a pitchable amount of yeast directly from Wyeast with 90%+ viability? Or for the homebrewer who is buying a month-old pack that sat in a fridge at the LHBS at what may or may not be the proper temp, then was shipped again or rode in the car to your house?

My point is the same as the one Dan Carey was making: are you pitching 6 million grannies, or 6 million soldiers?
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 21, 2012, 05:05:20 pm
Don't know the answer to your question, but just wanted to point out that Jess is a 'he'.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 21, 2012, 08:30:14 pm
Jess was responding to my email, and knows I am a homebrewer.

Gordon, what do you think of Jess's recommendation in light of "El Hefe"?  By the way, thank you for your help in this thread.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 22, 2012, 06:47:30 am
On pitch rate?  Honestly, I really don't worry about it very much.  I normally use one XL smack pack of 3068, and may or may not make a starter.  When I make starters, I'm usually making a 1L one, so I'm more interested in getting the yeast active and ready to go than I am in getting a large cell count increase.  I guess I'd agree that repitched 3068 seems to suck in comparison to fresh.  I thought it was because the yeast was unstable (since the beer does seem to go off faster than other styles) but I'll buy the cell count explanation.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 22, 2012, 07:21:14 am
There are a whole lot of variable that affect fermentation byproducts. Here's a nuanced response from Clayton Cone regarding this topic:
http://www.danstaryeast.com/articles/yeast-growth
and
http://www.danstaryeast.com/articles/need-yeast-growth

Also, I stand corrected re: ferulic acid rest. It does seem it has a big effect, compared to mashing in at a higher temperature: http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/papers/1996/1996_102_5_327.pdf
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 22, 2012, 01:16:41 pm
On pitch rate?  Honestly, I really don't worry about it very much.  I normally use one XL smack pack of 3068, and may or may not make a starter.  When I make starters, I'm usually making a 1L one, so I'm more interested in getting the yeast active and ready to go than I am in getting a large cell count increase.  I guess I'd agree that repitched 3068 seems to suck in comparison to fresh.  I thought it was because the yeast was unstable (since the beer does seem to go off faster than other styles) but I'll buy the cell count explanation.

I think that's the best advice yet, i.e., not to worry about it.  I have a link below to another thread with conflicting info between yeast calculators, and the yeast lab itself over cell viability.  At best, it's mainly guesswork determining the initial viable cell count, which makes the starter size question, also guesswork.  I seem to recall Denny not worrying too much about this either.

  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=12311.0
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: roguejim on July 22, 2012, 04:14:15 pm
In my opinion, unless you setup to do step mashing easily, i.e. HERMS or RIMS, it's more trouble than it's worth.  When I brewed my first hefeweizen, I employed a step mash, and it was a sloppy pain in a miss your numbers sort of way.  Since then, I have done single infusion mashes at 152 fermented at 62 and have turned out many batches that have all of the good qualities I look for in a hefeweizen. 

For what it's worth, I tried Jamil's very straightforward recipe and found it to be not the best I have made.  I have made the Great Bavarian Weissbier project recipe from the NB forum on multiple occasions and have found that to be very good, particularly if you drop the carafa ii addition or even sub in about 2% Melanoidin malt for it. 

As with anything, YMMV.

It seems odd that a straight forward hefe recipe would produce substandard results for you.  What do you attribute that to?  Just for the record, I note that Gordon took an NHC gold for his hefe, which was a straight forward recipe.  Of course, he employed a traditional decoction.  I'm not saying that decoction makes a better hefe, just that you can't blame Jamil's recipe, if that's what you imply. ;)
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: thcipriani on July 22, 2012, 11:04:46 pm
At best, it's mainly guesswork determining the initial viable cell count, which makes the starter size question, also guesswork.  I seem to recall Denny not worrying too much about this either.

I do cell counts for every beer and I can tell you that the calculators are right within a range, but sometimes you'll end up with 100E9 cells total in a 2 liter starter.

You can use visual queues to tell you when you are getting starters with a low count—they're the 1 starter out of 100 that leave you questioning whether the yeast is just dead.

If you want to pitch at the rate given by the calculator then mrmalty.com is usually right there give or take 30E9 cells. I actually use a 1.020 starter wort with a shaker at 120RPM, so any variability I get is probably from that difference.


On pitch rate?  Honestly, I really don't worry about it very much.  I normally use one XL smack pack of 3068, and may or may not make a starter.  When I make starters, I'm usually making a 1L one, so I'm more interested in getting the yeast active and ready to go than I am in getting a large cell count increase.  I guess I'd agree that repitched 3068 seems to suck in comparison to fresh.  I thought it was because the yeast was unstable (since the beer does seem to go off faster than other styles) but I'll buy the cell count explanation.

Are you talking specifically about weizens here? I get the impression from your book that you mostly do 1L starters and repitch.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: nateo on July 23, 2012, 06:18:43 am
I do cell counts for every beer and I can tell you that the calculators are right within a range, but sometimes you'll end up with 100E9 cells total in a 2 liter starter.

How are you determining the viability of the cells?
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: thcipriani on July 23, 2012, 07:31:58 am
I do cell counts for every beer and I can tell you that the calculators are right within a range, but sometimes you'll end up with 100E9 cells total in a 2 liter starter.

How are you determining the viability of the cells?

I don't. I'd like to order methylene violet one of these days…

Excuse: Kai's reply in this thread about why he doesn't stain http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=5484.msg66305#msg66305
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 23, 2012, 08:26:11 am
Are you talking specifically about weizens here? I get the impression from your book that you mostly do 1L starters and repitch.

Yes, when I make starters I normally do 1L.  I repitch most yeast, but I haven't gotten good results from the 3068 so I normally use fresh.  I didn't know why until I saw Jess' response.  That's part of the black box aspect of brewing; you don't have to understand why something happens as long as you can control the inputs to get the outputs you want.  But it's always nice when the reason is exposed so you are less likely to draw wrong conclusions if you try to go beyond what you've learned is true.  So I'm less likely to try to get fresher and fresher 3068 yeast, thinking that was the cause and will be more likely to control the amount of yeast repitched in a weizen.  Something to explore in future batches.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: malzig on July 25, 2012, 05:00:50 am
How are you determining the viability of the cells?
I don't. I'd like to order methylene violet one of these days…

Excuse: Kai's reply in this thread about why he doesn't stain http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=5484.msg66305#msg66305
Kai makes a very good point.  If you want cell counts from fresh cultures, then viability is going to be so high that you can just assume 90-100%.  Unless something goes horribly wrong, of course, but don't boil your yeast and you probably only need to worry about viability on stored yeast.
Yes, when I make starters I normally do 1L.
Does anyone actually see growth from a smack pack in a 1 liter starter?  I wouldn't expect much growth at that pitching rate.  Maybe half a doubling of the cell number, if you use a stir plate or starter, but probably little-to-none with a static starter.  So does that mean intentional underpitching?
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 25, 2012, 06:31:09 am
Yes, when I make starters I normally do 1L.
Does anyone actually see growth from a smack pack in a 1 liter starter?  I wouldn't expect much growth at that pitching rate.  Maybe half a doubling of the cell number, if you use a stir plate or starter, but probably little-to-none with a static starter.  So does that mean intentional underpitching?

I think Neva Parker said a 1L starter will give you something like 20% growth and a 2L starter might give you up to 100%.  And, yes, I use a stir plate.  Why is a large growth rate an objective?  It's not like I'm building up yeast from a small culture.  White Labs and Wyeast advertise that they supply sufficient yeast in their packages for a normal batch of average strength beer.  I'm just interested in getting the yeast ready to go so as to minimize lag time.  If I'm making a bigger beer, I'll use more yeast or repitch from a previous batch.  I guess I'd turn the question around.  If you're making a larger starter, does that mean intentional overpitching?
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: malzig on July 26, 2012, 04:48:40 am
I think Neva Parker said a 1L starter will give you something like 20% growth and a 2L starter might give you up to 100%.  And, yes, I use a stir plate....If you're making a larger starter, does that mean intentional overpitching?
Not that I really fret over a few 10s of billions of cells here or there, but I usually try to follow George Fix's recommendation of 0.75e6/mL/degree Plato.  Depending on freshness and fill level, a pack would usually end up being about half Fix's recommendation for what most brewers would consider a typical beer.  For a 12-13 plato beer, a 2 liter starter should be just about right, assuming 100e9 cells in a pack, about 90% viability in a reasonably fresh pack and a single doubling of the yeast population on a stir plate.

For an older pack, a 1 liter starter might bring you back up to the original cell number in the pack, or, if you get lucky, you might hit Fix's recommendation if you got a really fresh pack filled on the high side, starting with 130e9 cells, have good air transfer into the flask (loose cover, large headspace), and got 1.5-fold increase in cell number.

What I meant to be asking, though, is if you intentionally underpitched specifically for Weizens.
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: gordonstrong on July 26, 2012, 06:22:53 am
What I meant to be asking, though, is if you intentionally underpitched specifically for Weizens.

No, I don't.  A normal pitch has always worked fine for me.  But this thread has taught me to be cautious of overpitching, whether by repitching from a previous batch or by getting yeast from a brewpub (both things I do often).
Title: Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
Post by: dcbc on July 26, 2012, 02:57:31 pm
In my opinion, unless you setup to do step mashing easily, i.e. HERMS or RIMS, it's more trouble than it's worth.  When I brewed my first hefeweizen, I employed a step mash, and it was a sloppy pain in a miss your numbers sort of way.  Since then, I have done single infusion mashes at 152 fermented at 62 and have turned out many batches that have all of the good qualities I look for in a hefeweizen. 

For what it's worth, I tried Jamil's very straightforward recipe and found it to be not the best I have made.  I have made the Great Bavarian Weissbier project recipe from the NB forum on multiple occasions and have found that to be very good, particularly if you drop the carafa ii addition or even sub in about 2% Melanoidin malt for it. 

As with anything, YMMV.

It seems odd that a straight forward hefe recipe would produce substandard results for you.  What do you attribute that to?  Just for the record, I note that Gordon took an NHC gold for his hefe, which was a straight forward recipe.  Of course, he employed a traditional decoction.  I'm not saying that decoction makes a better hefe, just that you can't blame Jamil's recipe, if that's what you imply. ;)

I did not mean to give the impression that the beer was substandard.  Rather, it, in my opinion, lacked some of the complexity that I have gotten from other recipes.  Jamil has some great recipes.  I make them all the time with wonderful results.  But, for my pallet, that one wasn't one I wanted to make again.  Of course, that was several years ago.  So maybe I should give it another go.  With a simple 50/50 hefeweizen recipe, I wouldn't be surprised if decoction added a nice flavor component, though I have found that I can't tell much of a difference between decocted beers and single infusion mashes (a bopils I made notwithstanding).

On that recipe though, it is more of a matter of personal taste.  The beer turned out fine.  I just didn't love it like I have others I have made.  I'm also willing to concede that Gordon and Jamil are undoubtedly better brewers than I am and can surely accomplish more with a 50/50 hefeweizen recipe than I am able to.  That aside, I have brewed a lot of them in the last ten or so years and for the styles I brew, probably about 80% of them are German.  But your point is well taken.  Results depend more on the brewer than the recipe.