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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: skepace on November 19, 2012, 05:07:11 PM

Title: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: skepace on November 19, 2012, 05:07:11 PM
So I am building my system and have a question.

Step Mashing?  Is it important for certain type of beers or malts?  Is it not important any more since the malts used today are better than in the past.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: davidgzach on November 19, 2012, 05:14:42 PM
Depends more on the type of beer you want to make than the malts now.  If you have under-modified malt, then it's very important.  I haven't run in to any though.

However, for certain beer styles, especially German, you may want to rest at various temperatures.  For instance you really want a ferulic acid rest at 111-113F to bring out the clove in a Hefeweisen. 

Dave
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: mabrungard on November 19, 2012, 05:17:31 PM
I think there is still a place for step mashing.  Hefe's are an important example, but there are plenty of breweries that utilize a 2 step Beta and Alpha Amalyse rest regime.  Having the ability to do that seems like a good idea.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: skepace on November 19, 2012, 05:23:03 PM
Thanks!  Reason for asking is that I am looking at building a RIMS system rather than a HERMS system so I can step mash more efficient.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: nateo on November 19, 2012, 05:37:32 PM
Germans are crazy about step-mashing. They step-mash everything. I'm not convinced it's really necessary most of the time, but I do it anyway, for no particular reason.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: denny on November 19, 2012, 05:44:56 PM
I do it once in a while so I can see if maybe I missed something when I decided it doesn't make much difference.  So far I haven't been able to convince myself I'm missing something by not step mashing.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: skepace on November 19, 2012, 05:45:55 PM
I guess right now the only German styles I would want to brew would be maybe an Oktoberfest Lager and I guess that's it.

Would I need a RIMS system to do this?
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: bluesman on November 19, 2012, 05:57:43 PM
I guess right now the only German styles I would want to brew would be maybe an Oktoberfest Lager and I guess that's it.

Would I need a RIMS system to do this?

A RIMS would certainly make the process more efficient. I use a RIMS and can hit my target temps precisely. However, one could also use infusions and/or decoctions to achieve this just as well. I typically use a single infusion mash with a mashout. On occasion I'll step mash a German Lager, but I find there's no real significant flavor difference between the two techniques. YMMV.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: skepace on November 19, 2012, 06:00:26 PM
YMMV.

YMMV?
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: redbeerman on November 19, 2012, 06:07:59 PM
YMMV.

YMMV?
Your Mileage May Vary
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: denny on November 19, 2012, 06:09:34 PM
I guess right now the only German styles I would want to brew would be maybe an Oktoberfest Lager and I guess that's it.

Would I need a RIMS system to do this?

Nope, nor a HERMS.  When I do step mashes, I do them as step infusions.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: redbeerman on November 19, 2012, 06:11:23 PM
I guess right now the only German styles I would want to brew would be maybe an Oktoberfest Lager and I guess that's it.

Would I need a RIMS system to do this?

Nope, nor a HERMS.  When I do step mashes, I do them as step infusions.

I do this as well, but only for German styles.  I have not found a significant difference in flavor either, but my efficiency seems to be a little better.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 19, 2012, 06:12:55 PM
YMMV.

YMMV?

Your Mileage May Vary.

For some of the German style beers I make, a step mash can be good. A little time at 131-133F, then 144, then up to 158F or so, then mash out.

The Durst Pils I used to use a lot had a Kolbach index of 44, so it would be fine for an infusion mash. The Turbo Pils was at 47, that is highly modified.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: sweatybrau on November 19, 2012, 09:04:03 PM
I know step mashing is used a lot by German breweries, and Charlie swears by it, but with modern highly modified malts it is an unnecessary step. I agree with Denny. I have never found any benefit to it and prefer to stick with the KISS principle in brewing. The only times you would need to do one (for a protein rest) is if you are using large amounts of unmalted wheat, barley or oats and were concerned about the effects of the excessive amounts of long chain proteins in the beer (clarity, mouthfeel, etc.) You can make excellent examples of any German beer style without step mashing.

Step mashing and using a protein rest with highly modified malts risks breaking down protein chains to the point where head development in the beer is impaired.

Many brewers seem to love to over-complicate their brewing and this is a good example of that. Adding complication to your brewing process, can make it more difficult to achieve consistency in your brewing, one of the keys to becoming a great brewer, and often can risk achieving the good beer you were striving for. Again, KISS.
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: nateo on November 19, 2012, 09:19:29 PM
Step-mashing should result in a slightly different wort composition. Wort composition can affect beer flavor. In practice, it doesn't make a big enough difference for me to detect. 

I assume German brewers use step-mashes just because it's traditional, but, that's also what I would think if I were too ignorant to understand what they're doing. I'm not sure which is more likely. FWIW Germans are also terrified of using inorganic acids, and only use lactic acid or Sauermalz. (I'm talking about homebrewers, I think pro-brewers have to use lactic acid or Sauermalz under the Reinheitsgebot.)
Title: Re: Step Mashing? Important?
Post by: davidgzach on November 19, 2012, 09:32:59 PM
SO, if you build a RIMS and start experimenting, you can come back in a year or so and let us know what you have found out!  Then we can have this debate all over again!   ;D

You'll make a lot of good beer in the process, and have the ability to make a Hefe the right way..... ;)

Dave