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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dons on January 27, 2011, 12:52:58 PM

Title: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 27, 2011, 12:52:58 PM
I'm fairly new to home brewing and have "lurked" on this board a while and learned a LOT. 
I currently have my first all grain in bottles and waiting for the taste, but my expectation is
that it will be good, but thin and watery as my extract batches have been. 

Desparately trying to figure out the reason (and part of it is that my sparging equipment is
woefully inadequate for the new quantity of mash), I came across varied opinions on rests
during the brewing process.  Those are Protein Rest, Sachrification (sp?) Rest and Acid
Rest. 

Apparently Acid rest is not needed any longer.  Protein rest seems to be rather in vogue,
but John Palmer writes "In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove
most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today
is fully modified."  I'm wondering then if my "rests" are doing exactly what he's suggesting.

Many thanks in advance for any comments - please KIS for the noob.

Don
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: mabrungard on January 27, 2011, 01:14:56 PM
I consider Palmer's advice on modern malts to be accurate.  You really don't need to do anything other than a saccharification rest to achieve good results. 

The only time I feel that a brewer should consider a low temp rest is to promote the formation of Ferulic compounds and 4VG for that clove component in German Weizens. 

Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 27, 2011, 03:57:16 PM
For me it kind of depends on the style I'm brewing.  If I'm brewing a German style that traditionally uses a step/decoction mash with the various rests, I might go ahead and do that.  I'd keep the protein rest short, I don't think you are going to go from good to no body in 15 minutes.  I also use the malts specific to that country, I figure they are part of the reason behind using the specific mashes to begin with.

This doesn't mean that it is absolutely necessary, in fact people argue the heck about decoction mashing.  Its kind of fun to fiddle with the stuff though, and experience the traditional ways to get a full sense of the depth of brewing.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 27, 2011, 03:59:28 PM
And oddly enough, even though I've brewed quite a few weizens I haven't done the ferulic acid rest.  I started off not really liking the clove aspect of the beers, its grown on me but I feel like I get plenty without trying to accentuate it further.

Putting this on my mental list of things to try soon...
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 27, 2011, 04:41:23 PM
Don, the main difference in all those rests is temp.  If you've been doing a single rest in the area of 152-158F, you should be good.  If you;ve been resting at lower temps, it could be adversely affecting the body of your beer.  I'm curious, though, why you would expect this beer to be thin like your extract beers.  You;re using totally different ingredients and process, so I'd expect totally different results.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: bluesman on January 27, 2011, 05:14:07 PM
I presume you are using a single infusion with a batch sparge. In order to achieve more body in your finished product is to mash (saccharification rest) higher. I would infuse the grist to hit a mash temp of 154-158F. Let it rest there for at least 60min. This will give your beer more body.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 27, 2011, 06:00:18 PM
I think it's important to note that Don doesn't know if he's got a body problem with this beer.  It's his first AG and he hasn't tasted it yet.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: bluesman on January 27, 2011, 06:02:29 PM
I think it's important to note that Don doesn't know if he's got a body problem with this beer.  It's his first AG and he hasn't tasted it yet.

True. He may find it to be just fine.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 27, 2011, 06:34:47 PM
Worrying about a problem you may not have is like paying interest on a debt you may not owe!
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 27, 2011, 06:46:54 PM
Well, the reason I'm worried about the body is threefold.  My last 5 batches have been thin.  Secondly, the tasting at bottling time, while pretty good, was watery.  Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, no one (I knew) told me about the issue with sparging an all-grain;  that is, that my tiny little masher (coleman mini-cooler from a kit some time ago), while fine for extract beers, was overwhelmed with the quantity of mash.  I KNOW I did not get a good sparge at all - left a ton of sugars, but I made the decision to move on.

As a friend said,  "call it lite, live and learn, have a home brew".  My learning entailed doing a bunch of research and I think I now have a good solution for me.  I am going to use Papazian's suggestion for a lauter tun (page 276, Zapap) and jack up the amount of water I sparge with from 3 to 3.5 gallons and work like heck until I'm sure the sugars are seeped out.

I'm still learning and will be forever at this.  That's what makes it fun, right?  ...   Right?    ...  Right?  lol
Thanks, guys!
Don (aka Oscar)
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 27, 2011, 06:55:10 PM
Don, check out my Cheap'n'Easy method at www.dennybrew.com.

I'm still not convinced you have a problem and if this is your first AG then there's really no comparison to previous batches.  Another thing to do would be to check your thermometer calibration.  If it reads high, you're mashing at too low a temp which will lead to a beer with less body.  And while you're here, post you recipe...it will help us get a better idea of where you're heading.  I don't think the amount of sparge water you used has anything to do with it.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 27, 2011, 07:18:17 PM
Thanks, Denny.  For what it's worth, here is the recipe I used (is a collaboration between me, a friend and brew store).  Actually, this is kind of a diary of the process.

10.5 pounds domestic 2-row malt
.5 pounds Crystal 45
.5 pounds Cara pils malt
1 ounce Perle pellets 90min
4 ounces Nugget pellets 15min
2 ounces Cascade whole hops 1min
1 ounce WL001  White Labs Calif 001

Brewed on January 1.  Hydrometer 1.044 at 75 degrees.  Mashed with 3.5 gallons of water at 155 degrees for 1 hour.  Sparged with 2.5 gallons at 160degrees.  90 minute boil at medium/hard.  Actually boiled down to 4.5 gallons.  

Racked to secondary  January 8.   Yeast seemed to go completely dormant after 1 day - as opposed to the usual 10 or so days I was used to.  So the worrying started.  No, I did not take multiple hydrometer readings (should have), but I'm sure it was "dead".  Presume there was nothing left to feed the yeast because of my miserable job at sparging.
  
Bottled on January 23.  I was out of town and had to wait longer than normal.  Taste was smooth, no phenol tastes, very pure tasting, but very little body.  Again, this seems like it will be a drinkable beer with no bad tastes, but very “watery” tasting.  Final hydrometer reading was 1.016 at 67 degrees.  Makes for an ABV of  3.79 percent.

I apologize for being (well, FEELING like) a complete noob here amongst all of you accomplished brewers. I'm more than just a LITTLE in awe of the knowledge shown on these boards.  I guess ya gotta start somewhere.

As always, thank you.
Don

Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: bluesman on January 27, 2011, 07:42:59 PM

I apologize for being (well, FEELING like) a complete noob here amongst all of you accomplished brewers. I'm more than just a LITTLE in awe of the knowledge shown on these boards.  I guess ya gotta start somewhere.

As always, thank you.
Don


There's no need to apologize. Yo've done nothing wrong. We are here to help. Before we can recommend adjustments, we need to know your results. Did you measure the actual mash and sparge temps. The reason I ask is that you mention mashing with water at 155F. I take that as you added water at 155F to the grain. Is this the case?
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 27, 2011, 08:14:39 PM
Well, I was careful with the temps.  I added the grain to the water when it was 155, then held for an hour.  Then moved the mash to my sparge bucket and sparged with water at 160 - perhaps less by the time i was done monkeying around with the wrong equipment.  Funny you should mention, but this was one of my departures from the original recipe.  That one called for mashing an hour at 126, then 30 more minutes at 160.  My partner and I found no reason that (step mashing?) was necessary.  Not sure, in fact, how I ended up at 155 - just what it was.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Hokerer on January 27, 2011, 08:47:14 PM
Well, I was careful with the temps.  I added the grain to the water when it was 155, then held for an hour.  

I think he's asking if you measured the temp of the mash AFTER you added the grains.  Your statement would seem to imply that the water was at 155 before you added the grains.  Adding the grains normally drops the overall temp 10-15 degrees.  That could mean that your 1 hour mash was really at 140-145 which would lead to a very fermentable wort.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 27, 2011, 08:54:56 PM
Okay, no.  I constantly took temperature readings to assure that the temp remained where I said above.  I'm fanatical about that.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Slowbrew on January 27, 2011, 09:17:16 PM
Based on your recipe and you OG reading, it seems to me that you did pretty well for your first all-grain brew.  Your efficiency was a little low but that will get better as you get more comfortable with the process.  If the beer lacks body after it's carbonated and aged a bit you can do one or two simple things to adjust body and mouth feel.

1) Mash at a little higher temp, 156 to 158.
2) Add some additional Crystal to the recipe to add more unfementable sugar to the wort.

If you haven't checked you thermometer yet you should.  My first thermometer was off by -9 degrees so I was always mashing 9 to 10 degrees lower than I thought.

Good luck with it, it's already beer and that makes it good.  If no one has said it yet, relax, don't worry and have a homebrew (or at least a beer until your homebrew is done).  Don't sweat the small stuff until you feel confident about the big stuff, you drive yourself nuts.

Paul
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Kaiser on January 27, 2011, 09:42:13 PM
I my experience, yeast and fermentation can also have a big effect on mouthfeel.

Kai
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: bluesman on January 27, 2011, 09:42:30 PM
Well, I was careful with the temps.  I added the grain to the water when it was 155, then held for an hour.  Then moved the mash to my sparge bucket and sparged with water at 160 - perhaps less by the time i was done monkeying around with the wrong equipment.  Funny you should mention, but this was one of my departures from the original recipe.  That one called for mashing an hour at 126, then 30 more minutes at 160.  My partner and I found no reason that (step mashing?) was necessary.  Not sure, in fact, how I ended up at 155 - just what it was.

By my calculations, if you added 3.5 gal of strike water at 155F into 11.5lbs of grain the resultant mash temp should be 143F +/- which will eventually convert the starches to sugar but you will end up with an attenuative thin beer.

At 70% efficiency the recipe should have given you an OG=1.065 +/- of which you only got 1.044 which leads me to believe you didn't fully convert your mash because your saccharification temp was a bit low at 143F. I haven't yet cosidered your mash pH but assuming that it was in range you will need to mash higher at 156F +/- to achieve what I think you are lookig for in your beer.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Hokerer on January 28, 2011, 12:57:47 AM
Okay, no.  I constantly took temperature readings to assure that the temp remained where I said above.  I'm fanatical about that.


Still not quite understanding this.  Earlier you said you measured the water at 155 and then added the grain.  Here you say you constantly monitored to make sure everything stayed at 155.  Something doesn't compute :)

If you measured your water at 155, then added your grain, and then measured again, there's no way it could still measure 155.  Adding the grain is going to drop the temp.  To get/keep things at 155, you'd have to either direct heat the mash (you said you mash in a cooler so steam or a heatstick would be your only option) or you'd have to add a goodly amount of significantly hotter water to the mash.  Did you do either of those things?  If not, how did your mash measure 155 both before and after adding your grain?
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 28, 2011, 04:16:03 AM
Sorry if I'm not making sense.  I sparge in a cooler.   I added the grain to a kettle on the stove with a constant heat.
Yes, I'm sure the temperature when down somewhat when I added the grain, but it quickly heated back up to 155 - and
I kept it throughout the mash.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tubercle on January 28, 2011, 05:02:27 AM
Worrying about a problem you may not have is like paying interest on a debt you may not owe!

 Denny, mind if I quote this sometimes? I can think of a thousand situations. Pure genius. You're awsome, Dude.

  Back on topic...to the OP: Mouth feel is somewhat subjective and varies by the individual. If your brews are thin to "you", then try some oatmeal in your mash.

 Start out with a handful ( this is an official measurement on the Tubercle Scale, AKA TS) and bump it up/down (another official measurement, AKA B-U/D) as necessary. Remember...you are brewing for YOU. Make what you like.


Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Hokerer on January 28, 2011, 02:29:32 PM
Sorry if I'm not making sense.  I sparge in a cooler.   I added the grain to a kettle on the stove with a constant heat.
Yes, I'm sure the temperature when down somewhat when I added the grain, but it quickly heated back up to 155 - and
I kept it throughout the mash.

Aha, see that light bulb go on over my head?  Sorry I wasn't getting it.  Anyways, now things make much more sense.  Sounds like you're mashing in a direct-fired kettle and then transferring to a cooler to do the sparge.  That's a perfectly valid way of doing things.  And your temps make sense considering you could control the heating of the kettle to keep them exactly where you wanted.  All in all, sounds like your mashing process is not your problem.  The only thing you might want to think about is increasing the amount of water if your kettle has room.  3.5 gallons  with 11.5 pounds of grain is 1.2 qts/lb which is in the right range (1 - 2 qts/lb) but a little higher ratio might be even better.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 28, 2011, 07:03:34 PM
Okay, let me ask you this.  If I increase the mash water to 4 gallons, I'd still like to sparge with at least 3.  My kettle is plenty big, but it would mean that I'd have to boil out nearly 2 gallons to fit in my carboy.  Question then - since I have your ear(s), can you boil TOO long??  An hour last time of boil took it down well over a gallon.  If I boil 1.5-1.75 hours, would that negatively affect the process?

Thanks to you all for your help.  I'm learning a lot.  Sample my first bottle tonight (5 days in bottle - I can't wait any longer).
Looking forward to my next patch of AG.

Don
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tschmidlin on January 28, 2011, 07:41:00 PM
I regularly boil 90 minutes when I use pilsner malt.  I've even heard of people boiling overnight for maximum concentration and kettle caramelization.  Just save your hops for the last 60 minutes or so, they can add veggie flavors when boiled too long.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 28, 2011, 08:03:09 PM
Uh oh...you said "kettle caramelization".   :o  I'm a firm believer that that can't actually happen.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tschmidlin on January 28, 2011, 08:22:36 PM
Uh oh...you said "kettle caramelization".   :o  I'm a firm believer that that can't actually happen.
I agree, caramelization probably doesn't actually happen, the water content is too high.  I was using it in the colloquial sense of the flavor changes in the beer caused by Maillard reactions while boiling. ;)  I'll try to be more explicit and say what I mean next time. ;D
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on January 28, 2011, 09:00:12 PM
LOL.  You guys are too much.  I hope that once in a while there is a face-to-face get-together to
sample beer and joust.  I'd love to be there - the tidbits I'd pick up would be worth the trip.

Thanks again.
Don
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tschmidlin on January 28, 2011, 09:04:30 PM
LOL.  You guys are too much.  I hope that once in a while there is a face-to-face get-together to
sample beer and joust.  I'd love to be there - the tidbits I'd pick up would be worth the trip.

Thanks again.
Don

It's called the National Homebrewers Conference (http://www.ahaconference.org/), I met Denny at one years ago (and see him there every year since) ;D
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on January 28, 2011, 09:16:28 PM
It's called the National Homebrewers Conference (http://www.ahaconference.org/), I met Denny at one years ago (and see him there every year since) ;D

No matter how hard I try to avoid him!   ;D
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: Hokerer on January 28, 2011, 11:13:55 PM
Okay, let me ask you this.  If I increase the mash water to 4 gallons, I'd still like to sparge with at least 3.  My kettle is plenty big,

To get the most efficiency out of your mash, it's generally considered ideal if your first and second runnings are equal.  To figure it out, start with your desired batch size (ie. 5 gallons).  Then account for boiloff to get your pre-boil volume (ie. 1 gal/hr boiloff and 60 minute boil means you need 6 gallons).  Since you want equal runnings, your sparge should use 3 gallons and your first runnings should yield 3 gallons.  To figure out your strike volume, you need to add the 3 gallons first runnings plus whatever deadspace you have in your lauter tun plus the water that the grain'll absorb.  If you follow Denny's suggestion from earlier and use a Coleman Xtreme cooler to make it, your deadspace can be basically zero and for grain absorption, folks generally use 0.10-0.12 gallons/lb.  So your strike water would be 3 gallons (runnings) plus 0 (deadspace) plus 1.265 gallons absorption (11.5 x 0.11) equals 4.1265 gallons.  That comes out to almost 1.5 qts/lb which is just about ideal.
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: tubercle on January 28, 2011, 11:38:33 PM
Okay, let me ask you this.  If I increase the mash water to 4 gallons, I'd still like to sparge with at least 3.  My kettle is plenty big,

To get the most efficiency out of your mash, it's generally considered ideal if your first and second runnings are equal.  To figure it out, start with your desired batch size (ie. 5 gallons).  Then account for boiloff to get your pre-boil volume (ie. 1 gal/hr boiloff and 60 minute boil means you need 6 gallons).  Since you want equal runnings, your sparge should use 3 gallons and your first runnings should yield 3 gallons.  To figure out your strike volume, you need to add the 3 gallons first runnings plus whatever deadspace you have in your lauter tun plus the water that the grain'll absorb.  If you follow Denny's suggestion from earlier and use a Coleman Xtreme cooler to make it, your deadspace can be basically zero and for grain absorption, folks generally use 0.10-0.12 gallons/lb.  So your strike water would be 3 gallons (runnings) plus 0 (deadspace) plus 1.265 gallons absorption (11.5 x 0.11) equals 4.1265 gallons.  That comes out to almost 1.5 qts/lb which is just about ideal.

 Whew....
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: dons on March 15, 2011, 05:28:46 PM
Okay, a follow up by The Noob as requested by a couple of you.

The beer is "not bad".  Short of hops, but that's what I get for using my common sense and not following the directions.
It actually is continuing to get better, albeit still watery, as it ages - I figure in 40 or 50 years it might be what I'm looking for.

I do have a question.  After 10 days I opened a bottle.  Absolutely NO fizz at all and no carbonation to it.  However as time elapsed each bottle became more and more fizzy.  Today, I renamed the batch Old Faithful - upon opening I'm left with about an ounce of beer (yes, I do save the foam and drink later).  I have never ever seen an eruption like this since the Mt. St. Helens pictures.  I do not want to reopen this thread - because I'm still trying to assimilate all the great info you gave me - but is there a definitive reason that this is happening?  I have to think that it goes all the way back to my bottling WAY too early and/or the yeast went dormant on me for some reason.  Then it started up again after a couple of weeks in the bottle.

I'm going to start another of the same recipe but follow it more closely and take hydrometer readings every day until I'm sure the yeast is calm enough to bottle.

Thanks again for all your help.
Don
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: denny on March 15, 2011, 05:31:45 PM
There are generally 3 reasons for the situation you describe....

1.) bottling before fermentation is complete
2.) contamination/infection
3.) overpriming
Title: Re: Do I need a rest?
Post by: smokeeater on March 15, 2011, 05:53:07 PM
If your Fg was 1.016, I would guess that for your recipe it wasn't quite done fermenting.  I would have expected a recipe like that to finish around 1.012 or lower.  When you bottled, the yeast kept chugging away at the final couple pints, then started in on the priming sugar.  The first couple bottles you drank just hadn't carbed yet.... then the later ones were over-carbed.

Another issue would be stirring in the bottling bucket.  I assume you have had success in the past with bottling, so you should know that the sugar needs thoroughly mixed in to the beer.