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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Kirk on February 22, 2011, 10:07:13 PM

Title: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Kirk on February 22, 2011, 10:07:13 PM
If I could attach a picture of my mash tun after sparge, I would.  But since I'm struggling with that, I'll accept that you know what I'm writing about.  Kai, in his video on decoction mashing, calls it protein coagulation.  To me it's a thing of beauty, removing all that protein from the wort before it gets into the boil.  For me, it is a relatively new phenomena, but my questions are:  Is it due to decoction mashing primarily?, or is it mainly the protein rest I do as part of it?, or is it due to controlling the mash ph which is also new for me?, or is it due to adjusting my water chemistry to fit guidelines? or some of everything?
Also, is it unanimous that this is a good thing? or is there newer evidence that protein coagulation is not so great?  Is it possible to get this kind of coagulation with single infusion mashing?

Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: denny on February 22, 2011, 11:03:55 PM
Is it possible to get this kind of coagulation with single infusion mashing?

Yes, it is.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: liquidbrewing on February 23, 2011, 01:11:08 AM
From what I understand, most malts we buy these days are so well modified, that decoction is not needed.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Kirk on February 23, 2011, 02:06:39 AM
OK, so if it is possible, how?  I've never seen it.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: oscarvan on February 23, 2011, 03:00:30 AM
From what I understand, most malts we buy these days are so well modified, that decoction is not needed.

That is the premise that I am operating under. So far, so good.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 23, 2011, 03:24:09 AM
OK, so if it is possible, how?  I've never seen it.

I'm not sure I understand what you're describing.  Protein coagulation is most noticeable in the boil kettle just prior to and just after the boil begins, and when the beer is cooled after boiling.  In both cases, the protein coagulation will cause the wort to look like egg drop soup (small masses of whitish proteins suspended in wort).

If you're just describing the sediment that ends up on the top of the grainbed after vorlauf, that's a natural occurrence in just about any mash, and I'm not even sure that it's made up solely of proteins.  I think much of it is grain flour, i.e., endosperm particles.

In any case, whatever proteins are coagulated in the mash tun have a pretty negligible effect on the finished beer, IME.  If noticeable coagulation is a concern of yours, you should be paying attention to the hot and cold break in the boil kettle.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Kaiser on February 23, 2011, 03:25:58 AM
you get protein coagulation with every mashing style, but you'll get more with decoction mashing since the mash is subjected to higher temperatures which increases the amount of coagulation.

Kai
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Kirk on February 23, 2011, 05:18:43 AM
you get protein coagulation with every mashing style, but you'll get more with decoction mashing since the mash is subjected to higher temperatures which increases the amount of coagulation.

Kai

Thanks Kai, I thought I was being clear.  Since I've begun decoction mashing I've had boucoup coagulation in the mash, and it's very noticeable, unmistakeable, pasty goop on top of the grain bed.  Now I think that is a super thing to have.  Apparently, some of you don't experience that because you do single infusion mashes, and your proteins coagulate more in the boil.  So I guess to each his own, but for now, I'm sticking with decoction.  I presume that ph control and mineral additions help you get your egg drop soup effect in the boil, and then it gets left behind in the bottom of the brew kettle.  And if so, then the end result is basically the same.  But that is the discussion I was hoping would be generated in this thread, from you who have years of experience and science to back it up, but it seems we're stuck in the weeds.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: malzig on February 23, 2011, 11:14:45 AM
Brewing Science and Practice by Briggs, et al, p121, says that the Oberteig (which is what this layer of mud is called) is made of a gel-like material made of about 20% Protein and 40% Carbohydrates and micro-aggregates made of about 4-21% Starch, 3-19% ß-Glucan, 5-31% Pentosan, and 26-42% Protein. 

I get significant amounts of Oberteig even when I use a single infusion.  I may get more when I step mash (independent of whether I decoct), but I've never tried to quantify it in any way.  I may just expect more because I expect time at a higher temperature should result in more precipitation.  I do modify my water to correct pH and Calcium levels, which should be a factor, just as it is in the boil.  I also tend to get crystal clear beers without significant cold conditioning, often right out of primary or within a couple days of completing carbonation.

I can't find the reference at the moment, but I've read that significantly more protein precipitates in the mash, actually, than in the boil.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Kaiser on February 23, 2011, 02:03:26 PM
I can't find the reference at the moment, but I've read that significantly more protein precipitates in the mash, actually, than in the boil.

It's also in the Briggs book.

I don't think it matters much where the protein is left behind.

Kai
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: denny on February 23, 2011, 03:59:05 PM
I also find it to be somewhat related to whose malt I use, which seems only natural.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: davisdandrew on February 26, 2011, 06:22:57 AM
Quote
I also find it to be somewhat related to whose malt I use, which seems only natural.
Ihave also noticed that. I find pils malt to give a ton of hot break while munich malt seems to give very little hot break even after a long boil. has anyone else noticed that or is ti just me?
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: 1vertical on February 26, 2011, 03:48:19 PM
I think what Kai said is so true and it does not matter where you leave it behind.
Reason I say that is because I put cold break and all into my primary and after
the ferment, it gets left in the bottom of the primary, what my racking technique
misses settles out to the bottom in secondary. My beers have been nice and clear
with no chill haze or haze at all...
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on February 26, 2011, 07:59:07 PM
I think what Kai said is so true and it does not matter where you leave it behind.
Reason I say that is because I put cold break and all into my primary and after
the ferment, it gets left in the bottom of the primary, what my racking technique
misses settles out to the bottom in secondary. My beers have been nice and clear
with no chill haze or haze at all...

+1 That's been my experience too.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: narcout on February 27, 2011, 01:27:57 AM
I find pils malt to give a ton of hot break

Yeah, I've noticed that as well.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: tomsawyer on February 28, 2011, 09:52:28 PM
I would only add that the stuff will slow down a lauter to a trickle sometimes by accumulating on top of the grain bed.  It can be overcome by the occasional raking.

I never thought about it being more pronounced with decoctoin mashing but I can see how it would be.  I do think a good protein break in the kettle will catch it all whether you get some on the MLT or not.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: johnf on March 01, 2011, 03:30:36 PM
I think what Kai said is so true and it does not matter where you leave it behind.
Reason I say that is because I put cold break and all into my primary and after
the ferment, it gets left in the bottom of the primary, what my racking technique
misses settles out to the bottom in secondary. My beers have been nice and clear
with no chill haze or haze at all...

Well just about everybody puts cold break into the fermentor as it takes a substantial amount of time and near freezing temperatures to precipitate it at all. Whirlpool chillers may leave behind some but if you are just chilling to ale pitching temp, really only a small portion.

When it comes to hot break I can't speak for Kai but I think leaving it behind in the kettle is preferable to racking it to the fermentor.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: 1vertical on March 01, 2011, 04:03:37 PM
Well just about everybody puts cold break into the fermentor as it takes a substantial amount of time and near freezing temperatures to precipitate it at all. Whirlpool chillers may leave behind some but if you are just chilling to ale pitching temp, really only a small portion.
When it comes to hot break I can't speak for Kai but I think leaving it behind in the kettle is preferable to racking it to the fermentor.

Clarification, I have a hop bag suspended in my BK. When boil is finished, I put in the IC and cool to temps that
will not affect my plastic bucket, Then I dump the Entire contents of the BK into the plastic bucket reinsert the
IC coil because of it's shape I get better wert to copper contact in the bucket. Then I finish cooling to pitch temps,
hit it with the O2 and pitch.   

Yes and during the boil, I skim as much hot break off that I can.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: brewsumore on March 04, 2011, 08:40:51 PM
Can you remove enough hot break by just putting the beer from your kettle through a small-mesh sanitized kitchen strainer before it enters your fermenter, or does this let too much of the smaller particles through?
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: gordonstrong on March 04, 2011, 10:21:21 PM
No. Yes.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: malzig on March 05, 2011, 01:24:30 AM
Can you remove enough hot break by just putting the beer from your kettle through a small-mesh sanitized kitchen strainer before it enters your fermenter, or does this let too much of the smaller particles through?
It depends.  If you use whole hops, they can act as a filter to remove much of the break material.
I'm pretty sure I don't know how much "enough" is, though.  What are you trying to accomplish by removing the hot break?  Do you have a problem in your beer?
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: tomsawyer on March 05, 2011, 01:28:43 PM
I generally run my wort through a wire mesh screen to remove most hop pellet material.  I get a little break out along with the hop material, but most goes through.  If you used a fine enough screen to capture break, you'd plug it up in short order.  Its not worth it, there are other ways of avoiding break if you think it is something you need to do.
Title: Re: Protein Coagulation
Post by: brewsumore on March 05, 2011, 05:21:45 PM
I was having problems using either a T-Bazooka Screen or a Hop Stopper screen in my kettle, from clogging due to hop pellets + break material, and from leaving an excess of wort behind in the kettle.  I took the Hop Stopper out and recently have been using either a suspended paint strainer hop sack in the boil to hold the pellets, and/or passing the beer thru a strainer enroute to the fermenter buckets, and I've been emptying my keg kettle this way, meaning getting all the liquid.  The amount of break material left in the strainer depends on the beer - for dark beers all the break material makes it into the fermenters.  It's been a few brew sessions since I tried straining out break material during the boil, but I've used this approach as well.

In a NB Forum thread I was reminded recently that it is generally accepted that it is best to leave the break material behind as discussed in: http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue1.4/barchet.html
I am considering adding a piece of copper tubing that collects the wort from the inside bottom edge of the kettle, after whirlpooling to concentrate the break and hops in the center, like lots of people do, but I'm trying to be as efficient as I can in terms of leaving as little of liquid in the kettle as is possible when determining my method for emptying the kettle.  

I've also read from some experienced brewers that they don't think break material in the fermenter is a significant issue.  Personally, my beer remains high quality, but I want it to be the best I can make it!