Author Topic: Mash schedules for Lagers  (Read 8098 times)

Offline t-bone

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Mash schedules for Lagers
« on: June 30, 2012, 07:29:54 AM »
I’ve been accused of being a day late and dollar short before; but I love to brew lagers in summer.
I have a couple of lager brew days coming up I would like to hear what mash schedule everyone uses for them.  “Nateo’ has an excellent thread started addressing ‘whether triple-decoction or no-sparge single infusion provides better results in a pale, delicate, malt-centric beer for an average homebrewer.’  I look forward to reading the results.

I usually do step mashing all around but would like to try something different on this round.  Has anyone used Hochkurz mash method?  I’ve read that some malt masters have stated that a single infusion is permissible even with lagers.  Which mash schedule would be most appropriate for the following beer styles:

Rauchbier
Oktoberfest
Bavarian Helles
Generic American Lager (very light)

As always thanks to everyone who responds.

t-bone
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 08:25:59 AM by t-bone »

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11694
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Lager Time
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 07:44:16 AM »
AFAIAC, single infusion for all of them.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Lager Time
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 08:08:23 AM »
i thought you were going to ask how long people lager for
there is a good thread about german lager flavor going on with this similar topic.  many people seem to be suggesting that the decoctions bring out more flavor.  i am not convinced yet.  i am thinking that just boiling the first runnings longer may produce the same effect but have not experimented yet.   the only decoctions i have performed was out of necessity when i was having trouble with keeping temperature up.  it was not hard but also am not sure it mattered.
Don AHA member

Offline t-bone

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 08:28:56 AM »
I didn't think about it but you are correct "weithman5" I guess the title was a little misleading I changed it.

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11694
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Lager Time
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 09:29:34 AM »
i am thinking that just boiling the first runnings longer may produce the same effect but have not experimented yet.

I can pretty much guarantee you that it's not the same.  Try both and see for yourself.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 10:30:56 AM »
If you can make a great beer, you can make a great beer with any kind of mash schedule. I would recommend using whatever system you're more comfortable with. I've done a couple dozen decoction mashes before I did my experiment, but never a triple decoction before that. So it may not be the best possible beer I could've made based on my experience and skill set.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8683
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 10:41:35 AM »
I've done them multiple ways with good results.  I think you can make an excellent lager with a single infusion, but I would recommend trying the various methods to have some first hand experience with each method and better understand how they impact beer flavor.  A single infusion mash is the easiest and will give one the most bang for the buck IMO.

BTW ...I sent you a pm nateo.
Ron Price

Offline mmitchem

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 360
  • Suffolk, VA
    • View Profile
    • http://www.barfclub.org
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 11:35:25 AM »
I have heard of people using melanoidin malt to emulate a decoction mash...anyone tried this with any luck?
Michael P Mitchem
Beer and Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
AHA Member since 2011

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 12:01:48 PM »
i am thinking that just boiling the first runnings longer may produce the same effect but have not experimented yet.

I can pretty much guarantee you that it's not the same.  Try both and see for yourself.

imay have to, but i am not sure what effect i am looking for. my question for the people who do decoctions is it the individual rests that affect flavor or the affect that boiling a portion of the mash has on flavor.  maybe a better experiment would be to recirculate the wort and raise temp through three rests, and compare this to a standard decoction where the grain is pulled, boiled and placed back in. and then a third with a single infusion, fourth with single infusion and longer boil.  man that is a lot of brewing but it is a hobby.
Don AHA member

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 12:23:43 PM »
I think people are looking at this problem the wrong way. Instead of asking "what can step mashes do for my beer's flavor?" we should be asking "why does anyone do step mashes in the first place?" German brewers didn't invent decoction mashes because they tasted good. They were a solution to a narrow technical problem. Step mashes are an answer to another narrow technical problem when mashing "undermodified" or highly nitrogenous malts or adjuncts. "Undermodified" in this context depends on the goals and equipment of the brewer.

Any modification of the malt that doesn't happen in the malt house has to happen in the brew house. Conversely, modification that happens in the malt house doesn't need to be done in the brew house.'

So the answer to whether or not step mashes are appropriate, or if decoctions are appropriate, depends on the composition and modification of your malt, and any unmalted adjuncts you may be using. Some modern British pale malts have a Kolbach index approaching 50%, which would've been horribly overmodified even twenty years ago, and are perfectly suited to high-temp single infusion mashes.

I guess my main point is you should have tangible, demonstrable reasons for the decisions you make, and try not to be blinded by the conjecture of people like me on the internet.

I'm looking forward to the evaluations of the beers I sent out, which would be germane to this topic.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 01:03:33 PM »
great points.
Don AHA member

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4547
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2012, 01:17:08 PM »
As Nateo said so well select the right tool for the job. Most malts are fully modified today.

There is some great info on Kai's site. The X axis is time, so think about how long it will make the brew day.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline t-bone

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2012, 03:37:35 PM »
Great insight!!

My knowledge is most incomplete in the malt department.  Would it be safe to say that pretty much all malts bought today (briess, crisp, wyermann etc...) are modified to the point of not needing a step mash or decoction?  Or does it depend on the actual malt?

Can anyone recommend any good books on malting as it relates to brewing?

Thanks all

t-bone

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4547
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2012, 04:07:17 PM »
Great insight!!

My knowledge is most incomplete in the malt department.  Would it be safe to say that pretty much all malts bought today (briess, crisp, wyermann etc...) are modified to the point of not needing a step mash or decoction?  Or does it depend on the actual malt?

Can anyone recommend any good books on malting as it relates to brewing?

Thanks all

t-bone

This might get you started.
http://morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/bmg/noonan.html
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Mash schedules for Lagers
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2012, 04:15:49 PM »
My knowledge is most incomplete in the malt department.  Would it be safe to say that pretty much all malts bought today (briess, crisp, wyermann etc...) are modified to the point of not needing a step mash or decoction?  Or does it depend on the actual malt?

Can anyone recommend any good books on malting as it relates to brewing?

I have Noonan's New Brewing Lager book. It's pretty interesting, but fairly old. I think undermodified malt was a lot more widespread at the time he wrote that. Every major commercial malt I've seen would be "overmodified" by lager malt standards, and some British pale malts like Maris Otter or Golden Promise would be "overmodified" by ale malt standards, according to that book.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to take the weighted average of your grain bill to get an idea of what your mash needs. Let's say I brew a Belgian Wit with 50% raw wheat, with let's say 15% protein and 0% soluble nitrogen. I have some pils malt with 10% protein, 45% of which is soluble. So my total protein would be 12.5%, which is a little on the high side, but not awful, but my soluble protein would drop to 22.5%, which throws it pretty firmly into the "undermodified" range. So this type of grain bill would benefit from some low temp rests to loosen up the mash, increasing efficiency and runoff.

I brewed the above grain bill with a single infusion once and it was a nightmare. Runoff was a trickle when it wasn't plain stuck, and the beer ended up with an insane amount of haze. Like, it was opaque. It also got about 55% batch efficiency. I entered it into a contest and it scored like a 12. It was only a bit better than "undrinkable." So beer really needs to have the proper amount and balance of soluble and insoluble proteins to get a reasonably good finished product.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.