Author Topic: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments  (Read 1495 times)

Offline bdgrfrisch

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Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« on: December 26, 2012, 08:24:55 AM »
What is the process for adding water salts when doing a multi-step infusion mash? Do you add it all with first infusion, or divide it up for each infusion? Or is it wiser to add all salts to the whole of the mash water? I was always under the impression that a lot of the salts won't properly mix into plain water (I use r/o water)like it will in the mash.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 09:18:24 AM »
It depends on what the salts are for. Anything that's used for pH adjustment should be distributed evenly in all the mash liquor (although I'd actually add them to the mash along with each infusion). If it's for flavor, just add to the kettle.

Edit: In hindsight, Kai's suggestion makes perfect sense and I clearly don't know what I'm talking about.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 07:53:27 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 07:43:58 PM »
You should add them all to the mash at the beginning. For the most part pH is a function of grist and the total amount of (pH active) minerals present. Hence the suggestion to add them all at the beginning.

Kai

Offline bdgrfrisch

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 10:45:04 PM »
Now that you put it that way it sure does make sense.
It has to do with amount of grain, not the amount of water mixing with the salts.  That's why a thick or a thin mash (and everybody had a little different idea on that) would still use similar recommendations for brewing salts.  Just that the first infusion would just be more thick than an average mash.
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Offline redzim

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 07:08:36 AM »
You should add them all to the mash at the beginning. For the most part pH is a function of grist and the total amount of (pH active) minerals present. Hence the suggestion to add them all at the beginning.

Kai

But you still add the fraction of minerals for sparge water with the sparge water, correct?  At least, your spreadsheet breaks it down into "mash" and "sparge" amounts....

Hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year to all....  I'm brewing Jamil's Traditional Bock today.....

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 10:12:09 AM »
It does depend upon the water and grist.  There could be cases where adding minerals to the mash would be counterproductive. So its not so easy to just say...add them all at once.  Since the OP indicates that they start with RO water, there could be cases where a bit of alkalinity needs to be added.  If they are step infusing, then adding all the alkalinity producers at once could really throw off the mash pH. 

There are only a few styles that benefit from step mashing.  Looking at one of the most extreme cases would be the typical Hefe in which you might start with a rest in the 110 to 125F range and then want to boost it to the 150F range.  That step infusion could approach the original mash in volume.  That will definitely throw off the water chemistry. 

In the case of stepping from just a Beta rest temp to an Alpha rest temp, the infusion volume is probably minor.  Then I can agree that throwing all the minerals in wouldn't be a big deal. 
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Offline VictorBrew

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 10:53:57 AM »
Very old thread, but I found it looking for answers ... so rather then add a new thread I will ask here

I am not interesting in debating if a multi-step mash is needed, but rather how you mange pH is you decide you want to do step mashing via infusion of hot water for each step.  Which step is it most important to hit your pH in the 5.2-5.4 range?  Does pH matter for an Acid Rest in 100F range?  Protein Rest in the 122-133F range?  Or is it just your Sac temp rest that pH has the biggest impact?  Also, if you employ an Acid rest how do you take the impact just that rest has on pH into account when estimating your salts and acid additions?  I am sure the answers could get rather in depth and I am sure there are books dedicated to the topic, but I am looking to find a starting place(other threads or books) to learn and experiment.  Thanks in advance.

Rob
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Offline cblitzstein

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2015, 07:34:57 AM »
I am always amazed at the lengthy discussions on water chemistry. Did anyone think that all your trying to do is duplicate someone else's tap water? If you have good local water. Leave it alone. If you have lousy local water, adjust away or use bottled/RO water.

Fortunately, our water here is excellent. I do nothing beyond some ph adjustments. It's the local water that makes your brew uniquely yours. I'd rather concentrate on the other ingredients. 

Just my two cents.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2015, 07:51:32 AM »
I am always amazed at the lengthy discussions on water chemistry. Did anyone think that all your trying to do is duplicate someone else's tap water? If you have good local water. Leave it alone. If you have lousy local water, adjust away or use bottled/RO water.

Fortunately, our water here is excellent. I do nothing beyond some ph adjustments. It's the local water that makes your brew uniquely yours. I'd rather concentrate on the other ingredients. 

Just my two cents.


Unfortunately, we aren't all as lucky. Living in the Midwest, my water is utter crap for brewing. So I build up from RO to get the profile I want for a given beer. While some water supplies are very good for brewing, there's still something to be said for tweaking your water for a given style.
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Offline cblitzstein

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2015, 08:21:05 AM »
HoosierBrew, I am well aware of just how bad an areas water can be. My mother lives in a part of Florida where bottled water is a necessity. Smells like rotten eggs and so does anything made with it.

Tweaking, sure. But often, people obsess over this or that to the point where they forget they are making beer, one of the most forgiving substances you can create.

One thought, while living in Philadelphia, my grandfather would regularly drive his station wagon out to some nearby local springs and fill up several five gallon jugs he had. Perhaps if there's a good local source of water that might be easier?


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Offline erockrph

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Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2015, 12:41:24 AM »
I do agree that some brewers can get lost in the minutiae of adjusting all the fine details on their water. Where I disagree is that finding a good-tasting source water is sufficient for all your brewing.

I have a well with good-tasting, relatively soft water. There are some water adjustments that I make, where I think it improves the finished beer, but the difference is small enough where it could be considered a minor tweak and the beer would still be pretty good without it. But there are a few beers that absolutely require adjustment on top of my existing water or else the end result is lackluster.

For hoppy beers, I need to add sulfate to get to the 150-200ppm range for my tastes. I've tried it without sulfate and the hop character just falls flat, and in the 300+ range it becomes too much for my liking. For roasty beers like stouts and porters, I need to add baking soda to get in the 5.5-5.6 mash pH range. At lower pH ranges the roast character is muddy, while at higher ranges I get the roast character that I'm looking for.

So, while I think it's easy to get caught up in the small stuff (especially if you don't understand water adjustments very well), you still need to pay some attention to your water to make the best beer possible. Just like with cooking, proper balance of salt(s) and acidity will enhance your beer and highlight the flavors you're looking for.
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