Author Topic: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?  (Read 994 times)

Offline dmtaylor

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So... I was listening to an old Basic Brewing Radio podcast (I believe it was http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr02-03-11byo7intro.mp3), and they brought up an idea for experimentation that I think deserves some exploration.

The question is: Why do we heat up the strike water alone to 170-190 F then mix with the grain to hit 150s?  Why do we not heat it all up together?  Assuming we have direct heat capabilities (not possible with a cooler mash tun), why not dough-in the grain with the usual 1-3 qts/lb water at room temperature, then ramp up the whole mash together to 150 F?

This might be even more feasible with smaller batches where temperatures will not linger in the protein rest and beta amylase zones for too long before hitting the alpha range.  However it will guarantee that you get through at least a brief sort of acid rest, beta-glucan, protein, everything, and you would also have the opportunity to easily step mash if desired, stopping for rests along the way as desired.  This is all contingent on having direct heating equipment that could handle it.  Personally I’m most interested in this technique because I brew small 1.7-gallon batches all the time, so it would of course be very easy for me to experiment with.

Unfortunately I do not brew very often these days so it would be some time before I can come up with any results on my own.  But of course I wanted to throw this idea out there for anyone else who might like to try it, or who might already have any experience with it.

One theory about all this, also discussed on BBR, is that the resulting beer might be lighter in body and have less head compared to the traditional single infusion strike at 150-ish since it goes through some period of time in the protein and beta zones, breaking down proteins and starches more than you’d get otherwise.  However this won’t stop me from experimentation!  Who knows... where personal preference comes into play, you might find you like this method better than the traditional way.  When I run my batches, I am not actually going to step mash and make any rests along the way.  I’m just going to crank up the heat from room temp to about 140 F, then back off and coast up to 150 F.  Then I’ll get some idea of the difference between this and traditional strike water mashing.

Thoughts??  This isn’t an original idea and has probably been toyed with for centuries, but I really don’t know exactly what to expect until I try it for myself.  Sounds like fun to me, and I really don’t think it will ruin anything -- it will still be making good beer!  At least I believe so.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline hoser

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 06:04:00 AM »
I contemplated in my last brew after doing some refresher research on saisons.  It's mentioned in Farmhouse ales by Markowski, pp. 156

Note: Brasserue Dupont uses a different approach, favoring a "rising temperature" infusion mash. Dupont starts with an initial temperature of 1130F and continuously heats the mash (while constantly stirring) by approximately 0.50F per minute over the course of 108 minutes until the mash temperature reaches 1620F. the intention is to maximize the fermentable sugar production in order to get the characteristic attenuation (when an appropriate yeast strain is used) and the low terminal gravity of 1.0 to 1.50P

So, you are right in saying it is nothing new.  It would be a good tool to use in something where you want great attenuation, i.e. Belgians

Offline erockrph

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 07:48:27 PM »
Interesting! I'm planning on a 1-gallon SMaSH lager with Red X malt and Mandarina Bavaria in a couple of days. I think I might give this method a whirl. I'm thinking of shooting for ~70-75 minutes, give or take, between 140F and 162F, or about a degree increase every 3 minutes or so. Then I'll pull my bag and crank the burner.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 01:03:01 AM »
I tried it once on a day that I had impatient. At about 130° I thought, why not. Then I had a hell of a time being even more patient to slowly raise the temp to mash temp. Ended up over shooting, then stirring and wafting steam to cool, then undershooting, then bla bla bla. If you had an automated rims it might be easier. I say try for yourself but soak some oak in tequila so you're ready to hide the scorched grain flavor.

Since that brew day (about three months ago) I bring my water to 120°, stir in calcium, then go to strike temp, then dump in my grist and stir a minute or less to make sure no dough balls, and start my recirculation

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 06:18:31 AM »
I think the obvious answer is in the OP. You're going to force your way through several rests at lower temperatures that will have an effect on the beer. You may not need/want the effects of those rests on your beer.

From a practical standpoint I believe it takes less energy to raise just the water volume to 170 than raise the water and grain together to 150. I could be wrong on that one.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 06:35:15 AM »
From a practical standpoint I believe it takes less energy to raise just the water volume to 170 than raise the water and grain together to 150. I could be wrong on that one.

That is a good question.  I'm really not sure which is more efficient.  Nor do I really care, to be honest.  However somebody out there might have a need to find out.  And then determine if it has any adverse effects on final beer flavor to go the other route if it is more efficient.  Not sure.  Just fun stuff to think about for the rest of us.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline erockrph

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 07:39:52 PM »
From a practical standpoint I believe it takes less energy to raise just the water volume to 170 than raise the water and grain together to 150. I could be wrong on that one.

To me it would seem that it would take the same amount of energy regardless of whether you just heat the water, or if you heat the grain with it, if you end up at the same temperature once the water and grain are mixed.
Eric B.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 04:44:24 AM »
I think it is quicker to heat the water to strike temp, if for no other reason than you can blast it with the heat, whereas with a step mash, I don't blast it for fear of scorching, so I have it at a low flame and gently ramp to temperature.  That said, the energy expended could be equal, since I am blasting the flame with just the water and easing the flame with the step mash....this is one for the physicists out there!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 05:24:45 AM »
For the curiius, just try it. But do a side by side comparison so youll know if tge extra 2 hours was worth it

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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2014, 05:48:33 AM »
I think there are two practical reasons that don't have much to do with quality. The average homebrewer would have to stand over the mash tun stirring constantly as it's heating, rather than heating water alone. Also, our techniques are handed down from pro breweries. And a pro brewery can cycle batches through faster if water is heated in a separate vessel.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2014, 06:30:41 AM »
But it's not a whole lot different from decoction, which also needs to be stirred, and which many brewers believe produces a higher quality beer.  (I am not convinced that decoction is any better, but just putting it out there.)
Dave

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2014, 07:02:11 AM »
I think there are two practical reasons that don't have much to do with quality. The average homebrewer would have to stand over the mash tun stirring constantly as it's heating, rather than heating water alone. Also, our techniques are handed down from pro breweries. And a pro brewery can cycle batches through faster if water is heated in a separate vessel.

+1
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2014, 07:58:20 AM »
If you have a RIMS with direct heat, you won't need to stir it.  ;)

I've actually done this a few times inadvertently. When dialing in the new system, it's hard to figure what strike temp you need when the weather is just so and with how much water. So I've hit 120F a few times as my dough in. No big, just do a quick protein rest to let the grain bed settle, then start ramping it up to the normal rests. I did a wicked long Hochkurz step mash like this with rests at 145, 158, & 162 before mash out. Better than usual head retention was noted.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2014, 08:01:49 AM »
If you have a RIMS with direct heat, you won't need to stir it.  ;)
I did say average homebrewer.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Pseudo-Step Mash - Heat Grain & Water Together from Room Temp!?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 08:05:09 AM »
I used to always dough in cold (well 40 C) and heat the mash. There are two significant advantages. First dough balls don't occur with no gelatinization. You don't even need to stir the mash at 40 C, it just wets evenly. Second you have time to measure and correct pH before you are at the important part of the mash.

The downsides of course are that you have to be able to directly heat your mash and if you don't have a pump you have to stand there and stir.