Author Topic: Step Mashing Experiment  (Read 1199 times)

Derek

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Step Mashing Experiment
« on: June 29, 2015, 11:43:20 PM »
I have not, as of yet, had the time to do a complete all grain brew session and have been confined to doing test mashes to get my system dialed in.

This past weekend I conducted my fourth experimental test mash. This time I chose a simple grain bill:

1 lb. Weyermann Pils
1 lb. Dingeman Pale
1/2 lb. Weyermann Dark Munich
1/8 lb. Dingeman Debittered black

I bought two identical versions of this grain bill and had them Milled twice and bagged separately.

I chose to mash one at 148 deg F. I chose to step mash the other from 136/148/154/168 deg F. I wanted to see for myself the effects if any of step mashing.

The results are of course not in any way scientific but I feel I used good process and technique.

The single infusion mash was coughed in with 162 deg F water. It equalized to 149 deg F and I left it undisturbed, save for 2 good stirs halfway and 3/4 way through. I batched sparged both mashes with 180 deg F water.

I used a stiff initial mash for the step mash in order to meet my water to grist ratio requirement by the final step. Stepping went well and I was within all my temps by 1 deg F.

After stirring both mashes vigorously and sparging, I calculated 74% efficiency on the single infusion and 77% on the step mash. YMMV. wouldn't have tried it with American malts due to the modification but I may just do this from now on when I use Dingeman  or Weyermann malts. 

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 01:20:58 AM »
I've been mashin in at 138*F (below the gelatinization point so I don't get dough balls) for 10 min, stepping to 153-154*F for 60 min, and Mash out at 168*F for 10 min to decrease viscosity. I've been getting great conversion, good head retention, good mouth feel, and a relaxed brew day.
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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 01:37:47 AM »
With a bit more attention to detail, planning and patience I believe I could have gotten ~80% on the step mash.

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 04:44:11 AM »
A split of 148 and 154 isn't so different that I would expect a significant difference in the mash. Often those step mash profiles go 148 to 158 so you're getting more alpha conversion. Your rest periods may also affect how each of those steps affect conversion (and other factors).

I tend to get mid-70s efficiency on single rest mashes around 154 but for saisons and similar beers I am usually mashing at 144-146 with a decoction to get up to 158 and my efficiency often approaches 90%. It creates a highly fermentable wort with is not always appropriate for all styles.
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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 09:38:06 AM »
A split of 148 and 154 isn't so different that I would expect a significant difference in the mash. Often those step mash profiles go 148 to 158 so you're getting more alpha conversion. Your rest periods may also affect how each of those steps affect conversion (and other factors).

I tend to get mid-70s efficiency on single rest mashes around 154 but for saisons and similar beers I am usually mashing at 144-146 with a decoction to get up to 158 and my efficiency often approaches 90%. It creates a highly fermentable wort with is not always appropriate for all styles.

Like I said, YMMV.

After looking over my notes these are the temperatures I hit on the steps:

136/147/155/mash out at 169

Offline beersk

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 01:14:38 PM »
I have not, as of yet, had the time to do a complete all grain brew session and have been confined to doing test mashes to get my system dialed in.

This past weekend I conducted my fourth experimental test mash. This time I chose a simple grain bill:

1 lb. Weyermann Pils
1 lb. Dingeman Pale
1/2 lb. Weyermann Dark Munich
1/8 lb. Dingeman Debittered black

I bought two identical versions of this grain bill and had them Milled twice and bagged separately.

I chose to mash one at 148 deg F. I chose to step mash the other from 136/148/154/168 deg F. I wanted to see for myself the effects if any of step mashing.

The results are of course not in any way scientific but I feel I used good process and technique.

The single infusion mash was coughed in with 162 deg F water. It equalized to 149 deg F and I left it undisturbed, save for 2 good stirs halfway and 3/4 way through. I batched sparged both mashes with 180 deg F water.

I used a stiff initial mash for the step mash in order to meet my water to grist ratio requirement by the final step. Stepping went well and I was within all my temps by 1 deg F.

After stirring both mashes vigorously and sparging, I calculated 74% efficiency on the single infusion and 77% on the step mash. YMMV. wouldn't have tried it with American malts due to the modification but I may just do this from now on when I use Dingeman  or Weyermann malts. 
I step mash everything. Just cus'.  It's easy, it gives me a boost in efficiency, and a longer rest at 160F gives a nice body and head retention. I do a Hochkurz step mash, 145F or so for anywhere from 20-45 minutes, infuse with boiling water to 158-160F for 30-60 minutes. I make it so the mash, altogether, is 90 minutes. Most modern malts, European or otherwise, are well modified.
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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 04:01:55 PM »
With a bit more attention to detail, planning and patience I believe I could have gotten ~80% on the step mash.

Or it could just be a measurement error since it's so close.
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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 06:36:02 PM »
Or it could just be a measurement error since it's so close.

Agreed. Like I said. Nothing terribly scientific or definite here. Just an observation.

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 07:10:45 PM »
Or it could just be a measurement error since it's so close.

Agreed. Like I said. Nothing terribly scientific or definite here. Just an observation.

Try it a dozen or so times to see if you get consistent results.
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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 09:03:46 PM »
Try it a dozen or so times to see if you get consistent results.

With the exception of the fact that it's wasteful (I don't ferment them) these test mashes have been a pretty interesting and helpful exercise as I learn the ropes so to speak.

I've been getting pretty consistent results as predicted by my excel sheet values and I've been learning to produce consistent mash pHs using limited amounts of salts and Brun Water.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2015, 11:38:32 PM »
Not fermenting them? I cannot agree with that. LOL. I did a step mash today: 110/140/158
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Offline santoch

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2015, 01:52:24 AM »
if nothing else, you should dilute your wort down and can it into mason jars using a pressure cooker so that you can use it for starters.
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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2015, 02:45:59 PM »
I'm not worried about it. I use DME for starters.

Grain is cheap enough at the amounts I use for these test mashes that pitching it isn't really all that wasteful.

Offline jmitchell3

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2015, 02:02:00 PM »
Were you able to measure your ph in each mash?


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Derek

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Re: Step Mashing Experiment
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2015, 08:48:47 PM »
Were you able to measure your ph in each mash?

The last two I measured pH, cut my tap water with 50% distilled and used gypsum and calcium chloride to hit my pH.

I'd have to look at my notes but the step mash experiment pHs were between 5.2-5.4 and my last belgian grain bill test mash was 5.3. I did use a little bit of Weyermann Acid malt in all of them.

I just did a Dark Strong with Briess extracts and some steep Caramunich and Chocolate malt that is fermenting very nicely as well.