Author Topic: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?  (Read 1770 times)

Offline Steve L

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Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:53:51 AM »
I've been looking at a few recipes lately that involve a protein rest. I was wondering if I could mash it at that temp, then drain the mashwater/wort into a kettle and heat it up on the stove. I figure I wouldn't have to go much above my next step target due to the grain bed being pre-heated and I shouldn't have to go anywhere near a boil so caramelization should be low. My concern would be the affect on enzymes.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 12:47:13 PM »
Just mash thick for the first infusion and add a second infusion to get you to your second rest.

Offline Steve L

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 02:30:43 PM »
Sounds good. Much easier too. Thanks


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Offline denny

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 03:14:19 PM »
Just say no to a protein rest.  With the highly modified malts we have today, it's almost never needed and can be detrimental.  Base the decision to do a p rest on the specific malt you use, not a recipe.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 04:47:54 PM »
Heating just a portion of the mashing water would likely mean that you would overheat and denature the enzymes. If you insist on stepping without adding more plain hot water, then I suggest that decoction is a better way. You are heating a mass from the mash, but its the part without most of the enzymes since the enzymes stay in the wort. 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 04:58:45 PM »
The best answer is D:

Just say no to a protein rest.  With the highly modified malts we have today, it's almost never needed and can be detrimental.  Base the decision to do a p rest on the specific malt you use, not a recipe.

Totally agree.

Martin is also correct.  Boiling a thick decoction is better than what the OP described, which is actually a thin decoction.  With thin decoction, you'll kill most of your enzymes, so conversion and attenuation may be adversely impacted.

You really need to just skip the protein rest, unless you're hell-bent on finding out just how detrimental it is with 21st century malts.
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Offline denny

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 05:15:01 PM »
The best answer is D:

Just say no to a protein rest.  With the highly modified malts we have today, it's almost never needed and can be detrimental.  Base the decision to do a p rest on the specific malt you use, not a recipe.

Totally agree.

Martin is also correct.  Boiling a thick decoction is better than what the OP described, which is actually a thin decoction.  With thin decoction, you'll kill most of your enzymes, so conversion and attenuation may be adversely impacted.

You really need to just skip the protein rest, unless you're hell-bent on finding out just how detrimental it is with 21st century malts.

well put, Mr. T!
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Offline Steve L

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 05:46:41 PM »
I like the Keep It Simple method... Avoid the protein rest all together, :)


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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2015, 05:56:16 PM »
Protein rests generally are not needed today, as those will hurt head retention. Even with most German malts this is not a required step, the maltster did the work for you making the malt.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Infusion_Mashing

Lets say you want a little insurance using some German malts, some say to rest for 5 or 10 minutes on the high end of Protease temp range, 131-133F doing a thick mash, then go to 145F for the Beta rest with boiling water. Then you might have room to infuse to get to the 158F Alpha rest, but you will be tapped our on mash tun volume. You can then pull the liquid and decoct the "thin part" to bring it to 168-170F for mash out. A friend often does steps and will do the last decoction step to get to mash out.

I have done a lot of direct fired step mashes, those work if you have the right system. If you have a cooler, and have a pump and a kettle with a ball valve, you could use it as a direct fired grant, recirculating back to the cooler. I did this once and the beer turned out fine - just dont overheat the liquid in the grant. I did this as I had a lot of malt in a 72 qt cooler, was out of room, and the temp was low. Like I said, the parts to do this were on hand and it worked.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 11:40:57 AM »
Kinda like a HERMS arrangement, Jeff, just direct firing, right?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 11:55:51 AM »
Kinda like a HERMS arrangement, Jeff, just direct firing, right?
Yes, you add heat with the fire and keep the flow high enough that you don't denature the enzymes with high temperature.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 03:58:54 PM »
side note, on a lot of the BJCP writtens that I grade I see people using extended protein rests, and very cool ones at that, on the recipe question.  Sometimes I have to question whether they are spouting something they read in a book, or if they've actually had success with this method.
 
I personally use brief, warm protein rests quite often, AND always use decoction for certain styles (I named one beer "Whatever Denny, *I* taste the decoction")  ;D

I'll reiterate - To each their own.  Whatever gets one the result they want - go for it.

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Offline sambates

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2015, 01:13:25 PM »
Just mash thick for the first infusion and add a second infusion to get you to your second rest.

If you really want to try a portein rest, go for it. This is what I'd suggest too. As most people have said, it can kill head retention. This happened with a buddy in my club. You could always try it and report back too.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2015, 03:53:37 AM »
If you're concerned about head, and who isn't, keep your "protein" rest above 130.  Every brewer in Belgium does this rest with well modified malt and gets some of the best looking (one could say, Belgian) lacing around.
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Re: Can you step mash in a cooler by re-heating mash water?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2015, 11:35:24 AM »
If you're concerned about head, and who isn't, keep your "protein" rest above 130.  Every brewer in Belgium does this rest with well modified malt and gets some of the best looking (one could say, Belgian) lacing around.

+1

As far as the cooler stepping goes, I had no problem in my test mashes when I was dialing in my equipment. Like others have said, if you mash in stiff to account for the added water, you should have no problem doing 3-4 steps.