Author Topic: Step mashing timing  (Read 3285 times)

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #60 on: May 20, 2017, 06:53:01 AM »
I am another fan of step mashes, especially for Belgian beers.  They just seem a little more complex, not too dry, not underattenuated, just right.

I like this one posted earlier in this thread:



I would combine the 144 and 148 into one rest, and skip the 170 mashout (I batch sparge and the sparge will take care of the 170 mashout).
You can't combine the first two betas due to gelatinization. Check the supporting documentation to the post.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #61 on: May 20, 2017, 07:24:36 AM »
I am another fan of step mashes, especially for Belgian beers.  They just seem a little more complex, not too dry, not underattenuated, just right.

I like this one posted earlier in this thread:



I would combine the 144 and 148 into one rest, and skip the 170 mashout (I batch sparge and the sparge will take care of the 170 mashout).

OTOH my Belgian Trpel, which has won several awards, is brewed with a simple 148 - 45 minute mash (I do step it up to 156-158 for 10 minutes before vorlauf) and I get beautiful lacing, long lasting head retention and 90+ AA%.

I like step mashing, so don't get me wrong. It is a great tool. But I can get great results from a single or 2 step mash. Of course, being a mostly "infusion" based brewer I don't find it easy to step mash. If it were easier I'd do a lot more of it just "because".

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #62 on: May 20, 2017, 10:44:48 AM »
I believe the single infusion at low temp like that is described in BLAM with similar good results.


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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2017, 11:03:33 AM »
I think total mash time matters far more than specific mash temperature, as long as you're in a reasonable range of say 145-160 F.  If you add up all the steps above besides the mashout which doesn't count for much in a homebrew setting, the total is 90 minutes.  So if you did a side-by-side taste experiment, I'd bet you a 6-pack that results would be indiscernible from a beer single-infusion mashed for 90 minutes at say 150 F.

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Offline The Beerery

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Step mashing timing
« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2017, 11:42:17 AM »
Well for one it wouldn't have the same foam, dextrins, etc.

It doesn't work that way.  Beta has a 20 minute half life, and after 40 minutes it's basically gone.  So only resting at beta temps isn't going to bring the same composition as the multi rest.... it LITERALLY can't. Now can you taste it?   I bet you could, I know I can.


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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #65 on: May 20, 2017, 03:22:34 PM »
Beta has a 20 minute half life, and after 40 minutes it's basically gone.  So only resting at beta temps isn't going to bring the same composition as the multi rest.... it LITERALLY can't.

Assuming that's true at some temperature X, then by the definition of half life, after 40 minutes at single infusion temperature X, there's exactly 1/4 of the beta amylase left working... not what I would call "basically gone".  After 60 or 80 minutes, okay, by then you've got a little better point.

Meanwhile, alpha amylase is live and well at any temperature until it's denatured in the 160s.  Enough time (like 80 or 90 minutes or whatever) and alpha will chop the dextrins all to bits, and those few beta enzymes will continue to nip the ends off of those bits for most of that time as well.

Good discussion.  :)
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Offline The Beerery

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Step mashing timing
« Reply #66 on: May 20, 2017, 03:37:11 PM »
Yea I used your example.  150 for 90.

If you look at the data sheet I linked with those temps you can see in reality they saw zero beta after 40.  But that's just setting you attenuation potential anyways.  You have limit dextrins, glycoproteins, and all the other foam and body positive things above 150 as well.



From the graph here you can see at your 150 you are only getting roughly half the beta potential to start. 

Either way it's all good.  You won't be changing my mind and I am sure vice versa! I do love scientific brewing discussion though!


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« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 04:10:44 PM by The Beerery »
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Offline Steve L

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #67 on: May 21, 2017, 05:11:20 AM »
This was my first question posted to the forum and am really surprised at how sideways it all went. Thank you to those who actually answered it. In case you're curious, I'm doing a step mash because I can. I've read a bunch about step vs single infusion, have done a bunch of all-grain brewing with friends (single infusion) and figured for a Hefeweizen I've wanted for the summer after upgrading my own equipment, let's go for it.  Will it be my go-to approach, who knows? Even though not about my original question, I will say the most helpful comments were the ones that did bring some, dare I say, balance. There is enough opinion out in the world presented as truth, I was surprised to see that from fellow homebrewers. Anyway, thanks everyone for jumping in and I do look forward to learning more from all of you. FWIW.

Doing a step mash or decoction mash, "because I can and want to" is the best reason.

I think Denny has the answer here, Desire to do a step mash is the best reason to do one. But the proof is in the pudding. Brew a step mash beer and then rebrew the same beer with a single infusion and see which one you prefer. Even better, My suggestion would be to have a get together and impromptu sensory panel. In the end it's preference based on taste and no one can tell you what you personally like so it's sort of a moot point.
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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #68 on: May 21, 2017, 06:00:52 AM »
This was my first question posted to the forum and am really surprised at how sideways it all went. Thank you to those who actually answered it. In case you're curious, I'm doing a step mash because I can. I've read a bunch about step vs single infusion, have done a bunch of all-grain brewing with friends (single infusion) and figured for a Hefeweizen I've wanted for the summer after upgrading my own equipment, let's go for it.  Will it be my go-to approach, who knows? Even though not about my original question, I will say the most helpful comments were the ones that did bring some, dare I say, balance. There is enough opinion out in the world presented as truth, I was surprised to see that from fellow homebrewers. Anyway, thanks everyone for jumping in and I do look forward to learning more from all of you. FWIW.

Doing a step mash or decoction mash, "because I can and want to" is the best reason.

I think Denny has the answer here, Desire to do a step mash is the best reason to do one. But the proof is in the pudding. Brew a step mash beer and then rebrew the same beer with a single infusion and see which one you prefer. Even better, My suggestion would be to have a get together and impromptu sensory panel. In the end it's preference based on taste and no one can tell you what you personally like so it's sort of a moot point.

One of the things to look out for (appearance and taste) if you were to do a side by side comparison would be attenuation, body/mouthfeel, foam stability/appearance.

One of the great things about doing a 2 step, or even 3 step Beta rest (Bryan posted the Brauwelt articles on the high gelatinization temp mash above) is the increase in both extract and attenuation.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #69 on: May 21, 2017, 06:37:29 AM »
One of the things you will notice of you do step mashes or decoction mashes is an immediate improvement in efficiency. So obviously it us doing something when you decoct/step.

I did a double decoction on a 10 gal batch of dunkle weizen late last winter (starting with a ferulic acid rest at 111) and the beer turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I'm not convinced that it was so much better than a single infusion mash version that it is worth doing it every time. Not for me anyway. For those whom it is, I applaud your efforts.  But 100 bucks says my single infusion beers will stand up next to your decoction every time. ;)

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #70 on: May 21, 2017, 07:42:46 AM »
One of the things you will notice of you do step mashes or decoction mashes is an immediate improvement in efficiency. So obviously it us doing something when you decoct/step.

I did a double decoction on a 10 gal batch of dunkle weizen late last winter (starting with a ferulic acid rest at 111) and the beer turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I'm not convinced that it was so much better than a single infusion mash version that it is worth doing it every time. Not for me anyway. For those whom it is, I applaud your efforts.  But 100 bucks says my single infusion beers will stand up next to your decoction every time. ;)



If you altered pH at your acid rest, you basically negated any benefits from the rest, as the rest needs a higher pH and a long time.  So not touching pH until the ramp to beta would be the first things to try (if you didn't) and then a long rest 30 minutes or more at 114. If you are feeling froggy a maltase mash is the creme de la creme of true weissbier mashing.

I can obviously only speak for myself but its not even close when a weissbier is step mashed in a low oxygen brewery vs a single infusion American version... Otherwise we could actually hold a candle to the real versions.  ;)

But this circles back to my montra, every seems to have tried this or that.. But did you(proverbial you, I) perform it properly? Thats the real question. There is science behind the whys and hows, thats how this works. Anyone in my inner circle knows that I am constantly searching for the "real" answer and I ALWAYS fault myself when things don't turn and you must always revisit. It's OK if you did it wrong, its not OK if you didn't do it right once and formed your opinion based off that. We ALL do stuff wrong everyday, but righting those wrongs separates the men from the boys.

I look at brewing as a bunch of if, then this statements.

If I deoxygenate my water and purge all my vessels/tubing with nitrogen, when I dough in I will then not oxidize my wort.
If I do not oxidize my wort then it tastes like fresh raw grain and honey
If my wort tastes like raw fresh grain and honey, then If I step mash, I then yield wort that makes yeast and me happy.
If I boil soft, then I preserve those malt flavors.
Etc, etc, etc.

My if's layer upon themselves to yield the product I set out to make.  It is what it is to me. I treat my brewery like a professional brewhouse with the same strict standards thoughout. It very much pleasures me to yield a product that tastes the freshest possible within my means, and easily blow away most of the competition, and people to revere my beers for their properties. Thats my definition of rewarding, I am not out to be good, I am out to be the best. This is why I brew, and it's different for everyone and thats perfectly  fine. 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 08:04:21 AM by The Beerery »
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Offline BrewBama

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Step mashing timing
« Reply #71 on: May 21, 2017, 08:37:03 AM »
I think I read an old timer saying something like it's a 100 dollars more work for 10 dollars worth of improvement. Like most product improvement initiatives, the last few percent increase (e.g. 95 to 96%) expends exponentially more resources than a 10% increase lower on the scale (e.g. 70 to 80%). I believe that's why so many say it's not worth it. YMMV


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« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 08:46:42 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #72 on: May 21, 2017, 09:47:39 AM »
So another takeaway I'm seeing here is that some say it does in fact make a difference, but that difference isn't worth the hassle.

If that's the case, why not just work towards making it less of a hassle? Surely with some of the new fully automated systems there isn't any added hassle at all. I know on my old electric brewery it was very simple to do, just had to set the temp for each step at the right time.

I'll agree the process isn't conducive to the standard infusion mash setup, as I do believe the ramp time to be part of the "magic". It's also not correct for certain styles, British beers in particular.

I'm getting irritated by how some seem to imply that because something is hard it isn't worth doing. That's for the individual brewer to decide. In the auto racing world, you'd willingly pay that $100 for $10 of improvement...after all the more effective improvements have been used.

Expensive? Yes...but it's still an improvement.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #73 on: May 21, 2017, 10:54:05 AM »
One of the things you will notice of you do step mashes or decoction mashes is an immediate improvement in efficiency. So obviously it us doing something when you decoct/step.

I did a double decoction on a 10 gal batch of dunkle weizen late last winter (starting with a ferulic acid rest at 111) and the beer turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I'm not convinced that it was so much better than a single infusion mash version that it is worth doing it every time. Not for me anyway. For those whom it is, I applaud your efforts.  But 100 bucks says my single infusion beers will stand up next to your decoction every time. ;)



If you altered pH at your acid rest, you basically negated any benefits from the rest, as the rest needs a higher pH and a long time. 

Uhhhm, yeah that's why they call it an acid rest....  ;)

Offline majorvices

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Re: Step mashing timing
« Reply #74 on: May 21, 2017, 11:17:11 AM »


I'm getting irritated by how some seem to imply that because something is hard it isn't worth doing. That's for the individual brewer to decide. In the auto racing world, you'd willingly pay that $100 for $10 of improvement...after all the more effective improvements have been used.



Not sure why, everyone seems to be saying the brewer should brew as he or she feels fit. If you like doing multi-step mashes. Knock yourself out. Some of us don't see that it really makes that big of a difference. Some of us do. There really isn't any hard evidence that beers using a multi-step mash are better than  beers with single infusions. There's a lot of personal claims that they are. And a lot of insinuating that if you don't follow a certain process your beer is "inferior", but no hard evidence.