Author Topic: Multi-step mashing...  (Read 4818 times)

Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2020, 06:16:41 PM »
I think every brewer should try a decoction mash at least once if they can. I just did a double-decoction for a German Pils on Friday and was surprised on how smoothly it went considering I haven’t done it in a couple of years. I can’t tell you if it makes a difference or not, but I definitely had the time to do it. Also, I believe in the article it states that the malt used is under-modified, so a step/decoction mash is probably necessary.


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Yep, that's the time for those processes. Unfortunately, too many homebrewers try to apply them to the malt they have, which is almost never undermodified.
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Offline Visor

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2020, 07:36:51 PM »
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.
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Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2020, 07:43:54 PM »
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.

Wow...sounds like a real hassle, but glad the results are worth it.  Makes me even more glad about the performance of my cooler/braid combo!
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2020, 07:56:36 PM »
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.

Wow...sounds like a real hassle, but glad the results are worth it.  Makes me even more glad about the performance of my cooler/braid combo!
I just made a rye APA last weekend with 25% rye malt, single infusion at 153 or so.  I use a sabco false bottom and had no problems with the lauter, but I always go pretty slow.  It takes about 45 minutes on my system to sparge.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2020, 08:03:03 PM »
I think every brewer should try a decoction mash at least once if they can. I just did a double-decoction for a German Pils on Friday and was surprised on how smoothly it went considering I haven’t done it in a couple of years. I can’t tell you if it makes a difference or not, but I definitely had the time to do it. Also, I believe in the article it states that the malt used is under-modified, so a step/decoction mash is probably necessary.
I agree and I have tried decoctions in the past.  They were not "complicated" but it was a bit of a comedy sketch and the resulting beer could be called "good" but nothing out of this world.  I also agree about the malt.  I have bought German malt from Weyermann (Barke, etc) that may or may not be highly-modified... I'm not sure.  But I often have Swaen, Avangard, Best Malz, etc. which make very good beer with single-infusions.  I should also say that I am generally very pleased with my beers.  But I always wonder if I could be even MORE pleased with my beers.  :D  Cheers.
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TXFlyGuy

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2020, 01:01:00 AM »
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2020, 01:41:59 AM »
For clarity - I rarely ever do a step mash anymore, but I don’t rule it out.  Single infusion at 149-152 really works well with the well modified malts we get today.  Just made a Helles with Sekado Pils malt from the Czech Reublic.  Interesting richness from the malt not dry like the typical Helles that is well attenuated with Weyermann.  Different and worth comparing for those of us that typically brew these light lagers over and over again, trying to chase the unicorn.
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Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2020, 02:05:01 PM »
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.
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TXFlyGuy

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2020, 02:34:50 PM »
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.

Is the German Pils malt we buy today different from the same malt bought 20 years ago? If we are talking, 50, 75 or more years, then probably so.

Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2020, 02:57:34 PM »
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.

Is the German Pils malt we buy today different from the same malt bought 20 years ago? If we are talking, 50, 75 or more years, then probably so.

VERY much different.  20 years ago it was hard to even get continental malts here.
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Offline HabeasCorpus

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2020, 06:28:59 PM »
(Level of) Modification: A measure of the length of the acrospire in relation to the size of the kernel. 

Under-modified: Acrospire grows to < 75% of the length of the kernel
Well Modified:  Acrospire grows to >= 75% and <= 100% of the length of the kernel
Overmodified: Acrospire grows to > 100% of the length of the kernel (never sold or targeted)

In each batch of malt a certain percentage will be had of each level of modification.  In a well controlled process the largest percent is the target percentage.

Step Mash: A mashing procedure whereby the temperature of the mash is raised in timed steps to activate various enzymes or release acids contained in malted barley.

Decoction: A mashing procedure whereby a thick portion of the mash is boiled and added back to a thin portion in order to raise the temperature.  The temperature is normally raised in timed steps just as a step mash, though only two or three steps is common.

What do the terms "highly modified", "modern", "hot" mean?

They refer to varieties of barley bred and malted to contain large amounts of enzymes such that they convert fast in the mash.  They also refer to "well modified" malt as defined above.  Convert (or conversion) meaning the act of the enzymes converting starches to sugars in the mash.

My purpose in defining these terms is to try and find an association between the level of modification and the mash type.

What benefit does a step mash have on each of these types of malt: under-modified, well modified and over modified malt?

Step mashing has nothing to do with malt modification but rather making use of certain properties of the malt at each temperature.  Ferulic acid rest, Protein rest, Beta rest, Alpha rest, etc... None of those care about malt modification, save the speed at which the conversion occurs.  Under-modified malts and/or recipes whose Degrees of Lintner values aren't high enough may require more time for each step to complete or convert.

What benefit does a decoction mash have on each of these types of malt: under-modified, well modified and over modified malt?

Decoction mashing is normally used on under-modified malts where it is helpful to burst the cell walls to release additional starches and enzymes.  It also has the same effect that step mashing has when the rest temperatures are stepped up.

The only association that I can find between level of modification and step/decoction mashing is the time assigned to each step and in a very general sense the step times may increase with under-modified malts but would require experimentation in any case.  Are there any other associations?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 06:54:52 PM by HabeasCorpus »

Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2020, 07:53:31 PM »
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.
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Offline HabeasCorpus

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2020, 08:09:32 PM »
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?

Offline jeffy

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2020, 09:11:52 PM »
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?
Unless you're involved in the malting process you don't get to see the acrospire.  It is long gone by the time the maltster is done.
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Offline denny

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Re: Multi-step mashing...
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2020, 09:17:57 PM »
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?

From Palmer's "What to Expect When You're Extracting" article in Zymurgy...

The most common indicator of malt modification is the Soluble to Total Protein Ratio (S/T ratio), also known as the Kolbach Index. To
generalize, a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt, 40 to 44 percent is a well-modified malt and 44 to 48 percent is a highly modified malt.

Highly modified malt will not benefit from something like a protein rest.  I proved that to myself on my step mash when I used GW Munich.  Because malt is made for commercial operations and it costs them money if they have to do a complicated mash routine, most malt is made to use a single infusion.
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