There are a million ways to brew beer. If you want to step mash I say go for it.
With a single temp mash the resulting beers are just as clear, the head is just as foamy, head retention is just as long, and the beer is indistinguishable to me. I’ve never took a sip of beer and said, “I can tell this was step mashed”.
If step mashes made 2x better beer despite being 2x more PITA I’d do it. But, after a cpl years step mashing, I determined step mashes are 2x more PITA without any improvement. That places it in the not worth it column for me.
I caveat the above with two thoughts:
1. I am normally using American well modified base malts. If I were using a less modified variety malt that would benefit from temp steps I imagine my process would adapt for that grain bill.
2. My HERMS PID controller is not programmable. To make temp change I had to change the temp myself. If I had a programmable PID controller I may be more inclined to consider using steps. Sounds lazy but the constant interaction was a PITA for little, if any, benefit.
BTW: here’s a great interview with the “Pope of Foam” for some insight. He wrote a book on foam as well (~$40). https://youtu.be/_EN-RWOxORE
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