Author Topic: Alpha Amylase  (Read 3040 times)

Offline tony

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Alpha Amylase
« on: November 28, 2009, 06:05:41 AM »
Background... I'm having trouble getting the true crisp taste in my pilsners.
My general recipie is as follows.

100% pilsner malt
Hopping to 25 IBUs  (light pils style)
WY2042, S-189, or W34/70 ( take your pick ) I do use enough yeast, and pitch yeast at 45f aprox.
into wort at 48f with as much trub removed prior to pitching.

Mash at 149f for 90 minutes, boil for 90 minutes
I use my soft tap water treated with campton.
My mash ph is between 5.2 and 5.5 using 1 tsp of gypsum in the mash
I batch sparge and single infuse
Aerate using pure O2 and a stone for 1 minute.

I ferment at 50f until done, anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 weeks usually, and then rack
into a corny for lagering at 34f for a minimum of a month, but usually 2 months.
I usually go from an OG of 1045 - 1050 to a Fg of 1010 to 1012

I have read that using alpha amylase will dry out a brew more leaving it more " crisp ".
What will using alpha amylase really do to my brew if I use it?

And would dropping my mash temp down to 147f do the same as the alpha amylase?

I haven't bothered to check my mash for conversion lately as in all the batches I did, I only once
had a positive reaction to the iodine, and that may have been husk reacting to the iodine.

Thanks.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 06:17:51 AM »
I don't think you would want it any more dry - and dryness isn't necessarily the same as "crispness." In any case, Amalyse Enzyme is NOT the way to go on these beers. That produces rocket fuel and the few times I have tried it I have sometimes gotten a strange flavor as well.

A couple things I noticed from your post:

1 minute might not be enough aeration. I aerate my lagers for 2-3 minutes with pure 02 through a stone at a very slow trickle in which I move the stone constantly through the wort. You want very few bubbles coming to the surface (aim for none - bubbles mean o2 is escaping.)

For a pilsner aging 1 month would be about the longest time necessary. You should be at least half way through the keg at 2 months.  ;) The beer should pretty much taste ready to go at transfer. Most of my pale lager are fined and lagered at 32 degrees for 2-3, maybe 4 weeks. That really is all it should take.

The big question though: You don't mention yeast pitching temperature, nor how much yeast you pitch. You need a huge amount of yeast for a lager (the slurry from at least a one gallon starter, for instance) and you need to pitch in the low 50s at the very highest, preferably in the mid to high 40s. If you do all that it may just take pitching a bit more yeast. Also, you might try fermenting at 48 degrees (be sure this is the temp of the beer not the ambient air) and then slowly letting themp raise up to the high 50s near the very end to insure attenuation and clean up any diacetyl. Diacetyl will definitely take away from the "crispness".

Keith Y.
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Offline tony

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 06:30:42 AM »
Well I do areate slow and move my wand around the wort as I'm doing it. I get a good fermentation as I pitch either a decanted gallon starter, or a yeast slurry ( lots there ) or 20 g of rehydrated climatized dry yeast
As I stated in oy OP, I climatize my yeast to about 45f and pitch it into wort at 48f. I get short lag times < 12 hours, and fermentation in done watching the strip on my fermenter which will show between 48f and 50f. Ambient temp inside my fridge will vary between 44f and 50f.

I did forget to mention that I do a diacetyl rest by bringing it up to ambient room temperture ( 62f ) and leave it until it is completly finished fermenting. I know that a diacetyl rest isn't always nesessary, but understand that it also don't hurt to do one.

I'm getting ready to do a lager using a gallon starter of WY 2206 to see what difference this yeast will do, but that will be next week.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 07:11:01 AM »
Are you checking your pH? You are using soft water but do you know your water chemistry? It might be simply changing your CL/So4 ratio.

Regardless, 1.010-1.012 is plenty dry for your beer. Sounds like your fermentation is sound, that leads me to wonder about your water.
Keith Y.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 08:14:17 AM »
Tony,

Your process looks pretty good.
If your beer taste "muddy" check your mash pH.

How about your carbonation?
Higher carbonated beers gives you "crispier" taste.
On the other side over carbonated beers will give you carbonic bite.
Try to carbonate it to 2.8 volumes.
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Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline tony

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2009, 08:57:38 AM »
Perhaps i'm asking too much out of my equipment.

I have a real soft water profile  sulfate = 0mgl, calcium 3.7 mgl, magnisium .55 mgl, sodium 5.4 mgl, bicarbonate 5.5 mgl, hardness as CaCo3 11.5 mgl, chloride 12 mgl for my last water profile request from the city.

Carbonation is perhaps a bit low. I should bump up the level and try that.

It isn't that they taste clean, it's just they don't finish to what I perceive as a crisp beer, nearly devoid of an aftertaste.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2009, 09:17:23 AM »
I would bump your Calcium up to ~50, and maybe try to get your Cl to So4 ratio at 2:1 - then  if that doesn't get what you are after, flip it. That water is soft - perhaps a little too soft to give the flavor profile you are after. To my taste, Calcium Chloride (Cl) gives a malt "roundness" that, maybe it isn't "crisp", but it is pleasant. It "brightens" the beer similar to the way table salt brightens food. If you want the beer more hop focused then you will want Calcium Sulfate (So4) or "gypsum" to be forefront. Regardless, are your beers clearing up quickly? If you have low calcium levels that can cause the beers to have flocculation problems and can sometimes cause stubborn hazes.

This might not be your issue at all but it would be worth checking out. Also, is your pH checking out? If the pH is off that can cause the beer to taste flat.
Keith Y.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2009, 09:32:41 AM »
Do a Fast Ferment Test (Zymurgy Nov/Dec 2009 or http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fast_Ferment_Test) on the pilsner wort. You want the FG of the finished beer to be the same as the FG of the FFT. This means that there are no fermentable sugars left in the beer and the beer is fully attenuated. Pilsners are generally fully attenuated and have an attenuation of 80-84%. Starting at 12 Plato this means they finish at 1.9-2.5 Plato.

You may also go away from a single infusion mash and use a step mash. 63C for 30 min, 65 C for 30 min and 72C for 30 min should give you a good attenuation.

Using artificial enzymes in mash and fermenter will have undesired consequences as the others already said. The FFT is your tool to check your fermentation performance.

Kai


Offline tony

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2009, 10:11:09 AM »
Kai, I don't think I have trouble with my attenuation. They don't taste sweet or full
like an ale would.. just that it don't have the bite of a german lager.

 Major, my hops are fresh and I really don't want to add more calcium than I already do.
I add 1 tsp per mash for my 5 gallon tun.

That is also the reason I don't try a step infusion. Tun size is a bit restricted.
I may have to try an decoction.

Thanks guys, I have a few things to try now. The carbonation, I'll try on the lager I have lagering now.
The salts/decoction will have to wait until next week, if I get a chance to brew then. Perhaps on a future
brew I'll also up the bitter hops additions to see if that makes a difference.


Offline tom

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2009, 10:54:07 AM »
Have you tried different malts?
Brew on

Offline a10t2

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2009, 11:12:23 AM »
Major, my hops are fresh and I really don't want to add more calcium than I already do.
I add 1 tsp per mash for my 5 gallon tun.

A teaspoon of what? If it's CaCl2, try CaSO4 instead, or vice versa. Or go 50-50.

IMHO if the beer is good but it's "missing something", it's almost always a water chemistry issue.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 04:44:23 PM »
I agree. It looks most likelly the water is th colpret.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline tony

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2009, 08:30:51 AM »
Thanks guys, I'll look into the water situation before next brew day.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2009, 10:24:26 AM »
Do you use Promash or one of the other programs, such as Beersmith?

The reason that I ask is that Promash has its default set to Rager, and if you haven't changed it to Tinseth, you could be underestimating your IBU's.  Instead of 25 you could be getting 17-18 instead.  I know this for a fact.  The other programs appear to have Tinseth as the default.

The other thing to consider is more SO4, as some have said.  Jamil Z. recommends 7 grams in a 5 gallon batch, Brewing Classic Styles, if I remeber correctly.  This would be ~1.5 tsp for a 5 gallon batch.  The water in Pilsen is soft like yours, but in Germany it can be fairly hard in some places. 
Jeff Rankert
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Alpha Amylase
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2009, 06:44:07 AM »
The other thing to consider is more SO4, as some have said.  Jamil Z. recommends 7 grams in a 5 gallon batch, Brewing Classic Styles, if I remeber correctly.  This would be ~1.5 tsp for a 5 gallon batch.  The water in Pilsen is soft like yours, but in Germany it can be fairly hard in some places. 

More important than just adding gypsum, get your So4/Cl ratio in check. Depending on what he is going for he may way the So4 to be the higher ratio, or the Cl to be higher. You can still have soft water, get the Cl/So4 ratio in check and have you Ca up around 50ppm, the recommended level of Ca for best yeast health and flocculation.
Keith Y.
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