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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> General Forum --> Chitchat --> Who likes Festbier!?

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mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


Looks like my email response didn't catch again...

The measurable differences are in both extract efficiency and apparent attenuation on my system (RIMS with direct fire, coarse crush). Using a step mash, I invariably pull at least 5% increased efficiency mashing, and my lagers seem to finish just past the upper end of the attenuation range for WLP 800/802 and 838. Previous attempts using infusion on my system always finished high - despite bumping temps. I could also be a function of the longer (usually) mash times - usually around 90 minutes total. Could also just be dramatic improvements in water management, crush and grain selection, yeast handling and tighter fermentation controls... so those should not be discounted.

I cannot say that step mash changes the flavor, I haven't done a side by side test, nor would I expect to taste the difference. However, there is a marked shift in my competition scores, and I have noted (along with the score sheets) improvements in mouthfeel and head/foam retention. My bopils puts on a lovely fluffy headstand that falls slowly and laces like crazy. This one has scored consistently in the low 40's and won a couple of medals. My first attempt using the same recipe, but infusion - never got out of the mid-30s in comps. Not good data I know - but some.

Matt - consider adding some sulfate to this. I wouldn't go crazy, but Munich water is not all that soft, and it helps to dry out the mouthfeel a bit. If you are going darker - maybe the Amber Dry/Hoppy profile. Martin has been experimenting with his german lagers by putting all of minerals in the mash (just acidifying the sparge). Claims the additional calcium in the mash really helps conversion. Just watch your mash pH and keep it above 5.2 for a pale lager and near 5.4 for a darker lager. I have only attempted this once - but liked the resulting beer. Crazy intense hot break early in the boil and a beautiful wort cast out.




Posted 34 days ago.

Matt
Charter Member
Normal, IL
341 Posts


Oh man, thanks for those water notes! I was going to tackle that aspect of it today and go buy my RO water.

On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 9:51 AM, mchrispen <[email protected]> wrote:
Looks like my email response didn't catch again...

The measurable differences are in both extract efficiency and apparent attenuation on my system (RIMS with direct fire, coarse crush). Using a step mash, I invariably pull at least 5% increased efficiency mashing, and my lagers seem to finish just past the upper end of the attenuation range for WLP 800/802 and 838. Previous attempts using infusion on my system always finished high - despite bumping temps. I could also be a function of the longer (usually) mash times - usually around 90 minutes total. Could also just be dramatic improvements in water management, crush and grain selection, yeast handling and tighter fermentation controls... so those should not be discounted.

I cannot say that step mash changes the flavor, I haven't done a side by side test, nor would I expect to taste the difference. However, there is a marked shift in my competition scores, and I have noted (along with the score sheets) improv!
ements in mouthfeel and head/foam retention. My bopils puts on a lovely fluffy headstand that falls slowly and laces like crazy. This one has scored consistently in the low 40's and won a couple of medals. My first attempt using the same recipe, but infusion - never got out of the mid-30s in comps. Not good data I know - but some.

Matt - consider adding some sulfate to this. I wouldn't go crazy, but Munich water is not all that soft, and it helps to dry out the mouthfeel a bit. If you are going darker - maybe the Amber Dry/Hoppy profile. Martin has been experimenting with his german lagers by putting all of minerals in the mash (just acidifying the sparge). Claims the additional calcium in the mash really helps conversion. Just watch your mash pH and keep it above 5.2 for a pale lager and near 5.4 for a darker lager. I have only attempted this once - but liked the resulting beer. Crazy intense hot break early in the boil and a beautiful wort cast out.


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Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


The referenced BoPils. And go Broncos!





Posted 34 days ago.
Edited 34 days ago by mchrispen

rayfound
Charter Member
Riverside, CA
313 Posts


Interesting... I usually do pH 5.3 on my beers in general, but here's my water:


Ca80

Mg0

Na0

SO4104

Cl68

HCO316

pH5.3


What is the thought on 5.2 pale vs 5.4 malty Matt? I'm a water newb.


2




Posted 34 days ago.

testingapril
Charter Member
Atlanta, GA
595 Posts


Is beersmith giving you that FG? It just sounds preposterous given the yeast and mash schedule. I'd disregard it.


This is one of the reasons I like infusion mashing. As long as I know the yeast pretty well, I can predict FG by myself and not rely on generic AA numbers from the lab or guesses given by a program.


So personally, I'd infusion mash it for convenience and familiarity.


I say go for it as is.


Matt C, that comp sounds like a real stinker.


I'm brewing something that's relatively boring to me, my hoppy wheat beer, but doing it differently. Since my system is so "pro style" now I'm moving all the hops into the whirlpool. I'll be mashing for 30 mins and boiling 30 mins. I just don't see any reason to mash or boil longer. I'm also adding dry hopping to the recipe for the first time.


I'm still not happy that this beer doesn't fit the style guideline. There are several commercial examples now. I think I might try to enter it as a style hybrid between pale ale and american wheat.


2




Posted 34 days ago.

vinpaysdoc
Charter Member
High Point, NC
321 Posts


And, Matt C., what's this stuff about added all your salts to the mash after you just used Bru'n Water to calculate the perfect salts to use to get your mash pH right? The Gypsum/Epsom/Calcium Chloride from the sparge water will decrease (acidify) the pH of the mash, won't it? Makes me nervous, but, I guess I'll try it.
2




Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


> What is the thought on 5.2 pale vs 5.4 malty Matt? I'm a water newb.

Haven't fully explored this myself - so repeating what I have picked up from Martin and a few AHA Forum members. Martin has these ranged listed on his spreadsheet, and there is some nominal support in Narziss for the concept.

At a higher pH, you are extracting more from your malt than extract. Over 6.0 the amount of tannic polyphenols rises exponentially, particularly over 170F. You are also emphasizing beta enzyme activity. Like everything, we are not dealing with a hard line... so the thinking is that a higher mash pH, if we start the spectrum at 5.2 through 5.6 emphasizes more malt character and has a flavor impact than the lower pH. We are extracting more 'rougher' compounds including silica, tannin and excess proteins that are soluble at a given pH and temperature. Mechanic agitation also has an impact. The danger zones approach at mash temperatures with 5.1 pH and 5.8 pH where specific enzymes are either denatured or supercharged creating imbalance and off flavors, limited conversion, etc. So higher kilned malts seem to have more flavor that benefit from an elevated mash pH, pale malts, not so much.

So by selecting a mash pH for a specific beer style, roughly tied to beer color, we should be able to control malt balance and character more tightly. 5.4 is the middle ground and safest, but I regularly mash saisons and pale lagers at 5.2/5.3 and porters/stouts at 5.5/5.6. For the pale beers, I get a crisper lighter finish and for porters/stouts a more pronounced roasty or toasty character and a rounder character. That said - my APA/IPAs seem better around 5.4.

That water profile looks pretty good Ray. The calcium is high for a German/Czech lager, but I bet it works pretty well. I have to start with RO because I have incredibly high sodium (250) and bicarbonate (680) in my tap. My RO rejection sheds baking soda.




Posted 34 days ago.
Edited 34 days ago by mchrispen

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


> And, Matt C., what's this stuff about added all your salts to the mash
after you just used Bru'n Water to calculate the perfect salts to use to
get your mash pH right? The Gypsum/Epsom/Calcium Chloride from the
sparge water will decrease (acidify) the pH of the mash, won't it? Makes
me nervous, but, I guess I'll try it.

I am trying to figure that out. Like I said I did it once. On the subscriber version, there is a switch to add the sparge minerals to the mash (Water Adjustments tab). In most cases, you would have added some acid, so I just reduce acid till I hit the desired estimated mash pH. Because there is traditionally so little calcium in the liquor for a lager, this concentrates the calcium in the mash portion and helps to further precipitate oxylates, yielding a clearer wort, and adds that bit of enzyme co-factor for conversion. The sparge then just gets acid (if needed). This seems like it only might work with RO water, so YMMV. Martin only recommended that for low mineral water profiles, but I didn't get a baseline of what that meant (was referenced only to BoPils and some pale Belgian styles).



Posted 34 days ago.
Edited 34 days ago by mchrispen

rayfound
Charter Member
Riverside, CA
313 Posts


I also build up from ro to that profile for my marzen.


2




Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


Just throwing this out there...

I haven't tested any of this with double blind tasting tests. I can hear Denny jumping up and down calling BS, but I take such an OCD approach I cannot help but play with water chem and mash pH. Much of the data comes from commercial brewing practice, not homebrewing. No way to eliminate my personal confirmation bias in any of this - so take it for what it is.

Dan - agreed on the numbers from BeerSmith. I don't like the way he figures attenuation. Force Ferment Tests are more reliable.




Posted 34 days ago.

homebrewdad
Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts


Yeah, the BeerSmith attenuation numbers are a good guide for single infusion mashes - usually.  For step mashes, nope nope nope, and for decoctions, forget about it altogether.
2




Posted 34 days ago.

homebrewdad
Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts


Silliness on the forum, so I'm folding the two topics back together.
2




Posted 34 days ago.

mchrispen
Bastrop, TX
485 Posts


Who you calling silly?




Posted 34 days ago.

Matt
Charter Member
Normal, IL
341 Posts


Mash in boys and girls, gotta love the sweet sweet smell of the freshly milled grains
2




Posted 34 days ago.

brulosopher
Charter Member
Fresno, CA
167 Posts


Cheers! About ready to collect first runnings from batch 1 of my BU K∂lsch :)
2




Posted 34 days ago.

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