Author Topic: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?  (Read 10375 times)

SFBeerGuy

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α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« on: October 26, 2009, 02:26:44 PM »
I am having a discussion with a friend of mine who is also on these forums about our next brew on Saturday.  We will be making a Belgian Strong Dark (of sorts) and are arguing about whether or not a step mash is needed.  The question is if a β-amylase rest at about 140F before the final α-amylase of roughly 154F will create a better beer.  I use the rather bland term "better" to leave it open to all interpretations.

The base malt (at this point) will be domestic pale 2row, but is open to discussion.  The yeast will more than likely be Wyeast Trappist High Gravity (3787) or Belgian Abbey (1214).

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
Brad
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 02:41:08 PM by SFBeerGuy »

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: ? and ?-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 05:20:31 AM »
I hear half the guys say with modern grain (fully modified) single step mashing is good enough. But for a Belgian, you may want to try it.  I think a pils base grain would be best.
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Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2009, 09:43:56 AM »
If you are going with domestic 2row, no need for a step mash. If you switch to the Pilsner or have any other under modified malts in there, then I would recommend it.

Cheers
Preston
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Offline Berkyjay

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2009, 12:40:54 PM »
If you are going with domestic 2row, no need for a step mash. If you switch to the Pilsner or have any other under modified malts in there, then I would recommend it.

Cheers
Preston

So a grain like Dingemans Pilsen malt, which I use in all of my Belgian styles, is not as well modified as a domestic 2-row?  That's pretty interesting.  Where do you even find this information?

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2009, 01:38:38 PM »
Dingemans is one of the few well modified pilsners. Nothing to worry about there, however some of them are not. Most of this can be found on the Maltsters websites.

Cheers
Preston
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SFBeerGuy

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 02:21:07 PM »
If you switch to the Pilsner or have any other under modified malts in there, then I would recommend it.

So this raises another question.  What would be the benefit of using well-modified pilsner malt if the specialty grains in any given brew (with the exception being a Pilsner recipe) are darker the the pilsner?  Does pilsner malt have any flavor characteristics that pale malt does not?

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 02:36:27 PM »
All "malted" grains are modified to one degree or another. Specialty grains are fully modified in the kilning process, so you could soak them in 130F-160F water and extract the sugars. Palmer explains it here: http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12.html.

My experience is that Pilsner malts vs 2 or 6 row malts are typically more flavor neutral leaving a cleaner/crisp flavor. Which is why they are used in Lagers like BMC.

Cheers
Preston
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Offline Berkyjay

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 03:55:57 PM »
All "malted" grains are modified to one degree or another. Specialty grains are fully modified in the kilning process, so you could soak them in 130F-160F water and extract the sugars. Palmer explains it here: http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12.html.

My experience is that Pilsner malts vs 2 or 6 row malts are typically more flavor neutral leaving a cleaner/crisp flavor. Which is why they are used in Lagers like BMC.

Cheers
Preston

I guess the root of the debate that Brad and I have been having is whether a step mash gives you different flavor results as opposed to a single step mash.  Since I am mostly concentrating on Belgian style brews I have researched the brewing process of many of the Trappist monasteries.  From my studies it seems that they still do step mashes but I am unsure as to why.  Whether it is simply by tradition or necessity, I try to lean towards being more authentic in my brew process.

dhaenerbrewer

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 07:24:48 PM »
I would highly recommend a step mash for any style in which you would like to have a more complex malt character. Even in highly modified malts a alpha and beta amylase rest will have profound impacts, and this is why. The beta amylase enzyme breaks down the starches into complex sugars that are not as easily fermented, leaving a sweeter finish. Alpha amylase on th other hand, breaks down the starches into much simpler sugars, and will leave a very dry finish. So therefore, you can have rests in the two different spectra and create a more complex malt profile than say if you just split the difference. If anyone wants a more thorough breakdown, with specific temperature ranges and such, let me know. I will be more than happy to break it all down.

Darin

Offline bonjour

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2009, 10:18:19 AM »
Darin,
Check your post, Ibelieve you have your alpha and beta amylase reversed.  The lower mash with the beta predominate yields a more fermentable wort and thus a drier beer.

To fully convert the malt must be at or above it's gelatinization temperature (148F if I recall Noonan correctly) so if you mash lower you should step to a higher temp.  I sometimes use a step mash to achieve a more fermentable wort, though the biggest factor here is the length of mash.  A longer mash will produce a more fermentable wort, an often desireable characteristic in a belgian beer.

Fred

SFBeerGuy

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2009, 02:16:39 PM »
I would highly recommend a step mash for any style in which you would like to have a more complex malt character. Even in highly modified malts a alpha and beta amylase rest will have profound impacts...

Here is where I think other enzymatic rests are being confused with saccrification and where the heart of the discussion lies. 

What has been confusing for me during my short 2+ years of brewing is the level of modification of the malt that I buy.  I must admit that I have not done the most thorough research on this subject but I wish it were a little more readily available (I guess this conversation might be a little more appropriate for me and my local HB shop).

There are plenty of books out there that talk about the advantages and disadvantages of step mashes and what the different rests accomplish.  Some of them are quite contradictory to each other.  It makes the process of creating great beer more difficult than it should be, but at the same time more intellectually rewarding.

Maybe we can take a minute to list some suggested reading on the topics of mashing?

I will start with the often cited How to Brew by John Palmer and the more scholarly Brewing, 2nd Ed by Michael J Lewis and Tom W Young.

I would love to hear any suggestions that you all have.

Cheers,
Brad

dhaenerbrewer

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Re: α and β-amylase rests - both needed?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2009, 06:54:10 PM »
Darin,
Check your post, Ibelieve you have your alpha and beta amylase reversed.  The lower mash with the beta predominate yields a more fermentable wort and thus a drier beer.


You're right Fred. Whoops! Thank you for straightening everyone out. Thank you also to Maltlicker for pointing that out. I apologize if I confused anyone.

Darin

D.ErynC

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and amylase rests both needed
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2009, 10:30:36 AM »
You are right on both counts. Your efficiency will be less than usual because of the lower sparge ratio.
I prefer to increase the grain.
What gravity are you shooting for?

SFBeerGuy

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Re: and amylase rests both needed
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 11:08:45 AM »
You are right on both counts. Your efficiency will be less than usual because of the lower sparge ratio.
I prefer to increase the grain.
What gravity are you shooting for?

I am aiming for about 1.090.

Offline bonjour

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Re: and amylase rests both needed
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 07:23:50 AM »
I am aiming for about 1.090.
Now that's what I call a session beer!!!

Fred
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