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Baums
05/14/07 12:56 PM  
Protein Rests
I have always avoided protein rests because I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, and because protein degradation is of course "not necessary to make good beer" from modern malts. Also, I was a little concerned about losing head retention.

But the last time I drank Saison Dupont I was struck by just how thin the body is, and how important this thinness is to the character of the beer. I don't think it's just the high attenuation. When you look at their mash schedule (I think Markowski gives a ramp at ~0.5F/minute from 113F up to 162F), they spend a LOT of time in major protein degrading territory.

Maybe I'm just late to the party, but I'm starting to think those of us who rely on the fact that "protien rests are unnecessary with modern malts" might be missing a main point for certain beers. And perhaps this is what's behind a certain "American" character I notice in US belgian styles, which are generally produced by micros that only have the ability to do single infusions. (Except for instance Ommegang, which does protein rests and does not have this character...)

A question I have is how much of a protien rest various malts can take before loss of head retention becomes a factor. Anyone have any guidance on that?

Cisco
05/14/07 03:44 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
To get a very attenuated beer you need two things:

1) step mashing - which will activate both the beta and alpha amalyse enzymes to convert practically all the available starches to sugar.

2) a very attenuative yeast strain.

A lot of the Belgian step mashing is still done with the traditional step temps which include a protein rest. I have tried Duvel's recommended step mash procedures with and without the protein rest and really can't notice a difference in the final product. So I skip the protein rest for my saisons but spend an equal amount of time in the mid 130s, mid 140s and then the mid 150s and finally mash out at 168 before starting the sparge.

Baums
05/14/07 04:14 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Well, that gets back to the heart what I'm wondering about, which is whether a protein rest is necessary to get the right body for Saison Dupont, or whether pure attenuation is enough.

I think a mid-130s rest like the one you mention would degrade proteins significantly.

This may be a moot point, because it is probably necessary to tread into protein cutting waters if you want to achieve Dupont-like attenuation. I wonder whether it's the attenuation or the protein degradation that is more responsible for the thin body, though.

Cisco
05/14/07 04:48 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Here is a section from John Palmer's excellant book How to Brew:

"The typical Protein Rest at 120 - 130F is used to break up proteins which might otherwise cause chill haze and can improve the head retention. This rest should only be used when using moderately-modified malts, or when using fully modified malts with a large proportion (>25%) of unmalted grain, e.g. flaked barley, wheat, rye, or oatmeal. Using this rest in a mash consisting mainly of fully modified malts would break up the proteins responsible for body and head retention and result in a thin, watery beer. The standard time for a protein rest is 20 - 30 minutes. "

AND

"The temperature most often quoted for mashing is about 153F. This is a compromise between the two temperatures that the two enzymes favor. Alpha works best at 154-162F, while beta is denatured (the molecule falls apart) at that temperature, working best between 131-150F. "

So you can see that starting your step mash in the mid 130s is outside the range of a protein rest and at the start of the saccharifacation rest.

Baums
05/14/07 06:45 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
I'm not sure that mid-130s is really outside the range at which protease/peptidase activity has a significant effect in, say, 20 minutes. I am sure that charts of such things exist, but I don't know where to find them...

Does Palmer give any references for enzyme ranges in his latest edition? I think I heard he was expanding/revising that part of the book for the 3rd edition.

Anyway, aside from whether significant protein degradation happens during the "Cisco mash", it interests me that at Dupont (if you believe Markowski, which I do), they spend over 30 minutes below 130F. So either

a. the custom malt they get is undermodified, or

b. they are using old-school protein rests on new-school malt, against the advice of most current authorities.

Not sure which is true, but both possibilities are very interesting.

Ross Lunato
05/14/07 10:20 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
<<Maybe I'm just late to the party, but I'm starting to think those of us who rely on the fact that "protien rests are unnecessary with modern malts" might be missing a main point for certain beers. And perhaps this is what's behind a certain "American" character I notice in US belgian styles, which are generally produced by micros that only have the ability to do single infusions. (Except for instance Ommegang, which does protein rests and does not have this character...)>>

My $.02--- I agree with this statement almost completely. I'd also like to add that most American Micros are not using 100% Continental malt but domestic malts instead and this MAY contribute to some of that American character that we taste too. Now for the big contradiction: Russian River beers taste very Belgian and I believe they are produced with single infusion mashes and some domestic malt so go figure.....

One thing is for sure, Saison Dupont does not suffer from head retention issues but they supposedly do a very large hop addition at the end of the boil. This will aid in head retention. Yeast also contributes to head retention as well. If you've tried fermenting with dry yeast, you know what I mean.

After all is said and done, I believe I get a bit more flavor complexity and higher attenuation levels when I step mash. However, whenever I spend time in the protein degrading range, I make sure I'm using a high level (more than 20%) of grains like wheat or oat or I will get head forming problems.....at least with the recipes I'm brewing currently.

One more thing; I know of brewers who make award winning Belgians who do not step mash or use a protein step at all.

Baums
05/15/07 11:31 AM  
Re: Protein Rests
Interesting points Ross. I agree that great Belgian-style beers can be made with single infusion, for at least two reasons:

1. Dupont-like body isn't necessarily wanted in many Belgian styles.

2. Even when it is, the use of adjunct sugars (and maybe American 2-row "macro" base malt?) approximates the effect of a protein rest.

I think the hard part comes when you do want a very thin beer, without using adjunct. It's not surprising that the Dupont mash achieves this, but I agree it is hard to figure how they keep that head retention. Probably even more mysterious to you, since it sounds like you've actually experienced the flip side of that.

I think your guess may be right, and the answer is in the hops and the bottle conditioning, and also possibly their custom malt. (Not sure what you mean with the dry yeast thing though?) Was one or both of these factors absent from the beers you made that had head retention issues?

WitSok
05/15/07 12:19 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
From "A Textbook of Brewing, Vol 1" pg 265:

"The optimum temperature for degradation on nitrogen matter at mashing is 45-50C (113-122F) and is termed peptomization temperature. However, at 60C (140F) there is still a fairly large amount of breakdown of nitrogenous matter, although in a more complex form. Proteolysis at 60C has long been underestimated, but that is appreciable, especially with regard to the formation of high-molecular degradation products...

Mashing at 60C has increased the content of high-molecular nitrogen in the wort, and the malt investigated by Hpkins and Krause dissolved more nitrogen with a protein rest at 60C than one with 50C. At 70C, proteinases are rapidly destroyed.

Kolbach has whoen that it is impossible to diminish the amount of high-molecular nitrogen in the wort by a prolonged protein rest at 45-50C, since in proportion as low-molecular nitrogenous compounds are formed at the exspense of more complex bodies...

Mellowness of palate and head retention are influnced favorably by complex, high-molecular nitrogenous bodies, which are formed by maintaining a steady temperature of 60C."

From BJCP study guide, "The body is determined by the levels of dextrins and medium-length proteins. Lack of dextrins is caused by low saccharification temperatures, excessive use of adjuncts or by highly attenuative yeast strains. A low protein level may be caused by excessively long protein rests, excessive fining or the addition of large amounts of fermentable sugars."

So yes, protein degradation is importment in my opinion when brewing Belgian style ales. I tend to find commercial American example to be a bit thick/chewy compared to the Belgian counterparts.

Prosit, Dan

WitSok
05/15/07 01:03 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
I forgot to include this earlier. deClerk describe the typical Belgian step mash for top fermented beers as (pg 272):

45-50C (113-122F) 30-45 min

62-63C (143-145F) 30-45 min

70C (158F) 30-45 min

75C (167F) 10-15 min

My typical mash schedule for Abbey style ales:

65C (149F) 30 min

72C (162F) 15 min

78C (172F) 10 min

Typically I mash "thin" 1.9 qt/lb roughtly 4:1 kg:kg

Baums
05/15/07 03:05 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Thanks for the excerpts, WitSok.

It's interesting that while there is significant protease activity at 140F, DeClerck reports that this actually INCREASES the amount of large proteins in the wort (increasing body and head retention, rather than decreasing it). I wonder to what extent this applies to today's highly modified malt.

Further down he seems to have something else interesting to say. It sounds like he's about to say that (with the malt of his day) it was impossible to "overdo" the protein rest and end up losing body and head retention. (!) But there is a contradiction in the next sentence, maybe due to a mistranslation or something, and I'm not sure what he means.

Is the kind of rough writing style in these excerpts typical of the whole English translation? I have been thinking of getting a copy, especially after F. Boon recommended it on the other board, but I wonder how good the translation is (and how much is outdated).

WitSok
05/15/07 04:07 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
This is my understanding of the text. Malt contains very-high molecular nitrogenous compounds. The very-high molecular compounds will precipitate from solution. It is the action of proteinase to break down the complex nitrogenous molucules into smaller coumpounds. These smaller coupounds still can be of high molecular weight, but are now soluable. Mash schedules closer to 60C favor the formation of high molecular weight nitrogen compounds, while the 45-50C mash favors low weight nitrogenous matter. As an analogy, beta and alpha amalyase actvitiy. The mash at 60C will also result in more soluable protein in the wort.

More low molecular nitrogen = less body, less head

More high molecular nitrogen = mellow palate, improved head retention.

The relative terms are confusing, but I don't believe it is necessarily a contradiction.

Cheers, Dan

tomc
05/15/07 05:04 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Baums--

I think you are correct regarding protein rests and improved head formation. I get a really lovely creamy head in beers made with 100% Weyerman Pils and a long stepmash. Palatewise, the beers are soft, and slightly thin. I'm not sure how free nitrogen fits into this, but when poured from a corney at about 12 psi, I get a head effect that looks like Guinness Stout (slow bubbling from the middle of the beer with very small creamy bubbles).

Please don't flame me for disagreeing with accepted wisdom regarding head formation/retention, try my beer sometime.

Tom

Baums
05/15/07 05:14 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
I agree with most of that. What confuses me is that the statement "since in proportion as low-molecular nitrogenous compounds are formed at the exspense of more complex bodies" does not explain why it is impossible to reduce HMW protein levels with a 45-50C rest, and if anything seems to suggest the opposite.

I originally interpreted that statement to mean that LMW comounts are formed *from* ("at the expense of") HMW compounds, implying a reduction in HMW compounds and thus a bit of a contradiction. But, looking at it again it seems quite possible that is not what is meant in the text.

Baums
05/15/07 05:26 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Tom,

I'm not sure anyone can flame you for disagreeing with accepted wisdom until we know what the accepted wisdom really is. For fully modified malt, Cisco quotes Palmer with

"Using this rest in a mash consisting mainly of fully modified malts would break up the proteins responsible for body and head retention and result in a thin, watery beer."

On the other hand, for presumably less modified malt, DeClerck sez

"Kolbach has whoen that it is impossible to diminish the amount of high-molecular nitrogen in the wort by a prolonged protein rest at 45-50C"

I guess the questions are, how modified is Weyermann Pils, and what temp steps are you using? Then we can decide whether or not your head retention should suffer in theory, and start telling you that your beer can't possibly be the way you say it is.

Baums

WitSok
05/15/07 06:34 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
"it is impossible to diminish the amount of high-molecular nitrogen in the wort by a prolonged protein rest at 45-50C, since in proportion as low-molecular nitrogenous compounds are formed at the exspense of more complex bodies"

I agree that translation has probably made this statement difficult to interpret. When I read this section it seemed to be an important point, but I hadn't had time to think through the meaning.

I think there are two points:

1. Different enzymes at work, actually several. At 45-50C the enzymes favors the production of low molecular nitrogenous matter. The remaining fraction is probably still very-high molecular weight and needs futher reduction.

2. The rate of this reaction is probably slower than the higher temperature reaction. Thus over time, less mass of soluable nitrogenous matter is made soluable.

So given the acceptable time constraints of commercial brewing, 45-50C rest of reasonable length is less effective at breaking down very-high molecular nitrogenous compounds.

Most enzymes have a time-temperature relationship. It is possible that the enzymes become ineffective after a period that is not long enough to "finish the job."

These are just my interpretation of the text. I have no references to back them up. But I still think the statement was important to include.

deClerk also talks a bit about British malts which were highly modified. From what I recall, it was not a significant factor because in either case, most of the protein breakdown is acomplished during malting.

When I first started brewing, I use to always included a protein rest in the 120-130 range (M. Reese "Better Beer and How to Brew It"). I always had poor head retenstion and watery mouthfeel. It would not completely point to this as the root casue, but it was a major contributor.

There is difinatey a difference between watery and mellow. I guess I'd describe mellow as crisp with pleasent viscosity creating balance. It is hard to have balance with a watery beer.

From Bodensatz, I believe I've read statements that Weyermann tend to be less modified than other modern counterparts. I love their specialty malts, but have note used their Pilsner, so I cannot provide any insite.

Basically, I wanted to point out thsat mouthfeel is more than residual dextrines. Proteins in solution are an important consideration. The other point was, there is protein reduction well above the proclaimed protein rest temperature range.

Keep Brewin', Dan

Ross Lunato
05/15/07 07:37 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Weyermann Pils Malt:

Protein (dry substance) 9.5-12.0 %

Protein solution 36.5-46.0 %

Hartong index (VZ 45C) 34.0-45.0 %

Dingemans Pils Malt:

Protein Max.

Sol Total S/T

4.5 11.5 48.0

Ross Lunato
05/15/07 07:59 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Baums;

I have experienced difficulties when fermenting with dried yeast compared to liquid yeast. Specifically, poor head forming and head retaining qualities have been evident as well as poor carbonation qualities (large, coarse bubbles instead of a fine stream of smaller bubbles). Additionally, higher levels of carbonation obviously promote greater head formation as well as later hop additions. Important: Saisons (Dupont, Blaugies especially)are usually carbonated to four volumes or more. Also, humbly speaking :), I have made my share of thin watery beer with single infusion mashes at higher temperatures too (68*C). Leading me to believe there is alot more going on with respect to beer body than just higher mashing temperature and high levels of dextrins. My favorite Belgian ales I've brewed have all been performed with step mashes and sometimes with what I call a mini-step mash. I like this so far...

63*C - 45 minutes

70*C - 30 minutes

75*C - 10 minutes.

Ross Lunato
05/15/07 08:02 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Dan;

Thanks for all of that GREAT info! I've been wanting to pick up a copy of deClerk's book!

WitSok
05/15/07 08:17 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
I lucked out, my wife suggested the books to her parents as a Christmas gift for me. I would have never been so bold!

Thanks for the kind words.

Prosit, Dan

tomc
05/15/07 09:08 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Here's a recipe I use for blond beer:

11# Wyermann Pils Malt

1# Dan Sukker light liquid beer sugar (from IKEA)

1 oz Perle (bittering)

1 oz Spalt (finishing)

Step Mash:

Time: Aim:

:00 113F

:20 123F

:40 131F

1:00 140F

1:20 145F

1:40 154F

2:00 162F

Boil for 120 minutes

Perle at 30 minutes

Spalt at 110 minutes

The step schedule is based on Saison Dupont.

This approach seems to work particularly well with Weyermann Pils. As you can see-- no wheat, but I get a nice head.

Baums
05/16/07 10:59 AM  
Re: Protein Rests
Wow, thanks for your thoughts everyone. And thanks again WitSok for the good reference for protein degradation at higher temps. I also think your interpretation of the troublesome paragraph sounds pretty good.

This discussion isn't pushing new frontiers in brewing, but I for one am finding it helpful to sort through what's really the truth. The general consensus I've seen for homebrewing is that "for beers made entirely with today's highly modified barley malt, protein rests are worse than pointless." But that statement seems too broad:

1. The numbers Ross gave for Weyermann Pils suggest that at least some lots are not all that highly modified. And Tom gets good head retention with this malt, even with an obviously protein-hacking mash schedule.

2. Sometimes it may be desirable to thin the body some, as long as you can maintain head retention. Saison Dupont and Tom provide clear examples that this can be done. Tom, do you bottle-condition? To high CO2 volumes?

Baums
05/16/07 11:01 AM  
Re: Protein Rests
BTW, by "general consensus" I mean what I have seen in books and at times on other boards... not what's been posted here, of course.
tomc
05/16/07 05:55 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Baums-- No, only kegs. Typically, a week in a carboy and then at least two in a corney for a blond. For a saison, it may be in secondary for months. Beer is served in the 40s and I nearly never use more than 12 psi to serve. I'll add carbonation by storing the beer at 20 psi for a couple of days (if there's any natural carbonation, I'll try to work with it). Not a big fan of heavily carbonated beers.

Baums
05/17/07 10:44 AM  
Re: Protein Rests
Wow--not bottle conditioned, not heavily carbonated, and a respectable but not huge amount of finishing hops. It doesn't seem like the rest of your process is boosting your head retention in any special way--it just sounds like that combination of malt and mash schedule doesn't really destroy head retention.

Thinking about it more, this might not be such a mystery after all. Possibly the head retention is indeed hurt by the rests at 113 and 123, but built back up at 131 and 140.

Then why go through these rests at all? Some ideas:

1. The 113 rest lets "debranching" enzymes do their thing, freeing more starch for the beta rests at 131-145, resulting in higher fermentability.

2. The protein rests similarly liberate starch earlier, so that it can be acted on before beta is denatured at the higher temps--higher fermentability.

3. There has to be some decrease in the levels of very large proteins. Maybe/probably this thins the body.

4. Extra amino acid production for the yeast, which could affect flavor positively or negatively.

These all seem helpful for something like Saison Dupont, but maybe less helpful for other beers (and malts).

WitSok
05/17/07 11:55 AM  
Re: Protein Rests
<<>>Thinking about it more, this might not be such a mystery after all. Possibly the head retention is indeed hurt by the rests at 113 and 123, but built back up at 131 and 140.<<>>

Good conclusion! I agree. I believe this is what is happening in tomc's mash. This review of the preotein rest has made me rethink my mash schedule. I probably inlcude a short rest in the 130-140 range for my Belgian ales. It seems to me that highly attenuated beers could benefit from a rest in the 130-140 range to enhance mouthfeel.

Baum, I believe in your first two concluding ideas you are stating:

More time to hydrolize the starches so that more starch is free for the debranching activity of beta amalyase when the mash is brought to the optimum beta range. Did I intrepret this correct? Certainly the creation of low molecular nitrogenous matter will enhace amino acid production.

I think all these rests have their place, depending on what beer you are brewing. Knowing the destination, then one can plan the route.

Cheers, Dan

Baums
05/17/07 12:50 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
Yes, that is basically what I meant. You have to eventually go to gelatinizing temps (~149F) to ensure ALL of the starch is made vulnerable to the amylases.

But, beta denatures pretty fast (most of it in 30-45 minutes) at these temps. So for max fermentability it makes sense to liberate as much starch as possible, and then degrade it with beta, before proceeding to 149F or above. The fact that pretty large amounts of starch are vulnerable before you get to 149F is proven by the "cold water extract" specification on any malt sheet.

Wartamorgocob
07/30/07 04:24 AM  
Win or Linux?
Hello peoples from www.babblebelt.com !!!

I shall buy tomorrow notebook. What there to install? Win or Linux?

What is exact assembly? Advise pls, tnx

ChrisF
09/28/11 04:35 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
so the sense I seem to get from having read this thread a few times over the past few days is that Weyerman pils is slightly undermodified and that therefore a stepmash akin to the DuPont method shouldn't be detrimental to head formation and retention.

Y/N?

I'm getting ready to make this:

71% Weyerman German Pils

12% Munich 10L

12% Torrified Wheat ( just b/c I like the texture it brings into the mouthfeel)

5% Acidulated

given everything discussed in this thread, I'm wondering if the acidulated malt is really necessary.

ChrisF
09/28/11 04:35 PM  
Re: Protein Rests
so the sense I seem to get from having read this thread a few times over the past few days is that Weyerman pils is slightly undermodified and that therefore a stepmash akin to the DuPont method shouldn't be detrimental to head formation and retention.

Y/N?

I'm getting ready to make this:

71% Weyerman German Pils

12% Munich 10L

12% Torrified Wheat ( just b/c I like the texture it brings into the mouthfeel)

5% Acidulated

given everything discussed in this thread, I'm wondering if the acidulated malt is really necessary.

 
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