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Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:54 pm
by RPIScotty
Typically the high gravity Trappist beers I enjoy (Westmalle, Rochefort, Chimay, etc.) have a high degree of attenuation.

Even at the homebrewing level there is a fair amount of attenuation with these styles due to the use of 10-20% sugar and syrup.

Obviously it's well known that most if not all of the monastery breweries step mash. I've experimented with step mashing on a BDSA with good results.

What are some of the benefits of step mashing these styles? Does the presence of such high amounts of 100% ferment able sugars and syrups offset some of the step mashing effects? In particular I'm interested in doing a 2 step German style step mash on a Dubbel I have coming up that will give around 12% syrup.


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Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:46 am
by Ancient Abbey
If you dig into the academic brewing texts, you'll find the Germans and Belgians (and to some extent French/Italian) shared a lot when it comes to brewing. Their beers are world class for a reason. Same with Ommegang here in the USA. If you take their tour, then pay attention when you pass the control panel for the mash tun. All of their beers are step mashed.

I would say the exact opposite of what you questioned. The step mash, when done properly, will (help) offset the negative effects of using too much sugar.

Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:18 am
by RPIScotty
So the step mash will likely add some body and foam stability back into these types of beers when > 10% sugar/syrup is used? Essentially you get the best of both worlds: dry, "digestible", well attenuated from the sugar/syrup and good body and foam stability from the step mash.

The writing was all over the wall so to speak after reading BLAM. Every continental Brewer in there is step mashing. Ommegang is no exception. Obviously what I'm looking for is people with more tangible experience like you guys to give me insights like you just did.

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Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:38 am
by Ancient Abbey
Stan is an artist by trade. Technical content is not his forte, but he gives you enough to start looking in the right direction.

Look into glycoproteins and mashing. Kai summarizes it well.

Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:45 am
by RPIScotty
Ancient Abbey wrote:Stan is an artist by trade. Technical content is not his forte, but he gives you enough to start looking in the right direction.

Look into glycoproteins and mashing. Kai summarizes it well.


Very well said.




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Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:23 am
by RPIScotty
I'm thinking of trying 133, 146 and 158 on the Dubbel I'm planning.


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Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:53 am
by Ancient Abbey
The protein rest is dictated by the malt analysis. I tend to dough in at 58-60C then start heating immediately, but most times it isn't necessary. 62/72/75C makes a nice beer.

Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:40 pm
by RPIScotty
I'll be using mostly Dingemans malts. I'll check during my next purchase for the lot numbers.


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Re: Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:27 pm
by lhommedieu
Ancient Abbey wrote:The protein rest is dictated by the malt analysis. I tend to dough in at 58-60C then start heating immediately, but most times it isn't necessary. 62/72/75C makes a nice beer.


Are you going by the protein % in the analysis for the temp/time for the protein rest? I was also wondering whether or not this dictates conversion temperature?

Step Mashing High Gravity Trappist beers

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:36 pm
by Ancient Abbey