Step Mashing Issues

Wort making

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Natebriscoe
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Step Mashing Issues

Postby Natebriscoe » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:55 am

Since going to a step mash (145/160f) my fermentations have been very strange. All take off very well even at very cold Temps and run to 55-60% att, where they slow down to a creep and very very slowly finish. This is not normal for my fermentations and is not a yeast health issue. This only started when step mashing started. Any suggestions?
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Big Monk
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Big Monk » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:48 am

Natebriscoe wrote:Since going to a step mash (145/160f) my fermentations have been very strange. All take off very well even at very cold Temps and run to 55-60% att, where they slow down to a creep and very very slowly finish. This is not normal for my fermentations and is not a yeast health issue. This only started when step mashing started. Any suggestions?


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Natebriscoe
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Natebriscoe » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:53 am

30/30/10 normally, have done 45/30/10 with the same results
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Brody
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Brody » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:45 am

Any other new variables? Like too much SMS or cold fermentations?
Natebriscoe
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Re: RE: Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Natebriscoe » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:14 pm

Brody wrote:Any other new variables? Like too much SMS or cold fermentations?

None that I can pick out. The same for Ales and lagers, warm or cold fermentation. They all eventually get to fg and are clean beers.
Natebriscoe
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Natebriscoe » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:17 pm

My best guess is mash temp stratification, maybe parts are dropping back to the 130s? Maybe messing with the fan levels? I don't find much info on this topic.
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Bilsch
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Bilsch » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:55 pm

Do you do full volume mashes?
Natebriscoe
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Re: RE: Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Natebriscoe » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:33 pm

Bilsch wrote:Do you do full volume mashes?

Mostly yes, but when sparging I get the same results.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Weizenberg » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:09 pm

I hope your thermometer is calibrated. Otherwise a change in the vintage of the malt sometimes requires an intensely stepped mash in the beta amylase range. Your maltings shoukd be able to advise.
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Bilsch
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Re: Step Mashing Issues

Postby Bilsch » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:43 am

I had quite a bit of trouble with attenuation when switching to lodo brewing. Tinkering around with mash temps and times, nutrients, yeast health and bigger pitches helped a little but there was still something else going on. I suspected the sulfites and their effect on the yeast, however that wasn't it. What ended up being the biggest factor in loss of attenuation was the switch to full volume mash and how mash thickness effects the enzyme efficiency.

Anyway solving this problem was simple with my system which consists of two kettles. The first is used to prepare the DO water and then transfer via gravity into a second kettle that is used for the recirculated mash. When mashing is complete I simply transfer back to the first kettle which now serves as the boiler.

I used to start with 7.5 gal (full volume) in the 1st kettle then DO boil, cool, add sulfites and transfer the whole thing into 2nd kettle for the mash. Now I have changed to using only 6 gal in the initial DO boil, cool then transfer to the mash and carry on there as usual. Then about 30 min before mash out, I bring the remaining 1.5 gal of water to boil in the first kettle. After 5 minutes of boil, I then underlet the finished mash wort from 2nd kettle back into the now boiling water in kettle 1 thus getting a jump on bringing the entire volume up to boil.

This method not only satisfies the low oxygen requirements but also cuts down on time and accelerates the process efficiency. Most importantly though the thicker mashes make the enzymes work much better.

Another benefit to my system was a lower liquid level in the mash which makes my floating mash cap ride lower in the kettle. This then allows me to place another lid on top of the kettle offering more protection from ambient oxygen and also insulation from temperature loss during mashing.

All in all these changes resulted in the greatest improvement to my system, process and product since switching to low oxygen brewing.

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