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First step mash!? please!

hey all, i’ve been doing single infusion mashes for the past year or so and decided to try a step mash. a buddy of mine and i are planning a pretty big barleywine so i don’t wanna screw it up. i use beersmith but i’m not sure about two steps. first off, here is the recipe. feel free to critique if need be.

Amount Item Type % or IBU
15.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 83.78 %
1.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 8.11 %
0.75 lb Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.05 %
0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 1.35 %
0.25 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.35 %
0.25 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 1.35 %
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (60 min) Hops 33.4 IBU
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (30 min) Hops 25.6 IBU
1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (15 min) Hops 16.5 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (5 min) Hops 5.1 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (4 min) Hops 4.2 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (3 min) Hops 3.2 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (2 min) Hops 2.2 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (1 min) Hops 1.1 IBU
0.25 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
2 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [Starter 2602 ml] Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.099 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.023 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 10.02 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 %
Bitterness: 91.3 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint
Est Color: 23.9 SRM Color: Color

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 18.50 lb
Sparge Water: 3.00 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Full Body Step Time Name Description Step Temp
30 min Protein Rest Add 23.13 qt of water at 129.3 F 122.0 F
30 min Saccharification Heat to 158.0 F over 15 min 158.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F

So my question is this. if i add the 23 qts for a protein rest at 122, with absorption loss at about 1gallon per 10 lbs of grain = almost two gallons, that comes to about four gallons. how do calculate for heating the mash to the saccharification rest of 158? and then the water for the batch sparge?? perhaps im not using my brain but it seems complicated. i want about 6.5 gallons preboil for a 90 minute boil and roughly five gallons in the fermenter. am i missing a step or something? totally confused…

Beersmith is telling you to heat the kettle that you’re mashing in.
You could use the water infusion tool to figure how much boiling water it would take as an infusion step to get to saccharification, take that water from your sparge water. Efficiency would probably take a hit.

Edit- I still hate how beersmith figures out water
So after I have my recipe squared away i use or do it on paper. has a calculator for step infusion mashing

I would definitely NOT do a protein rest (or even a step mash) for that grist or a BW. A 122 rest is not only unnecessary, it could actually reduce the body and head retention. And I think you’re gonna need a lot more yeast. Other comments…What are you planning on for efficiency? Doesn’t seem like enough grain to hit 1.099. And usually for BW, I have to use so much water for the mash that I end up making it no sparge. After I get the first runnings in the kettle, I do a smaller beer with the second runnings. Other wise, you end up collecting a LOT of wort and boiling for several hours.

so denny im confused. im fairly new to all grain but have about ten or so batches under my belt. i put in the program 75% efficiency. all the beers i have made have been very good but they were all missing that one thing. mouthfeel. i’ve used carapils before and it helped a little but the mouthfeel was still a little off. after reading a little more, (i’ve been away from brewing for a while), i’ve read that doing a step mash can increase body because the protein rest? am i wrong, or is this wrong should i say? plus i wanted to learn how to do a step mash anyways so i thought this would be a good beer to try it on. apparently not! i know you’ve done a lot denny so what would you do for that missing mouthfeel in a beer?

and i’ve made a starter with two packages of 1056 so im hoping to have enough yeast. and one more question…wouldn’t the gravity be higher on just boiling your first runnings?

A step mash should depend more on the malt you’re using than anything else. The malt you’re using will be highly modified, which means that the maltster will in effect have done the protein rest part for you. Doing it again will degrade the proteins too much, leaving you with a thin beer. If you want more body, look to your recipe and/or a higher mash temp.

Domestic Malts may or may not benefit from a protein rest. You would need a lot analysis to be sure.
You may want to do a rest at 131f if you are just looking for more mouth feel. You could also improve mouthfeel with adjuncts like oats, wheat or unmalted barley.

I have to admit that I’ve never run across a domestic pale malt that would benefit from a protein rest. Do you have examples?

You’re probably going to want to do the initial infusion with less than 23 qt, or else you won’t be able to sparge. Palmer has the relevant equations in HTB:

So assuming that the initial infusion is 14 qt (0.76 qt/lb), you’ll need to infuse an additional 12 qt at 212°F to reach 158°F. That will give you about 4.25 gal of first runnings, meaning you’d be sparging with only 2.25 gal. So you can see why doing partigyle can be helpful for big beers.

I’d also agree that there’s no reason to do a protein rest with this grist, though. And that you’ll likely need more grain. Even with 100% conversion efficiency, that sparging schedule can only get you to ~1.096. If you do a single-infusion mash and sparge for equal runnings, you could get ~1.100.

so you guys think that i should just do a single infusion mash with a batch sparge? collect the same amount, 3.25 gallons on first runnings and after the sparge? and what kind of malts would benefit from doing rests anyways? don’t most breweries do step mashes?

Very few breweries do step mashes, and even if they did, it wouldn’t necessarily have any bearing on homebrewers. For instance, I was at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp recently and they pointed out that they do single infusion 99% of the time. Malts like undermodified pils malt or wheat malt might benefir from a protein rest. And keep in mind that a step mash doesn’t necessarily imply a protein rest. I sometimes do step mashes for lagers, and in that case I do a beta rest about 145 and an alpha rest about 158. But I don’t even do that very often, because I have yet to convince myself it really makes a big difference.

I think if you only collect 6.5 gal. of wort your efficiency might be a bit low. And like Sean and I have both said, I don’t think you have enough grain there to hit the OG you intend.

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