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NB Witbier protein rest

My next brew I am going to do the Witbier kit from NB. I have only done two all-grain kits to date and neither have called for a protein rest. I actually have done some research on the topic and I have seen people say that it is not necessary. However, i have seen others say when a significant portion of your grain bill is wheat a protein rest may be necessary. What do you guys think? Should I do the protein rest the kit calls for, or will I be fine skipping it? Appreciate any suggestions!

If the kit says to do a protein rest, do it. They know what they’re talking about when they formulate a recipe. Besides, a protein rest is a highly beneficial thing in any beer where the grist uses a large portion of unmalted grain. If you don’t do one, you’re asking for trouble at sparging time, believe me.

No they do not know what they are talking about. Never do a protein rest. I once did a protein rest for a witbier. The result was thin, watery, headless, and clear as crystal. Protein rests ruin good beer today in the 21st century.

No protein rest for a beer with 50% unmalted grain? I can see going for a short protein rest if you’re afraid of getting poor head retention, but none at all? Man, that’s just asking for miserable mash efficiency and a stuck sparge, IMO. I’d at least do for about 10 minutes or so, just to get a jump start on breaking down the proteins, otherwise I would think you’d have a pretty hard time getting full conversion and a smooth sparge. And if you’re not going to follow that schedule, I’d highly recommend giving the mash a good 90 minutes, to give plenty of time for everything to happen that needs to happen. If you don’t believe me, just start looking around on the net for witbier recipes. You’ll see that a lot of people who brew this style incorporate a protein rest in the mash schedule. It’s been brewed that way for a very long time, and for a very good reason.
But, as always, we’re all free to go with whatever approach we want to take when we make beer, and those who choose not to do a protein apparently must have their reasons, so by all means go with your instincts, but at least do a good deal of research on this topic before you make your choice. I will admit that there do seem to be some brewers out there who omit the protein rest when they make this style of beer. But I’d still look very closely at any recipe that doesn’t use one, just to see how they might be compensating for it, because you really do need to address the issue of the large amount of unmalted grain in the mash in some way. This is a beer that’s supposed to be at least relatively light and refreshing, and you should think about that when you settle on a mash schedule. :cheers:

I’ve never done a protein rest when the grist is made up of 50% unsalted grain. My witbiers and hefeweizens are both 50/50 and I’ve never done a protein rest with them.

That’s fine for you if that’s what gets you a good beer that you’re happy with. But I guarantee if you look very deeply into the recipes and production techniques of German brewers, they pretty much always do a protein rest. That’s not saying you have to do things exactly as they do, but they definitely have their reasons. Then again, they’re working with industrial-scale equipment, where stuck sparges would be much more of a problem than it would be for someone working in their garage with a 5-gallon igloo cooler, I guess :slight_smile: We all have our reasons for doing things the way we do. The important thing is that we know why we follow the practices that we do, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting at least occasionally. I know that some people here will say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But something doesn’t have to be broken to be improved, does it?
Here’s an idea: do 2 small batches of the same beer side-by-side, one made with the protein rest, and one without one. See how that works out. If you’re not happy with the one made with the protein rest, you’ll still have some that you like, and you’ll know how to make the next time. I think that sounds like a good compromise approach.


I have done that. It’s why I don’t do p rests any more. A p rest should depend on the malt you use, not the recipe or what some commercial brewer does.

I have done that. It’s why I don’t do p rests any more. A p rest should depend on the malt you use, not the recipe or what some commercial brewer does.[/quote]
It is depending on the malt we’re using, or in this case,unmalted grain. And the people who write recipes lay out their processes based on the ingredients they incorporate, not just at random, right? I appreciate your input on this one, but I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.

Thanks for the input guys! So I guess the question is if Weyermann Pale Wheat is a type of grain that needs a protein rest? Also, how can you tell if a certain grain would have a benefit from a p rest? Thanks again!

What I’m saying is that even with the unmalted grains, I still wouldn’t do a p rest unless I was using undermodified base malt. I haven’t found any advantage to doing it.

You look at the soluble/total protein ratio in the grain analysis. If it’s over 40%, the general rule is you don’t need multiple rests. But I encourage you to brew 2 batches, try it both ways, and decide for yourself.

What I’m saying is that even with the unmalted grains, I still wouldn’t do a p rest unless I was using undermodified base malt. I haven’t found any advantage to doing it.[/quote]
I see. But don’t you think there’s more of a challenge involved in getting good conversion with unmalted grains than there is with malted grains of any kind? It would seem to me that even well-modified malts would be a little hard-pressed to supply all of the necessary diastatic power to be co-mashed with unmalted grains without the benefit of a protein rest to break down the proteins, at least when the ratio is 50/50.

NB’s recipe includes a pound of flaked oats. Would that compensate for the loss of body and head retention resulting from a protein rest? Or, would the p-rest degrade the oats also?

I believe a protein rest should affect oats the same way as wheat, barley, rye, you name it. I could be wrong.

I’ve heard some folks say that a short protein rest might be beneficial, i.e., keep it 5-10 minutes. However I haven’t tried such a short rest and have no desire to run such an experiment at this time, so I can’t say for sure. What I do know is that any longer than that, and it tends to be more detrimental than beneficial. So… I see it as unnecessary risk.

There should be plenty of enzymes in a grist with close to 50% highly modified malt. You really only need to be concerned with enzymes / diastatic power when using a huge proportion of dark Munich malt as the primary base malt, as there ain’t a lot of enzymes in Munich due to the greater degree of kilning. But that’s nothing that a 90-minute mash can’t fix. I guess I’m talking about a dunkelweizen or something like that. But that’s nothing like a witbier, the topic at hand here, where you’re most likely using at least 30-40% enzyme rich barley malt. If you’re concerned, then by all means, go ahead and mash for 75 minutes, and that should be plenty. I see 90-minute mashes as a waste of time, unless you’re doing some shopping or eating or drinking or something else for those 90 minutes, or you’re brewing a high gravity beer where you need to maximize attenuation. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Yeah… 60 to 75 minutes mash time wouldn’t be a terrible idea for a witbier. But you can safely skip the protein rest. Denny and I promise.

Experiments are great fun. I do encourage everyone to experiment with anything and everything, and often. Don’t just take our word for it, especially where logic dictates otherwise. On the other hand, don’t be surprised when your results turn out the same… and don’t be surprised when an experiment or twelve fail and you’re stuck with many gallons of beer that you don’t like. I know I’ve seen my share. But it’s all good learning experience. Keep on experimenting.


+1 to “NO P REST”.

In general, well modified malt will be able to convert at least it’s own weight in adjuncts, and often much more.

The p rest will affect the oats, too. In addition, many people (including me) don’t find oats to really produce the effects that are claimed for them.

FWIW, I make a Belgian Wit each spring (will be brewing it this weekend actually) that is roughly 50/50 flaked wheat and pale ale. I usually do a 60min mash at 152F and have no issues with conversion.

This year I’ll be trying a step mash starting at 146F for 45min, then raising the temp to 156F for 15-20min. Just trying something different this year.

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