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Step Mashing Basics

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Reasons to step mash:

  • to increase yield, for incompletely modified malts (breakdown protein carbohydrate matrix, make sugar more available)
  • change fermentability and how much dextrins etc are left behind after fermentation
  • for highly fermentable, light body, try 145 beta amalyze 30 minutes, 155 to 160 for a short time (or 122 then 145, then 158)
  • quick beta then 160 to 165 for longer time to build up the dextrins and make fermentability low
  • adjunct (corn and rice > 25% grist) – protein rest for more protein, to add more protein since the adjuncts don’t have proteins – this will help with head retention

Reasons you might not want to step mash:

  • Grains are so well  modified now so it is not really needed
  • Ales don’t usually need it because ales are OK with more body
  • Sacchrification ranges overlap, so single step mash will have beta working fast as it denatures, alpha is working slower but keeps working as not denaturing


  • Usually rest about 20 to 30 minutes at each step
  • Longer mashing will make sugar smaller and more fermentable
  • Slow heating to 169 or so will pass through the various ranges. Go slow and you don’t have to stop. Starting temp (dough in) will determine how much protein will be created and affect body

Steps you can hit –

  • dough in 110 a little while
  • protien and beta glucanase- 110 to 125
  • beta 140 to 150
  • alpha 155 to 165
  • mash out – will freeze or lock profile? 169 or less for 10 or so minutes

Types of rests from the bottom

  • acid rest 95 – not really needed – soft water correction?
  • 110 or 113 or more (136) beta glucanase – break down the gummy ness of umalted wheat, rolled oats, unmalted barley
  • 113 to 140 protein rest – protease and pesidase
  • 120 to combine beta glucanase and protein
  • 150 degrees – beta starts denaturing, but is working quickly,
  • limit dextrinase 140 to 153 degrees, breaks down dextrins joints that nothing else can touch

Sachrification enzyme activity ranges

  • beta 140 150
  • limit 140 153
  • alpha 140 167

About Protein Rests

  • for an ale you wouldn’t want long protein rest because it will end up with too much protein and the mouth feel will be to thick, too much body
  • silky mouth feel – do protein rest
  • fuller body – do protein rest


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