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Mash Finings?

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philrob

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Not something which I am contemplating, but the following issue has been raised by a fellow brewer. I'm interested whether anyone has come across it or has any thoughts on it.
This is something I've been curious about for a while and if someone like mhb might be able to put me straight.

There's a bunch of proteins we try and leave behind in the tun, using step mashing, recirculation and letting grain bed settling. Yes: I realise a lot of brewers single infusion, don't recirculate and sparge/drain immediately.

Is there an argument for or against using a fining like carrageegan to drop out proteins in the mash? Tried to search for mash finings and various other bits, got nothing relevant. I figure if it's worthwhile, it's probably been tried, proved and documented but if so : I'm interested in why it's not useful.

Love pondering, love learning.
 

Meddo

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Old mate's question is specifically about the concept of finings in the mash, not the boil (or at least in addition to boil finings). Any thoughts @MHB ?
 

philrob

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I use boil finings, specifically BrewBrite, but his question was about mash finings.
It's a theoretical question.
 

MHB

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Interesting question, short answer is there isn't much point.
There are two ways proteins can be removed during the mash/boil
First is proteins coagulate, if you want a good analogy its like those little bits of egg white you get floating around in the water when you poach an egg. If you just mixed some egg white with tap water and heated it, there would come temperature when the dissolved egg white clumps and becomes a solid, turn off the heat and it will sink.
This is pretty much the fate of very high molecular weight protein. In the mash the highest MW protein will condense and if you recirculate until the wort is clear it will be trapped in the grain bed.

Second is Protein that forms a complexes with Tannins (well Polyphenols - mostly from grain husks and some from hops).
This reaction takes a bit more energy so is more likely in the kettle, this forms hot break (again the higher MW Proteins and polyphenols being preferred). The smaller MW proteins are less likely to condense and precipitate and the odds of this happening are directly related to MW and time at a boil.

This is one reason I have always said "Don't squeeze the bag" if you do it hard enough you can get some of the condensed protein pushing through the bag and ending up in the kettle.

One of the reasons we boil a wort is to remove the high MW protein, fortunately its the least desirable proteins and polyphenols that are removed first and the ones we want the most (to improve head, mouthfeel...) are the most likely to survive the boil. Part of the reason 60-90 minute boils are pretty much the standard, less doesn't do the job and more is usually a waste of energy($).

Finings mostly act on the proteins in-between the truly soluble ones we want and the totally insoluble ones we don't want, these are more soluble hot less so cool and when they condense make very fine floc that takes a long time to settle. Finings just speeds up the precipitation.
Mark
 

MHB

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Welcome
What alwayse amazes me about brewing is the way all the bits interrelate. Had never thought seriously about using a mash fining, and just been thinking through the inputs a bit more. The amount of Ca in the mash, the type of malt, the mash regime... all are going to play a role, not to mention a bunch of other things that come to mind.
Still not thinking mash fining would do much if any good (be necessary/beneficial), but its great to look at things from a different perspective from time to time, always good when someone provokes a bit of thinking.
Mark
 

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