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I am planning brewing a recipe I found of a porter that I am really excited about. The original recipe says that you should do a rest at temperature below final mash temperature for a bit. After some research I found that with today's highly modified malts, these more complex mash schedules are not necessary. So my first question is, is this true? Can I just forego the rest temperature and go for the final mash temp?

Second, if the overall opinion is that this rest is necessary, It makes me curious about water to grist ratio. Are you supposed to dough in at a lower ratio so that when you step up your temperature with some hot water to hit your mash temp that you end up with the desired ratio? Or do you do you dough in at the lower temp with the correct ratio, then when you bump up the temp, let the ratio slide so you have a higher water to grist ratio?

Thank you for all your help!

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It depends primarily on the grist you're using and the intended result, but in general protein rests (which is what I believe you're talking about) for most grains are unnecessary. Unless you're using an undermodified malt, which is hard to find, a protein rest can even be detrimental to the body and head retention of a beer. If you're doing a step mash via infusion, you start out with a very thick mash. I use .75 qt./lb. That way, when you infuse boiling water to raise the temp, you don't end up with too thin a mash.

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Thank you so much for the quick response. I am totally pumped that you responded Denny, you are the guy that got me to take the leap into all-grain with your interview for the Beersmith podcast. – Justin Rassier Mar 27 '12 at 17:10
Glad to help, Justin! – Denny Conn Mar 27 '12 at 17:41
Denny do you notice any loss of efficiency from starting the mash that thick? I tend to brew more German styles with fairly thin mashes and I think I'm getting a few more efficiency points because of my 1.5+ qt/lb mashes. – Graham Mar 27 '12 at 19:08
Graham, I don't notice any loss of efficiency. Although the mash may start thick, by the time I get to saccharification temps it a "normal" ratio. – Denny Conn Mar 28 '12 at 15:08
Ok yeah, that makes sense. Thanks. – Graham Mar 29 '12 at 12:51

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