During today's brew, my wort looked like hot and sour soup, there was an incredible amount of floating proteins, like somebody dropped a small loaf of bread in there and it was breaking apart. This is a new recipe, but I've brewed close to the same grain bill before, and have never seen so much floating stuff.

I did just use my new mill for the first time, and this is the first time I've had flaked corn in a mash (1.3 lbs). Most curious what variables could affect this.

1 Answer 1


Most grains/extract typically contain around 10-12% protein, while flaked wheat and barley have around 14-16%. Maize (corn) has a lower protein content, less than 5%.

Even though there are different amounts of protein in different grists, there's nearly always enough protein in the wort to make the boiled wort look like egg drop soup if you can get the protein to precipitate during boil. Here are some factors that help get the protein to precipitate out of the wort:

  • hops: polyphenols from the hops attract the proteins to form a complex with later flocculates out.
  • a vigorous rolling boil. This is necessary to move about the polyphenols and the protein about vigorously so there is more chance of contact. This will produce a good hot break - more coagulated proteins. These proteins that coagulate in the hot break would cause off flavours and instability in the beer if left in there.
  • calcium - at least 50ppm of calcium in the wort is recommended to help proteins precipitate out.
  • pH - a pH of 5.0-5.5 creates an efficient hot break.
  • kettle finings (irish moss/whirfloc etc..) these comprise large particles that attract proteins (and beta glucans), causing them to fall out of solution, clearing the wort further.

With all these factors working to precipitate out the protein, much of the unwanted protein is removed from the beer. Additionally, a fast chill after the boil will form a cold break, comprising yet more proteins, which reduces chill haze.

As to why you got more protein this time round - it could be any of the factors above. It's probably not the flaked corn that's giving you more protein this batch. Rather, your new mill may have created a finer crush with more flour, bringing more protein into the wort, so there was more protein to precipitate.

  • 1
    I would attribute it largely to proper pH. i find I get much more break material when I nail the pH.
    – Denny Conn
    Jan 27, 2013 at 18:25
  • Looks like all of these factors are GOOD signs.
    – GHP
    Jan 28, 2013 at 13:18
  • Oh yes, they are good things! I try to maximize protein precipitate in the boil - there's still plenty left for foam retention in the final beer.
    – mdma
    Jan 28, 2013 at 15:00

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