Windisch’s Spring-Maisch

From The American Brewers’ Review – 1903

Windisch’s “Spring Maisch” Process
by Robt. Wahl

At the October meeting of the Berlin scientific station for brewing, Dr. W. WINDISCH read an address about a mashing process which he calls “Spring-Maisch” process.

It is interesting to note that after advocating high initial mashing temperatures for so many years WINDISCH abandons his process of hot, short mashes. In his new process he restores the peptase and the albuminoids to their former rights.

It will be remembered that about six or seven years ago WINDISCH proposed to give up the traditional German thick mash or decoction process in order to adopt the views of British brewers and employ initial heats of 56-60 ° R.

“English beers,” he wrote at that time,” are distinguished by great stability. In England it is customary to have an initial heat of 56-58 ° R in the mash, to saccharify at that temperature, then heat to a final temperature of 60 ° R. Perhaps this mashing method exercises some influence upon the great foam stability of English beers.

At that time the writers opposed the views of WINDISCH, showing that at such high initial mashing temperatures the peptase could not do its work. This would require temperatures below 55 ° R.

I particularly disputed the accuracy of the views of WINDISCH as he laid them down in these words:
It is settled that the albuminoids are easily broken down by an enzyme of the malt about the existence of which there is no doubt, although it has not yet been isolated, and which is called peptaste. They are thus converted into other nitrogen compounds which, while important for yeast nutrition, are quite worthless for the production and stability of foam. It has been found that this degradation of the albumen takes place at temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees and stops at 50-52 ° R. If it is desired, therefore, to prevent the destruction of the foam-making albumen as far as possible, it is necessary to avoid temperatures below 50 deg . R. in mashing.

At that time I pointed out that this modification of the foam-making albuminoids in the mash not only had not been demonstrated but in view of the analytical material actually at hand was quite improbable.

Subsequent investigations by M. HENIUS and G. THEVENOT showed indeed that worts prepared according to WAHL’s method contained more foam-making albuminoids than words prepared according to WINDISCH’S method from similar material, and that the albuminoids are not split up, in the manner asserted by WINDISCH, while mashing at low temperatures.

Since 1897 little has been published of the process of hot short mashes. Nevertheless, it seems to have been introduced in a number of breweries of Germany, for WINDISCH says in the introductory remarks preceding his description of the “Spring-Maisch” process: “Who would formerly have dared use an initial mashing temperature of 55 or even 60 ° R? Today we do it easily and without as much as blinking.” The principle of this “Spring-Maisch” process, according to WINDISCH is, briefly, as follows:
It will be necessary to avoid those temperatures at which saccharification goes on too strongly for our purposes. No matter how quickly we pass these temperatures, we cannot count on certain success either in the kettle in heating the mash to a boil, or in pumping the mash to be boiled into the mashtub. We must work in such a way that no part of the mash will ever have to pass those temperatures which we consider unsuited. This can be done only by employing an initial temperature in the mash at which there is no solution of the starch or saccharification, and then running this mash into water of a temperature more or less above the saccharification temperature which we desire for our purposes, and finally by heating at the necessary moment in order to take care that the mash does not fall below this temperature. The nature of the “Spring-Maisch” process can be best shown by an illustration. Let us say it is desired to convert the entire mash at a temperature of 58 deg . R. and in no case below. How can we do this work? We say, dough in at 30 deg . R. At this temperature no dissolution or conversion of the starch takes place. The kettle contains more or less water of a temperature of from 60 to 80 deg . R., as may be desired. The mash of 30 deg . R. is run from the mashtub into this water until the liquid in the kettle has a temperature of 58 deg. The mashtub will then contain a certain remainder of the mash. Heat is applied to the kettle and in proportion to this heat the remainder of the mash from the tub is gradually run in, so that the liquid in the kettle does not fall below 58 deg. Conversion is then allowed to proceed and the mash finished according to the judgment of the brewer.

WINDISCH here plainly returns to low initial mashing temperatures. He actually recommends mashing methods which in principle are quite similar to those which have long been in use in the United States, i.e. low initial mashing temperatures at which no saccharification takes place, for the purpose of securing the desired peptase action, followed by rapid heating to the saccharification temperature (54-56 ° R), then higher final temperatures.

We have had mashing methods of this kind in use for more than ten years. They are the translation into practical work, of the conviction that peptase action should not be neglected if it is desired to produce beers of full taste and stable foam, which will remain brilliant for a considerable time without any proteid deposit.

It is not only the new German mashing method proposed by WINDISCH that is coming to agree with our American methods. In other respects also we welcome some of his recent statements as agreeing with the line of thought which brewing science has been following in the United States for about a decade. The lines quoted be low which are intended to explain the objects of the new movement, meet with our entire approval. At the conclusion of his article on his “Spring-Maisch” method WINDISCH says:
Let us ask ourselves once more, what are we aiming at? Answer: We want to make it possible to prepare a beer that is not too strong, but completely fermented and at the same time full to the taste and with a stable foam. This is an ideal which many brewers no doubt wish to reach. I have already emphasized that we need for this purpose a suitable malt which will impart to the beer that full, pithy taste which, after all, cannot be given in the desired measure by the unfermentable carbohydrate extract, no matter how great its percentage. We require for this purpose a suitable mashing method, and such a one is the “Spring-Maisch” process. The requirement of a beer fermented as completely as possible also raises the fermentation question, and particularly the question: How should the fermentation of the beer in the fermenter be conducted? How should the beer be treated in the stock vat? My opinion at present favors very extensive fermentation in the fermenter, and in the main ripening and clarification in storage. I consider very probable that as a logical result the question of the carbonization of beer, which we regard without disfavor on the strength of present experiences, will soon have to be taken up. But I am also convinced that scarcely any beer will be better suited for this treatment than a “Spring-Maisch” beer made from the proper malt.

Similar aims have occupied us in the United States, and we have obtained results of some consequence, i.e. by higher pitching and fermenting temperatures with or without aeration we reach a higher or even final degree of fermentation in the fermenting vat, hence much quicker maturing in storage or without any storage whatever; by more intense cooling of the beer in tanking into the stock vats or straight into the finishing tanks we eliminate the noxious albuminoids, thus giving greater stability to the beer by reducing proteid deposits; by carbonating the beer on the way to the chip cask or finishing tank the carbonic acid is intimately bound without using “kräusen.”

“Kräusened” beers, owing to their sugar and resin content, do not have the pure taste or give the feeling of maturity on the palate that are found in a completely fermented and properly carbonated beer. In addition to these qualities there are other advantages in dispensing with “kräusen” and the sugar and proteids they contain. We have secured the greatest stability for our export keg beers, especially if completely fermented, and also the greatest stability for pasteurized bottle beer, especially if freed from proteids by chilling followed by carbonization.

For such reasons we are profoundly interested in observing the paths upon which brewery practice is about to enter in Germany in an effort to attain similar success, by following such proposals as were made i.e. by the Berlin professors at the meeting last month and on previous similar occasions.

Editors Note –  o R is degrees Réaumur – an obsolete French scale with 0 as freezing and 80 as the boiling point of water. It was used extensively in European and American brewing.

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