Decoction Mashing....

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Dillon D'Adamo, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Dillon D'Adamo

    Dillon D'Adamo New Member

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    About to do my first decoction mash: actually a double decoction. Anyone have any tips and tricks?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Keep plenty of time up your sleave lol:p na my brief foray into the decoction mash world would be to enjoy the process keep some heavy duty heat risistant gloves handy when transporting the mash into decoction pot. A good scoop that keeps the fingers out the hot liqour. Ive found once the decoction is up to boil and break has settled i can cover with lid and walk away stiring intermittently. Observe the change in mash consistancy and how almost no break develops in main kettle. And enjoy those beautiful caramel baked biscuit aromas.
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Not to be a killjoy but don't. Germans don't any more. Unless you have some undermodified malt (like Bohemian Floor Malted Pilsner) there's not that much of a difference between decoction and none. And if you insist, a single decoction is quite enough.
     
  4. White Haus Brews

    White Haus Brews Active Member

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    Another vote for don't bother unless it's just something you want to do to say you did it. No judgment here though, I Parti-Gyled for the same reason (although that did have the added benefit of brewing 3 different beers with 1 set of grains which was cool) :p
     
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  5. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    Who doesn't want to try this at least once... I did... I'm so over it now... you should also employ a step mash schedule if going this route...

    Michael Tonsmeire has a an article over at his The Mad Fermentationist Blog describing the technique he used to brew an All Grain Decocted Hefeweizen and points to Kai's decoction guide as a go to reference...

    Although @Nosybear is correct you may not see the benefits you expect from an all day brew session but hell why not do it so you can say... been there done that...

    Good luck @Dillon D'Adamo
     
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  6. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I think you should do a decoction mash simply to gain the experience of doing it. Some swear by it and others don't. I could go either way, but I'm glad I've done it. The aroma from the boiling grain is really nice.

    Things to watch out for are: 1. scorching. If you scorch the grain at all it wrecks the beer, bring the decoction up to a boil slowly. 2. Make sure you mash pH is on the low side before pulling a decoction, 5.2 or lower. Low pH will reduce the mallard reaction and the excessive darkening of the wort. This seems what you want with a decoction, but it needs to be kept in check. 3. Considering adding rice hulls to aid the lauter and sparge. 4. Don't drink to much beer while brewing! It never seems to turn out good when that happens, although it can be fun.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I don't bother doing it either. But I know lots of pro stars who swear by it.
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    And some who swear at it. By all means try it but expect a lot of work and no miracles. For the same reason I will do a cereal mash next time I brew my Mexican Dunkel: I want to see if it makes a difference.
     
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  9. KC

    KC Active Member

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    If you decoct on a burner with a kettle that has a THICK bottom, it helps immensely in preventing scorch
    Low pH also avoids tannin extraction during decoction. Most instructions say to pull wort thick with grains for this reason
    Boiled grains gelatinize significantly and gum up very easily, especially mesh bags. Bags in the decoction kettle can make a real mess.
     
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  10. Dillon D'Adamo

    Dillon D'Adamo New Member

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    WOW!!
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I think I am going to do it on this next czech pilsener for the heck of it. I am into trying new methods before exhausting good recipes. So to clarify if I get this straight:
    Dont do it ( unless you are just trying stuff)
    wear gloves (heat proof)
    thick bottom pot and bring it up slowly
    give myself a lot of time
    dont drink while brewing
    stir lots
    keep the ph low
    add rice hulls to the lauter
    and enjoy the biscuity smells...

    Once again, thank you everyone for your comments. As a former chef of over 20 years I can tell you a lot of this, if not all (rice hulls was a good one) was already in the plan, but its nice to hear it out of fellow peers. I can also tell you I made a good deal of money in my trade from the carmelization during those years. Lets see how it comes out. Thanks Again!!
     
  11. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    I use decoction on every brew I do, although I only brew and drink weizen or weis beers. I did a side by side test of my beers of a step infusion mashed and the other decoction and I prefer the taste of decoction mashing. To me the extra 30-45 min added on for this step is worth it to me.

    Cant say I agree with this, not sure what the "lot of work" part is, stirring every couple min till it comes to boil ??
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Was the test blind? Or did you know which glass was which? And was it an "n=1" study? I'm asking not to dissuade you from decoction mashing, it's your time and your beer. We are in a beginner's forum, though, and you are talking about a pretty advanced procedure. I tend to dissuade beginners from complex procedures until they can brew a consistent beer using the simplest possible process. So here's what I found by going out to other sources than my experience:
    Here's a link to a simpler process that is supposed to produce similar results:
    https://beerandbrewing.com/how-to-get-decoction-results-without-actually-doing-a-decoction-mash/
    And here's a paper that might help the decision:
    https://www.homebrewersassociation....oct-or-Not-To-Decoct-That-is-the-Question.pdf
    Spoiler alert: The six BJCP judges rated Single Decoction and Single Infusion mashes highest in a Maerzen. And dang, were they thorough. So there, armed with some facts, you have the tools with which to make a decision. Whatever you decide, I hope you make good beer.

    And I'm sticking to my story: Having done it and having read about it, decoction is not worth the effort.
     
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  13. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I didn’t realize that this was a beginner’s forum.

    One of my problems with forums is that when someone asks for tips or advice about a subject, such as decoction, there are bombarded with people who discourage them. Dillon never asked whether he should do it or not, he asked for tips. I don’t think he should decoct once or twice, I would encourage him or anyone to do it at least 10 times before drawing his own conclusion. I’ve done it quite a bit and learned a lot about my system and brewing. I don’t think it is overly complex.

    The other thing about forums is you can never really tell if the person your getting info or advice from is actually any good at brewing or if if they just talk big. Take the advice you get on this forum with a grain of salt, including mine. Some of it is good and some of it not so good.
     
  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Including mine. Ive used a.non stick stock pot in past as decoction pot.and found once id rought it up past break into boil i can pretty much just leave it but this may not be the case with a stainless pot.

    Another thing to take note on is increased efficiency. Great attenuation. Good clarity in finished beer.
     
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  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    And I have to apologize, when I posted, I thought I was in the beginner forum. Ooops.
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    And my tip remains as it was in the beginning. Not worth the time and effort.
     
  17. Dillon D'Adamo

    Dillon D'Adamo New Member

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    This is good. I am glad people have tried these methods and have informed opinions about them. Thanks to Everyone who commented!
     
  18. wobdee

    wobdee Member

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    There are still some German breweries doing decoction, Bitburger and Hofbrau to name a couple big ones I know for sure. It is true that decoction is less prevalent now a days but still quite a few keep with the traditional method.

    To the OP, look up Schmitz decoction, it's a easy single or double decoction method that worked well for me in the past.
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That squares with what I can find out. I used to drink me a lot of Bitburger when I lived in Germany but I really preferred Kirner. My tip, if someone wants to do decoctions, is to start with a single decoction - as you say, relatively simple, and to expect no miracles. I used to try them for my Marzens and such, then gave it up in favor of step mashes.
     
  20. Shawn3997

    Shawn3997 New Member

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    With my setup I'm able to mash-in and start a beta-rest around 144F and then pull 2 gallons to boil for 30 minutes. Meanwhile the rest of the grains get a 30 minute mash. I then add back the boiled 2 gallons and it gets me up to around 158F for a 30-minute alpha-rest and I'm done. I think the decoction gives the beers more character and I like the way they taste so it's worth that amount of effort for me.
     
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