Decoctions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Beer_Pirate, May 15, 2018.

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Should Beer_Pirate decoction mash a traditional German lager?

  1. Ja

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  2. Nein

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  1. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    I don't brew many lagers (mainly because I'm impatient and want my beers as soon as possible), but I plan to brew some for this fall soon. Those of you that brew festbiers, helles, and the like: Do you decoction mash, and if so, do you think there's an appreciable difference or is it just your preference? It doesn't seem terribly complex, but I'm not one to add steps to a brew day unless it makes a real difference. I'm thinking at this point of making a helles bock clocking in around 7% or a festbier coming in at about 6%.
     
  2. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I haven't done one and I don't fully understand why I would do one with modern ingredients, but I am honestly tempted to try it.
     
  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    ive decocted my german pilsner i brew and also just as usual step mashed and cant tell the difference to be honest. maybe and im.probablu biased is fermentation was better and attenuation. but ive only decocted 3 times. its up to you i recon.
     
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  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i figure now's the time to ask. It's always been unclear to me what exactly you are pulling off and boiling. is it just a gallon or whatever of the runnings (no grain) or is it grain and all? it just doesn't seem right to me to boil grain
    and i agree, i don't see the need for me to do it
     
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  5. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I usually do, and the beer attenuates really well but retains all of the malt flavor I could hope for. If you're going to do a protein rest, though, make it very very short. I go high, like 131-133F, and immediately decoct for the next step. You don't want to do a long-ish protease rest with a well modified malt.
     
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  6. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    You pull mash, with just enough liquid to be able to stir it and boil it. You want very little liquid in the decoction as the liquid is where the enzymatic activity happens and you don't want to denature the enzymes at that point. Some math is required to hit the next temperature rest, but generally you pull about 1/3 of the mash.

    The only time you would pull mostly liquid is when/if you decoct to mash out, as you want to denature the enzymes anyway.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    From what I can tell, there is no real difference. Of course, I'm now wearing my asbestos underwear, expecting the flames to start a few milliseconds after I hit "Post Reply".... Modern malts were developed so people wouldn't have to do decoction mashes! There were two original reasons for doing so, the first started long before there were thermometers - yes, it was a procedural way to ensure reasonably consistent mashes when the only way of measuring temperature was the tolerance of the brewer's thumb. The second was to convert under-modified malts efficiently. Whether there's a difference or not depends on the brewer. I can't tell that there's a difference between brews I've decocted and their cousins I haven't. Some people swear by them, I swear at them - too much work for too little difference. But by all means, try it.

    I'll generally use a thin decoction when I need to raise temperatures but can't add volume. My third reason for doing so.
     
  8. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    I'm a fan of decoction mashing for certain beers .
    Finding richer malt character and better attenuation and surprisingly clearer wort .
    Water and yeast health / pitch rates will have a far greater impact so unless you're already down that path it may be waste of time
     
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  9. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    Today's malts are already well modified, no need for decoction, I love my German lagers, I will give you one suggestion, use weyermanns barke malt, you will not be disappointed.
     
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  10. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

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    You should at least try it. If you love brewing, then you have the time to do a decoction (or a double). There are good videos out there to walk you through. Take your time, but keep the main mash wash enough that the decoction raises it up to the next rest when you add back. The theory indicates that you will get clearer, meltier, dee-licious beer.
     
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  11. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to but you can. How much brewing so you want to do?
     
  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I use whatever I can get my hands on.
     
  13. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    #13 CRUNK, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    I understand, my next recommendations are, build your water, if you can, and try 6 to 8 % carahell in your recipe. Recipes can be found at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com if your interested, and I made my Landschaft Helles recipe public here on brewers friend, trialben has tried it, if your interested in his opinion on the recipe. And 34/70 yeast.

    If you have any questions feel free to contact me, I'll be happy to answer them.
     
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  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I meant that more literally as I don't have a lot of say in what the LHBS brings in and paying to ship grain is prohibitive. But I'll keep an eye on it.
     
  15. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand some lhbs don't carry large selections, the recipes I recommended are tried and true, some are clones of well known beers such wiehenstaphaner, Ayinger, and many others.some are the exact recipes, obtained by a few members from the breweries directly.
     
  16. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    And a fancy Didgeridoo to you too!
     
  17. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the barke malt is available in Australia or if it is I've never seen it .
    Such delicate beers require attention to detail and the best ingredients I can find
     
  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I really want to make a joke about Aussies right now and quality.
     
  19. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Feel free .
    I will return the favour though
     
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  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    2nd Yooper on proteine rest make it quick thats why "if decocting i start at 62 ish beta range that way gives you time to rest the decoction and once saccarifiacation done get it boiling which can take time. ive found with my decoction first decoction once break is done incan cover it with lid and monitor it occasionall no need to worry about DMS here as it "should" be delt with later in boil. 2nd decoction is for mash out and this i find less break than first and then once in main kettle i find less hot break all together as im sure decoctions have helped out here.

    ive noticed attenuation is better but cant pick much else. and yes i like a decoction every now and again when im having a chillaxed brew day i also love the smell of the boiling barley malt.
     

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