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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 26, 2011, 08:18:41 PM

Title: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 26, 2011, 08:18:41 PM
Since going all-grain back in 2006, I've read a LOT about the merits of decoction mashing. I've heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've finally resolved that it's time I do one and see how I feel about it. I'm planning on brewing a traditional Bavarian hefeweizen this weekend, which I think will provide fertile testing ground for a decoction mash.

I plan to employ a hockurz double decoction mash. Here is my proposed schedule:

- Infuse to 113F for 15 minute ferulic acid rest.
- Infuse to 144F for maltose saccharification (at this point, my water:grain ratio will be about 2 qts per pound). Rest for 20 minutes.
- Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add thick decoction back to main mash to hit 158F for dextrine saccharification. Rest for 45 minutes.
- Pull thin decoction and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Add thin decoction back to main mash to hit 168F mashout

Naturally, I have a few questions:

1) As I pull and boil the decoctions, the main mash will just be sitting there ostensibly continuing to "rest" at either the maltose or dextrine saccharification temp. Is this a problem?  Is there a danger that all of the starches in the main mash could be converted to maltose during the initial saccharification period (and thus precluding any dextrines from forming)?  Warning: I may be demonstrating some mashing ignorance here.

2) What is the best way to pull a thin decoction?  Can I just run off some wort through the ball valve on my mlt?

3) Finally, what volume should the thin decoction be?

Thanks in advance. I've really been fascinated with decoction mashing discussions over the years. It's time to enter the fray.  :P
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on April 26, 2011, 08:32:31 PM
1) I pull the decoction immediately at the start of the step. It takes about 5min to come to a boil, then I boil for 10-15min.
2) I just use a saucepan with a handle to pull my decoctions. Just grab it off the top of the mash.
3) http://www.quaff.org/cyberbrau/DecoctionCalculator.htm
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on April 26, 2011, 08:35:54 PM
If at all possible, try to do another brew with the same recipe and no decoction.  Then do a blind triangle tasting to see if you gained anything but the fun (?) of doing a decoction.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hamiltont on April 26, 2011, 08:39:59 PM
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 26, 2011, 08:44:31 PM
If at all possible, try to do another brew with the same recipe and no decoction.  Then do a blind triangle tasting to see if you gained anything but the fun (?) of doing a decoction.

I was planning on doing this.  8) I may start with the non-decocted recipe this weekend and do the decocted version later this spring. But I really want to nail down the details of the decoction schedule/process before I dive in. I can't rightly judge the merits of decoction if I don't execute it properly!  :P
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on April 26, 2011, 08:47:16 PM
I was planning on doing this.  8) I may start with the non-decocted recipe this weekend and do the decocted version later this spring. But I really want to nail down the details of the decoction schedule/process before I dive in. I can't rightly judge the merits of decoction if I don't execute it properly!  :P

Good man!  Must be the logic from the legal training!  ;)  Try to do them as close together as possible so that they'll be about the same age when you taste them.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on April 26, 2011, 09:04:16 PM
How about setting up a global "decoction day". We can all do our decoctions and then discuss how we screwed them up.
I'm gonna do one this weekend too but for a cream ale.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: jeffy on April 26, 2011, 09:19:54 PM
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!


Yes, you should make a stop at Alpha rest temps for 15 or 20 minutes on your way to boiling the decoction.  I usually stop at 158F.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on April 26, 2011, 09:32:12 PM
Nevermind, I found them.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: narvin on April 26, 2011, 09:47:31 PM
Boil your thick decoction for 30 minutes.  Or 45. Go for the gusto.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on April 26, 2011, 10:30:04 PM
I use decoction mashes on all my beers. Not because I think they're "better" but because I don't have a fancy HERMS so boiling some mash is the cheapest/easiest way to hit multi-step mashes without a huge increase in the grist/liquor ratio.

EDIT: Should I think they're better? Is that what all the cool kids are doing nowadays? I mean, I like to be hip and all. . .
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: maxieboy on April 26, 2011, 10:42:06 PM
  Try to do them as close together as possible so that they'll be about the same age when you taste them.

This was the only suggestion I could offer. Good luck!
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on April 26, 2011, 11:27:52 PM
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!


Yes, you should make a stop at Alpha rest temps for 15 or 20 minutes on your way to boiling the decoction.  I usually stop at 158F.

You don't have to. You should do this (or not do this) based upon the fermentation profile you want your wort to have. The only rest (in my mind) that is mandatory in the pull itself is the first beta rest so that you actually have some sugars to concentrate when you get to a boil... and then subsequent pulls don't need to stop here either.

My only other advice on this, as is in the other threads, is use a simple recipe... use high quality wheat malt and pilsner malt. Don't clog up the recipe with a bunch of crystal malts.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: bluesman on April 27, 2011, 01:02:09 AM
Matt, you are not alone as I am going to do a triple decoction on a Bo-Pils this weekend for a beer I've entered in the Pilsner Urquell competition. It will probably be a 10 hr brewday.  :o

Pilsner Urquell's mash is the same triple-decoction method used for the past 75 years. Thick portions of the mash are drawn off at three different times over the course of more than four hours. Each decoction is heated to saccharification temperature, then boiled briefly, and finally returned to the mash. The mash begins with cold water stirred into the grains; a single infusion brings the temperature to 95F for an acid rest. The water-to-grain ratio is 1.85:1. The first decoction raises the temperature to around 127F for a short protein rest; the second addition raises the mash temperature to 143F for a beta-rest; and the third brings the temperature to about 163 °F for mash-out.

I'll be wearing my brewing shoes.  ;D

 
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 27, 2011, 01:25:02 AM
Ron, I did a double decoction Bo_pils that was 10.5 hours.  This was the Bohemian Malt from Weyermann's, not the floor malted Bohemian.

To be authentic you want a long boil, 2 hours.  They also chill to 39F and pitch, I gave in at 40F as it was taking too long. It all takes some time,and it adds up.

Had some of this beer on the front porch tonight with the wife.  We agree it is worth it.  Was it the decoction, or all of the other steps in the process, or the Bohemian malt from Weyermanns, or the Wyeat 2001+2278 yeast the were fermented then blended, or the soft water with only enough CaCL2 to get to 50 ppm Ca?  Don't know, but we like the beer, we really like the beer!

Edit - For Denny.  It is too late to brew another of these without a decoction, as the cold weather is done, and the chest freezer is full of lager now.  Done with lager brewing until next winter.  Soon it will be prime lager drinking weather!
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: speed on April 27, 2011, 04:04:51 AM
How about setting up a global "decoction day". We can all do our decoctions and then discuss how we screwed them up.
I'm gonna do one this weekend too but for a cream ale.
sorry, i'm out. did a triple decoction this winter on a doppelbock it was my first and last . made a real good beer but was it worth it? i doubt it, as it took over 6 hours maybe closer to 8 if i remember, i try to put it out of my memory. but it did take first place in nebraskas statewide homebrewer club comp.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on April 27, 2011, 11:32:43 AM
I'd be very surprised if you can't tell the difference in the finished products and I'll bet you like it. Now, whether it was worth it or not may be another story.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 27, 2011, 12:17:29 PM
Thanks for the responses, guys!

Edit: I found the remaining answers I was looking for by rereading Kai's decoction page on braukaiser.com and rewatching his decoction videos.  Those are exceptionally helpful resources. Thanks, Kai!
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 27, 2011, 12:18:10 PM
Matt, you are not alone as I am going to do a triple decoction on a Bo-Pils this weekend for a beer I've entered in the Pilsner Urquell competition. It will probably be a 10 hr brewday.  :o

Pilsner Urquell's mash is the same triple-decoction method used for the past 75 years. Thick portions of the mash are drawn off at three different times over the course of more than four hours. Each decoction is heated to saccharification temperature, then boiled briefly, and finally returned to the mash. The mash begins with cold water stirred into the grains; a single infusion brings the temperature to 95F for an acid rest. The water-to-grain ratio is 1.85:1. The first decoction raises the temperature to around 127F for a short protein rest; the second addition raises the mash temperature to 143F for a beta-rest; and the third brings the temperature to about 163 °F for mash-out.

I'll be wearing my brewing shoes.  ;D

 


That's ambitious, Ron!  You'd better be wearing brewing shoes!  Of course, pants are still optional. ;D
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 27, 2011, 12:30:59 PM
Here is the hefe recipe I'll be brewing:

Bavarian Hefeweizen
15-A Weizen/Weissbier
Author: Matt Schwandt

Size: 5.26 gal
Efficiency: 85.0%
Attenuation: 77.0%
Calories: 170.08 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.044 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 - 1.014)
Color: 5.61 (2.0 - 8.0)
Alcohol: 5.18% (4.3% - 5.6%)
Bitterness: 11.8 (8.0 - 15.0)

Ingredients:
5.0 lb Wheat Malt Pale
2.5 lb Pilsner Malt
1.0 lb Dark Munich
.50 lb Carahell®
.09 lb Acidulated Malt
.75 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
.25 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1 ea White Labs WLP380 Hefeweizen IV Ale
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on April 27, 2011, 05:30:13 PM
I would drop the carahell and the dark munich...
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 27, 2011, 05:46:43 PM
I would drop the carahell and the dark munich...

This raises an issue that's been rolling around in my head lately. I included dark Munich (as opposed to light, which I normally include in a hefe) before I decided to try a decoction, thinking that I could achieve a more pronounced maltiness this way. With a decoction, however, I might not need to go with the dark stuff.

I've been including carahell in my hefes for years and I like what it adds.  But maybe for the purpose of this little decoction experiment, I should keep the grain bill very simple, such as 60% wheat / 40% pils.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on April 27, 2011, 07:00:06 PM
I would drop the carahell and the dark munich...

Agreed. You can make a killer Hefe with just wheat malt, pale/pils, and acid malt (if necessary).
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 28, 2011, 02:07:30 AM
Alright gents, here is my revised recipe with the decoction schedule.  I decided to go with a pretty simple grain bill.  I like the idea of adding a little chocolate for just a smidge of color (I figured chocolate wheat was appropriate).

Bavarian Hefeweizen
15-A Weizen/Weissbier
Author: Matt Schwandt

Size: 5.33 gal
Efficiency: 85.0%
Attenuation: 80.0%
Calories: 167.24 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.044 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (1.010 - 1.014)
Color: 5.1 (2.0 - 8.0)
Alcohol: 5.31% (4.3% - 5.6%)
Bitterness: 12.0 (8.0 - 15.0)

Ingredients:
5.5 lb Wheat Malt Pale
3.2 lb Pilsner Malt
.27 lb Acidulated Malt
.03 lb Chocolate Wheat Malt
.75 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
.25 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1 L White Labs WLP380 Hefeweizen IV Ale

Hochkurz Double Decoction
- 9.1 qts @ 121 ==> ferulic acid rest @ 111-113 [15 min]
- 10.7 qts @ 190 ==> maltose saccharification @ 144 [20 min]
- Pull thick 5.6 qt decoction; raise temp to 158 (2-4 degrees per minute increase); rest for 15 minutes; bring to boil and boil for 15 minutes, stirring often
- Remix thick decoction a little at a time to hit dextrine saccharification @ 158 [45 min]
- Pull thin 5.05 qt decoction and gradually bring to a boil; boil for 10 min
- Remix thin decoction a little at a time to hit mashout temp @ 168 [10 min]
- 15 qts @ 183 ==> Sparge @ 170 [10 min]
- 1.5g CaSO4, 1.5g CaCl added to kettle

Fermentation notes:
- Pitch yeast when wort is cooled to the mid 50s.  Aerate well.  Let temp rise to 62 and hold for about a week.  Then raise temp to mid 60s for a few days to finish.  Transfer to keg or bottle.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on April 28, 2011, 06:49:25 AM
Looks pretty good... I kind of feel like any additional comments I make are a double edged sword... I think it is important that you explore decoction, find your own way, etc. but I also think it would be a shame if there were some less than optimal outcome and you blamed that on the decoction... not that what I am suggesting below is optimal.. it just works on my system for these sorts of beers... so just a couple of more comments:

* Hefe IV is already really clovey. I don't think you will need the 4VG rest, unless you really like clove in your hefeweizens (and later vanilla... one of the reasons I like 4VG rest + Hefe IV in Weizenbock)

* I would change the rests a little bit to make the first pull bigger in volume. The more grain you boil, the more those decoction flavors are going to be emphasized. To that end, if it were me, I'd dough in lower, at acid rest range (95-97) with what will seem like a ton of liquid (2.5qts per pound), do a pull around 10 quarts, on the way to boiling, stop for a alpha rest at 155F for 10-15 minutes, then boil for ~15 minutes... then return to bring the mash up to beta at 144 for 25-30 minutes...  then pull a smaller decoction, skip the alpha rest in the pull, boil for ~10 minutes, return to mash to take the entire mash up to alpha, rest for 30-40 minutes, and then sparge (skip mash out). I guess this is more like an 'Enhanced Double Decoction' if you're following parlance on Kai's page. I think overall, this schedule will be faster than your proposed schedule while still delivering on the flavor side of things.

* The chocolate wheat is fine; many German recipes use a Carafa for color adjustment.. but if you follow the more intensive decoction schedule I posted above, I would be surprised if you didn't end up with a beer with a more golden hue than the calculated SRM would suggest.

* On the pulls themselves, don't take the words 'thick mash' too literally... you can save yourself a lot of headaches, scorching and sore stir arms by pulling a little thinner so that the pull can boil without scorching (this is another one of the advantages of doughing in at 2.5qts per pound, you have extra liquid to boil off).. you don't want something so thin it looks like chicken noodle soup but you don't want it so thick that it looks like a steaming pot of granola either.


Just my 2c... above all, enjoy the process, if after all of this you find out that it didn't make a difference for you or you figure out a way to replicate or exceed the flavor by using a tweaked grain bill with more specialty malts... awesome, move on to the next new thing :-)
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on April 28, 2011, 12:18:35 PM
Thanks for your comments/suggestions, Anthony!  It sounds like you've got a fair amount of experience with decoction mashing and weizen brewing.

Since this will be my first decoction mash (and first step mash ever!), my goal is to design a fairly simple mash schedule.  In light of that, maybe the best course of action as far as the 4VG rest is simply to eliminate it but still use the Hefe IV yeast (which I've used several times for hefes with single infusion mash programs).  Alternatively, I could do the 4VG rest but switch the yeast to something with less clove character, like 3068.

I calculated my decoction pulls using the equation on Kai's site; I think I'll stick with those volumes for now.  My intention in doing a decoction is not to do it once and then make a determination on the merits.  I'll likely play around with decoction mashing for a while before I throw in the towel (which may not even happen based on my results!).

Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hamiltont on April 28, 2011, 02:49:28 PM
A couple more suggestions (speaking from experience) have a couple gallons of boiling water handy so if you miss your step after adding the boiling the decoction back into the mash you can use it to adjust the mash up. Just remember how much you use so you can deduct that from the mash out.  

Also, if you find while adding the boiling decoction back into your mash and you hit your step before adding it all, stop adding it and just stir the decoction to cool it to the temp of the step & then add it. Or have some ice on hand to adjust it down.

When your done you going to say "Wow that was a long brew day but it wasn't that difficult either." Cheers!!!
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Hokerer on April 28, 2011, 02:50:32 PM
Since this will be my first decoction mash (and first step mash ever!), my goal is to design a fairly simple mash schedule.  In light of that, maybe the best course of action as far as the 4VG rest is simply to eliminate it but still use the Hefe IV yeast (which I've used several times for hefes with single infusion mash programs).  Alternatively, I could do the 4VG rest but switch the yeast to something with less clove character, like 3068.

You might also want to read the "Intensive Banana Aroma" article from Zymurgy a couple of issues back.  Some interesting information and rationale that would help you in designing your steps.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on April 28, 2011, 05:21:39 PM
Thanks for your comments/suggestions, Anthony!  It sounds like you've got a fair amount of experience with decoction mashing and weizen brewing.

Since this will be my first decoction mash (and first step mash ever!), my goal is to design a fairly simple mash schedule.  In light of that, maybe the best course of action as far as the 4VG rest is simply to eliminate it but still use the Hefe IV yeast (which I've used several times for hefes with single infusion mash programs).  Alternatively, I could do the 4VG rest but switch the yeast to something with less clove character, like 3068.

I calculated my decoction pulls using the equation on Kai's site; I think I'll stick with those volumes for now.  My intention in doing a decoction is not to do it once and then make a determination on the merits.  I'll likely play around with decoction mashing for a while before I throw in the towel (which may not even happen based on my results!).

Ah, my suggested pull amounts came out of Promash. I'm sure whichever yeast you choose the beer will be tasty.

Good luck... and post your results/impressions.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on April 28, 2011, 05:55:05 PM
Like infusion amounts for a step mash, I haven't yet found any calculations that are accurate for pull amounts for decoctions in a cooler.  I pull a lot more than Promash recommends just to be on the safe side.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on April 29, 2011, 01:46:49 AM
Like infusion amounts for a step mash, I haven't yet found any calculations that are accurate for pull amounts for decoctions in a cooler.  I pull a lot more than Promash recommends just to be on the safe side.

+1 to that. It was mentioned here before, but it's easier to heat more than you need and cool it down before you add it, than it is to dump your whole decoction in the mash, miss your temp, say "oh crap" and scramble to heat up water. Not that that has ever happened to me. . .
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: dbarber on April 29, 2011, 01:06:45 PM
Like infusion amounts for a step mash, I haven't yet found any calculations that are accurate for pull amounts for decoctions in a cooler.  I pull a lot more than Promash recommends just to be on the safe side.

it's easier to heat more than you need and cool it down before you add it, than it is to dump your whole decoction in the mash, miss your temp, say "oh crap" and scramble to heat up water.

That sounds familiar.  My first decoction I blindly followed the amounts that Promash suggested and my temps were off...still made tasty beer though. :)
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 02, 2011, 01:32:50 AM
Today was brew day.  All in all, the decoction went pretty well.  I hit my temps really well, except for mashout, which I'm not too concerned with anyway.  I ended up getting an efficiency bump (BHE = 87.5%) which resulted in a higher than anticipated O.G. of 1.055 (I was shooting for 1.051).  It was a LONG brew day, but it was fun to finally delve into the world of decoction mashing.  It will be interesting to compare this beer to a regular step mash version to see if it's worth the extra effort.

Some takeaway points from the experience:
- Pull a bigger decoction volume than you think you need and have boiling water at the ready in case you undershoot a step.  A lot of people in this thread suggested as much, and I took this advice seriously today.  If I hadn't, this session could have turned out to be a disaster.
- Decoction mashing seemed to give me an efficiency bump, which is fairly common from what I understand.  Next time I brew a decocted beer, I'll factor this in when designing the recipe.
- Decoction mashing doesn't seem to be very exact.  I felt like I was relying much more on instinct and my ability to problem solve on the fly than on calculations/predictions/etc.  I think it definitely helped to be a pretty seasoned AG brewer.
- I need to learn more about how alpha- and beta-rest temps/duration affect wort fermentability.  I formulated my recipe based on rests I've seen in other brewers' recipes (such as Kai's).  But I really don't know what to expect as far as how fermentable the resulting wort will actually be.
- The wort color is definitely a little darker than I anticipated.  Next time, I probably won't use any color malt at all.  I think it will be a nice golden color with that slightly orange hue characteristic of hefeweizens with just wheat/pils.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on May 02, 2011, 02:43:18 AM
- Decoction mashing seemed to give me an efficiency bump, which is fairly common from what I understand.  Next time I brew a decocted beer, I'll factor this in when designing the recipe.

My efficiencies with barley-based beers are about 10-15% higher when using decoctions. My wheat beers take a 10-15% hit with efficiency anyway for some reason (probably my grind), so they tend to pretty much balance out.

- Decoction mashing doesn't seem to be very exact.  I felt like I was relying much more on instinct and my ability to problem solve on the fly than on calculations/predictions/etc.  I think it definitely helped to be a pretty seasoned AG brewer.

I actually like that about decoction mashing. It's kind of like cooking without a recipe. I think you get a better feel for your ingredients and how the mash works.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 02, 2011, 06:22:44 PM
I agree. It was fun to feel like I was letting experience and instinct guide my brew day.

Going forward, I'm not going to just do a regular (read: non-decocted) step mash version of this recipe for comparison. I want to really dial in my hefeweizen recipe and decoction procedure first. So, my next brew will be a slightly revised hefe recipe with a slightly different decoction program (more like what anthony suggested earlier in this thread).  I will start with a ferulic acid rest and decoct up to beta- and alpha-rest temps. I'll likely skip mashout.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 02, 2011, 06:55:53 PM
When you decoct, the small starch granules get gelantinized.  These will then convert.  The small granules are talked about in Kai's site.

The boil will develope malanoidins, which have brown color, and you also get flavor from the Maillard reactions.  Enough flavor to convince everyone it is worth the work - no.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on May 02, 2011, 07:11:31 PM
From Brewing With Wheat (Awesome book, btw, you should pick up a copy if you haven't already):

Schneider's mash schedule for Aventinus and Original:
95* for 10min
113* for 10min (ferulic acid rest, important for 4-vinyl guaiacol)
122* for 10min
147* for 5min
>Pull 1/3 of mash for decoction
Decoction rests:
152* for 10min
158* for 20min
203* for 5min
>Transfer back to mash to hit:
167*

They also acidify the wort during the boil. It doesn't specify how much, but it says the pH going into the boil kettle is 3.0. Seems low to me, so I'm not sure if 3.0 is the pH of total wort, or if that's the pH of the acidified wort they add to the rest of the wort, in the kettle.

Something I've noticed about a lot of the wheat beer decoction schedules I've found is they have relatively short rests. If you try to hit the temps and times exactly, you'll be very busy and have a hard time hitting them exactly, and some of the steps will go a little long.

I usually use the Boulevard mash schedule, just because it's a little easier to handle:
104* for 6.5min
122* for 25min
145* for 12min
163* for 15min
169* knockout
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on May 02, 2011, 07:13:33 PM
Enough flavor to convince everyone it is worth the work - no.

Worth the WORK? Making beer isn't work. It's fun.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 02, 2011, 07:31:42 PM
From Brewing With Wheat (Awesome book, btw, you should pick up a copy if you haven't already):

That's actually what inspired me to try decoction mashing.  8)

Because I mash in a cooler, step/decoction mashing is a little limited. I'm most inclined to do the enhanced and hochkurz double decoction programs due to these limitations.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 02, 2011, 08:33:46 PM
Enough flavor to convince everyone it is worth the work - no.

Worth the WORK? Making beer isn't work. It's fun.

Sometimes I get worn out from all of the fun. 
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 02, 2011, 08:40:42 PM
I'll admit that it was a long brew day (compared to what I'm used to) and it wore me out. But I was also operating on about 4 hours sleep due to going out the night before to see my brothers' band (I'm getting too old for club shows!).

Next time I do a decoction program, I'm going to get enough sleep the night before and start a little earlier.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on May 03, 2011, 03:03:15 AM
...

I usually use the Boulevard mash schedule, just because it's a little easier to handle:
104* for 6.5min
122* for 25min
145* for 12min
163* for 15min
169* knockout

This is really close to the schedule I was suggesting earlier.. if you pull out the protein rest and the mash out, the overall time it adds to your brew day really isn't too bad.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on May 03, 2011, 04:56:40 PM
I thought the ferulic acid rest was pretty important, but then I came across this:

http://braukaiser.com/lifetype2/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=130&blogId=1
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 03, 2011, 05:10:20 PM
I thought the ferulic acid rest was pretty important, but then I came across this:

http://braukaiser.com/lifetype2/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=130&blogId=1

I know. I've read that too. But I want to give it a shot to see if I think it makes a difference. I kind of hope it doesn't, to be honest! ;D

Edit: on second thought, I may hold off on incorporating the 4VG rest until after tasting the hefe I just brewed (which did not include the rest).  If I have a satisfactory amout of clovey phenols, I'll probably skip it next time too.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: jeffy on May 03, 2011, 05:31:33 PM
I was pleasantly surprised at the pH drop after doing my first rest at about 103F in my decocted O'Fest last weekend.  It really does make a difference.  I didn't have to add any acid to the mash.  It was 100% Vienna Malt.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 03, 2011, 06:04:11 PM
I was pleasantly surprised at the pH drop after doing my first rest at about 103F in my decocted O'Fest last weekend.  It really does make a difference.  I didn't have to add any acid to the mash.  It was 100% Vienna Malt.

A ferulic acid rest is different than a traditional acid rest though. The former is used to help develop 4 vinyl guaiacol, a precursor to the phenolic clove flavors found in weissbier.  The latter is used to drop the pH.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: jeffy on May 03, 2011, 06:16:40 PM
I was pleasantly surprised at the pH drop after doing my first rest at about 103F in my decocted O'Fest last weekend.  It really does make a difference.  I didn't have to add any acid to the mash.  It was 100% Vienna Malt.

A ferulic acid rest is different than a traditional acid rest though. The former is used to help develop 4 vinyl guaiacol, a precursor to the phenolic clove flavors found in weissbier.  The latter is used to drop the pH.

I know.  I just thought it was relevant to the topic.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on May 03, 2011, 08:01:48 PM
Geez, all these acid rests getting thrown around is becoming confusing... just to be clear, I am an advocate of almost always skipping both the phytase and the 4VG rests... I only suggest the phytase rest as a place to start a decoction mash since it is a convenient temperature to get everything wet, mixed together, and there are no serious side effects from sitting at that temperature (or below it as the mash slowly coasts downward) versus sitting at a proteinase rest for longer than intended.

For the 4VG rest, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference, but I always just choose one yeast or another (or a blend of both) depending on the profile I am looking for versus trying to make one yeast do one ester/phenol.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 05, 2011, 12:26:25 PM
I was pleasantly surprised at the pH drop after doing my first rest at about 103F in my decocted O'Fest last weekend.  It really does make a difference.  I didn't have to add any acid to the mash.  It was 100% Vienna Malt.

A ferulic acid rest is different than a traditional acid rest though. The former is used to help develop 4 vinyl guaiacol, a precursor to the phenolic clove flavors found in weissbier.  The latter is used to drop the pH.

I know.  I just thought it was relevant to the topic.

Ah, gotcha.  You're right, it is relevant.  Is there a reason you don't just use an acid or acid malt to lower pH?  Seems easier than doing a separate step.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: jeffy on May 05, 2011, 02:22:17 PM
I was pleasantly surprised at the pH drop after doing my first rest at about 103F in my decocted O'Fest last weekend.  It really does make a difference.  I didn't have to add any acid to the mash.  It was 100% Vienna Malt.

A ferulic acid rest is different than a traditional acid rest though. The former is used to help develop 4 vinyl guaiacol, a precursor to the phenolic clove flavors found in weissbier.  The latter is used to drop the pH.

I know.  I just thought it was relevant to the topic.

Ah, gotcha.  You're right, it is relevant.  Is there a reason you don't just use an acid or acid malt to lower pH?  Seems easier than doing a separate step.
Well, I had the day to myself and wanted to make the brewing session as complicated as possible so I did a triple decoction, starting with an acid rest.  Usually I do single infusion mashes and add lactic acid to correct for pH.  This time just the acid rest and a bit of CaCl and the pH fell right in line.
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on May 05, 2011, 03:20:43 PM
One thing I've done to speed up the process a tiny bit is; after pulling the first thick (really thick) decoction using a kitchen/hand strainer (a la Kaiser's video) I then infuse the decoction to get it up to 160* F asap.  IME, you only need to rest here for ~5 minutes, it doesn't need to be completely converted anyway (you'll get it all later).  Just monitor your pH when infusing the decoction, high pH here would be bad.

Nateo,
that pH of 3 sounds really low; would any breweries attempt to make a Berliner Weisse like that?  Could that explain it?
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on May 05, 2011, 06:08:30 PM
I think we need to change the name of this thread to "I did a decoction, damm!t"
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 05, 2011, 07:05:52 PM
I think we need to change the name of this thread to "I did a decoction, damm!t"

Done!  ;D
Title: Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: nateo on May 05, 2011, 09:14:50 PM
One thing I've done to speed up the process a tiny bit is; after pulling the first thick (really thick) decoction using a kitchen/hand strainer (a la Kaiser's video) I then infuse the decoction to get it up to 160* F asap.  IME, you only need to rest here for ~5 minutes, it doesn't need to be completely converted anyway (you'll get it all later).  Just monitor your pH when infusing the decoction, high pH here would be bad.

Nateo,
that pH of 3 sounds really low; would any breweries attempt to make a Berliner Weisse like that?  Could that explain it?

3 does sound really low. I think they must sour some wort separately, then add that to the rest of the batch to lower the overall pH. The book isn't specific on that.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on May 10, 2011, 06:13:03 PM
I tried a simplified decoction today.  Did not go well. 
I mashed in 8 lbs of pale malt and 1 lb of crystal at 146 and left it for 30 minutes.  Removed about 6 quarts of thick mash and brought it to 158 and left it for 15 mins.  Brought it to a boil and boiled for 20 minutes.  I would have gone for 30 but it was getting pretty dry.

I added this back to the mash but I only got the water back up to about 148.  I added 5 quarts of boiling water and still only got it up to about 150.  Obviously I need to work on my calculations.  I guess this one will be a bit thinner than intended.  I'm glad I used a whole pound of crystal so it might have a bit of body. 
Still doing the second rest so I have no idea what the OG is but I'll let you know.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on May 10, 2011, 06:55:08 PM
Sounds very similar to my first try at a decoction!  I can give ya a couple tips...when I do decoctions, I keep a pot of boiling (or near boiling) water at hand in case the decoction gets too dry.  I can just add some water.  The other thing is that I have yet to find a decoction amount calculator that's accurate when you mash in a cooler.  I usually pull at least 50% more than a calculator recommends to make sure I have enough.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on May 10, 2011, 07:45:03 PM
Sounds very similar to my first try at a decoction!  I can give ya a couple tips...

I think the best tip you gave me so far was "why bother"...

I only have one pot so I won't try another one without a second pot of boiling water handy. 

Also only ended up with 29L of 1.036 wort.  Going to boil that down a lot to try to get to 5.5 US gal of 1.051
Efficiency seems to be off about 5% from what I've been getting. 
Well, I tried it and I'll do it again but next brew will likely be a straight up infusion.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 12, 2011, 12:39:11 PM
Getting ready for decoction #2 this weekend.  I'll be brewing a helles lager with another hockhurz double decoction program.

About the only thing I'm going to do differently is pull the thick decoction with a large kitchen strainer and then top off with wort to hit my decoction volume.  Last time, I used a 1 qt glass measuring cup and may have pulled to thin a decoction (I got a lot of grain, but it was pretty diluted with wort).  Otherwise, I think I had a pretty sound process last time.  I hit my numbers pretty well; and when I didn't, I had a pot of boiling water at the ready.

Munich Helles
1-D Munich Helles
Author: Matt Schwandt

Size: 5.33 gal
Efficiency: 87.5%
Attenuation: 77.0%
Calories: 160.36 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.048 (1.045 - 1.051)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.008 - 1.012)
Color: 3.89 (3.0 - 5.0)
Alcohol: 4.88% (4.7% - 5.4%)
Bitterness: 18.8 (16.0 - 22.0)

Ingredients:
7.25 lb Pilsner Malt
.85 lb Light Munich
.15 lb Acidulated Malt
.30 oz Magnum (12.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
.50 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 5 min
2 L White Labs WLP833 German Bock Lager

Notes
Hockhurz double decoction mash:
- 16.5 qts @ 152 (65 degree grain) ==> Beta @ 144 [30 min]
- Pull thick 8-qt decoction ==> 155 [15 min] ==> 212 [15 min]
- Remix decoction ==> Alpha @ 160 [40 min]
- Pull thin 6-qt decoction ==> 212 [10 min]
- Remix decoction with 4.5 qts H2O @ 212 ==> Mashout @ 168 [10 min]
- Collect 3.75 gal first runnings
- 15 qts @ 185 ==> Sparge @ 170 [10 min]
- Collect 3.75 qts second runnings
- 1g CaSO4, 2g CaCl added to kettle

- 90-minute boil

- Target water profile: 55 Ca, 6 Mg, 15 Na, 67 Cl, 47 SO4
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 12:53:54 PM
I always pull the thickest mash I can to hit my volume. I never add wort to top it off. It's supposed to be thick, but, as you know, it will thin with heat.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 01:36:25 PM
Mat, why not use water instead of wort to thin your decoction?  That way you won't denature the enzymes in the wort.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 01:42:59 PM
Mat, why not use water instead of wort to thin your decoction?  That way you won't denature the enzymes in the wort.

I don't see where that would help anything? Why does it need to be thinned anyway?
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 12, 2011, 01:50:20 PM
Mat, why not use water instead of wort to thin your decoction?  That way you won't denature the enzymes in the wort.

Wow, you're up early this morning!  I guess I figure there will be plenty of enzymes left in the main mash to achieve full conversion.

I'm not talking about thinning the decoction significantly. I'm just trying to decrease the risk of scorching.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on May 12, 2011, 02:06:08 PM
I'm not sure I'd use a kitchen strainer.  That's what I did and I had a very dry decoction.  Yes, it did thin as it was heated but then I essentially boiled off almost all of the liquid that was in the mash.  I stopped short so that I didn't burn.  Maybe use a combination of measuring cup and strainer to make sure that you get most of the grain but that there is sufficient moisture left to carry you over the decoction time. 
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 02:16:03 PM
If you thin it too much, you won't get any carmelization.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 03:09:42 PM
Mat, why not use water instead of wort to thin your decoction?  That way you won't denature the enzymes in the wort.

I don't see where that would help anything? Why does it need to be thinned anyway?

It needs to be thinned a bit so you can stir it.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 03:45:07 PM
Mat, why not use water instead of wort to thin your decoction?  That way you won't denature the enzymes in the wort.

I don't see where that would help anything? Why does it need to be thinned anyway?

It needs to be thinned a bit so you can stir it.

Maybe it's they way I do it, but I never have a problem. I remove the mash with a slotted spoon, let it stand enough so I don't make a too much of a mess on the way to the stove and then dump it. Then go back for more.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on May 12, 2011, 04:24:23 PM
I am sure you're getting enough liquid and since you're having good results you must be doing it right.
All I know is that if I'd have boiled 10 minutes more, I'd be stirring sawdust. 
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: anthony on May 13, 2011, 06:16:37 AM
If you thin it too much, you won't get any carmelization.

Caramelization is subtly different than a maillard reaction. Maillard reactions work on amino acids, caramelization works on sugars. When I do a decoction, for the most part, I am attempting to concentrate sugars and coax the various malt compounds into a maillard reaction.

If you are truly caramelizing during your decoctions, it is probably too thick.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 13, 2011, 11:33:00 AM
If you thin it too much, you won't get any carmelization.

Caramelization is subtly different than a maillard reaction. Maillard reactions work on amino acids, caramelization works on sugars. When I do a decoction, for the most part, I am attempting to concentrate sugars and coax the various malt compounds into a maillard reaction.

If you are truly caramelizing during your decoctions, it is probably too thick.

Agreed, but I want both and I feel that I get that by not thinning. If you thin too much, you'll mainly get Maillard properties. The trick is to never stop stirring and watching that heat.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 16, 2011, 12:56:55 PM
Brewed the helles yesterday and hit all my temps/targets.  Pretty successful brewday!  This stuff was clear as a bell going into the fermenter.  I can't wait to taste it on its way out.

I used a kitchen strainer to pull the decoction this time and I feel like I got a much better grain to water ratio (thicker this time).

I also kegged the decocted hefeweizen yesterday, which tastes fantastic.  It went from 1.055 to 1.013 (~5.5% alc).  I obviously can't determine at this point whether the decoction played a role in the flavor profile, but it's one of the best (if not the best) hefeweizens I've brewed.  Will post a pic when it's fully carbed.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 21, 2011, 08:47:18 PM
Double decocted hefe...tasting fantastic!  It's actually just a little lighter in color than the photo suggests.  There's a really nice balance between clove/banana with a subtle lemon note too.  It's got a little sweetness/body and the malt flavor is superb.

(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/DSCN0365.jpg)
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: narcout on May 21, 2011, 09:31:32 PM
Damn, that looks really nice.

You're inspiring me to get a weizen of my own going.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: tschmidlin on May 21, 2011, 09:58:36 PM
Beautiful.  I hope the weizen I made yesterday looks that nice.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 22, 2011, 01:34:11 AM
narcout, you should!  Is there a better spring beer??

Tom, what was your recipe/mash schedule?  I kept this one pretty simple, which was a good decision.  I used to use cara malts in my weissbier -- no more.  Next time I brew a hefe (which is likely to be in a few weeks), I'm going to only use German wheat and pils.  I'll probably do the same mash schedule, since it turned out so well.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: bluesman on May 22, 2011, 02:29:12 AM
Double decocted hefe...tasting fantastic!  It's actually just a little lighter in color than the photo suggests.  There's a really nice balance between clove/banana with a subtle lemon note too.  It's got a little sweetness/body and the malt flavor is superb.

(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/DSCN0365.jpg)

Fabulous looking beer Matt. I judged hefe's at a local comp today and your's has them all beat colorwise.  8)
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 22, 2011, 12:10:11 PM
Don't make me start entering comps, Ron! 

I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.  I've done a lot of research on the subject and here's my hangup: I don't want to mess with slightly overcarbonating a keg just to ensure that it has the proper carbonation level in the bottle.  I've got four kegs hooked up to the same CO2 tank via a 4-way manifold, so what I do to one keg affects them all.  If there's a better way to bottle from a keg, I'm all ears.  Honestly, I'd like the competition feedback.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: jeffy on May 22, 2011, 12:59:49 PM
Don't make me start entering comps, Ron! 

I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.  I've done a lot of research on the subject and here's my hangup: I don't want to mess with slightly overcarbonating a keg just to ensure that it has the proper carbonation level in the bottle.  I've got four kegs hooked up to the same CO2 tank via a 4-way manifold, so what I do to one keg affects them all.  If there's a better way to bottle from a keg, I'm all ears.  Honestly, I'd like the competition feedback.
If done properly you won't lose much CO2 filling bottles.  I use a beer gun and bottle right from kegs without changing the carb levels and generally don't have negative comments on the score sheets regarding that aspect.  Make sure you have the bottles cold and cap of foam.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 22, 2011, 02:51:35 PM
Don't make me start entering comps, Ron! 

I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.  I've done a lot of research on the subject and here's my hangup: I don't want to mess with slightly overcarbonating a keg just to ensure that it has the proper carbonation level in the bottle.  I've got four kegs hooked up to the same CO2 tank via a 4-way manifold, so what I do to one keg affects them all.  If there's a better way to bottle from a keg, I'm all ears.  Honestly, I'd like the competition feedback.
If done properly you won't lose much CO2 filling bottles.  I use a beer gun and bottle right from kegs without changing the carb levels and generally don't have negative comments on the score sheets regarding that aspect.  Make sure you have the bottles cold and cap of foam.

In my opinion, a CPBF (albeit a pain the a_s) is the best way to fill bottles without losing much carbonation. Just don't take a bath before you fill bottle, because you'll likely get a beer shampoo in the process. :)
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: tschmidlin on May 22, 2011, 07:23:37 PM
Tom, what was your recipe/mash schedule?
61% wheat, 39% pils malt

Dough in at 112, hold for 15 minutes
Infuse to 131, hold for 10 minutes
Pull thick
Infuse main mash to 148, hold until decoction done
Heat decoction to 158, hold for 20 minutes, boil 10 minutes
Recombine to 158, hold for 10 minutes
Infuse to hit 170

90 minute boil
15 grams of Hallertauer Tradition at 60 minutes

Pitch 3068 at 62F
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: bluesman on May 23, 2011, 12:48:05 AM
Don't make me start entering comps, Ron! 

I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.  I've done a lot of research on the subject and here's my hangup: I don't want to mess with slightly overcarbonating a keg just to ensure that it has the proper carbonation level in the bottle.  I've got four kegs hooked up to the same CO2 tank via a 4-way manifold, so what I do to one keg affects them all.  If there's a better way to bottle from a keg, I'm all ears.  Honestly, I'd like the competition feedback.
If done properly you won't lose much CO2 filling bottles.  I use a beer gun and bottle right from kegs without changing the carb levels and generally don't have negative comments on the score sheets regarding that aspect.  Make sure you have the bottles cold and cap of foam.

+1

I also use the Beer Gun and fill at normal carb levels while capping on foam. I think the beer gun is one of the greatest brewing inventions. It's easy and fast. Never had a problem. The first time that I used it I was a little apprehesive but after using it a few times I became a pro.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 23, 2011, 01:44:07 AM
Tom, what was your recipe/mash schedule?
61% wheat, 39% pils malt

Dough in at 112, hold for 15 minutes
Infuse to 131, hold for 10 minutes
Pull thick
Infuse main mash to 148, hold until decoction done
Heat decoction to 158, hold for 20 minutes, boil 10 minutes
Recombine to 158, hold for 10 minutes
Infuse to hit 170

90 minute boil
15 grams of Hallertauer Tradition at 60 minutes

Pitch 3068 at 62F

How do you feel about the ferulic acid rest.  Do you consider it pretty important to the profile?  Or is it just something you do for the sake of it?  I know Kai has a blog entry comparing two hefe recipes -- one for which he did a ferulic acid step and one without it.  He concluded that there was very little, if any, difference between the beers.  I wanted to try one last time, since it was my first decoction, I wanted to keep things relatively simple.  Maybe I'll give it a shot next time to compare.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 23, 2011, 01:45:56 AM
Don't make me start entering comps, Ron! 

I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.  I've done a lot of research on the subject and here's my hangup: I don't want to mess with slightly overcarbonating a keg just to ensure that it has the proper carbonation level in the bottle.  I've got four kegs hooked up to the same CO2 tank via a 4-way manifold, so what I do to one keg affects them all.  If there's a better way to bottle from a keg, I'm all ears.  Honestly, I'd like the competition feedback.
If done properly you won't lose much CO2 filling bottles.  I use a beer gun and bottle right from kegs without changing the carb levels and generally don't have negative comments on the score sheets regarding that aspect.  Make sure you have the bottles cold and cap of foam.

+1

I also use the Beer Gun and fill at normal carb levels while capping on foam. I think the beer gun is one of the greatest brewing inventions. It's easy and fast. Never had a problem. The first time that I used it I was a little apprehesive but after using it a few times I became a pro.

Beer gun, eh?  And you don't have to dial the pressure down to like 2-3 psi for filling?  I really don't like messing with carb levels, if you can't tell.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: bluesman on May 23, 2011, 01:48:41 AM
Actually Matt...I force carb the beer to the desired level and then dial it down to about 5psi for operation of the Beer Gun.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 23, 2011, 03:19:37 AM
People swear by the beer gun, but I personally think it's a rip off. The cobra tap and short tube will do as well, but the CPBF will perform even better.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: narcout on May 23, 2011, 03:29:09 AM
I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.

It's pretty fun, you should give it a shot.

I just turn the gas off to the keg, bleed most of the pressure out via the release valve, and fill the bottles straight off of the tap (after purging the bottle with CO2 from the extra port on the manifold).  Then turn the gas back on to the keg - no long term messing around with the carb levels, no overcarbing kegs.  I often get positive comments on score sheets regarding carb levels, and have won several ribbons with bottles filled in this manner. 
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: tschmidlin on May 23, 2011, 04:40:30 AM
How do you feel about the ferulic acid rest.  Do you consider it pretty important to the profile?  Or is it just something you do for the sake of it?  I know Kai has a blog entry comparing two hefe recipes -- one for which he did a ferulic acid step and one without it.  He concluded that there was very little, if any, difference between the beers.  I wanted to try one last time, since it was my first decoction, I wanted to keep things relatively simple.  Maybe I'll give it a shot next time to compare.
I've never done that test, so I don't know for sure.  Sometime I'll have to experiment and see if my experience matches Kai's.  I'd love to be able to simplify the mash schedule.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on May 23, 2011, 12:28:52 PM
Did a quickie version of a Hochkurz decoction this weekend for a Bohemian Pils.

Doughed-in to hit 143* F and mixed well.
Immediately pulled a 6 qt thick decoction using a kitchen/hand strainer and started heating.
Infused decoction with 1.5 qt simmering water and added heat to hit 161* F for 5 minutes.
Boiled decoction for 12 minutes.
Added decoction back to mash to hit 161* F for 30 minutes.
Infused to mash-out at 167* F.

The mash rested at 142*-143* F for a total of 25 minutes.  I chose the lowish temp to try and keep the beta conversion slow, I'm going for a low fermentability wort.

This didn't really take much more time than a Hochkurz infusion mash.  The FFT will be done tonight and hopefully I didn't make it too fermentable.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on May 23, 2011, 12:43:53 PM
I've been thinking about getting into competition brewing for awhile now, but I just haven't been able to find a good way to bottle from the keg.

It's pretty fun, you should give it a shot.

I just turn the gas off to the keg, bleed most of the pressure out via the release valve, and fill the bottles straight off of the tap (after purging the bottle with CO2 from the extra port on the manifold).  Then turn the gas back on to the keg - no long term messing around with the carb levels, no overcarbing kegs.  I often get positive comments on score sheets regarding carb levels, and have won several ribbons with bottles filled in this manner. 

That sounds like a good process. There's got to be at least enough residual keg pressure to fill a few 12 oz bottles, right? What sort of fitting/device do you have on the end of the gas line you use to purge bottles?  I've got an extra gas line in my kegerator too, so this could work out well.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: bluesman on May 23, 2011, 01:39:14 PM
People swear by the beer gun, but I personally think it's a rip off. The cobra tap and short tube will do as well, but the CPBF will perform even better.

Do you own the Blichmann Beer Gun or have you used it?
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: ccarlson on May 23, 2011, 01:52:33 PM
People swear by the beer gun, but I personally think it's a rip off. The cobra tap and short tube will do as well, but the CPBF will perform even better.

Do you own the Blichmann Beer Gun or have you used it?

No, but I can look at the design and tell that it's not worth the money and I've had several people that do own one tell me the same thing. The only feature it has going for it is the bottom valve that reduces splashing. If you turn down the CO2 very low and tilt a "cold" bottle, you can do the same thing with a cobra tap. Some people also put a tube in that and get very close to the beer gun.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on May 23, 2011, 02:38:27 PM
I bottle from a keg using a picnic tap and a short piece of racking cane cut at a 45* angle at the end.  The racking cane is a perfect press fit into the end of a picnic tap.  I still have a stopper on the racking cane but I don't use it anymore (the stopper is to let the bottle pressurize, flow stops, then you release some pressure by tilting the stopper, flow continues; and repeat until full...but all that is not necessary ime).  Just run it at low pressure, use well chilled bottles, cap on foam, and very slightly over carb the beer (just a tiny bit) before bottling.

Another benefit is that you can drink the bottom quarter/third of the keg (which is the cloudiest/haziest) from the tap and then bottle the remaining crystal clear beer with no sediment whatsoever.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: narcout on May 23, 2011, 08:41:29 PM
That sounds like a good process. There's got to be at least enough residual keg pressure to fill a few 12 oz bottles, right? What sort of fitting/device do you have on the end of the gas line you use to purge bottles?

It works well; I learned it from Mullerbrau.

Yes, I bleed most but not quite all of the pressure so that there's enough residual to fill a few bottles. 

None - I literally just hold the bottle underneath the open valve and purge it.  A short length of gas tubing would be a good addition though, then you could fill the bottle up from the bottom with gas.  I cut a piece of tubing and outfitted it with a swivel nut for just this purpose, but I've never actually used it.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 04, 2011, 03:03:00 AM
Just a quick update to show a few examples of my recent double decocted brews.  The Helles was unreal.  Possibly the best beer I've ever brewed.  But to be clear, I'm not crediting decoction for the greatness of that beer.  I haven't been entirely scientific about my decoction mash programs.  I've been tweaking other aspects of the recipes for which I've employed decoction mashes (I have a very hard time sticking to the scientific method!).  As for the Hefe (pictured below), I think I may have fermented it a bit too cool.  It's got a rather clean ester profile.  I started it around 58-60 and ramped it up over the course of a few days to around 62-64.  I think I'll try to start it at 64-66 next time and hold it there until the last few days of fermentation.

In any case, I think I've pretty much honed in on a decoction process.  I'll be brewing a double decocted dampfbier tomorrow.

Here is the Helles:
(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/DSCN0430.jpg)

And here is the second hefeweizen:
(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j137/mattschwandt/DSCN0432.jpg)
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: gmac on July 04, 2011, 03:09:34 AM
How come I'm only in Minnesota when it's snowing?  The weather looks great out there. 
Congrats on the good brews.  I tapped my decocted amber lager the other day.  Tastes pretty good but I can't say it's the best I've ever had until I get through the bottom part of the keg where all the hops etc have settled.  I find that most of my beer is pretty bitter until I get past the hop floaties.  Just glad to hear it's working for you.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 04, 2011, 03:18:33 AM
How come I'm only in Minnesota when it's snowing?  The weather looks great out there.  
Congrats on the good brews.  I tapped my decocted amber lager the other day.  Tastes pretty good but I can't say it's the best I've ever had until I get through the bottom part of the keg where all the hops etc have settled.  I find that most of my beer is pretty bitter until I get past the hop floaties.  Just glad to hear it's working for you.

I have to say that for the past two days, the weather here in the Twin Cities has been exceptional!  Classic Minnesota summer.  But wow, we took it over a barrel this past winter.

Yeah, I'm not sure about how much flavor decoction is contributing to these beers.  I think what I'm most interested in concluding is whether it has a discernible effect on mouthfeel.  I've heard that it adds a more rounded (read: fuller) mouthfeel even when the beer is relatively dry (1.008-1.010).  So far, I'd have to agree.  But I've only done three decoction mashes and I tend to be less than scientific about it.  I tweak multiple things at once because I just don't have the time to carefully adjust one element of a particular brew over several iterations.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: brian-d on July 06, 2011, 02:20:10 AM
I recently purchased a 10 gallon cooler to be used as a mesh tun.  I like to brew some high gravity beers and need all of the mash tun capacity for my grain bill leaving no room for mash out.  It was suggested that I do a decoction to step up to mash out.  This seems like a reasonable solution to me. Is there anything I should consider regarding this procedure?  Thanks.

Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 06, 2011, 02:29:50 AM
I recently purchased a 10 gallon cooler to be used as a mesh tun.  I like to brew some high gravity beers and need all of the mash tun capacity for my grain bill leaving no room for mash out.  It was suggested that I do a decoction to step up to mash out.  This seems like a reasonable solution to me. Is there anything I should consider regarding this procedure?  Thanks.


A friend has a 10 gallon cooler.  He can do some of his steps with infusions of boiling water.  For big beers and multiple steps, he pulls decoctions to do step mashes.  You can do it.

He makes excellent beer and has multiple NHC medals and many best of shows in local competitions.  He has his procedures dialed in.
Title: Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
Post by: Hokerer on July 06, 2011, 02:33:27 AM
I recently purchased a 10 gallon cooler to be used as a mesh tun.  I like to brew some high gravity beers and need all of the mash tun capacity for my grain bill leaving no room for mash out.  It was suggested that I do a decoction to step up to mash out.  This seems like a reasonable solution to me. Is there anything I should consider regarding this procedure?  Thanks.

On the other hand, mash out isn't absolutely required so you could just skip it altogether.  I never do one.