Author Topic: Decoction Boil Time  (Read 2746 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Decoction Boil Time
« on: January 02, 2012, 07:00:06 AM »
I'm brewing a BoPils today for which I'll do a Hochhurz decoction mash (Beta @ 145, Alpha @ 158).  I did a lot of searching on the web last night for thoughts on decoction and I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of variation between how long brewers recommend boiling the decoction.  I've seen a general range of 15 - 45 minutes.  And I've read that one should aim for the low end of the range for lighter beers (e.g., helles); the high end should be used for darker beers (e.g., dunkel).  But then I came across some posts on another homebrew forum where a brewer that I know to be fairly well-versed in decoction indicated that you basically won't get any flavor benefit from doing a decoction unless you boil it for at least 45 minutes.

For all of you brewers out there who do decoction mashes, how long do you boil the decoctions.  Is it style/color dependent?  Do you do a one-size-fits-all boil time?  Should I be boiling my thick decoctions longer/shorter than my thin decoctions?

Should I be doing decoctions as all??? ;) :D :P
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 08:21:33 AM »
I've always done the 15-minute boil.  But, then again, I do the decoctions in the pressure cooker so that probably changes things significantly.

Oh, and yes, while I've never done a rigorous side by side test, I like what decoctions give me.
Joe

Offline majorvices

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 08:34:05 AM »
My feeling is you want to go at least 20-30 minutes on a  decoction or you are not really picking anything significant up.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 08:37:57 AM »
Are you trying to start trouble? ;)

It takes me about 8-10 minutes to get a decoction up to a boil.  That's all I do, then I add it back.  But then I'm only expecting a decoction to raise the temperature of the mash.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 09:23:46 AM »
I just mashed in at my beta rest temp.  I think I'm going to do a 15 minute boil for the first decoction and a 30 minute boil for the second one.  For something like a dunkel, I might do 30 minutes for the first boil and 45 for the second.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 09:29:59 AM »
I don't have the patience for more than a 15 minute boil.  I'm primarily doing it with my BoPils to raise the temp from step to step anyway.
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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 11:31:59 AM »
I do 30 minutes. But I'm not doing it to raise the temp. Just for decoction's sake.
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Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 12:23:52 PM »
In the experiment I did, a single decoction with a 30 min. boil was found to make no significant difference in beer flavor.  Given that, I'd recommend a longer boil and/or multiple decoctions.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 01:31:18 PM »
I get better efficiency with decoction, plus it seems to result in more body.  After bringing the first decoction through an alpha rest and then to boil, I don't think you need to cook it that long to get your results.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 02:40:05 PM »
I ended up boiling the first decoction for 20 minutes and the second for 30 minutes.  Hit all my numbers so far (knock on wood).  I'm currently about halfway through a 90 minute boil.

I'll be brewing a dunkel in a few weeks.  Thinking I'll boil the first decoction for 20 minutes again, but I'll boil the second one for 40 minutes.  I just brewed this dunkel a few weeks ago with a single infusion mash.  I'll be doing some side by side tastings when the double decocted one is ready.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 07:20:11 AM »
I made a very nice Vienna lager with a triple decoction where the boils were only 10 minutes each.  It scored upper 30s and a 2nd place ribbon in a BJCP competition.  10 minutes was plenty to get the job done, and it only added like 30-45 minutes to the brew day (this was a 3-gallon batch, mind you), which was totally doable.  I'm not the type who enjoys brewing for 6+ hours -- no thanks.  Git 'er done.
Dave

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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 07:36:49 AM »
I ended up boiling the first decoction for 20 minutes and the second for 30 minutes.  Hit all my numbers so far (knock on wood).  I'm currently about halfway through a 90 minute boil.

I'll be brewing a dunkel in a few weeks.  Thinking I'll boil the first decoction for 20 minutes again, but I'll boil the second one for 40 minutes.  I just brewed this dunkel a few weeks ago with a single infusion mash.  I'll be doing some side by side tastings when the double decocted one is ready.

I did a triple decoction Oktoberfest this year and boiled all for 30 minutes.  It came out great.
Dave Zach

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 12:37:32 AM »
I think that this question, this discussion, presupposes that decoctions deliver a flavor impact. I think that while there is a large impact as a result of decoction mashing the portion of that impact that relates directly to flavor is small.
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 07:12:50 AM »
I think that this question, this discussion, presupposes that decoctions deliver a flavor impact. I think that while there is a large impact as a result of decoction mashing the portion of that impact that relates directly to flavor is small.

I think you get some carmelization and fuller flavor.  Not a huge amount of flavor per se, but definitely noticeable.
Dave Zach

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2012, 07:58:01 AM »
I think that this question, this discussion, presupposes that decoctions deliver a flavor impact. I think that while there is a large impact as a result of decoction mashing the portion of that impact that relates directly to flavor is small.

I think you get some carmelization and fuller flavor.  Not a huge amount of flavor per se, but definitely noticeable.

When I do decoction mashes the beers they produce, to me, taste the same as stepped mash beers where I hit the same steps. I do think there is an impact of decoction. I like Eric Warner's reasoning in German Wheat Beer:
Quote
A single or double decoction mash is used when brewing a Weissbier wort for three main reasons. First, it supplies the yeast with an adequate amount of amino acids. Second, it breaks down the higher-molecular-weight proteins [...] Third, [...] it reduces chill haze in the final product.

That's it, those are the only reasons mentioned. I would add two reasons - 1. Further breakdown of starches than with a traditional mash, ensuring full and complete conversion and, potentially, a higher extract yield and 2. The residual body benefits of a stepped mash procedure (really dry and yet really malty).

I actually heard Charlie Bamforth of the brewing with beersmith podcast say (paraphrasing) that the only reasons large breweries step-mash is to improve runoff and on a homebrew scale it makes no difference. Of course, he then went on to say that he has never homebrewed and tries to avoid drinking homebrew, so what does he know about it?
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO