Author Topic: Decoction Boil Time  (Read 3160 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2012, 11:02:07 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.

You're right, I am assuming that.  And I admit that I haven't done enough comparisons between step-mashing w/decoction and straight step mashing to validate my assumption.

Going forward, I think I will try varying my thick decoction boil times (between 20-40 minutes, depending on the style), which, for me, is the decoction step between the beta and alpha rests.  My second decoction -- the thin one -- will only be heated to boiling and will then be added back to hit a mashout temp of 165-167.
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2012, 12:09:29 AM »
What I'd like to see (what everyone wants) is a definitive experiment. I'm talking controlled, double-blind, triangle-tested, standard-deviation-recorded, ACTUAL experiment. An experiment upon which one, at a homebrew level, could draw a definitive conclusion. My constant rant about homebrewing is that so called experiments don't stand up to scrutiny (i.e. I brewed two beers and one tasted better - really?). Let's go after this like we'd go after FDA approval -- where's Mashweasel? Who knows how to structure and experiment? Who knows statistics? I know that my data points are insufficient. I'll help in any way I can if someone can tell me how to factor out randomness and bias. Let's actually produce something.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2012, 06:36:03 AM »
thcip, it's already been done.  Denny will tell us where to find the results of his blind triangle test that proved no discernible benefit of decoction versus infusion.

That being said... I'm still not convinced any way or the other that there's not a taste difference, as my triple decocted beer was the finest lager I ever made compared to using regular infusions.  I've made some good lagers, but never THAT good as when it was decocted.  Was it a fluke?  I don't know.  I was actually running an experiment with two brews back to back with the one triple decocted and the other single infusion, but alas.... the single infusion beer got contaminated for whatever reason and had to be dumped.  So I'll need to run the experiment again one of these days.  So many experiments I need to run, so little time.......
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2012, 09:29:38 AM »
You can find a summary of the results of my experiment here http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/presentations/2008/DennyConn.pdf starting on pg. 25.  It's not as exhaustive as what Tyler outlines, but AFAIK it's the best one done to date. 
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2012, 09:52:00 AM »
If I accept that step mashing makes a difference for my German lagers, I'm not really concerned with whether infusion step mashing or hitting my steps with a decoction makes a difference.  On my system, I've found decoction mashing to be the most efficient way to hit my step temps.  If it adds a flavor component, that's great.  If not, no big deal.  So while an extensive and properly conducted experiment might yield an interesting data point, it probably wouldn't change  my current practices much, if at all.  If such an experiment conclusively determined that decoction does not contribute to a beer's flavor, the only thing I might do differently is to apply a standard, shorter decoction boil time across the board.  But I wouldn't likely stop doing decoctions altogether.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 10:19:34 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2012, 10:07:43 AM »
I have yet to be convinced that a step mash makes enough difference to be worth it.  I still do them from time to time to see if I've overlooked anything.  I just made back to back batches of German pils, one single infusion and the other step mashed (144/158) with infusions.  We'll see in a few months.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2012, 10:23:55 AM »
I have yet to be convinced that a step mash makes enough difference to be worth it.  I still do them from time to time to see if I've overlooked anything.  I just made back to back batches of German pils, one single infusion and the other step mashed (144/158) with infusions.  We'll see in a few months.

What sort of differences are you looking for?  I haven't done side-by-side comparisons, but I feel like my step-mashed lagers have a rounder, fuller mouthfeel.  Obviously, I can't draw any definitive conclusions based on this, but I do feel like it makes a difference.
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Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2012, 10:33:35 AM »
I have yet to be convinced that a step mash makes enough difference to be worth it.  I still do them from time to time to see if I've overlooked anything.  I just made back to back batches of German pils, one single infusion and the other step mashed (144/158) with infusions.  We'll see in a few months.

What sort of differences are you looking for?  I haven't done side-by-side comparisons, but I feel like my step-mashed lagers have a rounder, fuller mouthfeel.  Obviously, I can't draw any definitive conclusions based on this, but I do feel like it makes a difference.

Based on something I read recently, the step mash should have more mouthfeel and improved foam.  I have yet to notice that in beers I've step mashed, but I keep playing with it and adjusting the mash schedule to see if I can tell much difference.
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Offline willism98026

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2012, 07:02:50 PM »
It really depends on the quality of the malt. You'd have to check the lot analysis to be certain. It would be under the section labeled 'mealy'. If the percentage is down in the low 90s a longer boil time, up to 20 minutes, is appropriate. If you can't get a lot analysis I wouldn't be too concerned as in most cases you'll likely be working with a better quality malt so the 5 minute boil time will work just fine.

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 08:03:39 PM »
It really depends on the quality of the malt. You'd have to check the lot analysis to be certain. It would be under the section labeled 'mealy'. If the percentage is down in the low 90s a longer boil time, up to 20 minutes, is appropriate. If you can't get a lot analysis I wouldn't be too concerned as in most cases you'll likely be working with a better quality malt so the 5 minute boil time will work just fine.

Can you expand on this?  I'm not familiar with what "mealy" means in this context.  What exactly does the percentage represent?
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decoction Boil Time
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2012, 07:52:36 AM »
I just did a bit of Googling regarding mealiness/glassiness. I think what you're getting at -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- is that a malt for which the mealiness percentage is in the low 90s would need to be boiled longer in a decoction mash in order to access more of the available sugars. This would be the case because a greater percentage of the endosperm is glassy and would require additional boil time to break down. Am I on the right track?

If I'm getting the gist of what you're saying, then you're not necessarily advocating for particular boil times as a means of maximizing any potential flavor impact caused by decoction mashing, right?
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