Author Topic: That German lager flavor  (Read 63174 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #210 on: August 12, 2012, 08:14:26 AM »
One of the BJCP National level judges in our club pointed out that Bocks often have a grape taste from the Munich I malt. So it is not limited to just Pils malt.
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #211 on: August 12, 2012, 05:54:22 PM »
I have found it results in a dryer finish (due to the higher fermentability of the wort), maltier profile and more authentic taste.  I have been amazed at how much malt flavor and complexity I can get out of a Pils only recipe using a decoction mash.  However, I believe the effects of the decoction mash are minimized if you use kilned specialty malts. The melanoidins are already present in the higher kilned malts, so you don't notice the effect of the decoction like you do with Pils only beers. 

Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

If decoction makes a more fermentable beer, it doesn't do so consistently. I haven't found that to be the case. Decoction cuts down on the hot break in the kettle, which would otherwise bind with hop acids and decrease utilization. So less hot break = more bitter beer. I also suspect decoction mashing extracts more tannins which contribute to that perception of dryness. I haven't found decoction to make my beers tastes more "authentic," though I do have a slight preference for decoction over melanoidin malt, but I've made beers I enjoy without either, just using 100% base malt and single infusion.

I've noticed that grape-like pils sweetness on some beers too, but I wasn't sure what was causing that.

What is interesting about the decoction process is that it defies conventional logic and does not extract excessive tannins.  The pH equilibrium shifts towards more acidic as you get closer to boiling, so tannins really are not extracted.  The increase in fermentability comes from the step mash profile of a triple decoction.  More time spent at the protein, limit dextrinase, beta amylase and alpha amylase rests increase fermentability and reduce body and mouthfeel.  This is why decoctions are dryer than non-decoctions, not because of hopping rates and tannins.  This is also why mash efficiency is improved with decoctions.  Now if you single infuse at an alpha rest, then do a single decoction to raise to mash-out, then no, you would not get increased fermentability. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #212 on: August 12, 2012, 06:17:34 PM »
What is interesting about the decoction process is that it defies conventional logic and does not extract excessive tannins.  The pH equilibrium shifts towards more acidic as you get closer to boiling, so tannins really are not extracted.  The increase in fermentability comes from the step mash profile of a triple decoction.  More time spent at the protein, limit dextrinase, beta amylase and alpha amylase rests increase fermentability and reduce body and mouthfeel.  This is why decoctions are dryer than non-decoctions, not because of hopping rates and tannins.  This is also why mash efficiency is improved with decoctions.  Now if you single infuse at an alpha rest, then do a single decoction to raise to mash-out, then no, you would not get increased fermentability.

Well, I disagree. I recently did a back-to-back beer, one triple decocted, and one with 5% melanoidin malt, and their OG and FG were identical. I didn't claim decoction extracts "excessive" tannins, just more tannins than would otherwise be extracted during an infusion mash. "Excessive" is subjective, but in absolute terms, a decoction mash will extract a great amount of tannin for a given weight of grain.
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #213 on: August 12, 2012, 07:06:33 PM »
I disagree, more tannins are not extracted.  Monitor the pH during the decoction and you'll see for yourself.  A decrease in pH decreases tannin extraction.  Higher temps off-gas CO and thus bicarbonate.  Additionally, the precipitation of calcium phosphate at higher temps releases hydrogen ions.  The pH has no choice but to go down. 

You may have a crush or lautering system that gets you 80+% efficiency anyways, so you may not see a change in mash efficiency.  Most will see an increase though.  However, you will have no choice but to see a difference in fermentability.  You cannot perform a step mash profile without converting more sugars into maltose and less into dextrins. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #214 on: August 12, 2012, 07:19:07 PM »
However, you will have no choice but to see a difference in fermentability.  You cannot perform a step mash profile without converting more sugars into maltose and less into dextrins.

My hydrometer disagrees as well. But, I'll leave it at that.
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Online Kaiser

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #215 on: August 12, 2012, 09:35:43 PM »
musseldoc, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I have never tried anything else but German pils malt for my Pilsners. There are enough other variables that I want to look at first.

I think claims about more tannins being released or not are difficult to support given that we don't measure them and the amount we are talking about here is not showing up as a noticeable taste difference. During a decoction mash the pH does go down. Whether or not this ultimately results in less tannin extraction despite the temperature being higher is debatable.

Decoction's effect on fermentability can also go both ways given that you can't simply compare 2 mashed done with the same rest temps.

Kai

Offline nateo

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #216 on: August 13, 2012, 08:41:15 AM »
I think claims about more tannins being released or not are difficult to support given that we don't measure them and the amount we are talking about here is not showing up as a noticeable taste difference. During a decoction mash the pH does go down. Whether or not this ultimately results in less tannin extraction despite the temperature being higher is debatable.

Hmm, I'm surprised to hear you say that. I was basing my position on your interview on BBR. It is a couple years old, so I'm interested in what changed your mind.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr05-27-10kaidecoc.mp3

Starting around 27min: "Decoction mashing does extract more husk compounds, so the decocted beer tends to be slightly more robust tasting, and that works well for darker beers. There should not be excessive tannin extraction, but there is some tannin extraction. Decoction is not so much suited for a more delicate beer, like a German pilsner. German brewers may go out of their way to separate their husks from their grits and flour, just to minimize tannin extraction." He goes on to say that separating the husks is not really that common, though some German brewers do it, as well as Trumer, who calls it "endosperm mashing."
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Online Kaiser

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #217 on: August 13, 2012, 08:51:13 AM »
You got me there :)

What I said in that interview comes from fairly reputable literature sources. I'm just backing down from this being always true given that it is something we can't easily measure or taste. I still think its more likely that decoction mashing increased tanning extraction even if the pH drops a little.

Kai

Offline nateo

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #218 on: August 13, 2012, 09:33:03 AM »
You got me there :)

I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I've said a lot of things over the years I now think was completely wrong. I was just curious if your view had changed.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #219 on: August 13, 2012, 07:34:29 PM »
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.
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Online Kaiser

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #220 on: August 14, 2012, 03:47:31 AM »
Thirsty,

with what type of hops did you make this experience?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #221 on: August 14, 2012, 05:25:41 AM »
I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

Elevated pre-boil wort pH can help create that problem.  Hopefully the mashing and sparging water alkalinity are properly reduced.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #222 on: August 14, 2012, 05:57:00 AM »
I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Can you go into this a bit more? I mean, can you name some names? I'm interested to hear the results.
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #223 on: August 14, 2012, 06:08:54 PM »
I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Can you go into this a bit more? I mean, can you name some names? I'm interested to hear the results.

Sure.  I have tried with Briess, Munton Weyerman and one from my homebrew shop labeled Belgian Pils (don't know the brand).  Munton calls their pils lager malt, but it is the traditional luv range of pils malt.  The Weyerman had the richest malt character with some sweetness.  The Belgian was fairly clean with a distinctive pils sweetness.  The Muntons had the intense pils sweetness that was grape-like.  Briess was somewhat sweet, but almost just neutral malt in character. 
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: That German lager flavor
« Reply #224 on: August 14, 2012, 06:17:06 PM »
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.

In George Fix's book, principles of brewing science, he sites the blind taste tests where FWH was show to have a cleaner, less harsh bitter taste, despite having higher measured IBU's.  I think Gordon goes into this in his book too, and he is a big believer in FWH.  I only tried it once with an APA.  I took a medal at a fairly large competition (300+ entries), and my scoresheets described the beer as malty and dry with a bright hop flavor and no harsh bitterness.  I am fairly convinced that FWH does produce different flavors than 60 minute additions.  I know Jamil is not sold on it tho. 

I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh. 
This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption... Beer! - Friar Tuck