Very interesting info on pitching rates. In actuality, this is likely more important than decoction versus step mashes versus single infusion. In your opinions then, how many healthy yeast cells do I want to pitch into a 5.5gal batch for optimum ester formation?
For kicks, I went to recipe Wiki and looked up the NHC hefe winners since 2004. Two used decoction; one, single infusion.
Regarding decoction now, I copied this from the 2009 winner:
"Dough-in at 111° F (44° C) and hold for 15 minutes. Ramp up to 131° F (55° C), and rest 10 minutes. Pull thick decoction and slowly heat to 158° F (70° C), and rest 20 minutes. Boil 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, ramp main mash up to 149° F (65° C) and hold. Recombine, and equalize at 158° F (70° C). Rest for 10 minutes. Mash out at 170° F (77° C). Sparge, collecting 7 gallons (26.5 L). Chill to 58° F (14° C) before oxygenation and pitching."
Since I mash in a 48qt cooler, would I want to dough in with a 1qt/lb water to grain ratio since I will be ramping up the temp to 131F...149F by direct infusion? How long would I hold the mash at 149F? Also, what portion of the mash would I pull to decoct? Thanks in advance. I can see I'm going to have to do some research before I decoct for the first time.