Author Topic: Decocting a Pils  (Read 3496 times)

Offline roguejim

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Decocting a Pils
« on: July 21, 2012, 01:53:50 AM »
I copied and saved Gordon's instructions for decocting a hefe in another thread, so I'm hoping he might help me out here, or anyone else for that matter.  I'd just like to know what the standard decoction temps/rests are for a German pils.  A Google search for "decocting a pils" resulted in mainly Bohemian pils.  Maybe decocting a German pils is not that common?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 01:59:06 AM by roguejim »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 04:39:37 AM »
You will get many opinions on this, so here is mine.

The Hochkurz profile is what I use. Do I need it? Don't know but we like the beers we make doing this, and are hesitant to change the procedure.

Kai has an excellent write up that I learned the steps from.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing#Hochkurz_Double_Decoction
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 05:27:50 AM »
I also use the Hockhurz rest temps when decocting my pils.  I do a 40 min rest at 148.  I pull a thick decoction, bring it to a boil, and add it back to the main mash to hit an alpha temp of 158.  I hold the alpha rest for 30 min.  Then, I pull a thin decoction, bring it to a boil, and add it back to hit a mashout temp of 170.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 06:51:16 AM »
I'm waiting on a couple responses, but I've got some beers out to judges/non-judges looking at this exact topic. If you're not a in a hurry to brew, the results might be interesting.
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Offline roguejim

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 11:29:36 AM »
Nateo, is there another thread on this you can provide a link to? 

I've always used a single infusion @ 148F for 90 minutes, but I'm considering anything that might improve my pilseners.

Offline nateo

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 11:37:49 AM »
Nateo, is there another thread on this you can provide a link to? 

I've always used a single infusion @ 148F for 90 minutes, but I'm considering anything that might improve my pilseners.

I'm planning on starting a new thread with results and discussion. I'll have some analysis and graphs and such. I'll release all the primary-source data so people can look at it and draw their own conclusions. It'll probably be two weeks out, maybe three, before all the data is received, compiled, analysed and released.   

One thing I've learned from this experience is that I can't reasonably evaluate small changes in my process. The bias and expectation effects are too great for me to draw anything close to an objective conclusion. 

As Jeff pointed out earlier in the thread, the feedback you'll get from most people is "I do it this way and I like it," or "I've tried it several ways and prefer this one," but from my own experience I don't believe that type of empirical data is ideal to determine a "best practice." The truth is there are a bunch of ways to make good beer, and there may or may not be a way to make that good beer better.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 11:43:37 AM by nateo »
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 12:18:40 PM »
I cover decoctions on pp. 37-43, including several popular mash schedules on pp. 41-42.  I normally do a hochkurz decoction for my pilsners.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 12:31:10 PM »
I cover decoctions on pp. 37-43, including several popular mash schedules on pp. 41-42.  I normally do a hochkurz decoction for my pilsners.
What book is he referring to?
How important is the sacc. rest in the decoction? I thought the grain bill of a pils had enough enzymes so why not go straight to boiling?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2012, 01:50:41 PM »
I cover decoctions on pp. 37-43, including several popular mash schedules on pp. 41-42.  I normally do a hochkurz decoction for my pilsners.
What book is he referring to?
How important is the sacc. rest in the decoction? I thought the grain bill of a pils had enough enzymes so why not go straight to boiling?

The one he wrote!
http://www.amazon.com/Brewing-Better-Beer-Advanced-Homebrewers/dp/0937381985
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Offline nateo

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 02:15:24 PM »
How important is the sacc. rest in the decoction? I thought the grain bill of a pils had enough enzymes so why not go straight to boiling?

Here's an extreme example: Kris England's Kesselmaisch. Basically, you boil all the grain in the mash, leaving only a thin portion of mash liquid behind. I've tried this, and it took for-freaking-ever to get decent conversion, which didn't happen even with a 2 hour mash.

Theoretically, enough enzymes should be left in the dunnmaisch portion to convert the liberated starches, but in my case it wasn't enough. I threw in another pound or two of base malt and it converted within a reasonable timeframe (30-45min, IIRC, it was a few years ago I did this). That was a long brew day, and a PITA, so now I always stop for sacc. rests on all my decoctions.

I think Kris England is a smart guy and great brewer, but also kind of crazy. His skill level is so far above the rest of us I think he needs a "Kids, don't try this at home" warning on a lot of his advice.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 02:17:00 PM by nateo »
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Offline tygo

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 07:45:32 PM »
How important is the sacc. rest in the decoction? I thought the grain bill of a pils had enough enzymes so why not go straight to boiling?

In my experience it's not necessary to do a sacc rest in the decoction.  I just take it straight up to boiling.

If you're boiling a very large portion of the mash, as in nateo's example, then yeah that could be an issue.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2012, 04:55:16 AM »
You will get many opinions on this, so here is mine.

The Hochkurz profile is what I use. Do I need it? Don't know but we like the beers we make doing this, and are hesitant to change the procedure.

Kai has an excellent write up that I learned the steps from.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing#Hochkurz_Double_Decoction
In this article Kai gives a simple formula for estimating decoction volume but does not give units.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 05:01:45 AM »
You will get many opinions on this, so here is mine.

The Hochkurz profile is what I use. Do I need it? Don't know but we like the beers we make doing this, and are hesitant to change the procedure.

Kai has an excellent write up that I learned the steps from.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing#Hochkurz_Double_Decoction
In this article Kai gives a simple formula for estimating decoction volume but does not give units.

I simply pull a third of the mash, decoct, and pretty much hit the temps. If a little low, I direct fire the mash tun to get to the target temp. Never spent too much time on the calculation.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2012, 05:14:01 AM »
Whatever calculator or formula you use, pull 25% extra just to be sure. You should also keep some boiling water on hand too. I think the issue for my setup is that my mash is cooling while I'm bringing the decoction up to boiling, so by the time my decoction is done boiling my mash temp is too low to hit my new target. I use an Igloo cooler for my MLT.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Decocting a Pils
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2012, 03:29:47 AM »
Whatever calculator or formula you use, pull 25% extra just to be sure.
I find this helpful. 

I decoct more than I need, then add back whatever it takes to hit the temperature I'm shooting for.  Then I let whatever is left of the decoction cool down and add it, as well.