Author Topic: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again  (Read 4782 times)

Offline hokerer

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2010, 07:12:18 PM »
non-decoction mash vs. an infusion mash

???
Joe

Offline babalu87

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2010, 07:18:02 PM »
non-decoction mash vs. an infusion mash

???

Yeah thats a typo/brain fart
....................
Off to fix that mess

Bottom line
Decoction makes a better weiss beer than an infusion mash at least to me and some buddies
Jeff

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IIPA, Stout, Hefeweizen, Hallertau Pale Ale, Bitter

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Offline seajellie

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2010, 07:06:26 AM »
Great thread and info! Thanks.

When I started to homebrew, I was under the tutelage of two pros both of whom were Siebel Institute grads, one of which had been home brewing for 20 years before that. They told me double decoction was the way to go, and so I went, no questions asked, always on German lagers and wheat beers (rarely if ever on ales). My third brew day was a double decoction, which turned out fine.

Well, somewhere around brew day #75 I got tired of the work and time. Tried an infusion mash on a German lager. Dang it. At least as good, if not better, than all the decoctions!

Anytime I feel like an argument, I now know how to start one and with whom. Similar to the HSA stuff. Some pros may think some techniques make a difference, and my first guess this is due to transportation and equipment issues they have to deal with. On the home brew side, I gotta say that I just don't see it. I rarely do decoctions anymore except for wheat beers.

K.I.S.

Offline denny

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2010, 09:04:45 AM »
Whether or not it makes better beer depends on the style and the consumer. This is more debatable than the simple question of "Does it make a difference?" And if it doesn't make a difference is it because it cannot be tasted by everybody or because the worts produced between by the two mashing schemes were nearly identical to begin with.

The more I thought about this statement, the more interested I was in the concept that maybe some tasters aren't "sophisticated" enough to taste the difference.  I think Kris England made the same point years back in a discussion of the same topic.  To my way of thinking, if you have to be an experienced taster to notice the difference, is it really worth it?  But it also reminded me of some info I'd gotten from a well known beer writer when I asked him for comments about the difference between decocted and non decocted beers.  Here's an excerpt from an email he sent me....

"On that press trip to Bavaria I took in December, we got a lecture on the subject at Weihenstephan; he studied differences between decoction and infusion. My notes (I was really tired, and it was a dark, warm room): "Decoction breaks down more fatty acids. Decoction was done to cook 'cattle feed malt. It wasn't so good.' The taste panel said no noticeable difference. BUT. It depends on the brewery, the engineering. 'I say, without decoction, our beer does not taste the same.'" He essentially didn't think the tasting panel was sophisticated enough."

Again, did he notice a difference because he knew there were different brewing methods?  Is he just making an excuse for why the tasting panel didn't find a difference?  I don't know, but it says to me that it's possible decoction might not make enough difference to be worth the effort to the average homebrewer.
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Offline seajellie

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2010, 03:49:50 PM »
Absolutely Denny, education (or not) of the palate is one key to this, along with our inherent, natural, genetically-based taste sensitivities. I once read that women (in general) can detect a certain substance in beer at lower thresholds than men can (in general). Wish I could remember what it was -- anyone know?

Personally, though I sense little or no diff in a decoction vs. non-decoction brew (excluding wheat or a few other particular malts), I can tell FWH in all of my brews, even at low amounts, in one sip. I don't like it, and sit there wondering what that strange lingering bitterness is, until I go and look back at my recipe. And I bet people detect diacetyl at different levels, too.

Offline gail

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2010, 07:20:21 PM »
I once read that women (in general) can detect a certain substance in beer at lower thresholds than men can (in general). Wish I could remember what it was -- anyone know?
And I bet people detect diacetyl at different levels, too.

I have heard (so take it for what it's worth) that women are generally more sensitive to aromas in beer but I'll bet that varies by genetic ability to detect certain substances like diacetyl.  I've judged with a very well known male judge who is extremely sensitive to diacetyl.  I know I am very sensitive to phenols and have to temper my judging accordingly.  I have also heard that women are more likely to perceive acetaldehyde as tomato juice in darker beers than are men.  For me, what men perceive as vegetal = tomato juice to me in dark beers.
Wow, a long way off track from decoction mashing...but I've learned a lot in this thread.
Gail

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2010, 07:56:50 PM »
I read the chapter in Brewing with Wheat on the weiss beers of Southern Germany yesterday, and I was surprised to learn how many of the breweries use a decoction mash for their hefeweizens. I didn't realize that was traditional.

Along those lines, here is some data from 2004 which comes from a survey of Weissbier breweries in Bavaria.

wheat portion of grist : ranges from 50 to 100%
SNR of malt: 35 - 43%
dough-in temperature: 30-57 C
intensity of protein rest: 45-58 C, 10-26 min
intensity of maltose rest: 59-69 Cm 10-120 min
infusion/decoction: 60% of surveyed breweries used infusion, rest used decoction
mash acidification: 18% of surveyed breweries
turbid lauter: 23% of breweries didn't lauter clear wort
boil time: 50-210 min

The data comes from this dissertation.

The use if a 144 F single infusion mash for Franziskaner sounds interesting. But I wander what exactly is meant with that since I do assume that they at least do a mash-out. Just a 144 F rest may not be sufficient for good efficiency. I assume that this comes from Brewing With Wheat.

Admittedly, there is something about German beer and the way it tastes that is difficult to replicate for home brewers and micro brewers alike. I don't want to tie this flavor to decoction but it may well have something to do with the way beer is brewed in Germany. They certainly have some of the most technological advanced breweries in the wold yet the brewing procedures are different from what is commonly done here in the US. Or, one has to wonder if the ox drawn cart makes for a better ride than the Ferrari ;).

Kai

Offline hefevice

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2010, 09:49:35 PM »
Great thread!

My first all grain was a triple decocted Hefeweizen (but using non-traditional rest temperatures). The only reason for 3 decoctions was that I have no other means of increasing rest temperatures. While I would not recommend this for beginners, I learnt a hell of a lot from the process, and was able to gain a really good "feel" for the stages a mash goes through (look, texture, smell, taste) as temperature rises. I deliberately avoided resting too long and protein temps, as I was concerned about excessive protein degradation given the well modified malts of today.

As an experiment for my last batch, I decided to go with the traditional 50/60/70C (or thereabouts) schedule, but compensated by increasing the proportion of wheat malt from 50% to 60%. I managed to get the number of decoctions down to 2, using boiling water for the remaining temperature adjustments. Hydrometer samples from the fermenter are tasting pretty good so far; will be interesting to see whether head retention is affected.

I can't say whether decoction makes a big difference for lager styles as I've not yet brewed one, but I believe that Hefeweizen is a style that is profoundly affected by the process. My own opinion is that it is the boiling of the grains that has the biggest effect on flavour, for reasons already stated by others in the thread.

With respect to Kai's original point about no or very low boil; this is the approach I have always taken (mainly through ignorance). I typically only stir on high flame when getting the decoction up to rest temperature or boiling (with the lid on), then throttle right back for the boil (effectively simmering). Only need to stir during ramp up, and occasionally once it is boiling. Have not had any problems with scalding or sticking as yet.


Offline bluesman

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2010, 07:18:03 PM »
Does boiling the wort carmelize a portion of it, again enhancing the malty flavor of the beer?

The answer to that one, at least, should be no. If you meant Maillard browning, then yes, but caramelization requires both high temperature (at least 110°C) and low moisture.

I stand corrected on that one. It is indeed Maillard reactions not caramelization. Which leans toward decoction as a preferred method of mashing.
Ron Price

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2010, 07:55:51 PM »
Whether or not it makes better beer depends on the style and the consumer. This is more debatable than the simple question of "Does it make a difference?" And if it doesn't make a difference is it because it cannot be tasted by everybody or because the worts produced between by the two mashing schemes were nearly identical to begin with.

The more I thought about this statement, the more interested I was in the concept that maybe some tasters aren't "sophisticated" enough to taste the difference.  I think Kris England made the same point years back in a discussion of the same topic.  To my way of thinking, if you have to be an experienced taster to notice the difference, is it really worth it?  But it also reminded me of some info I'd gotten from a well known beer writer when I asked him for comments about the difference between decocted and non decocted beers.  Here's an excerpt from an email he sent me....

"On that press trip to Bavaria I took in December, we got a lecture on the subject at Weihenstephan; he studied differences between decoction and infusion. My notes (I was really tired, and it was a dark, warm room): "Decoction breaks down more fatty acids. Decoction was done to cook 'cattle feed malt. It wasn't so good.' The taste panel said no noticeable difference. BUT. It depends on the brewery, the engineering. 'I say, without decoction, our beer does not taste the same.'" He essentially didn't think the tasting panel was sophisticated enough."

Again, did he notice a difference because he knew there were different brewing methods?  Is he just making an excuse for why the tasting panel didn't find a difference?  I don't know, but it says to me that it's possible decoction might not make enough difference to be worth the effort to the average homebrewer.

The decoction method of mashing holds an intriguing history as well as a present day allure for me. 

I found through blind tastings a "distinct taste" amongst many German beers. Many of which still use decoction mashing until this day. The question is...why?

Can commercial breweries achieve the same flavor from a single infusion?

The question remains...Does decoction mashing make a difference?

I believe there is an aquired taste or educated palate required to perceive some of the fine nuances present in various styles of beer.  Does decoction mashing fall into this category?

Is decoction mashing responsible for the "distinct taste" present in many German style beers?

These questions remain unanswered. There seems to be no consensus one way or the other. This is the reason I am on the fence with this issue.




Ron Price

Offline yugamrap

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Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2010, 09:03:10 AM »
I always read threads on decoction with great interest.  I've tried several different decoction mash schedules from triple-decoction with protein rest, to single-infusion mashes with decoction mash-out.  Like others, I'd be hard-pressed to describe any specific characteristics that differ in the finished beer with different decoction mash schedules, and agree that fermentation is probably a much greater factor.  However, simple observations made during the mashes reveal different mash characteristics like viscosity, color, and the amount of protein teig I find in the mash.  All that said, I use some sort of decoction mash for the German styles I brew because, for me, it's part of the "spirit" of brewing those styles.  So, whether it actually makes a difference chemically, biologically, or otherwise, there's just something about that bubbling pot of boiling mash that "feels right" to me - so I do it.     
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