Author Topic: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again  (Read 5769 times)

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2010, 09:51:30 AM »
I've found is that too many people don't make an objective decision based on repeated blind tasting.  Even better is to do that with a number of tasters. 

When this is done, it is important that it is done in a setting that allows the tasters to concentrate on the beers. I found that casual tasting in a club meeting doesn't produce reliable results. In those meetings the ambient noise is generally too high and participants may have had other, stronger tasting, beers before.

Kai

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13469
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2010, 10:18:59 AM »
I've found is that too many people don't make an objective decision based on repeated blind tasting.  Even better is to do that with a number of tasters. 

When this is done, it is important that it is done in a setting that allows the tasters to concentrate on the beers. I found that casual tasting in a club meeting doesn't produce reliable results. In those meetings the ambient noise is generally too high and participants may have had other, stronger tasting, beers before.

Kai

Indeed.  every one of my tasting experiments has been done in a controlled environment outside of club meetings.  You also want to make sure your tasters haven't been drinking first.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2010, 11:21:09 AM »
The questions that should be asked regarding decoction mashing:

Does boiling extract maximal flavor from the malt?

Does boiling the mash destroy the grain cell walls, releasing additional enzymes for conversion and resulting in a higher extract conversion rate than infusion mashing?

Does boiling the wort carmelize a portion of it, again enhancing the malty flavor of the beer?

Do proteins in the mash tend to coagulate during the boil and get filtered out during lauter resulting in better beer clarity?

I believe the answer is "Yes" for all.

But to what degree and how significant are the effects compared to a single infusion mash?  This is the real question.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 11:22:46 AM by bluesman »
Ron Price

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13469
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2010, 11:22:43 AM »
To me, the only real question about any brewing technique is "Does it make better beer?  Do you prefer the beer made like this to beer made another way?".  After all, isn't that the point?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2010, 11:25:44 AM »
To me, the only real question about any brewing technique is "Does it make better beer?  Do you prefer the beer made like this to beer made another way?".  After all, isn't that the point?

Precisely my point Denny.

Are the effects of decoction mashing significant enough to warrant the use of it over a single infusion mash.

Proving it is the task at hand.
Ron Price

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2010, 11:38:31 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.

I also don't think it is not fair to compare decoction mashing and single infusion mashing unless the decoction is a mash-out decoction. You'd always have to compare it to an equivalent step infusion mash if you want to pin the difference to the decoction.

Kai

Offline MrNate

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 967
  • Bridgewater, NJ
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2010, 11:38:56 AM »
To me the decoction debate lives on and I encourage interested brewers to take a look at practical mashing options and try some of them. Though single infusion works in most cases I don't want the home brewing community to get stuck in the idea that there is a one-size-fits all mash schedule.

In spite of my skepticism about decoction, I completely agree with this.  I think every homebrewer who's interested in the subject should try a number of different mash schedules and decide for themselves.  The one "fly in the ointment" I've found is that too many people don't make an objective decision based on repeated blind tasting.  Even better is to do that with a number of tasters.  But if someone enjoys doing decoctions, far be it from me to tell them not to!

Completely agree. I've always been of the mind that decoction mashing was simply too much of a PITA to bother with it. On the other hand, producing a good, simple Helles has always been one of my founding desires as a homebrewer. As a result, I feel compelled to give decoction a try and let my tastebuds be my guide. If I feel it made an improvement, then my next goal would be replicating the improvement while reducing complexity.

I'm certainly not a decoction skeptic, nor is it out of my norm to do things the old-fashioned, more complex way for the sake of being a more old-fashioned, complex person. But there is a threshold for me as to when the effort expended is worth the tangible and intangible benefit. So we shall see.
“If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception.”

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13469
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2010, 12:29:17 PM »
nor is it out of my norm to do things the old-fashioned, more complex way for the sake of being a more old-fashioned, complex person. But there is a threshold for me as to when the effort expended is worth the tangible and intangible benefit. So we shall see.

Boy, you've expressed my philosophy exactly!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline narvin

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1372
  • Baltimore
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2010, 01:43:42 PM »
Kai -- why the protein rest for the Helles?  I was thinking of doing a decoction Hochkurz mash (145 - 158) for a German Pilsner next weekend since I figured that a) long boiling of the decoction wasn't necessary and b) the protein rest would be unnecessary and maybe even detrimental.  What do you think about this?

The more I read about this the more am I torn between being pro or con protein rest. I brought up the Hochkurz mash as an elegant way of doing decoctions w/o protein rests. However, I haven't done experiments yet where I evaluated the impact of a protein rest. A few reputable brewers have and some of them reported the the protein rest yielded a better beer. This is in contrast to the brewers who report the opposite which report the opposite. At this point I just use it on some beers and not on others w/o having a strong position on its usefulness.


Kai



So these are real (122) protein rests, and not the quasi protein/peptonization/whatever people call it rest at 131 - 135?

« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 01:45:29 PM by narvin »
Please do not reply if your an evil alien!
Thanks
Chris S.

Offline narcout

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 707
  • Los Angeles, CA
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2010, 01:46:39 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.

Also interesting was the fact that Spaten abandoned decoction mashing in favor of a single infusion at 144F for their Fransizkaner Hefeweissbier. According to the head of brewing operations (Dr. Jorg Lehmann), they did a series of blind taste tastes in which participants couldn't tell the difference. By way of explanation, he is also quoted as saying "The malt quality has improved very much."

I do plan to try a decoction mash on my next hefeweizen.

Another thing I found interesting (which has nothing to do with decoction mashing but rather it reminded me of Kai's experiments with skimming) is that many of the brewers interviewed for the book talked about skimming the yeast and protein material from the top of the beer during fermentation. One of them notes specifically that this has to do with furthering the smoothness of the beer and is not just for yeast propagation purposes.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13469
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2010, 01:56:44 PM »
I looked briefly back through some of the info I've collected on decoction mashing and thought I'd post a couple quotes.  Boldface is mine...

"> This excerpt from an article by Charlie Bamforth, Ph.D. of UC Davis in
> the "Brewers Guardian" sums things up nicely:
> "Imagine if you will that this is not a publication devoted to beer,
> but rather one focussed on transportation. Consider, then, your
> response to an article that espoused the merits of the ox-drawn cart
> or the Penny-Farthing bicycle as superior modes of transport to the
> Jaguar, the Ferrari or the Challenger space shuttle. You would think
> the writer an idiot. Just as likely, by suggesting (as I will now)
> that the matter of beer style is blown out of all proportion, there
> will be plenty amongst you that will believe me to have taken complete
> leave of my senses.
> Don't misinterpret me. The thesis I wish to convey is that it is the
> duty of every brewer to generate beers of excellence to delight the
> customer. They do not need to conform to a stereotype, far less must
> they somehow adhere to outmoded concepts of brewing and of style which
> should long-since have passed into folklore or historic curiosity.
> Let me illustrate. The original lager-style beers were brewed using
> decoction techniques, on account of the fact that the malt was poor
> and needed low temperature mashing-in to complete the degradation of
> cell wall material. The only recourse the early lager brewers had to
> subsequently raise the temperature was by boiling part of the goods
> and shoving it back in to the main mash. There is not one smidgen of
> experimental data to justify the belief that decoction mashing leads
> to better lager-style beers, but this doesn't stop the protestations
> of the obdurate artisan, convinced that the only way to brew is to
> adhere to time honoured traditions, that decoction approaches is the
> one true route to lager excellence.
If it helps preserve the technique
> as a marketing ploy then go for it. Otherwise, go with the times."

Excerpt from   HBD 2395 (posted by Louis K. Bonham)

On the decoction thread, Dr. Fix recently sent me a copy
of an article with lots of very interesting data on a
number of points that Dr. Pivo (sorry about that earlier
misspelling, BTW), Steve A., and other have raised.
Check it out:

G. Sommer, "Trials for the Optimisation of Mashing Procedure,"
Brauwelt International 1986 (1), p. 23.

This article details Henninger-Brau AG's evaluation of
infusion v. decoction mashing, both in laboratory and
brewhouse conditions.  (It concludes that the qualitative
differences in beers produced with decoction vs. infusion
mashes were "extradinordinally small," and that, "based on a
large number of tasting trials it could be confirmed that the
taste was not changed" by converting from decoction to infusion
mashing.


This article contains lots of good info on other aspects of
mashing, incluing the 50-60-70 schedule and data that
contradicts the notion that thick mashes contribute
anything *except* in the rare case where you need to do
a protein rest.  Well worth reading.

Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3515
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2010, 02:27:21 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.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
seanterrill.com/category/brewing
twomilebrewing.com

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13469
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2010, 02:31:56 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 completely agree with you.....
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline MrNate

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 967
  • Bridgewater, NJ
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2010, 03:19:21 PM »
"> This excerpt from an article by Charlie Bamforth, Ph.D. of UC Davis

> ...Consider, then, your
> response to an article that espoused the merits of the ox-drawn cart
> or the Penny-Farthing bicycle as superior modes of transport to the
> Jaguar, the Ferrari or the Challenger space shuttle.

I point this out only to illustrate that, in retrospect, we sometimes find the old ways wise for reasons we could not have predicted at the time.
“If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception.”

Offline babalu87

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 831
  • Grand Brewbah
    • View Profile
Re: I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2010, 07:04:10 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

For my tastes there is a BIG difference between a decoction mash and an infusion mash with regards to Hefe/Dunkelweizen

If I dont have the time to do a decoction mash for a German Weiss beer I'll simply brew something else because it just isnt worth the time.
I'll add that if I dont have a Weiss beer on draft at home its because I fell behind.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 07:18:33 PM by babalu87 »
Jeff

On draught:
IIPA, Stout, Hefeweizen, Hallertau Pale Ale, Bitter

Primary:
Hefeweizen,Berliner Weisse, Mead