Author Topic: Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question  (Read 610 times)

Offline sdfern4

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Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question
« on: April 05, 2014, 06:40:25 AM »
I am planning an making an American wheat beer this weekend, many of the recipes i have read give directions for a decoction mash. I have the basic cooler mash tun set up can I still do a decoction mash and if so how? and if not any suggestions for a mash schedule?

Offline Steve in TX

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Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2014, 07:38:43 AM »
You can do a decoction. This episode of brewing tv explains the process best in my opinion.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2014, 07:48:23 AM »
You can and should safely skip the decoction mash.  While it might be fun to try, it doesn't improve flavor and is pretty much a waste of time.

If you do want to try it, you'll need a colander where you can pull out the grains every few minutes to boil the decoctions.  Essentially it goes something like this:

Dough in at 95-105 F with the usual 1.25 to 2.0 qt water per lb grain.  After about 10 minutes, use the colander to pull most of the grains into a kettle.  The liquid that is left behind contains all the enzymes and is called "the main mash".  Bring the grains (not the main mash!) up to about 150 F for about 10-20 minutes, then boil for another 10-20 minutes, then return it to your main mash.  Stir well, let it rest for a minute or two, then pull the grains out and bring to a boil again.  Now your main mash should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 120-130 F.  Boil the grains for just 2-10 minutes, then put back into the main mash again.  This should bring your main mash up to 150-ish.  If not, repeat until it does.  Once you hit 150-ish in the main mash, rest for about 30-40 minutes.  Then you can either repeat for a mashout at 170 F, or you can skip the mashout and just runoff and sparge and brew as normal.  That's the streamlined decoction process in a nutshell.  You can do all the rests for 20-40 minutes if you like, some people do, but I find this unnecessary and perhaps even detrimental, as you don't want to do a protein rest at 120-ish for more than a couple of minutes with modern well-modified malts or it will kill your beer's body and head retention.

Optionally, you can skip all this hassle and just mash at 150 F for 40-45 minutes, runoff and sparge, and you're done.  Results will be approximately the same, with the exception that decoction produces a slightly darker beer that is perhaps 2-3 SRM points darker.

Either way, you're going to make a great beer.  Enjoy.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2014, 08:54:51 AM »
I'm a believer in the effect of decoction mash but it is subtle and not always worth the effort. I don't usually see it done with American wheat recipes but you can do a decoction mash with anything, so try it out if you want and see what you think.

It's very easy to do a decoction mash with a cooler mash tun. You just need a medium to large pot and your stove or other heating element to boil the decoctions.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Wheat beer/ Decoction mash question
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 09:01:27 AM »
The one thing a decoction mash will certainly do is increase your yield. It will also affect the color some. For an American wheat beer, I'd probably skip it entirely.
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