Author Topic: Decoction - The Toast Test  (Read 4199 times)

T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2015, 12:52:58 PM »
Helles and Maibock require a decoction to achieve the complexity of the malt flavor (avoids one dimensional flavor profile), but bocks are permissible to be decocted or even double decocted to enhance the malt complexity and bread like flavor as are Dunkel styles.

The question here is "How are malt flavors developed during a decoction?" 

Malt flavors come from the malting process not the decoction process.

When it is said that malt flavors are developed or even enhanced in the environment of a decoction boil as opposed to the environment of a kiln... well those two are exact opposite environments.

There is no air/water exchange (evaporation) present to cause those reactions in a decoction.

It seems the most that can be claimed for a decoction are very very minor maillard reactions (if any) only if the boil is long enough.  The caramelization thing is mostly bunk as was presented earlier in this thread.  Those two seem dependent on the boil kettle environment and the heat source/heat exchange method used.

T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2015, 01:19:15 PM »
Somewhere above it asked how the "decoction makes maltier" idea got started.  My take on that question (with likely, little basis in fact 8^)  ) is the original lagers were malty and were decocted so "decoction = malty".  We all know that decoction was originally the only way to get poorly malted grains to convert enough starch to make a decent beer.  With today's malts decoction isn't really required but is traditionally the way you brew certain beer styles.  It does seem to make minor contributions in flavor but isn't really required to get the results you are looking for.

Basically it fits in the do it the way you want category for me.  RDWHAHB.   :D

Paul

Agreed.  Early lager styles were malty because they used less hops, higher kilned malts and were bigger beers.  Decoction is just a method of mashing that happens to up the extract a bit.

Offline wobdee

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2015, 03:06:14 PM »
Helles and Maibock require a decoction to achieve the complexity of the malt flavor (avoids one dimensional flavor profile), but bocks are permissible to be decocted or even double decocted to enhance the malt complexity and bread like flavor as are Dunkel styles.

The question here is "How are malt flavors developed during a decoction?" 

Malt flavors come from the malting process not the decoction process.

When it is said that malt flavors are developed or even enhanced in the environment of a decoction boil as opposed to the environment of a kiln... well those two are exact opposite environments.

There is no air/water exchange (evaporation) present to cause those reactions in a decoction.

It seems the most that can be claimed for a decoction are very very minor maillard reactions (if any) only if the boil is long enough.  The caramelization thing is mostly bunk as was presented earlier in this thread.  Those two seem dependent on the boil kettle environment and the heat source/heat exchange method used.
After about 30 minutes of boiling a decoction you can see it darken. I think this is the malliard reaction? I have found that a single 30 min decoction increases my SRM 2-3 points over a single infusion mash. I can't say its maltier but its different or maybe more complex. Many claim a pinch of melanoiden malt does the same.

Offline beersk

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2015, 03:57:18 PM »
Check out these videos by Kai Troester, check out the decoction appearance. Much to be learned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V1zt0mW084
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5u_nJhMD4w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VcZRVw2k_o


I've been searching for those videos, thanks for posting!

I tapped a helles last night and, damn if it doesn't have that German lager flavor I've been looking for. It's amazing.
Just did a Hochkurz step infusion mash... maybe decoction adds something to beer, maybe not, but great lagers can be made without it. I certainly would not say decoction is the "missing link" to brewing spot-on German lagers.
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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2015, 04:01:52 PM »
I've seen people come close.  When there's not much liquid in the boil kettle the mash really has to be stirred as it is in effect being boiled down.  That's where the strainer experiment would come in to play.

I always pull first decoctions with a strainer and take very little liquid.
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T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2015, 07:22:15 PM »
I always pull first decoctions with a strainer and take very little liquid.

And the results are?  A very malty, caramel laden beer that goes down smooth? ;)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 07:26:38 PM by T100 »

T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2015, 07:25:00 PM »
After about 30 minutes of boiling a decoction you can see it darken. I think this is the malliard reaction? I have found that a single 30 min decoction increases my SRM 2-3 points over a single infusion mash. I can't say its maltier but its different or maybe more complex. Many claim a pinch of melanoiden malt does the same.

Yup there's something going on there, though I don't know if it's Maillard Reactions or a change in density of the solution as more starches/proteins diffuse into the liquid and water evaporates from the top of the kettle or something else entirely.

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2015, 06:16:55 PM »
Just like a reduction boil for a Scottish ale adds complexity to the flavor profile beyond merely concentration of wort, I believe that there may be something to a decoction that involves the flavor profile complexity changed as a result of the process.  Again, I have no science to back it up, but flavor comparisons (admittedly not blind triangle) seem to bear some of this it out.
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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2015, 07:14:15 PM »
Just like a reduction boil for a Scottish ale adds complexity to the flavor profile beyond merely concentration of wort, I believe that there may be something to a decoction that involves the flavor profile complexity changed as a result of the process.  Again, I have no science to back it up, but flavor comparisons (admittedly not blind triangle) seem to bear some of this it out.

Yeah, everybody believes that...until they test it!  FWIW, I've decided that starting in the fall I'm gonna redo my old decoction experiment.  I'll be looking for others to do it, too.  I'll put out a call for volunteers once I'm ready.
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T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2015, 07:34:39 PM »
I'm not sure a double blind triangle test is an accurate representation of the results because everyone has different levels of tastes etc...  though it is a fun and interesting exercise and perhaps it's the best we have.

A better method would be to utilize a lab to measure what's actually happening but that costs money and would require some financial backing by an organization that supports brewing and brewers and of course you'd then need scientific people to write up the experiments, etc...  that would certainly give some closure to the discussion.  Ahh well maybe some phd or masters degree student will undertake the challenge, financing it with a grant from an organization that supports brewing and brewers.  Or maybe some old retired guys will do the same with a grant from the same organization thus immortalizing themselves in the annals of brewing.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2015, 07:44:28 PM »
My 2¢…

I haven't done a decoction mash.

That being said, a slight added flavor isn't the reason why I want to try it. I really enjoy the brewing process, and I think it would be fun to try a different method. It's traditional, and while it may not be "worth it" from a flavor standpoint, the experience has always sounded like fun to me.

There's enough of a debate about decoction than any benefit is slight, if it made a big impact we'd know about it. Therefore I say brew however makes you happy.

Something I've thought would be fun would be to do a decoction mash without using a thermometer. That seems to be partly how the process originated, to me it would be fun to try and recreate an old school dunkel that way.
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T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2015, 12:54:15 PM »
Question:
How does a decoction mash alter the flavor of a beer?

Answer:
It most probably doesn't because the temperatures and times of interaction are too low.  A scientific analysis would be required to determine if in fact the sugars, amino acids and proteins interacting at such low temperatures and short lengths of time can in fact produce a noticeable change in flavor.

http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/29926/what-temperature-does-the-maillard-reaction-occur
http://blog.ioanacolor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/ioana_top-chef-masters_science_maillard-reaction_sketch-2.jpg

* - Environmental factors such as decoction thickness, boil kettle type and heat source are a factor but in general it is assumed that there is even heat distribution on a kettle thick enough to prevent hot spots with a decoction that is not so thick that it won't scorch.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 12:58:15 PM by T100 »

Offline wobdee

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2015, 03:12:38 PM »
Maybe its not so much the extra malliards or melanoidens that produce that decoction flavor, maybe its the crud that is kept out because of the decoction? When I do a decoction I get a layer of tan or brown mud on my grain basket. Its pretty nasty looking stuff and it doesn't end up in the boil. Maybe removing that mud helps bring out more flavor or smooth it out somewhat?

T100

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2015, 03:32:49 PM »
Maybe its not so much the extra malliards or melanoidens that produce that decoction flavor, maybe its the crud that is kept out because of the decoction? When I do a decoction I get a layer of tan or brown mud on my grain basket. Its pretty nasty looking stuff and it doesn't end up in the boil. Maybe removing that mud helps bring out more flavor or smooth it out somewhat?

Doubtful.  View Kaiser decoction video #3 @ 7:19.  Those are coagulated proteins.  It would be expected that there would be more of them due to boiling the grain.  Nothing that hot-break / cold-break, irish moss, fermentation, lagering etc, etc... doesn't already settle out in an infusion mash.

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Re: Decoction - The Toast Test
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2015, 03:44:09 PM »
I'm not sure a double blind triangle test is an accurate representation of the results because everyone has different levels of tastes etc...  though it is a fun and interesting exercise and perhaps it's the best we have.

A better method would be to utilize a lab to measure what's actually happening but that costs money and would require some financial backing by an organization that supports brewing and brewers and of course you'd then need scientific people to write up the experiments, etc...  that would certainly give some closure to the discussion.  Ahh well maybe some phd or masters degree student will undertake the challenge, financing it with a grant from an organization that supports brewing and brewers.  Or maybe some old retired guys will do the same with a grant from the same organization thus immortalizing themselves in the annals of brewing.

I don't know about you, but when I sit down with a beer I taste it.  I don't care what the numbers say.  If you can't pick out the difference between a decocted and non decocted beer by tasting, what's the point, other than curiosity? 
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