While I wanted to make sure that this becomes a show about decoction and how to do them most efficiently and not so much a decoction show about why not to do a decoction, I had to touch on the controversial subject of “what difference does it make”. The beers I sent James tasted pretty much the same and I too was not able to distinguish them at home in blind tasting. My take on it is, don’t bother with it if you need to streamline your process to minimize the time you spend brewing so you can enter more beers in a competition. The latter will increase your chances of winning more than decocting a beer. But if you enjoy the all grain brewing process and would like to know more about different ways of mashing decoction mashing is definitely for you and worth its time. And with the suggestion of only simmering the decoction in a lidded pot the amount of work necessary is much less.
While that doesn’t show that decoction doesn’t make a difference and is thus useless it shows that the changes caused by decoction are small and difficult to detect. Even a number of professional German brewer’s, to whom I spoke about that, agree with that.
But since many sources actually agree that there is a difference it may just come down to training ones palate and thus I’ll keep continuing with brewing decoction side-by-sides.