Author Topic: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic  (Read 1428 times)

Offline homebrewdad7

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Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« on: July 20, 2015, 03:42:39 PM »
Heh, okay, I admit it - it's a silly title.  But I'm a fan of this (admittedly unpopular) method.  It's not for everyone or every beer, but I feel like decoction mashing has its place - even if that's just with masochistic brewers like me.

Anyway, full writeup is here.


Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 04:38:23 PM »
Oh, I am SO going to disagree!  Being lazy, I hate doing anything that doesn't improve my beer.  I haven't found that decoction does that.
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Offline homebrewdad7

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 04:41:34 PM »
I'm just going to leave this quote from the article here.

Quote
Indeed, this is one of those nigh-religious debates in homebrewing. Some brewers will tell you that there just is no point in employing a decoction, that you can achieve an identical beer with a little melanoiden malt. Others hold that there is something special in a decocted beer, some little touch of magic that you just can't perfectly duplicate in any other way.

 It probably comes as no surprise that I fall into the latter camp. Understand, I love melanoiden malt; I feel like it can add a lot to almost any beer where maltiness is desired. However, I also believe that decoction does something that you just cannot exactly replicate with any mere specialty malt. That being said, the purpose of this article (tongue in cheek title aside) is not to try to convince you either way; rather, my intention is to simply walk you through the process of a decoction mash, if you are so inclined to perform one.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 05:26:11 PM »
I've always thought it would be fun to do a brew day that relies upon decoction, no thermometers allowed.

To me, I don't care if decoction makes any difference or not, it's always something I've wanted to try. I enjoy the brew day process for a "regular" beer, this has always seemed like a fun way to mix things up.

Yes, I realize this is another statement that contradicts my signature.  ;)
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Offline homebrewdad7

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 05:28:08 PM »
I feel you, Phil.  The whole "traditional brewing" art stuff is attractive to me, too.  I haven't considered a no thermometer beer... now, I am.

Offline macbrews

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 05:49:48 PM »
Since one of the main reasons we do decoction mashes is to increase melanoidins and malt flavors by boiling the decoction, how is that different than boiling in the kettle?  Does the presence of the grain help it? 

Offline homebrewdad7

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2015, 05:53:47 PM »
I'm not at all heavily versed in the scientific side of decoctions.  My understanding is that yes, boiling the grain does help.  Fro what I have read, boiling the grain does make the starches more freely available for conversion, and it makes sense that boiling the grain would help to release those melanoidens; personal experience says that you get color from decocting fairly quickly (as compared to boiling the overall wort for a similar amount of time). 

Offline wobdee

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 06:01:26 PM »
I'm kinda on the fence with the decoction debate. I've been going back and forth brewing with and without and haven't really come to any concrete conclusion if one is better than the other. I guess I'll just have to keep brewing and expirementing which is part of this fun hobby.

Maybe decoction works better if you have the right malt? Many German/Czech breweries have their own Malting's and can fine tune their malt to their process. I'd like to try some truly under modified malt in a decoction but can't find the stuff.

Offline homebrewdad7

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 06:02:51 PM »
I enjoy using floor malted pils with a decoction, but it's still not truly under modified.

Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 07:04:16 PM »
A few comments....

1. Melanoidins are colors, not flavors
2.  adding melanoidin malt to "mimic" a decoction presupposes that a decoction has some effect on flavor
3.  I have done blind tastings of decocted vs. non decocted beers 15-20 times and never could pick out a difference in flavor on a repeated basis.  When I did my decoction experiment years ago, that was also the conclusion if of over 40 other blind tasters.  Now, I'm not saying that I and all those other people couldn't be wrong, but I have to admit that seems far fetched.
4.  Like anything in homebrewing, the best reason to do a decoction is becasue you enjoy the process, not becasue it will necessarily improve your beer.  We do this as a hobby and as such, if it's fun, do it!
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Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 07:06:46 PM »
I've always thought it would be fun to do a brew day that relies upon decoction, no thermometers allowed.



some guys in my club tried that...the beer sucked.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline denny

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2015, 07:07:54 PM »
I'm not at all heavily versed in the scientific side of decoctions.  My understanding is that yes, boiling the grain does help.  Fro what I have read, boiling the grain does make the starches more freely available for conversion, and it makes sense that boiling the grain would help to release those melanoidens; personal experience says that you get color from decocting fairly quickly (as compared to boiling the overall wort for a similar amount of time).

Melanoidins are not "released".  They are formed by Maillard reactions.  They are colors, not flavors.
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

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline wobdee

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2015, 07:12:35 PM »
I enjoy using floor malted pils with a decoction, but it's still not truly under modified.
I've used that malt as well with good results. I also heard that Rahr Old World Pils is a Moravian barley grown and malted here in the USA and is under modified but so far I haven't been able to find it.

Offline homebrewdad7

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2015, 07:14:39 PM »
>Melanoidins are not "released". 

Good point.  Bad statement on my part.

>Melanoidins are colors, not flavors

True.  I'm incorrectly using the term to refer to the products of maillard reactions, which do create flavor contributions. 

I'll freely enjoy that I do enjoy the "crafty" feeling of decoctions, which is a big reason I do them.  I also admit that one can get a nigh identical beer by using a little melanoiden malt. 

I will submit that the recipe brewed - and perhaps certain ingredients themselves - have a lot to do with whether or not one can taste the outcome of a decoction (as in comparing decoction versus non decoction, with no specialty malt used in the non decoted version).

But again, note that this article is about how to do a decoction, and maybe to cover some common gotchas.  It's not meant to talk you into decocting. 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Decoction Magic: Taste the Magic
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2015, 07:17:51 PM »
I've always thought it would be fun to do a brew day that relies upon decoction, no thermometers allowed.

some guys in my club tried that...the beer sucked.

There's definitely a good chance of that happening. It's still an intriguing idea, and if it fails it wouldn't be the first batch I've dumped.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.