Author Topic: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing  (Read 706 times)

Offline cactusgarrett

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Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« on: March 25, 2019, 05:12:00 PM »
I have a process related question that I would like the community's buy-in on. It's not so much the decoction process itself, but more the idea of a low-temp (104°F/40°C) dough-in step for mashes that involve a decoction.

In trying to take my german lagers to the next step, I've recently been employing a decoction to move from beta to alpha rests. One of the things I read (I believe from a traditional German brewing source/approach; can't remember where right now) is that it is beneficial to do a ~104°F/40°C dough-in step at around 1qt/lb before moving to the beta rest (around 1.8qt/lb, via infusion). I believe the rationale is that this helps get the enzymes into solution better before moving to the beta and subsequently pulling grain out for the decoction. It makes sense (to me), but I can also be talked into a lot with only a little amount of seemingly scientific merit.

Despite not being around the typical protein rest temp, it seems like low temp dough-in step generates that thick protein gunk that makes lautering a pain, so I'd like to get rid of it - but only if it doesn't serve a good purpose towards the decoction process. I use a picnic cooler MLT and boiling water to go from 104°F to beta, so eliminating this step would be nice. Using boiling water infusion to hit beta also somewhat short-changes me in the batch sparging department.

Thoughts?

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 05:34:34 PM »
I use these articles as a source for mashing. They may help you.

http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pkjdf.pdf

http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pddvxvf.pdf




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Offline Robert

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 06:20:13 PM »
The low temperature dough in was at one time common, but by the middle of the 20th century was regarded by German brewers as obsolete and in fact detrimental in most beers (sources in DeClerck; occasional exception Dunkel with poorly modified malt, practically an oxymoron for Dunkles malt.)  It served as a beta glucan rest, eliminating gums that hinder lautering and, later, filtration of the finished beer.   This is unnecessary with modern (meaning, essentially, post WW2) malts with their favorable beta glucan levels, as is a protein rest that you cannot avoid passing through if you dough in at these temperatures.  It also encourages oxygen exposure at the most sensitive temperatures (below 140°F.)  I have in the past used mash programs including this rest, and have found no benefits.  You may feel you are doing honor to tradition, but with the materials available today the result will be beer with compromised flavor, body and foam, and stability.   As for the issue of hydration of the malt and getting enzymes into solution, crush malt properly, mix well at dough in, and in 5 minutes you're there.
Rob Stein
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Offline cactusgarrett

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 06:30:43 PM »
Right. I'm fairly savvy on the concept of protein rests and as such avoid that altogether. Just to reiterate, though: i'm not concerned with the protein rest concept as it relates to this, as i'm not doing it for that. At 104°F, i believe that's lower than the intended target for a protein rest. I understood this rest to be beneficial to get enzymes fully into solution before decocting. Also, I'm not intending on doing anything remotely LODO. Thanks for the assurance on the hydration aspect.

Offline Robert

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 06:40:58 PM »
Trouble is, you can't help but pass through protein territory on the way up from 104°F, and the highly enzymatic malts we have don't need much time to act within their temperature range -- so you will in effect be doing a protein rest.  In the old triple decoction, it was necessary to hydrate the mash before pulling the first decoction.   But this was as I say an obsolete process long ago.   If you want to use a decoction to move from beta to alpha or to mash off, you'll already have a fully functioning mash going at beta, etc., temperature.  The decoction is just another way of boosting the temperature,  like an infusion; it doesn't require any other special conditions.   So you can just mash in for your first rest at 146°F or wherever,  and be fine.
Rob Stein
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Offline yugamrap

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 06:41:54 PM »
Since switching to an all-electric system, I now do step mashes with HERMS, but used to do decoction often.

Like many other things, there are a variety of decoction methods and/or schedules.  Kai Troester has some great and helpful info on decoction methods and science on his wiki site:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Decoction_Mashing

He has a nice 3-part video of the process, too - scroll to the bottom of the wiki page for those.

Warning: It's easy to go "down the rabbit hole" on Kai's site.  He posted all kinds of interesting experiment- and science-based information for brewers.  Kai hasn't been on any of the forums or updated the wiki site in a long time, but it's still really good info.  Anybody know what Kai is up to these days? 
...it's liquid bread, it's good for you!

Offline cactusgarrett

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 06:49:42 PM »
Trouble is, you can't help but pass through protein territory on the way up from 104°F

Even if i blast the 104°F mash with an infusion of 3gal of boiling water?

So you can just mash in for your first rest at 146°F or wherever,  and be fine.

Good to hear; thanks for the insight.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 06:51:27 PM »
Low temp dough ins are good for doing an acid rest (useful if you practice Rheinheitsgeboit and have alkaline water, but understanding water chemistry is better) and a beta-glucan rest for under-modified malts. Since under-modified malts basically don't exist anymore why do a beta-glucan rest?

The low temp water for low temp dough in contains more oxygen than the water at saccharification temps.  Also you have to stir the bed a lot to get the malts properly wetted.  The more oxygen the more gunk.  So avoid low-temp dough ins! 

Offline Robert

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 06:53:02 PM »
I suppose you could effectively bypass the protein rest that way.  But I think you'll still be well advised to skip the low dough in.  Just use decoction as a fun twist on a Hochkurz.
Rob Stein
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Offline cactusgarrett

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 06:53:45 PM »
Like many other things, there are a variety of decoction methods and/or schedules.  Kai Troester has some great and helpful info on decoction methods and science on his wiki site.

Thanks for the info. Yup - i reference his stuff a lot. I've got a decent handle on decoction - theory and execution, but the one (somewhat recent) german lager reference i came across mentioned this 104°F step and I haven't been able to find reference to the practice anywhere else... hence this thread.

Offline cactusgarrett

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2019, 06:55:45 PM »
I suppose you could effectively bypass the protein rest that way.  But I think you'll still be well advised to skip the low dough in.  Just use decoction as a fun twist on a Hochkurz.
Thanks. Yeah, I'd be HAPPY to avoid the extra step. Just wanted to make sure i wasn't missing some beneficial aspect/factor in doing so.

Offline Robert

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 06:56:14 PM »


but the one (somewhat recent) german lager reference i came across mentioned this 104°F step and I haven't been able to find reference to the practice anywhere else... hence this thread.

I can give you a good reference if you read German in the fancy old script and like 100-plus-year-old books... nothing newer will likely cover it.  ;)
Rob Stein
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Offline Robert

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2019, 07:16:48 PM »


Anybody know what Kai is up to these days?

Somebody somewhere said something like "he just got interested in things other than brewing."  Help me, I'm trying to make sense of those words...  ;)
Rob Stein
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 09:15:57 PM »
Also, I'm not intending on doing anything remotely LODO.

Not sure if you might be referring to the link name or not. If so, the articles are Brauwelt articles simply hosted on the Low Oxygen site. They don’t necessarily pertain to LODO techniques.

If this is N/A please disregard.


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Offline cactusgarrett

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Re: Low Temp Dough-In for Decoction Mashing
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2019, 10:10:04 PM »
Not sure if you might be referring to the link name or not. If so, the articles are Brauwelt articles simply hosted on the Low Oxygen site. They don’t necessarily pertain to LODO techniques.

Nope; I saw the info in the links were general decoction, thanks. I was more touching on the comment Kramerog stated about oxygen and I wanted to nip that in the bud, so to speak, before this spun off into a LODO arguement.  ;)