Joe Stange’s recent article (https://beerandbrewing.com/slow-beer-frankish-style/
) about decoction mashing in Franconia states that less modified malt is still available and preferred in Franconia:
“Those malts are so gelöst.”
Stefan Zehendner, brewer of the highly esteemed Mönchsambacher Lagerbier, is talking about that modern, more-modified type of malt, processed and ready for infusion like tea.
Gelöst, incidentally, can mean deleted or erased. It also means dissolved, which is technically what happens to the internal grain structure as it’s modified during malting. “The malt is crisp or brittle,” he says. “The new kinds of malt are very thin. So they must make infusion with the new malts, and I think decoction is better.” Zehendner is suggesting that modern malts lack something. Do they make good beer? Of course. But cook them in a decoction mash—a process that adds qualities that specialty malts can only simulate—and they fold like a house of cards.
They lose the body and foam stability associated with a proper decoction mash and relatively less-modified malts.
Zehendner, for his lagers, uses 100 percent Pilsner malt from the Bamberger Mälzerei—the neighbor to Weyermann, less known internationally but perhaps more favored among local brewers. It is well-suited to decoction, and any doubters might want to ponder it over a glass of Mönchsambacher—deep burnished gold, with a fresh-sweet-malt center that can stand up to its ample bitterness, topped with typically lush white foam that stays through the end of the glass, leaving stripes of lace all the way down to mark each gulp you’ve taken.