Author Topic: Mashing confusion  (Read 5056 times)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2010, 11:50:40 AM »
Are there styles like wheats, german beers, etc. that you've found to NOT benefit from step or decoction mash?

Off the top of my head, based on my experience and experiments, I can think of witbier, dunkel, maibock, and German pils as styles that I found did not benefit from step or decoction mashes.  There may be others, but I'm not in a position to look at my notes at the moment.
Right, I'll agree with those.  Above should be "bock family of beers except maibock". :)  I was thinking of the darker maltier ones, melanoidin malt just isn't the same as doing decoctions.  It's close though, and better than nothing if you can't/don't want to decoct.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 11:54:28 AM »
I need to brew a couple batches of bock to test.  Hopefully I can get to that this winter.  How many decoctions do you do on a bock, Tom?
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2010, 11:57:56 AM »
Yes, brewing background has a lot to do with a brewer’s preference. German home brewers, for example, are taught to step mash and some of them question that a single infusion mash would work.

This topic has caught my interest a while back. I currently have a side-by-side experiment going where I want to evaluate the difference between single infusion and Hochkurz mashing. Unfortunately life got in the way of getting the 2nd batch brewed in time and the yeast had to sit 2 days longer than planned. This has shown a noticeable effect on the fermentation performance and may invalidate the experiment. But I’ll try this experiment again.

At this point my position is that the differences aren’t expected to be significant. There are many brewers who swear that there is no difference and there are also many other reputable brewers who contest this and state the opposite. The discussion is mainly around protein rest or not.

If you don’t want to mess with step mashes, don’t feel compelled you have to just because some brewers do.

Kai


Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2010, 11:59:54 AM »
I need to brew a couple batches of bock to test.  Hopefully I can get to that this winter.  How many decoctions do you do on a bock, Tom?
I've done 3, but mostly I just do two.
Tom Schmidlin

jaybeerman

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2010, 12:00:44 PM »
1. Are you sure?  Because that reads to me like he's saying single infusion mashes are the lazy way of doing it.  Ultimately I get his point, but this is hard not to read that way.  No harm done though :)
2. I would say many German beers do [benefit from decoction], including hefeweizens and the bock family of beers.
3. I don't include that as step mashing in my head though, even though you raise it through a series of steps.  The decocting process is just way different than adding boiling water or gentle heating (RIMS, HERMS, direct fire) to increase your mash temp - to me those are step mashing, and decocting is decocting.

1. You're right, I misread the op.  Apparently I'm not very good at multitasking anymore.
2.  This has been my experience as well (mostly in brews from other brewers)
3.  This is a subject that I will further explore in my own brewing.

cheers, j
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 01:05:48 PM by jaybeerman »

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2010, 12:07:05 PM »
I need to brew a couple batches of bock to test.  Hopefully I can get to that this winter.  How many decoctions do you do on a bock, Tom?
Did you get a chance to try the decoction experiment beers we poured in Oakland?  There was a decocted bock, one made with melanoidin, and one without melanoidin.  There was noticeable differences according to the crowd at NHC who were tasting them blind.  I don't remember the numbers, Tim Hayner ran everything.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2010, 12:15:44 PM »
I need to brew a couple batches of bock to test.  Hopefully I can get to that this winter.  How many decoctions do you do on a bock, Tom?
Did you get a chance to try the decoction experiment beers we poured in Oakland?  There was a decocted bock, one made with melanoidin, and one without melanoidin.  There was noticeable differences according to the crowd at NHC who were tasting them blind.  I don't remember the numbers, Tim Hayner ran everything.

Yeah, I did taste them and Tim sent me the results.  I can't recall which I preferred, but I seem to remember that the results didn't show the decocted beer was far preferred.  Am I remembering wrong?
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Offline sharg54

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2010, 12:47:32 PM »
Not lazy. From what you go through in brewing with all the cleaning and prep work and such lazy would be my last thoughts. More on the line of missing out on something. I'm not the best speaker and this is a learning thing for me. I have to admit it's giving me a lot to think about and consider but that's what teaches. Am I over doing it? It would not be the first time. Am I hard nosed and stuck in what I do? Not a chance but I am learning and that's the real point for me.  ;D
People keep telling me it's not rocket science... I like rockets..

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2010, 01:06:00 PM »
2.  This has been my experience as well (mostly in brews from other brewers)

But have you had decocted and non-decocted versions of the same beer from the same brewer? It may have simply been the fact that the brewer made the difference.

Kai

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2010, 01:14:15 PM »
I need to brew a couple batches of bock to test.  Hopefully I can get to that this winter.  How many decoctions do you do on a bock, Tom?
Did you get a chance to try the decoction experiment beers we poured in Oakland?  There was a decocted bock, one made with melanoidin, and one without melanoidin.  There was noticeable differences according to the crowd at NHC who were tasting them blind.  I don't remember the numbers, Tim Hayner ran everything.

Yeah, I did taste them and Tim sent me the results.  I can't recall which I preferred, but I seem to remember that the results didn't show the decocted beer was far preferred.  Am I remembering wrong?
I think you're right, the decocted one was preferred but it was close to the melanoidin one.  However it was correctly identified as the decocted one by a large majority, it was not confused with the melanoidin one, so melanoidin and decoctions are not completely interchangeable for side by side tasting of the same recipe.  It might be just a matter of taste, you either prefer melanoidin or prefer decocted.  On the other hand I don't think it was tightly enough controlled to say that for sure, it's also possible that a recipe adjustment could have made one or the other a clearer favorite or made them less distinguishable from each other.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2010, 01:23:57 PM »
More on the line of missing out on something.

But are you considering that I (and others) have tested what you advocate and determined that we're not missing anything?  If I could demonstrate to myself that it made demonstrably better beer, I'd do it.  It's a hobby and I want to do the best I can, so if step mashes and decoctions did that, I'd be doing it.  I still do those just to be certain I'm not missing anything.  Just last weekend, I made a German pi;s using a beta/alpha step mash.  I want to know what's what, not be guided by my own prejudices.  Have you done that kind of test?  Have you brewed back to back batches of the same beer using 2 different techniques and then doing a blind triangle tasting to determine if there's a difference?  That's all I really ask of anyone who advocates this.  If you do that and fine that you consistently prefer beers made with one technique or the other, then you have a valid reason to continue with that technique.  Otherwise, you're simply guessing.
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Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2010, 01:26:00 PM »
2.  This has been my experience as well (mostly in brews from other brewers)

But have you had decocted and non-decocted versions of the same beer from the same brewer? It may have simply been the fact that the brewer made the difference.

Kai

In a recent article on alts in BYO (IIRC), Horst Dornbusch, long a proponent of decoction and traditional German brewing techniques, said that he no longer feels that decoction makes a difference.  He attributed the flavors to the malts used, not the decoction process.
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jaybeerman

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2010, 01:28:21 PM »
1. But have you had decocted and non-decocted versions of the same beer from the same brewer?
2. It may have simply been the fact that the brewer made the difference.

Kai
1. Yes
2. [personally I'm not for or against decoction]  It's very possible even with my answer to the first question; I can see this particular brewer subconsciously putting extra effort into his decoction batch.  Another possibility is that my palate picks up on decocted beer while missing character(s) that your (or anyone else) palate detects.  

This is a subject that I'm still toying with and haven't reached any concrete personal conclusions.

Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2010, 01:30:55 PM »
2. [personally I'm not for or against decoction]  It's very possible even with my answer to the first question; I can see this particular brewer subconsciously putting extra effort into his decoction batch.  Another possibility is that my palate picks up on decocted beer while missing character(s) that your (or anyone else) palate detects.  

This is a subject that I'm still toying with and haven't reached any concrete personal conclusions.

Just to be clear, I'm not against decoction, either.  I'm against expending effort that doesn't have a payoff!  Anyway, did you do a blind tasting?  was it a triangle tasting?  I've come to the conclusion that that's really the only way to get somewhat objective results.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2010, 01:36:40 PM »
This is a subject that I'm still toying with and haven't reached any concrete personal conclusions.

Same here.

I have talked to German brew masters who said that decoction has little impact on taste. In addition to that on tours, targeted at the common audience, it is difficult to get a good answer on this topic. There is a lot of pride in traditional brewing techniques and what brewer wants to admit that they are doing something that that has only little impact on the final product. Similar to AB's use of beechwood chips which could easily be replaced by a stainless steel matrix or completely be eliminated w/o affecting the product.

Kai