Author Topic: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)  (Read 3769 times)

Offline akr71

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 549
  • Beer Ain't Drinkin' - Mojo Nixon
    • View Profile
Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« on: December 17, 2010, 10:46:44 AM »
I've been following along the 'Mashing Confusion' thread and learning quite a bit, but I'm left with a nagging question.  Rather than de-rail the other discussion, I figured it best to ask a new question.

I'm only 20 AG batches into this wonderful hobby obbsession and never attempted a decoction mash (curiosity is building, but I'll probably wait a while longer).

If skipping the decoction on a recipe that would tradionally use one, how much melanoidin malt would you add to compensate for not doing the decoction?  I imagine the amount would depend on the type of decoction you are skipping (more for a triple, less for a single)?  Would you sub out a portion of the grain bill, and if so, which part?
Andy

Amherst, NS - Canada

Offline bonjour

  • Administrator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1771
  • Troy, MI, 37mi, 60.9deg AR
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 10:55:06 AM »
Look up Kevin Kutskill's presentation from I believe the Baltimore NHC.  His decocted beers used 10% aromatic if I recall correctly.

In preparation for this presentation Kevin brewed many German Lagers with a decoction and with the Aromatic malt substitution

In a blind taste test one beer had a pronounced preference for the decocted beer, one beer had a pronounced preference for the aromatic addition, and the rest (there were several others) were too close to call. 
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8131
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 11:11:12 AM »
For my friend Tim's experiment, he replaced 4% of the base malt (and I'm not sure what that was) with melanoidin malt.  They were both good according to blind tasters.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline MDixon

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1013
    • View Profile
    • Mike's Homebrewing Page
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 11:28:38 AM »
How about tasters who could see
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline bonjour

  • Administrator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1771
  • Troy, MI, 37mi, 60.9deg AR
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 11:36:10 AM »
Seriously,
all those that could "see", that is knew which beer was decocted, prefered that beer, the decocted one,  go figure.

Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline akr71

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 549
  • Beer Ain't Drinkin' - Mojo Nixon
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 12:14:11 PM »
For my friend Tim's experiment, he replaced 4% of the base malt (and I'm not sure what that was) with melanoidin malt.  They were both good according to blind tasters.

Thanks Tom, that's very helpful!

and yes, I understand that there is no one 'right' answer here - I just needed to be nudged in an appropriate direction.  That is, 'how much is needed to be noticeable, but not overwhelming?'
Andy

Amherst, NS - Canada

Offline skyler

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
    • View Profile
    • Brewing After Law School
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 12:35:40 PM »
I have never decocted, either, but frequently enjoy 3-10% Aromatic Malt or Melanoidin Malt in my pale beers. I was planning on trying it out in a Kölsch in a bit - 96% Pils and 4% Melanoidin.

Offline Mikey

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 397
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 10:11:28 PM »
Seriously,
all those that could "see", that is knew which beer was decocted, prefered that beer, the decocted one,  go figure.



Huh???

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4554
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2010, 07:16:37 AM »
At the 2009 Oakland NHC there was a blind tasting at the WAHO (SP) club booth.  3 Doppelbocks were presented.  You were challenged to pick out the tripple decocted doppelbock, which I did.  The others were an infusion and a step mash (or was it infusion with melanoidin malt?).  Michael Ferguson said all he had to do was look at the beers and he picked out the tripple decocted one, as it was the one that had the brilliant clarity. 

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline malzig

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 466
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 07:17:53 AM »
Seriously,
all those that could "see", that is knew which beer was decocted, prefered... the decocted one, go figure.
That's often the problem with decoction experiments.  "This beer is decocted, doesn't it taste better than this other one?"
The other frequent problem is, "One of these beers is decocted, which is better?", leading the tasters to try and figure out which beer is decocted, not which they prefer.
Michael Ferguson said all he had to do was look at the beers and he picked out the tripple decocted one, as it was the one that had the brilliant clarity. 
If only the decocted beer was clear, it defeats the experiment.  Of course there will be a preference for the clearer beer.
My question is, why can't they brew clear beer without decoction?

Offline Mikey

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 397
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 07:47:48 AM »
A decoction will definitely help some beer styles. It gets down to whether the extra work is worth the effort.

Offline malzig

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 466
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2010, 08:13:52 AM »
A decoction will definitely help some beer styles.
It's certainly a popular belief.

Offline thcipriani

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 09:04:59 AM »
I'm not an expert on decoction by any means and I've never setup any formal experiments, but anecdotally I think that people are searching for the wrong things in decoctions. There may or may not be too much of a flavor difference - I've never brewed a side-by-side - but there's definitely a brewing difference. What I mean is my mash runoff is clearer with a decoction, the amount of kettle break I get with a decoction is reduced, and my efficiency is increased. The difference in the appearance of your mash and wort is very evident with a decoction. The change in appearance of a decocted beer in the kettle would lead you to believe that the beer you are producing will be cleaner than in other examples; although, as I've said, I don't have any evidence of this.

Also, it seems logical, a priori, that there would be more of a difference than could be compensated for by just adding some other malt. No one would argue that you could make up for not boiling your wort by adding crystal malts - there are too many processes that occur in the boil, not just carmelization of sugars. Likewise with decoction mashing there is more at work than the formation of melanoidins.

I think the Brewing Network and Jamil have some hand in every forum discussion of decoction mashing I've ever seen. Jamil takes new brewers up the learning curve so quickly that people begin to repeat his opinions as homebrewing fact when they've been presented as Jamil's opinions. Jamil has stated on more than one occasion that he's proven to himself that there isn't enough of a difference between the flavor derived from a single infusion mash with melanoidin malt and the flavor derived from a decoction mash - which is fine. The problem, to me, is that new brewers won't try a decoction and even if they do are consciously or sub-consciously biased against decoctions. I guess my problem is that almost every new brewer has heard Jamil's thoughts on a decoction mash before they've tried one so any "experimental results" they find are likely to be biased.

I think if people were brought up the learning curve by someone like Greg Noonan their opinions would be different because they would have different expectations.

I think the Brewing Network does an amazing job of moving new brewers up the learning curve and introducing new concepts to old brewers it just seems that people often appropriate the opinions of those people whom they respect more than they are willing to search for their own answers. End rant.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 09:13:39 AM by thcipriani »
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11706
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2010, 09:54:03 AM »
I think if people were brought up the learning curve by someone like Greg Noonan their opinions would be different because they would have different expectations.

I think the Brewing Network does an amazing job of moving new brewers up the learning curve and introducing new concepts to old brewers it just seems that people often appropriate the opinions of those people whom they respect more than they are willing to search for their own answers. End rant.

Well, I'm one of those who _was_ "brought up t he learning curve" by Noonan and others like him.  That's why I began doing decoctions.  But after a few times, I began to question whether he was right and they were worth the time and effort.  I made those decisions on my own, and by using blind tasting experiments.  And that's all I encourage others to do...try it for themselves and evaluate the results objectively.  Otherwise, people can be just as influenced by Noonan's point of view as Jamil's.
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

Offline Kirk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
  • Sparks, NV
    • View Profile
Re: Decoction vs Melanoidin Malt Question(s)
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 12:05:56 PM »
I've tasted melanoidin on its own, in a steeped and boiled sample.  Not impressed.  Some aroma and flavor but not much.  Dextrinous, kind of yucch really.  I'll never use it again.  Dark Munich has way more flavor and aroma.
Kirk Howell