Since going all-grain back in 2006, I've read a LOT about the merits of decoction mashing. I've heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've finally resolved that it's time I do one and see how I feel about it. I'm planning on brewing a traditional Bavarian hefeweizen this weekend, which I think will provide fertile testing ground for a decoction mash.
I plan to employ a hockurz double decoction mash. Here is my proposed schedule:
- Infuse to 113F for 15 minute ferulic acid rest.
- Infuse to 144F for maltose saccharification (at this point, my water:grain ratio will be about 2 qts per pound). Rest for 20 minutes.
- Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add thick decoction back to main mash to hit 158F for dextrine saccharification. Rest for 45 minutes.
- Pull thin decoction and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Add thin decoction back to main mash to hit 168F mashout
Naturally, I have a few questions:
1) As I pull and boil the decoctions, the main mash will just be sitting there ostensibly continuing to "rest" at either the maltose or dextrine saccharification temp. Is this a problem? Is there a danger that all of the starches in the main mash could be converted to maltose during the initial saccharification period (and thus precluding any dextrines from forming)? Warning: I may be demonstrating some mashing ignorance here.
2) What is the best way to pull a thin decoction? Can I just run off some wort through the ball valve on my mlt?
3) Finally, what volume should the thin decoction be?
Thanks in advance. I've really been fascinated with decoction mashing discussions over the years. It's time to enter the fray.