Author Topic: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...  (Read 8311 times)

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
« on: April 26, 2011, 01:18:41 PM »
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.  :P
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 12:05:00 PM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline nateo

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 01:32:31 PM »
1) I pull the decoction immediately at the start of the step. It takes about 5min to come to a boil, then I boil for 10-15min.
2) I just use a saucepan with a handle to pull my decoctions. Just grab it off the top of the mash.
3) http://www.quaff.org/cyberbrau/DecoctionCalculator.htm
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 01:35:38 PM by nateo »
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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 01:35:54 PM »
If at all possible, try to do another brew with the same recipe and no decoction.  Then do a blind triangle tasting to see if you gained anything but the fun (?) of doing a decoction.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 01:39:59 PM »
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 01:44:31 PM »
If at all possible, try to do another brew with the same recipe and no decoction.  Then do a blind triangle tasting to see if you gained anything but the fun (?) of doing a decoction.

I was planning on doing this.  8) I may start with the non-decocted recipe this weekend and do the decocted version later this spring. But I really want to nail down the details of the decoction schedule/process before I dive in. I can't rightly judge the merits of decoction if I don't execute it properly!  :P
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Offline denny

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 01:47:16 PM »
I was planning on doing this.  8) I may start with the non-decocted recipe this weekend and do the decocted version later this spring. But I really want to nail down the details of the decoction schedule/process before I dive in. I can't rightly judge the merits of decoction if I don't execute it properly!  :P

Good man!  Must be the logic from the legal training!  ;)  Try to do them as close together as possible so that they'll be about the same age when you taste them.
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Offline gmac

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 02:04:16 PM »
How about setting up a global "decoction day". We can all do our decoctions and then discuss how we screwed them up.
I'm gonna do one this weekend too but for a cream ale.

Offline jeffy

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 02:19:54 PM »
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!


Yes, you should make a stop at Alpha rest temps for 15 or 20 minutes on your way to boiling the decoction.  I usually stop at 158F.
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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 02:32:12 PM »
Nevermind, I found them.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 02:45:47 PM by ccarlson »

Offline narvin

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2011, 02:47:31 PM »
Boil your thick decoction for 30 minutes.  Or 45. Go for the gusto.
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Offline nateo

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 03:30:04 PM »
I use decoction mashes on all my beers. Not because I think they're "better" but because I don't have a fancy HERMS so boiling some mash is the cheapest/easiest way to hit multi-step mashes without a huge increase in the grist/liquor ratio.

EDIT: Should I think they're better? Is that what all the cool kids are doing nowadays? I mean, I like to be hip and all. . .
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 03:42:06 PM »
  Try to do them as close together as possible so that they'll be about the same age when you taste them.

This was the only suggestion I could offer. Good luck!
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Offline anthony

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2011, 04:27:52 PM »
Regarding the "Pull thick decoction (30-40% of total mash) and gradually bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly."

I like to rest this decoction at ~154F for 15 minutes and then rest @ ~165F for 10 minutes before moving on to the boil for 30 minutes. YMMV. cheers!!!


Yes, you should make a stop at Alpha rest temps for 15 or 20 minutes on your way to boiling the decoction.  I usually stop at 158F.

You don't have to. You should do this (or not do this) based upon the fermentation profile you want your wort to have. The only rest (in my mind) that is mandatory in the pull itself is the first beta rest so that you actually have some sugars to concentrate when you get to a boil... and then subsequent pulls don't need to stop here either.

My only other advice on this, as is in the other threads, is use a simple recipe... use high quality wheat malt and pilsner malt. Don't clog up the recipe with a bunch of crystal malts.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 04:29:42 PM by anthony »

Offline bluesman

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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 06:02:09 PM »
Matt, you are not alone as I am going to do a triple decoction on a Bo-Pils this weekend for a beer I've entered in the Pilsner Urquell competition. It will probably be a 10 hr brewday.  :o

Pilsner Urquell's mash is the same triple-decoction method used for the past 75 years. Thick portions of the mash are drawn off at three different times over the course of more than four hours. Each decoction is heated to saccharification temperature, then boiled briefly, and finally returned to the mash. The mash begins with cold water stirred into the grains; a single infusion brings the temperature to 95F for an acid rest. The water-to-grain ratio is 1.85:1. The first decoction raises the temperature to around 127F for a short protein rest; the second addition raises the mash temperature to 143F for a beta-rest; and the third brings the temperature to about 163 °F for mash-out.

I'll be wearing my brewing shoes.  ;D

 
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Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 06:25:02 PM »
Ron, I did a double decoction Bo_pils that was 10.5 hours.  This was the Bohemian Malt from Weyermann's, not the floor malted Bohemian.

To be authentic you want a long boil, 2 hours.  They also chill to 39F and pitch, I gave in at 40F as it was taking too long. It all takes some time,and it adds up.

Had some of this beer on the front porch tonight with the wife.  We agree it is worth it.  Was it the decoction, or all of the other steps in the process, or the Bohemian malt from Weyermanns, or the Wyeat 2001+2278 yeast the were fermented then blended, or the soft water with only enough CaCL2 to get to 50 ppm Ca?  Don't know, but we like the beer, we really like the beer!

Edit - For Denny.  It is too late to brew another of these without a decoction, as the cold weather is done, and the chest freezer is full of lager now.  Done with lager brewing until next winter.  Soon it will be prime lager drinking weather!
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 06:30:04 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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