Author Topic: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing  (Read 1722 times)

Offline narcout

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NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« on: September 22, 2011, 08:39:52 PM »
I was just looking through the NHC gold medal recipes in Zymurgy, and I noticed that of the 23 gold medals for beer:

15 were single infusion mashes (with and without mashouts);
4 were multi-step mashes; and
4 were decoction mashes.

Included in the single infusion mash category were such styles as Vienna Lager, Schwarzbier, Bock, Cream Ale, and Dusseldorf Alt.

I'm not knocking step mashing or decoction mashing (they both obviously have their place), but that's a pretty strong showing for the single infusion mash.

jaybeerman

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 09:20:44 PM »
now go through last years list

Offline narcout

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2011, 10:51:26 PM »
Last year the gold medal recipes included:

18 single infusion mashes;
1 multi-step mash; and
4 decoction mashes.

Offline hubie

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2011, 12:39:59 AM »
I don't think you can infer too much into those numbers without also knowing the breakdown of the entrants, not just the winners.  For example, suppose out of all the 1000+ entries only 4 people did decoction mashes, then I would say that would show the superiority of decoction because all four hit gold.  Another example would be in the categories where multi-step or decoction won, suppose all the single-infusion entries were knocked out in the first round; you wouldn't be able to tell that from looking just at the winners either.  I can't tell from what you say whether you've removed styles from the comparison where one typically wouldn't do multi-step or decoction, because that would skew things in favor of single-infusion as well.

My guess is that things are heavily in favor of single infusion simply because the majority of entrants do single infusion.

Offline johnf

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2011, 10:59:10 AM »
Just by talking to club members and reading online, I would guess far more than 15/23 homebrew beers are single infusion, so the other methods would then seem to be over-performing.

Also I think you are inflating the number of "single infusion" mashes by counting extract beers in that category, aren't you?


Offline bluesman

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2011, 11:44:50 AM »
Interesting data point.

There are so many factors at play in the brewing process that makes it hard to nail down any one process or technique as the winning one. Although that certainly is an intresting trend.
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Offline narcout

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2011, 12:26:16 PM »
There are so many factors at play in the brewing process that makes it hard to nail down any one process or technique as the winning one.

Agreed.  I think excellent beer can be brewed using a variety of different techniques on a variety of different systems (fly vs. batch sparge, decoction vs. single infusion mash, conical vs. bucket fermentor, plate vs. immersion chiller, etc. - none of these are going to make or break you).

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 05:26:01 PM »
I think it tends to show that a properly brewed beer can be made in more than one way, since some of the styles would readily lend themselves to decoction, which proved unnecessary to achieve gold.  It also supports continuing to try decoction for those which achieved gold through a decoction method.  Though you would need to try two batches side by side with and without decoction to be convinced fully of the improvement, if any.

Me, I just listen to Denny.  He's already done all of that stuff and he batch sparges.

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Offline malzig

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 03:38:32 AM »
18 single infusion mashes;
1 multi-step mash; and
4 decoction mashes.
Interesting that most of the decoctions weren't multi-step mashes. 
Does that mean they only did a single decoction to mashout?

Offline rstansbu

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2011, 05:00:28 AM »
18 single infusion mashes;
1 multi-step mash; and
4 decoction mashes.
Interesting that most of the decoctions weren't multi-step mashes. 
Does that mean they only did a single decoction to mashout?

A decoction mash is a multi-step mash.  I think the difference here is a multi-step mash is just raising the temperature of the mash by some means other than decoction.

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 05:32:55 AM »
I was just looking through the NHC gold medal recipes in Zymurgy, and I noticed that of the 23 gold medals for beer:

15 were single infusion mashes (with and without mashouts);
4 were multi-step mashes; and
4 were decoction mashes.

Which ones made up your 4 for decoctions?
3 look to be classic decoctions (cat. 2, 15, 22).  
Cat 17 used a turbid mash for one of the batches that then were blended.
Cat 16 would be a cereal mash with the raw wheat.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2011, 08:20:31 AM »
I thinkg that brewers that attempt decoction are generally experienced brewers and so that can skew the odds 10 people do single infusion you'll have a few novice and a few experts.  10 people do decoction and I think you will be more skewed to seasoned brewers.

That said, (and some people will argue and throw taste tests in my face).  I can't see how treating an ingridient so different wouldn't lend itself to adding an additional layer of flavor.  I know that many have done side by sides and can't see a difference (and I won't pretend that I have experimented enough to say that there is a difference) but just looking at what's going on makes you think - it has to taste different!

As to step mashing - my opinion is that step mashing doesn't make better beer; however, a skilled brewer may have more control over the mash, it adds a level of precision.  (that said, for a hefeweizen, I think a ferulic acid rest is important).
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Offline denny

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 08:33:51 AM »
That said, (and some people will argue and throw taste tests in my face).  I can't see how treating an ingridient so different wouldn't lend itself to adding an additional layer of flavor.  I know that many have done side by sides and can't see a difference (and I won't pretend that I have experimented enough to say that there is a difference) but just looking at what's going on makes you think - it has to taste different!
Which is why so many people continue to do these things in spite of evidence to the contrary.  There is so much evidence about preconceptions leading perception that I did an NHC seminar about it.  I'm not saying that decoctions never make a difference to beer flavor, but I do think people assume that because of the chemical processes and amount of effort they expend, there's a flavor difference that isn't always borne out by tasting.  You said yourself that you haven't really done the comparison, yet you feel there has to be a difference. 
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2011, 09:11:13 AM »
I completely agree, just worded it wrong - I did a decoction 2 or 3 times and the bang for the buck just wasn't there even though looking at the process would have you believe that there must be a difference.  It's like grilling a steak vs. boiling it, we are so accustomed to the method of heating having a dramatic effect but I have not been convinced that it holds true here.
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Offline malzig

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Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2011, 04:26:32 AM »
I can't see how treating an ingridient so different wouldn't lend itself to adding an additional layer of flavor.  I know that many have done side by sides and can't see a difference (and I won't pretend that I have experimented enough to say that there is a difference) but just looking at what's going on makes you think - it has to taste different!
As a biochemist, I think I see this differently, so I don't generally fall for the argument that anything has to make a particular difference just because it makes logical sense.  I try all kinds of things in the lab that have perfectly sound rationalizations for why they should work, but simply don't hold up to experimentation.  That's why scientific research is based on empirical evidence, not logical argument.