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Old 10-11-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
Laikacosmonaut
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Default Adding cane sugar to a decoction for a specific flavor profile?

Hello all,

So I was considering doing one of those mythical "S'Mores" stouts, trying to incorporate all those wonderful flavors into a nice oatmeal sweet stout. I am not an expert in brewing sciences by any means, but I'd like to think I know the basics...so I am posing my question to you, the experts!

To get that campfire caramelized marshmallow flavor, I was thinking about pulling a decoction, but adding my simple sugars to the decoction. I was hoping not only to get a little carmelization of those sugars, but also maybe introduce a little extra maillard reactions via the proteins in the grain?

Does this sound like a viable option? Will these flavors carry through if I slave over that decoction for a nice long time? Will they even make it past fermentation blow-off??? Another option is to skip the decoction and just carmelize the sugars alone, but I figured why not kill two birds with one stone--a decoction never killed anyone (right?)

Thanks in advance for your sage advice, and telling me how stupid an idea this is!!

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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In many mash schedules, decoctions are done with plenty of starch already converted to sugar. A decoction mash-out is the most obvious, but not the only one. And still, very little if any caramelization occurs... it's pretty much all Maillard.

IIRC, it's largely due to the moisture content (at boiling temps - direct contact with something much hotter can apparently caramelize things at higher moisture levels). Even the thickest decoction is still far too much. This is why when lots of caramelization is desired (eg when brewing Scottish ales), brewers often boil down a portion of the first runnings to a thick syrup, before adding it back to the boil.

So IMO, you can do it that way, but you'll probably get closer to the precise flavor you want by just caramelizing some sugar and adding it to the boil.

You might also be interested in taking a peek at steinbier, if you haven't yet

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay View Post
IIRC, it's largely due to the moisture content (at boiling temps - direct contact with something much hotter can apparently caramelize things at higher moisture levels). Even the thickest decoction is still far too much. This is why when lots of caramelization is desired (eg when brewing Scottish ales), brewers often boil down a portion of the first runnings to a thick syrup, before adding it back to the boil.
Yeah, I had a feeling the moisture level would be a problem. I just had this naive hope that with an excess of sugar, and enough nurturing, there may be a mix of maillard & carmelization, but I suppose straight up carmelizing of the sugars is the way to go for what I want.

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You might also be interested in taking a peek at steinbier, if you haven't yet
Yeah, sounded really cool, until I saw this! Sounds like an awful lot of work for a bombed batch. I concur with his propane vs. wood hypothesis, but still think (knowing me) I would end up ruining the whole batch. Would add a cool campfire smokiness too, but I'll cut my losses and toss in a little smoked malt and call it a day.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laikacosmonaut View Post
Yeah, sounded really cool, until I saw this! Sounds like an awful lot of work for a bombed batch. I concur with his propane vs. wood hypothesis, but still think (knowing me) I would end up ruining the whole batch. Would add a cool campfire smokiness too, but I'll cut my losses and toss in a little smoked malt and call it a day.
I think whatever kind of rock you use is going to contribute some flavor. I'm pretty sure landscaping rocks are treated with preservatives and what not to help preserve color, prevent cracking, etc. So I think that's why he got a metallic taste. Some of the granite probably also dissolved into the beer.
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