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Old 07-17-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
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Default Bavarian Hefe and Decoction mashing

So I brewed up a batch of hefe and it was a triple decoction recipe. I just bottled the beer and it already tastes fantastic. It takes me right back to the Chinese Beer Garden in Munich or any of the beer tents from the Oktoberfest.

My question is this, will a double or single decoction get me the same result? The recipe had a rest at 100, a rest at 122 and a rest at 150 with a decoction between the steps. Two thick decoctions and the final was thin to get to 170. I want to brew this again but it was a full day's work (PITA) and I am generally a very lazy person. I'm thinking I'll mash in at 122 and try two decoctions. Any thoughts?

Recipe was basically 6 lbs of wheat malt and 4 lbs German pilsner malt with some noble hops for bittering. It was in the Beersmith data base, Oracle is the name (I think). I tweeked the hops a little but followed the decoction schedule to a tee.

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Old 07-18-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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There are some varying opinions on whether a decoction mash will make a noticable difference using well modified malts. Personally I would try the recipe as a infusion mash and see how different it turns out. You may not have to do any decoctions.


Ed

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Old 07-18-2009, 01:47 PM   #3
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You might consider mashing in at 111 degrees, which is supposed to be the ideal spot develop ferulic acid, which (IIRC) is the precursor for 4AVG which is supposed to develop into the clove flavor. BUT:

I have been on a wheat kick (and so has my wife, which has allowed me to brew a fair bit of it this year). I have observed that fermentation temperature seems to have almost as much effect as mash temps. My last batch I did 152 for 90 and have a very similiar flavor profile to the batch that I did 111, 152. Both were pitched at 55 and fermented at 62 on WL380.

I have not tried decoction... maybe when I have a whole day some time. [laughing at the thought]

So my thought is control fermentation

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Old 07-18-2009, 02:01 PM   #4
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If there is a noticeable difference in the flavor of a decoction-brewed beer vs. infusion, even a single decoction will get you there. The 100°F rest in your recipe is an acid rest (some ferulic acid as well) and in my experience, unless you need to do an acid rest for your water profile, they're not worth doing.

That leaves you with the protein rest and saccharification rest(s). I've never brewed with wheat, but I believe malted wheat is handled the same as malted barley in mashing (in regards to protein rests). If that's the case, the protein rest is unnecessary and you could do a Hochkurz-style mash (decoction or step) to achieve good results. An example is 142°F for 45 min. and 158°F for 30 minutes.

If even malted wheat has more insoluble protein to break down, you could do a protein-type rest in the low 130s°F for ~30 min. and a rest in the mid-upper 150s°F for ~45 min.

If you chose to do this in decoction, the mash-out decoction to 168-170°F is the least productive of the alleged benefits to decocting (since it is so thin), so you could do that rise in temp by either infusion or direct heat.

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Old 07-18-2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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I might have to try that...

Having never done one, I am curious. I am just loving my 7 to 4 wheat/vienna beer right now (well not RIGHT now... work intrudes)

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Old 07-18-2009, 02:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
you could do a Hochkurz-style mash (decoction or step) to achieve good results. An example is 142°F for 45 min. and 158°F for 30 minutes.

If even malted wheat has more insoluble protein to break down, you could do a protein-type rest in the low 130s°F for ~30 min. and a rest in the mid-upper 150s°F for ~45 min.

If you chose to do this in decoction, the mash-out decoction to 168-170°F is the least productive of the alleged benefits to decocting (since it is so thin), so you could do that rise in temp by either infusion or direct heat.
I think I might try this. The decoction process did take a very long time, I could save some time doing this. My ferment temps were around 65 for 14 days, keeping the banana's down.

I may also try it once as a single infusion for 90 minutes to see how it turns out but I have very soft water so I thought the acid rest may be beneficial for my beer.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubberband View Post
I have very soft water so I thought the acid rest may be beneficial for my beer.
It depends on the pH. Naturally soft water usually has a low pH, so although it has little buffering capacity to get the mash pH down, it usually doesn't have far to go anyway. Plus, if your water is soft, it is likely lacking minerals, so you could add some CaCl2 or CaSO4 to help get the mash pH down.

I also have very soft water (well) with a pH of ~5.7. I've done an acid rest, not to obtain a good mash pH, but to see if the other alleged benefits to an acid rest were noticeable. I noticed virtually no difference between doing the acid rest and not... either in the brewing process or the final beer.

However, with Hefeweizens, there is the subject of ferulic acid rests. But I recall reading an experiment that compared doing one vs. not doing one (Kaiser?) and I believe the difference was negligible or nil.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:05 PM   #8
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Regarding the ferulic acid rest, here's the experiment and associated thread.

Also, just to add about decoction timing and the PITA part of it. I've done single decoctions per Greg Noonan's instructions (subbing in my own temps) that have only added ~30 min. on to the brew day. If you decoct from the low 140s°F to the upper 150s°F, you heat the decoction to an alpha-amylase rest temp (~156-158°F) for 10 minutes, the heat to boiling and boil for 5 min. Then add back to the main mash. It doesn't add all that much time.

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Old 07-18-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Regarding the ferulic acid rest, here's the experiment and associated thread.

Also, just to add about decoction timing and the PITA part of it. I've done single decoctions per Greg Noonan's instructions (subbing in my own temps) that have only added ~30 min. on to the brew day. If you decoct from the low 140s°F to the upper 150s°F, you heat the decoction to an alpha-amylase rest temp (~156-158°F) for 10 minutes, the heat to boiling and boil for 5 min. Then add back to the main mash. It doesn't add all that much time.
Never having performed decoction mashing, I failed to calculate the times to move the temperatures. I held each of the two thick decoctions at 158 for 30 minutes and then went to boil. Boiled for 15 minutes and then placed it back into the mashtun. It was 45 minutes of recipe time but the times between had to be another 20 minutes. I liked the process but was really naive as to how long it would take. The beer is incredible, just like the local Hefe's I drank while living in Germany. My german friends always said, "Hefeweissen goes good with (insert Noun here)". I guess I bought into that.
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