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Old 05-22-2013, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default How necessary is decoction and step mashing for lagers?

Hey all - just getting into lagers now that I have a temp controlled ferm chamber.

I've been looking up recipes on the database on here and most of them note some sort of mash at various increasing temperatures and/or decoction mashing.

My question is, I really don't want to do all that if I don't have to. What am I missing out on, and what disadvantages are there if I just mash like an ale? i.e.153 for 60 minutes or whatever....or are those techniques so important that's it's not worth brewing without doing them?

thanks

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Old 05-22-2013, 01:11 AM   #2
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Hey all - just getting into lagers now that I have a temp controlled ferm chamber.

I've been looking up recipes on the database on here and most of them note some sort of mash at various increasing temperatures and/or decoction mashing.

My question is, I really don't want to do all that if I don't have to. What am I missing out on, and what disadvantages are there if I just mash like an ale? i.e.153 for 60 minutes or whatever....or are those techniques so important that's it's not worth brewing without doing them?

thanks
There is a healthy debate about even if decoction makes a noticeable difference in the beer. Some well-known brewers say no, some say yes.

For many lagers, a single infusion mash is usually appropriate. Unless using undermodified malts (highly unlikely), a protein rest isn't needed. Still some brewers do them!

I guess the best thing to do is to consider a recipe and if you want to post it up and ask for our opinions, you'll get a bunch of them!
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:20 AM   #3
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Thanks Yooper!

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Old 05-22-2013, 03:59 AM   #4
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Try it both ways, twice the beer, three times the fun. My Dunkel Doppelbock (trippel decocted) is awesome. Lots of work, I thought it was great fun!

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Old 05-23-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Certain nutrients and chemicals are created in a decoction. Amino acids, albumin and FAN. Protein gum is boiled away and starch is broken down and put into solution in the decoction kettle. The filter bed from a decoction settles better than an infusion and is less prone to sticking. Less hot break is formed from a decoction. Less hops are needed in wort from a decoction. The shelf life of the beer is greater from a decoction. But, it doesn't matter if the beer is going from boiler to belly in 6 weeks. IMO, there's more artistic license in the decoction method, than an infusion. If you decide on doing a decoction, try to pay attention to the mash pH, before you boil any mash.

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Old 05-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #6
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I don't do decoctions, but I do use step mashes - including two different saccharification steps. For some lagers I do include either aromatic or toasted malt, to mimic a little the flavors of a decoction. I think one can make a pretty good lager with a single infusion, but I think using a step mash can take the beer up a notch or two. Many folks are fine with a brewing a decent lager. At this point though I've brewed many, many lagers (most of what I brew these days) and decent is not good enough for me

Go ahead with a single infusion as you are just getting your feet wet with lagers. I'm assuming this is what you are doing for your ales. You don't want to change too many things to the process you are used to all at once. Once you are comfortable with the new fermentation process, then start messing with the mash process - if you want to - or not.

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