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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Pale Ale - Decoction?
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:16 AM   #1
brucepepper
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Default Pale Ale - Decoction?

I'm curious to learn how a decoction mash affects the malt flavour of a beer and so I'm thinking about doing a single decoction for Ed Wort's Pale Ale. I've made this recipe a few times so I think that I would really learn how this technique changes the flavour.

I am wondering if those of you who have experience decocting could advise me if this is a waste of time, given that it's not really needed for the style, or a good learning opportunity. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

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Old 05-03-2008, 02:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucepepper
I'm curious to learn how a decoction mash affects the malt flavour of a beer and so I'm thinking about doing a single decoction for Ed Wort's Pale Ale. I've made this recipe a few times so I think that I would really learn how this technique changes the flavour.

I am wondering if those of you who have experience decocting could advise me if this is a waste of time, given that it's not really needed for the style, or a good learning opportunity. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.
I do a lot of decoctions and enjoy the method although it is better suited, IMO, to use with Continental malts like pils, Vienna and Munich for lagers rather than pale ale malt and ales. If you do want to do one with an ale I suggest doing a decoction to mashout. That way you can get some melanoidin production for your beer without overmashing the pale malt.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:53 AM   #3
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Probably not helpful, but I've never done one because a) I don't have a direct fire MLT, and b) In one of Jamil's shows he said that decoctions don't really do much outside of adding a bit of head retention (with the well modified grains of today). I may have been taking him out of context, but that's what I remember him saying.

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Old 05-03-2008, 04:49 AM   #4
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I would disagree with most professional brewers in that I feel decoction mashing has a very specific flavor profile that is difficult to exactly duplicate otherwise. That said, decoction mashes are energy inefficient, messy, and will not create a "classic" IPA. That is to say, every good homebrewer worth there salt should do one and throw a pound of quinoa or your fav ingredient into the mash as well. Making consistant, style appropriate beer is best left to to the pros. The homebrewer's realm is one of innovation, variation and experimentation. I've dumped at least 20 batches of experiments gone awry, and wouldn't take one of those experiences back.

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Old 05-03-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments and advice. I'm going to give it a try since it sounds like the worst thing that could happen is I waste 30-60 minutes.

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Old 05-03-2008, 07:13 PM   #6
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Look Here for a nice video on the subject.

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Old 05-03-2008, 07:56 PM   #7
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i sometimes use a decoction mash out. as for the flavor profile, i'm not sure that it makes a difference, but it's a great way to raise the temp of your mash.

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Old 05-03-2008, 10:27 PM   #8
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I think it's a great learning opportunity if nothing else. Decoctions are fun to do and really teach and connect you to brewing history. I use a decoction for my mash out on every batch, it's a great way to heat the mash to mash out and also to contribute to flavour (though not much for this short decoction boil).

I would give the mash out decoction a try first before you go with a single decoction up to your saccharification rest. You'll be surprised just how thick your decoction needs to be in order to make temperature changes that large in the main mash.

And definitely watch Kaiser's video that WBC linked to.

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Old 05-05-2008, 12:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maltMonkey View Post
Probably not helpful, but I've never done one because a) I don't have a direct fire MLT, and b) In one of Jamil's shows he said that decoctions don't really do much outside of adding a bit of head retention (with the well modified grains of today). I may have been taking him out of context, but that's what I remember him saying.
Jamil has stated in several of his podcasts that he doesn't do decoction mashes as he feels he can get a very similar flavour by adding a small amount of melanoidin malt. You will see it in some of his recipes in his book.

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