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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Triple Decoction on a Belgian Tripel?
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:36 AM   #1
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Default Triple Decoction on a Belgian Tripel?

Title pretty much sums it up.
I'm thinking of doing a triple decoction because I want to try and do a parti-gayle batch with a Pilsner.

I've never tried any of these things (Tripel, Pilsner or Parti-gayle brewing), so, besides the obvious (to walk before I run) anyone have any suggestions.

Better yet, anyone tried this?

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Old 04-24-2012, 04:21 AM   #2
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Just try either the partigyle or decoction mash alone. There's enough going on with either of those you can easily get in the weeds trying to do both the first time in the same batch.

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Old 04-24-2012, 04:41 AM   #3
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Just try either the partigyle or decoction mash alone. There's enough going on with either of those you can easily get in the weeds trying to do both the first time in the same batch.
The Parti-gyle isn't too bad. I usually just have enough grain to hit my O.G. with the first runnings for the big beer. Then the second and third runnings for the second beer.

You may want to have a little bit of LME on hand in case the O.G. on the smaller beer is a little low. My first parti-gyle needed "fortified" a bit.


As far a a decoction mash. That can be a bit of a challenge.

If you are looking for a good demo... Brewing TV has a good video on each technique. I totally dig the wookie/ewok parti-gyle.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:02 PM   #4
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Decoction mashing is not a challenge.

Just saccharify the entire grist as usual, then boil your grains. None of this pulling a decoction, saccharifying the decoction, then using the boiled portion to raise the temp of the main mash -- the only reason to do that is if you don't own a thermometer.

As far as getting the same flavors you would in a triple decoction, you can simply boil grains in for the times and proportions you would have in the trip. decoc. For example, let's say that in a traditional triple decoction, you would pull 1/3 of the grains each time and boil for 15 minutes. After doing all three decoctions, you would have boiled grain for the following times

0 minutes: (2/3) x (2/3) x (2/3) = 8/27, or 30% of your total grains

15 minutes: (1/3) x (2/3) x (2/3) + (2/3) x (1/3) x (2/3) + (2/3) x (2/3) x (1/3) = 12/27 = 45%

30 minutes: (1/3) x (1/3) x (2/3) + (1/3) x (2/3) x (1/3) + (2/3) x (1/3) x (1/3) = 6/27 = 22%

45 minutes: (1/3) x (1/3) x (1/3) = 1/27, or 4% (call it 5%)

See what I did there? In a traditional decoction, you would boil 1/3 of the grains, and not boil 2/3 of the grains, then mix everything back to together. Then you'd pull out another 1/3 of the grains, but within that second decoction, 1/3 of the grains have already boiled for 15 minutes, while the other 2/3 haven't seen any boiling yet. So you just keep on multiplying the fractions.

Anyway, after saccharification, take out 70% of your grains (everything except the bit that shouldn't boil at all). Boil those grains for 15. Then take out 45% of your total grains. Boil for another 15 minutes. Then take out everything except for 4-5% of your total. Boil for the final 15. Then mix all your grains together and sparge.

Done. It will add 45 minutes (plus heating time) to your brewday. Compared to the time it takes to do a traditional triple decoction, it's nothing! And as far as I can tell, you should get the same exact flavors.

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Old 04-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #5
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Decoction mashing is not a challenge.

Just saccharify the entire grist as usual, then boil your grains. None of this pulling a decoction, saccharifying the decoction, then using the boiled portion to raise the temp of the main mash -- the only reason to do that is if you don't own a thermometer.
That's not at all correct. In fact, you can't do that decoction technique without a thermometer.

Originally the intermediary saccharification would help improve mash efficiency when using poorly modified grains but that's not generally an issue these days. The incidental benefit -- which still applies -- is by saccharifying before the boil you get more sugars that are able to caramelize during the boil so you get improved melanoidin formation. Without those intermediary saccharification rests you don't get melanoidins because there's little to no sugar available until you reach the beta rest or higher.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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Just saccharify the entire grist as usual, then boil your grains. None of this pulling a decoction, saccharifying the decoction, then using the boiled portion to raise the temp of the main mash -- the only reason to do that is if you don't own a thermometer.
That's not a decoction and more than that, it's simply poor advice/logic.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:52 PM   #7
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you get more sugars that are able to caramelize during the boil so you get improved melanoidin formation.
I think I didn't explain myself very well, because we actually agree 100%!

In the traditional decoction, you're saccharifying and then boiling portions of the grist in steps, and you keep on repeating the same saccarification / boil steps over and over. Why? Because if you have 19th century undermodified malts, you need to boil some of them, and then return the boiled portion to saccharify again.

But nobody needs to do this anymore -- we can afford to simply saccharify, then boil to develop Maillards , and never saccharify again. Two steps.

In the simplified decoction, you saccharify the entire grist all at once (taking advantage of a well-modified modern malt), then you boil portions of the grist to develop Maillaird flavors.

As you pointed out, you will need a thermometer. It's the traditional decoction, not the simplified one, that uses the volume of the decoctions to raise the temp of the main mash.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:54 PM   #8
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That's not a decoction and more than that, it's simply poor advice/logic.
Well, you saccharify to develop sugars, and then you boil portions of the mash to develop Maillard products. It's a decoction! It's faster than a traditional decoction, the difference being that you don't do any enzyme rests besides a single saccharification rest.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Here's a link to the original post explaining the simplified decoction: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/simp...oction-296152/

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Old 04-24-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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Well, you saccharify to develop sugars, and then you boil portions of the mash to develop Maillard products. It's a decoction! It's faster than a traditional decoction, the difference being that you don't do any enzyme rests besides a single saccharification rest.
Look, you are missing some mechanics of a "decoction mash". Sure, you can call it a "decoction" because in the strict definition of the word, you are boiling grains in the attempt to concentrate flavor, but it is not a decoction mash, per se, because of what you are missing from the traditional process. Reader's digest version of what you are missing:

-Thick decoctions are pulled and heated to a rest at ~158°F for about 10 min before heating to boiling. This allows alpha-amylase enzymes to break down long chain dextrins and native starches to smaller constituents that will be further broken down when put back into the mash.

-In addition to melanoidin production, the boiling of the thick decoction bursts open the cell walls in the malt so that more starches and long chain dextrins are available when reintroduced to the mash for further break-down. (This reason and the above reason are why decoction mashes have greater efficiency.)


You may not care about either, but they are characteristic of a true decoction and by skipping these steps you are changing the characteristic by-products of a decoction mash schedule. There are many ways to skin a cat and I'm sure it makes great beer, but just because you boil grains (or do a reduction boil on a Scotch Ale for example) doesn't make it a decoction because you are skipping over reintroduction to enzymatic activity at each step that is characteristic of a decoction mash... hence, the process you describe isn't even part of the mash. As soon as you boil those grains and skip an additional rest, you are lautering, in effect.

IMO it is more than just semantics, but that is obviously JMO. Perhaps if you had called it "How to get more melanoidins without a decoction mash schedule", I wouldn't have even batted an eye?
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