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Old 08-05-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
sidepart
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Default Melanoidins. Is it better to boil and top up, or boil a larger volume?

I wasn't able to find much guidance on the forums about this. I'm going to be creating a Doppelbock recipe to brew in October. One of the interesting things I'm finding in my research is that Doppelbocks typically have a lot of Melanoidins as a result of long boils. I thought it might be fun to try and develop a recipe with little to no caramel malt and try to color/caramel the beer with a long boil. Just trying to decide the best way to do this.

Typically I do a 7 gallon pre-boil volume and calculate my pre and post-boil gravities for a 60 minute boil. I usually boil down to 6 gallons and shoot for 5-5.5 gallons for bottling.

What I would like to do for this batch is (confusing, bear with me) to start with 7 gallons and boil for 90-120 minutes. When I'm ready to add the 60 minute hop addition, I plan to add top up water to get me back to 7 gallons (and the pre-boil OG that I'm targeting).

My question is if this is a good idea, or if it's better to plan a recipe with a much higher pre-boil volume instead of topping up before the 60 minute addition?

My understanding is that it's really not going to matter. I'll get a darker beer, more burnt/caramel flavors but the sugar is just sugar. Diluting with water before adding the hops doesn't matter as far as I know.

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Old 08-05-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
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The rich melanoidin content of dopplebocks comes from both longer boils AND a traditional decoction regimen. I'd do a double or triple decoction for this beer, boiling each decoction for 15 minutes apiece. Assuming you're an all grain brewer, I'd just sparge until you have 8-9 gallons of lower gravity wort, boil it until you're on track for your target OG, add the 60 hop minute addition and finish the boil.

Adding water before/after hops will affect your utilization (bitterness extracted) to a small degree. Very high gravity worts don't extract IBUs as effectively as low gravity worts -- not to imply that shuffling a gallon of water is going to make a markedly different beer.

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Old 08-05-2013, 10:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bigbeergeek View Post
The rich melanoidin content of dopplebocks comes from both longer boils AND a traditional decoction regimen. I'd do a double or triple decoction for this beer, boiling each decoction for 15 minutes apiece. Assuming you're an all grain brewer, I'd just sparge until you have 8-9 gallons of lower gravity wort, boil it until you're on track for your target OG, add the 60 hop minute addition and finish the boil.

Adding water before/after hops will affect your utilization (bitterness extracted) to a small degree. Very high gravity worts don't extract IBUs as effectively as low gravity worts -- not to imply that shuffling a gallon of water is going to make a markedly different beer.
I've done lots of all-grain batches but no decoctions. I'm researching this as well because I'd love to try it out, and it's mentioned quite a bit with doppelbock. Doppelbock is one of my favorites, and if I'm going to do one, I'm going to do one right. Just seems like you remove some grain and boil it for a little while and add it back in...Seems too easy though so I don't think I fully understand it yet.

My big reason for the process I outlined is that I only have an 8 gallon pot. So I would rather do 7 gallons, boil it down, add water, then start the hop additions. I understand that adding water after the hop additions would decrease utilization, but you're saying it would also decrease utilization if I added water before starting the hop schedule? I'm not sure I understand why. Is there something I can read about that? I don't plan on adding water post-boil after the hop additions. Just at the 60 minute mark before adding the bittering hops.

All in all I guess I could try to split the batch between two pots (I have a 6.5 gallon in reserve). I'd have to pay special attention to the boil off though.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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Basically a decoction is this:

Traditional mash, take a percentage of first runnings and boil down, add back to mash to raise temp, continue, run off again and repeat for the number of decoctions you want.

Each decoction will add the flavors and colors you are looking for at the same time as performing a traditional step mash.

Software will help you calculate the temps and volumes needed but you also need to be sure your mash tun can handle the total volume.

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Old 08-05-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
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The volumes in the decoction, the temperature at which you start and end, how thick the decoction needs to be, AND insuring that you allow the decocted portion to rest at saccrification temps before you boil it (or you're just adding a lot of starch back to your mash and then possibly killing off the enzymes) are all important parameters to control. -Find a trusted decoction schedule and follow it (check out Brau Kaiser's site.)


Malliard products / melanoidins are formed faster with higher concentrations of sugars and proteins; a simple way to get more melanoidins with less wasted energy is to boil your first runnings (more concentrated sugars) while you're sparging and add your yeast nutrient (more nitrogen) to your first runnings.

Then do a normal boil. You can add some melanoidin malt, too.

As others have indicated the soft maltiness you get from a decoction is likely a lot more complex chemistry than JUST melanoidins so it might be worth your while to do a single decoction; it can make for a long brew day, though.


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Old 08-05-2013, 11:16 PM   #6
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-If you know you're going to do a traditional decoction, you might as well go with an undermodified malt and do it "properly"; Weyermann's "floor malted pilsener malt" pretty much exists for this purpose; it's ideal for a decoction mash.


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Old 08-06-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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All, thanks for the advice. One of my other thoughts was boiling down the first runnings and adding it back into the mash...I didn't realize that this was actually a thing. I will definitely read up more about that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by biertourist View Post
-If you know you're going to do a traditional decoction, you might as well go with an undermodified malt and do it "properly"; Weyermann's "floor malted pilsener malt" pretty much exists for this purpose; it's ideal for a decoction mash.


Adam
I'll look into this. My recipe currently calls for Weyermann's Pilsner malt but not the floor malted version. I might give it a shot.
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