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Old 03-27-2007, 12:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dude
Oh man...I sense this thread is going to go downhill fast.....

This is my opinion....but I will put my beers up to ANY decocted beer of the same style. Decoction for beers but anything besides Dopplebocks, etc is a WASTE of time. If you want a maltier flavor, or more mouth feel or more red color...add adjunct malts to it.

Color? Melanoidin
Body/mouthfeel? Carapils
Malty? Victory
Alright, I'm going to quibble with you for one second...

You said not too long ago that you wanted to (and I'm going to paraphrase here) "stretch" yourself as a brewer by getting better at adjusting things like mouthfeel/body via mash techniques. To this end, I know you're trying to get better control over things like mash thickness. Don't ask me to dig up the thread (although I will), but I know you've said words to the effect of "I'd like to be able to get away from using carapils and get the effect through my brewing techniques/"

If that's the case, and the use of a decotion can impact the variables you mentioned (plus clarity, IIRC) - why not put that in your aresenal? How is it different, theoretically, from targeting particular characteristics via mash temp, thickness, etc., versus targeting them by boiling some of your grain?

Methinks I have another nominee for the "Unresolved Issues" Papazian...
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:36 PM   #12
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I think there are several factors going on here. First off, it sounds like he knows what he is doing in the realm he is used to. Second, because he is comfortable in that realm and has been successful I think he is prone to shun some of the obvious advances in malting science. Third, if it works for you then so be it. Personally I have never attempted a decoction mash because there has been no reason to for me at least. That is not to say I don't think some beers wouldn't benefit (perhaps greatly) from it, but I personally have not come to that place as a brewer yet.

I agree though, he would probably be biased if you gave him a beer you made. The whole crook of the argument is this: If you brewed them sided by side (two identical recipes) one with the decoction mash and the other single infusion, they would most definitely produce different products. Problem is, which one is better? Just because you do the decoction mash doesn't mean it is better, but different.

One could argue that it is impossible to make a good beer without the use of Candi Sugar. There is more to what Candi Sugar provides to many of the Trappist Ales (etc) beyond flavor.

One could argue that it is impossible to make a good beer without the use of a starter.

The list goes on and on and on.

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Old 03-27-2007, 01:12 PM   #13
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I don't do decoction simply because I don't have the equipment to do it properly, but I don't know if I would if I could. My beers are just fine using the single infusion method, in fact the are downright tasty!

I wonder if the guys with the HERMS & RIMS rigs do it?

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Old 03-27-2007, 01:22 PM   #14
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http://brewery.org/library/DecoctFAQ.html

The traditional decoction methods are designed for very poor quality malts, as a result they often require very long mash times. (Note that for amateur brewers this is not an issue because it is almost impossible to get these poor malts.)
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Old 03-27-2007, 01:39 PM   #15
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I would think that any barley wine, when properly bottled and stored, would taste fantastic after 19 years. See if he has any "regular" beer, drink it, and then see if it's any better than your stuff. Some of the most fantastic beers I've ever had were from single-infusion mashes.

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Old 03-27-2007, 02:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesefood
http://brewery.org/library/DecoctFAQ.html

The traditional decoction methods are designed for very poor quality malts, as a result they often require very long mash times. (Note that for amateur brewers this is not an issue because it is almost impossible to get these poor malts.)
Hops were used in beer for their anti-microbial properties to stop beer spoilage. With improved sanitation we no longer need them, would you advocate removing them from beer??

Just because we have access to good malts that brewers of old didn't, doesn't mean that processes that they utilised to get the best out of the malt may not be useful to aquire more specialised flavour profiles even with todays malted grain.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delboy
Hops were used in beer for their anti-microbial properties to stop beer spoilage. With improved sanitation we no longer need them, would you advocate removing them from beer??

Just because we have access to good malts that brewers of old didn't, doesn't mean that processes that they utilised to get the best out of the malt may not be useful to aquire more specialised flavour profiles even with todays malted grain.
That wasn't really what I infered the point to be: I think it's more like that the oldtimer in question learned his craft at a time when decoction/multi-step mashing may have been necessary to brewing good beer.

There may or may not be reasons to decoct/step various beers, but it is almost never necessary when making barley beers from modern malts.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:30 PM   #18
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Personally, I'd want to learn what he knows. But after listening to what he says and trying his method, why not do a blind taste test with the same recipe between a single and decoction mash?

No matter what happens, both of you will be better brewers from the experience.

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Old 03-27-2007, 02:57 PM   #19
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I watched Kai do a decotion a couple weeks ago, and the process itself looks a lot simpler than I was expecting. Basically, yeah, you need a smallish pot (I have a 5-gallon from my extract days that I use to heat sparge water now) and a slotted spoon. Nothing else. I'm a little worried about the logistics of when I'll be boiling the mash and when I need to start getting sparge water heated up, but it's manageable, I think...

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Old 03-27-2007, 03:10 PM   #20
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Your neighbor sounds like a pompous bastard...and, in my opinion, the last thing homebrewing needs is pompous bastards who are 100% sure that their way is the best way.

What WOULD be funny is to learn how to do a good decoction mash. Then brew 4 similarly-styled beers. 2 decoction, 2 SI. Bring him an unmarked bottle of each one. I'd bet that he can't blindly pick out the decoction batches.

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