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Old 01-17-2013, 03:25 AM   #1
DrunkenGeezer
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Default Thoughts on decoction

With modern well converted malts, it is often said, that decoction is not necessary. But many feel it adds body and maltyness. I have messed with it and found it more difficult to control my mash temp than simple infusions.
I have an idea I wonder if anyone else has tried: Instead of doughing in the full mash and pulling out the decocted portion I want to do a separate mash with the decocted portion (say 1/3 of total grains) and do a single step infusion mash with a shortish (30-45 min) sacc rest, and then bring that to a boil for say 20 min. Then...add cold water, in the proper portion for the rest of the grain and add the remaining grains, then adjust temperature to sugar rest for the whole amount.
I know this is not really a decoction. But I think it might give the same desired character to the brew and increase efficiency.
Thoughts?

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:53 PM   #2
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That's an old, well accepted technique.

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Old 01-17-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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I tend to use decoctions for old/ancient recipes. It makes me feel like an oldtime brewmaster :-)

I will say that although it may not be needed, there are obvious changes that occur which make me feel good about using it.

I think it was a simple way for people using limited fuel sources to get their mash from step to step. I

When you remove some wet mash from the MT and start cooking it, the smell and color change. The smell becomes much maltier and the color much darker. That alone I believe adds the malty flavor component.

That being said, I've never done any Pilsner or Oketoberfest without at least a double decoction, so haven't really compared in an AB test.

I say do it. It will give you an appreciation for the subtleties that the oldtime brewmasters dealt with.

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Old 01-17-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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@ Denny. I figured someone must have done that b4. Too obvious. Does it have a name?
I was thinking too about calculating the temp of the water added to the boiled mash to end up at the sugar rest temp without adjustment but my head exploded.
All the online calculators I can find are for infusion mashes.
Thanks!

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkenGeezer View Post
@ Denny. I figured someone must have done that b4. Too obvious. Does it have a name?
I was thinking too about calculating the temp of the water added to the boiled mash to end up at the sugar rest temp without adjustment but my head exploded.
All the online calculators I can find are for infusion mashes.
Thanks!
I don't know of any real name for it. I've never found a decoction calculator that was accurate for me. I just pull a large decoction and add it until I hit my rest temp. Then I cool any that's left down to the mash temp and add it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkenGeezer View Post
@ Denny. I figured someone must have done that b4. Too obvious. Does it have a name?
I was thinking too about calculating the temp of the water added to the boiled mash to end up at the sugar rest temp without adjustment but my head exploded.
All the online calculators I can find are for infusion mashes.
Thanks!
I don't bother calculating, even with traditional decoction. I pull out a good approximate percent of thick mash. Heat to the rests, boil, then add back in scoops. When I'm adding back, I pour in about half, give a good stir, check temp, then add and stir more as needed. If I hit the next rest before its all added back, just leave it out. When the extra bit cools to mash temp, add it back. Repeat as necessary to next rest.

nothing says you must pull an exact quantity to hit temps. Calculators are good, but pull a bit extra to be safe. If you follow a rigid formula, you'll get frustrated. Go slow, pull more, and it's a fun process, just don't over think it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:26 AM   #7
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Once again art meets science.

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Old 01-18-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Check out Melanoidin malt. There's a pro brewer in my club that swears by it, especially in beers with lager yeast (Oktoberfest/Vienna Lagers/Alts, especially). Adding about 5% Melanoidin malt to any given mash is supposed to have a similar net result as a decoction mash without all of the extra effort and time.

No brainer to me!

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Check out Melanoidin malt. There's a pro brewer in my club that swears by it, especially in beers with lager yeast (Oktoberfest/Vienna Lagers/Alts, especially). Adding about 5% Melanoidin malt to any given mash is supposed to have a similar net result as a decoction mash without all of the extra effort and time.

No brainer to me!
Not according to this test....

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/deco...n-malt-345844/
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:53 PM   #10
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Did you actually read the guy's test? He used completely different recipes, so I'm not sure he can conclusively say that it was the melanoidin malt or the decoction mash that caused the differences in the final beers. This is anecdotal at best.

Anyway, even if the Melanoidin malt gets you 50% of the way there, I wouldn't dismiss it. There are certainly plenty of circumstances where you don't want to spend an extra hour+ doing decoctions if you don't have to.

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