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Old 06-29-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
JeffD1
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Default Major screw up with decoction

I'm pretty sure that was my last time ever trying decoction mashing. The first time I tried it, I had to do it 4 times to get it close to the rest temp I wanted even though I used beersmiths numbers. This time was even worse. I didn't stir the decocting grains well enough at first and burned a layer of them onto the bottom of my brew pot. I added everything that wasn't severely burned back to the mash and my temp only went up to 135 instead of 155. I let it sit at 135 for a while (at least half an hour) while i scrubbed my brew pot clean. This was after a protein rest of 35 minutes. So then my problem was the temp was at 135 not 155 and I was not about to attempt another decoction and it would take way to much water to add to my cooler to bring the temp up that high. So I poured all of the mash, grains and water, into my pot and brought the temp up to 155 then poured it back into my cooler.

So how bad is this? What problems will I have with this beer? Anyone have advice incase I ever become brave enough to try this again? Obviously don't stop stirring but anyone know why I can never hit the right temp?

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Old 06-30-2013, 05:41 AM   #2
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Hot side aeration is the concern, with age the beer could taste like cardboard.

It's imperative to stir when decocting, especially if you pull a thick mash, which I like to do.

It is not for everyone, lots of work for probably minimal return. I enjoy it, and have had great results with German beers doing it.

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Old 06-30-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
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If the mash was burned. The flavor of the burned mash will permeate the beer. With a mash thickness of 1 qt. lb., for every 7 pounds of grain, it takes 1 gallon of boiling thick mash to raise the mash in the tun from an acid rest temp of 95F to 128F. It's too bad that the mash tun is small. It's easy to get frustrated when the equipment is not sized to make the process easier to accomplish. It takes time to get the hang of decoction mashing. Hot side aeration is less of a concern in decoction mashing. Oxygen is boiled away in the decoction kettle. The grain bed settles differently in a decoction, compared to an infusion, because the air is boiled out of the mash. As the other brewer mentioned, sloshing the mash between boiler and mash tun can aerate it. The reason that you aren't hitting temp, is that you are following computer generated shizz. The numbers are close, they err on the low side. It is assumed that your mash tun has the volume to accommodate boiling infusions if the temps aren't reached.

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Old 06-30-2013, 05:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies! That's really good info.

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Old 06-30-2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclman View Post
Hot side aeration is the concern, with age the beer could taste like cardboard.

It's imperative to stir when decocting, especially if you pull a thick mash, which I like to do.

It is not for everyone, lots of work for probably minimal return. I enjoy it, and have had great results with German beers doing it.
Which part of the disaster are you saying could cause the hot side aeration? Is it leaving the mash too long at 135 degrees?
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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I don't worry about hot side aeration too much before the boil. The boil will drive off any free O2 in the wort.

I agree the burned mash in the decoction is the bigger flavor concern.

When I decoct, I always take more than I think I need to reach the next step, unless its the last step.

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Old 06-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffD1 View Post
Which part of the disaster are you saying could cause the hot side aeration? Is it leaving the mash too long at 135 degrees?
Pouring between pots can be a concern.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclman View Post
Pouring between pots can be a concern.
Oh right that makes sense. I've read a little on the hsa debate and while I have no first hand experience I think I lean more towards believing the people that say its a myth.
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