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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Infusion Vs. Decoction Vs. Multi-Step Temp.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:36 PM   #1
Meister Rivington
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Default Infusion Vs. Decoction Vs. Multi-Step Temp.

Ok, likely this has been addressed, at least in part, in other threads, but I didn't immediately find anything in one thread that addresses it all.

My take so far is that for most cases a single step infusion is adequate, except for some adjuncts...correct? and which adjunct primarily?

That being said, is the only reason decoction mashing was used that temperature control was difficult in the past? Is a single-step mostly used now because at home precise temp control is hard?

What are the benefits of one over the other?

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Old 03-31-2008, 03:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meister Rivington
My take so far is that for most cases a single step infusion is adequate, except for some adjuncts...correct? and which adjunct primarily?
Anything with a high protein content, like undermodified malts, or unmalted grains (wheat, rye, barley). These generally benefit fro a protein rest.

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That being said, is the only reason decoction mashing was used that temperature control was difficult in the past? Is a single-step mostly used now because at home precise temp control is hard?
It had little to do with temp control (which would be just as easy of not easier with mutliple infusions). Historically, malts were undermodified, and the decoctions were necessary to release the starches.

Most HBers (and most commercial breweries) use single step mashes because (a) we're largely working with fully modified malts, and (b) it's easier.

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What are the benefits of one over the other?

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter16.html
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Decoction
http://brewery.org/library/DecoctFAQ.html
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:41 AM   #3
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I believe one of the other main reasons that the Germans started the decoction method was to make a repeatable brewing process.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:51 PM   #4
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Bumping a vintage-thread here, my question is decotion vs multirest by adding boiling water. Decoction seems to be alot of work for my limited amount of space and equipment, when a recipe calls for decoction mashing, will it be ok to just go with the rest temperatures but doing so by adding boiling water instead? Will there be a big difference in the beer?
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:33 AM   #5
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There's a lot of debate out there whether there is any benefit to decoction and I would just say you need to try for yourself and see.

I've been brewing some lagers lately using a single decoction process called the Schmitz Process. Its very simple and only adds about an extra hour to my brew day.

I've only sampled one of my four batches that used this process so far, so I can't really say if its better than any other mash process but its not worse.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobdee View Post
There's a lot of debate out there whether there is any benefit to decoction and I would just say you need to try for yourself and see.

I've been brewing some lagers lately using a single decoction process called the Schmitz Process. Its very simple and only adds about an extra hour to my brew day.

I've only sampled one of my four batches that used this process so far, so I can't really say if its better than any other mash process but its not worse.

I only brew belgians and ive only used single infusion for 90 min on every brew and i want to try multirest now. So i want to know if theres much benefit from decoction instead


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Old 08-30-2014, 01:56 PM   #7
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Most Belgians I've seen have used multi-step - usually 2 or 3 steps. I believe this is to a) convert undermodified grains and b) produce a super fermentable wort and c) create a more complex/interesting flavor profile. This is based on my admittedly limited knowledge of mashing. Maybe Yooper or someone can weigh in here with a more complete answer. I haven't heard of a Belgian decoction but that doesn't mean it isn't done.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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A decoction when boiled reduces protein gum, step mash doesn't. A decoction when boiled adds more starch to the solution than other methods. A decoction that is boiled produces less hot break. Each decoction used in the process can be converted at a different temp in a pH range optimum for an enzyme that the brewer decides to utilize.

Keep in mind, enzymes thermally denature. How fast denaturing occurs depends on mash thickness, mash pH and temp. A thicker mash preserves enzymes; that's one reason a thick mash is part of the decoction process. In a step mash, water is infused to raise temps, thinning the mash, affecting enzymatic action.

In the English method, depending at what temperature is chosen for conversion, a 90 minute rest might benefit alpha more than beta. Beta denatures quickly at temps in the low 150's. When beta denatures, alpha continues to produce non fermentable sugar, until it denatures. The final gravity of the product will be high. The final product becomes imbalanced. In the decoction method, a brewer can control enzymatic action, which leads to the ability to contol how fermentable the wort will be. In the English method you take what you get.

Low modified malt works with the decoction process. A brewer mentioned that under modified malt is high in protein. Under modified malt is lower in protein than high modified malt. Level of modification is indicated by the SNR number or the Kolbach number. The higher the percentage of protein, the lower the starch content of the malt. Sometimes, it's not a bad idea to take a look at the data sheet for the malt being used.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to rest the mash in a temperature range where proteolytic action will reduce beta glucan, converting it to glucose and to reduce mash viscosity.
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