Decoction for flavor only

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gr8shandini

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I was hoping that some decoction experts could critique my process on a Marzen I just put in the fermenter last weekend. Pretty much all of the decoction profiles I found included a protein rest, which I understand isn't necessary with modern malts. Instead, I opted to do my normal single infusion mash (152F for 50 mins in this case) and then use a decoction to raise it to mashout temps - also not required, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

My question is, how long should I have boiled the decoction if my goal is to get an accurate flavor provile? I simply brought it to a boil and dumped it back in, but should I have kept it boiling for a while?
 

Rev2010

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It's recommended you should boil it for a while, but IMO it does not need to be boiled anywhere near as long as some quote (ie. 30 minutes or more). I typically boil the grains for anywhere between 5-15 minutes and have always had excellent results.


Rev.
 

michaeltrego

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I followed the same process for my Marzen two weeks ago. I mashed at 151 for 60 minutes. Then pulled a thick decoction and boiled for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Then returned it to the main mash and sparged as usual.
 

rjsnau

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I recently did my first decoction and I did a 20 minute protein rest at 133 and then infusion to 152. I decocted to mashout boiling for 20 minutes. It is carbing up now so we will see how it came out.
 

TyTanium

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There's also melanoidin malt. There's no substitute for a good decoction, but this gets you darn close with next to zero extra effort.
 
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gr8shandini

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Thanks guys. As soon as I put it back in the tun, I knew I should have let the decoction simmer for a bit to get the maillard reactions going. Oh well, next time.

Ty, I thought about melanoidin, but I've already got enough types of grain lying around that I don't need to add another. Besides, scooping out some mash and boiling it doesn't really complicate the brew day all that much.
 

VladOfTrub

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It's good to pay particular attention to mash pH when boiling a thick decoction. High pH and high temps can strip some tannin. The reason for the acid rest in decoction brewing is to lower the mash pH. Once the mash pH is right, the mash can be boiled without stripping tannins. Check out info on using acid malt, water chemistry and treatment.
 

SouthBay

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I find that 10-20 minutes of boil time seems to be enough to get some solid decoction flavors going.

Just two weeks ago, I did one, mashing in at 125, decoction (raise to 144, rest, raise to 156, rest, boil 10 minutes) to raise it up to 144, then a second decoction (raise to 156, rest, boil 10 minutes) to bring the main mash to 156. I sampled some yesterday and the flavor was great, which makes me think the flavors from the boil develop fairly quickly.
 
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