Decoction vs. Single insfusion

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GrundleCruncher

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Before I thought decoction mashing was an arcane practice for undermodified malts, but after reading I have found that some styles benefit greatly from this method.

I'm making a Fat Tire clone: .75 lb crystal, 1.5 lb munich, .5 lb biscuit with 2-row as my base.

I guess my question is: could I dec. mash for every brew if I wanted to, is it worth the risk of hot side aeration? Is there anything I should know before I start this, like HSA?
Thanks for all the help
 

Cheesefood

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GrundleCruncher said:
Before I thought decoction mashing was an arcane practice for undermodified malts, but after reading I have found that some styles benefit greatly from this method.

I'm making a Fat Tire clone: .75 lb crystal, 1.5 lb munich, .5 lb biscuit with 2-row as my base.

I guess my question is: could I dec. mash for every brew if I wanted to, is it worth the risk of hot side aeration? Is there anything I should know before I start this, like HSA?
Thanks for all the help
HSA is the Chupacabra of homebrewing. I've done two decoctions and haven't had off-flavors. It brings out the maltiness in the wort and gives some nice caramelization. Great for darker, maltier beers. I love my hefe that was decocted because it has that nice rich malty beer flavor.
 

DAAB

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Something i've discovered recently is that rather than go through the hassle of a full decoction you can get the same effect by skipping the first 2 stages and simply do the mash out stage at the end. Apparently Greg Noonan is doing this now and no longer advocates the tripple decoction. (You could just add some melanoidan malt to the mash though).
 

Blender

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DAAB said:
........ (You could just add some melanoidan malt to the mash though).
DAAB, how much melanoidan malt is about usual for a 5 gallon batch? I have some but don't know have a good idea on how much to use.
 

DAAB

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I suppose it depends on the type of beer but i've seen 5% suggested as the recommended max several times now. I haven't used it myself, I found out the info above because I was trying to save myself the hassle of a full decoction and a trip down to the homebrew shop.:rolleyes:
 

Beerrific

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DAAB said:
Something i've discovered recently is that rather than go through the hassle of a full decoction you can get the same effect by skipping the first 2 stages and simply do the mash out stage at the end. Apparently Greg Noonan is doing this now and no longer advocates the tripple decoction. (You could just add some melanoidan malt to the mash though).
This is how Dan Gordon also does it. He does a multi-step mash and the decoction for the mash out.
 
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GrundleCruncher

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DAAB said:
you can get the same effect by skipping the first 2 stages and simply do the mash out stage at the end.
I think I might do that(best of both worlds), do I just take 1/3 boil it and add it back or should I let the boiled wort cool to some temp.
Also what is melanoidan?
 

DAAB

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You take a third of the mash (with a sieve so you are mostly taking soggy grains) and gently boil it for 20 mins. Return this to the rest of the mash which should raise the temperature to mash out.

Melanoidin malt produces the same flavours that are produced during decoction mashing which are basically the flavours that are imparted to anything when it is cooked (not just the mash). An example I heard mentioned by Jamil Zanzibar (or what ever his name is) melanoids are the difference in flavour between toast and bread. (How the melanoidin malt is produce though I don't recall)
 
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GrundleCruncher

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Won't adding boiling water (212) to the mash cause a lot of tannin extraction in the initial contact?
 

DAAB

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No, tannin extraction is caused mainly by a combination of ph and temperature. The ph of the mash would still be within the region considered 'safe' at 6 or less.

The step I mention isn't anything new, it's merely the final part of the decoction process, the previous 2 steps are now considered unnecessary by the original advocates due through the use of modern fully modified malts.

Bear in mind the whole decoction process relies on boiling the grains.
 

AdIn

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GrundleCruncher said:
So you boil the grains, you so crazy Mr. Mosheeme
In mash out decoction you boil only thin part of mash, in other words you drain your wort, boil it and return to your mash. When you return you still have some liquid left in your mash tun so you don't really have contact of boiling liquid with the grains.

About using melanoidin malt to get malty flavor to your beer - this malt is about 27L-30L, which can make your beer darker even if you use 5% of it for your grain bill. It is critical if you try to brew light colored beer like helles or pilsner.
 

DAAB

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GrundleCruncher said:
So you boil the grains, you so crazy Mr. Mosheeme
Webster's defines:
  • "Decoct" 1) to extract the flavor of by boiling 2) boil down, concentrate
  • "Decoction" 1) the act or process of decocting 2) the extract obtained by decocting
If the previous 2 steps are being skipped I would boil the thick part of the mash to achieve the decocted flavour and not just the mash out.
 
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(cue Blue Oyster Cult clean guitar riff and MORE cowbell...)

Come on beer guy... Don't fear decoction
Beer guy take a chance... Don't fear decoction
Your sparge will be fly... Don't fear decoction

Ok, seriously, just do it. Pull 1/4 to 1/3 of your mash out of the tun, boil it for 20-30 minutes (stirring often), and return it. It's a great way to get a little extra malt flavor and complexity while meeting mash step temps. During my last brew (pumpkin ale) I did an unplanned decoction because I didn't quite achieve my desired strike temperature. Decoction isn't always the best way to fix a mistake like that (I wouldn't do it when brewing an IPA, for example), but it worked in that situation.

As for HSA - I'm with Cheese - don't worry about it. The aeration you're risking is very minimal with a decoction, and I've yet to read a beer review blaming HSA for anything. I've read that HSA can contribute to long term stability problems, but I think it's over-emphasized as a pitfall of homebrewing.
 

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