That German Lager taste

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csantoni

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While I wait for some HB batches to mature, I've been drinking a lot of German lagers. I've had a few in the past but I'm definitely not as familiar with them as with English and American styles. One thing I've noticed is they all have a distinct flavor that makes me say, "ah, that's a German beer." I can't really describe the flavor but it's present in both the light and dark styles.

My question is, what ingredient gives that flavor? Yeast? Malt? Hops? My own Oktoberfest (which admittedly still needs to mature) doesn't have this quality, but I used a fairly clean yeast, Marris Otter, and just a bit of Hallertauer so I mostly taste the MO.

These are the beers I've been drinking, in case that matters:
Weihenstephaner Original
Paulaner Münchner Lager
Spaten Oktoberfestbier
Ayinger Oktober Fest Märzen
 
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to answer your question simply... the answer is YES. Yes its the hops and Yes its the yeast and yes its the grain. But more than that its the Water and the process along side the ingredients. If you look at the book "Designing Great Beers" in the category you like you will find all the ingredients that are in all the beers from that category that were chosen in the second round of competition. (yes the book is dated but still very relevant for this purpose IMHO) You will see how the beers are similar. Then you can start to wrap your head around how they are built and what exactly goes in them. Yes these are homebrew BUT they are the best representation you are going to find WITH a recipe attached.
All that having been said. You are not going to make a GREAT German lager without GREAT German ingredients and water profile.

Hope that gets you in the right direction.

Cheers
Jay
 

Sammy86

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My own Oktoberfest (which admittedly still needs to mature) doesn't have this quality, but I used a fairly clean yeast, Marris Otter, and just a bit of Hallertauer so I mostly taste the MO.
German beers require german malts...MO while being a delicious malt will not cut it for german lager styles.

IMO you need to go all German if you're brewing traditional styles...

German Pils Malt
German Vienna
German Munich

Hallertaur or any other German Noble Hop

and a good German Yeast, otherwise you're waisting time and ingredients on something like a MOktoberfest
 
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csantoni

csantoni

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Yeah, I kinda figured that was the answer but I wanted to be sure it wasn't something like "make sure you use sauermalz" or something like that. It's interesting to me that there's a characteristic flavor (to me anyway) to these beers but I haven't noticed anything similar elsewhere.
 
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csantoni

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German beers require german malts...MO while being a delicious malt will not cut it for german lager styles.
I think the first style I might try to reproduce will be a Helles. I'll definitely go all German ingredients on that one.

I wasn't expecting my mOktoberfest to have that German quality, I like MO so I used it. I actually found a recipe on some other site that called for MO in an Oktoberfest which sounded totally wrong to me but I think it will be a nice beer when it's ready.
 

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I think the first style I might try to reproduce will be a Helles. I'll definitely go all German ingredients on that one.

I wasn't expecting my mOktoberfest to have that German quality, I like MO so I used it. I actually found a recipe on some other site that called for MO in an Oktoberfest which sounded totally wrong to me but I think it will be a nice beer when it's ready.
I'm sure it's tasty, but not to style.

Helles or Kolsch are great starters. Pils, Munich, White Wheat and some noble hops and you're good to go. Simple and easy...my types of brews.
 
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Yeah, I kinda figured that was the answer but I wanted to be sure it wasn't something like "make sure you use sauermalz" or something like that. It's interesting to me that there's a characteristic flavor (to me anyway) to these beers but I haven't noticed anything similar elsewhere.
You have to keep in mind the German beer laws are serious. Most of the breweries stick to a strict list of ingredients. If you stick with those and use German everything. You'll find that flavor.

Cheers
Jay
 
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I'm sure it's tasty, but not to style.
That makes me wonder about malts like MO that have a recognizable flavor vs the style guidelines.

For instance, 6A Marzen:
Flavor: Initial malt flavor often suggests sweetness, but finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the hop flavor is low to none (German types: complex, floral, herbal, or spicy). Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavors lingering. Noticeable caramel, biscuit, or roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean lager fermentation profile.

MO to me just tastes like MO, I like it so I know the flavor well. Would it actually qualify as "distinctive and complex" per that style? Or would you get downgraded because while you had malt flavor, it was MO malt flavor?

I haven't entered any comps but the idea intrigues me and I've read that you enter the beer in the category that matches the finished beer, not necessarily what you set out to make.
 

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I can't really describe the flavor but it's present in both the light and dark styles.
I know exactly what you're talking about and I can't describe it either, nor can I reproduce it, and you're right, it's in nearly every beer.
I would love to know what the secret is too.
If you stick with those and use German everything. You'll find that flavor
I use all German malts, German noble hops and W-34/70 yeast which is supposedly the strain from Weihenstephan. The only thing I don't use is "German" water... and I still can't find "that" flavor.
 
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I know exactly what you're talking about and I can't describe it either, nor can I reproduce it, and you're right, it's in nearly every beer.
I would love to know what the secret is too.

I use all German malts, German noble hops and W-34/70 yeast which is supposedly the strain from Weihenstephan. The only thing I don't use is "German" water... and I still can't find "that" flavor.
Build water. Its so important and a game changer. I bet just by adding a bit of chloride to your normal water would help. Are you PH adjusting your MASH? 5.4 to 5.6 is a reasonable starting point. Starting with basic RO and building is fairly simple with all the 411 out there today. I think you will find the Ah Ha taste your looking for. Once I started building water... I started hitting those flavors I was reaching for with all the styles. Then address process.

Cheers
Jay
 

camonick

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Build water. Its so important and a game changer. I bet just by adding a bit of chloride to your normal water would help. Are you PH adjusting your MASH? 5.4 to 5.6 is a reasonable starting point. Starting with basic RO and building is fairly simple with all the 411 out there today. I think you will find the Ah Ha taste your looking for. Once I started building water... I started hitting those flavors I was reaching for with all the styles. Then address process.

Cheers
Jay
I use Bru'n water for all my batches.
 

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As above, fresh quality (German) grain, and quality German hops (Czech can also work) are important. When doing analyses of commercial German beers, their recipes are all very similar within certain categories (largely determined by abv in German law).

Research Sauergut... that could definitely be the "it" flavor you are picking up in the above referenced beers.

Additionally, these beers have a very high degree of apparent attenuation-- this significantly impacts your experience of the beer.

The 34/70 you are using probably has questionable provenance-- the yeasts sold by all the large commercial labs that sell what is purportedly 34/70 do not perform or match the characteristics as described by the Hefebank. That said a small yeast lab, RVA labs, has a lager strain I know for a fact was sourced directly from the Weihenstephan Hefebank and performs flawlessly for German lagers, especially of the ilk you have been consuming.

Pitching appropriate (large) healthy yeast is also critical.

Mitigating oxygen pick-up during the entirety of the process from dough-in through packaging is also critical.

These methods, often referred to as related to a the moderna brau house, really leads one to achieving the highest quality german style homebrewed beer.

My $0.02 Use it as you will....
 
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csantoni

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Research Sauergut... that could definitely be the "it" flavor you are picking up in the above referenced beers.
I think I might use some when I do my next German style just to see what it’s like.

edit: I confused Sauergut with sauermalz, no chance I’m going to mess with Sauergut.
 
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Miraculix

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That makes me wonder about malts like MO that have a recognizable flavor vs the style guidelines.

For instance, 6A Marzen:
Flavor: Initial malt flavor often suggests sweetness, but finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the hop flavor is low to none (German types: complex, floral, herbal, or spicy). Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavors lingering. Noticeable caramel, biscuit, or roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean lager fermentation profile.

MO to me just tastes like MO, I like it so I know the flavor well. Would it actually qualify as "distinctive and complex" per that style? Or would you get downgraded because while you had malt flavor, it was MO malt flavor?

I haven't entered any comps but the idea intrigues me and I've read that you enter the beer in the category that matches the finished beer, not necessarily what you set out to make.
I think that, as a foreigner, looking into a definition of a beer, written by other foreigners, might not be the best way of doing it.

The bjcp does not have any say in how a German beer should taste. All they do is throw their ideas about it into writing, sometimes it's quite accurate, sometimes it's on the edge and sometimes it's completely wrong. In other words, look somewhere else. Best is, drink some prime examples and see if you're results would go into the same direction. If not, try again.
 

Protos

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a distinct flavor that makes me say, "ah, that's a German beer.
Decoction.
What radically distinguishes a good Germanic (Austro-Bohemian included) Lager from all other beers is decoction. Which gives (in my opinion) a subtle but distinctive flavour of melanoidin and a light tannic twang from the boiled hulls.
I don't know if that's what others mean when talking about "that German flavour" (and some even say that decoction doesn't add any particular flavour at all), but for me it's the signature "German taste" which I think I successfully reproduce in all my decocted Germanic Lagers.
And the yeasts, too.
 

Miraculix

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Decoction.
What radically distinguishes a good Germanic (Austro-Bohemian included) Lager from all other beers is decoction. Which gives (in my opinion) a subtle but distinctive flavour of melanoidin and a light tannic twang from the boiled hulls.
I don't know if that's what others mean when talking about "that German flavour" (and some even say that decoction doesn't add any particular flavour at all), but for me it's the signature "German taste" which I think I successfully reproduce in all my decocted Germanic Lagers.
And the yeasts, too.
That is true. I never did a decoction, but I was able to mimic the effect by using 5% melanoidin malt. Have you been able to compare both?
 

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I often use Melanoidin malt to roughly mimic the decoction effect. I do decoctions only to my most exclusive light Lagers, and the rest go with some Mela malt, from 1 to 6%.
The similarity in taste is just approximate, in my experience. Technically, Mela malt is more efficient in giving that specific "baked" taste. I hardly imagine how long must be a decoction boil to reach same flavour level that a simple 5% Mela malt addition can give. But the flavour is not exactly the same. I think tannic (woody and hay-like) notes extracted from the boiled husks are no less important in defining "that German flavour" than Melanoidin molecules. And Mela malt lacks those tannic components, so it's not an absolute substitution.
Mela malt and decoction have slightly different but equally nice effects, I swap them depending on the style. F ex. I use healthy doses of Mela malt in my heftiest lagers, like Bocks, Doppelbocks and Baltic Porters. I use much less in middle-strength malty styles, like Märzens and Festbiers. I add a smidgen to Dortmunders. And zero Mela malt in Pilsners, Wieners and Budweisers. I think the lighter styles should be brewed either with a real decoction or with no attempts to imitate it, because melanoidins without the complementing tannins just taste fake in lighter beers, I think.
 

Miraculix

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I often use Melanoidin malt to roughly mimic the decoction effect. I do decoctions only to my most exclusive light Lagers, and the rest go with some Mela malt, from 1 to 6%.
The similarity in taste is just approximate, in my experience. Technically, Mela malt is more efficient in giving that specific "baked" taste. I hardly imagine how long must be a decoction boil to reach same flavour level that a simple 5% Mela malt addition can give. But the flavour is not exactly the same. I think tannic (woody and hay-like) notes extracted from the boiled husks are no less important in defining "that German flavour" than Melanoidin molecules. And Mela malt lacks those tannic components, so it's not an absolute substitution.
Mela malt and decoction have slightly different but equally nice effects, I swap them depending on the style. F ex. I use healthy doses of Mela malt in my heftiest lagers, like Bocks, Doppelbocks and Baltic Porters. I use much less in middle-strength malty styles, like Märzens and Festbiers. I add a smidgen to Dortmunders. And zero Mela malt in Pilsners, Wieners and Budweisers. I think the lighter styles should be brewed either with a real decoction or with no attempts to imitate it, because melanoidins without the complementing tannins just taste fake in lighter beers, I think.
Sounds logical to me. I wonder if it would be possible to add some "husk tea" to a melanoidin malt addition, to mimic that slightly tannic effect you are describing. Now I'm getting a bit experimental :D
 

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You might try to do a simpler experiment AND still a true and authentic single-decoction.

Just do all the infusion steps you fancy and during the last dextrinization step (at 68° or 72°C), instead of immediate Vorlauf, just scoop the grains by a colander from the mash tun and boil them in a kettle for 10 to 45 minutes. Keep the liquid wort in the tun at the same T°, while you're boiling the grains. Then just return the boiled grains to the tun, and then lauter. Voila, you've got all necessary melanoidins and tannins in your wort and authentic decoction flavour in your beer!
It's really that simple.

The process is the same if you brew in a bag. All extras you need is just another kettle and 10 to 45 mins to boil the grain.
 
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jdauria

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Research Sauergut... that could definitely be the "it" flavor you are picking up in the above referenced beers.
Agree...that's the magic "it" factor in fresh German beers (not that many are fresh here in the US), it adds this hint of grapes or white wine notes to the beers that somehow works to complement the grain/yeast/hops and makes German lagers world class beers. Another factor is low oxygen brewing, keeping the malt aromas and hop aromas in the beer and not evaporating it all off.
 

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Agree to disagree, feel it improved my lagers and I score more 40+ beers in comps with lodo then without.
This doesn't change the fact that what you taste in commercial German beers has got nothing to do with LODO since German commercial breweries do not waste any time with such nonsense, that was just a blatant lie some guys tried to pander on this and other forums.
You'd also be surprised at how few German breweries still have Sauergut reactors in operation since with modern malt and moder water treatment it is not needed at all.
 
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You might try to do a simpler experiment AND still a true and authentic single-decoction.

Just do all the infusion steps you fancy and during the last dextrinization step (at 68° or 72°C), instead of immediate Vorlauf, just scoop the grains by a colander from the mash tun and boil them in a kettle for 10 to 45 minutes. Keep the liquid wort in the tun at the same T°, while you're boiling the grains. Then just return the boiled grains to the tun, and then lauter. Voila, you've got all necessary melanoidins and tannins in your wort and authentic decoction flavour in your beer!
It's really that simple.

The process is the same if you brew in a bag. All extras you need is just another kettle and 10 to 45 mins to boil the grain.
You just blew my mind. I have the sudden urge to take another crack at an ofest.
 

Vale71

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You might try to do a simpler experiment AND still a true and authentic single-decoction.

Just do all the infusion steps you fancy and during the last dextrinization step (at 68° or 72°C), instead of immediate Vorlauf, just scoop the grains by a colander from the mash tun and boil them in a kettle for 10 to 45 minutes. Keep the liquid wort in the tun at the same T°, while you're boiling the grains. Then just return the boiled grains to the tun, and then lauter. Voila, you've got all necessary melanoidins and tannins in your wort and authentic decoction flavour in your beer!
It's really that simple.
This way besides tannins and melanoidins you'll get a ton of unconverted starch in your wort. The last step if performed via decoction must always be a liquid-only decoction. Cooking the grains releases starch and if you're raising the mash temp to mash-out temp you'll destroy all the enzymes needed for complete conversion.

To correctly perform a single decoction one must pick an intermediate step to turn into a decoction step. My personal preference is to mash-in below saccharization and proteolysis temperature and then perform a single, rather large decoction, taking the mash straight to saccharification temperature.
 

Sammy86

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I think we're missing a big part of the discussion here which is the yeast selection.

While decoction and step mashes are nice the real flavor profile for beer IMO is the yeast. I'm a 34/70 guy myself and I really like the lallemand kolsch yeast gives that German beer flavor.

Which yeats should the OP try to get that taste they are looking for?
 

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This way besides tannins and melanoidins you'll get a ton of unconverted starch in your wort.
Why???
There's no starch at this point in the grain: you boil the grains after all stepped rests have been done. All starches have been converted already. What little is left is exracted already into the wort and is finishing its conversion in the tun while you are boiling the grain.

You don't need any enzymes at this stage anymore. They have already done their job at the previous infusion steps. And now they can be safely denatured - either by mashing-out or by the boiling of the grain.
This cheap-and-dirty simplest decoction method is done on an already converted grain. It's performed just for flavour, not for convertion. It gives similar flavours to the real decoction, I've done this many times. And it is anyway better than the "husk tea" Miraculix was thinking to experiment with.

Classic single decoctions are different of course: they're done between various convertion steps. But this one is done between convertion and lautering, and that's the difference.

And it's not my invention. I learned the basic idea some years ago from Braukaiser's article on decoctions, where he says single decoction can be employed to reach any temperature step you wish, including the mash-out step.
 
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dmtaylor

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I think we're missing a big part of the discussion here which is the yeast selection.

While decoction and step mashes are nice the real flavor profile for beer IMO is the yeast. I'm a 34/70 guy myself and I really like the lallemand kolsch yeast gives that German beer flavor.

Which yeats should the OP try to get that taste they are looking for?
In no particular order:

Wyeast 2206
WLP833
Lallemand Diamond Lager

These will all give you the absolute best lagers with "that German" flavor.
 

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Why???
There's no starch at this point in the grain: you boil the grains after all stepped rests have been done. All starches have been converted already. What little is left is exracted already into the wort and is finishing its conversion in the tun while you are boiling the grain.
I'm afraid Mr. Kaiser was misinformed when he wrote that. There is always unconverted starch even in spent grains. Large commercial breweries routinely perform lab analysis on the spent grains to determine exactly how much unconverted starch is left to make sure it stays below certain values.

Decocting grains, even in the final step when all starch is fully converted but only in the liquid part, will release some starch which cannot then be converted any more and this will affect beer quality to some extent. That's the reason why decoction to mash-out temperature must always be performed by pulling liquid only. It's also the reason why efficiency will go up when performing a decoction instead of a simple infusion as decoction is more effective in releasing as much of the starch as possible from the grains.

If you're still unconvinced, when performing an iodine test before mash-out try performing it with some spent grains in the sample. You're guaranteed to always have a positive iodine reaction from the grains even when full conversion has already been achieved.
 

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The factors for getting that German Lager taste are not that lengthy nor complicated, but need to be backed up by good process, which is the harder part.
  1. Use German Pilsner malt for most of your base unless doing a darker style or wheat beers in which case use German Munich or wheat malt in line with your recipe - you don't need to add specialty malts like Melanoidin. Pilsner malts are kilned to about 1.5L vs 3.5L for Maris Otter, they are very different. Maris Otter does not provide Pilsner flavor.
  2. Use Noble Hops - don't dry hop, and stick to late addition hopping rates in accordance to style.
  3. Use German lager yeasts - WLP833 (Ayinger), WLP830 ( Weihenstephaner, I think), are amongst my favorites.
  4. Use the right water profile suitable for lagers and intended beer. Also, add acid or acidulated malt (authentic German) to achieve appropriate mash PH.
  5. Decoction - not required, most German breweries do not do decoctions, but rather deploy a Hochkurz step mash, which may not make a big difference either (no good data on this)
  6. Implement sound brewing practices - good sanitation, correct pitching rates, temperature control for both mashing and fermentation, decent low oxygen brewing practices. Hot side low oxygen practices are more difficult to implement. Cold side is easier and you will get more bang for your effort. Kegging and using closed transferring techniques work great and are not too difficult to do. If bottling, take extra care when doing so. Here is a link to a video that highlights the importance of good bottling practices -
To summarize - the right malts, yeast, hops, water backed up with good process and you can make awesome German lagers. Simple in theory, but requires having a good process to back up.

Below is a recipe for a Bitburger like clone with slightly lower IBU target - it was awesome. Hochkurz step mash, fermented at about 50.

1632327256401.png

1632327403962.png
 
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Protos

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I'm afraid Mr. Kaiser was misinformed when he wrote that. There is always unconverted starch even in spent grains. Large commercial breweries routinely perform lab analysis on the spent grains to determine exactly how much unconverted starch is left to make sure it stays below certain values.

Decocting grains, even in the final step when all starch is fully converted but only in the liquid part, will release some starch which cannot then be converted any more and this will affect beer quality to some extent. That's the reason why decoction to mash-out temperature must always be performed by pulling liquid only. It's also the reason why efficiency will go up when performing a decoction instead of a simple infusion as decoction is more effective in releasing as much of the starch as possible from the grains.

If you're still unconvinced, when performing an iodine test before mash-out try performing it with some spent grains in the sample. You're guaranteed to always have a positive iodine reaction from the grains even when full conversion has already been achieved.
Well, a great subject, worthy of doing some research.
I went to check Mr. Kaiser's sources, the main of which was Abriß der Bierbrauerei by Ludwig Narziss, a great classic book I happen to have in my library too. In Punkt 2.3.3.3 Narziss suggests five ways to perform a single decoction. The first is like this: Mash in at 35-37C, heat to 50C in course of 20 mins. and keep there for 15-30 mins.; then raise the temp in course of 15 mins. to 65C and keep there for 30 mins. Then draw the liquid part of the mash to another preheated kettle, while heating the thick part for full saccharificaton at 68-72C [exact dextrinization rest time is not specified - appaprently till the negative iodine test] and then boiling it for 15-30 mins. Then mix the boiled thick part into the liquid part and then start the filtration.
Then he adds (my exact translation): "It's also possible to draw the main [liquid] mash after [the whole wort] saccharification at 70C, however there might be a risk of weakened amylases not being active enough for full saccharification of significant quantity of starch, extracted into the solution during the boil".

So, both you and Mr. Kaiser are right. He says it's possible. You say it isn't because of lot of starch coming into the wort. And Dr. Narziss says it's possible, but risky because of lot of starch coming into the wort.
And what Mr Protos sez? He sez he has repeated this Mash-Out Decoction For Dummies for 12 or 15 times. Probably he was getting a lot of starch coming into his wort. Probably his Weyermann Malz amylazes were active enough to convert even that additional starch as he'd never noticed any detrimental effects of this simplest single-decoction on his beers. Apparently, many times he was unknowingly nearing the risky line but always somehow managed to stay at the safe side.
Next time I do this simple decoction routine (and I will do, as it has never failed me) I will do an iodine test to see what really happens in my mash, so thanks for the suggestion!

***
...But see what Johannes Olberg says in 1928 on decocting Kölsch:

Or after saccharification of the mash, about a third is left in the lauter tun while the other two-thirds is brought to the boil in the kettle and returned to the lauter tun to mash out at 76ºC.

It's from an article in Ron Pattinson's blog, to which (the article, not the blog) Hanglow turned my attention just recently in another thread here on HBT.
Then, we might see that even ~100 years ago, with their worse malts, they in Germany weren't scared too much of starch and did exactly what Protos sez he duz :)
 

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No, it isn't....
This doesn't change the fact that what you taste in commercial German beers has got nothing to do with LODO since German commercial breweries do not waste any time with such nonsense, that was just a blatant lie some guys tried to pander on this and other forums.
You'd also be surprised at how few German breweries still have Sauergut reactors in operation since with modern malt and moder water treatment it is not needed at all.
Yes, it is. See, I can do that too.

It's amazing how you discount the experience of @jdauria outright, based on his own experience/taste and demonstrative positive "blind" reactions to his brews with this technique based on scores of 40+ in comps using those techniques vs. not using them.

Just as much as you can claim that some guy is blatantly "pandering" a lie, I am going to say you are guilty of blatantly lying and denigrating known, peer reviewed and evidenced based, techniques for brewing modern German lagers.


:mug:

EDIT: I'm done, I've said my piece and will leave it to stand for itself.
 
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dmtaylor

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Just as much as you can claim that some guy is blatantly "pandering" a lie, I am going to say you are guilty of blatantly lying and denigrating known, peer reviewed and evidenced based, techniques for brewing modern German lagers.
Ugh. Can we just stop this before it starts? That'd be cool.
 

Pablo 54

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The factors for getting that German Lager taste are not that lengthy nor complicated, but need to be backed up by good process, which is the harder part.
  1. Use German Pilsner malt for most of your base unless doing a darker style or wheat beers in which case use German Munich or wheat malt in line with your recipe - you don't need to add specialty malts like Melanoidin. Pilsner malts are kilned to about 1.5L vs 3.5L for Maris Otter, they are very different. Maris Otter does not provide Pilsner flavor.
  2. Use Noble Hops - don't dry hop, and stick to late addition hopping rates in accordance to style.
  3. Use German lager yeasts - WLP833 (Ayinger), WLP830 ( Weihenstephaner, I think), are amongst my favorites.
  4. Use the right water profile suitable for lagers and intended beer. Also, add acid or acidulated malt (authentic German) to achieve appropriate mash PH.
  5. Decoction - not required, most German breweries do not do decoctions, but rather deploy a Hochkurz step mash, which may not make a big difference either (no good data on this)
  6. Implement sound brewing practices - good sanitation, correct pitching rates, temperature control for both mashing and fermentation, decent low oxygen brewing practices. Hot side low oxygen practices are more difficult to implement. Cold side is easier and you will get more bang for your effort. Kegging and using closed transferring techniques work great and are not too difficult to do. If bottling, take extra care when doing so. Here is a link to a video that highlights the importance of good bottling practices -
To summarize - the right malts, yeast, hops, water backed up with good process and you can make awesome German lagers. Simple in theory, but requires having a good process to back up.

Below is a recipe for a Bitburger like clone with slightly lower IBU target - it was awesome. Hochkurz step mash, fermented at about 50.

View attachment 743219
View attachment 743220
This.
The only reason I got into homebrewing was because I wanted to recreate the beers I enjoyed while in Europe (German, Czech, Austrian, etc.). The one thing I would add that can be controlled by the homebrewer is Open Fermentation. Try it. 3 days only. Scoop the dark krausen until it is whitish, give it a vigorous stir, do it 2 or 3 more times then seal it up and then go on about your fermentation schedule.
One big point, if you have access to the malster that supplies the grains to your favorite brewery, and they will agree to sell you the identical malt, then you have something going. If not, you will always create something that could be seen as being "inspired by" but not a "clone".
 

cactusgarrett

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Open Fermentation. Try it. 3 days only.
Curious what you're getting out of this technique (krausen skimming) that others aren't. I'd posit that this is a very unpopular practice, and the few pieces of work I've seen done on it (namely this, and this) suggest it doesn't lend itself in a discernable way.
 
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cyberbackpacker

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I think I might use some when I do my next German style just to see what it’s like.

edit: I confused Sauergut with sauermalz, no chance I’m going to mess with Sauergut.
If you've ever considered a kettle sour, Sauergut is actually a bit easier. Nothing to be afraid of... wort and a handful of grain.

The good thing is it's carrying Lacto which is on your grain (and therefore in your brewery) all the time, and basically lacto is negated by the use of hops, so no worry about "future" problems with it.

Just something to consider.

Lots of levers that can be pulled in brewing, this is just another one that is available...
 

Bilsch

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This same question comes up often and the answers are always the same. It seems to me by now it should be pretty obvious that something is still missing or these same old suggestions would be producing results.. no?

As was already mentioned using the proper hops and malts is important but beyond that your brewing practice must be flawless. Light clean well attenuated lagers leave no place for off flavors to hide so you must be at the top of your process game and this includes attention to oxygen mitigation on BOTH the hot and cold side. Unfortunately some here still cling to the old dogma of HSA not being a thing but in fact it's avoidance is a well researched topic and taught in major brewing schools throughout Europe.

If your goal is making beers similar to those you tasted in Munich yet you do not believe in HSA then you might as well save yourself the years of aggravation and frustration and just RDWHAHB.
 
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