Triple Decotion Experiment Vienna Lager

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jlangfo5

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Hey guys! I have figured that it's time to step up my game a bit! I have brewed a Vienna lager before with a partner that turned out great, with a single infusion mash and batch sparge, but now it's time to tackle the triple decotion!

I was watching Northeren Brewerer's youtube video on decotion mashing and I heard that the longer you let the decotion boil, the darker you can expect the beer to get due to mallard reactions. I was thinking about shooting for broke and going for the longest advisable decotion boil time of 40 minutes to see what kind if color I could expect to get out my grain bill here.

I understand that by the time I boiled the third decotion for 40 minutes it would add around 120 minutes to by brew day in my cramped apartment kitchen, but it's for the love of beer right? :fro:

Vienna Revision 2 (Vienna Lager)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.050 (°P): 12.4
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 3.3
Alcohol (ABV): 4.91 %
Colour (SRM): 5.3 (EBC): 10.4
Bitterness (IBU): 27.8 (Average)

85.71% Vienna
9.52% Munich I
4.76% Carapils (Dextrine)

0.3 oz/Gal Saaz (3.6% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
0.1 oz/Gal Saaz (3.6% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
0.1 oz/Gal Saaz (3.6% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil)


Fermented with WLP830 - German Lager


Recipe Generated with BrewMate

So, the question is, do you guys think it's possible for me to get from SRM 5 to SRM 16 by decotion mashing alone? Does anyone here willing to share epxerince with using decotion mashes on grain bills that are light in terms of SRM?
 

Roundhouse

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From a color perspective you will definitely darken it a noticeable amount. However,you may find that the melanoidin flavor you pick up is far too aggressive. You don't want a beer that looks nice that tastes like bullion cubes. My last two beers were double decoction. The first was a premium lager and the second an Oktoberfest. Both had rests at 144 and 158. The difference was that the decoctions for the premium were both boiled for 10 minutes each while the Oktoberfest's were for 15. A Bock with a high amount of Munich I'll do for 25-30 min each.
 
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jlangfo5

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What grain bills did you use on your two beers? What exactly makes you compare the taste to bullion cubes?
 

Roundhouse

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My premium was 45% American 2 Row, 45% German Pilsner, 10% Munich 10°. I generally keep things simple so if I do a decoction I always use a Hochkurz double decoction and just vary the boil times. Others may not agree with this technique but it's just my own personal way of doing things and has thus far worked well for me. This particular recipe had each decoction boiled for 10 minutes. My Oktoberfest also used the same mash schedule but with slightly longer 15 minute boils each. Or was it 20? I need to go double check that. That recipe is 75% Vienna and 25% Munich 10°. My Bock is the inverse of this at 75% Munich 10° and 25% Vienna with 30 minute (I had to go look up the recipe) decoction boils.

I like the melanoidin flavor to a point. It's presence can either be a welcome compliment in moderation or a dominant distraction if overdone. I just compare it to bullion cubes if overdone. It's almost a slightly meaty flavor to me. Try out your idea though. There's no wrong or right way to do things if you are happy with the results. If I were doing my Oktoberfest as a single infusion rather than a decoction I'd vary the recipe up by adding 2% melanoidin malt and .06% Carafa II for color. It gets close but I personally can taste the difference with the decoction. Admittedly I haven't gone to terribly great lengths to get a near perfect single infusion version though. You can certainly see the benefit in the boil and fermentation.
 
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jlangfo5

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Hmm, I see. I am trying go to capture a rich malty taste without having to count on having a bunch of residual sugars. Perhaps not quite as dry as some people like their Vienna Lagers. What kind of color did you capture with your Oktoberfest in the end using 75% Vienna?
 

Roundhouse

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Brew calculators say that I'm at the bottom end of the color range but the decoction darkens it a little. It'll be appropriate to style but maybe lighter than some others. It's fermenting right now. I'll know for sure in a month. I'm using White Labs German Lager Yeast for a nice clean finish with some residual maltiness. We'll see. It is fermenting at 48°. I forgot to pull a sample before fermentation. I like to do a small forced ferment at room temperature with a stir plate to find out what fg to expect but it slipped my mind this time. It was a 10 hour brew day and I was tired.
 
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jlangfo5

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Please keep my updated, and welcome to the forums :), I will post back when I finally decide on what to do and start.
 

Roundhouse

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Thanks. I'd love to say that I know for certain how each thing will come out but I like to tweak things between batches if I'm doing the same basic beer again so the results always vary. Next time I may just do a single decoction to achieve mashout temp or I may do the Hochkurz again but with different boil times. I don't know yet. It's whatever I feel like at the time. Ever since I got into decoction mashing I've really enjoyed it. Although it takes longer, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, I actually find it easier to hit and hold the desired temps. If anything it's made me more consistent without going to automation of any kind.
 

wobdee

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I've been wondering about the added color of decoction as well. I have done two single decoction (Schmitz Process) batches so far that are currently lagering. Both were lighter Pils type beers and the decoction was boiled 30 min for the first batch and 20 minutes for the second. Just guessing I'd say they both darkened about 2-3 SRM more than what my Promash called for.

Next up is a Dunkel, thinking of a 40 min decoction boil but may cut it back to 30, haven't decided yet.
 
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