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Thread: How many of you use decoction?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Tokyo Japan
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    209

    How many of you use decoction?

    Just a quick check, I'm wondering how many people on the boards use a decotion technique in general brewing.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005
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    Tokyo Japan
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    84 views, 0 responses...

    I guess what I've been reading/hearing about decoction falling on the wayside is correct

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Hastings, MI, USA
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    263
    Well, I don't because:

    a) my brewhouse layout doesn't really support it
    b) it would add hours to my day while brewing
    c) with today's modern malts, I don't feel it would add anything to my beers

    Of course, YMMV (Your mileage may vary)
    "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Shasta Lake, CA
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    24

    decoction

    I believe the original need/requirement for a decoction mash was undermodified malts. Today, unless specifically requested all malts are highly modified by the malsters meaning that they are easily converted wiht a single temp mash.

    Furthermore, a decoction mash will probably breakdown the malt so far (when using regular highly modified malts) that you might even damage foam positive compounds, and other compounds that were modified/prepared for a single temp mash, etc., etc...

    So, if you are going to consider a decoction mash I don't see any problem as long as you start with "undermodified malts", so that you can fully convert them during your decoctions. I believe you will probably do more damage than good if you run a decoction mash with undermodified malts. Not to get carried away, however, i don't think you will cause any problems if pulled part of your mash off and boiled it and then returned it to raise the temperature or something like that... Dont see any problem at all - maybe doing it just once.

    I believe Briess is selling an "undermodified base malt"... This might be a good starting point.

    I have brought up this question often with experienced brewers, professors, etc... these persons that I have spoke all agree that the quality of the malts today will give you the same results in a single temp mash if not better than using undermodified malts and a decoction mash.

    However, what I have "read" is that there is nothing like a czech pils or german boch (double or triple), etc., that has been brewed the same way for hundreds of years, i.e. double or triple decoction.

    There is no accounting for taste... Good luck!
    Shawn

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Berlin, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    351
    What they very eloquently said!

    Cheers, Tim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Mammoth Lakes, CA
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    73
    I understand and agree with most of the arguments against decoction. However, when comparing decocted lagers to infusion mash lagers, the traditionally made lagers flavor and body are always far superior. In my opinion, decoction mashed beers tend to achieve a much higher quality malt flavor without the cloying sweetness of beers made with high percentages of crystal, caramel, dark munich, etc.
    The fact may be that the secret to these beers lies in some other part of the brewing process---yeast, proper aging, ingredients. Decoction might not have anything to do with it. I don't know, but Pilsner Urquell recently built a new facility capable of decoction---A lot of extra money for a process that makes no difference.
    Does anyone have suggestions for beers I should try? I would love to be convinced that decoction makes no difference. Thanks for the discussion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Dexter, MI USA
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    203
    Hello JBS,

    Question right back at you. What two (or more) beers should we try to prove to us that decoctions provide the fuller malt flavor as you suggest.

    I agree that too high a percentage of crystal, caramel, and Munich can produce this cloying sweetness you describe. But let's do apples to apples, or pils to pils if you prefer.

    So please, tell me what to try?

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
    PS. It will of course do no good today as the beer is long gone, but as an interesting anecdote; I once brewed, at a brewery a long time ago, an Octoberfest / Marzen style on a single infusion brewhouse that a German trained brewer from the decoction capable brewery down the road simply would not believe was brewed with a single infusion mash. He kept asking, "No seriously, how did you do it?"

    More cheers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Mammoth Lakes, CA
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    73
    Greenbrewmonkey,
    Recently we did a tasting including Gordon Biersch Pilsner, Firestone Lager, Karl Strauss Woodie Gold, Sudwerk Pilsner, some I can't remember at this point, and the Decocted beers Spaten Prem. Pils, Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and Victory Lager. Definetly not a complete sampling, but the latter beers all had a flavor profile that I am looking for in a Pilsner. Not to say the other beers weren't good, actually they were great. That is why I can remember them, but they were different.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Dexter, MI USA
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    Cool, thank you.

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    993
    I have used Weyermann Melanoidin Malt to partially replicate the rich malt flavor with some success. I'm not sure it adds a lot though, just another layer of malt flavor.
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Macomb,Oklahoma
    Posts
    97

    Decoction

    I use decoction brewery and it takes me all the 7 hours from start to finish!
    Doug A Moller
    Brewmaster
    Doug's Brau Haus
    (405)226-3111

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada!
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    281
    I think if I was forced to do double or triple decoction brewing, I'd set up a brewery with multiple tanks to get this accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. This would take considerable $$$ - recently available USED single decoction systems were 3-4 times the price of simple infusion systems.

    I guess I could think of a thousand other things to spend time and money on than drawing out my brewing day to 7 hours plus and having to specifically buy/contract for undermodified malt. Somewhere in there, you've gotta sell some beer.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    33

    Dog Licking Balls

    "Dog licking balls" is a rough translation of the answer that one of my mentors was giving by his German mentor when asked why do a decoction. This means if you could you would. Sadly most of the people who are oppossed to decoctions can't do them anyway and have only experienced infusion mashing. I have worked at several infusion mash breweries and do not discount them, however I would not design a brewery that specializes in German beers using that technology or lack of. It is true that I have known some brewers who are happy not to decoct and perfer an ordinary temperature program mash, mostly due to time restraints (being lazy). Sadly even in Germany itself decoction is falling by the wayside due both in part to the quality of malt but more importantly the cost of energy. I like the idea of decoction for seasonal beers. Craft brewed beer is largely based on traditional styles, and quality ingredients. It is nice to say that ones lager (or ale)(at least seasonally) is brewed in a traditional and authentic manner.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Pittston, PA.
    Posts
    155

    Decoction

    Decoction brewing is an integral part of what makes a traditional German lager. But it's only one of many factors, and arguing whether or not decoction is significant (given today's malts, time, energy, etc. etc.) misses the point.

    German brewers do a lot of things differently than US brewers. Cold wort clarification, flotation tanks, yeast handling, lower fermentation temperatures, minimum 6 week lagering for even the simplest of beers, etc. It's fruitless to argue that decoction is or isn't the magic bullet.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Macomb,Oklahoma
    Posts
    97

    Decoction use

    I guess everyone misses the point of this post it is not on the virtues of decoction mashing but who actually does use the decocotion method of mashing!
    Doug A Moller
    Brewmaster
    Doug's Brau Haus
    (405)226-3111

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