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Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

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HalenRush

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:32 am

Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

Coming up on my one year since going AG and I've been batch sparging and using single infusions. I have some Vienna malt I want to use (can't decide to do a lager or a pale ale, and I have two PA's right now). I'm going through the steps on How To Brew and I'm still trying to wrap my head around chemistry. I think I'm still in a mode of "keep it simple".

So are decoctions absolutely necessary? I've been achieving efficiencies in the 80s.
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blatz

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:47 am

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

required, no. I think its actually hard to find malts at the homebrewer level these days that require a decoction.

optional - sure! many folks use a decoction mash with any of the continental malts. its up to you to decide if its worthwhile or not :wink:
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taeagan

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:18 pm

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

A decoction mash is only really required for under-modified malts, which you basically can't even get any more. I'm pretty sure that the Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner malt is less modified, but not to the point where a decoction mash would be required.
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TG

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:29 pm

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

Decoction mashes aren't required for any type of malt.

Undermodified malt (if you can find it) is mashed with a protein rest before saccharification. A "step mash" can be done with infusions of hot water, direct heat, or decoction. Whatever floats your boat.
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ryan6458

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:44 pm

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

Definitely not required, as mentioned above. I think it's very important to understand water chemistry and ph before attempting a decoction.
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rebuiltcellars

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Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:26 am

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

TG wrote:Decoction mashes aren't required for any type of malt.

Undermodified malt (if you can find it) is mashed with a protein rest before saccharification. A "step mash" can be done with infusions of hot water, direct heat, or decoction. Whatever floats your boat.


Decoction was invented before the invention of the thermometer. It allowed brewers to go through a stepped mash getting exact repeatability of step temperatures using only a bucket (volume measurement) to get it right. It effectively became an obsolete process 200 years ago, though some think it provides a flavor contribution to the finished beer that you can't get any other way. I've read a few blind-taste test reports trying to determine if that is true, and I'm not sure it is.

But I have done decoction mashes a few times. It's fun to do things "the old way" sometimes, and on my set-up it's actually easier than direct heating.
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johnny440

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Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:41 am

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

In my early days of AG I used decoction a few times to raise mash-out temp since I had limited space in my cooler-tun. This process works well, especially if you want some carmelization flavor in the wort. Did an old ale this way that turned out amazing. Just thinking of it makes me want to try it again.
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TG

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Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

rebuiltcellars wrote:
TG wrote:Decoction mashes aren't required for any type of malt.

Undermodified malt (if you can find it) is mashed with a protein rest before saccharification. A "step mash" can be done with infusions of hot water, direct heat, or decoction. Whatever floats your boat.


Decoction was invented before the invention of the thermometer. It allowed brewers to go through a stepped mash getting exact repeatability of step temperatures using only a bucket (volume measurement) to get it right. It effectively became an obsolete process 200 years ago, though some think it provides a flavor contribution to the finished beer that you can't get any other way. I've read a few blind-taste test reports trying to determine if that is true, and I'm not sure it is.

But I have done decoction mashes a few times. It's fun to do things "the old way" sometimes, and on my set-up it's actually easier than direct heating.

I didn't mean to imply that decoction wasn't an option, only that it wasn't the only option. After reading this thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=76598&p=719200&hilit=+decocation#p719200 I am going to try it this Fall.
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rebuiltcellars

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Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:18 pm

Re: Is a decoction mash required for Vienna malt?

Actually TG, I was agreeing with you and then adding something different. Sorry if it came out wrong.
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