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A reason to do decoction?

I’ll be brewing a alt beer soon. I’ve been wanting to do a decoction mash for awhile, really just for the fun of it. I’ll be using wlp 011 so I was thinking starting on the very low range and then using the decoction to raise to a standard mash temp. The goal is to use a mash schedule that will help dry the beer out while also checking off doing a decoction. Any suggestion on the exact temps to use?

If you’d like to give it a go I’d suggest a short rest of 15-20 minutes in the 128-132F range to begin then to 148-150F for main rest and a final move to a 168F mashout.

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.

I’d instead recommend you infuse to 140 and leave it there for 30-45 minutes, then decoct to 160 for another 30-45 minutes. You can then mash out at 170 if you wish (again using a decoction). That will give you a dry beer that still has some body. Exactly how dry depends on how long you leave it at 140 (the longer, the dryer).

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.

I’d instead recommend you infuse to 140 and leave it there for 30-45 minutes, then decoct to 160 for another 30-45 minutes. You can then mash out at 170 if you wish (again using a decoction). That will give you a dry beer that still has some body. Exactly how dry depends on how long you leave it at 140 (the longer, the dryer).[/quote]

Thanks, after some further research that sounds about right. Basically a beta rest and a alpha rest? If I left it at 140 for 60 minutes do you think that would be too long to then do a rest at 160 for 30 minutes?

Haven’t researched or done enough experimentation on this to really say. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recommendation for that long a rest at 140, but its not so far off that I’d imagine it would have too drastic an effect.

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.

I’d instead recommend you infuse to 140 and leave it there for 30-45 minutes, then decoct to 160 for another 30-45 minutes. You can then mash out at 170 if you wish (again using a decoction). That will give you a dry beer that still has some body. Exactly how dry depends on how long you leave it at 140 (the longer, the dryer).[/quote]

Agreed. Although I don’t think a decoction necessarily adds anything to a beer, if I was going to do any kind of step mash these are the steps I’d use.

Maybe OK, maybe not. Tell us why you want to rest that long at 140 and it will help.

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.[/quote]

The 122F step is an anachronism unless you have under-modified malts which I have assumed the OP does not. At the ~130F range you are approaching the upper limits of the beta and closing in on the beginning of the alpha. This keeps the peptide degradation to a minimum with modern malts.

Maybe OK, maybe not. Tell us why you want to rest that long at 140 and it will help.[/quote]

Most likely I don’t ! I just said 60 because I know conversion is slower at low temps and I was thinking it’d be insurance that the beer converts fully? The decoction idea started out as wanting to do it just to do it with out ruining the beer but now I’m liking the idea of doing a beta rest and an alpha rest with 140 then 160, who knows it might have a positive affect on the beer. What would you do as far as the exact length of each rest?

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.[/quote]

The 122F step is an anachronism unless you have under-modified malts which I have assumed the OP does not. At the ~130F range you are approaching the upper limits of the beta and closing in on the beginning of the alpha. This keeps the peptide degradation to a minimum with modern malts.[/quote]
I’m confused; by “beta” and “alpha” do you mean amylase? If so, you are off by 20F. Agreed that 122 is an anachronism, but it is VERY prevalent in older references.

128-132F??? That’s in the range where protein degrading enzymes are active, but quite a bit higher than the 122F usually recommended. And I don’t think I’d recommend a protein rest at all unless you are using undermodified malt, which is hard to get these days.[/quote]

The 122F step is an anachronism unless you have under-modified malts which I have assumed the OP does not. At the ~130F range you are approaching the upper limits of the beta and closing in on the beginning of the alpha. This keeps the peptide degradation to a minimum with modern malts.[/quote]

Not quite…from How to Brew…

30 minutes each would be plenty.

Here’s a good read on decoctions and your step mash. Go all the way down to Hochkurz Mash. It talks about the length of time for each rest.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... on_Mashing

I agree with loopie to check out braukaiser’s site. Lots of good info. there.
I’ve done decoctions about 1/2 dozen times so far. It’s kind of fun, but does take quite awhile. The smell is incredible. The last couple times I’ve started out at 145, but take the 1st decoction after only 10-15 minutes. I take that up to 155 for 10-15 minutes until complete conversion, then boil it and add it back in to bring the mashtun up to 155. Think about it- while you’re doing the decoction magic, the 2/3 or whatever you’ve left in the mashtun is still working in the original range. I leave it at 155 for 20 minutes or so, but conversion has mostly already happened before the addition. I usually just do an infusion for mashout.

From my experience decoction was a waste but just had an award winning hefe of a friend, and he mashes the snot out of it and it is fabulous. He gave me the recipe and I tried to cheat using an infusion with munich malt and it nothing like his. Those of you that do decoct, what pH targets are you using? I recall Kai stating 5.7. Wonder if a 30 minute pseudo decoction mash out can achieve similar results.

What is a pseudo decoction?

I generally target a pH of 5.3-5.5, same as the beers I do infusions with.

Some of my decoction batches have been fantastic, but so are some of my infusion beers. The truth is, for most beers, the decoction doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the final product. Hefes are an exception. A ferrulic acid rest does make a difference. Of course, you can get that with any kind of step mash regiment - you don’t need to do a decoction for it.

Denny, I’d advocate a longer beta rest since this enzyme is chewing from the ends of some very long sugar chains. 60min would give you a more fermentable wort, and at that point you could release what was left into chunks with the alpha rest.

What is a pseudo decoction?

I generally target a pH of 5.3-5.5, same as the beers I do infusions with.

Some of my decoction batches have been fantastic, but so are some of my infusion beers. The truth is, for most beers, the decoction doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the final product. Hefes are an exception. A ferrulic acid rest does make a difference. Of course, you can get that with any kind of step mash regiment - you don’t need to do a decoction for it.[/quote]

For some reason I consider a decoction that is not a conversion temp pseudo or fake. I cannot recall why and not sure if there is any validity to it.

With my hefe’s, I get plenty of clove so I (and others) think the ferulic acid rest is not necessary. I get that a decoction/boiling produces melanoidins via maillard reaction. That said, I would love and down in the dirty explanation explanation why a step mash can TASTE better than a single infusion. I know the science but step mashing seems to be an efficiency thing not flavor.

What is a pseudo decoction?

I generally target a pH of 5.3-5.5, same as the beers I do infusions with.

Some of my decoction batches have been fantastic, but so are some of my infusion beers. The truth is, for most beers, the decoction doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the final product. Hefes are an exception. A ferrulic acid rest does make a difference. Of course, you can get that with any kind of step mash regiment - you don’t need to do a decoction for it.[/quote]

For some reason I consider a decoction that is not a conversion temp pseudo or fake. I cannot recall why and not sure if there is any validity to it.

With my hefe’s, I get plenty of clove so I (and others) think the ferulic acid rest is not necessary. I get that a decoction/boiling produces melanoidins via maillard reaction. That said, I would love and down in the dirty explanation explanation why a step mash can TASTE better than a single infusion. I know the science but step mashing seems to be an efficiency thing not flavor.[/quote]
Plenty of German breweries do step mashes these days and still brew great beer. I think decoction and step mashing is an efficiency thing. But I still do step mashes for my lagers…not sure why, maybe for fermentability and because it’s easy. I’ve never had luck with decoction mashing, so I abandoned it a while ago.

[quote=“Beersk”][quote=“zwiller”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
What is a pseudo decoction?

I generally target a pH of 5.3-5.5, same as the beers I do infusions with.

Some of my decoction batches have been fantastic, but so are some of my infusion beers. The truth is, for most beers, the decoction doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the final product. Hefes are an exception. A ferrulic acid rest does make a difference. Of course, you can get that with any kind of step mash regiment - you don’t need to do a decoction for it.[/quote]

For some reason I consider a decoction that is not a conversion temp pseudo or fake. I cannot recall why and not sure if there is any validity to it.

With my hefe’s, I get plenty of clove so I (and others) think the ferulic acid rest is not necessary. I get that a decoction/boiling produces melanoidins via maillard reaction. That said, I would love and down in the dirty explanation explanation why a step mash can TASTE better than a single infusion. I know the science but step mashing seems to be an efficiency thing not flavor.[/quote]
Plenty of German breweries do step mashes these days and still brew great beer. I think decoction and step mashing is an efficiency thing. But I still do step mashes for my lagers…not sure why, maybe for fermentability and because it’s easy. I’ve never had luck with decoction mashing, so I abandoned it a while ago.[/quote]
A decoction is just another method for doing a step mash, and a step mash is all about activating various enzymes to acidify, degrade proteins, and convert starches to sugars. With modern water treatments and malting techniques, all except for the last reason is pretty much obsolete. There seems to be some sort of mystique about decoction, and how it makes beer maltier via maillard reactions, but the sugar concentration isn’t high enough for that to be effective. The real advantage to a decoction vs. some other step mash technique is that it was invented back before the invention of the thermometer, and it allowed brewers to get exact, repeatable temperature profiles using nothing more than a bucket.

That said, I still use decoction mashes when I want to do a step mash for some reason, but only because in my system it is the easiest way to do a step mash.

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