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Extreme experimentation

I have been brewing now for almost 3 years. IN the beginning, I was intimidated. I stuck to the rules and did as the book said. I followed instructions and things always seemed to turn out fine. Then I started reading a lot. I read about different ways of brewing, and found what I thought to be contradictions. Decoction, where the grains are boiled into oblivion! I thought, that sounds like a bad thing, but apparently it’s not. I read posts by people who have made mistakes, and the result was that the beer turned out just fine.

That got me to thinking. I am just going to start trying things that seem like should not be tried. ON that note, I will start out by asking if anyone has ever tried the following. I am going to do a BIAB batch where I start out with my grains in the pot with cold water. I will begin to heat the mash and slowly ramp the temperature all the way up to a boil. Then I will remove the grain sack and carry on with the boil as normal. I have heard a lot about this whole, extracting tannins thing, but I have never experienced what that tastes like. ANyone ever do this? Anyone have any comments on this crazy idea?

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Tannins are only extracted if your pH is off. This is why decotions don’t produce tannins. However, I don’t think I would boil the entire amount of grain unless you’re sure you’ve reached conversion. Boiling the grains will denature the enzymes needed for conversion.

That’s why I am going to slowly sweep through the range. It will be in the conversion range for a significant period of time.

What is your end game with these experiments?

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I’ve read that one of the benefits of decoction is that it breaks up the starch in the grain and makes it more accessible to the enzymes in the unboiled portion of the mash. If you boil the whole mash you’ll denature all the enzymes and have accessible starch but no enzymes to break the starch into sugars.

I wouldn’t think that is a problem with fully modified malt - provided you give the enzymes enough time to fully convert, but I’m really not sure. I have noticed that the biggest difference using a decoction and not is that my efficiency bumps up noticably with the decoction. Maybe you’ve pointed to the reason.

Since you’ll be putting your mash through the lowest conversion temperatures first, I would think you’ll have a highly fermentable wort and could possibly end up with a thinner bodied, higher alcoholic beer.

My end game is to find out what the result is of doing things that are considered “wrong”. Some of the greatest inventions of our time have come out of mistakes.

A lot of people repeat this about higher efficiency making thinner beer. But I don’t believe it, you can mash at a higher temperature and still get good efficiency but less of the sugars will be fermentable. Thus you will end up with a higher FG and a maltier beer. Not sure how this relates to @in_the_basement s expieriment but that’s my understanding. Also if the high efficiency was bad how would extract Brewers make full bodied beer?

I certainly wasn’t insulting you’re thinking. I was curious as to what you were looking to do with the results.

I wasn’t thinking about efficiency. I was thinking of fermentability. I agree with you that temperature and efficiency doesn’t have a correlation within the mashing temperature range. I just thought that since the temperature was going to be increased slowly, the mash will undergo the lowest mash temperatures first activating the enzymes that will cleave the starches into more simple sugars and less dextrins, etc. So the yeast will be able to ferment most of it. Is this a myth? Palmer went into a fair amount of detail explaining this in his How to Brew book.

No worries. I did not take it as insult. I don’t ever recall any insulting type of posting on this forum. Pretty much everyone here is good natured and supportive.

After doing some searches, I have not found anyone who reported about trying this. I did find an interesting point made though. Someone said once, in the very long history of brewing, it would seem that somebody must have tried this. If it were a good idea it is rather certain that it would be something we would already do. That being said, I think I have to try it. I thought of one issue though. I am sure we have all made oat meal, or grits, or cream of wheat at some point in our lives. I think that when you boil grains, the grains swell and become sticky and absorb liquid. THis may result in a big, sticky mess of grain out of which I can extract no wort.

That’s what I kind of thought would happen. Are you doing a small batch or are you all in for 5 gallons?

I never do anything small. I think if I were to do it I would go 5 gallons. It’s just a personality defect that I have never been able to overcome. I will light all 5 burners on my gas grill to cook only 2 hamburgers and a hot dog.

Check out my work or what Drew Beechum and I have done at Experimental Brewing. I’ve dedicated most of my 20 years of brewing to doing what you propose.

FWIW, I mashed the same recipe at both 153 and 168 with identical results.

I encourage you to try it. I think you may be in for a surprise.

I shoot for 156 normally. I have done my saison around 148 and I can notice it.

IME mash length is more crucial to fermentability rather than temps alone.

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