To decoct or not to decoct

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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To decoct or not to decoct

Postby wwarrior152 » Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:52 pm

I am beginning to move to more complex brews, and wanted to know?
what is the advantage of decoction? will it add more flavor to my beer or is it just to raise my mash to the next rest level? I did a rye beer and had to decoct 4 times just to loosen the mash for sparge, what a nightmare! it did give my beer a sweet hint.
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Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:14 am

I believe the decoction is simply a way to raise the temperature of the mash without having to directly heat the mash or add a lot of liquid infusions, that also adds some flavor. I believe heating the grain in a decoction gives you Maillard reactions which can result in increased complexity in the malt character which can be percieved as a suble sweetness.

The decoction itself isn't necessary, but it may give you a more flavorful beer. Sometimes it's suggested that swapping a pound of Base Malt in a recipe to a pound of Munich or Vienne Malt can simulate some of the flavor of a decoction, but probably doesn't duplicate it. The flavor contribution is probably more important in an all Pils or Pils and Wheat Malt recipe.

As far as the 3 decoctions is concerned, that means you did 4 rests, correct?
Acid or Liquification Mash, Protein Mash, Saccharification Mash, Mash Out, perhaps.

The Acid Mash would only be needed if your water was poor for a light colored beer and could be replaced with some water modification or acidulated malt.

The Protein Mash is rarely needed for modern malts, but you may choose to do one if you have a lot of German Pils or Wheat in a recipe.

You could simplify the recipe to a 130
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Postby wwarrior152 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:46 am

The first rest was for glutein, the second was for conversion, the rest of the decoctions were to try and unstick the mash( our temp went below 130) all in all it was a fine beer and a learning experience. I am going to skip the glutein rest and keep my temp up with hot water during the recycle sparge.
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