Decoction Reasoning & Why single infusion Just doesn't work

Infusion, Decoction, Step, etc

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Bryan R
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Decoction Reasoning & Why single infusion Just doesn't work

Postby Bryan R » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:22 am

http://www.mashfortwayne.org/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=4129

Some things of note:

"Q: Doesn't that take a long time?

Absolutely. If you are in a hurry or the kind of brewer who is only doing it to save money you are in the wrong thread. For your average decoction brew day you are looking at about 8 hours, which is a long day but I can't think of a better way to spend a day than brewing beer and knowing I put all kinds of effort into something that few pros take the time to do. This is what hobbies are all about, getting obsessive and going overboard to make it the kind of precision product that you just can't buy from an industry trying to squeeze every last penny out of their product. Every time you decoction mash you are giving a giant middle finger to the neo-liberal economy that would never spend time and energy to slightly increase a product…as a homebrewer "good enough" doesn't have to be the top end of quality.

Q: But I love shortcuts and consumerism and I even brew in a bag made out of an American flag.

Perhaps golfing or firearm rallies would be hobbies better suited to you.

If after you have done a dozen or so multiple decoction mashes and still think they are a waste of time I'd recommend you call up Paulaner, New Glarus, Weihenstephaner, Victory, Pilsner Urquell, Stoudt's, Spaten, Gordon Biersch, Bitburger and Samuel Adams to let them know they are brewing their lagers incorrectly. Perhaps they would appreciate you saving them so much time and energy that they will send you a free T-shirt."


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Note this though:
"V) Full body and mouthfeel, without sweetness. The hallmark of most lagers is their dry finish, yet rich fulfilling mouthfeel. This cannot be achieved with single infusion mashing, the only thing you can control with a single infusion mash is how sweet and dextrinous the beer will be. For this reason in order to have a rich full mouthfeel, you will also have an underattenuated beer. With a decoction mash you can get the correct body from protein manipulation and sill have the proper level of attenuation and dryness. "
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Weizenberg
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Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby Weizenberg » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:01 am

I am not sure I agree with his arguments. Loads of German breweries successfully switched to Infusion systems, alas a German infusion system is direct heated with agitators and all of them use step infusions. However, the recipe has to be slightly adjusted when not using decoctions, and there are some downsides which are difficult to overcome when not doing decoctions, notably the higher extract efficiency (8 - 10% higher), shorted wort boil times due to the fact that a large portion has already been boiled. For home brewers there is the added benefit of oxygen reduction due to the boil (provided they are very careful with the transfer of grain and don't splash about).

A decent step infusion will more or less take the same amount of time than a hochkurz schedule or a single decoction. There is not much time-benefit there. However, since no portion is boiled and only one mash tun is active at all times, there are considerable energy savings -- which is the main reason for many breweries to switch to step infusions.

Others didn't bother. All of the Munich breweries still decoct (Hacker-Pschorr, Loewenbraeu, Hofbraeu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Spaten). However, the Ayinger brewery (it's in a little village called Aying - NOT in Munich but just outside) says it rarely uses decoctions any more. So you can see that the step to step infusions can be done successfully.

I am not sure how much energy consumption is a concern to a home brewer. A time-saving it won't be when done properly.

Here is a simple step infusion schedule. It's the first mash I ever did.

  • 55C dough in. Rest 15"
  • heat to 62C. Rest 25-40" (pending on desired final attenuation)
  • heat to 72C. Rest 60"
  • heat to 77C. Rest 10"

When well executed, the mash should not be heated faster than 1C per minute. Thus the total time for this schedule is
15 + (62-55) + 25 + (72-62) + 60 + (77-72) + 10 = 132 minutes shortest
15 + (62-55) + 40 + (72-62) + 60 + (77-72) + 10 = 147 longest

Considering a double Hochkurz decoction is done with 120 minutes to 150 minutes, the argument for more time-efficient step infusions pretty quickly falls on it's backside.

However, a step-infusion system is easy to automate. A decoction system isn't.

The cheapest positive displacement pump I could find was about 1,200 UKP - that's quite hefty. It would probably transfer the grain from one tun to the other within 2-3 seconds and scorch the enzymes. Not ideal. I rather scoop, thank you very much. Doesn't take long. My transfers are complete within 5".
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Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby Bryan R » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:14 am

Weizenberg wrote:I am not sure I agree with his arguments. Loads of German breweries successfully switched to Infusion systems, alas a German infusion system is direct heated with agitators and all of them use step infusions. However, the recipe has to be slightly adjusted when not using decoctions, and there are some downsides which are difficult to overcome when not doing decoctions, notably the higher extract efficiency (8 - 10% higher), shorted wort boil times due to the fact that a large portion has already been boiled. For home brewers there is the added benefit of oxygen reduction due to the boil (provided they are very careful with the transfer of grain and don't splash about).

A decent step infusion will more or less take the same amount of time than a hochkurz schedule or a single decoction. There is not much time-benefit there. However, since no portion is boiled and only one mash tun is active at all times, there are considerable energy savings -- which is the main reason for many breweries to switch to step infusions.

Others didn't bother. All of the Munich breweries still decoct (Hacker-Pschorr, Loewenbraeu, Hofbraeu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Spaten). However, the Ayinger brewery (it's in a little village called Aying - NOT in Munich but just outside) says it rarely uses decoctions any more. So you can see that the step to step infusions can be done successfully.

I am not sure how much energy consumption is a concern to a home brewer. A time-saving it won't be when done properly.

Here is a simple step infusion schedule. It's the first mash I ever did.

  • 55C dough in. Rest 15"
  • heat to 62C. Rest 25-40" (pending on desired final attenuation)
  • heat to 72C. Rest 60"
  • heat to 77C. Rest 10"

When well executed, the mash should not be heated faster than 1C per minute. Thus the total time for this schedule is
15 + (62-55) + 25 + (72-62) + 60 + (77-72) + 10 = 132 minutes shortest
15 + (62-55) + 40 + (72-62) + 60 + (77-72) + 10 = 147 longest

Considering a double Hochkurz decoction is done with 120 minutes to 150 minutes, the argument for more time-efficient step infusions pretty quickly falls on it's backside.

However, a step-infusion system is easy to automate. A decoction system isn't.

The cheapest positive displacement pump I could find was about 1,200 UKP - that's quite hefty. It would probably transfer the grain from one tun to the other within 2-3 seconds and scorch the enzymes. Not ideal. I rather scoop, thank you very much. Doesn't take long. My transfers are complete within 5".


I am glad you noted in directly heated vessels. I think this matters, and matters a lot. Most of them I assume are still utilizing a Lauter tun, so that means they are infact Direct heating the grains and not the liquids only. This is the only way I can see how you can get away with not decocting. I have done hundreds of hochkurz step mashes, and now a few decoctions. Of course my Hochkurz is using a HERMS, and its not the same. I can't achieve what I need with a HERMS and heating only liquid. With the direct heating, could they be bursting those hard starches?? Cause you can only get so far without doing that.

But now with my new setup I plan to test this theory and direct heat my dedicated decoction vessel(treat it as a mash tun), and transfer to my normal mash tun for lautering, essentially (hopefully) emulating more of what they do.

Rumor has it, Ayinger only decocts their Wheat beers.
ajk

Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby ajk » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:34 am

Bryan R wrote:Rumor has it, Ayinger only decocts their Wheat beers.


I took a specially arranged tour of Ayinger in 2013, and the guide said they no longer do decoction. (Maybe they still do for their wheat beers and he neglected to mention it.) He said they do a 3-5 hour step mash.

Off topic, he said they do three charges of yeast for their lagers. The second comes a few days after the first, adding it at the top of the tank and letting it fall. The third comes at lagering time (also added at the top) and is a different strain!

Sorry, I know I'm new posting to this group—hope it's not all common knowledge or obvious. I just can't resist talking about this stuff.
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Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby Bryan R » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:39 am

ajk wrote:
Bryan R wrote:Rumor has it, Ayinger only decocts their Wheat beers.


I took a specially arranged tour of Ayinger in 2013, and the guide said they no longer do decoction. (Maybe they still do for their wheat beers and he neglected to mention it.) He said they do a 3-5 hour step mash.

Off topic, he said they do three charges of yeast for their lagers. The second comes a few days after the first, adding it at the top of the tank and letting it fall. The third comes at lagering time (also added at the top) and is a different strain!

Sorry, I know I'm new posting to this group—hope it's not all common knowledge or obvious. I just can't resist talking about this stuff.


Nope, this is exactly what we need to know! We eat this stuff up. Thanks!

Did he happen to say what the mash steps were? It looks as if these beers are hitting the full attentuation, so it makes sense on the long step mashes.


Any more elaboration on anything would be phenomenal.
ajk

Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby ajk » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:42 am

Bryan R wrote:
ajk wrote:
Bryan R wrote:Rumor has it, Ayinger only decocts their Wheat beers.


I took a specially arranged tour of Ayinger in 2013, and the guide said they no longer do decoction. (Maybe they still do for their wheat beers and he neglected to mention it.) He said they do a 3-5 hour step mash.

Off topic, he said they do three charges of yeast for their lagers. The second comes a few days after the first, adding it at the top of the tank and letting it fall. The third comes at lagering time (also added at the top) and is a different strain!

Sorry, I know I'm new posting to this group—hope it's not all common knowledge or obvious. I just can't resist talking about this stuff.


Nope, this is exactly what we need to know! We eat this stuff up. Thanks!

Did he happen to say what the mash steps were? It looks as if these beers as hitting the full attentuation, so it makes sense on the long step mashes.


Nah, we tried to get those kinds of details out of him, but he just grinned and clammed up. :) Same with the yeast strains.
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Re: Decoction Reasoning & Why single infusion Just doesn't w

Postby Bryan R » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:43 am

Heh, I hear that... been on that end of the converstaion quite a bit.
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Brandon
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Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby Brandon » Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:51 am

ajk wrote:Nah, we tried to get those kinds of details out of him, but he just grinned and clammed up. :) Same with the yeast strains.


At least you got the tour in English! We ended up with it all in German. And the video at the end before the tasting room...all German, I felt like I really missed out. And do you love smelling the old stale hops? Tasting room is awesome though, and drinking Ayinger fresh off the line in the lagering room.
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Re: Decoction Reasoning& Why single infusion Just doesn't wo

Postby ajk » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:00 pm

brandon-g wrote:At least you got the tour in English! We ended up with it all in German. And the video at the end before the tasting room...all German, I felt like I really missed out. And do you love smelling the old stale hops? Tasting room is awesome though, and drinking Ayinger fresh off the line in the lagering room.

Oh, no! But, imo, you still got the best parts of the tour. :D
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Re: Decoction Reasoning & Why single infusion Just doesn't w

Postby Weizenberg » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:50 pm

The problem is with wheat malt. To obtain a reasonable extraction rate one needs to either increase the intensity (prolong the mash schedule), or resort to mechanical leans (decoction). Too fine a grist is not an option due to potential issues with stuck sparkes. Decoction is quicker.
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