Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Infusion, Decoction, Step, etc

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Bryan R
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Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Bryan R » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:57 am

I did my first ever decoction run with my setup. My setup is a 2 vessel HERMS system.I utilize a bag(and false bottom) as a mash filter system. It worked out pretty good, but I think I will tweak the process a bit for the next time, anyway here is what I did.

Doughed in at 100f for 30 minutes at 2.0qts/lb

Recirculated and stepped at 1.8f/min to 133f.

Rested at 133f for 10minutes.

Recirculated and stepped at 1.8f/min to 143f.

Once the mash hit 143f I then lifted out my mash filter bag and placed it into a separate decoction pot. Leaving the wort to recirculate though the HERMS

I then took and added 2qts of wort to the decoction pot to get the consistency of oatmeal.


While the main mash was recirculating and resting

I then rested the decoction pot at 143f as well for 10 minutes, I then stepped that to 162f for 15 minutes.

After that I then brought it to a boil and boiled it decently hard for ~25 minutes(until the 60 minute timer went off for the main mash).

I then added the decoction pot back to the main mash, which made me hit about 160. The controller then brought it to 162 and held that for 60 minutes.

Recirculated and stepped at 1.8f/min to 172f.
Held 172 for 10 minutes then sparged.

I was left with this ooey gooey goodness after the sparge:


All in all it was a good(I think) successful attempt at my first decoction, and has me itching to try more. No more boiling in the bag though!
Last edited by Bryan R on Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Weizenberg » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:07 pm

Aaaah, don't you get that top layer otherwise? I always get it. Mind you, during the boil there is already a hot-break forming. A lot of that remains in the grain during the sparge so the boil won't have so much to cope with. It also shortens the boil time. Today the total boil time is 50-70 minutes when doing decoctions. When I did step infustions I found that I needed to boil for 90 minutes.

Somehow that time spend during the decoction can be made up in the boil :)

Looking good though!

Maybe you can put a hose on the top outlet to avoid extra O2 intake (will make for a slighly brighter beer).

Best
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Bryan R
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Bryan R » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:38 pm

.
Last edited by Bryan R on Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Techbrau » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:46 pm

Even taking care to avoid HSA, your mash water will have approximately 5ppm dissolved oxygen right from the start. I know it may not prove to be the key to "it" (but wouldn't it be funny if low levels of HSA are what kill the fresh field of grain "it" flavor, and it turns out that every American craft or home Brewer has this problem because nobody degasses their mash water) but simply to satisfy my own curiosity I am going to degas my mash water before doughing in (and will likely knead in the grain gently) next time I brew.
Last edited by Techbrau on Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Bryan R » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:55 pm

.
Last edited by Bryan R on Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Techbrau
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Techbrau » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:02 pm

Interesting. So is it possibly the case that HSA makes those flavors and aromas instantly appear before becoming unstable and vanishing, say during or after fermentation? I mean, if you could smell "it" during the mash and boil, it means the "it" compounds were volatile enough to escape into the air. Will the rest of it get scrubbed away by CO2 during fermentation?

Or is it the case that excessive HSA actually creates those flavors and aromas and they stay in the final product?

My money would be on the former, since all the major German breweries seem to be pretty adamant about maintaining a low-O2 brew house. The Narziss book in ch 1 makes it sound like removing O2 from ALL source water as it goes into the HLT is standard practice.

Because so many of the real commercial examples have "it", I am convinced that the key lies in some process difference that every German brewery does without even thinking about it, but no US/UK breweries do.

I found some very old (circa 2004) posts where Steve Alexander claims that low levels of HSA are responsible for a "lack of freshness" even if it is not significant enough to cause the cardboard flavors:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... bqjoPjWI7A[1-25]

The post in question:

""Brian Lundeen" <m...@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:2gc61qF13ofbU1@uni-berlin.de...
>
> I'll see if I can get something from Steve and get back to you on this.
>

Steve did send me some information which I have summarized below:

There is no question the mash tun is a dangerous place for oxygen damage,
especially the enzymatic reaction that can eventually lead to the classic
cardboard character. This reaction is limited to the mash phase, and
certainly is the best reason for limiting stirring and splashing, and for
adding potmet to the mash water. However, this is only one possible pathway
for oxygen damage, and lack of cardboard character is not a reliable
indicator that other damaging reactions haven't taken place.

There are also non-enzymatic reactions that can be damaging to the beer's
flavour, and these can occur during the boil. Given that our boiling wort is
essentially free of dissolved oxygen, the problem occurs due to surface
reactions, where the partial pressure of oxygen in the air (3 psi) forces
oxygen into the surface wort. Our typical homebrew setups, with a large open
surface, and higher surface to volume ratio compared to commercial kettles,
are even more susceptible to this damage. The steam being generated does not
even come close to protecting the wort surface from the ambient pressure
from the air.

Where things seem to get murky is in defining what this damage tastes like.
Steve likens it to a lack of freshness. The sort of thing you would notice
if you could do a side by side tasting of identical worts, one with the
oxygen damage, one without. Steve uses the example of comparing fresh
pressed apple juice, with juice that has been allowed to sit unprotected for
a few hours. It seems likely that lack of freshness will translate into a
reduction of quality in the final beer flavour. Unfortunately, if every
homebrew we taste exhibits this lack of fresh character, it becomes the norm
to our taste buds, and we don't notice it. Its not that the beer is bad,
just that it could be better by increasing the protection against oxidation
damage.

I still have some follow-up questions for Steve, specifically the role of
potmet during the boil, but for now, my belief is that we can not assume
that our wort is safe from oxygen damage just because it is boiling.

Brian"


Might be BS, but I'm going to go all out next brewday and pre-boil my mash water. I might even partially cover my boil kettle and do a 2 hour boil to try and reduce oxygenation during boiling while still driving off DMS. If, by some stroke of luck, low levels of HSA due to dissolved oxygen in mash water are responsible for destroying "it", that will be the perfect illustration of what is so damaging about all the "mythbusting" the likes of brulosopher, denny, etc. do.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby wobdee » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:35 pm

I hope your wrong about this oxygen thingy otherwise I'm screwed with my new Braumeister. Sometimes the thing sounds like a water fountain as the wort flows over the side of the malt pipe. I'm sure I'm picking up a lot of oxygen.
Techbrau
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Techbrau » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:51 pm

If I end up being correct, you're not out of luck. You can use some Campden to remove O2
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
Bryan R
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby Bryan R » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:36 pm

Well the only times I have ever had it appear for me are 130 rests.
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Re: Bryan's Quasi HERMs/Decoction/Cold Sparge Madness

Postby wobdee » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:19 am

So if one was to try and deoxygenate prior to brewing would you boil your brewing water the day before or the day of? How long could you let it sit before it naturally starts sucking oxygen back in? Also how long would you need to boil to remove the oxygen? I'll probably give this a try next weekend.

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