A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

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Nick_D
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A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Nick_D » Wed May 17, 2017 11:20 am

Decoctions are pretty much out the window with lodo mashing for obvious reasons. Impossible to manually transfer the decoction back and forth without significant o2 ingress, and the equipment/engineering to pump from below with both vessels is not viable on the small scale.

However.... I had a thought. What if one mashes as per normal, changing nothing. Then during the transfer of wort to the kettle, one leaves behind just enough liquid in the mash tun to perform a decoction (with the entire spent grain bill) whilst the kettle heats up for the boil. Then simply transfer the decocted wort to the kettle when done. (This would obviously require a two vessel setup).

Depending on how long you decoct for, you may need a slightly higher water to grain mashing ratio to account for the evaporation of heating both mash tun and kettle simultaneously. Hopping may be a little tricky too. But imagine you did a long, 60 min decoction, in parallel with your reduced volume kettle boil. I can't see why you couldn't split the hop charges accross both vessels, then gently pump the decocted wort over to the kettle when done for cooling and transfer to FV.

Does this make any sense ? Have I lost my mind ?
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Weizenberg
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Weizenberg » Wed May 17, 2017 6:43 pm

One thing that makes me wonder... why do you think you need mechanical means to dissolve the starches?

If you want to punish yourself and use under-modified malts (*yuck*), then by all means, a decoction is probably better for your yield. But otherwise?

Most german breweries stopped boiling the decoctions anyway. Schneider for eg, just holds that portion at 95C for 10-15 minutes. The energy savings thereof are substantial.

If you want the efficiency of the decoction systems, then mash longer!
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Weizenberg » Wed May 17, 2017 6:45 pm

PS: look up the "Kesselmaischverfahren" (often practiced in Kunze's old country, the former DDR). That one would work even better and you get to boil ALL the grain :)
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Nick_D » Thu May 18, 2017 5:11 am

Weizenberg wrote:One thing that makes me wonder... why do you think you need mechanical means to dissolve the starches?

If you want to punish yourself and use under-modified malts (*yuck*), then by all means, a decoction is probably better for your yield. But otherwise?

Most german breweries stopped boiling the decoctions anyway. Schneider for eg, just holds that portion at 95C for 10-15 minutes. The energy savings thereof are substantial.

If you want the efficiency of the decoction systems, then mash longer!


Weizenberg wrote:PS: look up the "Kesselmaischverfahren" (often practiced in Kunze's old country, the former DDR). That one would work even better and you get to boil ALL the grain :)


What happened to your romantic heart Nico ?! :P

I will indeed check this out! I would only be interested in this idea for Hefes anyway, as an experiment, or perhaps a futile attempt at something like Urqell..... The idea of being able to decoct lodo is a sentimental fixation. I should perhaps dial in a successful cold lager fermentation first though. Cart before the horse and all of that.
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Weizenberg » Thu May 18, 2017 5:34 am

When we first tried anti-oxidants, I did decoct. However, once presented with the evidence it made absolutely no sense to continue doing it. The associated risks and complications vs the benefits was no longer favourable, so I dropped it.

Understanding decoction schedules is still important though, because it gives very good indications on how to work with certain raw materials. Unfortunately, this would require a good knowledge of German and the books published by Narziss and Back.

Your biggest problem with inert mashing (that's how this is called in the professional world), is actually at mill time. That's where most of the damadge can happen rapidly. Meuba has a great product, the hydromill, where the milling happes actually under water (not to be confused with wet milling!). For inert mashing this is ideal, and the big outfits do possess these mills.

Ideally you want to mill straight into the kettle. Gas blankets aren't really necessary since your chances of flour explosions are practically nil and you do have a good 15 minutes time before serious damadge starts (Narziss).

You don't need mechanical means (decoction) when you get high-quality malt as is so common-place today. If you want to try an Urquell clone, then bear in mind that you need to be 5 IBU under what they report when you don't filter. You may also want to try and intentionally damadge your beer (it's a Czech brew after all, they are all damaged hahahaha) and boil it for a good 4 hours. fermentation-wise you also want to fuck-up and stop it prematurely (you may need to pasteurise it when you don't filter).

Alternatively, you could aim and make a sensisble Pils, like the Augustiner Pils. :D

Naturally, all the above is intentionally opinionated :P
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby wobdee » Thu May 18, 2017 7:54 am

Weizenberg wrote:PS: look up the "Kesselmaischverfahren" (often practiced in Kunze's old country, the former DDR). That one would work even better and you get to boil ALL the grain :)

This method is similar to how I use to brew before lodo. I've thought about going back to try this again but I cringe at the thought of the extra O2 exposure and cant figure out a way to avoid it.
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Techbrau » Sat May 20, 2017 3:36 am

The second biggest issue for me with decoction mashing besides o2 pickup is the increased amount of heat stress that the wort will be exposed to. I personally find the flavor damage of heat stress to be almost as offensive as that from wort oxidation.

My own opinion is that decoction mashing with modern malt is beyond worthless. The only upside is a few extra percentage points worth of conversion efficiency, at the cost of worse tasting and less stable beer. Not to mention the extra time and effort required.

There is no magical, elusive flavor imparted to the beer from decoction mashing. The "beguiling maltiness" of euro pale lagers that most people think is the result of decoction mashing is in reality the result of Pilsner malt accented with caramel malt brewed with a low oxygen, low heat stress process. Decoction mashing as a homebrewer is a great way to guarantee that your beer won't have those flavors.

Brew up a German Pilsner from 90% Pilsner malt + 10% carahell at about 30 IBUs using the Narziss hopping schedule and the LoDO process (including biological acidification) and I guarantee you'll leave decoction mashing in the rear view window.
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Weizenberg
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Weizenberg » Sat May 20, 2017 4:12 am

I wholeheartedly agree!

Decoctions are indeed a very good way of damaging your wort. For Czech brews, this seems ironically important though :P. For some of their flagship stuff, you want that 'authentic' damaged taste. Oh dear.

Nowadays many breweries who still use this method, actually did away with the boil step all together and are keeping it hot at 95C instead. Others (see Ayinger) successfully managed to switch most of their production to infusion and nobody noticed.

The markedly extra tannins extracted via decoction, aren't that nice a taste either...
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Nick_D » Sat May 20, 2017 3:27 pm

Geez. Tough crowd :P

I'm glad I've spurred some interesting conversation, at the very least :D I now have no intention of decocting. Except for my wonderfully damaged, boiled to death PU clone :P

Off topic, whilst I have your attention(s). I've been stuck with brewing with pre-milled malt. This grain is shipped to me, and can take days to arrive. Not vacuum sealed, or protected by inert gas. I'm wondering how much malt freshness I'm losing straight up from grain oxidation ? I'm getting a twin roller mill very soon, so I can do the whole grain conditioning deal etc.

Also....another segue. I've noticed what I suspect is DMS in my finished brews that are predominantly pils malt. I boil in two pots simultaneously, but have only one immersion chiller. At flameout the larger pot (12.5 L wort) gets the IC, the smaller (9 L wort) goes in the laundry sink with a tap water bath. When the larger pot has come to the temp of the tap water, I switch the IC into the smaller pot. I'm beginning to wonder if the smaller pot is giving me DMS bombs by staying above the 'danger' zone (60C) too long. Occasionally I've forgone the water bath altogether, and just left the hot pot waiting for its turn to have the IC. Is this scenario possibly responsible ?
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Re: A possible Decoction method for LODO..?

Postby Techbrau » Sat May 20, 2017 4:09 pm

We're a tough crowd (we as in the group who put together the LoDO PDF) because collectively, the number of years we've spent chasing that "beguiling maltiness" of German/Euro lagers is somewhere in the range of a few decades :) Each of us spent years going down the decoction rabbit hole, and as much as people have an inclination to want decoction to impart some magical quality to the beer - I admit that I did, too - if I'm being honest it really doesn't. If decoction does anything at all for your beer, it makes it taste worse.

If your goal is to make homebrew that has the same, unique flavor that German/Euro light lagers have, the key truly is to hold to the principles of LoDO - low oxygen exposure on the hot and cold sides, low heat stress during processing (think of boiling like cooking a steak - you want to hit the perfect medium rare, undercooked and overcooked both aren't good), and an otherwise flawless process in terms of quality ingredients, pure water, proper pH via biological acidification, healthy fermentation, balanced recipe, etc. These are the same aspects of quality control that are emphasized in the professional textbooks used in the German brewing schools, and they're what German brewmasters worry about. I won't go so far as to say that American brewers brew bad beer, but the American craft/home brewing mentality/process is descended from British brewing, which is completely different from the German approach. The two approaches make two dramatically different kinds of beer. Noonan got lager brewing completely wrong in his book, and Bamforth is British (he also happens to have a very obvious bias against German beer and brewing techniques...if only Bass Ale could hold a candle to Munich lager :roll: ).

As far as your malt milling and boiling go, I think milling your own malt is a good thing, and I'd also recommend getting a bigger boil kettle.
Last edited by Techbrau on Sun May 21, 2017 10:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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