First shot at a double decoction mash

A couple weeks back I tried a decoction mash for the first time. It was a interesting to say the least. I started about 2pm and finished after midnight. The total brew time was 10hrs 19mins!

For those of you who, like me, have little experience the decoction process, here is some brief background about what the decoction mash process is all about.

The decoction mash is a mashing routine that has been around for a very long time, and is the traditional German method. It was invented as a means of controlling the temperature of more and more complicated mashing schedules.

It involves starting the mash with a basic infusion of hot water, but instead of directly heating the mash or adding more hot water to raise the temperature (the ‘step’ mash method) to the next step, a portion of the mash is removed brought to a boil and returned back to the mash.

We are now nearing the boundary of my decoction knowledge, but check this series of decoction mashing videos for more information. This guy is great.

Anyway, here are some pics from my first decoction go-round:

The first decoction coming to a boil:
the first stage of the decoction starts to boil

After about 20 mins of boiling:
20 minutes in

So, this was supposed to be a double decoction. But when I was adding the second decoction back into the mash, my temp spiked up to 180F! If sustained, that would have deactivated all the enzymes and ruined the mash. In reality, I should have just stirred things up thoroughly and let the temp settle, and it would have stabilized right about 158F. However, I jumped the gun and added cool water to the mash, and over did it. The mash temp settled to about 140F. Which means, I had a new overflowing mash tun, and needed to pull another decoction to get the temp back up to 158F.

what a sticky mess

pulled the extra decoction:
pulled the extra decoction

It was starting to get dark:
night time brewing

more night time brewing

That’s it from my first shot at the decoction method. It might be a couple weeks before I can brew again as I am now at capacity:
over loaded!

The dopplebock will take about 6 months before its ready. It’s been about 2 weeks now and its still bubbling away. The lager yeast and the low temperature will make for a long primary fermentation and an veerrrrry long secondary. I’ll post some updates as things start to get interesting.

2 Responses to 'First shot at a double decoction mash'

  1. Holy f’n crap you certainly are at capacity!!!! I didn’t even know you could do more than 2 at a time!

  2. jeff c says:

    great job again>
    great pics>

    u just need more kegs right?

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