Friday, September 23, 2011

Decoction Mashing Made Unscary

It's absolutely pouring down here in Charlottesville today. I love it!

As the temperatures cool, and I wonder again how I ever manage to survive 100º Fahrenheit heat every summer, that's almost 38º Celsius for my metric friends, my mind again wonders if this will be the winter when I make my own lager? For a person so enamoured with lager, it is perhaps a bit strange that I have yet to make one of my own.

I have a couple of reasons why I am yet to take the step into lager brewing, firstly I lack a spare refrigerator in which to lager, and secondly I am worried that I would screw up the decoction process. The first concern is actually rather easy to over come, I have space in my regular fridge for my 1 gallon carbabies to ferment at about 45ºF, and usually December and January are cold enough to lager the beer in my cellar. As such, I plan to divide a single kettle's worth of wort between 3 carbabies, ferment and then blend back together for into a larger carboy for lagering. Really, it is the decoction that bothers me.

I know plenty of brewers who would tell me that decoction mashing is pointless, a relic of a less scientific age, unnecessary because malts are better modified these days, I am sure you have heard the very same arguments, but still I want to try it. I think for my first lager I will avoid making a pilsner, simply because I have so much reverence for the style that when I do brew it, I want to get it spot on and do justice to it.

In researching how to do a decoction mash, I came across this series of videos on YouTube and thought I would share them with you, and wish you all a great weekend.

Decoction Mashing Part 1 - BrauKaiser

Part 2

Part 3


  1. That makes it seem easy to you? It made me realize why most brewers don't bother these days (although, I certainly appreciate those who do!)

    I've actually been wanting to start home–brewing, and the big thing that's scaring me off is lagers, since they're what I most want to brew. But, my problem is more fundamental: I live in Florida! Even in the middle of winter our temperatures are too hot for a proper lager, which means I need to get a whole temperature control set up going, and that dramatically increases the cost and difficulty for me. Oh well.

  2. Not easy, just slightly less daunting.


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