Pillars of Tradition — How a New Generation of Brewers Returned to Decoction Mashing

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by M-Fox24, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,268) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey


    Adam Brož -

    Eric Toft -

    Ashleigh Carter -

    Khris Johnson -
    Rug, GuyFawkes, Amendm and 15 others like this.
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Hashtag: Decoction Revival.

    "Malt character without sweetness." Sounds like most of the best Okto-Marzens I know.

    There's hope for malt-flavored-beer yet! :wink:
  3. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,158) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    SFACRKnight and hopsputin like this.
  4. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I don't think H-P, Paulaner, or Spaten decoction mash their Amber Marzens anymore. However, their brewers are much more familiar with the results of a good decoction mash that they've probably figured out the right way(s) to dial in that modified malt... without using caramel malt to attempt to cheat.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    For those of you who are fans of Ayinger beers, Jeff Alworth discussed on his blog:

    “Ayinger’s John Forster dismissed it unsentimentally when I visited. “We say decoction is for old breweries. We can do it, but it’s not necessary.” Ayinger makes precise and lauded—but modern—beer now.”


    Each brewer/brewery gets to select whatever brewing processes they choose. I have had many Bohemian Pilsners (Czech Pale Lagers) brewed via decoction mashing that I enjoyed drinking during my two week vacation to the Czech Republic in 2019. Having stated that I have had many German and US brewed Pilsners that I have enjoyed drinking that are not brewed via decoction mashing.

    There is an old saying: there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    I like the way that Ayinger 'skins their cat'. I also like the way Czech brewers like Pilsner Urquell 'skin their cat' too.

    #5 JackHorzempa, Jul 20, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  6. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,158) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I'll guess it's first rate malt from the get go.......
    YamBag, Bitterbill and steveh like this.
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    There's that too! :wink:
    Bitterbill likes this.
  8. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,863) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Is decoction mashing ever used in ale brewing? If not, why not?
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I have the feeling the esters from warm-fermenting yeast would just cover up any of the benefits from decoction mashing.

    Decoction + clean-fermenting yeast = big malt flavor.
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,762) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I don’t even consider using caramel malts (at least heavily) to be cheating. It’s so blatant to my palate in something like an amber style Oktoberfest.

    Also, would you even notice the benefits in the malt profile in a New England IPA? There’s so much flavor added and up front from the hops, I doubt it would make a difference.

    Chris Lohring at Notch was one of the first, if not the first, US craft brewers that I was aware of that began utilizing decoction mashing (among other traditional methods) in his process for many of his lagers.

  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    If you're talking about a German-brewed Amber Marzen, you (like so many others) are mistaking melanoidin character for caramel. The big difference is that melanoidin starts lightly sweet and toasty and finishes smooth to dry. Caramel is sweet all the way through.

    Think of the difference between Paulaner Marzen and Fullers ESB -- or any number of Brown Ales.

    If you're talking Ami Oktos, yeah -- the caramel is probably "blatant." It's why the style has become a category in the Brewer's Association Guidelines -- nevermind it started as a misinterpretation.
  12. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Poo-Bah (1,672) Oct 2, 2012 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Some traditional German wheat beers are usually decocted. Perhaps some altbiers and kolsches are too
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Perhaps a situation of how one defines “craft”?

    “Piels Bros in New York City being one. In the early 1900’s they produced all malt beers (brewed via decoction mashing) solely utilizing imported Saaz hops. They produced four brands: Dortmunder, Muenchener, Kapuziner, and Pilsener."



  14. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (338) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I'm very intrigued by Toft's assertion that decoction mashing gives him a higher degree of attenuation, and I have seen the same argument made by a representative of Jack's Abby on this forum. JackHorzempa linked a very interesting article in a past thread where a basic mashing schedule for Schönramer is described thusly:

    Mashing in at 48C (in the mash kettle)
    Rests at 50-55 and 60C
    Then raising to 65C (presumably for saccharification)
    Then three quarters of the mash are removed (presumably to the mash tun) while the remaining quarter is brought to boiling temperature for their pale beers or for their darker/stronger beers for 10 minutes

    It does state that this can shift somewhat, but also that it would be typical numbers. The Schönramer website notes that they are using the einmaischverfahren, or single decoction process.

    We can compare these numbers to those found in a letter from Weihenstephan dated March first 1921, sent in response to a letter from a Swedish brewery, which describes four different mashing processes: triple, double, single decoction and the Schmitz process. Dr. Hans Vogel of Weihenstephan writes that of all systems the triple decoction mash process is the best for achieving the best possible utilization of the malt, as well as for producing full bodied "character beers", beers of character. The single decoction process is "only" recommended for highly modified malts or "possibly" light colored beers.

    Looking at his description of the single decoction process, or einmaischverfahren, the process can be boiled down thusly:

    Mashing in cold or at 35C
    The decoction part (thick mash) is heated in the mash kettle to 52.5C for a protein rest.
    Saccharification at 70C
    The decoction is boiled for 45-60 minutes.
    The decoction part is pumped to the mash tun slowly to reach mash out temperature of 75C
    Below is a mashing schedule from the brewery which sent in the letter to Weihenstephan. It looks thusly:
    The entire mash is transfered to the mash kettle.
    The temperature is slowly raised to 52.5C
    Protein rest for circa 12 minutes
    Heat slowly to 65 (stricken over and penned in as 67.5-68.75C)
    Saccharification for 30 minutes
    Heat further to 67.5-70C
    Pump circa half or somewhat more to the mash tun
    The false bottom in mash tun is covered with warm water of 65C
    The remaining part in the mash kettle is heated slowly to 76,25C and boiled for 30 minutes
    The boiled part is pumped and mashing out takes place at 75-76.25C

    I'm thinking that the higher saccharification temperature in the mashing schedule described in the Weihenstephan letter, and possibly also those of the Swedish mashing schedule, could result in a less fermentable wort compared with Schönramer's 65C. Was this intended as a a means of compensating for not using double or triple decoctions I wonder? Clearly the ideal was held to be the triple decoction process for producing full bodied beers, not strongly attenuated beers. So likely the single decoction described here would try to achieve similar results within the limitations of the single decoction process. That is my thinking at least.

    Then you have the difference in boil time, at 45-60 minutes in the Weihenstephan example and 30 minutes in the Swedish example (this brewery was brewing only Pilsner beer at this point). Would this impact the wort composition, the sugar profile to any degree, or does it merely influence the color of the wort and the flavor by way of maillard reactions etc., I wonder?
    Rug, cjgiant, o29 and 11 others like this.
  15. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,782) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    Traditionally, due to differences in malting processes, British malts did not require all the rests that German malts did. Easy explanation is that the British wanted to go from A to B, and made a vehicle that could make the trip without stopping, but it was a little bit more convoluted from the get go. The Germans wanted to go from A to B, and got going from the turn of the key, but their vehicle had to stop in every town to check the fluids.

    This is very much an oversimplified explanation. Take it with humor.
  16. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,863) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Are you suggesting that the British approach was to focus on modifying the malt from the get go while continental brewers focused on mashing techniques that didn't require modified malt?
  17. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,782) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,762) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think we're saying the same thing.

    I was referring to only American Oktoberfests that overuse caramel malts as "cheating", for example, I get this in Sam Adams Octoberfest. It's quite sweet, and not at all bready (at least not to the same degree) as the traditional Oktoberfests from say Paulaner and H-P.

    So it's very blatant to my palate when caramel malts are utilized, because the beer is so sweet.

    I definitely don't get that in German Oktoberfests, or US one's that are great examples of the style.

    Oh, yeah sorry, I meant more recent "craft". Say in the last 15-20 years, the latest "boom" of craft breweries.

    At Notch they only single decoct their German Pilsner, so that would align with this excerpt.
    Sheppard, meefmoff and steveh like this.
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There has been some detailed/technical discussion about decoction brewing in some prior posts. An aspect that is important to keep in mind is that breweries do not conduct the exact same steps/processes to create wort from their decoction mashing. This is because each brewer/brewery has differing goals.

    It first starts in which malts are selected with some brewers preferring to use undermodified malts. They then make a decision on how many decoction steps to make and what specific temperatures are achieved at each step.

    One topic which was discussed in posts is maximizing attenuation (i.e., achieving a dry beer with little residual sugars). The brewers at Pilsner Urquell have a differing goal when they produce their wort; they want to have a beer with a high final gravity to achieve plenty of body in Pilsner Urquell. The final gravity of Pilsner Urquell is 1.015 (3.8 °P) which is quite high for a Pilsner.

    While visiting the Czech Republic in 2019 I had the opportunity to tour a number of Czech breweries with Pilsner Urquell being one of those breweries. Some additional details from that tour (and other sources):


    Pilsner Urquell purchases barley from the Czech province of Moravia and they produce the malt at the brewery. There was no specific mention during the tour as to what level of modification is achieved during their malting process but my guess it that the resulting malt is not well-modified. I did get a chance to chew in some of the malt during the tour but needless to say there is no analytics achieved there.

    Decoction Mashing

    “For the case of producing Pilsner Urquell a triple decoction process is employed to conduct a mash of varying temperature steps:

    • The mash (malt & water) is first brought to a temperature of 95 °F and then sits for about 20 minutes; this is referred to as an acid rest.
    • A portion of the liquid and some malt is extracted from the mash, brought to saccharification temperature for 20 minutes and then boiled
    • This boiled portion is returned to the mash vessel bringing the temperature in the vessel to127 °F. This is permitted to sit for about 30 – 45 minutes. This is a protein rest which activates proteinase and peptidase enzymes.
    • A second portion of liquid and some malt is extracted and boiled.
    • This boiled portion is returned to the mash vessel bringing the temperature in the vessel to 143 °F. This is permitted to sit for about 30 – 45 minutes. This is the saccharification rest which activates the Beta-amylase enzyme and to a lesser degrees the Alpha-amylase enzyme.
    • A third portion of liquid and some malt is extracted and boiled.
    • This boiled portion is returned to the mash vessel bringing the temperature in the vessel to 163 °F. This is permitted to sit for about 10 – 15 minutes. This final step is referred to as the mash out.
    It is easy to see that the above process is time and labor intensive. But perhaps even of greater interest to commercial breweries it is costly from an energy perspective. Pilsner Urquell and other Czech Breweries (some conduct Double Decoctions to save some time and money) still conduct the decoction mash process despite the costs.”


    During the tour the tour guide emphasized that during the boiling of the decocted grain/water they use a high temperature natural gas heating – 600 degrees C. Caramelization occurs here.

    IMO it is easy to see that the decisions that the brewers at the Pilsner Urquell brewery make as regards producing wort is not the same as those made by Eric Toft at Private Landbrauerei Schönram (or any of the other brewers/breweries mentioned in the OP) and not surprisingly Pilsner Urquell will taste markedly different from a beer like Schönramer Pils. Viva la difference.

    cjgiant, seakayak, ChicagoJ and 8 others like this.
  20. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (338) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I suppose me personally I'm surprised by the contradiction between the goals and end results of decoction mashing as per Toft and posts by Jacks Abby on the one hand, and the historical record on the other hand. I'm also surprised by the apparent obliviousness to that contradiction by others. When I come across such a contradiction (and silence from others), it makes me curious. Simply for the sake of learning and trying to better understand history.

    A person who is writing about the tradition and history of decoction mashing, and who is unaware of the historical association between decoction mashing and lower degrees of attenuation, has not done their homework in my opinion. For anyone using the terms tradition and decoction together, such as the writer in the OP's article, I would have expected a raised eyebrow or two when confronted with the statements by Toft.

    I hope this explains the impetus of my post better. I do not question his goals, or his end results, or intend to seem like an arrogant SOB (:stuck_out_tongue:) I only wish to learn more, and by raising a point which noone seems to have been raising, we might all stand to learn something (unless I'm wrong of course, in which case only I will have learned something).
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Patrik, I agree with you here. My guess is that the author of the linked article lacks brewing experience/knowledge and he did indeed 'concentrate' on more contemporary/modern brewing (e.g., Eric Toft, Ashleigh Carter, Khris Johnson, etc.).

    There is also the related aspect of step mashing intertwined with the overall process of decoction mashing. In other words in decoction mashing you are separating a portion of the water/grains for boiling and then reintroducing them to the mash to achieve a given step up in temperature (which is a selected variable) and the brewer decides on how long to sit at this selected temperature. Differing selections as regards the step mashing aspect of decoction mashing will results in differing wort qualities (i.e., some decisions yield highly fermentable wort while other decisions yield less fermentable wort).

    Due to the high energy costs most German breweries have gotten away from decocting and instead conduct a step mash via direct heating of the mash tun. A popular method of step mashing for German breweries is the Hochkurz Mash:

    "The majority of German breweries have gotten away from decoction mashing due to cost considerations. They instead conduct a step mash where they change temperatures via direct heating. The steps for the Hochkurz Mash are:

    • The mash (malt & water) is first brought to a temperature of 144 °F and then sits for about 30 - 45 minutes; this is referred to as the beta amylase rest.
    • The mash vessel is heated to 160 °F and then sits for about 30 - 45 minutes; this is referred to as the alpha amylase rest.
    • The mash vessel is heated to 170 °F and then sits for 10-15 minutes; this is referred to as the mash out."

    PapaGoose03 and Crusader like this.
  22. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (338) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Time and temperature are obviously key here. And perhaps a key to understanding the differences in the temperature steps chosen by brewers of old compared with today is that the old lager beers (pre-1850s) were brewed to withstand long periods of storage in gradually warming cellars. The beers that were put into the cellars needed to undergo a slow secondary fermentation for many months before they could be brought up from the cellar and consumed. Brewing beers that were fully attenuated already during primary fermentation, or early on during secondary fermentation would have been detrimental to the stability of the beer. So it seems logical that by way of practical knowledge, as opposed to scientific knowledge, Bavarian brewers that were using decoction mashing must have selected for temperatures and times which produced beers suitable for long storage. The decoctions perhaps more of a means to an end, that of achieving temperature increases during mashing. Over time necessity is replaced by custom and tradition, and as time goes on even custom and tradition are themselves replaced (drinkers wanting less satiating beers, less full bodied beers, less sweet beers, starting in the late 1800s with the spread of Pilsner beer, in the 1970s with light beer, just to name a couple of examples of this).

    The goals of the brewer and thus the end results have therefore changed. That's my working theory at least. Absent those old necessities, and with different goals in mind, combining a high degree of attenuation and decoction poses no contradiction. And some brewers obviously see other benefits instead resulting from the retention of the decoction as a process.

    The Hoch kurz process is interesting. Looking at Sweden's largest brewery's website they have an example of a mashing schedule which is "typical" for them, with saccharification steps listed as firstly at 145.4F and then 161.6F. Which sure sounds like a version of a Hochkurz mashing process. In an interview with their brewmaster in a beer oriented online magazine the brewmaster pointed out that they use different mashing schedules for different beers, and that for one of their biggest sellers (a golden Export lager) the recipe states that it should be pretty sweet (at 23 IBUs, 5.3% abv and 177 calories per 12oz it's bittersweet tasting and quite tasty in my opinion), and that they achieve this not by adding sugar but through the mashing process. If we circle back to the hochkurz-esque mashing schedule listed on their website one can perhaps see the connection between recipe intent, mashing schedule and finished beer, the goal, means and end result. So I get what you're saying, the brewer wanting a dry beer can still use decoctions, and the brewer wanting a fuller (and depending on the hopping) sweeter beer can use infusion mashing, with the choices of each being influenced also by financial and other considerations.
    o29, SABERG and JackHorzempa like this.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    That was most certainly the case waaay back in the day before the thermometer was invented. The decoction mashing method was key to hitting 'proper' temperatures for step mashing. Also the boiling of the water/grains extractions was useful for malts that were not well modified.

    "History of the Decoction Mash
    Decoction mashing refers to removing a part of the mash, boiling it and returning it to the main mash to raise the temperature to the next rest. This mashing procedure originates from a time when malt quality was not consistent and temperatures could not be measured. The long boiling of the grain makes the starches more accessible for the enzymes. This is particularly important for undermodified malts where the cell walls are not as broken down as well as they are in well modified or overmodified malts. The boiling of a defined portion of the mash and returning it to the main mash to raise the temperature also helped the consistency in mashing temperatures before thermometers were available."


    I have read in several articles that some brewers choose to conduct decoction mashing since the extracted grain/water which is boiled undergo Maillard reactions and they result is the production of melanoidins (e.g., dark bread crust flavors). There are other ways to achieve melanoidins in the resulting beers. Each brewer gets to choose here.

    Exactly! There are many choices in both specific ingredient selection and various brewing processes which will influence the "end result". And for a given "end result" there are a myriad of ways to get there. Each brewer/brewery gets to choose how they prefer to get from point A to point B.

    And I discussed that specifically in my article:

    "You place the grains (6-row Pale Malt and flaked adjuncts) in the mash vessel and maintain a chosen temperature between 148 – 162 °F for one hour. Choosing the lower end of the temperature range will result in a more fermentable wort and the resulting beer will have a drier quality while selecting the higher end of the temperature range will result in a less fermentable wort and the beer will have a fuller mouthfeel and perhaps an increased perceived sweetness."

    In simplistic terms there are many 'knobs' a brewer gets to tweak and they get to choose which 'knobs' they choose to tweak (or not use).

    o29 and Crusader like this.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I neglected in my prior reply to once again bring up the fact that the Pilsner Urquell brewery chooses to boil their decocted water/malt using very high natural gas flame heat (i.e., 600 degrees C) which adds the additional aspect of carmelization to the resulting beer.

    o29 and Crusader like this.
  25. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,882) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Bill and Ashleigh were doing it at prost and now Bierestadt. They even flew over a bad ass German brewhouse to do it in.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  26. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,863) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I was wondering more about British ales or perhaps Belgian ales. But it sounds like it's not a thing there either
    steveh and AlcahueteJ like this.
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,762) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yup, I figured breweries were doing it prior to Notch.

    Notch started in 2010, but were contract brewing. It wasn't until they had their own brew house in Salem that they started decoction mashing if I recall correctly.

    Live Oak does it too, I think Olde Mecklenberg...a lot of the best lager-centric breweries in the US do it.
    Sheppard, CBlack85 and SFACRKnight like this.
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And a lot of the best don't (along with German breweries).

    GuyFawkes likes this.
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,882) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I could see it helping a balanced pale ale. I can never seem to get a malt presence in my American pale ales. Maybe when I get going again I will try to decoct an American pale ale similar to daisy cutter.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jason, which brands of Pale Malt have you tried? It has been my personal experience that North American Pale Malts tend to be relatively neutral in their malt flavor presentation. In contrast when I brew my English Pale Ales (Bitter Ales) I choose to use English Pale Malt since they are more flavorful. For example my recent batch of Bitter Ale was brewed using Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter Pale Malt and that beer has a notable malt flavor (a rich nutty like flavor). Maybe try an English Pale Malt for your next batch of American Pale Ale? Not exactly a 'standard' choice but the beauty of homebrewing is we can do whatever we choose.

    PapaGoose03, SABERG and AlcahueteJ like this.
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Maris Otter malt. Thank me later. :wink:
    Squire, PapaGoose03 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  32. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (572) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    In 1915 Barclay Perkins decocted a small batch of their X Mild Ale in their pilot brewery. Not sure why.

    I think some Alts are decoction mashed, though obviously they aren't Ales, just top-fermented Lagers.
  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,762) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Maybe for some styles it may make a difference?

    I found these excerpts interesting (see below) it sounds like the differences are minor, so I suppose it may be a matter of "how good" a brewer wants their beers, weighed against he financial costs due to time and effort?

    Toft runs trial brews once or twice a year to compare the results of infusion and decoction mashing on the same batch of malt. In his 90-hectoliter (77-barrel) brewhouse, a decoction brew will use an extra 10 liters of fuel oil. “By using 10 liters of oil more per brew I get a final attenuation of 87%. If I do a step infusion I save the 10 liters, but I only achieve 84%,” he says.

    So are three degrees of attenuation really worth all that extra effort and expense? “There are plenty of beers on the market at 80% to 83% and they’re fine, but they’re lacking that extra something … that extra level of drinkability, in my opinion,” Toft says.

    One of the best sellers at Green Bench is its Postcard Pils. For the first three years of the beer’s life, Johnson brewed it using a single-infusion mash. Then he decided to make a decocted version. “Honestly there was a time [when] the single-infusion batches of Postcard were better than the decoction batches, because we were figuring it out,” he recalls. “But once we got the process down—it took two to three months—I was like, okay, now we’re back to being at least as good as a single infusion. And over the course of the next four to six months, Postcard became exponentially better than it had ever been.”

    “If you want to push your Lager to the next level, that’s when decoction comes in,” he says. “Decoction took our beers from fantastic to memorable, you know what I mean?”
  34. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (572) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    That's exactly what some UK brewers said about cask-conditioning in the 1970s. And they were talking out of there arses.

    I've a great document about brewing Harp Lager in the early 1960s, where they compared a decoction mash and and an infusion mash. They analysed all sorts of things and concluded that an infusion mash was just as good. One thing they didn't mention: the flavour of the beer.

    Having said that, I do like Ayinger's beers.
    meefmoff, Squire, AlcahueteJ and 5 others like this.
  35. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (572) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Dovetail, too. They decoction mash, open ferment and have horizontal lagering tanks. And, weirdly, they make some of the best tasting Lagers in the US. Their Helles is phenomenal. Process matters.
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Seems a common oversight of an obvious bottom line in a beer.

    The thing is, infusion-mashed beers aren't bad -- they taste good, but decoction-mashed beers just taste better to me. Maybe it's because they were more prominent back when I first started enjoying German beers (over here and in-situ) and the character set my expectations -- dunno. But I miss that character in a good German Helles.
    #36 steveh, Jul 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  37. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (572) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Going down a Heineken rabbit hole currently having found some incredibly detailed records of their processes in the 1930s. Double decoction for the pale beers, triple decoction for the dark ones. And most of the hops added late in the boil.
  38. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (572) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    It obviously wasn't a consideration. They were just worried about technical shit like efficiency and extract.
  39. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,100) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Lots of that focus right here in this thread, too. :grin:

    Difference between a chef and a line-cook? :wink:
    GuyFawkes and Squire like this.
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,119) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Me too Ron. And at the risk of 'beating a dead horse' those beers are not brewed via decoction mashing.

    Overall: good beer is good beer! :slight_smile: