Triple Decoction Lager Part Zwei

What a mess!  My first decoction brew is a success!

Dont let anyone tell you that a decoction mash is easy peasy….  I was physically hard!  Imagine stirring 5 gallons of porridge for three hours then you’ll know.

I started this brew a few days before with making a five liter starter for the White Labs WLP820 yeast to get growing in.  I needed 958 billion yeast cells and each package of yeast is only 100 billion cells.  In order to multiply these cells, I use a starter on a stir plate.  I was able to take two packages of yeast and make 900 billion cells – saving about $60 bucks in yeast!

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Brew day was New Years Day 2017.

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The temperature for a lager was good!  It’s the first time I’ve brewed with snow flurrys!


I heated up the rinse water and sanitized my chiller with boiling water.  Next was heating the strike water for a protein rest at around 105f and then I doughed in the 25 pounds of grain.

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I immediately pulled the first decoction.  I pulled about nine quarts of the thickest part of the mash and brought it to a boil.  Initially I was a bit lazy on  stirring and added too much heat.  It began to scorch on the bottom of the pot!  Luckily it wasn’t enough to cause a scorched taste in the wort.

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The next decoction was 17 quarts, about 4.5 gallons in my 5 gallon pot!  I brought it to a boil and stirred like a mad man!

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It took over two hours to do an hour mash but it was successful.  My efficiency seemed to suffer slightly at 70% but just a couple of points shouldn’t make much difference in the final product.   Decoction mashing is interesting.  The Maillard reactions that occurred caused the wort to darken quite a bit and it smelled like I was cooking candy while boiling the decoction.

I sparged the mash and collected 14 gallons of wort, added the hops per schedule and boiled for 60 minutes as the recipe called for.  I ended up with 12.5 gallons of wort at 1.054.  I was expecting 11 gallons at 1.063, I may have needed to boil it longer.

I cooled it and pumped it into my fermenter and set my Brewpi to 52f constant beer temp and put it into the chamber.  I waited until the next morning to oxegenate and pitch the yeast, after the wort had cooled the rest of the way to 52f.  I miss calculated a bit on my plate chiller, the wort was below 50f and the chamber actually heated it up a bit!


Will I do another decoction???  I doubt it.  I will probably make this recipe again but with a single infusion as I normally do with my ales.  I know the color will be different but I doubt the taste will be much different.  I’ll save a bottle or two for a taste test on the next batch.  This beer wont be ready until February some time – I’ll report on it’s taste then!


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