Saturday, 28 June 2008

1950's decoction mashing in the DDR

Who says this blog is willfully obscure? Taking a break from 19th century decoction techniques, let's return to another of my obsessions, the DDR. The source is one of my favourite books, Dickscheit's "Leitfaden für den Brauer und Mälzer", 1953, pages 64 - 66.

The DDR was a bit of a time warp. The techniques described here, though the book was published in the 1950's, are probably unchanged from at least the 1930's.

Today I've not one, not two, not three, not even four decoction methods, but five for your delectation. I never realised there were so many different ways of performing a decoction mash.

Decoction mashing is standard practice in Germany. It is not employed because it gives a better yield - an infusion mash with well-modified malt can be just as efficient - but because of the flavour of it lends to the finished beer. Beers brewed by the decoction method taste more powerful and heartier. Because boiling darkens the colour of the wort, for very pale beers the quantity of wort boiled should be kept to a minimum.

The classic decoction method is triple decoction. It is used for Munich beers, but rarely for very pale beers because it darkens the wort. However it is used at Pilsner Urquell. Beers brewed by triple decoction usually have a lower degree of attenuation than those using a double decoction because of the early destruction of the diastase.

The triple decoction mashing scheme for a pale beer can look like this:

Length of mash 3.5 to 5 hours
The main mashing temeratures are 37, 54, 65 and 76º C
Einmaischen at 37º C
Draw off first mash and without a rest bring to the boil
Boil first mash
The Restmaische remains at 37º C
Aufmaischen at 54º C
The combined wort stands at 54º C (protein rest)
Draw off second mash and bring to the boil
Boil second mash
The Restmaische remains at 54º C
Aufmaischen at 65º C
Draw off third mash and bring to the boil
Boil third mash
The Restmaische remains at 65º C
Aufmaischen at 76º C and mashout

It should be remarked that triple decoction can be performed in many different ways. The rests can be longer or shorter, the Kochmaische can be pumped quickly or slowly, Dickmaische or Lautermaische can be drawn off. However there are always three boils of the mash and the temperatures are always the same. Though, in the case of a cold Einmaischen, they can vary by 2 or 3º C.


Double decoction is the most widely used method in Germany. It is suitable for the production of pale beers and is more rational as it uses less coal and time. Beers brewed by double decoction are paler than those made using triple decoction. The mashing temperatures are 50, 70 and 76º C. When using poorly modified malt a rest at the start temperature, 50º C, is recommended. As an example, this is a method of double decoction employed by Schönfeld in the Hochschulbrauerei in Berlin. This method is typified by the care which is taken.

Duration of the process 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Einmaischen at 35º C 5 minutes
Warm whole mash to 52º C 20 minutes
Rest whole mash at 52º C (protein rest) 15 minutes
Draw off first mash and without a rest bring to the boil 30 minutes
Boil first mash 10 minutes
The Restmaische remains at 52º C 40 minutes
Aufmaischen at 70º C 25 minutes
Rest whole mash at 70º C (saccharification rest) 30 minutes
Draw off second mash and without a rest bring to the boil 15 minutes
Boil second mash 10 minutes
Aufmaischen at 76º C and mashout 20 minutes

In addition to double and triple decoction there is a series of other methods

The Hoch-Kurzmaische method is characterised by a high Einmaisch temperature. The decoction effect is small and beers produced this way resemble those from an infusion mash. Attenuation of 80 - 84% is achieved with this method. Well-modified malt is essential

The process takes about 2 hours.
Einmaischen at 62º C
Draw off first mash and quickly bring to the boil
Boil first mash for 5 minutes
Aufmaischen at 70º C
Rest whole mash at 70º C (saccharification rest)
Draw off second mash and quickly bring to the boil
Boil second mash for 5 minutes
Aufmaischen at 76º C and mashout



The standard single decoction method is scarcely used in practice. The decoction effect is very small. Beers made this way taste similar to those made using an infusion mash.

A standard single decoction mash goes something like this:

Einmaischen at 50º C
Warm whole mash to 70º C
Draw off mash and bring to the boil
Aufmaischen at 76º C and mashout


The Kesselmaische method, where the whole Dickmaische is boiled, is a single decoction method with a strong decoction effect. In a four-hour mash, it generally gives a better yield than a triple or double decoction mash of the same length. In the hands of a skilled professional, it's a very elegant method which can achieve everything desired. Both well- and poorly-modified malt can be used. The enzymes in the Dunnmaische drawn off earlier are enough to guarantee a complete saccharification. Also the Abmaisch temperature isn't high enough to quickly kill the enzymes. Even during Ablauteren there are still enzymes in the wort.

This method need to be adapted according to the quality of the malt.

A Kesselmaische method goes something like this:

Einmaischen at 50º C
Rest at 50º C approx. 30 minutes
Warm whole mash to 64º C
Rest at 64º C approx. 30 minutes
Draw off mash and bring to the boil
Warm whole mash to 70º C
First saccharification rest at 70º C until iodine normality reached
Draw off the Dünnmaische
Boil the Dickmaische
Aufmaischen at 76 - 78º C
Second saccharification rest

What am I saying, 1930's? The Schönfeld method is probably pre-WW I. If you'll remember, he was the author of "Die Herstellung obergähriger Biere", published in 1908.

5 comments:

David Harris said...

The Kesselmaische method is quite interesting. I've heard of something similar referred to as the decanting method.

What has me curious is the second saccharification rest at 76-78C. If the iodine test came back negative for starch before boiling then why do the second saccharification rest after boiling? I don't see what good it would do.

Kristen England said...

David,

So it goes:
First saccharification rest at 70º C until iodine normality reached
Draw off the Dünnmaische
Boil the Dickmaische
Aufmaischen at 76 - 78º C
Second saccharification rest

The thin part (dunn) is drawn off and the thick (dick) mash is boiled.

This leaves you with all of the solubilized enzymes in the thin part that when added back (aufmaishchen) will be able to still convert the rest of the 'starches'.

Make sense?

David Harris said...

'This leaves you with all of the solubilized enzymes in the thin part that when added back (aufmaishchen) will be able to still convert the rest of the 'starches'."

But aren't all of the starches already converted before the dickmaische is boiled and the Dunnmaische is drawn off? I mean, after the first 70C saccharification rest the iodine test came back negative (all of the starches have been converted).
The starches in the mash reach maximum solubility at 65C. Boiling is not going to release any starches as they are all already converted during the long rest at 70C.

If boiling did release starches in well modified malt then everyone would do them because no one wants starches in the final beer save sour beer brewers.

Jim Johanssen said...

David- There could be several reasons for the need to do a second saccharification rest is the release of more starch due to boiling the Dickmaische. There are three possible reasons that I can see, one is the bursting of starch particles left by under modified malts and/or poorly crushed malts.
Three, Boiling also breaks down the larger starches making them available for conversion. There are others, but these are probably the biggest reasons.
Ron - Thanks for posting the 5 decoction methods I will be studing these for a few days.

Cheers
Jim

Jim Johanssen said...

David - I would like to change my answer to you earlier. After doing the Temperature conversions to F from C you are correct the 76C and above temperature is too high for starch conversion, the enzymes are denatured at about 76C. They must have mistaken their higher yield they get as conversion when actually they have made the sugars more soluble. I apologize for my error, I should do the conversions first before commenting. The sugars are made more soluble by raising the mashout temperature above 72C for lautering.

Cheers
Jim