Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Franconian method of decoction

Otto ("Handbuch der Chemischen Technologie: Die Bierbrauerei" by Dr. Fr. Jul. Otto, published in 1865, pages 127 and 128) has yet another Bavarian system of decoction. The Franconian method. It's another one where they do something funny with the hops. I know people love that. Fiddling about with the hops in a weird way.

For 100 pounds of grain, depending on the strength of the beer, between 600 and 700 pounds of water are used.

The crushed grain is put into the mash tun dry. As soon as the water in the kettle has boiled, cold water is added to cool it down to 82.5 - 87.5º C. The water is then mixed with the grains. This shouldn't occur too quickly, so that the temperature of the grain rises slowly. This is important as all 600-700 pounds of water are used at this first mash. The temperature after all the water has been added should be 62.5º C.

After a short rest, the first wort is transferred to the kettle and boiled for 45 minutes. This Lautermeisch is put mack into the tun and the temperature of the whole mash should then be 75º C. After mashing well, the mixture is left to rest for an hour. After this the finished wort is drawn off.

In Franconia, very frequently the hops are boiled for half an hour with a small quantity of the first wort to be drawn off. This gives the beer their distinctive taste. It's called "Rösten" the hops.

Cold water is poured over the spent grains to remove the remaining extract. In the Bamberg area this wort is called Hansla and is used to make a weak beer. In volume, this is almost half the amount of the full-strength beer.

I hadn't expected them to have used a single decoction like this in Franconia. My guess would have been triple decoction.

Still not quite done with Bavaria. There's also the Kulmbach method.


Mark Andersen said...

Wow, I am also very surprised that they are only doing a single decoction. Apparently it works. Great information.

By the way when I'm done with the OG spreadsheet I'm putting together how do I sent it to you?

Ron Pattinson said...

Yeah, no Dickmeisch, either.

Mark, many thanks for doing the spreadsheet. Just email me it to me. You can find my email address on my website:

Kristen England said...

cool stuff. It doesn't suprise me much though. All of the franconian stuff Ive seen usually has a lot of very flavorful malts in it where one doesn't need to derive all of the flavor from a single source (eg Munich).

That being said, I did that weird decoction with the 1850 Salvator thats fermenting and that was only one was dark munich though.

Jim Johanssen said...

Ron - It is a single infusion mashin at saccharification temperature with a single decoction for mashout, quite an odd mix and it needs a thermometer!
Most triple decoction methods seem to use Lautermeisch for mashout from what I have seen.
Kristen - Keep us informed on your brewing experiment.

Ron Pattinson said...

Jim, thanks for the help with brewing vocabulary. Underback. Now I have to find out what that is. . . .

Mashout - is that abmaischen in German? I'd been wondering what the correct English term was. " My brewing dictionary translates it as the pithy "final mash pumping".

Kristen England said...

An underback is a type of grant. Kind of the same idea of the taps you see in the side of nearly every older German and Belgian mash tun. Turn tap, shows flow, clarity, etc of wort. Check it:

Abmaisch = mashout

The last step where you bring the mash temp up to denature most any remaining enzymes. The lauter decoction is usually used for this purpose in most old German and especially Czech beers (as was already stated) Ive seen.

Ron Pattinson said...

Kristen, thank you. Mashout. Much better than final mash pumping.

Underback, that's useful to know, too. You don't have any idea what Pfaffen are, do you? Something through which you can put liquid into a mash tun.

Someone should write an historical brewing dictionary.

Kristen England said...

Pfaffen...never heard the term used in brewing. There is a Pfaffen Brauerei in Köln that Ive been to by Max Päffgen. Something that is used to transfer liquid to the mash tun huh...

Can you post the sentence in which it is written? Is the word CAPITALIZED?

Jim Johanssen said...

Kristen - I have always used a Mashout at 163-167F to improve the yield, because the sugars need to be 163F to be released from the malt. The denaturing of the enzymes is of little importance at this point on the mash as they are usually much spent at this point anyway.
Ron - My German is non - existent so I must use the English terms. I am glad to be help in anyway to your endeavor. I very much like the idea of a dictionary from German to English, old terms included.

Jim Johanssen said...

Pfaff - is to underlet
(German English dictionary for chemists By Austin McDowell Patterson p.187)

(my Def.)the pumping of water/wort up through the mash screen to loosen a stuck/compacted mash during the sparge/lautering. It is the reversing the normal flow from the mash tun to the underback/grant floating the mash for mixing, reseting the mash looser.


Ron Pattinson said...

Jim, thanks for the explanation of Pfaff. I thought it meant something like that, a device to let liquid flow into the mash tun from the bottom.