I’m brewing two batches in the same day for the first time today. Both batches are the same recipe, an Oktoberfest, a.k.a. Marzën, once with a decoction (there’s a brewing term not derived from German!?) and once without decoction to see if I can taste a difference. Some people believe decoctions are critical to making lagers and others believe the difference is slight and not worth the effort. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between. It’ll be interesting to see which side of the fence I land on.
I filled the HLT and measured out the grain last night so I could get started right away this morning. I was awake at 5:20am, excited to get started, but tried to get some more sleep. By 6am I was out of bed and in the brewery heating the strike water by 6:20. I went upstairs for orange juice and to make coffee and still nobody else in the house was awake. I went back down to the brewery to mill the grain. When I came back up for a cup of coffee, Gay and the kids were having breakfast and Gay had made me eggs and bacon. I had a nice leisurely breakfast. By then, the water was heated. I doughed-in and my long brew day was underway.
The boil kettle heating element on at the same time the HLT heating element is on, boiling the first beer and mashing the second:
Since my brewery is electric with a heating element in the boil kettle rather than direct-fire heating, I have no way to boil the mash, i.e., do the decoction part, so I had to take it to the kitchen stove upstairs:
Everything went smoothly, including boiling the decoction mash that I did without scorching it. I finished and cleaned up by 6pm, more than 11 hours. I still have to pitch the yeast and aerate it tonight after it chills in the fridge from 22°C to lager temperature at 10°C.
It was fun, but I’m tired and my feet hurt. It’s a cloudy/rainy dark lager weather day so I’m having a tasty Dunkel outside and relaxing now.
In a month or two I should know if the decoction made a difference in the flavor. Looking forward to the Fall when the leaves turn the color of an Oktoberfest beer!