Why You Don't Need a Decoction

Why You Don't Need a Decoction

A subscriber recently asked about decoction brewing methods so I thought I'd try to help them out. I've read about this method before but never paid it much mind, so I did some more reading and this is what I found...

Decoction Brewing is a Waste of Time, effort and pretty much everything else you could waste - as a modern homebrewer.

Ok, so that might be a bit extreme but as a homebrewer there's no need to put the extra work in. Here are a few reasons why decoction was used, basically the TLDR version of this great article on Decoction Mash over at HBT.

#1 - No Thermometer - Before the invention of modern thermometers there was no easy way to tell the temperature of a mash. By using a decoction schedule you could be more confident of your mash temperatures and the efficiency of sugar extraction you should get. This isn't the middle ages though, and you have a $4 thermometer (I hope!), so don't use decoction.

#2 - Grain Was Not Well Refined - Grains today are much more refined and do not require any boiling of the mash to ensure proper sugar and enzyme interactions. So, as a modern brewer that has refined grains and no concrete proof that these old methods affect flavor profiles differently than regular ranged temperature mashes, you should not use decoction.

#3 - People Had No Life - Brewing is life. Beer is life. However, it isn't your whole life and a single batch shouldn't take you more then 8 hours max. Decoction methods are far more time consuming and energetically wasteful and unlike those internet-less and popper brewers of yore, you have a life - go enjoy it and don't use decoction methods!

I'm sure some of you readers will piss on all this.. but seriously, don't waste your time and don't do decoction.