Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This weekend's recipe... triple decoction Munich Helles

If you'll direct your eyes to the beer...then you'll notice
It is certainly not a 1 or 2 SRM beer, more like 3 or 4.
So there is a change to this weekend's  triple decoction recipe.   We are making a Munich Helles rather than a Bohemian Pilsner.   We all just decided that a Munich Helles would be more delicious during the hot summer here in KC.  And since Mark is out of town, and Bohemian Pilsner is a special favorite for him, we are switching to a Helles.

So this weekend we are brewing a 10 gallon munich helles with triple decoction.  A very traditional approach to this beer.   A lot of Munich Helles only have one bittering charge of hops, but we are updating the recipe with a late addition as well.  While this beer is certainly not hoppy, we still want it to taste and smell like beer.

We will be following our easy decoction method.  Our first rest will be at 132 F, we are skipping the protelytic rest on this one.  I am not convinced that modern malt benefits from it, and since we brew with very thin mash (often no sparge), the protelytic rest is somewhat ineffective.   So we'll enzyme wash at 132 and do a brief rest of 15 minutes before pulling the first decoction.  The first decoction will take us to 146 F, the second decoction to 154 F.  The final decoction will be a thin mash decoction (only wort no grains) it will take us to mash out.

The main thing I want you all to get from this brew session is that decoction is a tool that you can use to improve your beer.  Decoction can be used to step mash, to improve the clarity and mouth feel of your beer, and to correct temperature when you dramatically undershoot a rest temperature  (a quick note; there is no reason to correct mash temperatures that are with in a couple of degrees RDWHAHB).   It isn't rocket science, it is just a tool.  In fact, it is the opposite of rocket science, it is a very old technique.  So here is the recipe;

This is what a quiet hero looks like
The great Munich / German composer
Richard Strauss.
Quietly Protected his family during
the Nazi Regime, and preserved
great German Music written by Jews.
Ein Heldenleben-  (A Hero's Life)
10 Gallons
1.048 OG
1.015 FG
21 IBUs
3  SRM
4% ABV

16.5 # of Pilsner Malt (we are using Europils by Cargill)
1.00 # of Munich Malt

2.5 oz  Hallertauer Mittlefruh 4.4% AA  11 AAUs  @ 60 Minutes,  should contribute 20 IBUs
1.0 oz  Hallertauer Mittlefruh 4.4% AA  4.4 AAUs @ 5 Minutes,  should contribute 2 IBUs

Fermentis 34/70 3 packages. Rehydrated in 1000 ml of 1.035 wort during the brew day.

2 tsp of yeast nutrient at 15 minutes
2 whirlflock tablets at 10 minutes

The mash schedule triple decoction.

  • Rest at 132 F for 15 minutes 
  • Pull thick decoction 2/3rds. rest decoction at 150 F for 10 minutes, then bring to a boil stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. 
  • Return decoction to main mash add scoop by scoop till main mash temperature is 146 F.  cool the remainder of the decoction to 146 F then return to mash. 
  • Rest for 10 minutes then pull another decoction... rest, boil  return to the main mash scoop by scoop until the main mash is at 154 to 156 F  cool any remaining decoction to 156 F before adding to main mash.  
  • Rest 15 minutes.  Pull a thin (schluss) decoction large enough to create a mash out. 
  • Boil and add hops / extras.
  • Chill to lager temps before pitching 3 packages of rehydrated 34/70 yeast that is also at lager temps. 
  • Aerate this wort thoroughly before pitching yeast.  (if shaking, 3 to 5 minutes minimum)
21 day lager Fermentation schedule - you dont need 3 months to make a lager
  • 7 days at 50 F
  • Raise temperature to 65 F (Raise temperature 8 F at a time)
  • 7 days at 65 F
  • Lower Temperature to 35 F (Lower temperature 10 F at a time)
  • 7 days at 35 F
    • Add Gelatin Fining when beer reaches 55 F
    • After 7 days the beer should be clear and ready for packaging. 


  1. Very excited for this decoction mash, it takes longer but really improves a beer in this style.

  2. Yeah, and for more fun think we need to split the fermentation into 5 gallons with 34/70 and 5 gallons with s-23. Using the fast lager method we should be drinking these amazing lagers in about a month.