Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Devils' Decoction

There's an interview of Jason Oliver of Devils Backbone posted at DesJardin Brewing. It's worth a read and especially so for the discussion of decoction brewing. Decoction is a time (and money) intensive method of mashing barley malt which can add flavors of toasted bread, caramel —and other ineffable oven-cooked characters— to a beer, usually a lager, which are not necessarily duplicated in the malting process.

Devils' Decoction
The decoction 'cooker' at Devils Backbone.

Devils Backbone is located in central Virginia, near to several ski resorts. It's just two years old, but a multi-medal winner already. The building is lovely, the food is good, and ... the beer! If you're not a lager lover after you leave, you're not really a beer lover.

At his blog Appellation Beer, beer author Stan Hieronymous muses whether decoction actually produces flavors not produced during malting, and, if so, whether the taste difference would be significantly noticeable for all beers.

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