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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Base Malt
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:49 AM   #1
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Default Base Malt

So I notice most of the time that a lot of people like using, what seems to be too much base malt in beers which are more malt prominent in flavor. Any time that I use too much all I can really taste is that base malt. Now I cut off a majority of the base malt, leaving enough to have as structure for the beer, and I notice quite a difference in flavor. I haven't made too many brews in my life, and most of them have been a more malt flavor style beer, so I would recomend doing this if you haven't already thought about it before. After cutting some of the base malt down, I do tend to have specialty malts up in the 15-20% percent range, but that's just me :P.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:24 PM   #2
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I have to respectfully disagree. Base malt isn't just for flavor, it's mostly to add fermentables to the beer. Specialty grains like biscuit malt or Aromatic are added for a more malty flavor. Also adding fewer amounts of hops will allow more malt character to come through as well.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BrewMunster View Post
So I notice most of the time that a lot of people like using, what seems to be too much base malt in beers which are more malt prominent in flavor. Any time that I use too much all I can really taste is that base malt. Now I cut off a majority of the base malt, leaving enough to have as structure for the beer, and I notice quite a difference in flavor. I haven't made too many brews in my life, and most of them have been a more malt flavor style beer, so I would recomend doing this if you haven't already thought about it before. After cutting some of the base malt down, I do tend to have specialty malts up in the 15-20% percent range, but that's just me :P.
To each his own but IMO the overuse of flavoring malts in place of larger quantities of base malt is one of the anachronistic bad habits of homebrewing that, like a vampire in a cheap horror movie, just won't go away. Your beer should derive its' main flavor from the base malt. Specialty malts, where called for, are for specific tweaks to the color and background flavor of a beer. Too much specialty malt can take over the flavor profile of the beer and leave a flabby, under-attenuated finished brew.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:30 PM   #4
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As others have more or less suggested, base malts are called base malts because they make up the foundation of the beer (ie: 60-80%+), while flavoring malts are used to tweak the flavor profile...like the relationship between flour and vanilla extract in a birthday cake. I suppose I understand where you're coming from, but I'd suggest changing your base malt to something less assertive (like US 2-row) before piling flavors on top of one another.

I don't think any beer out there has a majority of special grains when compared to the base malt. That said, 15-20% of the grain bill is about average for flavoring malts. I'm generally between 15-20% base-to-special myself (as are most recipes I've read), so I don't see what you're doing as unusual or wrong -- or even worth mentioning. What were your percentages like to begin with?

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Old 12-27-2008, 06:25 PM   #5
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It really depends on what the grain is. I would never go too high on an aromatic, smoked, chocolate or crystal malt. If you go too high on these types of malt and cut down on your base malt, you are just cutting out fermentables.

On the other hand, malts that need to be mashed like vienna and munich can comprise more of the grain bill if you are looking for maltiness.

Just remember that it is not all grain. You can also control this with mash temperatures to an extent. I think it is really a fine balance between grain bill and mash procedures. Fermentation and yeast type can also come into play.

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Old 12-27-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewMunster View Post
So I notice most of the time that a lot of people like using, what seems to be too much base malt in beers which are more malt prominent in flavor. Any time that I use too much all I can really taste is that base malt. Now I cut off a majority of the base malt, leaving enough to have as structure for the beer, and I notice quite a difference in flavor. I haven't made too many brews in my life, and most of them have been a more malt flavor style beer, so I would recomend doing this if you haven't already thought about it before. After cutting some of the base malt down, I do tend to have specialty malts up in the 15-20% percent range, but that's just me :P.
Are you sure you don't have you terminology confused? Like other's have said base malts provide the base fermentables, and in the case of 2-row, contribute little to a depth of flavor profile...That's what the other grains do, provide color and flavor to the BASE of the beer...

If you are reducing your base malts, you are also reducing the gravity of your beers, and reducing the alcoholic content of it...

Perhaps it would help us understand you better, if you posted a before and after recipe...the recipe with the original amount of whatever you are referring to as basemalts, and one of your reduced versions of the same recipe, that way we could see what you mean...if it WAS the 2-row you are reffering to then running the numbers you would have two ENTIRELY different beers.

So yeah, help us to understand you better.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pelikan View Post
As others have more or less suggested, base malts are called base malts because they make up the foundation of the beer (ie: 60-80%+), while flavoring malts are used to tweak the flavor profile...like the relationship between flour and vanilla extract in a birthday cake. I suppose I understand where you're coming from, but I'd suggest changing your base malt to something less assertive (like US 2-row) before piling flavors on top of one another.

I don't think any beer out there has a majority of special grains when compared to the base malt. That said, 15-20% of the grain bill is about average for flavoring malts. I'm generally between 15-20% base-to-special myself (as are most recipes I've read), so I don't see what you're doing as unusual or wrong -- or even worth mentioning. What were your percentages like to begin with?
15-20% for one specialty malt.
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:36 AM   #8
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15-20% for one specialty malt.
That may work depending on the beer.

Base malt can be so different depending on what you do with it. I can make 2 beers with 100% 2-row and have 2 beers that are nothing alike.

BTW, 2-row, 6-row, marris otter, vienna and munich are all base malts with verry different profiles that I can think of off the top of my head.
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