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Old 12-05-2012, 07:09 PM   #1
Enoch52
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Default Is my grain bill all screwed up?

I'm slightly modifying a brown ale recipe from Mosher's "Radical Brewing", and I thought I had the grain bill right, but I ran it through an efficiency calculator and it came up with an OG of 1.069 (at 100% efficiency; it drops to 1.06 at 75% efficiency), way higher than the BJCP style guideline of 1.033 – 1.042 for a Southern English Brown, which is probably closest.

I'm wondering a couple of things:

  • Is this ridiculously high (it's off-style and I'm OK with that)?
  • Are 2 oz. of hops going to be enough (1 oz full-boil and 1 oz with something like 20 min)?

Here's the grain bill for anyone interested:
  • 4 lbs. amber DME
  • 1 lb Belgian Special B (for raisin notes)
  • 2 lbs Belgian biscuit malt
  • 1 lb 60L crystal
  • 1 lb toasted flaked oats
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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Default Is my grain bill all screwed up?

Cross-posted from the Beginner's Forum:

I'm slightly modifying a brown ale recipe from Mosher's "Radical Brewing", and I thought I had the grain bill right, but I ran it through an efficiency calculator and it came up with an OG of 1.069 (at 100% efficiency; it drops to 1.06 at 75% efficiency), way higher than the BJCP style guideline of 1.033 – 1.042 for a Southern English Brown, which is probably closest.

I'm wondering a couple of things:

  • Is this ridiculously high (it's off-style and I'm OK with that)?
  • Are 2 oz. of hops going to be enough to balance this (1 oz full-boil and 1 oz with something like 20 min)?


Here's the grain bill for anyone interested:
  • 4 lbs. amber DME
  • 1 lb Belgian Special B (for raisin notes)
  • 2 lbs Belgian biscuit malt
  • 1 lb 60L crystal
  • 1 lb toasted flaked oats
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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What size, 5 gallon? I came up with closer to 1.05 with a 5 gallon full boil. Type of hops will matter, what were you going to use?

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Old 12-05-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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Huh. Maybe I don't understand the calculator. I'm using 1 oz. of Bramling Cross and 1 oz. of Styrian Celeja (I believe the BC is the bittering hops; the recipe's at home).

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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You may want to use an efficiency of 50% for steeping grains, whatever would give you about 16 to 17 points per pound or grain. I got 1.053 when trying that. I think the 2 oz would be plenty, depending on the AA.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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efficiency is only relevant when you are mashing. steeping, you'll get maybe 60% of the sugars. you need to back off on the biscuit & crystal, each is nearly 20% of the bill which is too much.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dcp27 View Post
efficiency is only relevant when you are mashing. steeping, you'll get maybe 60% of the sugars. you need to back off on the biscuit & crystal, each is nearly 20% of the bill which is too much.
Right. That's about 4 times the amount of biscuit I'd consider, and probably twice as much crystal with the special B and crystal 60L. Adding amber DME to that (which also includes crystal malt) is overkill by a huge amount.

You don't have to worry about efficiency, as extract has a "set" amount of sugars in it. Since you're not mashing the oats (and you should), you won't get any significant contribution from the grains.

If you want a Southern English Brown, but with some candy-toffee notes from special B, then I'd do a more traditional Southern English brown. Why the biscuit malt? That's a pretty unusual addition for that style, but not too uncommon in the drier Northern English brown.

I don't have my Radical Brewing book handy (I don't actually know where it is, come to think of it ) but I assume the goals in the book as well as the recipe are good. I just don't see a recipe with 2 pounds of biscuit malt being drinkable, and then combined with that much crystal it just seems really weird to me. But I'm no Randy Mosher, so I'd trust his recipe far before my own opinion!
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:47 PM   #8
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Well, perhaps it's not a Southern; I just assumed that it was because Mosher suggested using it as a base for an oatmeal cookie brown ale, and a Southern English Brown Ale seemed most appropriate for the goal. The Special B was my addition in hopes of adding raisin notes.

The original recipe calls for:

  • 6 lb amber DME
  • 2 lb biscuit/amber malt
  • 1 lb medium crystal

...aaaand, I just realized that Mosher recommends switching out a pound of the amber malt for a pound of oats, not a pound of DME. I switched another pound of DME for the Special B. If I take out the biscuit altogether and put 2 lbs of DME back in, won't that make for even more sugars?

Mosher calls this an extract + mini-mash recipe--which according to his instructions is basically a partial mash.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Enoch52 View Post
Well, perhaps it's not a Southern; I just assumed that it was because Mosher suggested using it as a base for an oatmeal cookie brown ale, and a Southern English Brown Ale seemed most appropriate for the goal. The Special B was my addition in hopes of adding raisin notes.

The original recipe calls for:
  • 6 lb amber DME
  • 2 lb biscuit/amber malt
  • 1 lb medium crystal

...aaaand, I just realized that Mosher recommends switching out a pound of the amber malt for a pound of oats, not a pound of DME. I switched another pound of DME for the Special B. If I take out the biscuit altogether and put 2 lbs of DME back in, won't that make for even more sugars?

Mosher calls this an extract + mini-mash recipe--which according to his instructions is basically a partial mash.
Biscuit malt is not amber malt. Amber malt is a medium base malt. They are not interchangeable, so that's a weird thing for sure. I looked for Radical Brewing last night, and couldn't find it, so I don't have the recipe right in front of me. Or the explanation of why it says "biscuit malt/amber malt", as like I said they are not at all the same thing.

I'm not sure what you're asking about with the DME and stuff, sorry! But specialty grains do NOT swap out for DME. Specialty grains bring color and flavor, while the DME gives you the sugars. I think that might be what you're asking?
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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I double-checked it last night and it definitely specified biscuit/amber--but I see what you're saying about them not being the same thing. I'm thinking the best thing to do would be to go back up to the 6 lbs. of DME (trip to the LHBS, yay!) and drop the biscuit entirely (since the recipe modification recommended replacing a pound of the biscuit/amber with a pound of toasted oats anyway, and I'll do the same with the Special B).

I suspect that for the original recipe you could use either Biscuit or Amber and have a drinkable brown ale either way (though certainly two different beers).

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