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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Torn about base grain
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:25 PM   #1
Funkenjaeger
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Default Torn about base grain

I recently ran out of base grain and ordered a sack of maris otter, at the recommendation of some people here, particularly Evan!. I'm thinking of ordering another sack of grain as well, because I now realize how quickly a single sack of base grain can fly by, especially since I'm contemplating doing some higher-gravity brews and hopefully trying some 10-gallon batches soon as well.

I've been thinking about pilsner malt, but I'm torn. I can't lager, so I don't have too much use for pilsner malt, however I see it's called for in a lot of belgian recipes, and I'd like to try brewing some belgians. Is it reasonable to substitute pale malt for pilsner in a belgian? And is pilsner malt more useful than I realize, outside of lagers and belgians? It's just that if belgians are the only thing I use pilsner malt for, I'm not sure I would be able to go through a whole sack of it in a reasonable amount of time, in which case pale malt would be a better investment, at least until some time when I have more spare cash.

I'm still highly tempted to instead get pale malt, either 2-row or a second sack of maris otter. In that case, would it be worth it to have both 2-row and MO on hand, or do you maris otter lovers generally use it exclusively?

So... Opinions?

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:28 PM   #2
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I keep both maris otter and plain 2-row. I tend to only use the maris otter when I know I'll be able to taste it. For example I don't use it in my stouts because I can't tell that it's there, but my bitters and pale ales are maris otter based. I don't think maris otter would be a good substitute for pilsner malt, but standard 2-row would be an OK substitute.

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:29 PM   #3
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I use it exclusivley.

About the only thing I wouldn't use it for is a BMC clone.
But I'll never brew that.

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:30 PM   #4
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I use MO all the time. The only time I'd use something else is for wheat beers. I agree with bradsul that the 2-row is better when you can't taste it. The MO would be wasted in those cases...

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:33 PM   #5
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You could look into golden promise. It is similar to MO, but some feel it is actually superior. Depending on what you like and where you order, you could do 25 lbs of pils and 25 of something else. Having a healthy on-hand stock of munich is not a bad thing in my house.

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #6
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The question remains, though...

Can you use a pils malt to brew a nice pale ale? I can get (and almost did) a sack of contintal pils pretty cheaply. I've enjoyed brewing some German and Belgian beers where the Pils is pretty important to the style, but why couldn't I also use it as base malt when making something light and hop focused, like an APA?

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:44 PM   #7
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From what I gather you can. Pilsner malt can be a base malt for most American gold beer. From my experience it imparts a nice golden hew and infuses hops flavors nicely. Bring out Malt flavors using Caramels/Crystals, Munich, Vienna, Wheat etc...

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:49 PM   #8
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See, that's what I was thinking. Pretty neutral, but a little bit more character than domestic 2-row.

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:51 PM   #9
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I used pilsner as a base to make a bitter once. I had enough left over after a few hefeweizens, I wanted to brew and I was out of MO and 2-row. I used some victory and crystal to get back some malty flavour. It was actually pretty good, though if I had MO or 2-row on hand I'd still use that.

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Old 11-14-2007, 07:12 PM   #10
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And my indecision continues! I was secretly hoping someone would tell me I shouldn't bother with pilsner malt, and make my decision easy for me, but I guess it's more useful than I thought.

In any case, I think I've ruled out a second sack of MO since as you guys say, it's a waste of money in beers where you won't taste it, and I do love making stouts. I'm still torn between pils and 2-row, I was starting to lean toward 2-row but then bird reminded me about german beers, so I'd have more use for pilsner malt than JUST belgians.

I suppose the easy solution would be to buy a sack of each, but I'm not sure I can spend that much right now. Now if only I can talk my deadbeat friends into buying me some grain in exchange for all the beer I've given them

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