Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Science behind "grainy character"

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-16-2009, 05:05 PM   #1
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default Science behind "grainy character"

What exactly in the brewing process can produce a pleasant grainy character in a beer? What types of compounds are responsible for a grainy character?... proteins? (Not to be confused, per se, with maltiness... I know what can produce that.) Here's the background to my question:

I brewed a German Pils a little while back and am working on the 2nd keg of it. I don't buy commercial beer all that often, but I bought a 6-pack of Würzburger Hofbraü pils (Bavarian). The flavor of the Würzburger came across to me as very crisp and clean with not that much grainy character (or maltiness) compared to my German pils which is very grainy (IMO in a good way, not a tannin issue).

I'm not sure of the distinguishing line between "grainy" and "malty", but regardless of that, I didn't expect that much of a difference between the Würzburger and my pils in respect to the character from the malts. I brewed my pils using a Hochkurz-style step-mash and used 97.5% BestMalz pilsener malt and 2.5% BestMalz Cara-Pils and fermented with the Weihenstephaner W-34/70 strain. So, I half expected them to taste comparible (hops aside).

I'm not saying I want to change my German light lager brewing style, but I'm just curious to know more about the beers I produce and why they taste the way they do. Could it have to do with centrifuging/filtering of many commercial beers?... would that strip some of the grainy/malty flavor away?

__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
Edcculus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,567
Liked 40 Times on 37 Posts

Default

It could have to do with Maillard Reactions/melanoidins. These reactions take place in malting and the boil. I guess on a lighter malt level, these flavors could be described as a pleasantly grainy.

__________________
Edcculus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
It could have to do with Maillard Reactions/melanoidins. These reactions take place in malting and the boil. I guess on a lighter malt level, these flavors could be described as a pleasantly grainy.
OK, I can buy that. But I'm wondering why a commercial German pils would be so much less grainy/malty than my beer... being that some of the key factors are probably the same... German pilsener malt, Hochkurz-style step-mash, 90 min. boil, same or similar yeast strain, etc. I guess the one factor I didn't consider is water profile... and my water is very soft and devoid of minerals, to which I added gypsum (mainly for the calcium, but a little sulfates would be good for a Pils too)... but there's virtually no chloride in my water.
__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-17-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
rocketman768
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
rocketman768's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Evanston, IL
Posts: 1,086
Liked 22 Times on 19 Posts

Default

At least for oatmeal, it seems that nearly all of the volatile flavor compounds come from heating. Also, seems that the method of heating also plays a big role since microwaved oatmeal has a different profile from stove-top oatmeal.

rocketman768 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-17-2009, 08:09 PM   #5
eschatz
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
eschatz's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,466
Liked 29 Times on 16 Posts

Default

I was stooped about the "grainy quality" I found in commerical brews. Eventually I learned about maliard reactions. That's what I precieved as "grainy".

In regards to your OP. I was thinking that a decoction could be what caused the difference between the two beers. I believe many German brewers still use decoction mashes. As you stated, the water source can obviously accentuate different flavors.

__________________
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D
eschatz is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-17-2009, 08:49 PM   #6
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschatz View Post
In regards to your OP. I was thinking that a decoction could be what caused the difference between the two beers. I believe many German brewers still use decoction mashes. As you stated, the water source can obviously accentuate different flavors.
But that would make their beer more grainy/malty than mine... but it was less. Also, I understand many German breweries have gotten away from doing decoctions due to the costs involved.
__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-17-2009, 09:24 PM   #7
carnevoodoo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 4,305
Liked 13 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 5

Default

Their beer is filtered, I'm assuming. Sometimes filtration can strip character from a beer, and this is a definite possibility in this case.

__________________
http://chugsd.com
carnevoodoo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-17-2009, 11:35 PM   #8
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by carnevoodoo View Post
Their beer is filtered, I'm assuming. Sometimes filtration can strip character from a beer, and this is a definite possibility in this case.
This was one of my suspicions.
__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-18-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
z987k
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
z987k's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Anchorage
Posts: 3,545
Liked 22 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

also, they probably use steam jacketed kettles which are a much more even heat source than propane. This would probably reduce the maliard reaction.

__________________
Beer Style Guidelines - Kaiser's Brewing Experiments - American Society of Brewing Chemists - Journal of the Institute of Brewing
z987k is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-18-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
also, they probably use steam jacketed kettles which are a much more even heat source than propane. This would probably reduce the maliard reaction.
That's an interesting point.
__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Going for a "grainy" taste, any suggestions? chrisedjohn Recipes/Ingredients 8 10-09-2009 02:03 PM
Going for a "grainy" taste, any suggestions? chrisedjohn Introductions 7 10-08-2009 06:57 PM
All my batches so far have a "grainy" taste please critique my technique jmooney Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 12-23-2008 01:27 PM
adding character to "welches" wine Tim Rhoads Wine Making Forum 11 08-23-2008 01:04 AM
NPR Fans: "The Science of Brewing" on Talk of the Nation tomorrow 2-3pm EDT tmoney1224 General Beer Discussion 37 05-21-2008 12:06 AM