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denimglen 04-30-2008 09:44 AM

Experiment for Malt Taste Analysis...maybe
So I've been thinking for a while now on how to do a taste comparison test between different specialty malts and what they add to a beer. I'm not a very good 'taster' as such and I reckon this would help me get my head around what I can taste (malt-wise) in a beer.

Last weekend I saw a video podcast on basicbrewing where they steeped an ounce of grain in 3 cups of water and then let it cool to taste the differences in malts. I tried it and had trouble tasting more than one sample, they all tasted like boring tea with a grainy flavour. I've also tried chewing grains and haven't really got much from that.

So my new plan is this...

I'd like to taste-test the following grains I have on hand (percentage of grain in wort in brackets):

Munich (30%)
Caramunich (30%)
Carapils (30%)
Caramalt (approx 20L) (30%)
Crystal (approx 75L) (30%)
Dark Crystal (approx 120L) (30%)
Chocolate Malt (15%)
Roast Barley (15%)
Amber Malt (30%)
Control of LME only wort

I'm going to make a small beer for each to test.

Make a base wort from light LME, and bitter with around 10IBU of a tasteless hop.

Split the wort into 10 parts.

Steep a relative amount of the grain in water to add to the base wort to make around 500mL of wort at around 1.040. I plan on using around 1.5 times the max amount to really bring out the flavour of the malt.

I'll then transfer each ~500mL wort to a 750mL bottle and add US05 yeast. The bottle will be fixed with a crude airlock of some sort, possibly just a sanitised balloon.

After fermentation appears to be complete I will bottle and probably not carbonate and then age for approximately a week.

It seems like it may be a little time consuming but I'm hoping it will be worth the effort.

The biggest problem I see so far is sanitising the wort after the steeped addition but in theory I think everything else should work out OK.

I'd be happy to hear anyones suggestions or comments from people who have tried something similar.

Cheers :mug:

conpewter 04-30-2008 06:48 PM

I like this idea, and might have to give some version of it a try. The only problem I see is that you won't boil the wort after steeping the grains. I think you may get mostly sour beers out of this since a lot of malt has bacteria on it.

Bobby_M 04-30-2008 07:08 PM

Yup, unfortunately the best way would be to steep prior to the bittering boils, just use a bunch of small pots.

denimglen 05-01-2008 05:04 AM

Yeah that's what I was thinking, I tried a sour mash before so I definately know that sour cultures are alive and well on the grain I have.

I'm trying to avoid lots of small boils but will do it if there's no other options. I was thinking a campden tablet (or portion of) but IIRC they only slow down bacteria etc not actually kill them.

Bobby_M 05-01-2008 02:29 PM

You don't have to boil an hour. Just figure your 10 IBU based on 20 minute boils and then you can do 3 small pots at a time, in a few consecutive boils.

knowltonm 05-02-2008 01:46 AM

Please post results when you get this completed even if you don't think you're not a great taster. I've thought about doing the same thing, but haven't worked out the specific process. I thought about doing 3 gal batches of AG per specialty malt, but that's a lot of generic beer. I've also wondered about doing this with yeast also.

denimglen 05-02-2008 05:14 AM

^^Will do.


Originally Posted by Bobby_M
You don't have to boil an hour. Just figure your 10 IBU based on 20 minute boils and then you can do 3 small pots at a time, in a few consecutive boils.

Good idea, I didn't think of that, I'm pretty good at not thinking of the simple options haha. But I'm starting to wonder now if the hops are acutally necessary. The preservative qualities shouldn't matter too much cause it's not like it's going to age for a long time and I'm thinking it may be easy to assess (for me anyway) without some slight bitterness in the background.

Brett0424 05-02-2008 05:28 AM

If you want to know what malts are doing go out and get a clone recipe book (BYO's 150 clone issue), taste the beers and look at the recipes.

Sir Humpsalot 05-02-2008 05:30 AM

Wait. Why not add your specialty grain tea to the base wort as planned, then just microwave it for a couple minutes till it boils?

Sure, it's not a good process from the standpoint of making a repeatable large batch of beer, but I think it'd work great for an experiment like this...

Just get yourself a pyrex pitcher and nuke away.

denimglen 05-02-2008 08:02 AM

Thanks Brett but I already own that issue and I've brewed a few recipes from it (and many recipes from other brewers) but none of them help me understand an actual single malt as most recipes (the ones I like to drink anyway) call for at least three different malts.

Awesome idea Sir Humpsalot. Freakin' hell I love this forum and it's members.

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