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Old 05-10-2013, 12:28 AM   #1
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Default Judges' comments - Creaminess?

I just got my scoresheets back from my second competition (Greg Noonan Memorial, South Burlington, VT). I entered a dry stout, and my average score was 33.5, so I'm fairly pleased. It's certainly quite a bit better than my first competition results (mid to low 20s - meh).

The main thing one of the judges found lacking was a lack of creaminess, which left the finish a little harsh. I can't disagree with that assessment; there is a little bit of a bite on the end, and the carbonation mouthfeel is more sharp than I'd like. However, I'm not sure how to correct that in future batches. Ok, that's not entirely true; I'm sure that carbonating with a nitrogen system would make the beer super-creamy, but that just isn't in the cards. The judge suggested adding some calcium chloride to the boil, which I intend to try. Is adding CaCl to the boil going to give me different results than just upping the amount I add to my mash water (I use distilled and add 1tsp/5gal)? Is there anything else I can do to smooth off my texture?

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:04 AM   #2
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Adding Calcium Chloride will shift the chloride/sulfate ratio and will make the hop character less bitter. As far as the difference between adding it to the mash or the boil, I dunno. I always add mine to the mash. For a more creamy character you might add some oats or flaked barley.

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:19 AM   #3
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Oats, flaked barley, or Carapils will help with mouthfeel. I added 8 oz of carapils to my last batch which I just tapped today. It made a big difference in the mouthfeel.

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Old 05-10-2013, 01:34 AM   #4
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I'd considered adding oats, but was worried about sweetness. The recipe is already about 11% flaked barley, so I'm wary of adding too much more (though maybe this is unfounded?). Carapils seems like the safest route, though I do like the smoothness of oats...

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Old 05-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beertroll View Post
I'd considered adding oats, but was worried about sweetness. The recipe is already about 11% flaked barley, so I'm wary of adding too much more (though maybe this is unfounded?). Carapils seems like the safest route, though I do like the smoothness of oats...
Oats don't add anything sweet. They mash and ferment just like anything else.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:34 PM   #6
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With 11% flaked barley, you should be good there. Oats don't add sweetness (use flaked oats or instant from the store) unless you're getting golden naked oats, which are a specialty malt, sort of a cara-oat.

Try a higher mash temp. I wouldn't add any sugars like maltodextrin or lactose- start with higher mash temp, and maybe some oats. Oats+flaked barley+high mash temp should give you a really nice smooth creamy mouthfeel that almost begs to be put on nitrogen, but don't worry about that for competition, you can't really bottle a nitro beer. If you're not getting it after that, check out your water.

What's your recipe? If you're concerned about adding gravity, you could take out half your flaked barley and replace it with flaked oats, depending on how much you're using now.

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Old 05-11-2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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Sounds like you need either a higher mash temp, or a lower fermentation temp to get a more creamy mouthfeel.

The other thing to consider is reducing the astringency (perceived bitterness from grain). When do you add your non-mashable grains to your mash? Personally I don't add anything above about 80-100L to the mash until mash out/vorlauf.

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Old 05-11-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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As entered:
7# Maris Otter
1# Flaked Barley
1# Roasted Barley
0.25# Chocolate Malt
2oz Fuggles @ 60
S-04

Mashed at 150 for 75 minutes, batch sparged.
Ambient fermentation wobbled between 59 and 61. OG was 1.043, FG was 1.012.

I really liked the flavor (dark coffee with a hint of chocolate), and the dryness was about perfect to my taste. I like the idea of holding the dark malts back until the end of the mash.

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Old 05-11-2013, 09:04 PM   #9
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As for the calcium chloride mash vs boil - the difference comes in because it affects mash pH based on the added calcium- since you're starting with a dark beer and using DI water - you probably aren't needing to lower the mash pH anyway (and may actually need to raise it). the chloride portion that was suggested can be added to any part of the process - even in the finished beer if you want to try it.

As for creaminess - it's probably a mixture of either adding proteins (i.e. oats) or reducing tannins (adding roast / dark grains to the end of the mash) It's very much a mouthfeel thing, so you want to becareful that you aren't adjusting flavor too much to achieve mouthfeel.

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Old 05-11-2013, 09:06 PM   #10
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Mash the next batch at 154.

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