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Old 01-15-2011, 01:57 AM   #1
allroadCole
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Default How to improve finish? That last flavor at the back of your pallet after you swallow.

I recently made a Founders Breakfast Stout clone. Last night I was finally able to try the real Founders Breakfast Stout. My homebrew turned out pretty good, but not as good as the real founders, I'm looking for advice on how to improve it.

Below are my comparison notes:

allroadcole's on the left, Founders on right


Aroma - Very similar. Coffee and chocolate in both, a little more alcohol smell in the Founders.

Appearance - Both are dark brown, but mine is definitely more opaque/cloudy and a little lighter in color. Not sure why. Maybe because I used the wrong bakers chocolate. All my homebrews have ended up clear except for this one. It is also possible that Founders filters theirs... Both have a similar light brown head, the Founders had denser bubbles (but mine was colder, does this matter?), mine has more lacing.

Flavor - Both have prominent coffee bitterness and hits of chocolate up front. While in your mouth, they are almost indistinguishable. But the Founders is way sweeter in the finish, it has a wonderful vanilla (or caramel) finish that is not present in mine, and really I like it! The syrupy sweet finish on this beer is spectacular and way less prominent in my homebrew.

Mouthfeel - exactly the same, rich and full with a lip coating sensation in both.

Comments - Founders is awesome. My homebrew is very close, in a blind taste test it would not be easy to pick the real founders (really, I got them mixed up and didn't notice for a while) but the founder has more complex and delicious finish, for sure.

My recipe is below, recommendations to improve the finish?


Recipe (from BYO with a few tweaks)
8.5 lbs. (3.0 kg) Light, unhopped, liquid malt extract
22 oz. (0.62 kg) flaked oats
1.0 lb. (0.45 kg) chocolate malt (350 °L)
12 oz. (0.34 kg) roast barley malt (450 °L)
9.0 oz. (0.25 kg) debittered, black malt (530 °L)
7.0 oz. (0.19 kg) crystal malt (120 °L)
2.0 oz. (57 g) ground Sumatran coffee (coldpressed, added 5 minutes before flame out)
2.0 oz. (57 g) ground Kona coffee (coldpressed, added to secondary)
2.5 oz. (71 g) dark, bittersweet baker's chocolate, added 5 minutes before flame out
1.5 oz. (43 g) unsweetened organic chocolate baking nibs, added 5 minutes before flame out

14.3 AAU Nugget pellet hops (60 min.) (1.0 oz./ 31 g of 13% alpha acid)
2.5 AAU Willamette pellet hops (30 min.) (0.5 oz./ 14 g of 5 % alpha acid)
2.5 AAU Willamette pellet hops (0 min.) (0.5 oz./ 14 g of 5 % alpha acid)

1D2 tsp. yeast nutrient (last 15 minutes)
1D2 tsp. Irish moss (last 15 minutes
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast

I let it sit in the primary for 2 weeks, then 3.5 weeks in the secondary before kegging, always at 69f.



After noticing the lack of finish, I've gone back and tasted a few of my older imperial stouts, they all lack a good finish. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve the finish?


Possible things I may be doing wrong (?):

* I have been using as much water as possible for my mini-mash, which does not leave much room in the kettle for rinsing with 170f water (this batch I rinsed with 8 cups). I'm considering just mashing with enough water to barely cover the grains next time and rinsing the grains with much more 170f water.

* I made a big yeast starter, but I messed it up. It was late at night when I brewed the starter and I forgot to let the wort cool all the way down and I pitched the yeast in to 90f wort! Then about 6 hours after pitching, I had the starter in my fermentation closet with a heater and the power went out and the temp dropped down to 55f. The power came back and I let sit at 70f for 1.5 days before pitching. I thought the starter would be toast but it looked good. I pitched it and it was a pretty slow fermentation. Took much longer than my other batches. Think that could be part of the cloudiness? I hit the FG on the recipe so pretty sure I did get a complete fermentation.

Thanks in advance for any advice....

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Last edited by allroadCole; 01-15-2011 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:40 AM   #2
LakewoodBrew
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A lack of sweetness in the finish is unlikely to be caused by the yeast starter and ferm temp debacle.

High ferm temp will usually produce more off flavors like acetyl alcohol or esters, and the low ferm temp can cause the yeast to go dormant... unlikely to contribute to anything except possibly the slow start.

Usually the finish sweetness is the result of unfermentable sugars. The incomplete sparge just means you left a lot of converted sugars in the grains, so your brewhouse efficiency was pretty low. If you did an appropriate mash (high temp for more unfermentables) then you might have left a lot of your tastey unfermentable sugar in the grain when you tossed it in the garbage. Lactose addition, elevated mash temps and a good sparge will all help get you what you are looking for.

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #3
allroadCole
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakewoodBrew View Post
Usually the finish sweetness is the result of unfermentable sugars. The incomplete sparge just means you left a lot of converted sugars in the grains, so your brewhouse efficiency was pretty low. If you did an appropriate mash (high temp for more unfermentables) then you might have left a lot of your tastey unfermentable sugar in the grain when you tossed it in the garbage. Lactose addition, elevated mash temps and a good sparge will all help get you what you are looking for.
Cool thanks, I will try this again soon. This time with a big, correctly done yeast starter, higher mash temps and maybe try a little lactose too. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
mithion
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One thing that also can affect flavor profile is age. A beer that is too young may come out a little simple. Sometimes letting it sit for a few weeks will help it develop a bit more (not a good idea with styles where hop character is key like an IPA. Those need to hit the tap as quickly as it is possible). The same is true of old beer which will taste a bit stale and bland. So it's possible there is a significant age difference between your batch of brew and the commercial version. Not saying that age is the definite factor here for the finishing mouthfeel and flavor of your homebrew, but it's something else to consider when comparing two different pints. I've noticed that my stouts really change over time. They start out tasting a bit bland at first when they've been in the bottle a few weeks. But they really hit they're mark after 2-3 months of aging.

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