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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Base Malt Question!
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:32 AM   #1
mtbfan101
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Default Base Malt Question!

Hey everyone,

So I've been doing a little reading on malts, whether it be on this forum or online. One thing that has caught my attention is the varying diastatic power that different grains have. Okay, so tell me if I understand this correctly. Hypothetically, I have a recipe--let's say a RIS--that contains an abundance of specialty malts. To be more specific, this recipe would contain a lot of malts that don't have high diastatic power. Would it be correct in saying that I would need to use a base malt such as 6-row pale malt rather than 2-row pale malt? I picked these malts at random; I have no plan on brewing an imperial stout any time soon!

If this is true, would this mean it is more necessary to use lower diastatic base malts for more "convertible" recipes? What would happen if I used higher diastatic base malts in a recipe that had malts that were easy to convert? Would it have a play on taste or fermentability?

Finally, I really appreciate this website! The search feature on here is damn near godly, and I feel like it should be a law for newcomers like myself to thank everyone on here for funneling fantastic and relevant information!

Thanks again,

Pat

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:10 AM   #2
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Any malt you would consider "base malt" has sufficient diastatic power to convert itself. Things like crystal malt, roast barley, etc. are irrelevant to this since they have nothing to convert. The only time you really need to be aware of it is when you are using adjuncts like rice or corn, or if you want to get something more than mouth feel out of flaked oats or barley. You would have to be using a very high percentage of corn or rice to be in a situation where the higher diastatic power of 6 row would be needed... like, off the top of my head so don't hold me to this number, something in excess of 40% corn or rice solids.

In other words, unless you are brewing a beer heavy in adjuncts, use whatever base malt you want and roll on... RDWHAHB

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wailingguitar View Post
Any malt you would consider "base malt" has sufficient diastatic power to convert itself. Things like crystal malt, roast barley, etc. are irrelevant to this since they have nothing to convert. The only time you really need to be aware of it is when you are using adjuncts like rice or corn, or if you want to get something more than mouth feel out of flaked oats or barley. You would have to be using a very high percentage of corn or rice to be in a situation where the higher diastatic power of 6 row would be needed... like, off the top of my head so don't hold me to this number, something in excess of 40% corn or rice solids.

In other words, unless you are brewing a beer heavy in adjuncts, use whatever base malt you want and roll on... RDWHAHB
Wow, very interesting. Thanks for the response!
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Just picked up 12 lbs of NC Organic 6 Row. Hope to brew this weekend.

Per Riverbend Malt House's website (http://riverbendmalt.com/)
"NORTH CAROLINA GROWN.
NORTH CAROLINA LOVED. 2-ROW OR 6-ROW? A majority of today’s craft breweries utilize malt made from 2-row barley, which are referred to as “Spring” varieties, and are typically grown in the Midwest and Northwest regions of the U.S. between May and October. In contrast, the Southeast produces 6-row “Winter” varieties, which are typically planted in October and harvested in June.

2-row varieties are prized for their uniform, plump kernels and moderate protein levels. While 6-row varieties often have higher levels of protein, slightly smaller kernel size, and elevated levels of diastatic power(1). However, modern agricultural breeding programs have addressed these discrepancies over the past 3 decades. Organic farming practices, which typically favor reduced levels of nutrient input, can also produce slightly lower protein levels.As a result of these selective breeding programs and farming practices, producers in the Southeast can now provide a quality product to their local brewing community.

(1) diastatic power – level of enzymes present that are responsible for converting starch into sugar"

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Old 02-02-2012, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hebby5 View Post
Just picked up 12 lbs of NC Organic 6 Row. Hope to brew this weekend.

Per Riverbend Malt House's website (http://riverbendmalt.com/)
"NORTH CAROLINA GROWN.
NORTH CAROLINA LOVED. 2-ROW OR 6-ROW? A majority of today’s craft breweries utilize malt made from 2-row barley, which are referred to as “Spring” varieties, and are typically grown in the Midwest and Northwest regions of the U.S. between May and October. In contrast, the Southeast produces 6-row “Winter” varieties, which are typically planted in October and harvested in June.

2-row varieties are prized for their uniform, plump kernels and moderate protein levels. While 6-row varieties often have higher levels of protein, slightly smaller kernel size, and elevated levels of diastatic power(1). However, modern agricultural breeding programs have addressed these discrepancies over the past 3 decades. Organic farming practices, which typically favor reduced levels of nutrient input, can also produce slightly lower protein levels.As a result of these selective breeding programs and farming practices, producers in the Southeast can now provide a quality product to their local brewing community.

(1) diastatic power – level of enzymes present that are responsible for converting starch into sugar"
Hey, that's great. I've been hearing that farmers are changing their crops to suit the needs for brewers(commercial and hobby brewers) here in NC because we have become such a beer state. I love it

P.S. Sierra Nevada is building a brewery in Asheville, along with a restaurant. I've been telling all of my craft brew buddies about it, haha. Oh, and thanks for the excerpt about the grains!
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:40 PM   #6
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If you live in Raleigh, you should ask for the NC 6-Row at American Brewmaster. That's where I got mine and just finished brewing up a nice BIG IPA. Never used 6 Row before and really pumped how it turns out.

Chris

Ps. I did hear about the Sierra Nevada brewery going in. Can't wait! We're actually getting a tiny little brewery in Wake Forest called White Street Brewery. They are going to have a tasting room and plan to open this coming spring. Take care! -Chris

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