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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > A bit sweeter ... higher temp?
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:26 AM   #1
Patrick604
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Default A bit sweeter ... higher temp?

Greetings!

I made a Hefeweizen this spring that I just tapped. Although I like it, I don't like it as much as last spring's batch, which had just a hint of sweetness to it.

My recipe was the same for each. 5 lbs German Pils and German Wheat, .8 oz Hallertau for 60 min, and White Labs Hefe yeast. 90 min boil.

Last year I did not hit my target mash temp of 150, I think after all the adjustments up and down, it stabilized at 152-ish. This year I hit all my numbers on the nose with the help of a more consistant process and BS2. So this year I was at 150.

Do you suppose that 2 degrees difference in mash temp would have such a noticible affect on the sweetness of the resultant beer? It's not like I was at 158 or anything crazy ... I just don't know.

What say you all???

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Old 07-05-2012, 07:05 AM   #2
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I usually consider the 154-155 degree mark to be the line between sweeter and less sweet. Not sure 150 vs 152 would give you much difference you could taste that would be significant. I'd say maybe the yeast wasn't as effective in the 1st batch, left more unfermentable sugars.

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
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Body, yes, sweetness no. Body and sweetness are two different things. Yes, they often do go hand in hand, and sometimes they get mixed up.

The wort from a grain bill this simple with just pils and wheat malt is not really going to have much in the way of unfermentable sugars that will contribute to a sweet flavor in the finish. The yeast should be able to eat up anything in the wort that tastes sweet. You typically need to have some specialty grains, which do contain lots of unfermentable sweet tasting compounds (the product of additional heating steps that base malts don't get), to get a persistent sweetness in a finished beer.

The mash temperature has less affect on the "sweetness" of a brew than the grain bill does. Mash temperature will affect the fermentability and the FG of the beer, giving more or less body due to the amount of flavorless dextrins produced (more dextrins means more body).

Is it possible you had some kettle carmelization during the boil for last year's batch? This can produce sweet compounds the yeast can't utilize.

Was the fermentation temperature the same? This could affect the sweetness

I don't know this yeast, but I do know there are other yeast that can give a beer a sweet taste to the beer (even with a very low FG)

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Old 07-05-2012, 07:29 PM   #4
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I am always learning something new here. What is kettle carmelization?

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Old 07-05-2012, 07:50 PM   #5
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Wort that "burns" or carmelizes in the kettle due to lack of stirring and/or high-heat being applied rapidly. Happens a lot with extract additions, but sometimes with all-grain wort as well.

You can add some sweeter malts, such as Honey malt, to give it more sweetness.

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick604 View Post
I am always learning something new here. What is kettle carmelization?
tre9er is right. It is what happens when you cook something on a hot surface, like when you make a grilled cheese sandwich - the browning is carmelization.

OK, I had to look up Maillard reaction versus carmelization. They are similar but different. The former utilizes amino acids and sugars while the later, just sugars. Both cause browning. So both might be happening in the kettle.

Another possibility is that the mash temp differences led to differences in kettle "carmelization". I've never seen this discussed, but it seems like a reasonable possibility.

Can you remember if the older version was a little darker? That would suggest some caramelization (a common technique in Scottish ales btw)
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:32 AM   #7
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How similar are the OG and FG numbers between the two batches?

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Old 07-07-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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For a comparison, I made what I called fail ale this year, using a fairly straightforward grain bill. Brewed it twice using the same ingredients, it's one difference: first batch had a mash temp of 147, second had a temp of 152.

Like night and day.

Batch one was watery, highly alcoholic, and tasted like fizzy booze. Batch two was sweeter, less alcoholic, and a very nice beer. All things were equal, EXCEPT for that.

It's led me to wonder about conducting firsthand experiments making one dramatic change to one variable of a brew recipe over and over again. I've thought about getting a plainjane recipe, brewing the 'control', then brewing three or four experimental brews of the same recipe, but with parameters significantly tweaked, to experience firsthand what happens, say, when you may at a different temp, or sparge WAY beyond runnings of 1.010, for example.

Its one of those thought nuggets that keeps ratting around in the back of my head.

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