So, I said I'd give an update when my third batch was ready, in which I re-brewed it the original way. Here's my update:
The sweet malty profile I was looking for is back. It appears the starter I used in the second batch was in fact the cause of the lack of maltiness. However, this third batch is lacking a full bodied flavor. The first batch which was perfect sat in a keg for about 2.5 weeks at 2.6 vol. before it was tried and was found to be excellent. The third batch (current batch) has been kegged for a week as of today. So I'm hoping that this lack of full bodied flavor is due to the short time in a keg compared to the first batch i.e. one week in a keg vs. two and a half. I'm hoping that as the red sits for the next 1.5 weeks it will gain this full bodied characteristic and also carb. up some more.
To be honest, everything was brewed exactly the same as the first batch. If at the end of 2.5 weeks it is still lacking a full bodied flavor...I'll be at a complete loss. Only time will tell and I'll update this thread in another 1.5 weeks to give an update.
I am happy that I got the sweet malty profile back and now know the cause of it lacking in the second batch.