New Giveaway - Wort Monster Conical Fermeneter!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Efficiency and flavor: more = less?




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-26-2008, 04:09 PM   #1
pjj2ba
Look under the recliner
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
pjj2ba's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,405
Liked 188 Times on 155 Posts
Likes Given: 21

Default Efficiency and flavor: more = less?

The thread about the Milds got me thinking a little more about this. It seems to me that a lot of people are focused on achieving greater and greater mash efficiencies, and that a low efficiency is bad. Certainly the more efficient the mash, the more formentable sugars you will get, the OG will be higher and you'll likely get more alcohol. But what about the flavor? Would you get more flavors from the malt in the final product if you used more base malt, but had less starch conversion (lower efficiency). I don't have a firm opinion either way. I'm seeking out any evidence one way or the other, either anecdotal or otherwise. Did that batch you made with low efficiency taste really good?

Certainly if one adds more specialty malts you get more flavor, and many of the specialty malts don't add a lot of fermentables to the wort. So then would not the same be true of flavor from a base malt? But what if you don't want a higher OG beer (like in a Mild)? It seems to me then that making your mash less efficient (shorter time, temp schedule, pH off, etc) would give you all of the flavor with less fermentables. Maybe a 20 min. mash at 148 F, then 160 F for 20 min. Or 20 min. @ 148 F then an extra long mashout to limit alpha amylase activity if a lower FG is desired, while still allowing time for maximal flavor release.

I guess the question is how fast are the flavor compunds released from the malt? Are they soluble and released right away or are they bound up and released by enzymatic action as the mash proceeds? In the case of the clove flavors in Wheat beers, I did do some reading and the precursors for this are mostly relased by enzyme action during the mash. Of course this flavor would not be appropriate in a Mild or a Pilsner. I haven't yet found any references for other flavor compounds.

Most on the scientific literature I see is geared towards maximizing production and minimizing oxidation in big breweries so it is a little hard to find information on poorer utilization. At the homebrew scale, adding an extra pound of base malt to each batch doesn't add much to the cost. If I'd get more flavor (without more alcohol) I'd do it.

I have a fuzzy recollection of reading in several books that there is some basis to this. The default efficiency in ProMash in 75%. I can't recall right now what efficiency rate is used in Jamil Z.s book, but I do know it is no more than 75%, and might be 70%. I'll check that tonight at home.



__________________
On Tap: IPA, Bock, Saison, Ger. Pils
Kegged and Aging/Lagering:CAP, OKZ (std Amer. lager), CZ Pils , Maibock, Bock, CAP II, Wheat lager, Imperial Pilsner
Secondary:
Primary: Ger. Pils , OKZ (std Amer. lager), OKZ II (for base malt comparison), Saison
Brewing soon: light beer - yes, light beer, Saison
Recently kicked : ( Kolsch, IPA, Holiday Saison, Baltic porter,
Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer
(1st NYC 2011, 2nd NYC 2012)
P U crowns winners in its inaugural master HB competition
pjj2ba is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 04:48 PM   #2
Beerthoven
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Beerthoven's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 2,172
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts

Default

This is a good question. I often want more malt flavor in my beers. I wonder if I used a few more pounds of malt if I'd get the increased maltiness I want, but at 90% average efficiency I'd get too much alcohol as well.

I've thought about opening the gap on my Barley Crusher in an effort to bring down efficiency and see what effect this would have on my beers. I haven't done that yet because I'm taking a recipe based approach to getting more malt flavor, like lowering IBUs, going with higher mash temp, and using more Munich and Vienna malt. If I can't get what I want this way, then maybe I'll try messing with my efficiency.



__________________

Primary/Secondary: #105 APA, #106 American Wheat

Kegged: #102 Brown, #103 Red, #104 ESB

Planned: IPA, Northern English Brown


Last edited by Beerthoven; 08-26-2008 at 04:51 PM.
Beerthoven is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 05:06 PM   #3
Matt Up North
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 2,021
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

I have to say that I made a light beer (on accident) and thought the flavor was great. Honestly, in my post to strive to make my two week beer I have to admit that I have yet to make a beer over 4.5% due to crappy efficiency.

What is the reason we don't do a longer mash at a decreasing temperature? Say 90 minutes starting at 158*F and every half hour give it a healthy stir so that by the end you are sitting around 140*F. In cooking you get interesting flavors, but I know that a lot of people brewing say that strange flavors start coming out. I am new so...

Instead of getting a coarser grind, why not use more unfermentables? I am looking not for more malty, but more mouthfeel. The two can coincide and can also come from other adjuncts apparently.

Is there too much efficiency?


PS...I am looking for beer to match my economy. So the less malt I use while acheiving full flavor is my bang for the buck job well done.

__________________

Last edited by Matt Up North; 08-26-2008 at 05:08 PM.
Matt Up North is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 05:14 PM   #4
illinibrew04
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 135
Default

What about adding malts that will give you more unfermentables and dextrins:

carapils, carahell, caramel malt, unmalted barley or oatmeal

Also, munich gives a nice malty flavor. I'm no expert, but just my experience thusfar and some advice from LHBS guys

You may also want to check out this:
How to Brew - By John Palmer - Increasing the Body

Cheers!

__________________

Last edited by illinibrew04; 08-26-2008 at 05:17 PM.
illinibrew04 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 05:54 PM   #5
FlyGuy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
FlyGuy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,618
Liked 122 Times on 40 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Excellent topic pjj2ba. I have wondered about similar things like this too, but couldn't have articulated the issues as well as you have.

FWIW, I haven't noticed any difference between 70% efficiency and high 80's (I have been experimenting with my crush to find out). However, some really credible brewers (like Fix, Papazian, Zainasheff) have all made arguments that 75% is their target efficiency. I trust their experience and judgement, although we see homebrewing dogma thrown out all the time as we learn more (e.g., 1 week primary rule, HSA paranoia, batch sparging is less efficient, etc.).

I do agree, however, that obsessing about efficiency is becoming all too commonplace with homebrewers. High efficiency will not help you to make better beer -- in fact, it might distract you from brewing CONSISTENT efficiency. And IMO, if you can't brew consistently, you won't ever brew the best beer you are capable of. I think more people would benefit from striving to brew at CONSISTENT efficiency, and then worry about how high they get secondarily.

FlyGuy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 06:12 PM   #6
pjj2ba
Look under the recliner
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
pjj2ba's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,405
Liked 188 Times on 155 Posts
Likes Given: 21

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Up North View Post
What is the reason we don't do a longer mash at a decreasing temperature? Say 90 minutes starting at 158*F and every half hour give it a healthy stir so that by the end you are sitting around 140*F.

PS...I am looking for beer to match my economy. So the less malt I use while acheiving full flavor is my bang for the buck job well done.
At 158 F you have gone above where beta-amylase is inactivated so you'll get lots of large dextrines from alpha-amylase, but not much maltose resulting in a low fermentable wort that will finish with a high gravity (appropriate for some styles). As the mash cools, the beta-amylase activity won't recover. Sort of a point of no return

Quote:
Is there too much efficiency?
That is the gist of my post

Quote:
What about adding malts that will give you more unfermentables and dextrins:carapils, carahell, caramel malt, unmalted barley or oatmeal

Also, munich gives a nice malty flavor. I'm no expert, but just my experience thusfar and some advice from LHBS guys
Carapils and carahell are supposed to be fairly flavor neutral, and used to add some body. I'm looking specifically for flavor, not body/mouthfeel. I love Munich, but it isn't a grain I want to put into every beer that I want more flavor in.

Quote:
I've thought about opening the gap on my Barley Crusher in an effort to bring down efficiency and see what effect this would have on my beers. I haven't done that yet because I'm taking a recipe based approach to getting more malt flavor, like lowering IBUs, going with higher mash temp, and using more Munich and Vienna malt. If I can't get what I want this way, then maybe I'll try messing with my efficiency.
I wonder if by opening the gap, you would also lower the efficiency of extracting the flavor components. It might though depend on where in the grain the flavor compounds reside. The endosperm of the grain is pretty much just starch and this is surronded by a layer just a couple cells thick (aleurone layer for people who like to know this kind of thing) that is reponisble for making all of the enzymes used for germination (and mashing). I'm suspicious that this is where much of the flavor components are from. It certainly is where a lot of nutrients are. This is the layer that is removed in making polished rice. Unpolished rice has a lot more flavor (and also goes stale faster). So maybe if the crush is enough to remove much of the husk but leave the endosperm in larger chunks, this might just work.

I've got a 3 roller mill and I've been messing around with conditioning my grain prior to milling. I found that this really helps me to get the husk off intact, but I was getting much larger chunks of endosperm so for the last two batches I double milled. Maybe I'll go back to a single pass to compare.
__________________
On Tap: IPA, Bock, Saison, Ger. Pils
Kegged and Aging/Lagering:CAP, OKZ (std Amer. lager), CZ Pils , Maibock, Bock, CAP II, Wheat lager, Imperial Pilsner
Secondary:
Primary: Ger. Pils , OKZ (std Amer. lager), OKZ II (for base malt comparison), Saison
Brewing soon: light beer - yes, light beer, Saison
Recently kicked : ( Kolsch, IPA, Holiday Saison, Baltic porter,
Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer
(1st NYC 2011, 2nd NYC 2012)
P U crowns winners in its inaugural master HB competition
pjj2ba is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 06:12 PM   #7
T-Hops
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Wisconsin
Posts: 129
Default

I do not know all the specifics, but this is the way that I think it works. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. I believe that the efficiency of your mash will both impart more flavor and sugars. I do not believe that extra malt will necessarily give you more malt flavor. If it takes you 10 pounds of malt to get a 1.045 gravity or it talks 12 pounds to get a 1.045 gravity you have extracted the same amount of sugars and flavor. I believe that the mash temp is more related to the flavor (malty) and mouthfeel. An increase in mash temp will increase your unfermentables and therefore give you a maltier beer.

As far as the longer mashes and letting the temp slowly fall you could certainly do this, but I think you would end up with a super fermentable wort and the beer would lack mouthfeel.

__________________
T-Hops is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 06:31 PM   #8
Saccharomyces
Be good to your yeast...
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Saccharomyces's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pflugerville, Texas
Posts: 5,432
Liked 73 Times on 49 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

So far the only thing I have seen on this topic is discussion around HERMS systems, running a single no-sparge runoff. Efficiency is maybe 60-65% in such a setup ?? since you can get a good solid mashout and plenty of recirculation to extract the sugars, but there is no rinse water. The claim is that the zero sparge produces a clearer wort with fewer grainy flavors extracted from the husk.

When I runoff a smaller beer I watch the pH of my last runnings to make sure I'm below 6 to avoid extracting off flavors. If my efficiency was lower I will admit my pH of my last runnings would not be a concern. That is the only factor I can think of to look at.

I agree that consistency is more important to aim for than absolute efficiency. I'll take my time sparging a big beer to keep the grainbill at a reasonable size, but generally do a simple double batch sparge for smaller beers and aim for consistent low 80's efficiency I can count on from my equipment and procedures.. makes for a true RDWHAHB brew day.

__________________
[How to Calculate Mash Efficiency | Do I Need a Yeast Starter? | My Ghetto Fermentation Chamber | Twitter | 6 Gal. HDPE Fermenters | Slanting Yeast | No Sparge Brewing]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew
big brother only monitors facebook and untappd
Saccharomyces is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 08:06 PM   #9
zoebisch01
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
zoebisch01's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Central PA
Posts: 5,198
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Default

Hmm, interesting topic. It could easily be tested by opening the crush gap and adding the extra malt. On a well defined system you should be able to prove it one way or the other, but what I'd do is go way over the amount, not just a lb. and go for really crappy efficiency. Then you'd know if you didn't get the 'more' flavor you can start looking into the time extraction theory. I am willing to bet higher temperature kilned malts release more readily than low temperature kilned. I don't have any proof other than intuition

__________________
Event Horizon ~ A tribute to the miracle of fermentation.

Brew what you like. Do this, and you will find your inner brewer.
zoebisch01 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2008, 08:11 PM   #10
FlyGuy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
FlyGuy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,618
Liked 122 Times on 40 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01 View Post
Hmm, interesting topic. It could easily be tested by opening the crush gap and adding the extra malt. On a well defined system you should be able to prove it one way or the other, but what I'd do is go way over the amount, not just a lb. and go for really crappy efficiency. Then you'd know if you didn't get the 'more' flavor you can start looking into the time extraction theory. I am willing to bet higher temperature kilned malts release more readily than low temperature kilned. I don't have any proof other than intuition
I suspect you are correct. In the higher kilned and roasted malts, a lot of the flavour comes from the husk and outer parts of the grain. If your extract efficiency is lower, and you compensate by adding more grain, it stands to reason that the brew with more grain will have more flavour, all else being equal.


__________________
Cheap 10 gal cooler MLT$3 AutosiphonAluminum Pot FAQEasy Steam Injection Mash SystemMake a Frozen Yeast Bank
Improving Stovetop Boiling Improving AG Efficiency
FlyGuy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Do water treatments affect flavor or just mash efficiency? Danek All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 3 02-14-2009 11:01 AM
Hop Flavor Beerrific Recipes/Ingredients 8 06-15-2007 09:13 PM
Bad Flavor TURBOANSARI Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 12 06-14-2007 04:24 AM
The effect of efficiency on flavor extraction mew All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 2 04-15-2007 01:42 PM
Flavor changes when kegging/bottling... (flavor demolition) parasonic Bottling/Kegging 3 12-13-2006 03:56 AM