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Old 05-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Experiment with Aromatic, Melanoidon, Special B, Victory and Chocolate

All of my beers seem to lack malt flavor, and several judges said this for my two entries at the NHC this year. I don't think I have a good grasp of the flavors contributed by certain specialty malts, so I'm going to do an experiment. I plan to brew a 6 gallon batch similar to this:

10 lbs Pils
3 lbs Vienna
0.75 lbs C60

I then want to add 8 oz of each of the following:

Aromatic
Melanoidon
Special B
Victory
Chocolate

What are your thoughts on brewing up the main batch, hopping with a simple APA schedule, splitting it up into five small 1.2 gallon fermenters, and then adding about a liter of water steeped with each of the above grains?

Do any of the above really need to be mashed, or would steeping work for all 5?

Also, will I be missing something if I don't expose these 5 specialty grains to boiling temps as well as hops?

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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some of those need mashing, even if not you probably would get better and more consistent extraction from adding in like 8oz of pils and mashing each with the same time/temp you would the full beer.

What kind of containers are you going to steep/mash and boil them in? doing them all at once at the same time as the main mash and boil?

you should boil them to sanitize. I don't think you need to boil long for the specialty, but if you add pils you might get a bit of DMS flavor if you don't boil that for long.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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I like that idea (mashing with 8 oz pils). Thanks!

Don't know what I'm going to do for containers yet, but was hoping to mash/steep at the same time as the main boil.

I'd also like to do future experiments with different yeast types, so I think it might be worthwhile to buy five 1-2 gallon containers that I can through an airlock on.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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It's a great idea to split batch to try different ingredients to get to know their impact. There is a difference between "malt flavor" and specialty malts which add caramel, chocolate, bready or roasted overtones, etc. Your base malt here is pils. Pils does not taste "malty" in my book. Look at recipes where "maltiness" is a key component. for instance I really like the taste of Marris Otter for a base malt. Then look at yeasts that accentuate malt. Also mashing fat - say 155 - adds mouthfeel that to me accentuates maltiness. Just my 2 cents.

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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If you really want to find out what a specific ingredient tastes like I would remove the vienna and crystal, Id just use pils and then the ingredient you want to test. maybe like a 9:1 ratio or so

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrewski View Post
It's a great idea to split batch to try different ingredients to get to know their impact. There is a difference between "malt flavor" and specialty malts which add caramel, chocolate, bready or roasted overtones, etc. Your base malt here is pils. Pils does not taste "malty" in my book. Look at recipes where "maltiness" is a key component. for instance I really like the taste of Marris Otter for a base malt. Then look at yeasts that accentuate malt. Also mashing fat - say 155 - adds mouthfeel that to me accentuates maltiness. Just my 2 cents.
I definitely agree, but sometimes specialty malts add flavors that can be interpreted as "malty". As an example: there are many malty american IPAs, but more than likely, the majority of those are 2-row with specialty malts. That's the type of "maltiness" I'm looking for, and maybe I'm not even defining it correctly. But my mouth will know when I taste it.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettwasbtd View Post
If you really want to find out what a specific ingredient tastes like I would remove the vienna and crystal, Id just use pils and then the ingredient you want to test. maybe like a 9:1 ratio or so
I thought about doing this at first, but since the majority of the beers I brew have at least a little caramel and a higher kilned base malt, I'm more interested in how the specialty malts interact with one of my typical recipes, as opposed to by themselves.

Does that make sense?
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:31 PM   #8
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Are the judges referencing malty ness or mouthfeel or both?

I like to use Maris Otter as my base because I think it provides a Maltese base without really sacrificing the style of the beer. I have also begun adding some wheat to all my beers as it really brings out a fuller mouthfeel. In addition look at your mash temperatures as that may be a reason you are not getting what you want out of the beer. If you are mashing too low you will get higher attenuation and conversely if you mash a little higher you will get less fermentable wort and little more malty/sweetness and a higher FG.

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Old 05-14-2012, 10:40 PM   #9
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Only maltiness not mouthfeel.

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Old 05-14-2012, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwheel
Only maltiness not mouthfeel.
Then I would look at your mash temps and the base malt, the specialty grains will contribute some color and complexity and character as well but they really should be part of the mash.

Have you considered doing some small batch SMaSH recipes? Great way to learn about individual ingredients.

Also, if you don't have it already, "designing Great Beers" is a great book. A little dated but really teaches the insight into creating a recipe and the elements of a grain bill. Also brewing classic styles as you can see how other beers are created and take that info to your beer
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