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Old 01-21-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default A Lot of Crystal Malt and Water Chemistry

I recently tried Mountain Livin' Pale Ale from Crazy Mountain Breweing Company and fell in love with it. I e-mailed the head brewer for the recipe and here is what I got.

OG 1.055
FG 1.012
CA Ale Yeast fermented at 66 F
150 F sach temp for 60 minutes

11 lbs. 2-row pale
2.2 lbs carapils or white wheat
.6 lbs 120-L Crystal

60 min. 0.75oz Simcoe
21 min 0.75oz citra
7 min 0.75oz citra
EOB 0.5oz citra

Water Profile:

Ca 227
Mg 24
Na 38
SO4 638
CO3 0
CL 60

I was shocked about a few things. 1) 20% crystal malts 2) really high levels of Ca and SO4. I made sure the numbers were correct, and they were.

My question is this: has anyone made a hoppy beer with that much crystal and that high SO4? How did it turn out?

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Old 01-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #2
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I have made beers with 20% crystal malts. That does definitely create a sweetness in the beer. My understanding from Denny Conn is that Rogue Brewing uses up to 30% crystal in some of their brews. So it can be done successfully. I can't say that I prefer beers with that crystal content, but they are palatable.

The high calcium content is a result of the high sulfate that the brewer wanted in the water. Calcium has little flavor effect. But the sulfate will definitely have a drying effect on the beer. Maybe that is used to counter the sweetness from the high crystal content. I have not tried a sulfate content over 300 ppm, but Colin Kaminski says he prefers the level at over 600 ppm. He said his customers generally don't like that much sulfate though. I can't recommend it, but I won't dismiss it as folly. If you are adventurous, try it yourself.

The big problem with this recipe is that there is no alkalinity in the water to counter the huge amount of very acidic crystal malt and the very high hardness. This mash will DEFINITELY have a mash pH that is less than 5. The beer will be noticeably tart and thin, but that might mesh with the high amount of crystal malts. If the sparging water has high alkalinity, it might help increase the pH of the wort in the kettle to a more normal value. But this pH thing is a big red flag.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Martin. What is the best way to increase the mash ph? Baking soda?

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:45 PM   #4
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Looks more like 5% crystal malt to me???

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:48 PM   #5
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Carapils is a crystal malt.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #6
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The "carapils or white wheat" seems weird. They don't seem like they'd be that interchangeable to me....

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:10 PM   #7
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I thought the same thing. The brewer said it was for extra body so I chose carapils over white wheat.

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