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Old 10-18-2011, 08:59 PM   #21
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Well first off an ordinary bitter isn't exactly supposed to have a lot of body.

However, that said, I would include a bit of caramel/crystal to help round out the aroma and flavor, give the beer a bit more depth/complexity, and color it a bit. If 7 pounds maxes out your MLT you could just as easily add that as a steeping step after you mash out.

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Old 10-18-2011, 09:01 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by corwin3083 View Post
It's just an ordinary bitter:

7# maris otter
1oz cascade @ 60min
1oz cascade @ 10min
WLP002 english ale

According to Beersmith, if I get 65% efficiency, which should be possible using deathbrewer's stovetop partial mash method, (5) gallons of this beer should have the following stats:

Est OG 1.035
Est FG 1.011
Est ABV ~3%
Est IBUs 31

Is Beersmith incorrect? Have I missed some calculatory step? Is this approach even really workable; can I fix it, or would it be easier to just purchase a cooler to replace my current MLT so I can use more than 7# of grain?

I hear all of you when you say that 7# of grain will produce a thin beer; what I need to hear are suggestions for correcting this. What would each of you do in this situation?
Hmmmmmm. If I was limited to 7 pounds of grain, I would make each grain count and not fill my mashtun with just basegrain. What I mean is this- check out this recipe: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f67/reapers-mild-1st-place-2011-hbt-competition-239228/

He takes a bit over 7 pounds of grain, and uses plenty of specialty grains (but not too much!) to fill in the body and flavor. Mash at 1.25 quarts per pound, and at 156/158 to get the most dextinous wort you can, and you'll be doing great.

Your recipe for an "ordinary bitter" is lacking to be honest. You're using citrusy American hops and a plain grain bill. It won't be a bad beer, but it won't be what you are looking for. Specialty grains are crucial for these "small beers". They provide body, flavor, mouthfeel, etc that you won't get from a small grainbill of base malt. Using American hops will be even stranger- you need a nice firm malt backbone to support American citrusy hops. You could try using some fuggles or EKG hops and changing the malt bill to include some crystal 120L or 80L or victory malt to provide some interest as well as a more solid backbone for the hops.

Keep in mind that extract isn't just plain old base malt. It's usually got other ingredients- the light DME has carapils in it, for example. The amber LME has crystal malt, and I think Munich malt. That may be why your extract beers were fuller and richer- you're leaving out the specialty grains in the extract.

Using sugar to boost up the gravity in the example above you mentioned is even worse- it causes a thinner bodied beer that finishes drier- the exact opposite of what you want!

If I wanted a bigger beer than 1.038, I'd just use some DME to make up the difference but keep the specialty grains the same and increase the hopping rates for a higher OG. No need to get a bigger MLT unless you want one.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:09 PM   #23
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Excellent, excellent, thank you. This is all very helpful.

What do you think of this recipe revision:

.5# extra light DME
5.5# maris otter
.75# carapils
.75# crystal 20
Hop schedule and yeast same as original.

Should put me somewhere around OG 1.038 at ~65% efficiency, according to Beersmith.

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Old 10-18-2011, 09:18 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by corwin3083 View Post
Excellent, excellent, thank you. This is all very helpful.

What do you think of this recipe revision:

.5# extra light DME
5.5# maris otter
.75# carapils
.75# crystal 20
Hop schedule and yeast same as original.

Should put me somewhere around OG 1.038 at ~65% efficiency, according to Beersmith.
Better, but I'd still consider something heftier than carapils and crystal 20L. Maybe 120L, or some biscuit malt. Or crystal 60L or 80L instead of the carapils. Even a pound of Munich malt would give it some more heft.

I'd keep some extra DME on hand, just in case you get terrible efficiency and end up with something like 1.030! Check the preboil gravity (cool the sample to under 100 degrees) and if you're low, you can always add more DME. If you're higher, and get a higher efficiency, then you'll still be fine. So either way, you'd be in good shape!

I was browsing the recipe forum just now, looking at milds since now I have a hankering for one after talking about one! I saw this recipe: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f67/empire-strikes-mildly-251016/ Keep in mind that's an 11 gallon batch, so you'd have to cut it in half, but if you want a beer that would be flavorful and still only with 7 pounds of grain, I think that's a great looking recipe!
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