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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Trying to figure out if complicating my process is going to be worth it
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:29 AM   #1
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Default Trying to figure out if complicating my process is going to be worth it

I'm not quite happy with the aroma and finish of my beers. For the lagers, in which I use only bittering hops or only little amounts of flavoring hops, I don't get much aroma from the beer. I feel that it is rather empty compared to a commercial Helles or Maerzen. And the finish still feels a little to harsh. And there is this pesky slight dustiness that I'm getting occasionally from my beers.

So this weekend I want to give a Helles a try and make sure that I pay attention to all the details that I know could make a difference and which I can take care of w/o bying new equipment:

- use a heated step infusion mash with a 57 *C (137 F) dough in and a 2 step saccrification rest. This is pretty much as authentic German as it gets and this would be a first for me since it doesn't really fit my brew-house. But I can make it work.

- when batch sparging don't drain the wort below grain level. This is basically in response to the BYO article about sparging

- fix the manifold seal for my MLT. Recently I started pulling in air through this.

- add hops before the hot break and maybe even FWH the batch. Hopefully this smoothens out the finish

- 90 min boil

- DMS rest. When I have an imported Helles it generally has a tad of a sweet aroma. It doesn't smell like the typical DMS aroma to me, but I could imagine that it is DMS which is barely at the aroma threshold. So far I have been chilling my beers below 100 within 10 - 20 min. No Commercial brewery that has a whirlpool can do that and I want to know if this is the reason why my beers have such a clean (=empty) aroma. I'll have to read up on average time that commercial wort is spending hot.

- 12+ hr post chill whirlpool settling. For that I will chill the wort to ~48F and keep it in an ice bath for the next 12 hrs before racking to the fermenter. This is supposed to get rid of about 60% of the cold break. Commercial brewies may have settling tanks for this. And since I don't have a conical I have to go this route.

It's a lot of changes, but If the beer really comes out different (and hopefully better) I could start eliminating one extra step after another to figure out what is actually important.

Kai

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Old 02-28-2008, 03:51 AM   #2
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Kaiser - what temperature are you serving your beers at. I've noticed just a few degrees warmer can make a HUGE difference in the aroma as well as the flavour of the beer.

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Old 02-28-2008, 03:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Got Trub?
Kaiser - what temperature are you serving your beers at. I've noticed just a few degrees warmer can make a HUGE difference in the aroma as well as the flavour of the beer.
7 - 8 *c (46 - 48 F). I already tried warming them up.

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:10 AM   #4
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It figures it wasn't going to be a simple fix. I'd been dissapointed with both my helles and vienna lager until I realized they were too cold. Served at 48F and they were totally different beers.

I just did another helles with 4oz of melanoidin added per Jamils recipe and did the o/n chill to 44. The wort I transferred was crystal clear. It was a little disconcerting to add the yeast and watch it get all cloudy again.

I'll be tracking this thread to see what your results are.

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:11 AM   #5
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Ummmm.....why don't you adjust your recipes for more finishing hops toward the end of the boil and/or dry hop?

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Ummmm.....why don't you adjust your recipes for more finishing hops toward the end of the boil and/or dry hop?
My question as well...?

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Old 02-28-2008, 05:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
Ummmm.....why don't you adjust your recipes for more finishing hops toward the end of the boil and/or dry hop?
I read that this gives you a different, more American style, aroma and flavor. When the flavor compounds in the hops are allowed to oxidize they become more stable. I also heard that you should let the hops sit out in the air for a few days before brewing (I think it was one of the hop growers on Basic Brewing Radio) so they can drive off the harsher flavor compounds.

The hop flavor and aroma that I'm looking for in this Helles will be subdued anyway and the aroma I noticed in the commercial examples didn't seem to come from the hos. But I do intend to make a German Pils later this yeasr if I can get the hops for it.

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Old 02-28-2008, 06:00 AM   #8
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sounds like decoction mash is what your looking for for the aroma and flavor without overdoing it with the hops.. DMS a must and if your chilling to pitch temp is 20 min ya I would say for that beer I would take it down to about 150 and let it rest there for 20 to 30 min then chill to pitch temp over another 30 min or so.
JMHO
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:21 AM   #9
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The other side of brewing that you haven't discussed is ingredients. Can it be assumed that you are focusing on your process because you are certain you are getting the freshest hops? If all my beers were turning out with less hop aroma than expected and I was getting a harsh finish, the first place I would look is the freshness of my hops. Have you ruled that out? You never said.

Also, out of curiosity, what is the 'DMS rest' you speak of? I have never heard the term before.

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Old 02-28-2008, 01:24 PM   #10
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[quote=FlyGuy]...the first place I would look is the freshness of my hops. Have you ruled that out? You never said.
[quote]

I don't have much control over that. I bought the hops I'm going to use a few weeks back. Being Tettnanger I don't know which harvest they are from.

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Also, out of curiosity, what is the 'DMS rest' you speak of? I have never heard the term before.
I basically think that I chill to early (not to quickly) and that there might be the need for a smidge of DMS in the aroma. That's why I'm planning to keep the wort hot for a while before chilling. Now I think I may just go with a 60 min boil and chill 10 min after flame-out. Later I may increase this time.

The rest of the ingridents are pilsner malt and WY2206 grown from a plate.

I'll also boil my racking hose just to make sure I'm not getting an infection from there. It looks a little gunky and I don't have the time to go to the LHBS.

Kai
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