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Old 11-04-2012, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default What's up with all the recipes with Munich malt??

I've been noticing a trend lately with lots of recipes coming up using Munich malt. Recipes like porters, barley wines, IPA's, and others that really don't use it (normally).

Looking into the malt a bit comes up with: "Primarily used for Dark German Lagers (Bock, Schwarzbier, Oktoberfest)." I'm seeing it in recipes that are NOT German lagers (of any shade).

So why are so many (it seems) using this malt? Especially in styles that don't fall under the categories you would expect to find it in. While I've seen it also described as adding malt character, you can easily (IMO/IME) do that in/with the mash and/or by proper yeast selection. I see using Munich for this as a cop-out/cheat. Or looking to get an end result by using the easiest method. IMO, the easy way is very rarely the better/best way. At least when it comes to recipe formulation and mashing.

Hate me if you like, but that's my take on it.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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You may call it a "cheat", but I call it character malt.

It's a rich flavorful malt that can really help with a malt backbone on a beer like an IPA. It's not like a crystal malt that people just throw in- it's usually a carefully thought out choice.

It's not that easy to manipulate a mash to emulate a warm malty flavor. Malt flavor comes from malt, not a mash. Using a malt that has a more pronounced malt flavor will enhance the maltiness of the beer.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #3
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Guess I'm just jaded by the base malt I am using. I'm using good/great UK 2 row and Maris Otter for all my batches. I mash in the temperatures to give the body I want. I also use yeast that leaves a good amount of malt character/flavors in the brew.

With how many recipes I've seen posted up with it, it really seems more like a cheat or not well thought out addition.

I put a lot of thought into my own recipes. After the first time it's brewed, I'll tweak it as needed for the next time. I also make sure the GU:BU ratio is going to give me what I want, along with the IBU's within my desired range.

I'm brewing styles from the British Isles, so [IMO] Munich malt really doesn't have a place. All but one of my malts is of UK origin. IF I could get an UK version of that malt, I would. Also, all my hops are UK varieties. Same with my yeast.

IF I was brewing German beers, I'd probably use Munich.

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Old 11-04-2012, 03:56 PM   #4
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I use it for a flavor and color I don't seem to get from crystal.

Is using roast barley in a red ale "cheating" because a roast barley data sheet says to use in stouts and porters?

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:03 PM   #5
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Roasted Barley is also for brown ales, which (depending on how you look at things) a red ale could be of the same lineage. You can also use chocolate malt to get the color addition for a red ale. Also, the percentage you use of either is tiny in a red. It's for color, NOT a major part of the grist. Talking about <2% here compared with the 20-50% of the grist I've been seeing.

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Roasted Barley is also for brown ales, which (depending on how you look at things) a red ale could be of the same lineage. You can also use chocolate malt to get the color addition for a red ale. Also, the percentage you use of either is tiny in a red. It's for color, NOT a major part of the grist. Talking about <2% here compared with the 20-50% of the grist I've been seeing.
Okay, understood.

But I'm not using 20-50% Munich either.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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The answer is very simple.

I like the flavor that it adds to a brew.

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #8
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I use Munich for the color and flavor. Never really thought of it as a way to cheat at getting body. Jamil uses it in a lot of the recipes in his book. Hell, the kolsch recipe uses a 1/4 pound. To each his own. I usually have around 10 pounds on hand.

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:28 PM   #9
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In looking through Brewing Classic Styles, I see that Munich is NOT used in any of the classic English styles, including stouts, pale ales, and IPA's. If you look at the "American" styles of these beers you will see Munich used, but hey, the "American" styles blow these out with big hop additions too.

The Amber Hybrids use it but Kolsch is the only Light Hybrid that does which makes sense, it's German.

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:33 PM   #10
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If you want to go strictly by tradition/historical accuracy then you are correct, Munich shouldn't be used in British beers (though mild malt-very similar- and/or various incarnations of "amber" malt-can be similar-could be used and are traditional though harder to find these days).

In addition to Germans, Belgians have been using Munich forever for some types of beers and the US owes its brewing tradition more to German immigrants than to any other group. However I'd argue that, as with most things cultural in the US, brewing here is kind of a hodgepodge, a mash-up of traditions with no hard, fast rules. So I'd consider the use of Munich in just about any American style beer appropriate.

In practical terms, though, regardless of what style you're brewing, the proof is in the pudding as they say. If using a high percentage of Munich in a recipe produces a desired and tasty result (as it often does) then it is absolutely appropriate.

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