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Old 12-13-2009, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Specialty Grains

Just bought a whole batch of specialty grains I'venever used before (honey, pale chocolate, acid, etc). Was curious what calculations people use in order to figure out how much to add. Thanks.

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Old 12-13-2009, 12:31 AM   #2
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Talk about the most vague question ever...start with a style.

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Old 12-13-2009, 12:42 AM   #3
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I don't think the question is vague. I meant it just as I worded it. If you are confused about what I meant I could clarify, just as long as your polite about it.

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Old 12-13-2009, 12:46 AM   #4
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Add the amount of specialty grains that would be appropriate for your intended style. If you don't know what would be appropriate for your intended style, pick up the book "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels. It will give you a good starting point for what and how much go into different classic beer styles. Programs like Beer Smith will also give you a maximum % of grist composition. For instance, 60% roasted barley would never be appropriate.

Toodles.

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Old 12-13-2009, 01:08 AM   #5
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The amounts of each grain really depend on what you're making. For example, for an oatmeal stout, you'd want maybe .5 pound of a crystal malt, a pound of oatmeal, .5 pound of chocolate malt and .5 pound of roasted barley.

For an American pale ale, you might want to use about 1/2 pound of crystal 40 and 1/2 pound of crystal 80, and no other specialty grains.

For an American amber, you could increase the crystal malt a bit.

I don't use honey malt very often (only once in my brewing career so far) so I don't know about that one.

Check out the recipe database, to see how others use specialty grains. Another great resource is "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. They have a recipe for each style of beer, and they talk about why each grain is in there, and what those grains bring to the flavor of the beer.

Most recipes will use some form of a crystal malt, but the kinds vary. 10L crystal doesn't taste very much at all like 80L crystal, for example, so sometimes you use one type over another.

Sorry that you felt your question wasn't vague. To me, it is a bit. Your question about how much specialty malt in a beer is kind of like the question, "What do you put in soup?" in a way. Because the answer is "It depends on what kind you're making." Just like in chicken soup, the ingredients will be far different than tomato soup. Different beer styles call for different ingredients, even though they are all beer. It really does depend on the recipe, the goal, the style of beer, the grains you already have in there, etc.

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Old 12-13-2009, 01:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Sorry that you felt your question wasn't vague. To me, it is a bit. Your question about how much specialty malt in a beer is kind of like the question, "What do you put in soup?" in a way. Because the answer is "It depends on what kind you're making." Just like in chicken soup, the ingredients will be far different than tomato soup. Different beer styles call for different ingredients, even though they are all beer. It really does depend on the recipe, the goal, the style of beer, the grains you already have in there, etc.
OK, point taken. I guess I am trying to figure out how people determine how much to add of a particular grain to gain a desired effect. Perhaps this is too broad of a question. What I was thinking about is that I am brewing an American IPA and am adding honey malt (20L) because I think it would be an interesting flavor combination. I am uncertain how much to add and how much crystal I should remove (if any). The recipe calls for 1lb of Crystal (15L) and .25lbs Crystal (40L). I am using 9 lbs light liquid extract, 1 lb of honey, and oak chips in a secondary if that matters.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:54 AM   #7
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Well, of course you have to look at the recipe as a whole. There are good guidelines on the various beer styles in the wiki, and I love a couple of my books for that.

In an IPA, I'm not a fan of sweet. I think honey malt wouldn't be very good, or even easy to pick out from under the hops. But if it sounds good to you, then you should definitely reduce the crystal malt.

Some very general guidelines on an IPA (American) are:
OG 1.056-1.075 FG 1.010-1.018 IBU 40-70

An IPA should always have high hop bitterness, with a lot of American hop character up front. (That's from Jamil's Zainasheff's introduction to the style). He goes on to say that the malt character shold be low and clean, and some crystal malt is ok. His recipe suggests that about 10% of the grain bill can be crystal malt.

The key to a good beer is balance. Even if it is a hoppy beer style, there needs to be malt balance, and sweetness balanced with the hops. Of course this style leans towards hops, but there needs to be a malt structure behind it.
So, if you want to add honey malt, you should replace some of the crystal, and keep the total amount about 10% or so. (I don't really like more than a pound of crystal total in a 5 gallon batch of IPA). However, since you're using honey in the brew and honey will ferment out completely leaving the beer a little drier and thinner, the crystal will be nice in there.

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