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Old 11-29-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Advice on Those Pesky Molasses

I know I probably should have asked BEFORE I brewed, but...

1) Does it matter what type of molasses you use?
2) When should you add them?
3) How much is too much? I know that's a matter of taste, but, if you have used them, what is your opinion?

My story is below. Let me say beforehand that I don't learn, but please don't kill me for it. It won't be EXACTLY the same mistake...

At the beginning of October, I brewed a pumpkin porter and added 1 16 oz jar of unsulphured molasses at the beginning of the boil (60 min). After fermentation, I knew it was kinda funny but I went ahead and carbonated. After carbonation... Yuck. Did I say yuck? I meant YUCK! It has a taste on the end that I love LOVE, but the aftertaste is metallic... copper pennies maybe... sulphur taste from the unsluphured molasses? I don't know. They always told me I would eventually have to dump a batch of beer and this was the one. Absolutely undrinkable.

If at first you don't succeed, right? Today I brewed again. A nice oatmeal stout this time. I did a lot of research on molasses after the last fiasco and decided to try 1/2 cup at flame out... Of course, since I used molasses again, I taste some similar notes and I am using up all of my good beer karma hoping and wishing that this doesn't turn out the same. This may be that batch that makes me decide that molasses are the best thing ever or that I will never touch them again.

Please provide your experienced input to a noob. Thank you

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Old 11-29-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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My experience was similar to yours. The taste was like the bark of the moleasses tree. Never again.

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Old 11-29-2012, 09:41 PM   #3
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In my opinion, ANY molasses (except in baked beans) is too much.

I don't like molasses very much as it is, but once it's fermented it's particularly bad tasting as the sugar ferments out leaving behind a bitter flavor.

I know some people have used small amounts successfully in beers with roast malt or other dark and complex flavors, but I've never once tried a beer that had molasses in it that I could stand.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:38 PM   #4
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The most molasses I've ever used is 8 oz (by weight) of blackstrap in 5 gallons for a Taddy Porter clone. If you've never had Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, it has a very strong molasses flavor, and that 8 oz nails it pretty well. It does seem to balance a little over time. When it was green the molasses flavor is a little too in-your-face; then after about a week, paradoxically, it seemed like there wasn't enough of that Taddy (read: molasses) flavor; by about four weeks in the bottle it came back and stabilized at Goldilocks level. Bear in mind that for this beer I'm looking for a strong molasses flavor.

I often use an ounce or two of regular/light molasses in stouts, especially oatmeal stouts, or an ounce in a nut brown ale. Even that amount can be quite noticeable, depending on your grain bill.

So, TBH, I think your 16 oz is probably too much, but if it's bottled, don't dump it yet! Give it a few weeks or even months and see if it mellows or balances somewhat.

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:32 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys. I appreciate the input. I haven't dumped the 16oz batch yet, but I tried it when I brewed the 4oz batch and it is still YUCK. I will keep trying for a couple of more weeks anyway, but I'm going to need those bottles I will save a bottle or two to try 6 months down the road and see if it ever mellows out, but I don't have the room to keep the whole batch. Hopefully my 4oz batch turns out ok.

BTW, when in the brewing process do you add it to your stouts, ales or porters?

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:46 AM   #6
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I had a friend who had a few batches of beer that tasted like pennies, he never figured out what it was but neither had molasses in them. I have had molasses in a few ciders and while I didn't love the taste it got better with time and had no metallic taste that went along with it.

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Hi Pakkasso. I'd also suggest letting these beers sit for months. If you need bottles, you have an excuse to buy a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada or something while you wait. I don't think the flavor will fully dissipate, but it does certainly become more bearable over time! I have made the same mistake and understand exactly what you are talking about LOL

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Old 12-02-2012, 04:28 AM   #8
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Tappar - That is interesting. I had one grolsch bottle that was leaking a few drops and we drank it first. It was crazy strong on the molasses, but didn't have the weird bitter metallic aftertaste. Every bottle after that has had it. Perhaps that particular issue isn't caused by the molasses.(?)

Whippy - Sounds like we are in good company with the molasses fiascos. Right now, though, No kidding... not just yuck, but YUCK. I can't make the letters any bigger to express HOW bad that bitter metallic aftertaste is. It's not just a matter of bottles, because bottles are cheap. I just don't have the space to keep 5 gallons of bottled stuff around for 6 months or a year to see if it will age out nicely. I will hold some back to see how they age, but I can't imagine they will ever be fantastic. If they do turn out great, I will kick myself, but I have 5 in the bucket that will need a home in two weeks.

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:32 AM   #9
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Don't know if anyone is still reading this, but don't ever use molasses. EVER. Ruined two batches. Two. The second one was drinkable, but still not great. Yuck. Don't ever do it. Just don't.

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Old 05-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pakkasso View Post
Don't know if anyone is still reading this, but don't ever use molasses. EVER. Ruined two batches. Two. The second one was drinkable, but still not great. Yuck. Don't ever do it. Just don't.
Boy am I glad I didn't read this sooner. I was at a beer tasting event and sampled a molasses porter that was excellent. I have tried to recreate this and for my first attempt I used 4 ounces of molasses in a 5 gallon batch. It came out with a nice porter flavor but the molasses was really hard to detect.

I tried again with more molasses but that one is still maturing so I can't say how it turned out. I wonder if the aftertaste is in your tongue or if it is a function of the water used. Water has so many variables in the minerals depending on where you live and the molasses may be accentuating that difference.
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