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Old 09-25-2009, 07:06 PM   #1
qvantamon
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Default Too few specialty grains?

Here's what I prepared yesterday - based on mix&matching a few Belgian Ale recipes I found on the web, with a few tweaks here and there.
The tweak I'm worried about is that I read up on the specialty grains involved, and decided to tone them down a bit since they all have some maltiness/caramel characteristics that I wasn't really looking for. But I ended up not compensating what I took out with anything (esp. the Cara-*). And I think I was supposed to mash most of these anyway... so now I'm worried I might end up with no body/head.

5 gallon batch
OG: 1.067
IBU (est. from BrewPal): 30

Malt:
3lb Briess Pilsen DME
3lb Briess Weizen DME (I believe it's about half wheat half barley)
1lb inverted sugar syrup (homemade w/ cane sugar & a tsp of lemon juice)

Grains (steeped 30min at 155-160F)
.5lb belgian pale
.5lb caravienne (recipe called for caramunich, lhbs was out)
.5lb biscuit
.25lb aromatic

Hops/additives:
1oz Goldings 5%AA at 60min
1oz Saaz 7.7%AA at 15min (7.7 sounds high, but it says so on the bag)
1oz Hallertau at 5min
0.5oz Bitter Orange Peel at 15min
0.5oz Coriander at 15 min
<1g Paradise Seeds at 15 min

Yeast - Wyeast 3522 (Ardennes) pitched at 85 (heh, forgot to make ice for the bath, couldn't bring it lower), now it's chugging along at about 78.

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Old 09-25-2009, 08:48 PM   #2
Talloak
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Caravienne is appropriate in a Belgian pale ale recipe, and it doesn't need to be mashed. It can be steeped. However, Belgian pale malt, biscuit and aromatic must all be mashed to remove the sugars. .5 lbs of belgian pale malt would not have been enough base malt to add the enzymes required for the .75 lbs of the other two combined. They will contribute color, but not to your gravity.

None of those four grains you steeped add significantly to head or body of a beer anyway. A small amount of Crystal 40L may have been appropriate as it does not need to be mashed, and adds to color, head and body.

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Old 09-25-2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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Hm, I assumed Cara-Vienne was similar to Cara-Pils in respect to body/head, that's why I didn't add anything else in that regard... Reading up, it seems I was mistaken...

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Old 09-26-2009, 02:17 AM   #4
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specialty grains are nice, but when you hit AG and do your first SMaSH the world of simplistic excellence will fall upon you .

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Old 09-26-2009, 02:45 AM   #5
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I think it'll be fine. Every time someone says "xxx grain needs to be mashed, not steeped," they're really saying "xxx grain will only add to the alcohol if you mash it." There are a lot of grains that can contribute sugars if mashed, but add a lot of flavor if steeped (like rauchmalt). IMHO the Wiezen DME will result in good head retention regardless of the grains used, and I think the recipe looks good.

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Old 10-12-2009, 07:44 AM   #6
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Just kegged this, probably the most botched force carbonation ever:

Put 3g of the beer on a tertiary (I still want to age most of it a bit more), kegged the rest (approx 1.5g) in a 2.5g.

So, with all that 1g of air inside, I load it at 30psi, and roll it around for 5 minutes. Then I'm reminded that I didn't purge the air. So I unpressurized it, put the hose on the liquid post, pressurized again. Roll it around a bit more, and plug it into the liquid out - bam, beer on my gas line. So, I unpressurize it again, this time put the gas into the gas in, and try to get the beer in the hose back in the keg. Get it to 30 psi, leave it there while I try to rinse the gas line with some starsan. I guess I gotta get this keg done quickly - luckily most of the beer is on a tertiary where (I think) I didn't botch anything on the racking.

Anyway, I couldn't resist it, and tasted a bit of warm flat beer from the keg. Damn, it's tasting fine. A bit sweet on the aftertaste (caravienne + caramelized extract from the bottom of the pot, I guess), but other than that, damn fine - quite spicy too.

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Old 10-13-2009, 12:08 AM   #7
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I'm glad it turned out for you. You should look into partial mashing for the future. Check out deathbrewers easy stovetop partial mashing techniques. It's no more difficult than steeping, really. Just may need more capacity than you currently have.

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Conditioning:
Aging: Strong Scotch Ale, Robust Porter
Drinking: Saison

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:56 AM   #8
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My friend tried it and confirmed - Good beer overall, but too sweet (there was a lot of caramel on the bottom of my brew pot on that boil, and the beer is a lot darker than it should be), and not enough bitterness (I guess the 7.7% on the Saaz label was off, after all).

I'm going for some last resort measures/experimentation here... boiled a quart of water with 3/4 cup of DME, dumped .6 oz of Saaz leaves (yes, that amounts to almost more leaves than water), boiled for about an hour, then almost at flameout added a bag with the remaining .4 oz of Saaz, just to sanitize it. Took the .4oz bag, dumped into my tertiary (has about 3 gallons), and pitched that 1 quart of saaz juice with some coopers in an Erlenmeyer, will dump this in a couple days into the fermenter, both to bitter it up and to try to get the cooper's to eat a bit more sugar.

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