Science behind "grainy character" - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Science behind "grainy character"

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-16-2009, 05:05 PM   #1
menschmaschine
 
menschmaschine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Delaware
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts



What exactly in the brewing process can produce a pleasant grainy character in a beer? What types of compounds are responsible for a grainy character?... proteins? (Not to be confused, per se, with maltiness... I know what can produce that.) Here's the background to my question:

I brewed a German Pils a little while back and am working on the 2nd keg of it. I don't buy commercial beer all that often, but I bought a 6-pack of Würzburger Hofbraü pils (Bavarian). The flavor of the Würzburger came across to me as very crisp and clean with not that much grainy character (or maltiness) compared to my German pils which is very grainy (IMO in a good way, not a tannin issue).

I'm not sure of the distinguishing line between "grainy" and "malty", but regardless of that, I didn't expect that much of a difference between the Würzburger and my pils in respect to the character from the malts. I brewed my pils using a Hochkurz-style step-mash and used 97.5% BestMalz pilsener malt and 2.5% BestMalz Cara-Pils and fermented with the Weihenstephaner W-34/70 strain. So, I half expected them to taste comparible (hops aside).

I'm not saying I want to change my German light lager brewing style, but I'm just curious to know more about the beers I produce and why they taste the way they do. Could it have to do with centrifuging/filtering of many commercial beers?... would that strip some of the grainy/malty flavor away?
__________________
END TRANSMISSION

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
Edcculus
 
Edcculus's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
Liked 48 Times on 45 Posts


It could have to do with Maillard Reactions/melanoidins. These reactions take place in malting and the boil. I guess on a lighter malt level, these flavors could be described as a pleasantly grainy.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
menschmaschine
 
menschmaschine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Delaware
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
It could have to do with Maillard Reactions/melanoidins. These reactions take place in malting and the boil. I guess on a lighter malt level, these flavors could be described as a pleasantly grainy.
OK, I can buy that. But I'm wondering why a commercial German pils would be so much less grainy/malty than my beer... being that some of the key factors are probably the same... German pilsener malt, Hochkurz-style step-mash, 90 min. boil, same or similar yeast strain, etc. I guess the one factor I didn't consider is water profile... and my water is very soft and devoid of minerals, to which I added gypsum (mainly for the calcium, but a little sulfates would be good for a Pils too)... but there's virtually no chloride in my water.
__________________
END TRANSMISSION

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
rocketman768
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
rocketman768's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2008
Evanston, IL
Posts: 1,083
Liked 25 Times on 22 Posts


At least for oatmeal, it seems that nearly all of the volatile flavor compounds come from heating. Also, seems that the method of heating also plays a big role since microwaved oatmeal has a different profile from stove-top oatmeal.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2009, 08:09 PM   #5
eschatz
 
eschatz's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
Liked 35 Times on 19 Posts


I was stooped about the "grainy quality" I found in commerical brews. Eventually I learned about maliard reactions. That's what I precieved as "grainy".

In regards to your OP. I was thinking that a decoction could be what caused the difference between the two beers. I believe many German brewers still use decoction mashes. As you stated, the water source can obviously accentuate different flavors.
__________________
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2009, 08:49 PM   #6
menschmaschine
 
menschmaschine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Delaware
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by eschatz View Post
In regards to your OP. I was thinking that a decoction could be what caused the difference between the two beers. I believe many German brewers still use decoction mashes. As you stated, the water source can obviously accentuate different flavors.
But that would make their beer more grainy/malty than mine... but it was less. Also, I understand many German breweries have gotten away from doing decoctions due to the costs involved.
__________________
END TRANSMISSION

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2009, 09:24 PM   #7
carnevoodoo
Recipes 
 
May 2007
San Diego, CA
Posts: 4,276
Liked 17 Times on 16 Posts


Their beer is filtered, I'm assuming. Sometimes filtration can strip character from a beer, and this is a definite possibility in this case.
__________________
http://chugsd.com

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2009, 11:35 PM   #8
menschmaschine
 
menschmaschine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Delaware
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by carnevoodoo View Post
Their beer is filtered, I'm assuming. Sometimes filtration can strip character from a beer, and this is a definite possibility in this case.
This was one of my suspicions.
__________________
END TRANSMISSION

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
z987k
 
z987k's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2007
Anchorage
Posts: 3,518
Liked 30 Times on 28 Posts


also, they probably use steam jacketed kettles which are a much more even heat source than propane. This would probably reduce the maliard reaction.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
menschmaschine
 
menschmaschine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2007
Delaware
Posts: 3,272
Liked 41 Times on 33 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
also, they probably use steam jacketed kettles which are a much more even heat source than propane. This would probably reduce the maliard reaction.
That's an interesting point.
__________________
END TRANSMISSION

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Going for a "grainy" taste, any suggestions? chrisedjohn Recipes/Ingredients 8 10-09-2009 02:03 PM
All my batches so far have a "grainy" taste please critique my technique jmooney Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 12-23-2008 02:27 PM
adding character to "welches" wine Tim Rhoads Winemaking Forum 11 08-23-2008 01:04 AM
NPR Fans: "The Science of Brewing" on Talk of the Nation tomorrow 2-3pm EDT tmoney1224 General Beer Discussion 37 05-21-2008 12:06 AM


Forum Jump