What factors influence sweetness? - Page 6 - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > What factors influence sweetness?
Cool Brewing Corny 5G & Mini Giveaway
Sign-up To NEW HBT Article Newsletter - Brewing Articles Direct To You!

Thread Tools
Old 01-24-2011, 02:54 AM   #51
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 3,654
Liked 43 Times on 41 Posts


Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
Or Lagunitus IPA uses lots of hops to balance the sweetness?
Per the film clip on their site. "Just enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness..." So, they say they use a lot of hops in the clip. That means the high mash does produce a lot of sweetness then?
Lagunitus IPA has about 45 IBUs, pretty low for an IPA and less than half of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, which is also mashed at a lower temperature.

remilard is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 07:18 AM   #52
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 351
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts


So does anyone know if mash temps do have an influence on sweetness?
I'm not one of these genius types, but I brew a lot of beer...I can tell you when I mash higher I get a sweeter beer. And the higher the starting gravity of the beer the stronger the effect.

Of course yeast selection and malt selection will affect the sweetness as well, and IBU's as well as fruit tartness will affect the perception to the drinker.

Lagunitus IPA has about 45 IBUs, pretty low for an IPA and less than half of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, which is also mashed at a lower temperature.
Bigfoot is 23 plato as opposed to Lag IPA's 14.5. So you can't really compare them when talking about either perception of hoppiness or the effect of mash temperature.

HotbreakHotel is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 03:33 PM   #53
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 2,288
Liked 56 Times on 46 Posts
Likes Given: 34


DFH Raison and Rogue Dead Guy are pretty malty. Rogue mashes @ 152, not sure about DFH.
ultravista is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 08:04 PM   #54
Look under the recliner
pjj2ba's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,378
Liked 203 Times on 166 Posts
Likes Given: 22


Originally Posted by sniemeyer View Post
What factors do you use to control the sweetness of your beer?

I assume that any difference between the actual attenuation and the limit of attenuation will increase sweetness, as this indicates the presence of residual unfermented sugars. To increase sweetness in this manner, I assume you would choose a less attenuative yeast that flocculates earlier, thus leaving the fermentation incomplete, or by under-pitching. But this seems like a pretty unpredictable process that would be difficult to get exactly right (for instance if you are trying to hit a specific final gravity).

The other factor commonly mentioned is fermentation temperature. But this is a little confusing, because shouldn't higher fermentation temperatures just increase the percentage of unfermentable vs. fermentable sugars -- i.e. creating a more dextrinous beer? Dextrins, I believe, are not actually sweet; they contribute to the body of the beer, so I am unclear as to why fermentation temperature would influence sweetness, if it actually does so.

A third factor would be the type of malt used. Crystal and Munich, for example, are supposed to contribute sweetness. In what way do they do so? Do they just contribute unfermentable but non-dextrinous sugars? -- i.e. sugars that are perceived as sweet but are not fermentable?
My #1 way to control sweetness is the recipe, next is choice of yeast strain, then mash temp, and finally fermentation conditions. The last two may flip flop.

If I want some residual sweetness in a beer I look to get that from specialty malts (and some from Vienna or Munich). It is difficult to make a beer with much residual sweetness using just pilsner or pale malt, no matter what temperature(s) you mash at. By mashing higher, you can get more oligosaccharides in the wort, but once you get above a 3 sugar chain, they don't taste sweet at all, and most of the shorter chain oligosaccharides are fermentable by yeast. There might be a slight increase in sweetness. By way of analogy, using mash temps to control sweetness is like using a step stool to clean your gutters. It gets you closer to where you want to be, but not all the way there. Now get yourself a ladder (alter the recipe) and you can get exactly where you want to be. Mash temps are a tool one could use on the job, but there are much better ones to use.

My mash temps are chosen primarily to control mouthfeel/body of the beer. My Kolsch and Helles have almost identical recipes, but I mash them differently (and use different yeast of course). One is light and crisp, the other much fuller in body. I wouldn't consider either one sweet tasting.

As to the choice of yeast, I use one strain of yeast that typically will finish around 1.008 and another strain that likes to finish around 1.014 with a similar recipe, yet the lower OG beers always taste sweeter. I this case I believe this particular yeast is producing a non-fermentable sweet tasting compound. If you want sweetness, use a yeast with a low attentuation.

One can also get yeast to crap out early and give a high FG. One could do this and then force carb to get a sweeter beer. There is the danger of bottle bombs if bottling though.

One question I have, and may address some of the confusion, is how do dextrins affect perceived bitterness? Do they at all? We are all familiar with residual "sugars" counteracting hop bitterness. I used the term "sugar" as a catchall to include sweet tasting compounds that might not actually be sugars. I'm a bit suspicious that dextrins, while not sweet themselves, still might be able to counteract some hop bitterness, probably not a well as sugars though. Maybe they directly compete for binding sites on the taste buds. If this is the case, then mashing high can reduce bitterness, but not because mashing higher made the beer is sweeter. The mis-assumption is that because the bitterness is less, it must be because mashing high resulted in more sweetness in the final beer.
On Tap: Doppelbock O'fest, Pale Ale, cider
Kegged and Aging/Lagering: CAP, Ger. Pils, OKZ (std Amer. lager), CZ Pils, Amer. Wheat, Rye IPA, Saison
Primary: Ger Pils, CAP
Brewing soon: Pale lager, Amer. wheat
Recently kicked : (
Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer
(1st NYC 2011, 2nd NYC 2012)
P U crowns winners in its inaugural master HB competition
pjj2ba is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2011, 02:40 AM   #55
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 259
Liked 12 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 41


An earlier poster pointed out that alcohol itself has an effect on sweetness. I think the poster wrote "mouthfeel" but I think he was addressing the sweetness question. Alcohol is sweet, and a more alcoholic beer (to a point) will taste sweeter than a less alcoholic beer (all other things being equal.) Just another factor to add to the list (maybe it was already added and this is redundant - apologies if this is the case.)

meadowstream is offline
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Beer Clarity Factors... Gremlyn Brew Science 8 03-03-2011 07:43 PM
How does residual extract influence perceived sweetness? sniemeyer Brew Science 3 10-22-2010 10:56 PM

Forum Jump