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Old 09-02-2011, 04:34 PM   #1
JonM
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I'm in the middle of brewing a wee heavy - 3 gallon batch. I took 2 quarts of the first runnings and reduced it by half in a saucepan and then added it to the boil.

I see some recipes call for reducing those runnings by 75%. Anyone experiment with this? Is there a big difference in flavor reducing the runnings by 50% vs. 75%?
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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Yeah, I've found that the flavor addition from small reductions (on the order of 50%) is hardly noticable in the beer. Very heavily reducing the runnings (>75%) is where the really nice flavors come from. You basically want the runnings to be a thick, viscous, dark syrup by the time you are finished with them. You can always go back and pull some more from the boil and reduce that, but since the gravity will be lower, it will take longer to reduce down. There shouldn't be any problem just adding that syrup to the fermenter later, even after pitching, if the reduction isn't done while you're still boiling. Just be sure to get any hops out of the wort you are going to boil down if you take some from the kettle!
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:53 PM   #3
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Thanks - caught me just in time! I was just about to add teh hops and pulled out another 2 quarts and will try boiling it down again. I think I'll have to do some tinkering wiht my boiloff rates now but it'll be worth it. Thanks again!
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
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King-

Are you saying to reduce ALL of the first runnings by 75%, or just a few quarts? If all, do you make up the volume difference with more sparge water?
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimirie View Post
King-

Are you saying to reduce ALL of the first runnings by 75%, or just a few quarts? If all, do you make up the volume difference with more sparge water?
Not all, (unless you are going for a butterscotch beer) but a portion of the first runnings. You can go more or less depending upon how much character and color you want coming out of the reduction. You'll have to take into account the volume reduction whether it's two quarts or two gallons.
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #6
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So, I'm trying to find a good method for turning out a beer very close to McGewin's Scotch Ale. While I love scotch ales, I really don't like McGewin's, but it is my father's favorite beer of all times and it is no longer distributed in the USA.

It is very syrupy and sweet. Would this reduction of the first runnings help with that aspect, or is this method more to bring out a caramel taste?
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimirie View Post
So, I'm trying to find a good method for turning out a beer very close to McGewin's Scotch Ale. While I love scotch ales, I really don't like McGewin's, but it is my father's favorite beer of all times and it is no longer distributed in the USA.

It is very syrupy and sweet. Would this reduction of the first runnings help with that aspect, or is this method more to bring out a caramel taste?


McEwan's?

The kettle caramelization will help a bit with getting that sweetness by enhancing the malt and caramel flavors but to end up with a syrupy or sweet beer you'll have to reduce the yeasts' attenuation. A high OG, lots of malt and caramel flavor, and low bitterness all help give the impression of sweetness though.
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:58 PM   #8
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Success! I pulled out 2 quarts before adding hops, put that in my old 4-gallon kettle, and it reduced down to a pint of dark caramel syrup FAST! Finished up just as the main boil was done. Thanks again!
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI

McEwan's?

The kettle caramelization will help a bit with getting that sweetness by enhancing the malt and caramel flavors but to end up with a syrupy or sweet beer you'll have to reduce the yeasts' attenuation. A high OG, lots of malt and caramel flavor, and low bitterness all help give the impression of sweetness though.
Yes, McEwan's.

The plan was to shoot for 1.080, lots of crystal, mash high, 20-25 IBU... Now that you speak of first-runnings reduction, I'll add that in there as well.

Your point of reducing a yeast's attenuation... During fermentation, is there a way to manipulate that?
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimirie View Post
Yes, McEwan's.

The plan was to shoot for 1.080, lots of crystal, mash high, 20-25 IBU... Now that you speak of first-runnings reduction, I'll add that in there as well.

Your point of reducing a yeast's attenuation... During fermentation, is there a way to manipulate that?
The easiest way is to use a less attenuative yeast. Since you're doing a scotch ale though, there really isn't much selection, so there are a few other techniques that work including underpitching, underoxygenating, fermenting too cold, and crash cooling(if you keg). Some run more risk of producing off-flavors and bottle bombs than others, which is why if a less attenuative yeast is an option, that should be the first choice. If you'll be kegging, fermenting a little below the yeasts' recommended range (which is already low for the scottish yeasts) and crash cooling at the desired FG is probably the best option.

With an OG of 1.080, lots of caramel malt and 20-25 IBU, I don't think you'll have to worry about the beer not tasting sweet, though.
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