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Old 04-16-2007, 01:40 AM   #1
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Default Sampling Grains...

Because I have a lot of spare parts, I'm looking into making a mega-ultra tiny MLT. Something maybe less than a gallon in size. I want to make identical mashes of all the commonly available base grains- Optic, Maris Otter, Golden Promise, American 2 row, Belgian 2 row, etc, and brew about a half gallon batch, or maybe a little bit less, each with an identical yeast strain, just to experiment with the grains and really examine their flavors.

How would you recommend this be done? Would you maybe add hops at 60, just to have some flavor? Or would you just drink the hopless wort? Would you carbonate it? Which yeast strain do you think would be good?

Any other thoughts?


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Old 04-16-2007, 01:04 PM   #2
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Bump?


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Old 04-16-2007, 01:10 PM   #3
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I would definitely do a bittering hop addition and carbonate. The reason I say this is because for most beers, you will have those elements present and since they really change very little (although the degrees of bittering and carbonation can vary) they are more-or-less like a constant. If you omit the bittering, you might taste some of those malts and not particularly care for them because that component is needed to balance the sweetness of the malt. It will be two less things to think about, in other words you know what a malt will taste like with the bittering and carbonation instead of saying "now I wonder how this will taste when bittered and carbonated". Use a good attenuating simple strain like Nottingham to prevent yeast flavor influence. Also use a clean bittering hops.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:16 PM   #4
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Aha!

There is a use for the "french press" coffee pot!

Put you grains and hot water in a french press style pot at mash temp. Insulate it. Hold for your mash time. Press the grains down and pour off the wort. Boil with hops. Cool. Ferment in a growler with a stopper and airlock? depending on size I guess...

If you did use a growler you could get 5 bottles out of it. I guess brewing software could tell you the priming sugar rate?
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by knights of Gambrinus
Aha!

There is a use for the "french press" coffee pot!

Put you grains and hot water in a french press style pot at mash temp. Insulate it. Hold for your mash time. Press the grains down and pour off the wort. Boil with hops. Cool. Ferment in a growler with a stopper and airlock? depending on size I guess...

If you did use a growler you could get 5 bottles out of it. I guess brewing software could tell you the priming sugar rate?

I thought about using my French Press for that. I'm just concerned that maybe the lack of vorlauf and the lack of a grainbed may be problems.... What do you think about that?

If I did, I would mash in a pot, then pour it into the french press as the Lauter Tun.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:30 PM   #6
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If you're only mashing a couple pounds, why make it more complicated than it needs to be? Get some big grain bags, mash in those, then put them in a collander and sparge simply by rinsing some 170° water over them. Your efficiency will suck, but just use a half-pound more grain than you would have otherwise. Besides, you're doing this purely experimentally, you'll get enough flavor out of them to make a judgment.

I would caution, though, to be aware that fermentability and mouthfeel may vary across grains for no other reason than it's a lot harder to hold constant temps in a pot than in a cooler. You'll have to be really careful to maintain as high a degree of consistency as possible.

I also second the notion of a clean bittering hop addition, as well as carbonation. Carb drops would make that easier.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the inputs!

I think I will use a stainless kettle in the oven. Measure the temp first, of course, just to be sure it's right, and then mash in the oven, Lauter in the french press, or else maybe in a collander/strainer.

Use some Saaz or Hallertau or other similar hop at 60.

Next, I have three growlers. Should I pick up a few more as primary vessels? Or can I get away with plastic liter bottles of the type you would get with club soda? I have previously been successful using a liter #2 bottle to make a starter, just leaving the cap barely screwed on.

I guess I'm trying to be cheap. I'd have to have to buy 7 growlers, 8 airlocks, 9 stoppers, etc for this project... the bill would really add up... Maybe I'll make airlocks out of vinyl tubing and a paperclip.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:59 PM   #8
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You need to keep as many variables constant as possible. If you use some soda bottles and some glass, how will you know how much of the flavor difference is coming from the malts and how much coming from the soda bottles having slightly more O2 permeability? It's probably too small to matter, but you want to have as few variables other than the difference in base malt.

Personally, I wouldn't use Saaz or another low-AA% hop to bitter; use a couple pellets of Magnum or something else considered very clean.

EDIT: I guess I'd be more inclined to use ALL soda bottles, if you don't want to buy more growlers.
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:53 PM   #9
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Perle is a very fine bittering hop, very nuetral.
1056 American ale yeast is a very clean nuetral yeast.
I can recommned these bits of wisdom to you.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:46 PM   #10
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Have you tried chewing and tasting the different grains first, to try to assay their flavor and what contributions they will impart?

As was stated, the fermenting of individual base grains will leave a lot to be desired in a fermented wort, and if understanding the flavor differences is what you seek, just taste a couple tablespoons of each, and spit the hulls into a trash can, one at a time.

This was enough for me to really understand the difference between Briess 2 row and maris otter. From there I can extrapolate the qualities to be had form using one or the other.

Same with hops; smell 'em, chew 'em, rub 'em on your cheeks, and see what is different with each one.


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