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Old 08-21-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
SkinnyPete
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Default Splenda in IPA - other options?

I just finished brewing up a hop burst type of IPA. I wanted something close to Heady Topper or Resin - something super hoppy but more sweet than bitter. It came out amazing. I got tons of praise from beer snob friends. The keg went quickly and I want to brew it again this weekend. I can't really think of anything that I'd change except one thing.

I used, if I remember correctly (I'm not near Beersmith right now), 17-18% crystal 10 to try and grab that Heady Topper type of sweetness (I used WYEAST 1056). But, after sampling it in secondary, I decided it wasn't as sweet as Heady and I added Splenda when kegging to sweeten it up a bit. It worked great and I think I added just enough to capture the exact sweetness I was looking for. It was perfect. Now, for some reason, I'm a little embarrassed by using Splenda. It sort of seems like cheating to me. I'm a purest. I'd like to do something else to capture that sweetness. This time around, I'm thinking of maybe kicking up the crystal addition a little. I'm mashing at 159 so I think I'm probably pretty good there. Maybe I could try lactose, but won't that impart a creamy flavor instead of sweetness? I'm willing to experiment, since this will probably be the beer I brew most often now. Any suggestions with this? Again, the flavor ended up pretty perfect and I could brew it exactly the same and be completely happy - but, something in me wants to use more natural ingredients, and not chemicals.

Thoughts?


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Old 08-21-2012, 08:23 PM   #2
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The darker the crystal, the more unfermentable sugars will remain.

Stay away from lactose for any american pale ale.

Kick up the crystal.
Add some 80 or 120 crystal
Mash at 157-159 (you have this covered)
Mash for no more than 45-50 minutes (shorter mash times lead to lower attenuation)
Move your hop additions (all of them) closer to flame out. This will lower the bitterness, but still get you full flavor and aroma profiles.

The point here is to retain residual sugars through higher mash temps and shorter rest times....then shift the balance to "malty" by lowering the bittering effect of the hops.


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Old 08-21-2012, 08:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
The darker the crystal, the more unfermentable sugars will remain.
.
Whoa, what? I thought it was the exact opposite. I'm going with a ton of crystal 10 because I thought the lighter crystals (10-40ish) were the sweetest. I'm wrong about that?
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:52 PM   #4
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In my experience, lactose doesn't add very much sweetness...just more body. I think it would be pretty inappropriate in an IPA anyway. Splenda or any other artificial sweetener would probably be the worst idea. I once back sweetened a batch of extremely dry hard cider with Truvia and it tasted absolutely horrible. I couldnt get over that artificial sweetener taste. You may want to give a small amount of honey malt a try....maybe about 5% of the total grist. That could sweeten the taste a bit
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:57 PM   #5
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I just re-read your original post....looks like you already tried the splenda with some success.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyPete View Post
Whoa, what? I thought it was the exact opposite. I'm going with a ton of crystal 10 because I thought the lighter crystals (10-40ish) were the sweetest. I'm wrong about that?
Maybe I have this wrong:

Light crystal = more fermentable sugars so less remaining sugars, less caramel notes so may tastes more like sugar and less like caramel

Dark crystal = less fermentable sugars so more remaining sugars, more caramel notes, higher FG

I'm not sure in a final beer which actually tastes sweeter. I'd assume that dark crystal leads to a beer with more complex caramel flavors and a beer with more body. The lighter crystals also leave some residual sugar and probably have a flavor more like sucrose dissolved in beer. Does anybody have a more detailed response about which is sweeter tasting in the final product.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:55 PM   #7
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based on everything I have ever read about caramel or crystal malts I would say that they are all equally dextrinous regardless of the lovibond rating. Saccharification of the grain is done before kilning, so the dextrins should be present in the same amount regardless of the kilning temperature. I would say that the only difference between lighter and darker crystal malt would be the percieved flavor as well as the color of the beer.

I'm sure somone will correct me if I am wrong...
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
The darker the crystal, the more unfermentable sugars will remain.

.

And the darker the berries, the sweeter the juice!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:41 AM   #9
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Use Stevia as a sweetener.

All natural. Vegan hippie chick approved, etc.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:48 PM   #10
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Thanks, all. I'm grabbing all my ingredients today. I'll start with more crystal and see where that leaves me. I like the idea of maybe replacing crystal with honey malt. I'm using The Alchemist as a guide because I really like the profile of Heady Topper. Rumor is they don't use any crystal in their recipe at all, so maybe honey malt is their key. I'll experiment and post my findings (and the recipe) in months to come. I'm really proud of this one, but I want to perfect it before sharing.


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