So I've been thinking for a while now on how to do a taste comparison test between different specialty malts and what they add to a beer. I'm not a very good 'taster' as such and I reckon this would help me get my head around what I can taste (malt-wise) in a beer.
Last weekend I saw a video podcast on basicbrewing where they steeped an ounce of grain in 3 cups of water and then let it cool to taste the differences in malts. I tried it and had trouble tasting more than one sample, they all tasted like boring tea with a grainy flavour. I've also tried chewing grains and haven't really got much from that.
So my new plan is this...
I'd like to taste-test the following grains I have on hand (percentage of grain in wort in brackets):
Caramalt (approx 20L) (30%)
Crystal (approx 75L) (30%)
Dark Crystal (approx 120L) (30%)
Chocolate Malt (15%)
Roast Barley (15%)
Amber Malt (30%)
Control of LME only wort
I'm going to make a small beer for each to test.
Make a base wort from light LME, and bitter with around 10IBU of a tasteless hop.
Split the wort into 10 parts.
Steep a relative amount of the grain in water to add to the base wort to make around 500mL of wort at around 1.040. I plan on using around 1.5 times the max amount to really bring out the flavour of the malt.
I'll then transfer each ~500mL wort to a 750mL bottle and add US05 yeast. The bottle will be fixed with a crude airlock of some sort, possibly just a sanitised balloon.
After fermentation appears to be complete I will bottle and probably not carbonate and then age for approximately a week.
It seems like it may be a little time consuming but I'm hoping it will be worth the effort.
The biggest problem I see so far is sanitising the wort after the steeped addition but in theory I think everything else should work out OK.
I'd be happy to hear anyones suggestions or comments from people who have tried something similar.