A grain mystery

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nobeerinheaven

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For the last four years, I took a brewing hiatus. But as I get back into brewing, I have discovered what must have been the grains purchased for a recipe now long forgotten. I need help solving the mystery so that I can construct a viable recipe.

I'm brewing 11 gallon batches, and this is what I discover in my grain storage:

3lbs Caramunich
2lbs Black Roast Barley
1lb Aromatic
1lb Special B
8oz Vienna
4oz Carafa II

I assume this is all for the same batch/recipe. Clearly, this comes together as a stout of some sort? And to make things more complicated, I have 10lb sacks of Munich and Vienna, which may or may not be related to this recipe (presumably not, given the Caramunich and small portion of Vienna). Should I assume I assembled the grain bill of an Imperial and add base malt/hops accordingly to hit guidelines? Any help solving the mystery would be appreciated.
 
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nobeerinheaven

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That's fine, but I plan to (after seeing quite a bit online about quality not being noticeably affected by lengthy dry storage).
 

McKnuckle

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Given the percentages of some of those grains, it's unlikely they were part of a recipe by themselves. You've got only one base malt there, Vienna, at only 6.5%. You've got roasted barley at 25.8%, more than twice as much as one would ever use, and the rest of the malts are similar - all crystal or specialty grains at high percentages.

Plus, it's weird to have a ton of roasted barley, then bother with a smidgen of Carafa II.

Even if you added your entire 10 lb. bag of Vienna to the grist, you'd have a grist of which the base malt is only 59.2%, still with a high percentage of roasted barley (11.3%). The roasted barley is also odd in a mix of continental malts from Germany and Belgium.

Now, remove the roasted barley altogether, add the full 10 lb. of Vienna, and you've got something going. For an 11 gallon batch, this would give you something in the sub-1.040 OG range and SRM of 18. Add in 5 lbs. of Munich now, and I'm coming up with 1.046 and SRM 19. Add in all 10 lbs. of Munich for 1.055 and SRM 20. The makings of a Dunkel?

That's the best I'm coming up with in a quick hack of my recipe template! Good luck.
 
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nobeerinheaven2

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Ah, yeah, I should have been more clear. I buy base grain by the 50lb sack so I would not have included it in any separately-purchased grain-bill. So the small portion of Vienna is not meant as base malt. (the 10lb sack of Vienna might have been intended as a contributor, e.g. 3lbs plus say 18lbs Marris Otter, I don't know.)

In fact, that's half the question: Should I treat this as a presumptive Imperial and build in the amount of base grain/hops to fill that out?
 

IslandLizard

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Unmilled, 4 year old grain should be fine to use if stored cool and dry. Especially non-base malts.

Milled, it's a toss up. I used some leftover, milled crystal and specialty malts in sealed bags older than that, which were fine. But a small amount of milled Golden Promise didn't fare as well after 8-10 years. :tank:

Smell and taste some. Let your senses be your guide.
 

nobeerinheaven2

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Unmilled, 4 year old grain should be fine to use if stored cool and dry. Especially non-base malts.
:mug: That's what I've read elsewhere too, good to have some confirmation! It's all unmilled and frankly half my reason to brew is for frugality anyway, so I'd throw it together regardless as a filler beer.
 

Deadalus

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You probably had the 10 lbs each of Munich and Vienna as inventory not for the recipe. They're often sold that way, that's usually how I buy them. I would guess also that you were using the carafa II in place of black patent. Some type of stout. Not sure whether the Vienna was intended for the recipe or not. Maybe you thought you were running out, hence the 10lbs. Not sure about the Special B either.
 
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nobeerinheaven

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Alright, here's a recipe. Any thoughts?


Recipe: Mystery Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
Batch 11.00 gal
All Grain

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.088 OG Estimated FG 1.022 FG
Recipe Bitterness 83 IBU Alcohol by Volume 8.5%
Recipe Color 36° SRM Alcohol by Weight 6.7%

Ingredients
Quantity Grain Type Use
31.00 lb Two-row
1.00 lb Aromatic Malt
2.00 lb Roasted Barley
3.00 lb CaraMunich
0.25 lb Carafa II malt
1.00 lb Special "B"
0.50 lb Vienna

Quantity Hop Type Time
5.00 oz Galena Pellet 0 minutes
2.00 oz Glacier Pellet 0 minutes
4.25 oz Galena Pellet 60 minutes
 
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