Critique a Festbier Recipe

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easttex

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Looking for feedback on a festbier recipe, although a pseudo festbier actually...

I was playing around with a recipe in Beersmith last night and this is what I came up with:

Kettle RIMS system
I use roughly 60% efficiency
Boil size: 7.5 gallon
Batch size: 5.5 gallon

Beersmith Munich water profile:
CityPHCaMgNaSulfateClBicarb
Munich875ppm20ppm10ppm10ppm2ppm200ppm

Recipe:

AmountNameType#%/IBUVolume
8.98 galDistilled WaterWater1--
7.13 gChalk (Mash)Water Agent2--
3.22 gBaking Soda (Mash)Water Agent3--
1.23 gEpsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)Water Agent4--
10 lbs 8.0 ozPilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM)Grain577.80%0.82 gal
1 lbs 8.0 ozAcidulated (Weyermann) (1.8 SRM)Grain611.10%0.12 gal
1 lbsMunich I (Weyermann) (7.1 SRM)Grain77.40%0.08 gal
8.0 ozMelanoidin (Weyermann) (30.0 SRM)Grain83.70%0.04 gal
1.25 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - First Wort 60.0 minHop917.4 IBUs-
1.00 ItemsWhirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)Fining10--
1.50 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop113.8 IBUs-
1.0 pkgOYL-071 Lutra (Omega Yeast Labs #)Yeast12--

I want to brew a German style beer for a club Oktoberfest part in a few months but my ferm chamber is on the fritz and I don't trust it to hold the temperature in the correct range for a true lager yeast, hence Lutra. I know this won't be a true lager when I'm done with it but I've had pretty good luck with Lutra so far and I'm really just looking for something to fit the season even if it's not entirely true to style.

My concerns are that I've never brewed with acidulate or melanoidin malts before. Beersmith projects the pH to be kind of high and the acidulated gets it within range - but am I using too much? I don't want to taste it.

Also, 8oz of Melanoidin won't overpower 13lbs of other grains will it?

Feel free to critique this recipe. It's in the design phase and festbier isn't a design I've ever tried before.


Thanks!
 

BrewSomeMore

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I would half the melanoidin malt. It can be potent- adds sweetness and body. 4oz should suffice to get that pseudo decoction character. I have never used Lutra. I guess it would be more of an ale. Before when I didn't have temp control, I just swamp coolered it. Try it out, see if you like the results.
 

BigEd

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Looking for feedback on a festbier recipe, although a pseudo festbier actually...

I was playing around with a recipe in Beersmith last night and this is what I came up with:

Kettle RIMS system
I use roughly 60% efficiency
Boil size: 7.5 gallon
Batch size: 5.5 gallon

Beersmith Munich water profile:
CityPHCaMgNaSulfateClBicarb
Munich875ppm20ppm10ppm10ppm2ppm200ppm

Recipe:

AmountNameType#%/IBUVolume
8.98 galDistilled WaterWater1--
7.13 gChalk (Mash)Water Agent2--
3.22 gBaking Soda (Mash)Water Agent3--
1.23 gEpsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)Water Agent4--
10 lbs 8.0 ozPilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM)Grain577.80%0.82 gal
1 lbs 8.0 ozAcidulated (Weyermann) (1.8 SRM)Grain611.10%0.12 gal
1 lbsMunich I (Weyermann) (7.1 SRM)Grain77.40%0.08 gal
8.0 ozMelanoidin (Weyermann) (30.0 SRM)Grain83.70%0.04 gal
1.25 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - First Wort 60.0 minHop917.4 IBUs-
1.00 ItemsWhirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)Fining10--
1.50 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop113.8 IBUs-
1.0 pkgOYL-071 Lutra (Omega Yeast Labs #)Yeast12--

I want to brew a German style beer for a club Oktoberfest part in a few months but my ferm chamber is on the fritz and I don't trust it to hold the temperature in the correct range for a true lager yeast, hence Lutra. I know this won't be a true lager when I'm done with it but I've had pretty good luck with Lutra so far and I'm really just looking for something to fit the season even if it's not entirely true to style.

My concerns are that I've never brewed with acidulate or melanoidin malts before. Beersmith projects the pH to be kind of high and the acidulated gets it within range - but am I using too much? I don't want to taste it.

Also, 8oz of Melanoidin won't overpower 13lbs of other grains will it?

Feel free to critique this recipe. It's in the design phase and festbier isn't a design I've ever tried before.


Thanks!

I'd go further than BrewSomeMore and eliminate the melonoidin entirely. In spite of what you may have read it does not replicate the taste results of a decoction mash. I would use 60% Vienna and 40% pilsner malt. If you need the acidulated malt just substitute for a portion of the pilsner. While you're at it get rid of that Epsom salt too. You don't need it and in most cases don't want to try and duplicate the numbers of a city's brewing water. Magnesium is not needed or wanted here. You only need trace amounts of Mg2 to brew beer successfully and the small amounts found in the malt itself and in most water is plenty. Ditch that baking soda and Calcium carbonate as well. Use some CaCl2 to get your Calcium number to 75ppm and leave it at that. I just noticed you are starting with distilled water. You could add a gram or two of Calcium sulfate just to give it a touch of complexity but keep the SO4 ppm at 25-33% of the Cl2.

I can't see your OG. I'd shoot for about 1.060 and 25 IBU. Move the 5 minute hop addition down to 20/30 minutes.
 
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easttex

easttex

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I'd go further than BrewSomeMore and eliminate the melonoidin entirely. In spite of what you may have read it does not replicate the taste results of a decoction mash. I would use 60% Vienna and 40% pilsner malt. If you need the acidulated malt just substitute for a portion of the pilsner. While you're at it get rid of that Epsom salt too. You don't need it and in most cases don't want to try and duplicate the numbers of a city's brewing water. Magnesium is not needed or wanted here. You only need trace amounts of Mg2 to brew beer successfully and the small amounts found in the malt itself and in most water is plenty. Ditch that baking soda and Calcium carbonate as well. Use some CaCl2 to get your Calcium number to 75ppm and leave it at that. I just noticed you are starting with distilled water. You could add a gram or two of Calcium sulfate just to give it a touch of complexity but keep the SO4 ppm at 25-33% of the Cl2.

I can't see your OG. I'd shoot for about 1.060 and 25 IBU. Move the 5 minute hop addition down to 20/30 minutes.
Ed,

I am shooting for something sessionable and not too sweet. My recipe OG is 1.054 / 21.2IBU / 5.6SRM.

Duly noted on the water profile though. I'll ditch that in favor of something a bit simpler.
 

jdauria

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You pH is high because of all that chalk and baking soda is raising it up, which in turn is forcing you to use 1.5 lbs of acidulated, which is a crazy amount for a 5.5 gallon batch of beer. Most water experts recommend not to use "city" water profiles...which that's what Munich water may have been at a certain point in time, it does not mean that breweries don't adjust the water. You would be better off using something like amber full profile, if this is truly Octoberfest/Marzen style, yellow full if more the Festbier style of Oktoberfest. Have a Festbier carbonating now and my water profile was CA 51, Mg 3, Na 9, SO4 50, CL 75.

I would dump all the melanoidin and maybe replace it with some vienna malt which will give you a little toasty/biscuity notes and increase your color slightly. As for Lutra, I despise kveik yeast for lagers, but with your fridge on the fritz, you do you. I enter a lot of comps and beer judges can easily pick out kveik "lagers" and they usually never medal, so personally would never do. 34/70 and Imperial Harvest, both can make decent lager like beers when fermented in low 60's.
 
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easttex

easttex

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You pH is high because of all that chalk and baking soda is raising it up, which in turn is forcing you to use 1.5 lbs of acidulated, which is a crazy amount for a 5.5 gallon batch of beer. Most water experts recommend not to use "city" water profiles...which that's what Munich water may have been at a certain point in time, it does not mean that breweries don't adjust the water. You would be better off using something like amber full profile, if this is truly Octoberfest/Marzen style, yellow full if more the Festbier style of Oktoberfest. Have a Festbier carbonating now and my water profile was CA 51, Mg 3, Na 9, SO4 50, CL 75.

I would dump all the melanoidin and maybe replace it with some vienna malt which will give you a little toasty/biscuity notes and increase your color slightly. As for Lutra, I despise kveik yeast for lagers, but with your fridge on the fritz, you do you. I enter a lot of comps and beer judges can easily pick out kveik "lagers" and they usually never medal, so personally would never do. 34/70 and Imperial Harvest, both can make decent lager like beers when fermented in low 60's.
What is a reasonable amount of acidulated malt? 12oz? I redid the water profile last night and only needed 12oz to get to 5.3pH "on paper." I also swapped a couple pounds of pilsner for a couple pounds of Vienna malt.

I have 34/70 available. If I can get away with fermenting at ~74°F, then lagering for month, I might be able to use a proper lager yeast. Otherwise kveik it will be.

I beat out the rest of my club members at our monthly club competition a couple months ago with a cream ale cool fermented over Lutra. They couldn't believe it was a kveik beer at all.
 

Holden Caulfield

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Apologize if much of this has already been said. There are some serious issues with your recipe.
  1. A festbier is typically a german lager with no dark or crystal malts. You should expect a high PH that will need to be lowered. Never, ever, add baking soda or chalk which acts as a buffer and will raise your PH (only very dark styles may need some baking soda), in other words eliminate it from this recipe. Furthermore, chalk does not dissolve well so don't ever us it as it is difficult to control. Ignore water profiles of specific city waters as most brewers treat their water to a targeted profile for the beer style, not the city water of origin.
  2. Given your grain bill, without the acidulated malt, and the fact that you are using distilled water (reverse osmosis is cheaper and is essentially the same btw) I would expect a PH without adding salts to be around 5.75 which will need to be lowered a lot to about 5.25 - 5.4ish. Use a water calculator like Brun Water or Mash Made Easy, select a light, balanced profile, and determine the salts needed. Then determine the acidulated malt needed.
  3. Acidulated malt is a great tool to adjust your PH if you don't want to add acid - I use it all the time. 11% acidulated malt is an insane amount. The rule of thumb for it is that it will drop your mash ph .1 for every 1% of the grain bill. 11% will drop your PH to lower than 4.7. The threshold for tasting the lactic acid in it is around 4%. Beersmith is showing you such a huge amount because of all the baking soda and chalk. Eliminate it and you will need a reasonable amount. Given distilled water, 50ppm of Ca in the mash from your salt additions, and no bicarb (alkalinity), you will only need about 3% of the grain bill (prob - 4 to 6 oz.) to hit a reasonable PH. That said, use a calculator to confirm.
  4. The amount of pilsner, Munich and melanoidin are within reason - changes to these are really up to what you like - your recipe will provide a festbier more on the malty side
  5. 74f is very warm to ferment any beer, especially a lager. 34/70 is very forgiving across a wide range of temperatures and can be used for brewing California Common (steam) beers. If you can, try and drop the temp into the low 60s. As you probably don't have temperature control, then put the fermenter in a tub and wrap a very wet towel around it while blowing a fan on it will help a lot - you will need to wet it regularly.
Good luck.
 

dmtaylor

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Way too much acidulated. A couple ounces is probably all you'll need.

And don't add any baking soda at all. Or, okay, maybe 1 gram would be alright. But not needed.

I'd chop the melanoidin and Munich in half, swap out for more Pilsner malt. And/or eliminate one or the other completely. But it's not wrong to use what you've got there either. More just like personal preference.
 
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Personally, I would decrease the Pilsner malt, and increase the Munich to about 1/2 of the grainbill and increase the melanoidin to 1 lb. But as you've read so far, there are plenty of personal differences. Me, I like an Oktoberfest style, more like Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Lots of malty goodness!
Also, if your water program is telling you to add both acidmalt and baking soda, then something is off. They offset each other. Drop the baking soda and adjust the acid malt, probably by 1/2 , but whatever the program tells you. Finally, as far as water adjustments go, I understand that chalk does nothing, just sits there and doesn't dissolve. Drop that(add more CaCl2 if you need more Calcium) and you can probably cut the acidmalt down to about 4oz.
 

Gnomebrewer

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To keep things simple for your water, use 0.7g Calcium chloride per gallon of water (gets you to about 50ppm Calcium) then acid malt to make up 3% of your grain bill.
 
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easttex

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Getting a good response from this. Lots of good feedback in this thread.

After further tinkering with Beersmith, I've come up with this:

This uses the "Yellow Full" water profile and uses 4% acidulated to get the projected mash pH down to 5.42.

AmtNameType%/IBUVolume
9.0 galDistilled WaterWater--
4.38 gCalcium Chloride (Mash)Water Agent--
2.17 gGypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)Water Agent--
1.70 gEpsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)Water Agent--
0.43 gSalt (Mash)Water Agent--
6 lbs 8.0 ozPilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM)Grain49.10%0.51 gal
4 lbs 8.0 ozVienna Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM)Grain34.00%0.35 gal
1 lbs 12.0 ozMunich I (Weyermann) (7.1 SRM)Grain13.20%0.14 gal
8.0 ozBEST Acidulated (BESTMALZ) (3.0 SRM)Grain3.80%0.04 gal
1.25 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - First Wort 60.0 minHop17.4 IBUs-
1.00 ItemsWhirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)Fining--
1.50 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop3.8 IBUs-
1.0 pkgOYL-071 Lutra (Omega Yeast Labs #)Yeast--

Est Original Gravity: 1.055 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.8 %
Bitterness: 21.1 IBUs
Est Color: 5.2 SRM

Thoughts?
 

dmtaylor

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Well now based on the addition of Vienna, you’ve changed it from a festbier to a marzen, which is the other traditional Oktoberfest beer style and is very tasty, but not yellow but rather the amber/copper beer style. So decide which version you prefer for Oktoberfest.
 
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easttex

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Well now based on the addition of Vienna, you’ve changed it from a festbier to a marzen, which is the other traditional Oktoberfest beer style and is very tasty, but not yellow but rather the amber/copper beer style. So decide which version you prefer for Oktoberfest.
Err.... I'll rebalance the Vienna and pilsner then. I'm trying to avoid a Marzen. Hoping for something slightly maltier and and crushable.
 

jdauria

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What is a reasonable amount of acidulated malt? 12oz? I redid the water profile last night and only needed 12oz to get to 5.3pH "on paper." I also swapped a couple pounds of pilsner for a couple pounds of Vienna malt.

I have 34/70 available. If I can get away with fermenting at ~74°F, then lagering for month, I might be able to use a proper lager yeast. Otherwise kveik it will be.

I beat out the rest of my club members at our monthly club competition a couple months ago with a cream ale cool fermented over Lutra. They couldn't believe it was a kveik beer at all.
I think 1-3% of grain bill is "normal" in a 5.5 lb batch. I think over 10% of grain bill would be definitely detrimental and you will start to taste it. Is 12 oz too much...I guess that's hard to tell, it depends on your own tastes. 74F may be a little high for 34/70. Can you do a swamp cooler?

Nice on club win...I am just a traditionalist when it comes to lagers and being a member the Competitive Brewing group on FB, constantly see beer judges saying they can easily pick out a Lutra lager and they are almost always eliminated from medal contention...but as they say, brewing is all about making what you like and what you want to experiment with, so go for it.
 
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easttex

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I got burned out on Marzens last year. They're a little too malty-sweet for me. The festbiers I've had were a little lighter, less filling, and slightly more balanced than a Marzen.

Anyway, I think I have my recipe set where I want it. I'll share it this evening once I'm home. I also have a buddy's freezer lined up to ferment it in so a true lager shouldn't be an issue.
 

dmtaylor

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I got burned out on Marzens last year. They're a little too malty-sweet for me.
This is a problem with many American versions of marzen, too sweet, for a style that is not traditionally sweet (from Germany) but well attenuated and well balanced. Don't use too much (or any!) crystal/caramel malt, consider mashing low and slow, or do a step mash, and all should turn out really well, regardless of marzen vs. festbier styles.
 

cmac62

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This is a problem with many American versions of marzen, too sweet, for a style that is not traditionally sweet (from Germany) but well attenuated and well balanced. Don't use too much (or any!) crystal/caramel malt, consider mashing low and slow, or do a step mash, and all should turn out really well, regardless of marzen vs. festbier styles.
I used to love the San Adams/Boston Beer Co version, but like you said, now it is overly sweet and too thick. :mug:
 

BigEd

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I used to love the San Adams/Boston Beer Co version, but like you said, now it is overly sweet and too thick. :mug:

Years ago when the SA Oktoberfest was about all you could find I did look forward to it. But, yes it is overly sweet and does not come close to what a true Marzen should be. The Sam is pretty much domestic pale malt colored and sweetened with domestic crystal malt. Maybe that has changed, it's been a while since I've had one. Sam's Vienna and Schwarzbier used to be very good and actually used German malts so I'm convinced they could make a very good Festbier or Marzen if they wanted to.
 
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easttex

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Anyway, I think I have my recipe set where I want it. I'll share it this evening once I'm home. I also have a buddy's freezer lined up to ferment it in so a true lager shouldn't be an issue.
As promised, I think this is going to be the final iteration of the recipe. This is based on the recipe that appears in a recipe Craft Beer & Brewing magazine:

Type: All GrainEst Original Gravity: 1.054 SG
Batch Size: 5.50 galEst Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Boil Size: 8.01 galEstimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.5 %
Boil Time: 90 minBitterness: 21.0 IBUs
End of Boil Vol: 6.51 galEst Color: 4.4 SRM
Final Bottling Vol: 5.00 galBitterness Ratio: .388IBU/SG
Fermentation: Lager, Single StageMash Name: BIAB, Medium Body
Est Mash PH: 5.46Sparge Temperature: 168.1 F
Target Mash PH: 5.20Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 2.0 oz

AmtNameType#%/IBUVolume
9.46 galDistilled WaterWater1--
4.35 gGypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)Water Agent2--
3.44 gEpsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)Water Agent3--
2.80 gCalcium Chloride (Mash)Water Agent4--
0.43 gSalt (Mash)Water Agent5--
9 lbs 5.0 ozPilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM)Grain670.90%0.73 gal
2 lbs 10.0 ozVienna Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM)Grain720.00%0.21 gal
12.0 ozMunich I (Weyermann) (7.1 SRM)Grain85.70%0.06 gal
7.0 ozBEST Acidulated (BESTMALZ) (3.0 SRM)Grain93.40%0.03 gal
1.25 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop1016.2 IBUs-
1.00 ItemsWhirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)Fining11--
1.00 ozHallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] - Boil 10.0 minHop124.7 IBUs-
1.0 pkgBavarian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2206) [124.21 ml]Yeast13--

Win/Lose/Draw, I think I'm just going to brew this and see what happens. Probably brew it next weekend so I can get it into my buddy's freezer to ferment and be on it's way.

I appreciate all the feedback all!

Prost!
 
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easttex

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Looks great! Though I'd still take that acidulated down to 4-5 oz. But now this is just being picky. Recipe looks very tasty. :)
I can....how much does pH matter with a beer this thin?
 

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I would lower the acid malt to 3-4 oz and up the Munich a couple lbs (lowering the pils). Good yeast choice. Redo your water additions after (if) you adjust the acid malt, not sure if that would change the calculations.
 
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easttex

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I would lower the acid malt to 3-4 oz and up the Munich a couple lbs (lowering the pils). Good yeast choice. Redo your water additions after (if) you adjust the acid malt, not sure if that would change the calculations.
The water additions are almost the lightest yellow beer additions in Beersmith. I'll be brewing with RO water so I have to have a little something there.

I'm certainly open to suggestions though.
 

JohnDBrewer

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Sorry I was not clear. If you change the amount of acidulate malt make sure to rerun your water additions calculator. I do not know if changing ingredients will impact the amount of additions. Yes you will need something if you are using RO.

Also why not use the Munich water profile instead of light yellow? You want a good malt flavor to come through light/pale yellow is more balance isn't it?
 
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easttex

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Sorry I was not clear. If you change the amount of acidulate malt make sure to rerun your water additions calculator. I do not know if changing ingredients will impact the amount of additions. Yes you will need something if you are using RO.

Also why not use the Munich water profile instead of light yellow? You want a good malt flavor to come through light/pale yellow is more balance isn't it?
I initially wrote the recipe using the Munich water profile but that starts with a pH of 8 and I would've had to buffer too much to get down to 5.2pH in the mash.

I'm going to try jdauria's suggested water profile of CA 51, Mg 3, Na 9, SO4 50, CL 75 and see what happens. I also added a few onces of Carapils for head retention and a couple onces of Caramunich I for a little something extra.

Planning to brew this next weekend so we'll see what happens.
 
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