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How much base malt should be used?

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stephelton

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A while back I started experimenting and making up some recipes. I've had a few successes, but on this one in particular, I got a little creative... there's a complex of flavors that is almost difficult to drink. Here's my recipe:

Code:
(this is a 5 gallon batch, 90 minute boil, target mash temp 154)

Grain/Extract/Sugar

   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 64.6     8.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)              America        73.35      2
 11.4     1.50 lbs. Amber Malt                    Great Britain  65.04     35
 11.4     1.50 lbs. Munich Malt(2-row)            America        71.27      6
  7.6     1.00 lbs. Crystal 30L                   America        71.27     30
  2.5     0.33 lbs. Biscuit Malt                  Great Britain  71.27     35
  2.5     0.33 lbs. Chocolate Malt                America        58.81    350

Potential represented as % Yield, Coarse Grind As Is.


Hops

   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1.00 oz.    Northern Brewer                   Pellet   9.00  43.8  90 min.
  1.00 oz.    Willamette                        Pellet   5.00   5.9  15 min.
  1.00 oz.    Willamette                        Whole    5.00   0.0  Dry Hop


Yeast
-----

WYeast 1272 American Ale II
There seems to be too many adjuncts, based on what I taste. Of those malts, are there any in particular that are way overpowered, namely the Amber and Munich? The buscuit malt is also completely lost. Is 2.5% buscuit way too little, or is it just overpowered by everything else?

My base malt only contributes 65% of the grist. In general, is that going to get me in trouble?
 

TelemarkBrew

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nothing seems really out of whack. how long was it conditioning before you drank it, could just need more time for the flavor to meld.
the munich is not an issue, you can make beers using all munich malt e.g. oktoberfests which typically have mostly munich/vienna and some pils.
I haven't used amber so can't comment on that.
I think you could have cut back the C30, but 1lb isn't too much per say.
what were your OG/FG?
also the american ale II will add some character of its own as opposed to something really neutral like the chico stain.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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Thanks, good feedback.

It's pretty young. It's conditioned for 2.5 weeks or less, so that's likely got a lot to do with it. On the other hand, the flavors are all much stronger than I've experienced at a beer at this point in its life.

The OG was 1.048, FG was 1.013 and ferm temps were about 63-67 degrees.

I think I might disconnect the tap on the keg to deter me from drinking it and see how it turns out in a week or two more. I'm wary of asking a loaded question and derailing my own thread, but what would you expect to be a good conditioning time for a beer of this nature?
 

TelemarkBrew

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can't give you a time frame, your tastes would be diff from mine anyways. I made a brown ale last winter that I thought sucked. I consumed most of it in 3 months not really for pleasure but to free up some bottles. I left about 2g's of it until this winter (11 mo later) and now I like it and wish I had more. So i'd say forget about it for a month, try another pint, and repeat till you find you like it more.
 

Whisler85

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of all those specialty malts, amber is the most obviously overdone. biscuit is easily overdone, as well, but i dont think you have too much here

unless you are using the darker variety of munich malts (like briess munich 20L), munich can compose as much as 100% of the grist, depending on the diastatic power of that particular munich malt

for a beer with that starting gravity, i'd start drinking it no more than five weeks after bottling- this is not a beer with a high enough gravity for extended aging
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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of all those specialty malts, amber is the most obviously overdone. biscuit is easily overdone, as well, but i dont think you have too much here

unless you are using the darker variety of munich malts (like briess munich 20L), munich can compose as much as 100% of the grist, depending on the diastatic power of that particular munich malt

for a beer with that starting gravity, i'd start drinking it no more than five weeks after bottling- this is not a beer with a high enough gravity for extended aging
You think the biscuit is overdone?? of all the flavors, biscuit is completely lost.

i'm kegging, not bottling, but i think i'll try to let it sit for a couple weeks before i touch it again.
 

Yooper

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I agree that amber malt is very intense- I use 6 ounces in my DFH recipe, with about 10-12 pounds of two-row. I can still detect it, though, so it's the correct amount for me. 1.5 pounds is a lot! Also, I can taste chocolate malt in small quantities as well, but that's because I'm not a big fan of it. In my Fat Squirrel clone (a nut brown ale), I use 4 ounces of it. I've seen it much more of it used, though, so you're not out of line with that quantity.

I know you're experimenting with recipes and that's fun, but in some cases of just adding different things you can get a muddy taste and be unable to detect what which grain brings.

In the recipe you have there, you have roasty/nutty grains, malty grains, sweet grains, biscuity grains, and a over-powering strong flavored malt (the amber malt). You mentioned that basemalt only is 65% of your grist. That's not technically so- munich is a base malt. Amber malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt, and biscuit malt are specialty grains, though, so there is a lot going on in there!

Munich malt is a wonderful base malt, and I use it often in recipes. Some other good base malts are pilsner malt and vienna. What I would recommend is doing some very simple recipes, even SMaSH recipes, using various base malts and not adding many (if any) specialty grains until you know what the base malts bring. Then, add one or two specialty grains so that you can see what they bring individually.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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I know you're experimenting with recipes and that's fun, but in some cases of just adding different things you can get a muddy taste and be unable to detect what which grain brings.
I definitely added too many things to be able to get a good feel for what I've done. Most of my other 'experiments' have been much simpler, I think I was feeling a bit daring this time :eek: I should be more methodical.

In the recipe you have there, you have roasty/nutty grains, malty grains, sweet grains, biscuity grains, and a over-powering strong flavored malt (the amber malt). You mentioned that basemalt only is 65% of your grist. That's not technically so- munich is a base malt. Amber malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt, and biscuit malt are specialty grains, though, so there is a lot going on in there!

Munich malt is a wonderful base malt, and I use it often in recipes. Some other good base malts are pilsner malt and vienna. What I would recommend is doing some very simple recipes, even SMaSH recipes, using various base malts and not adding many (if any) specialty grains until you know what the base malts bring. Then, add one or two specialty grains so that you can see what they bring individually.
A SMaSH sounds like a good exercise, I think I might do something *really* simple next time I'm at it. I just ordered a Barley Crusher and will have plenty of 2-row around, so that will work out nicely :D

Thanks for the feedback.
 

foxtrot

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I got into an adjunct-crazy phase, but some beers started coming out a bit too funky. I also noticed a drop in attenuation because of all the unfermentables, so you have to be careful of that, too. I try to keep my base grains (fermentables) level around 90% now. Spices are another thing that can be easily over-done.

Drinkability is KEY. Just ask Budweiser.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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Just thought I'd follow up. It's been about a week and a half since this was kegged and it has really cleared up. The flavors have mellowed a lot and it's still got a complex set of flavors going on, but it's become very enjoyable. I picked up a bottle of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale and they taste very similar.

Given another couple weeks, I think this will end up being a great beer. I will try to let my beers condition a lot longer than I have been when I can afford to do so.
 
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