Quantcast

How to achieve a dryer finish?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Nike_Eayrs

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
4
Location
green bay
I want my pale ale to finish a bit dryer, any suggestions? I've heard mash long and low. Can someone elaborate on this technique? Cheers!
 

TopherM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
3,976
Reaction score
457
Location
St. Petersburg
Mashing low activates a different enzyme that breaks down the grain's starches into more simple sugars that the yeast can easily eat.

Mashing around 146-148 will dry out your pale ale. You don't need to mash any longer than the normal 60 min.

You can also just add 1-1.5 lbs per 5 gallon batch of simple sugar (LME/DME/Table Sugar/Honey, etc.) to dry out the beer, but that will also boost your ABV.

Those are your options!
 

terrapinj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
173
Location
Santa Monica
LME/DME may not dry the beer out much - esp since they often contain some crystal malt or carapils

lower mash temp = more fermentable sugars

your grain bill can also have an impact, use less crystal malt or specialty malts or use a simple sugar like dextrose, candi syrup, honey etc in place of some base malt

use a more attenuative yeast strain
 

Hammy71

Senior Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Messages
6,042
Reaction score
668
Location
Maryland
Yes, Mashing in low 150s or even the high 190s will dry your beer out. Replacing some of the base malt with corn sugar or table sugar will also help lower your FG.
 

Grannyknot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
1,266
Reaction score
274
Location
Knoxville
I like my pale ales and IPAs a little drier too.
I like to add a 1/2 lb of light brown sugar to the fermenter about 1.5-2 weeks into fermentation.
 

afr0byte

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
1,454
Reaction score
76
Location
Vermont
Obviously as others have said, temperature is important. You might also try getting a water report and upping your sulfate level with gypsum, if the report says you're low on sulfate (or perahps not just if you're low...some like their sulfate up at 300ppm).
 

Seedly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
86
Reaction score
13
Location
Broomfield
Yes, Mashing in low 150s or even the high 190s will dry your beer out.
Uhh, I think you meant high 140's :drunk:

As others have said, there are different enzymes that activate at different temperatures during the mash and they affect the body and fermentability of the beer.

Your 3 basic enzymes are
- alpha-amylase: does most of the heavy lifting, turning large starch chains and long chain sugars into simple sugars for the yeast. Can only work from one end of the chain (known as the reducing end), and thus cant break down some more complex sugars, espcially ones that have branch points in them.
- beta-amylase: breaks up really long chains into smaller chains for the alpha-amylase. Works from the other end of the chain (the non-reducing end), thus making more available to the alpha-amylase
- limit-dextrinase: breaks down the branch points in the starch chain, making even MORE sugars available to the yeast.

Each enzyme works in a different temp range
- alpha: 155-160
- beta: 140-150
- limit-dextrinase: 140-145

The enzymes are active below those temp ranges, but are much less active. Going much above those ranges will denature (i.e. destroy) those enzymes.

So what to do? Well, for maximum fermentability, you would want to mash around 145, where both limit-dextrinase and beta-amylase are both active, and then ramp up to the 150s to let the alpha-amylase finish off.

This is the basic reason for using a multi-step mash.

If your the nerdy type, brewkaiser.com has a great article explaining all the specifics with lots of pics and graphs. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Starch_Conversion
 

cram

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
345
Reaction score
42
Location
Poway
In addition to mashing lower (148-150, for example) and adding ~10% sugar to a recipe, you can reduce or eliminate any cyrstal/cara malts from the recipe. Also, simply giving it more time to completely finish out or ramping up the temperature after the first two weeks can have an effect.

Obviously, a healthy yeast starter, nutrients, and O2 can all help. Plus, certain yeast strains will finish drier. For instance, you can do everything counter to what's been said so far (mash high, use crystal malts and pitch low quatities of yeast) with a French Saison strain and finish really low...
 

SpeedYellow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
1,519
Reaction score
206
Location
Chicago
Recipe is critical. Skip the crystal malts altogether if you want a dry beer. There's no law that says homebrew must have crystal malt. One of the best beers I've made (a Kolsch) was also my dryest, and used zero crystal malt.
 

pwkblue

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
185
Reaction score
18
Location
Sandy
based on your question...I'd guess you are NOT doing All Grain....so the constant stream of "mash lower" answers don't mean much (if you are doing all grain you probably learned that already)

The best answer so far was a request for your recipe... The recipe could suggest: using a different yeast? using less specialty grains like crystal? Perhaps changing to Light or Pilsner LME or DME if you are using darker extracts

Process changes could include: using a yeast starter? adjusting or controlling fermentation temperature? allowing more time for fermentation? or the ever popular: mash at a lower temp.

A brief description of your process, and recipe...will provide much more informed answers from the crowd
 

mabrungard

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
5,947
Reaction score
1,876
Location
Carmel
Obviously as others have said, temperature is important. You might also try getting a water report and upping your sulfate level with gypsum, if the report says you're low on sulfate (or perahps not just if you're low...some like their sulfate up at 300ppm).
+1 on that sentiment. Sulfate can have a profound effect on the drying quality of the finish. If the brewer's water has low sulfate and they are not enhancing it for brewing, then that could be an issue.
 

pwkblue

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
185
Reaction score
18
Location
Sandy
To be fair, this is in the AG forum
whoops! Yes, I failed to see the forum category. I was reading new posts.

Without knowing anything about the OP's process or recipe....I will still give my own 2 cents:

My preference in almost every style is to err on the dryer end of the acceptable range. To give myself a little margin of error, I calculate my recipes assuming the low end of attenuation for the yeast.
 
OP
N

Nike_Eayrs

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
4
Location
green bay
I have listed my most recent IPA recipe below. I just started doing all grain for the ability to better tweak recipes like this. I added some sugar to the recipe listed below (about 3 cups if I recall). The OG was 1.062, and it finished at 1.01. This recipe turned out well (it took forever to bottle condition) but I wish it was dryer. Thanks to all who have lended advice to a newbie when it comes to all grain brewing! Cheers!

10lbs Rahr 2-row Pale
.75 Belgian Carmel Pils
.25 Briess Carmel

1oz Chinook 60min
.5oz chinook at 10min
.5oz at 1min
 

SpeedYellow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
1,519
Reaction score
206
Location
Chicago
The good news is that it will be very simple to make a drier beer -- simply use less caramel / crystal malt. 10% is really high; I'd never go that high myself. But isnt this kind of obvious? Just wondering why you didn't immediately conclude this.
 
OP
N

Nike_Eayrs

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
4
Location
green bay
The good news is that it will be very simple to make a drier beer -- simply use less caramel / crystal malt. 10% is really high; I'd never go that high myself. But isnt this kind of obvious? Just wondering why you didn't immediately conclude this.
I was not aware of that information until I posted the original question, but am happy that it will be an easy fix. Is this true for all adjuncts, or just the two listed in the recipe? This was my first all grain attempt (I have made a couple others since) and just ordered a kit from Northern Brewer. Thanks!
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,604
Reaction score
12,199
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I was not aware of that information until I posted the original question, but am happy that it will be an easy fix. Is this true for all adjuncts, or just the two listed in the recipe? This was my first all grain attempt (I have made a couple others since) and just ordered a kit from Northern Brewer. Thanks!
If you like drier pale ales, then leaving out (or greatly reducing!) the caramel malt will help. I like some pale ales with 5% or so crystal malt, but if I use more crystal malt I increase the bittering hops to help balance it. Balance is really the key.

I made a beer today with 1 pound of crystal and 11 pounds of base malt. I mashed at 150, and hopped it up. It should finish at 1.008-1.009.

If you find that you are finishing at 1.010, but the beer still has a sweet finish, the first thing I would do is eliminate carapils and reduce crystal malt. Use a different specialty grain- .25 pound of victory is nice. Use some flaked wheat for head retention. Mash at 150 for 60-75 minutes, and use enough bittering hops to balance the beer. That should really help.

For an IPA, more hops would be helpful as well as eliminating or greatly reducing the crystal/cara malts. For an IPA, I might go something like:
11 pounds US two row
.25-.5 pound victory malt (or amber malt, or toasted malt, or aromatic malt, or some crystal if you must)
.5 pound flaked wheat (for head retention)
1 pound corn sugar
1 ounce bittering hops 60 minutes
1 ounce flavor hops 15 minutes
1 ounce aroma hops 5 minutes
dryhop with 1-2 ounces

Use a very neutral US yeast, like WLP001 or S05 and ferment at 65 degrees.
 

SpeedYellow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
1,519
Reaction score
206
Location
Chicago
Nike_Eayrs said:
I was not aware of that information until I posted the original question, but am happy that it will be an easy fix. Is this true for all adjuncts, or just the two listed in the recipe? This was my first all grain attempt (I have made a couple others since) and just ordered a kit from Northern Brewer. Thanks!
being brand new to all grain, you'll find there's quite a bit to learn about grains, so you'll want to do some reading. Big picture, you have base malts (2 row or 6 row) that make up the bulk of your grist, then crystal/dextrine/caramel/cara malts which have a lot of unfermentables thus adding to sweetness. I keep these 0-5% but up to 10% if I really want a sweet beer like a pumpkin beer. Then there are sort of hybrid malts like Munich and Vienna that have characteristics of both. Then odd ball unmalted stuff like roasted barley. Suffice it to say, there's lots to learn!

But this is critical stuff, because poor recipes is, in my experience, the leading cause of bad batches.
 

FlyDoctor

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
614
Reaction score
63
Location
Rochester
In addition to grain bills with less caramel, mash temp, some simple sugars if needed, and sufficient healthy yeast, on also should be sure to properly aerate or oxygenate the wort prior to pitching. While I am not impressed by the yeast books assertion that pure o2 is needed, e data presented there does show a 1-2 degree Plato difference, which will definitely be the difference between a sweet and dry beer.
 

BreezyBrew

IPA is my spirit animal
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
3,706
Reaction score
570
Location
New Tampa
Great information in this thread.

Yooper said:
1 pound corn sugar
Yooper, when have you found is the best time to add the sugar? I was thinking 10 min before end of boil?
 

FlyDoctor

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
614
Reaction score
63
Location
Rochester
Remember though - simply adding sugar will not dry it out. The idea is to remove some malt from the bill, and replace it - SG point for SG point with the sugar. If you just take a 1.050 beer, and add a pound on top of the existing malt bill you will only get more alcohol, not a lower FG.

I have a bitter I am brewing now using the NB Marris Otter syrup. I know this doesn't ferment as much as I could get with a low mash temp, so I removed 800g of the syrup and replaced with with corn sugar.
 
Top