Let's Talk About Biscuit Malt!

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peter_shoes_

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I absolutely love biscuit malt, and use it in almost all my brews. You might think this gets a bit samey, but to be honest it always surprises me. Biscuit is a flavor that really adapts well to its surroundings, and is never an unwelcome inclusion in any ale grain bill, I've found. Most people will tell you that it should be <10% of your grain bill, and I think that's appropriate. It's so potent, however, that even 2%-5% can really give a great crackery character to a wort.
I started out my homebrewing journey brewing mostly brown ales and other traditional English pub styles, and have fallen in love ever since.

Do you have any biscuit stories? Any tips and tricks? I'd love to hear them below!
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duncan.brown

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I have a best bitter recipe that I make with a ridiculous grain bill of 21% biscuit malt that turned out fantastic. The first time I made it, I was running low on two-row, so I figured I might as well use a crazy amount of biscuit as an experiment.

I cask conditioned the beer (ignore the carbonation level, it was just over 1 volume) and served it from my beer engine. Everyone who tasted it loved it! I dialed back the biscuit to 10% for the next batch and it wasn't as good.

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peter_shoes_

peter_shoes_

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I have a best bitter recipe that I make with a ridiculous grain bill of 21% biscuit malt that turned out fantastic. The first time I made it, I was running low on two-row, so I figured I might as well use a crazy amount of biscuit as an experiment.

I cask conditioned the beer (ignore the carbonation level, it was just over 1 volume) and served it from my beer engine. Everyone who tasted it loved it! I dialed back the biscuit to 10% for the next batch and it wasn't as good.

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I love this! Recently did a maris otter ordinary bitter with maybe 12% biscuit, but this is an insane grain bill man, I'm adding this to my to-brew list.
 

OleBrewing

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Biscuit, victory, and special B are the specialty malts I go to for English ales when using American 2 row. Definitely not traditional but I like them.
 
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peter_shoes_

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Biscuit, victory, and special B are the specialty malts I go to for English ales when using American 2 row. Definitely not traditional but I like them.
Saw a thread on here that basically said biscuit, amber, and victory were all the same. I don't believe this is true, especially not with biscuit and amber. What do you think the difference between biscuit and victory is?
 

OleBrewing

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Saw a thread on here that basically said biscuit, amber, and victory were all the same. I don't believe this is true, especially not with biscuit and amber. What do you think the difference between biscuit and victory is?
Honestly it has been a while since I've used them but do remember they can be over power plain 2 row very easily in blonde ales. I need to get back to my esb recipe years back this summer been on a 2 row/wheat kick for a while now.
 

DBhomebrew

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Saw a thread on here that basically said biscuit, amber, and victory were all the same. I don't believe this is true, especially not with biscuit and amber. What do you think the difference between biscuit and victory is?
According to Crisp's website, amber is AKA biscuit. Victory is the trademarked name of Briess's lightest biscuit-style malt.
 

duncan.brown

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I love this! Recently did a maris otter ordinary bitter with maybe 12% biscuit, but this is an insane grain bill man, I'm adding this to my to-brew list.
I probably would not never have used this much biscuit, except for panicking about running out of grains at the start of the pandemic, but I'm glad I did.

Biscuit, victory, and special B are the specialty malts I go to for English ales when using American 2 row. Definitely not traditional but I like them.
I haven't ever used Special B in an English ale, but I do like to use some Biscuit/Victory when using American two row to make a bitter. My other bitter recipe is more traditional and uses Golden Promise as the base.
 

DBhomebrew

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One of these days I'll get into brewing some of Ron Pattinson's historical recipes. Some call for healthy doses of 'high dried malt'. His recommendation for a modern replacement is Simpson's Imperial which he describes as a diastatic amber.

 
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Beenym88

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I like biscuit in my Stouts a lot and my pumpkin ale has a large amount probably around 20% it’s a really good pumpkin beer.
 
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peter_shoes_

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You guys are kinda blowing my mind with this thread. Maybe I haven't spent enough time talking about brewing on the internet but I had always figured the 10% cap on biscuit was pretty hard and fast. Loving the enthusiasm here. Please post any biscuit-forward recipes you've got! Totally gonna brew a biscuit-heavy ale for my next boil.
 

thehaze

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I've used Dingemans Biscuit malt a few times. I like it a lot.

One recipe that turned out really well and stuck in my head is a hoppy Vienna Lager:

92% Weyermann Vienna + 8% Dingemans Biscuit + W-34/70 + German grown Brewers Gold and German grown hops in the boil and whirlpool ( no dry hopping ) + chloride leaning water --- 5.1% / 35 IBU --- the malt background had that nice toasty, biscuitty flavour, with enough bitterness to balance it and the hop combination gave it a really pleasent grapefruit peel, floral and slightly spicy/resiny note. I enjoyed that quite a bit.
 

DBhomebrew

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I've been perusing the Let's Brew Truman recipes. Most of their milds have about 15% high-dried malt, some ~22%. Then there are a few at ~40% such as this one.

I can get Simpsons Imperial from my lhbs, I'm just not sure if I want to go for a full 55lbs.

 

thehaze

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I've been perusing the Let's Brew Truman recipes. Most of their milds have about 15% high-dried malt, some ~22%. Then there are a few at ~40% such as this one.

I can get Simpsons Imperial from my lhbs, I'm just not sure if I want to go for a full 55lbs.

I've used Simpsons Imperial malt and I like it a lot. I'll be using again these days, brewing a BDSA and an Imperial Pastry Milk Stout. Works well in bitters, red, browns, stouts, etc. It's quite different than Munich or say RedX from Bestmalz. It gives off a sort of a dark fruity note - cherry, plum - It's tasty stuff. I've used up to 40% in a grainbill, and although efficiency suffered, I've gotten what I wanted out of the malt and beer.
 
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peter_shoes_

peter_shoes_

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I've used Simpsons Imperial malt and I like it a lot. I'll be using again these days, brewing a BDSA and an Imperial Pastry Milk Stout. Works well in bitters, red, browns, stouts, etc. It's quite different than Munich or say RedX from Bestmalz. It gives off a sort of a dark fruity note - cherry, plum - It's tasty stuff. I've used up to 40% in a grainbill, and although efficiency suffered, I've gotten what I wanted out of the malt and beer.
I'll have to check that out, because that totally sounds like the kind of malt I'm looking for in a lot of my recipes. 40% seems fairly high, are the sugars really readily available or is this used as a substitute for a base malt or something?
 

thehaze

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I'll have to check that out, because that totally sounds like the kind of malt I'm looking for in a lot of my recipes. 40% seems fairly high, are the sugars really readily available or is this used as a substitute for a base malt or something?
It can be used as a base malt for different beers, although I wouldn't rely completely on it for conversion. Simpsons do tell us that it can be used up to 80% in dark beers. Take a look here: Imperial Malt - Simpsons Malt

I would say 80% is a lot for darker beers, where you also have lots of other malts with very limited or non-existing fermentability. But for something like an Old Ale / Barleywine, maybe a simple Brown Ale with only Imperial and a medium/dark crystal, you could easily go upwards of 50%.
 

monkeymath

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Just a quick question: do you guys also enjoy the taste of the raw grain by itself? Or just the resulting beer?
Cause I really don't care for the grain's flavour on its own and wonder if it might be entirely transformed in a beer.

(I also recently purchased some amber malt, but upon tasting it I couldn't imagine any way that flavour could be enjoyable.)
 

thehaze

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I enjoy Biscuit malt both in its original state and also in beer.

Amber malt is also nice, but it's quite different than Dingemans Biscuit malt. It's more toasty/roasty, dry, with a sharp-ish edge. It's meant to be used in smaller amounts. There are differences with Amber malt from maltser to maltser - can be subtle at times, but there are. Just as with Brown malt - Simpsons has a Brown malt which has the same lovibond as a Pale / Light Chocolate malt. Thomas Fawcett has a Brown malt in the 65-70L - it's pleasent even at over 10%. Crisp Brown malt is in the 45-50L range and I find it to be one of the best " brown " malts out there.

Many raw malts taste wonderful. Some do not taste as appetising when raw, but will defintely taste better in the end product. To really get an idea on each malt and the flavours you want in your beer, there is no other way, than simply brewing as many batches as you can with different malts, to understand what they are, how they will impact the beer and if you like them. A very good start is to search on Google all threads you can find on each malt variety, the experience from brewers, drinking beers with those specific malts ( even finding the recipe for some of those beers ) and hopefully - by the time you have been through all those threads a few times ( and have brewed a few batches ) - you will have have an idea about a specific malt ( valid for hops, yeast, water aswell ).

It's at least what I have been trying to do in the past 4+ years of brewing. At this point, I am genuinely jealous of those brewers that have started brewing far earlier than myself. But I'm catching up. And the journey is wonderful. And I'm brewing beer, which I enjoy more than I should most times. Cheers!
 
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Fascinating thread, I hadn't researched too deeply into the malts mentioned. I have been experimenting with a Pale Ale recipe for the last 3+years, that was working at 7# Maris Otter, 2oz. each Victory, Amber, and C40. I thought it was coming in a little too light in body after the last batch, so I changed the batch that is aging right now into 7# Maris Otter, 4oz. each Victory, Amber, C40, and Carapils. I also mashed-in at about 156F instead of 147-149F. The samples have a nice mouthfeel to them and I am hoping for good foam retention as well.

Thanks for all of your input, I have a lot more experimenting to do with these light brown malts!
 

JTOVERMOHLE

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You guys are kinda blowing my mind with this thread. Maybe I haven't spent enough time talking about brewing on the internet but I had always figured the 10% cap on biscuit was pretty hard and fast. Loving the enthusiasm here. Please post any biscuit-forward recipes you've got! Totally gonna brew a biscuit-heavy ale for my next boil.
I just threw a batch of an experimental cream ale together that my wife suggested I try and make..Coconut Cream Pie Cream Ale (BIAB):

2.5 Gallon Batch
60 minute mash 152 degrees

3# Pilsner Malt
1# Dingemans Biscuit
1/2# Flaked Corn
13.3oz Box Graham Cracker Crumbs
4oz lactose (late addition)
2oz light brown sugar (late addition)
5oz Toasted unsweetened coconut (late addition)

60 minute boil
0.2oz Fuggles - 30min
0.1oz Tettnanger - 30 min

Safale US-05

After primary is complete, I will rack into secondary on 14oz of toasted unsweetened coconut for 7 days. Cold Crash a couple days and then bottle

Just made this 3 days ago, and havent put it into secondary yet...but the pre-yeast OG sample tasted pretty good. Can't wait for it to finish!

Biscuit here is just shy of 20% of the mash bill....
 
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BrewMan13

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Just wanted to chime in re: some earlier comments about victory and biscuit being basically the same. I had heard this so much, and rarely had them both at the same time, but last year I did. So I ate a few kernels of each to compare. Biscuit tastes like saltine crackers (without the salt), and victory tastes like grape nuts cereal. So definitely different, but certainly in the same malt family.
 

TheCache

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Interesting thread. From an extract/steep vantage point I also love what Biscuit can do to a brew.

I once added 2ozs of Biscuit malt as a steeping grain to a Kolsch I was brewing because I had some leftover. It turned out to be the one Kolsch my wife and I really loved. I tried the next Kolsch brew without it and it lacked the warmth and richness so I went back to adding biscuit on my 3rd round and love what it does to the flavor and character. Now it is a permanent addition to my Kolsch recipe. The rest of the steeping grains are 4 ozs each of Carapils and White Wheat. All in a base of Briess Pilsen Light DME.

Purists probably can't call it a Kolsch any more, but I can call it really good.
 

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