Low Enzymatic/Cold Mash/Low alcohol beer

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kmarkstevens

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It was fine and prolly worth fine tuning. I used a 3 gallon keg, so from first pitch to kicking the keg was a week or so. :yes:

actually, I didn't track how long it took but a really quick ferment and 3 gallons of ultra low ABV didn't take long to quaff.
 

beersk

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Dang! You must've been drinking that like mad to finish it off in a week. That was the nice thing about the one good Vienna lager I made with this method last year. I could drink pint after pint of it and not be affected at all at 1.5% abv. Sure, it wasn't as good as my normal Vienna, but it wasn't far off, and could probably get pretty close with a few tweaks. I know I left out any caramunich or crystal malt in that beer and it could've used just a tad of sweetness. That was my one note from that recipe. I think this winter after my 2 month break I'll start playing with this again. I think it could work well for something like schwarzbier perhaps. I'd be curious how a pale ale or IPA would work with it; black IPA might be a good place to start.
 

kmarkstevens

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beersk, you've gotten me reinterested in this. So, gonna revist a couple of enzymatic mashes. Another mix of vienna, munich and something. maybe even something with a bit of chocolate, black or roasted barley....Definately, brewpot to keg works and will be my SOP

I'll also try the hot mash again.

David Heath Homebrew, who I quite like, has a hot mash (179F) IPA recipe: (169) Low Alcohol IPA Homebrewers Full Guide and Recipe - YouTube
(Note: Most american and C hops simply taste like cat piss to me, so I really don't like American IPA's, but that's my problem. Anyhoo, David shows the way to what looks to be a decent lightwieight IPA if that's your thing)
 

shoreman

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That recipe above looks interesting, I’m getting back to some low ABV brewing. Wonder if anyone here has brewed it? I’m not a lactose fan and was thinking about subbing an adjunct like rye or wheat?

How important is ph in this beer for stability? I see he uses acidulated malt for ph reasons.
 

beersk

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That recipe above looks interesting, I’m getting back to some low ABV brewing. Wonder if anyone here has brewed it? I’m not a lactose fan and was thinking about subbing an adjunct like rye or wheat?

How important is ph in this beer for stability? I see he uses acidulated malt for ph reasons.
I would imagine pH is probably pretty important, but I don't know, especially if it's to be kegged and stored cold for the life of the beer. Rye or wheat would probably be a good thing to include, flaked or whole.
 

beersk

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I'm thinking to add a pound of wheat into every recipe. I think after my 2 month break from alcohol I'll start experimenting with this again, just 2.5 gallon batches. I do remember the Vienna lager I made last year being decent, only lacking a little sweetness. My fix for that, I think, is to add some C60 or Caramunich. I think this method is totally doable with: characterful yeast, using more end-of-boil hops (quite a bit less bittering), and making sure to use specialty malts to our advantage.
I don't have a definitive answer but my anecdotal experience is it doesn't necessarily suit beers like helles or pilsner. It does change the malt character quite a lot. It's more grainy. And styles that have caramel/roasted malts I think would benefit from this as well as something like hefeweizen; that's one style I'm really excited to try this out on.
 

kmarkstevens

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good on ya for a 2 month break. I think this enzymatic really has promise, and most folks like myself haven't dug in to really find a couple of killer recipes that does it justice. I'm with you that it comes out grainy, and one shouldn't try to force fit it with more subtle styles.

I do remind people that be careful of scortching! I am fine after getting a 400 micron BIAB bag, but the first attempt was simply awful burned vegetal taste.

What about doing this as a table saison? I'm thinking that might be pretty good.
 
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maybe table saison as the "killer recipe"? Back in 2018-2019 in one of the other home brewing forums, there were a couple of very popular topics on 1.5% - 3.5% saison recipes. Might be a link in my "link dump" back in #10 in this topic.
 

beersk

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I mashed in on an Irish Red a while ago, 3.5 gallons, brew in a bag (voile, fairly fine), mashing at 73F for 4ish hours, stirring as often as possible.
6lbs Maris Otter
8oz C40
8oz Special Roast
3oz Light Roasted Barley
.25oz US Goldings 30min FWH
.5oz US Goldings 5 min
Verdant IPA yeast

Benefit to working from home. It took no time at all to get mashed in. Just milled grains right into the kettle with the water and bag already in it. We'll see how it turns out. But I'm hoping to avoid the uber grainy flavor I got in my batches I made last year. If not, I'm not sure what I'll do going forward.

My plan is to bring it to the 150s for about 30 minutes. Boil for 30 minutes. Then ferment and serve in a 5 gallon keg with a floating dip tube and serve on nitro. Looking forward to see how that turns out. Really simple process. If this turns out a good beer that I want to drink guilt-free pints of, I'm definitely scaling up to 4.5 or so gallons, still ferment and serve in a keg. Would be awesome.
 

beersk

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I mashed in on an Irish Red a while ago, 3.5 gallons, brew in a bag (voile, fairly fine), mashing at 73F for 4ish hours, stirring as often as possible.
6lbs Maris Otter
8oz C40
8oz Special Roast
3oz Light Roasted Barley
.25oz US Goldings 30min FWH
.5oz US Goldings 5 min
Verdant IPA yeast

Benefit to working from home. It took no time at all to get mashed in. Just milled grains right into the kettle with the water and bag already in it. We'll see how it turns out. But I'm hoping to avoid the uber grainy flavor I got in my batches I made last year. If not, I'm not sure what I'll do going forward.

My plan is to bring it to the 150s for about 30 minutes. Boil for 30 minutes. Then ferment and serve in a 5 gallon keg with a floating dip tube and serve on nitro. Looking forward to see how that turns out. Really simple process. If this turns out a good beer that I want to drink guilt-free pints of, I'm definitely scaling up to 4.5 or so gallons, still ferment and serve in a keg. Would be awesome.
Well, I ended up having to dilute this anyway as my preboil OG was 1.028, higher than I wanted obviously. I diluted with 1 gallon of RO to get it up to 5 gallons preboil, up from 4, and down to a gravity of 1.020. Oh well, all else seemed like a normal beer that was mashed hot, smelled and looked the same all around. One thing I noticed was it wasn't nearly as dark as it should be. More of an amber color instead of a deep red.
 

beersk

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Well, I ended up having to dilute this anyway as my preboil OG was 1.028, higher than I wanted obviously. I diluted with 1 gallon of RO to get it up to 5 gallons preboil, up from 4, and down to a gravity of 1.020. Oh well, all else seemed like a normal beer that was mashed hot, smelled and looked the same all around. One thing I noticed was it wasn't nearly as dark as it should be. More of an amber color instead of a deep red.
I took a gravity reading/sample of this today. 1.024 down to 1.008 for about 2.1%, higher than I wanted. But, it tastes pretty good and has a great aroma, very British. I put the keg into the kegerator and will hook it up to beer gas in a day or so. It has a nice full body, definitely not thin tasting, and doesn't have the funky graininess I've gotten before. I'd call it a success. It's much lighter than I was aiming for, more of the color of a marzen, but that's OK. I'm going to do a black IPA next.
 

Miraculix

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I took a gravity reading/sample of this today. 1.024 down to 1.008 for about 2.1%, higher than I wanted. But, it tastes pretty good and has a great aroma, very British. I put the keg into the kegerator and will hook it up to beer gas in a day or so. It has a nice full body, definitely not thin tasting, and doesn't have the funky graininess I've gotten before. I'd call it a success. It's much lighter than I was aiming for, more of the color of a marzen, but that's OK. I'm going to do a black IPA next.
Sounds pretty much perfect to me!
 

beersk

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Sounds pretty much perfect to me!
Let's hope!

I should note, I fermented this under pressure as well. Started at about 1-2 PSI, then raised to .5 bar (6PSI) after a day or so and left it there. So that may have helped with the body. Maybe.
 

beersk

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@beersk sounds great. I'm gonna have to get low enzymatic back into the rotation
I think it's worth it. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it more. I'm working on a theory that leaving it for 12+ hours makes it taste grainier, but I'm not hard set on that just yet. I'd like to try a helles or pilsner again with the 4 hour mash, stirring often (basically every time I get up from my desk) and see if it comes out any smoother. It definitely did not extract as much color as I was expecting, so adjustments need to be made there.
But I'll know more once I actually tap this beer. This is all based on the sample before I moved it to the kegerator. But if it tastes good warm, it's usually better cold and carbonated.
 

beersk

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Update on the Irish Red. I'd call it a success. A close brewing friend of mine also thought it tasted very good. He wouldn't have guessed it was 2% abv. It was supposed to be more like 14 SRM, but this is more like 10-12 SRM, I'd say. Still tasty, great aroma and flavor, awesome head retention (the nitro helps). I think you can tell it's lacking a bit of something [the alcohol] but it's solid. Definitely going to explore this further. Black IPA next up.
For lighter styles/lagers, I'm thinking of maybe trying the hot mash technique and maybe with an OG around 1.030, finishing in the 1.010s somewhere for dextrins and mouthfeel.
IMG_20211015_215700848.jpg


Given that I'm only a month into my break, I probably won't drink much more of this in the next month, maybe one or two. Maybe. But I'm excited for the brewing future.
 

hamachi

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I ran across this thread a couple of weeks ago and was instantly intrigued by the prospect of a low-ABV/high-flavor brew. I love my Belgian quads, but they are not the ideal beverage for losing the weight I gained over the past 18 months. Yesterday was my first attempt at low-T mashing. Here's my report:

I do mash-in-a-bag (MIAB) in a 10 gallon cooler. My target was a 2.5 gallon batch with OG=1.020. As suggested here and elsewhere, I plugged in 25% efficiency to the Brewer's Friend calculator to develop the following grain bill:

4.5# Maris-Otter
0.5# Aromatic
0.25# Crystal 75

I chilled the strike water to 58 degrees F. After dough-in, the temp was 63 F. Over 3.5 hours, I stirred occasionally and then lifted the bag. Left behind was a very cloudy, starchy suspension. After draining off the wort, a fair bit of starch sludge was left behind in the cooler. A small amount of additional starch came out of suspension in the pot. I followed with two batch sparges. For each running, I attempted a gravity measurement with a refractometer. In all cases, it was hard to get an accurate reading because the field was blurry. But for the record, here they are:

RunningVolume (gallons)Approximate Gravity
11.851.017
21.31.007
31.051.004

I heated the 4.2 gallons to 152 F and turned off the electric burner. Over the next 25 minutes, the temperature rose to 154 then dropped to 148, at which point I turned the heat back on. I took another gravity measurement, and it was 1.021. Oops! Too high! This equates to 1.035 at 2.5 gallons (though I have found that these simple calculations are typically overestimates). Clearly there was more starch in suspension that got converted than I had hoped.

To keep the gravity reasonably low, I decided to boil down to ~3 gallons rather than 2.5. In the end, after boiling, chilling, and filtering, I ended up with 3.1 gallons of wort with OG=1.026 as measured by a hydrometer. I pitched a pack of WLP002 yeast and it's now bubbling away.

The Brewer's Friend calculator indicates that my actual efficiency was 41% -- much higher than expected. The issue I think is that I didn't make much of an attempt to limit the amount of starch in suspension or let it settle, especially after sparging. Next time, I will try giving at least 30 minutes for the starch to settle after lifting the bag. For now, it looks like I will end up with a 2-3% beer rather than my target of 1-2%.
 

beersk

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I ran across this thread a couple of weeks ago and was instantly intrigued by the prospect of a low-ABV/high-flavor brew. I love my Belgian quads, but they are not the ideal beverage for losing the weight I gained over the past 18 months. Yesterday was my first attempt at low-T mashing. Here's my report:

I do mash-in-a-bag (MIAB) in a 10 gallon cooler. My target was a 2.5 gallon batch with OG=1.020. As suggested here and elsewhere, I plugged in 25% efficiency to the Brewer's Friend calculator to develop the following grain bill:

4.5# Maris-Otter
0.5# Aromatic
0.25# Crystal 75

I chilled the strike water to 58 degrees F. After dough-in, the temp was 63 F. Over 3.5 hours, I stirred occasionally and then lifted the bag. Left behind was a very cloudy, starchy suspension. After draining off the wort, a fair bit of starch sludge was left behind in the cooler. A small amount of additional starch came out of suspension in the pot. I followed with two batch sparges. For each running, I attempted a gravity measurement with a refractometer. In all cases, it was hard to get an accurate reading because the field was blurry. But for the record, here they are:

RunningVolume (gallons)Approximate Gravity
11.851.017
21.31.007
31.051.004

I heated the 4.2 gallons to 152 F and turned off the electric burner. Over the next 25 minutes, the temperature rose to 154 then dropped to 148, at which point I turned the heat back on. I took another gravity measurement, and it was 1.021. Oops! Too high! This equates to 1.035 at 2.5 gallons (though I have found that these simple calculations are typically overestimates). Clearly there was more starch in suspension that got converted than I had hoped.

To keep the gravity reasonably low, I decided to boil down to ~3 gallons rather than 2.5. In the end, after boiling, chilling, and filtering, I ended up with 3.1 gallons of wort with OG=1.026 as measured by a hydrometer. I pitched a pack of WLP002 yeast and it's now bubbling away.

The Brewer's Friend calculator indicates that my actual efficiency was 41% -- much higher than expected. The issue I think is that I didn't make much of an attempt to limit the amount of starch in suspension or let it settle, especially after sparging. Next time, I will try giving at least 30 minutes for the starch to settle after lifting the bag. For now, it looks like I will end up with a 2-3% beer rather than my target of 1-2%.
This mirrors my experience on mine as well, I had about 40% efficiency. I ended up diluting to get to my gravity. The flavor and aroma are good but the beer is...a bit anemic maybe if the best description I can think of. It is pretty good, but if one were to get 40% efficiency and get a 2% abv beer, you can make that low of an abv beer with a regular mash schedule. So I'm contemplating...

EDIT: I don't want to discourage anyone from trying this as I believe it is worth pursuing. But honest notes and thoughts are warranted as well.
 
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hamachi

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I had a much more successful attempt today at cold mash brewing. Today's recipe was a Belgian Helft (Dutch for "half", by comparison to the much stronger dubbel or tripel). To cut to the chase: I ended up with 2.7 gallons of wort at 1.019 OG, for a calculated efficiency of 28%.

The main differences from my attempt a week ago (see posting above):
  • No sparge (4.5 gallons cold strike water yielding 3.75 gallons wort at a pre-conversion gravity of 1.011).
  • After 3 hours of cold mashing, lift the bag and wait 45 minutes for insoluble starch in suspension to settle out before draining cooler.
  • Grist dominated by specialty malts
  • Slightly higher conversion temperature to reduce fermentability and hopefully leave more body
  • Pitched some WLP530 slurry harvested from a previous batch
Omitting the sparge step and letting the cold wort settle clearly had a major effect. There was much more starchy sludge left behind in the cooler compared to last time. I'm optimistic about this one. If my FG hits 1.004, then I will have a 2.0% ABV 60-calorie beer with hopefully some decent flavor.
 
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hamachi

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Here's a report on how my two previously described attempts at cold mashed beers turned out:

Attempt 1: LoMash Bitter. Finished at FG=1.009 for ABV=2.2%, calories=85 per 12 oz. Tastes like a reasonably flavorful session bitter. Looks like this:
LoMash Bitter.jpg


Attempt 2: Belgian Helft. Finished at FG=1.006 for ABV=1.7%, calories=61 per 12 oz. Tastes pleasant, but with no "Belgian" character that I could detect. A bit thinner than the bitter, as one would expect. Looks like this:
Belgian Helft.jpg


Overall, I am pleased with the results and would call the experiment a success. However, it's a fair bit of extra time and work, and it consumes an excessive amount of grain relative to what you end up with. So as a control, I plan to do another experiment targeting a 2% beer with conventional mashing by simply scaling back the amount of grain. Will the resulting beer be noticeably thinner and less tasty? We'll see.
 

ThirstyPawsHB

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Here's a report on how my two previously described attempts at cold mashed beers turned out:

Attempt 1: LoMash Bitter. Finished at FG=1.009 for ABV=2.2%, calories=85 per 12 oz. Tastes like a reasonably flavorful session bitter. Looks like this:
View attachment 750727

Attempt 2: Belgian Helft. Finished at FG=1.006 for ABV=1.7%, calories=61 per 12 oz. Tastes pleasant, but with no "Belgian" character that I could detect. A bit thinner than the bitter, as one would expect. Looks like this:
View attachment 750728

Overall, I am pleased with the results and would call the experiment a success. However, it's a fair bit of extra time and work, and it consumes an excessive amount of grain relative to what you end up with. So as a control, I plan to do another experiment targeting a 2% beer with conventional mashing by simply scaling back the amount of grain. Will the resulting beer be noticeably thinner and less tasty? We'll see.
Thanks for reporting back. I started warming WY3787 to 75-78F and got great esters (with normal beers). I'm not familiar with 530 but maybe try the same technique? I've tried low ABV normal mash technique and it's awful. Can't even call it hop water. Thin and tasteless as fuuk. I may report back sooner then expected. Seemed to finish in a couple days. Plan is to brew a regular 10%er Quad on top of this yeast...but for a different thread.
 

ThirstyPawsHB

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Here she is. Belgian Dubbel bill but using non-enzymatic cold mash technique. 7 days Grain to Glass. Force carbed 3hrs ago. Great body, surprisingly. To recap, 1.024 to 1.005. 2.5% ABV. 78 calories. 5 carbs according to various calculators. A bit grainy as others said about theirs. Wy3787 esters coming through. I'll chalk this up to a successful 1st low ABV brew.

20211203_125303_HDR.jpg
 
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