Tasting malts - Least amount of hops to add

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patchtech

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I'm starting to play around conceptually with recipes and brewing beers to specific targets and flavor profiles, and I really couldn't find anything out there on the best way to go about isolating the taste of different malts. Looking for some input on how little I can get away with, hop addition wise, to have just enough balance for it to be a beer, but no excessive hop flavors or excessive bitterness. Most smash recipes I find have a standard 60-15-5 or so hop addition, but I'm curious if a small 60 minute addition would achieve my goals.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I'm curious if a small 60 minute addition would achieve my goals.

That sounds like a good plan to me. I would target around 15 IBUs for a 1.050 beer.

What is your plan for the malts?

I have brewed some single malt beers that were hopped a little lighter than a standard Pale Ale. I feel like that worked out well and showcased the character of the malt (and was a reasonably enjoyable beer). I have played around with malt teas. It sorta works, but definitely not as well as brewing a beer. I have thought about ideas for beers with specialty grains, but have not done any of them. I have made several 1 gallon extract batches to evaluate a hop or a yeast. 1 gallon all-grain batches are a bit of a pain for the small volume, but that is about the right amount of volume for an investigative batch.
 
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patchtech

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What is your plan for the malts?

The plan is just to have a solid platform/foundation/control sample for experimenting and learning what various ingredients do/taste like. i.e. the 'base' being something like a breiss 2 row with minimum 60min hops. Then modify that base and see what flavors change, what it tastes like, etc... like switching from breiss 2 row to maris otter, or adding a 5 minute hop, or changing the hops used for the 60 minute, etc...

Ideally, some day, I'd like to have a good ability to just 'make up' a recipe on the spot and it hit whatever target I'm going towards, and I figure this would be a good/fun way of going about getting hands on experience with the different variables and what they'll do.
 

CascadesBrewer

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What size batch do you plan to make? I often make 2.5 gallon batches of all-grain beer. I planned on making a bunch of pale ale batches using just a single base malt. The first one was a 2.5 gallon batch using Viking Pale Ale malt. I quickly realized that I did not want to drink16 gallons of a single malt beer just to test out 6 different base malts. That is when I switched to 1 gallon batches.
 
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patchtech

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What size batch do you plan to make?
Good question, I had not settled on that yet. But, from the sounds of your comment, I'd probably not do large batches, and will stick with 1 gallon fermentation sizes. Perhaps I can concoct some makeshift herms system with a sous-vide to help.... hehe.
 

tracer bullet

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I think you've got great advice above already. I'll add in that, stating the obvious, the hop level (and IBU) should change with the gravity of the beer itself. But you're in the 5% or so range, you won't need much.

For a pale ale type recipe even just 20 - 25 IBU could be enough if you're focusing on the malt. Maybe 25 - 30 for a stout. My tastes anyhow.

I've also found over the last few years that you can pretty much make a "normal" beer and then change a grain for the next batch and see the difference. Meaning - stick with a pale ale or a lower IBU stout, not a DIPA or NEIPA or Russian Imperial. But within those more moderate recipes you may not need to pull back the IBU's. Make a pale ale with a different base malt and take notes, and have a more enjoyable beer all along. Or go heavy with roasted barley on a stout recipe then the next one go heavy on the chocolate instead. I think if the grain difference creates a flavor difference worth noting, you'll taste it.
 

MrClint

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I'm a new brewer doing 1g SMaSH brews to get a feel for malts and hops. So far I'm mostly using pale ale malt and have used Cascade, Amarillo and Tettnang hops. Looking to branch out to Vienna malt and two-row soon.
News flash: They are all good so far, because beer is good, so it's a tall order to consider one being better than the other. They are just slightly different.
 

Climb

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@patchtech - To help achieve your goal of being able to learn the different flavor profiles of malts and hops. I think you must learn to associate the taste and smell of the ingredients to the taste and smells you get in the final beer. Developing this association should help you nail your intended recipe designs. It takes a lot of brewing, a lot of recipes and a lot of tasting to develop this skill/art. Enjoy the process of learning, just not a great end product.
 

MrClint

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A one gallon batch wouldn't last very long. You could skip hops entirely.
You make a very good point. Two gallons or more would last longer than one gallon and a 1/2 gallon would go quicker still. Brewer's choice.

Brewing without any hops is something to think about.
 

pvtpublic

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I hope this helps;

1. The good ol' BU/GU ratio. Bitterness units to gravity units ratio. A balanced beer will have half the IBUs that the OG has gravity units. IE, 1050 OG would have 25 IBUs.

2. Choice of hops variety. Since you're chasing malt flavor profiles, I recommend Magnum, 100% addition at 60 minutes. Fairly clean bittering hops that shouldn't impede too much on the grain.

3. Take your target OG, your AA% for your hops, and your desired IBU level and plug it into this equation (metric is easier to work with, and assume 28g=1oz and 19L=5gal)
Target IBU=T, AA%=A, Amount=G
T=(A×G×0.27×1000)/19
Or
G=(T×19)/1000/A/0.27
 

pvtpublic

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I also recommend checking out Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels
 

z-bob

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You make a very good point. Two gallons or more would last longer than one gallon and a 1/2 gallon would go quicker still. Brewer's choice.

Brewing without any hops is something to think about.
I've done that once. I soured the beer instead of bittered it. It was actually good, just haven't circled back to that yet.
 
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patchtech

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I also recommend checking out Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels
I have it! haven't been able to really dig into it heavily quite yet.

Thanks everyone for all the replies! Definitely some good food for thought here.
 
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