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Testing fermentability of crystal malt

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Sorry. Not directed at you Motor (and definitely not OP). I wondered if I should even say anything at all - didn't want to start a pissing match with someone...

There were just some comments earlier in the thread with some info that I would not expect from someone with 1,000's of posts.

Anyway, I don't want to detract from the awesome work nilo has done so far and can't wait for the next series!
Since you are obviously referring to me, for the record I was the one that e-mailed Kai to let him know about this thread as he doesn't keep up on HBT anymore...

And if you read my posts you would see I disclaimered everything with the fact that I don't use brewing software so I was surprised that the software doesn't appear to attempt to take this into account.

In the future, go ahead and call me out personally - I can take it; that's why I continued to have a dialogue with nilo when I was cleary wrong. ;)

:mug:
 

Hermit

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i use brewtarget. If you change the amount of crystal malt the abv number changes. The author of the program must be modeling it off of something.
and if you read my posts you would see i disclaimered everything with the fact that i don't use brewing software so i was surprised that the software doesn't appear to attempt to take this into account.
If we are referring to how fermentable crystal grains are, it is taken into account in software, at least brewtarget.
 
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nilo

nilo

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If we are referring to how fermentable crystal grains are, it is taken into account in software, at least brewtarget.
as far as I know, all brewing tools assume all sugars/malts 100% fermentable, including crystals, dextrins and lactoses.
That been said, you will see the change to the ABV when you plug in crystal malts, but that will not be a correct value, specially if your grain bill has lots of crystal malts.
I don't know brewtarget though.
 

Hermit

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"Official" answer I guess.

http://www.specialtymalts.com/maltster/faq_brewing.html

Answer

Caramel malts add very little in the way of fermentable sugars.

I would suggest increasing the amount of base malt you use in order to reach your desired higher gravity. I sent in a question to see if they have 'published' data available since unpublished wouldn't do much good.


Not that specific I guess. Could be a percentage thing.
 

Hermit

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At least Cargill doesn't appear to publish the data:

Caramel Malts usually fall into the high 60's range as far as percent fermentable extract.

-----Original Message-----
From: ]
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 10:19 AM
To: Ryan, Ron -
Subject: New Question in Ask the Maltster

The following message was submitted at the "Ask the Maltster" page.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Is there published data on the percentage of fermentable extract from
caramel malts?

Thank You

----------------------------------------------------------------------
To answer this question and/or post it to the FAQ page go to:
http://www.specialtymalts.com/admin/data_admin.html
 

Frodo

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Awesome little 1 gallon mash tun! Good work on this experiment - I'm surprised at the results.
 
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nilo

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Back into action here guys. Sorry for the long break :cross:
As planned, finished brewing the next test batch today, with only 2 row malt.
Mashed and brewed 3 separated batches with 1# 2row and 1/4# rice rulls, following the same procedures than used for the crystal malts ( milled 3 times, etc. ).
The results were as expected, a higer attenuation (mashed at 155F), no starch detected in wort. These results were consistent among the 3 test batches, so I'm happy with the results.
One thing I must comment is the PPG numbers I'm getting. Even when milling the grain 3 times, I'm not getting the full potential of the grain, either crystal or the 2row just tested.
That could be confirmed when I tested the potential using the method suggested by Kai, which gave me the following results:
Crystal 10L: 26
Crystal 40L: 22
Crystal 120L: 16 (I may test this again to confirm)
2Row : 31
So don't pay much attention to the PPG numbers at the table below.

Here's the fermentation profile and the table with the results so far.

2Row_1&2&3.jpg


Table_Test1&2&3&4.jpg
 

HairyDogBrewing

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Excellent experiment.
Question: Since you detected starch in the crystal mashes,
do you think the FGs would go lower if you added enymes to the mash?
 
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nilo

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Excellent experiment.
Question: Since you detected starch in the crystal mashes,
do you think the FGs would go lower if you added enymes to the mash?
Yes, I think you would get more sugars, some would be fermentable, so you would reach a lower FG.
 
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nilo

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Yes, I think you would get more sugars, some would be fermentable, so you would reach a lower FG.
OK, let me quote my own post here.
If you add more sugars, you will have a higher OG also. Since some of the extra sugars will be non-fermentable, you will probably end at a higher FG than if you didn't add any enzymes. You would get move alcohol though. I think :drunk:
 

Kaiser

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One thing I must comment is the PPG numbers I'm getting. Even when milling the grain 3 times, I'm not getting the full potential of the grain, either crystal or the 2row just tested.
That is odd, but I did see something similar in my small scale mashing experiments.

On the other hand, in my actual beer batches I can get to 100% conversion, i.e. realize the full grain potential in mashing. I have also been able to do that in small scale mashes that I recently did for pH experiments.

Kai
 
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nilo

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That is odd, but I did see something similar in my small scale mashing experiments.

On the other hand, in my actual beer batches I can get to 100% conversion, i.e. realize the full grain potential in mashing. I have also been able to do that in small scale mashes that I recently did for pH experiments.

Kai
That is interesting Kai.
How are you defining the max PPG for your grains?
For those that I could get data specs from the malting companies, like Briess 2row, Crystal 10, 40 and 120L that I'm using on this experiment, I using the following formula to calculate the max PPG's:
PPG=46.214*(DBCG%/100-MC%/100-0.002)
Where
DBCG%=Dry Basis Coarse Grind
MC%=Moisture content

For these malts, this is what I got from Briess:
2Row: DBCG=75%, MC=4%, PPG(Calculated)=35
C10: DBCG=75%, MC=7%, PPG=31
C40: DBCG=73%, MC=5.5%, PPG=31
C120: DBCG=70%, MC=3%, PPG=31

So my low efficiency or extraction may be related to the max PPG I'm using.
I would like to address this issue also, although the PPG/extraction is not the main focus of this experiment but the attenuation or fermentability of crystal malt.


Anyways, I have just started another test batch, now using 50% 2row and 50% crystal malt. 1/4lb of rice hulls was also added to the grain bill. All mashed at 155F.

Got everything done, now fermenting at 70F.
Since I used 1/2# of each malt, the expected OG for this new test would be:
2R+C10 = PPG 2row/2 + PPG C10/2 = 25/2 + 20/2 = 22.5
2R+C40 = 25/2 + 16/2 = 20.5
2R+C120= 25/2 + 16.2 = 20.5

Now, this is what I got, for all three batches OG=1.024.
That makes sense from one side, showing that the new OG is higher than the combination of each malt since the starches from the crystal malts is now converted to sugars by the enzymes from the 2Row malt. That was confirmed with a iodine test. Interesting though is the fact that all three batches came at same OG.

Will post the attenuation results once fermentation is completed.
 

jonmohno

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Appreciate the effort in this experiment.But could you post a summary and conclusion along with this for some of us brew dummies to buzzed or whatnot. Once finished. Please.
 

Tom

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Thanks for doing this and sharing your results Nilo.

I have been thinking of doing this same experiment. I was taught that crystal malts were completely unfermentable. But others have thought otherwise.

Any idea what would happen if you mashed the crystal malt with a base malt with active amylase enzymes?

TIA, Tom
 
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nilo

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Appreciate the effort in this experiment.But could you post a summary and conclusion along with this for some of us brew dummies to buzzed or whatnot. Once finished. Please.
Will certainly do.

Thanks for doing this and sharing your results Nilo.

I have been thinking of doing this same experiment. I was taught that crystal malts were completely unfermentable. But others have thought otherwise.

Any idea what would happen if you mashed the crystal malt with a base malt with active amylase enzymes?

TIA, Tom
That is the plan. In fact, that is the test batch fermenting righ now. See my previous post.
 

krisagon

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These experiments are sweet! (no pun intended)
Thanks for doing all of this work and sharing it in such an organized and easy to follow way!
 

chapa

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Great experiment. Look forward to hearing the results of the 2row/crystal.
 
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nilo

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Hi guys, here's the updated table that includes the results for the just finished batch of 50/50% 2row/Crystal malts.
I'm going to repeat this same test to get more data to confirm these results, as usual, but if you are eager for some results, these are some preliminary analysis:
1)Amount of sugars extracted from crystal malts increase when mashed with a malt with diastatic power.
2)The sugars extracted from a crystal malt when mashed with a diastatic power malt are more fermentable. I believe the enzymes convert long chain sugars from the crystal malt into shorter ones, together with converting starches from the crystal malt into fermentable sugars.

I have many nice graphs to show my observations but I feel I need to get 1 or 2 more batches of 50/50% done to validate it.
Don't change the channel! The end is close :mug:

Table_Test1&2&3&4&5.jpg
 

HairyDogBrewing

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Awesome info!
The combined mashes reflect a more typical use of the crystal malts in all-grain.
The all crystal mashes should be of interest to extract + steeping grain brewers.

This debunks the myth that crystal is totally unfermentable.
Without crunching numbers, I'm guessing that a malt bill with 10% C40
would have a FG within a point of all base grain.
 
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nilo

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Brewed another 3 batches of 2row+crystals today, now fermenting.
OG's were pretty close to previous test, 1.024 for C10 and C120, 1.025 for C40.
Looking good.
Oh, by the way, pulled the trigger on these two babies below.
Got it delivered today, tested both and works like a charm. :mug:
Can't wait to start making water adjustments and get my beers to another level:rockin:

Tech_Tools.JPG
 

Bigscience

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Love my digital refractometer. So much easier that the manual ones with my bad eyes. One thing I did figure out though is to pull a sample and let it settle if it's more turbid and then pull from that for a reading.
 

GNBrews

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I'm extremely surprised that we're seeing final gravities of 1.010 or lower on the crystal malt fermentations. That's better than what most people get from extract!
 
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nilo

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I'm extremely surprised that we're seeing final gravities of 1.010 or lower on the crystal malt fermentations. That's better than what most people get from extract!
Remember that the OG was only 1.020, so what really matters here is the attenuation% and not FG.
 

HairyDogBrewing

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Comparing the combined mash to the earlier single grain steep of C40:

OG 1.024 - FG 1.008 - Apparent attenuation 67%
The half-pound of 2-row contributed 12.5 gravity points and attenuated 80% leaving 2.5 GP.
The half pound of C40 contributed 11.5 gravity points (50% more than steeping)
and attenuated 52% (50% higher than steeping) leaving 5.5 GP.
And starch was negative, so less starch haze in the final product.

Does that sound like an accurate summary?
 
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nilo

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From my calculation, PPG from C40 was 43% more than when steeped alone, from 8 to 11.5
Attenuation on C40 was 52%, comparing to 40% when steeped alone.
Other than that, your numbers sounds about right.
 
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nilo

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OK, I think I can make my final conclusions from what I learned with this test. I wish I had better equipment and time to do many more batches and get more data points, but hey, I gotta brew my beers guys:tank:

I'll comment first than show all images.

1)Table with all that was tested and results
2)Fermentation/Gravity chart of all that was tested. I excluded this last test I just did (test 16/17/18) to make it easier to understand the graph.
3)PPG or sugar extraction chart
4)Attenuation chart

This experiment bring simple conclusions, may not indicate accurate values due to the reduced data points and accuracy of tools used, but I hope it give us some light to what crystal malts do to our recipes:

A)Crystal malt have sugars but still hold starches that can be converted
B)The amount of sugars that one can extract from crystal malts would increase if mashed with a base malt since the starches will be converted. PPG showed to increase by about 20%, regardless of the kilning level of the crystal malt.
B)The sugars from crystal malts are VERY fermentable, contrary to what we knew. Fermentability will depend on multiple factors like:
-Steeping crystal malt alone will yield sugars that can be attenuated by 50% for crystal 10 and 40% for darker malts.
-Mashing crystal malts with base malts will yield sugars that are almost as fermentable as base malt itself. For the 50-50% rate used, sugars from crystal-10 malts were attenuated by 70% while crystal 40 and 120 by 52% minimums. For a 10% crystal to grist rate, I guess it could be treated just as a base malt, which means very fermentable.

The basic recipe guidelines would be:
1)If steeping crystal malts, expect lower PPG than when mashing. About 50% of the poits you get from the malt will be left to FG for light malts and 60% for darker malts
2)If mashing with a base malt, treat crystal just like a base malt, specially if using lowe amounts like 10 to 20%. So don't blame the crystal malt for a higher FG since most of its sugars will be fermented.
3)Regardless, crystal malts doesn't seem to be the best thing to use to add residual sugars to the final beer. Perhaps mashing at higher temp is the way to go, along with Lactose or Dextrin (that we believe is not fermentable. I may have to test that also)

Note.: All tests were done with mashing/steeping temp at 155F and fermentation with S04 at constant (really constant) 70F.

Here some facts for this testing:

18 test batches
18 pounds of barley malt
5-1/4 pounds of rice hulls
6 packs S04 yeast
36h of active brewing
114 gravity readings
38 days of fermentation

Table_Final.jpg


Graph_030111.jpg


Final_PPGBar.JPG


Final_ATTNBar.JPG
 

Caramaniacal

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Outstanding work. Rejecting conventional wisdom in the search for knowledge is the mark of a visionary. References stating Crystal malts as unfermentable never made sense to me. Thank you for collecting this data. This kind of work will help in FG predictions. Somebody give this scientist an honorary PHD.
 

PaulHilgeman

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So, now who has the balls to pull the trigger on re-brewing a pale ale recipe that used 8oz of C60 with 48oz of C10 replacing some of the base malt for the same OG?

I have to say that I'd be scared to brew that, my instincts would have told me that you would end up at 1.020 or more! Based on this thread, you should still expect slightly (5%) less attenuation.

-Paul
 

ArcaneXor

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I may have missed this while reading this (excellent) thread, but did you state the maltster of your crystal malts? Different maltsters use slightly different processes for their C-malts, and results may vary depending on that. The taste is certainly very different between something like Briess (which I find cloying) and Crisp (which I find much less sweet).

I also wonder if increasing the steeping temperature to about 170 would increase the PPG of the c-malts, since the sugars in the endosperm become (reportedly) more soluble with increasing temperature.
 
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nilo

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I may have missed this while reading this (excellent) thread, but did you state the maltster of your crystal malts? Different maltsters use slightly different processes for their C-malts, and results may vary depending on that. The taste is certainly very different between something like Briess (which I find cloying) and Crisp (which I find much less sweet).

I also wonder if increasing the steeping temperature to about 170 would increase the PPG of the c-malts, since the sugars in the endosperm become (reportedly) more soluble with increasing temperature.
Briess
 

hahnderosa

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Excellent work, nilo. I ran across this thread while I was tweaking my estimated OG field in my brewing spreadsheet. I had been using 50% efficiency for crystal malts and have now upped it to the 72% I use for base malts since I never go above 20% in the grain bill for crystals. Maybe now I'll get more consistent results between theoretical and actual OG. Too bad you're not in the Southeast or I'd drop off a 50# bag of crystal 40 to thank you for your efforts.
 

wiescins

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Has anyone read Gordon Strongs new book? He talks about not mashing crystal and roasted grains, just adding them at sparge. His reasoning is that your not going to get any fermentables do don't expose them to the heat. This testing seems to prove otherwise. Thoughts? Has a similar test been conducted with chocolate malt or other highly roasted grain?
 
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nilo

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Has anyone read Gordon Strongs new book? He talks about not mashing crystal and roasted grains, just adding them at sparge. His reasoning is that your not going to get any fermentables do don't expose them to the heat. This testing seems to prove otherwise. Thoughts? Has a similar test been conducted with chocolate malt or other highly roasted grain?
I have not read this book but stating that crystals do not provide fermentable sugars is wrong. From what I learned, the more you toast the malt the less sugars you will get, to a point where you get nothing, like in a chocolate 350, roasted barley or any highly toasted grain.
 

wiescins

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To be clear, he states that you do get fermentables from crystal, but nothing additional from mashing. At what roast level do you no longer get fermentables (when mashed)?
 
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nilo

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To be clear, he states that you do get fermentables from crystal, but nothing additional from mashing. At what roast level do you no longer get fermentables (when mashed)?
My experiment showed that you get more fermentable from crystal malts when you mash or steep it with a base malt, so in that sense, you DO get more fermentables when you mash.
I would estimate that after 200L you start getting very little to no sugars.
 

chaitobar

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This experiment was enlightening and in my case relieving. Now I can truly make use of the 600 pounds of 30L Caramunich malt I have.
 

stamandster

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This experiment was enlightening and in my case relieving. Now I can truly make use of the 600 pounds of 30L Caramunich malt I have.
thanks for posting such a crazy thread chaitobar about getting so much grain... and thanks again for whomever linked this most awesome thread! kudos!
 
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