March 6, 2013 1 Comment
I had a beer, which was made with just LME + cascade hops. The goal was a simple beer my buddy Dan could brew exactly the same. I targeted just LME and cascades. We brewed it when he was visiting after thanksgiving (http://hopville.com/recipe/1687073). Normally I would add Crystal 40 and Carapils (Dextrine) (http://hopville.com/recipe/154926) to an APA like that.
The problem was the beer. It was not bad, just "Meh." The malt was missing in flavor, body and mouthfeel. After a while I decided I wanted to "fix it." My first thought was to mash/steep the crystal 40 and Carapils and just add it. Then I realized that might not work, since the malt would not be boiled fermented and the yeast does other things to it besides convert to alcohol. There I set out to test the idea, before I ruined a whole keg. My plan was to add one pint’s worth of malt to a pint of beer, tweak, and then add the scaled amount to the whole keg.
About that time I heard the Specialty Grains shows on Basic Brewing on Jan 17th 2013 with Darnelle Brawner (http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=radio). I decided to try a variety of grains and explore my grain library, and of course science ensued.
Then I recorded a podcast with James Spencer for Basic Brewing which posted March 6th, 2013 (http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=radio).
This experiment does not really replicate adding grains to a mash, it is a bit closer to adding steeping grains to a boil. It does show you some of the flavors and colors you get from the grains.
The basic technique was to steep 11g of grain, strain it, and add beer. The compare to the base beer.
- Infrared thermometer
- Kettle and/microwave
- 2 glasses
- Small Strainer
- Small Scale (1-11 grams will be measured)
- Mediocre Beer
- Specialty Grains
- Notepad or other way to record results, say a brewers log book!
- Start water boiling in a kettle, or microwave it to about 170.
- Get two glasses and a scale.
- Place one glass on the sale and tare it (zero it).
- Add 11g of grain to the glass (based off of what I would have added to 5 gallons of beer, and some very sketchy math)
- Steeping the grains
- Add hot water just enough to go over the grains (in a nonic pint glass, it is about 1/2 inch)
- Measure the temp, this is where the infrared thermometer kicks butt, or just guess. If it is too low (normal) put it in a microwave for 15 seconds. It will foam up! Check temp, repeat until about 170F.
- Wrap glass in beer cozy or towel, place second glass on top to hold in heat (stack the glasses). The following picture is two nonic glasses stacked with a 1/2 of water in he bottom glass with grains.
- After 30 minutes, remove top glass, smell the grain tea, write down notes
- Strain the water from the grain tea into the second glass. I have a small tea strainer that was perfect.
- Rinse the first glass
- Pour a full pint into the glass with grain tea in it. Get decent foam to help bring up the aromatics.
- Pour a half pint into the second glass.
- Run a judge sheet on the first beer, check appearance, aroma, taste and mouth feel. Write down notes!
- Compare with the other glass (non-tea beer).
- After drinking about 1/2 of the grain tea beer, if it too strong, pour
- the other half pint in, compare and take notes.
- Repeat with every specialty grain you have, borrow some from friends, get small amounts from your LBHS.
Thoughts What would I do different?
1/22/2013 Crystal 40
Added 11gm of Crystal 40, did not crush,
1/24 Crystal 80
1/25 Wheat malt
Slightly acidic/sour, no matter what Jamil says (I was listening to his podcasts on wheat styles and he said people say it has an sour note, but he said it didn’t, I think people are tasting the grain…)
Much better mouthfeel
1/26 Dark Chocolate Malt
1/27 Carafa II
2/9 Special B
2/10/2013 Pale Chocolate 250