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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: thcipriani on September 03, 2011, 04:21:24 PM

Title: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: thcipriani on September 03, 2011, 04:21:24 PM
I've got a fairly young oktoberfest on tap and, as is my want, I've been periodically sampling as the beer matures.

Recently I've noticed a candy-like malt sweetness develop that I don't like/want. It's Jamil's Oktoberfest recipe with no substitutions save using WLP833. What, in your experience, causes this?

I didn't do a cell count, but I did use the mrmalty calculator so I probably pitched fairly close to 1.5 million/mL/P; however, after doing counts on some pitches I've been surprised. That is to say, I wouldn't be surprised if I underpitched slightly - is that typically a cause?

I used single-infusion mash regiment and the final gravity was 1.014.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 03, 2011, 06:34:00 PM
Sorry too lazy to look at BCS recipe.
What malts did you use?
What was your OG?

One way to push the sweetness back it to over carbonate beer to 2.7-2.8 volumes.
CO2 will make carbonic acid that will cover some if the sweetness. (well I said that twice).
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: pweis909 on September 03, 2011, 09:32:32 PM
Doesn't this recipe have crystal malt in it? That's where I would expect the sweetness to come from. I seem to recall he said something about using crystal in O-fests and skipping it in Vienna. Maybe you would prefer his Vienna lager recipe?
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: thcipriani on September 03, 2011, 10:49:38 PM
The recipe I used:

1.8 Kg Pils (used Weyermann)
1.8 Kg Munich (used 7L Global)
1.4 Kg Vienna
500g CaraMunich I

43g Hallertau Hersbrucker (2%AA) @ 60min
14g " " " @ 15min

833 German Bock yeast grown in 4L 1.030 starter on stir plate
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 05, 2011, 02:40:47 AM
The recipe I used:

1.8 Kg Pils (used Weyermann)
1.8 Kg Munich (used 7L Global)
1.4 Kg Vienna
500g CaraMunich I

43g Hallertau Hersbrucker (2%AA) @ 60min
14g " " " @ 15min

833 German Bock yeast grown in 4L 1.030 starter on stir plate
You have there almost 9% of caramunich. That is a little bit more what I would use.
What is your IBU?
Oktoberfest should be about 24-26 IBUs.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: skyler on September 06, 2011, 06:49:54 PM
That's over a pound of crystal. I am not expert on the style, but my instincts would be to put no more than 8 oz or so.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: gordonstrong on September 06, 2011, 10:04:22 PM
Oxidation?
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: tomsawyer on September 06, 2011, 11:51:25 PM
Oxidation?

This is going to give a sweet sensation?  I ask because I've battled this sort of thing from time to time and wondered about oxidation as a possible cause.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: malzig on September 07, 2011, 11:50:18 AM
That's over a pound of crystal. I am not expert on the style, but my instincts would be to put no more than 8 oz or so.
Or even 4 oz or less.  I'd expect a pound+ of Caramunich to be very sweet indeed.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: James Lorden on September 07, 2011, 01:18:46 PM
Gordon stole my answer - apparently he seems to know a thing or two about tasting beer. ;)  I also have heard that slight oxidation in darket beers adds a certain sweetness (like in old ales).  The traditional wet cardboard flavor comes more in lighter colored beers.

Alc. can also add a sweet impression especially if the beer overall is very dry.

Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: denny on September 07, 2011, 03:29:22 PM
Oxidation?

This is going to give a sweet sensation?  I ask because I've battled this sort of thing from time to time and wondered about oxidation as a possible cause.

I've noticed that oxidation can impart a kind of strange caramel quality to a beer.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 07, 2011, 03:29:46 PM
Have you ever smelled honey in the aroma of a German lager here in the States?  Sometimes you even get a sweet honey taste.  This is due to 2,3-pentanedione, which is an oxidation product.  The beer has not turned to cardboard yet, but it has started the journey.

The CaraMunich looks to be high at first glance, but I think Gordon had it right.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: tomsawyer on September 08, 2011, 12:19:43 AM
Great, another normal flavor to worry about!

Thanks for the advice though.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 08, 2011, 12:31:29 AM
Great, another normal flavor to worry about!

Thanks for the advice though.

If you were replying to my post, I must say that the distinct honey aroma in a German lager is something that you don't get drinking the beer in Germany.  You get malt, a crackery Pils malt sweetness in the aroma, but not honey in the aroma/flavor.

I will look for this next time in Germany, to do research, you know.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: jeffy on September 08, 2011, 12:43:15 AM
I do not think that the honey notes in the flavor of a pilsner malt beer are all entirely due to staling.  I tend to think of some honey as being part of the flavor profile of pils malt beers, especially very young ones or under attenuated ones.  This does not mean that honey flavors can't be the beginning of oxidative notes, but they can also be from other ingredients.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: thcipriani on September 08, 2011, 12:52:02 AM
At first I was thinking that there's not way this could be oxidation - everything's under CO2 on the cold-side; however, as I'm tasting this beer with oxidation in mind I think that might be it - unfortunately.  The system I've been using is I mash and sparge on my stove and then haul a 15gallon kettle full of wort down 7 flights of stairs, sloshing it the whole way, and then boil and haul the fermentor back up the stairs. I hadn't noticed any deleterious effects of this method, but I haven't been doing any structured tastings or delicate beers, so...

Just when you think you've got a process nailed down...I got so spoiled doing the first half of the brew day indoors.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: bluesman on September 08, 2011, 02:53:15 AM
While sitting at 1.014, I wouldn't suggest a candy-like sweetness. So what else could it be... :-\

Oxidation is a potential problem.

You can always send a bottle out to be judged. I would gladly do that for you. Not that it will change your perception but it may shed some light on the situation.

Try doing a blind tasting up against some of the commercial examples to get a flavor comparison.
Title: Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
Post by: gordonstrong on September 15, 2011, 06:01:51 PM
The way you described it developing fits with what would happen with transfer-related oxidation.  I took that into account as part of the clues present.

Oxidation can give honey, caramel, and fruity notes, as well as dulling some of the other flavors.  When you mix those all together, your brain might interpret that as candy sweetness.  Beer has a lot of compounds in it, and those oxidize into many differently-tasting components.  Hard to say if it's what you have, but you can probably tell more over time as these flavors will just grow.  The bitterness can grow more coarse/harsh and thus seem more bitter.  Other flavors dull, which changes the balance.  Anyhow, that's how I perceive it.  YMMV.