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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: quest4watneys on November 12, 2011, 12:33:21 AM

Title: Grain flavors
Post by: quest4watneys on November 12, 2011, 12:33:21 AM
As I learn more about brewing, I'd like to start to making my own recipes. How can I get the best idea of what flavor a particular grain will give me? I've heard of chewing on the grain, steeping and making a 'tea' etc...what works best?
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: tubercle on November 12, 2011, 12:44:05 AM
Chewing on the grain will definitely give you a sense of what the different grains are like....in a chewed state.

 The only way to tell the difference after they are brewed is to try them in that enviroment. Bite the bullet and buy recipe sized amounts and brew the same recipe with the different grains. Don't go by what anyone else tells you is the best, what to avoid, etc...

Only you know what you like. Once you decide then you can buy in bulk to save a little money. Sorry I can't be of better help but there is really no other way.

 Stand back!!!! Here come the Naysayers!!!!
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: tschmidlin on November 12, 2011, 03:17:57 AM
Chewing the grains gives you an idea, but there really is no substitute for tasting them in a brewed beer.  And keep in mind that different yeast and hop flavors may interact with the flavors of the malt differently too, so a malt you prefer in one style might not be what you prefer in another.

A good start for any given style is to brew it with the traditional grains, then tweak some stuff and brew it again.

tubercle, that was me agreeing with you again :)
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: tubercle on November 12, 2011, 04:26:44 AM
Chewing the grains gives you an idea, but there really is no substitute for tasting them in a brewed beer.  And keep in mind that different yeast and hop flavors may interact with the flavors of the malt differently too, so a malt you prefer in one style might not be what you prefer in another.

A good start for any given style is to brew it with the traditional grains, then tweak some stuff and brew it again.

tubercle, that was me agreeing with you again :)


 Thank you for agreeing with me ;)

 I think we said the same thing, you just said it better.

 Quest'...It's kind of like fruit wines. The finished product doesn't taste anything like the raw ingriedents but each adds its own twist.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: bo on November 12, 2011, 04:40:57 AM
Chewing the grains gives you an idea, but there really is no substitute for tasting them in a brewed beer.  And keep in mind that different yeast and hop flavors may interact with the flavors of the malt differently too, so a malt you prefer in one style might not be what you prefer in another.

A good start for any given style is to brew it with the traditional grains, then tweak some stuff and brew it again.

tubercle, that was me agreeing with you again :)


 Thank you for agreeing with me ;)

 I think we said the same thing, you just said it better.

 Quest'...It's kind of like fruit wines. The finished product doesn't taste anything like the raw ingriedents but each adds its own twist.

I thought it was a quote. ;)
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: euge on November 12, 2011, 07:51:31 AM
I never taste my wort. I don't think it is a good representation of the finished product.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: punatic on November 12, 2011, 10:54:37 AM
I never taste my wort. I don't think it is a good representation of the finished product.


True, but it is a good representation of what the yeast dive into.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: bo on November 12, 2011, 01:07:09 PM
I always taste my wort, right before I pitch the yeast. I think it tells me a lot about the hop flavor and bitterness. I also just spent 5 hours making it and I'm impatient.  ;D
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: dean on November 12, 2011, 02:17:43 PM
Chewing definitely gives you some sort of sense for the particular malt but I agree it isn't anything like the wort or beer.  I sometimes taste my wort but it too tastes nothing like the finished product.  Taste your beer straight out of the fermenter before it is carbonated and it won't taste like the final product either.  I guess all things have their place and knowing how it should taste throughout each step if you are recreating a batch would be a big help but I rarely do any of them anymore.   :-\
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: bo on November 12, 2011, 03:10:53 PM
Chewing definitely gives you some sort of sense for the particular malt but I agree it isn't anything like the wort or beer.  I sometimes taste my wort but it too tastes nothing like the finished product.  Taste your beer straight out of the fermenter before it is carbonated and it won't taste like the final product either.  I guess all things have their place and knowing how it should taste throughout each step if you are recreating a batch would be a big help but I rarely do any of them anymore.   :-\

I agree. You have to do it all the time to develop a reference point.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: bluesman on November 12, 2011, 03:20:19 PM
I like to do some quality control checks throughout the entire process. I taste the raw grain as well as inspect it visually. I also taste the wort from the hydrometer tube prior to pitching. After fermentation I'll taste the beer from the hydrometer tube prior to force carbonation. Naturally I taste the finished carbonated beer and record my tasting notes in beersmith. Sometimes I'll add tasting notes as the beer ages as well.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: punatic on November 12, 2011, 07:31:25 PM
I never taste my wort. I don't think it is a good representation of the finished product.


My previous wiseguy remark aside...

I think one of the more difficult aspects of learning how to evaluate the flavor profiles of beers is learning how to recognize the characteristics contributed by yeast.  Tasting the unfermented wort before, and the finished beer afterwards is very helpful in understanding that.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: jamminbrew on November 12, 2011, 07:49:40 PM
I never taste my wort. I don't think it is a good representation of the finished product.


My previous wiseguy remark aside...

I think one of the more difficult aspects of learning how to evaluate the flavor profiles of beers is learning how to recognize the characteristics contributed by yeast.  Tasting the unfermented wort before, and the finished beer afterwards is very helpful in understanding that.
I like to taste my beers from start to finish, at all phases, to try and better understand how it all works.  I am slowly gaining an understanding, through trial and error, how small and simple changes affect my beers throughout the process.  True, it does taste much different at each of the steps, but understanding the changes will ultimately help me make a better beer.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: quest4watneys on November 12, 2011, 10:03:09 PM
Sounds like a consensus! I actually plan to brew the  same recipe several times in a row in the upcoming weeks to try and better understand my process and equipment. Up until now, I've been jumping all over the board which is fun but I don't think it's helping me understand the finer points of all grain. Maybe now is a good time to try some subtle variations?
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: mattc on December 20, 2011, 01:50:53 PM
I never taste my wort. I don't think it is a good representation of the finished product.


My previous wiseguy remark aside...

I think one of the more difficult aspects of learning how to evaluate the flavor profiles of beers is learning how to recognize the characteristics contributed by yeast.  Tasting the unfermented wort before, and the finished beer afterwards is very helpful in understanding that.
+1. Couldn't agree more with that statement. if you dont taste, you won't have any reference point.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: mattc on December 20, 2011, 01:57:03 PM
Sounds like a consensus! I actually plan to brew the  same recipe several times in a row in the upcoming weeks to try and better understand my process and equipment. Up until now, I've been jumping all over the board which is fun but I don't think it's helping me understand the finer points of all grain. Maybe now is a good time to try some subtle variations?
You got it! That is really the best way of learning your equipment and learning about flavors (what tastes like what). Try doing a few SMaSH beers.(single malt,single hop) That REALLY helped me out when I started writing recipes. It will really give you an idea of how well you are brewing as it there are no where to hide brewing flaws, but by the same token it will also give you the best idea of how each ingredient tastes. In the SMaSH setting the yeast,malt,hops, and (even to a degree) water chemestry can be taste tested.
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: metron-brewer on December 20, 2011, 08:03:18 PM

[/quote]
You got it! That is really the best way of learning your equipment and learning about flavors (what tastes like what). Try doing a few SMaSH beers.(single malt,single hop) That REALLY helped me out when I started writing recipes. It will really give you an idea of how well you are brewing as it there are no where to hide brewing flaws, but by the same token it will also give you the best idea of how each ingredient tastes. In the SMaSH setting the yeast,malt,hops, and (even to a degree) water chemestry can be taste tested.
[/quote]

I've been entertaining the idea of doing a few SMaSH beers myself for the same reason as the OP, looking to educate myself on ingredient flavors. But based on statements within this thread, once you add an ingredient to a recipe with other ingredients will the benefit of testing/tasting a SMaSH beer be lost?
Title: Re: Grain flavors
Post by: morticaixavier on December 20, 2011, 08:44:46 PM

You got it! That is really the best way of learning your equipment and learning about flavors (what tastes like what). Try doing a few SMaSH beers.(single malt,single hop) That REALLY helped me out when I started writing recipes. It will really give you an idea of how well you are brewing as it there are no where to hide brewing flaws, but by the same token it will also give you the best idea of how each ingredient tastes. In the SMaSH setting the yeast,malt,hops, and (even to a degree) water chemestry can be taste tested.
[/quote]

I've been entertaining the idea of doing a few SMaSH beers myself for the same reason as the OP, looking to educate myself on ingredient flavors. But based on statements within this thread, once you add an ingredient to a recipe with other ingredients will the benefit of testing/tasting a SMaSH beer be lost?

[/quote]

no. It is true that a finished beer doesn't taste like a chewed grain, or am unboiled wort or a unfermented wort but there is correlation. If you know what Floor malted marris otter and EKG hops taste like in a SMaSH and you know what a simple US 2 row and crystal 60 beer tastes like, given experience, you will be able to imagine what a Marris Otter + crystal 60 beer or a US 2 row, crystal 60 and EKG beer will taste like. You know what vanilla tastes like and you know what a big beefy zinfendel tastes like and what a ripe anjou pear tastes like. If you add the vanilla to the wine and poach the pears in in. it won't taste like the zinfendel did, or the vanilla or the pear. It will taste like all three plus the what the heat and time of cooking as done to meld those flavours. (this recipe is delicious by the way, serve with a little splash of heavy cream or a dollop of creme fresh)