Author Topic: Questions about using corn meal  (Read 3389 times)

Offline mpietropaoli

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Questions about using corn meal
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:33:09 PM »
Ok somehow in my house we have accumulated about 4 lbs of cornmeal (I think there have been a few times when making cornbread where my wife would just buy a new package. 

In 40 brews, I have brewed one cream ale that I liked.  This past weekend I brewed a faux CAP that I am really psyched about.  Took a preliminary sample to see where I was in the ferment and it is already tasting pretty darn good. 

I want to brew Your Father's Moustache soon, but I can already see myself becoming obsessed with this style and beers based off of it.

Anyway, I would love to use this cornmeal I have in a simple lightish drinker with some good saaz character.

-Does corn meal go stale?  I know its something to do with whether the germ is removed or if they're steel cut or otherwise (?)  Google is not yielding good information on this, but some of this corn meal was bought a year ago or so.
-Do I have to do a cereal mash with cornmeal?  If it helps or makes a difference, I typically brew in a bag (so gluey mash shouldn't be a huge issue), 5 gal batches
-Is this corn meal better suited to make a bunch of corn bread for a homeless shelter?
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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 07:17:07 AM »
Cornmeal can go rancid, so let your nose be the guide on weather to use it. Did your wife buy new for a reason, or just forgot she had it on hand?

You need to do a cereal mash, as that gelatinizes the starch, allowing the enzymes to get in and do the work converting starch to sugars. The gelatinization temp of corn is fairly high, so that is why you boil it to break up the starch granules. If not you will have lower efficiency and starch in your beer.

For the price of the cornmeal, I would buy some fresh. That is what I did for the CAP that is lagering now.





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Offline anje

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 02:46:04 PM »
It can also magically have bugs appear in it. Take a good long look at it before using it, as a general rule.
/hates flour beetles.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 06:17:40 AM »
Cornmeal can go rancid, so let your nose be the guide on weather to use it. Did your wife buy new for a reason, or just forgot she had it on hand?

You need to do a cereal mash, as that gelatinizes the starch, allowing the enzymes to get in and do the work converting starch to sugars. The gelatinization temp of corn is fairly high, so that is why you boil it to break up the starch granules. If not you will have lower efficiency and starch in your beer.

For the price of the cornmeal, I would buy some fresh. That is what I did for the CAP that is lagering now.

Forgot she had it on hand.  I also have this obsession as of late to use ingredients I have on hand.  Will give the packages a sniff and a sift and see if they are good to go.  Thanks for the responses!
Primary: Common Cider; Xmas FauxCAP
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Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 06:59:18 AM »
It can also magically have bugs appear in it. Take a good long look at it before using it, as a general rule.
/hates flour beetles.

Mmmmm Coleoptera Cream Ale - The protein might help with head retention?
 
Actually, corn meal probably contains a percentage of beetle parts already.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 12:59:42 PM »
Actually, corn meal probably contains a percentage of beetle parts already.

They like you to call those "crunchies." :D

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 05:17:34 PM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 07:51:02 PM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
I think there is a difference. Flakes have a little less in my experience.

Once a friend asked Ron Jefferies about the differences in wheat - Raw vs flaked vs malted. He talked for close to 10 minutes about the flavors and how to use them in beers. In retrospect, I should have had a pencil and paper in my hands and not the pint of beer.

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 08:52:05 PM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
I think there is a difference. Flakes have a little less in my experience.

Once a friend asked Ron Jefferies about the differences in wheat - Raw vs flaked vs malted. He talked for close to 10 minutes about the flavors and how to use them in beers. In retrospect, I should have had a pencil and paper in my hands and not the pint of beer.
I figure it would make a difference since most cornmeal has the husk and germ removed.
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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 08:55:18 PM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
I think there is a difference. Flakes have a little less in my experience.

Once a friend asked Ron Jefferies about the differences in wheat - Raw vs flaked vs malted. He talked for close to 10 minutes about the flavors and how to use them in beers. In retrospect, I should have had a pencil and paper in my hands and not the pint of beer.
I figure it would make a difference since most cornmeal has the husk and germ removed.

There is also the cereal mash that add some cooking. Jeff Renner makes his CAP these days often with polenta cereal mashed in a pressure cooker. That gives some more flavors due to the higher temp.
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Offline jackhorzempa

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 10:07:56 AM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
George Fix (a long ago beer writer) wrote an article entitled: CAP - Explorations in Pre-Prohibition American Lagers. Within that article he wrote:

“The primary feature that separates this beer from all-malt continental lagers is the use of flaked maize, an unmalted cereal grain. The flakes are hardly a cheap malt substitute. Indeed, they typically cost two to three times more than domestic malt, and they are even more expensive than premium imported malts. What one gets with this specialty grain is extra strength without the satiating effects of a high-gravity beer. Alcohol by itself is essentially tasteless. Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer. The chief advantage that flakes have over corn grits or rice is that, unlike the latter, flakes do not require cooking at boiling temperatures to achieve gelatinization. Many feel that this is the key to the flakes' desirable flavoring (2).”

So, George Fix appears to be of the opinion that flaked maize has “desirable flavoring”.

Cheers!

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 10:17:29 AM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
George Fix (a long ago beer writer) wrote an article entitled: CAP - Explorations in Pre-Prohibition American Lagers. Within that article he wrote:

“The primary feature that separates this beer from all-malt continental lagers is the use of flaked maize, an unmalted cereal grain. The flakes are hardly a cheap malt substitute. Indeed, they typically cost two to three times more than domestic malt, and they are even more expensive than premium imported malts. What one gets with this specialty grain is extra strength without the satiating effects of a high-gravity beer. Alcohol by itself is essentially tasteless. Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer. The chief advantage that flakes have over corn grits or rice is that, unlike the latter, flakes do not require cooking at boiling temperatures to achieve gelatinization. Many feel that this is the key to the flakes' desirable flavoring (2).”

So, George Fix appears to be of the opinion that flaked maize has “desirable flavoring”.

Cheers!
If by desireable he meant less flavor, then yes.

In the old days a brewery would have a cereal cooker. Now they don't have one and use flaked maize.

It might be good to do an experiment to see the results of a cereal mash vs. flaked maize.
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Offline jackhorzempa

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 11:02:42 AM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
George Fix (a long ago beer writer) wrote an article entitled: CAP - Explorations in Pre-Prohibition American Lagers. Within that article he wrote:

“The primary feature that separates this beer from all-malt continental lagers is the use of flaked maize, an unmalted cereal grain. The flakes are hardly a cheap malt substitute. Indeed, they typically cost two to three times more than domestic malt, and they are even more expensive than premium imported malts. What one gets with this specialty grain is extra strength without the satiating effects of a high-gravity beer. Alcohol by itself is essentially tasteless. Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer. The chief advantage that flakes have over corn grits or rice is that, unlike the latter, flakes do not require cooking at boiling temperatures to achieve gelatinization. Many feel that this is the key to the flakes' desirable flavoring (2).”

So, George Fix appears to be of the opinion that flaked maize has “desirable flavoring”.

Cheers!
If by desireable he meant less flavor, then yes.

In the old days a brewery would have a cereal cooker. Now they don't have one and use flaked maize.

It might be good to do an experiment to see the results of a cereal mash vs. flaked maize.

“If by desirable he meant less flavor, then yes.” I didn’t interpret it that way since in that paragraph George Fix made mention of: “Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer.” So, I think that George Fix thinks that desirable flavor = more (or better) flavor.

“In the old days a brewery would have a cereal cooker. Now they don't have one and use flaked maize.” Well, some of the regional brewers have cereal cookers. I saw the cereal cooker at Spoetzl (Shiner) Brewery when I took a tour. I would guess that on the commercial brewery scale that corn grits would be cheaper (from a material perspective) than flaked maize. As a homebrewer, I think that flaked maize is not cheap at $1.75 per lb. (as compared to $1.25 for 6-row malt).

“It might be good to do an experiment to see the results of a cereal mash vs. flaked maize.” That would indeed be a good experiment!

Cheers!

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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 05:31:33 AM »
I wonder about any flavor differences with corn meal instead of whole or flaked corn.
George Fix (a long ago beer writer) wrote an article entitled: CAP - Explorations in Pre-Prohibition American Lagers. Within that article he wrote:

“The primary feature that separates this beer from all-malt continental lagers is the use of flaked maize, an unmalted cereal grain. The flakes are hardly a cheap malt substitute. Indeed, they typically cost two to three times more than domestic malt, and they are even more expensive than premium imported malts. What one gets with this specialty grain is extra strength without the satiating effects of a high-gravity beer. Alcohol by itself is essentially tasteless. Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer. The chief advantage that flakes have over corn grits or rice is that, unlike the latter, flakes do not require cooking at boiling temperatures to achieve gelatinization. Many feel that this is the key to the flakes' desirable flavoring (2).”

So, George Fix appears to be of the opinion that flaked maize has “desirable flavoring”.

Cheers!
If by desireable he meant less flavor, then yes.

In the old days a brewery would have a cereal cooker. Now they don't have one and use flaked maize.

It might be good to do an experiment to see the results of a cereal mash vs. flaked maize.

“If by desirable he meant less flavor, then yes.” I didn’t interpret it that way since in that paragraph George Fix made mention of: “Nevertheless, it is a flavor carrier, enhancing the other active flavor components in a beer, as it does in this formulation. The maize also leaves a pleasant grain-like sweetness in the finished beer.” So, I think that George Fix thinks that desirable flavor = more (or better) flavor.

“In the old days a brewery would have a cereal cooker. Now they don't have one and use flaked maize.” Well, some of the regional brewers have cereal cookers. I saw the cereal cooker at Spoetzl (Shiner) Brewery when I took a tour. I would guess that on the commercial brewery scale that corn grits would be cheaper (from a material perspective) than flaked maize. As a homebrewer, I think that flaked maize is not cheap at $1.75 per lb. (as compared to $1.25 for 6-row malt).

“It might be good to do an experiment to see the results of a cereal mash vs. flaked maize.” That would indeed be a good experiment!

Cheers!
A legacy brewer like Spoetzl will have the cereal cooker from when they set up long ago. Wonder if any cereal cookers have been installed at a smaller new brewery in the last 20 years?
Jeff Rankert
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Re: Questions about using corn meal
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 09:55:17 AM »
IIRC, one of the new breweries in town (Falling Sky) has a cereal cooker as part of their German built system.
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