Author Topic: Stouts - grain to glass  (Read 1458 times)

Offline beersk

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Stouts - grain to glass
« on: December 29, 2013, 11:46:33 AM »
How long do you all give your stouts before you start drinking them?

I've been having issues with dark beers lately, not really sure what it is. But there's a flavor in them I'm just not liking much and having trouble getting the flavor I want that I get from commercial stouts and porters. At first, I thought maybe it was my gas lines again...I'm so traumatized from that, I suffer serious homebrewer doubt. But, I think that issue is resolved, no matter how much I try to point my finger at that, I think that there's just no way. All my other beers are great, IPAs, light lagers, ordinary bitter, weizenbock, etc. But the dark beers are tasting kinda weird. Not necessarily bad, just not right.

I've been using RO water with gypsum and calcium chloride to get to the 50-75ppm range for calcium, sulfate, and chloride. I use a little acid malt in the mash and reserve roasted grains for the vorlauf stage.

I feel like I'm doing everything right, except I might just be drinking the beers too young. I typically ferment for 2 weeks, sometimes 3, but not too often. Then keg and start drinking the beer within a week, pretty much as soon as it starts carbonating.

So, I guess it's been pretty much 3 to 4 weeks grain to glass. This is much too quick for dark beers, right? Or I may possibly have some other issue here...

Here's the recipe for my last batch:

Morning Times Stout
Brew Type: All Grain Date: 12/2/2013
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.016 (stopped at 1.024, added amylase enzyme)

Ingredients Amount Item Type % or IBU
5.50 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.5 SRM) Grain 67.90 %
0.75 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 9.26 %
0.50 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 6.17 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt 50-60L (55.0 SRM) Grain 6.17 %
0.46 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5.68 %
0.39 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 4.81 %
1.00 oz Perle [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 34.1 IBU
0.50 oz Perle [7.00 %] (15 min) Hops 8.5 IBU
1 Pkgs Safale US-05 (Fermentis #US-56)
 
I thought it tasted fine before I kegged it, but once cold and carbonated it wasn't the same. But that's typical, I think. I can't tell it's an oatmeal stout. I know oats aren't suppose to really give you much flavor, but you can usually tell there's oats in a beer. The beer is really cloudy when held up to the light, you might say turbid. But I think I've had this issue with other beers when they were cleared.

Anyway, I appreciate any comments or concerns you may have. 

Cheers,

Jesse
"What if, that thing I said?" - Philip J. Fry

Jesse

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 12:12:13 PM »
I personally use only calcium chloride in my stout and porters. Also I'm not sure you need the acid malt. You may be pushing your pH too low.
I like to keep a ~1.048 dry stout in my lineup and I feel that it requires 2 months or more to keg condition at cellar temperatures before it tastes right.

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Offline fmader

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 12:19:44 PM »
Have you ever cold steeped your dark malts? I find that this method gives a much smoother flavor. I usually cold steep the dark grains for 24 hours in about 2 quarts of water per pound. You may want to double your amount of dark grains with this method though. I'll never mash my dark grains for a stout ever again.
Frank

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 01:02:39 PM »
I personally use only calcium chloride in my stout and porters. Also I'm not sure you need the acid malt. You may be pushing your pH too low.
I like to keep a ~1.048 dry stout in my lineup and I feel that it requires 2 months or more to keg condition at cellar temperatures before it tastes right.

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+1.  I only use CaCl in porter and stout too. I read (or thought I read) an article somewhere that said that using much if any gypsum in a porter or stout can be detrimental, emphasizing the sharper, more acrid aspects of the black malts. I like the way the CaCl brings out more of the malty richness. PH could be an issue there as well - if pH got too low the acrid thing would come out for sure. Most of my average OG stouts are good fairly quickly, like 5 or 6 weeks. RIS is obviously another story.
Jon H.

Offline brewcrew7

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 01:23:08 PM »
I don't like stouts cold and carbonated. Does yours improve on warming and a bit of degassing or at lower carbonation? I haven't brewed a good stout yet so new techniques are on my bucket list.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 01:26:20 PM »
you didn't specify what the flavour you are looking for it or what the flavour that you are getting or not wanting is.

for the flavor that is missing I am wondering if it's the late addition of dark malts. I know it's very popular right now to cold steep or add dark malts late but here's the thing; I like a little roasty bite in a stout and I think it's a big part of what makes a stout a stout and a porter a porter.

Also, the cloudy description makes me wonder if your pH is off. I would try the same recipe but skip the acid malt and just mash the dark malts with everything else.

do you use bru'n water or something similar to predict your mash pH and flavour ion needs? if so what does it say if you just put this recipe in as is?

The idea of skipping the gypsum also seems pretty solid to me.
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Offline beersk

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 02:00:48 PM »
Thanks, guys. I am not sure how to describe the flavor. It's not necessarily acrid, but it doesn't necessarily taste like infection or anything like that. A friend the other day said he thought it has a smoked meat sort of flavor, I don't get this flavor, more dark chocolate (which I'm not a fan of). I've noticed something like this flavor in the last couple dark beers I've brewed and they were clear.

Anyway, I do use RO water with Bru'n water, mash only base malts and add dark/crystal malts to the vorlauf. Maybe that's it, I don't know. Next one I brew, I'll mash it all together.

I'm wanting more of the roasted coffee sort of flavors. I feel like I'm getting more dark chocolate flavors, maybe. But it seems like that flavor is there no matter what roasted malts I'm using.

That recipe was for a 3.5 gallon batch, by the way.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 02:02:56 PM by beersk »
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Jesse

Offline erockrph

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 03:52:38 PM »
I won't say that I have my dark beers fully dialed in yet, but the biggest improvement for me was when I started targeting 5.5-5.6 for my mash pH. I also find that they continue to improve for at least 6 months after bottling, even for my session porter.

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 04:26:11 PM »
Why are you guys using calcium chloride in a stout? I'd think you would be wanting to use calcium carbonate because calcium chloride lowers mash pH and so does dark roasted malts. I need to use calcium carbonate in my dark beers to adjust my pH into correct range.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2013, 04:33:40 PM »
I use baking soda and sometimes lime in the mash because I usually mash the dark grains too. I add the CaCl in the kettle more for flavor.
Jon H.

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2013, 04:34:29 PM »


I'm wanting more of the roasted coffee sort of flavors. I feel like I'm getting more dark chocolate flavors, maybe. But it seems like that flavor is there no matter what roasted malts I'm using.

That recipe was for a 3.5 gallon batch, by the way.

How much % roasted barley or black patent are you using per batch?
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Offline Upstate Dan

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2013, 05:30:04 PM »
I brew foreign extra stout a lot and I also get a slightly harsh dark chocolate note when the beer is young. After 4 or 5 weeks in the bottle it goes away and tastes great.

Offline beersk

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 05:48:01 PM »


I'm wanting more of the roasted coffee sort of flavors. I feel like I'm getting more dark chocolate flavors, maybe. But it seems like that flavor is there no matter what roasted malts I'm using.

That recipe was for a 3.5 gallon batch, by the way.

How much % roasted barley or black patent are you using per batch?

It's listed in the original post. Usually enough roasted malt to get to around 35-40 SRM.
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Jesse

Offline beersk

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 06:40:12 PM »
I do have an additional concern. In building the collar, which is attached to the lid now the freezer body, we found that we had measured something wrong. He had to take it back to his house to shave off the inside edges so it'd close all the way and the manifold was connected while he did that. He said wood dust likely could've gotten into the manifold. I tried rinsing it out, but I might have done it wrong, not knowing there were check valves in it. Meaning, I probably tried to run water through the wrong openings. Anyway, if there was wood dust in the manifold, is there any chance this could cause off flavors once the beer is fully carbonated, ie contaminated co2 going into the keg? Just a thought...

Anyway, so I'm covering that base and took apart my co2 system, up to the manifold, and am soaking it in PBW over night. I'll rinse it well and hang dry everything for a couple days tomorrow.

I can swear this current stout tasted fine going into the keg...I'm just racking my brain on this.

Thanks for listening and for your insights, guys.
"What if, that thing I said?" - Philip J. Fry

Jesse

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2013, 07:01:08 PM »
A lower than typical kettle wort pH is OK in a dry stout and that helps create its flavor. Other stout and porter styles tend to be better with a more typical or slightly elevated pH.

When you reserve dark grains from the main mash to avoid an overly low mash pH, you aren't avoiding a reduced pH in the kettle. The acidifying effect of the dark grain will still reduce the wort pH in the kettle. You can estimate what the resulting wort pH will be by checking the pH prediction with all the grains and minerals in the mash. If that is in the very low 5 or high 4 pH range, then you might want to include some alkalinity in your mashing water to help boost the wort pH to a more desirable range.

In the case of the OP, it may be desirable to use some or all of that dark grain addition to bring the mash pH into a normal range and delete the acid malt. That will increase the overall wort pH in the kettle.
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