Author Topic: playing with limited ingredients  (Read 1089 times)

Offline macbrewdaddy

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playing with limited ingredients
« on: February 01, 2014, 05:10:13 PM »
I live in Colombia, South America and I recently found a site in country where I can order homebrew stuff and am going to pick it back up after a 3 year hiatus!

However, what available is limited.  My question is especially concerned with interchanging malts.  This is what's available to me:  1.  Chilean Pilsner Malt (listed 3.8 EBC), 2. Chilean Caramel Malt (listed 98 EBC), this I'm pretty sure is equivalent to Crystal Malt, 3.  Choclate Malt from Castle Matling in Belgium (listed 900 EBC) and Black Malt (listed 1500 EBC).

So no pale malt.  I'm looking for suggestions on ratios to play with to get darker.  I have a stout I love to brew.  How could I compensate using pilsner malt in place of pale?  My thoughts were scale up the chocholate while not adding too much more of the black so not to add in too much burnt flavor. 

However if even the crystal is going to give me lower yields, simply replacing some pilsner with the darker malts would seem to not produce my desired outcome.  Should I stick with the full calling of grist wiht pilsner and add in more chocolate and black, or do some substitution? 

I used to brew this beer with extract, which is also unavailable so, its going to be an adventure for sure along with fighting the caribbean heat and having only dry yeast and Cascade and Columbus hops available.

Curious for any suggestions or resources on substitution of ingredients.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 05:30:44 PM »

So no pale malt.  I'm looking for suggestions on ratios to play with to get darker.  I have a stout I love to brew.  How could I compensate using pilsner malt in place of pale?  My thoughts were scale up the chocholate while not adding too much more of the black so not to add in too much burnt flavor. 

Id brew your stout just subbing the pils with what you used for pale.  They color difference should make next to no difference because the black and chocolate will override it drastically.

I took a stout of mine with an SRM of 29.8.  It calls for 15 lbs of Maris Otter at an SRM of 3.  I changed the SRM of the Maris to 1 and the batches SRM changed to 28.7....

The only thing id think would change would be that the pils flavour isnt quite as bready as pale.  In a stout i dont think youll miss it to much.

2cents
Jeff
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline erockrph

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 07:36:09 PM »
I agree with Jeff. For something dark like a stout I'd just sub out the Pale malt for Pils. If you have access to something like Vienna or Munich malt you could add a little of that to get some of that bready character back in. But otherwise, I think an even swap is your closest bet. I don't think extra roasted malt will do much to make up for the Pale Malt character.
Eric B.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 07:47:26 PM »
+1.  With the pils being in the background behind crystal, chocolate and black (as well as assertive Columbus hops), I don't think you'll notice much difference. Unless I'm making a dry Irish stout I like to keep the crystal and roasted malts roughly equal in quantity for balance - just personal preference. I say no worries !
Jon H.

Offline macbrewdaddy

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 08:16:57 PM »
thanks guys for the advice....will not worry much about using a pilsner base.  Have done some more playing and emailing and may be able to get my hands on a larger variety of malt.  In the capital theres a microbrewing/homebrewing scene, but nada on the coast.  (I'm dreaming of trying to get into brewing for money within the next few years here).

What about absence of roasted barley?  That might actually end up being a bigger problem.  I'm hoping maybe I can get my hands on some, it may only be available in huge quantities though as the places that I have found that have it listed are more microwbrewery supply than homebrew supply.  We'll see.  Found a handful of other hop varieties as well.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 08:19:38 PM »
What about absence of roasted barley?  That might actually end up being a bigger problem.  I'm hoping maybe I can get my hands on some, it may only be available in huge quantities though as the places that I have found that have it listed are more microwbrewery supply than homebrew supply.  We'll see.  Found a handful of other hop varieties as well.

Maybe you should try to find other homebrewers in your area so you can spread out some bulk buys?  Otherwise buy a 55lb sack, use what you can in a year and just toss it out and buy a new one the next year...

Cheers,
Jeff
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Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 08:26:12 PM »
What about absence of roasted barley?  That might actually end up being a bigger problem.  I'm hoping maybe I can get my hands on some, it may only be available in huge quantities though as the places that I have found that have it listed are more microwbrewery supply than homebrew supply.  We'll see.  Found a handful of other hop varieties as well.

Maybe you should try to find other homebrewers in your area so you can spread out some bulk buys?  Otherwise buy a 55lb sack, use what you can in a year and just toss it out and buy a new one the next year...

Cheers,
Jeff

I wouldn't worry about the roasted barley - obviously it'd be nice to have, but use enough black and chocolate and you'll make a good beer. Personally, I'd use 10 or 12 oz of black and 6 or 8 oz chocolate and a lb of crystal . Good luck !
Jon H.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 12:24:41 AM »
thanks guys for the advice....will not worry much about using a pilsner base.  Have done some more playing and emailing and may be able to get my hands on a larger variety of malt.  In the capital theres a microbrewing/homebrewing scene, but nada on the coast.  (I'm dreaming of trying to get into brewing for money within the next few years here).

What about absence of roasted barley?  That might actually end up being a bigger problem.  I'm hoping maybe I can get my hands on some, it may only be available in huge quantities though as the places that I have found that have it listed are more microwbrewery supply than homebrew supply.  We'll see.  Found a handful of other hop varieties as well.
Can you get plain barley for eating? You could roast your own
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Offline euge

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 02:56:44 AM »
Why not roast the pils?
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2014, 04:06:57 AM »
Why not roast the pils?
I wonder if it would be the same. the roast barley is not malted first. roasted pils might be more like a black malt. not that there is that much difference
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline euge

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 04:14:46 AM »
I had an old box of cereal that I used in the mash last December. Damn good beer that one.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline macbrewdaddy

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 04:47:08 AM »
Why not roast the pils?
I wonder if it would be the same. the roast barley is not malted first. roasted pils might be more like a black malt. not that there is that much difference

yea what I've read is since it's malted it would basically just turn out to be like black malt.  we'll see if any of my emails get responded to, and what I can put together.....i love colombia and the caribbean but man if things arent' slow and inefficient.  where's that happy medium between the states and south america?  that's what I want to know. 

what about suggestions for keeping fermentation temp down and constant in the caribbean?  this I know is going to be a complication for me, running the a/c all day would be way to expensive.  read somethings about using a t-shirt draped over the carboy and dipped in water possibly with a fan to promote evaporation and cooling.  ice would obviously lower the temp further but I think it would lead to drastic fluctuations.  the truth is it stays fairly cool in my apartment as the sun doesn't hit it much, but I think the wet t-shirt could be in order.  any other ideas here?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 05:36:44 PM »
Why not roast the pils?
I wonder if it would be the same. the roast barley is not malted first. roasted pils might be more like a black malt. not that there is that much difference

yea what I've read is since it's malted it would basically just turn out to be like black malt.  we'll see if any of my emails get responded to, and what I can put together.....i love colombia and the caribbean but man if things arent' slow and inefficient.  where's that happy medium between the states and south america?  that's what I want to know. 

what about suggestions for keeping fermentation temp down and constant in the caribbean?  this I know is going to be a complication for me, running the a/c all day would be way to expensive.  read somethings about using a t-shirt draped over the carboy and dipped in water possibly with a fan to promote evaporation and cooling.  ice would obviously lower the temp further but I think it would lead to drastic fluctuations.  the truth is it stays fairly cool in my apartment as the sun doesn't hit it much, but I think the wet t-shirt could be in order.  any other ideas here?

The swamp cooler should be ideal in your climate. Basically you have a shallow pan of water. Place the fermenter in the pan and cover with a t shirt. The bottom of the shirt should be in the water so it wicks water up. Wet the whole thing down to start. The evaporation will cool the fermenter as much as 5-10 below ambient.

However your best bet is to brew a style that doesn't mind the higher temp. Saison yeast works well at higher temps and there is a decent dry yeast option belle saison yeast.

I try to only brew with organic ingredients so I understand your situation with having a restricted variety of ingredients. I think it can make you a better brewer because you really have to understand what you are trying to accomplish so you can end up in the same place with different ingredients.

I'd also look into indigenous ingredients. The tropics should offer a wonderful variety of ingredients that those of us up here in the temperate zones just can't even imagine
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline erockrph

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2014, 06:54:37 PM »
what about suggestions for keeping fermentation temp down and constant in the caribbean?  this I know is going to be a complication for me, running the a/c all day would be way to expensive.  read somethings about using a t-shirt draped over the carboy and dipped in water possibly with a fan to promote evaporation and cooling.  ice would obviously lower the temp further but I think it would lead to drastic fluctuations.  the truth is it stays fairly cool in my apartment as the sun doesn't hit it much, but I think the wet t-shirt could be in order.  any other ideas here?

How cool is cool? Ice will work if you have a big enough water bath and can change out the ice a few times a day. The mass of the water bath is pretty resistant to  drastic fluctuations in temperature. I've been able to brew lagers in my basement at 62-64F ambient, but keeping the beer in the 48-52F range. I fill old soda and water bottles (in the 20oz to 3L size range) with water and freeze them. By swapping them out 2-3 times a day you can keep your temps probably 10-15 degrees below ambient.

And +1 to mort's points. I will add that even though Saison yeasts do well at high temps, I think they yield the best results when you can control the temps in the mid 60's for the first few days before letting them take off. Another nice thing about Saisons is that they tend to take to exotic ingredients quite well - fruit in particular. I'd definitely try to brew up a few small batches of brew using local ingredients.
Eric B.

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Offline macbrewdaddy

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Re: playing with limited ingredients
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2014, 09:17:47 PM »
thanks for the tips guys.  yea the swamp cooler idea is what I had read online a while back.  what the temps are in the day in the spare room, honestly I'm not sure.  I'd say in the 70s possibly up to low 80s.  Will probably experiment with the ice thing, like the bottle idea, easy to manage.

really appreciate the saison yeast tip, not sure if I can get that down there, but before I go back I plan on hitting up a homebrew shop close to pick up a few things anyway, will look into it.  I've also pretty seriously considered culturing although I've never done it before, really looking into it is something I may do over the next week.  I guess a little liquid yeast could make the trip ok, and I guess culturing could be done with dry yeast.

yea coming up with some creative recipes is something I definitely want to do.  my favorite brew back when I was brewing before was a cherry stout, was thinking of substituting a local fruit called corozo for the cherries.  also have thought about playing with mango.  and of course at some point ill have to get some coffee in being in Colombia.  not sure how coconut would do.  will be fun, I had just graduated to all-grain and hadn't gotten to my own recipe formulations before I stopped brewing, so the lack of ingredients will force me to get creative.

appreciate all the advice guys, salud