Author Topic: Specialty Grains % in IPA's  (Read 2714 times)

Offline flbrewer

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Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« on: March 17, 2014, 04:44:12 PM »
I read an article today that mentioned you should stick to 4-5%(of the grain bill) specialty grains with IPA's.
Would this also apply to extract brews? The reason I ask is that the last two recipes I made included about 10% specialty grains used as seeping grains (~1.5 lbs DME, 2.5 ounces of specialty grain).
I always assumed it was making an extract recipe better by using them.


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Offline denny

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 04:47:30 PM »
I read an article today that mentioned you should stick to 4-5%(of the grain bill) specialty grains with IPA's.
Would this also apply to extract brews? The reason I ask is that the last two recipes I made included about 10% specialty grains used as seeping grains (~1.5 lbs DME, 2.5 ounces of specialty grain).
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That's bull.  You can do whatever you want to do.  Inspired by John Maier at Rogue, I often use far more specialty malt than that.  Seldom less than 10%.   There are no rules, no numbers you have to follow.  What you have to do is have a reason for everyhting you put in the beer and a knowledge (or at least expectation) of how it will contribute to flavor.

Keep in mind that it's very common for extract to have specialty malts on it already.
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 04:50:04 PM »
Thanks Denny. I've asked this before but just to confirm based on what you mentioned above...you said that extract can have spec grains in it already. Can I brew a decent extract pale ale without using grains? Previously someone mentioned it would be better to use grains. 


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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 04:54:01 PM »
I read an article today that mentioned you should stick to 4-5%(of the grain bill) specialty grains with IPA's.
Would this also apply to extract brews? The reason I ask is that the last two recipes I made included about 10% specialty grains used as seeping grains (~1.5 lbs DME, 2.5 ounces of specialty grain).
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That's bull.  You can do whatever you want to do.  Inspired by John Maier at Rogue, I often use far more specialty malt than that.  Seldom less than 10%.   There are no rules, no numbers you have to follow.  What you have to do is have a reason for everyhting you put in the beer and a knowledge (or at least expectation) of how it will contribute to flavor.

Keep in mind that it's very common for extract to have specialty malts on it already.

+1 the only reason to follow any set of rules is if you want to make the same beer the guy/gal that wrote the rule is making.

experiment, make mistakes, make meh beers, and gawd aweful beers, and amazing beers, and bizarre beers. add 20% crystal malt and 10% table sugar (i've had this and it's quite good in a low gravity english 'real ale' type beer).

Take good notes both while brewing and while drinking and learn.  those flavors will burn themselves into your mind and you will eventually be able to know ahead of time what the beer will taste like more or less.

you've got an advantage in that, only brewing 1 or 2 gallons at a time, your investment in each batch is low so if it turns out really terrible you don't have to drink it all.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 07:05:41 PM »
+1 to doing whatever the heck you think seems right.  Don't ever take any one person's word for anything, including mine.  :)
Dave

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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 07:50:49 PM »
I think what those specialty grains are would be more important that the % of grist. And also, how it's balanced by bitterness, of course.
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Offline denny

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 08:50:22 PM »
Thanks Denny. I've asked this before but just to confirm based on what you mentioned above...you said that extract can have spec grains in it already. Can I brew a decent extract pale ale without using grains? Previously someone mentioned it would be better to use grains. 


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Maybe.  You;d need to get a list of what's in the extract from the manufacturer.  In general, though, it's best to get the "cleanest" extract you can (usually something like extra light DME) and add your own specialty grains.  OTOH, the Northern Brewer rye LME is formulated to make my Rye IPA recipe without adding anything to it.  I do recommend using sugar with it, though, to increase the fermentability.
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Offline denny

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2014, 08:50:47 PM »
+1 to doing whatever the heck you think seems right.  Don't ever take any one person's word for anything, including mine.  :)

Or mine!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2014, 08:56:49 PM »
+1 to doing whatever the heck you think seems right.  Don't ever take any one person's word for anything, including mine.  :)

Or mine!

ESPECIALLY Denny's!  ;) ;) ;)
Dave

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 09:53:56 PM »
Can, might, if you want, whichever, experiment, creative, these are all words typically used by rebellious people who undermine the authority of a well structured beerocracy. I encourage it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 10:07:01 PM »
+1 to doing it how you like. In paler IPAs I prefer to limit specialty grains normally to get a dry finish (being a West Coast style fan) , but I use a higher amount of crystal in amber, Celebration-type IPAs, American Brown , and others. It's not hard to mash a couple or three degrees lower when using a higher % of specialty, to end up with the same FG as someone who used less crystal. Also, the right amount of gypsum and (of course) more hops can balance a malty beer, too. Lots of ways of getting there !
Jon H.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 10:52:32 PM »
+1 to doing whatever the heck you think seems right.  Don't ever take any one person's word for anything, including mine.  :)
I like that! I have to find out for myself most of the time even if it is the hard way.
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 11:09:28 PM »
In paler IPAs I prefer to limit specialty grains normally to get a dry finish (being a West Coast style fan)

when you say "limit", do you avoid them all together in that case?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 11:14:45 PM »
In paler IPAs I prefer to limit specialty grains normally to get a dry finish (being a West Coast style fan)

when you say "limit", do you avoid them all together in that case?

No. I like to use ~ 5% crystal for West Coast style IPAs such as RR Blind Pig and others that finish drier (ie., less sweet). Just depends on what I'm shooting for. Some IPAs I use a higher %, as said.
Jon H.

Offline troybinso

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Re: Specialty Grains % in IPA's
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 12:27:57 AM »
I read an article today that mentioned you should stick to 4-5%(of the grain bill) specialty grains with IPA's.
Would this also apply to extract brews? The reason I ask is that the last two recipes I made included about 10% specialty grains used as seeping grains (~1.5 lbs DME, 2.5 ounces of specialty grain).
I always assumed it was making an extract recipe better by using them.


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There is a pretty big variety of specialty grains out there, and they will give you different flavors in your beer. Personally I don't like to have very much crystal malt in an IPA (5% or less), and that is with an all-grain recipe. The reason for this is I don't like my IPAs to be too sweet. I have noticed that it can be difficult to get an extract beer to attenuate as fully as you might like, and if that is the case, adding a lot of malt that is also not that fermentable would probably be a mistake for an IPA (again for my taste).

If you are asking for advice about personal taste, I wouldn't put 10% crystal in an extract IPA, but if you were using some more toasty type specialty grains like munich malt or melanoidin malt then you might be ok.