Author Topic: Digestibility  (Read 652 times)

Offline pete b

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Digestibility
« on: April 29, 2014, 06:57:34 PM »
I'm desperately searching my bookshelves for my copy of BLAM but can't find it. No matter, it never really answered this question anyway. In that book Stan H. mentioned digestibility a few times. I am about to do a Spencer Abby clone that I want to do right. Some of you may have seen my thread about harvesting their yeast. I'm interested in this concept of " digestibility". It seems pretty hard to pin down. I think it might be a balance of unfermentables and alcohol, and probably the reason for so many sugar adjuncts in Belgians. Any thoughts? No bad answers, just want a discussion.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 07:10:34 PM »
I took it to mean well attenuated so it's drinkable in quantity rather than filling. Hence leading folk in an earlier time to believe they were digesting it faster.

Offline pete b

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 07:41:58 PM »
I took it to mean well attenuated so it's drinkable in quantity rather than filling. Hence leading folk in an earlier time to believe they were digesting it faster.
That would explain the sugar adjuncts. It also explains the virility of many Belgian yeasts. They digest the sugars for you.
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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 03:58:45 AM »
Yeah, to me it is just the "drinkability" of higher gravity beers. You account for that by the substitution of sugar for malt in a recipe and low mash temps.
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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 04:46:38 AM »
+1.  It's all about getting high attenuation and 'drinkability' through low mash temps and using sugar/syrup adjuncts.
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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 04:55:59 AM »
It's about dryness and high attenuation.  Low mash temperature (148 F) and a little sugar addition can help.  However, many/most of the Belgian yeasts are high attenuators anyway.  So to the American palate, the low mash temperature and sugar are possibly optional, unless you like your beers quite dry indeed.  Part of it is personal preference.  The Belgians just really don't like sweetish low attenuated beers, in general, so they take measures to avoid this.  The American palate probably doesn't care nearly as much.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 05:13:59 AM »
Ironically the clone recipe for Spencer doesn't call for any sugar adjuncts and its an extremely drinkable beer. It's not a super high gravity beer though. I don't remember the gravity numbers but the abv is 6.5 percent. Not much work for a belgian yeast.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 05:32:56 AM »
Here is what their website has to say on the malt:
The “Spencer Malt Mix” is a proprietary blend of 2 row and 6 row malted barley varieties carefully selected to meet physical and nutritional requirements for optimal brewing of our Trappist ale. A caramel Munich specialty malt from Wisconsin adds color and body to our ale. On September 26, 2013 we planted our first field of barley at the monastery and we plan to collaborate with a local craft malter when our barley harvest meets the quality standards for brewing.

I had a chance to try one this past Sunday.  It wasn't bad but it had a fairly strong apple ester I didn't care for too much.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 05:41:19 AM »
+1.  It's all about getting high attenuation and 'drinkability' through low mash temps and using sugar/syrup adjuncts.

And low starting temps for fermentation. Too high and you get fusels, which are not too drinkable.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 06:27:05 AM »
Here is what their website has to say on the malt:
The “Spencer Malt Mix” is a proprietary blend of 2 row and 6 row malted barley varieties carefully selected to meet physical and nutritional requirements for optimal brewing of our Trappist ale. A caramel Munich specialty malt from Wisconsin adds color and body to our ale. On September 26, 2013 we planted our first field of barley at the monastery and we plan to collaborate with a local craft malter when our barley harvest meets the quality standards for brewing.

I had a chance to try one this past Sunday.  It wasn't bad but it had a fairly strong apple ester I didn't care for too much.
I'm using 10# 2 row pilsner, 2# 6 row pale, and i think 4 oz of the caramel munich. I harvested the yeast from 4 bottles.
I know the apple ester is strong and I don't always like that but I really like it in this beer. Its grown on me now that I've had it a few times.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 06:41:24 AM »
+1.  It's all about getting high attenuation and 'drinkability' through low mash temps and using sugar/syrup adjuncts.

And low starting temps for fermentation. Too high and you get fusels, which are not too drinkable.
Thanks Amanda and HoosierBrew. I'm planning to mash at 148. I have been on this forum for a couple months and the big thing I've learned is lower pitching/fermenting temps. I've brewed a few batches since and the quality has gone way up and no more head retention problems. I don't have temperature control yet but I'm able to keep it in a cool spot that stays in the mid sixties then move it to a room that's in the seventies after the krausen falls. This recipe actually calls for warmer temps ( pitch at 65 but warm to 72 then after krausen go to 78). I assume that and the yeast make those esters. I haven't decided to follow the recipe in terms of fermenting temps and welcome any advice.
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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 06:43:05 AM »
I haven't seen one of these threads in a long time. Light body even if the beer is a strong one. This is in part achieved with proper carbonation vs a fully fermented beer. Also balance between the alcohol and remnant sugars. One doesn't want a cloying sweetness or harsh alcohol notes.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 08:34:43 AM »
I haven't seen one of these threads in a long time. Light body even if the beer is a strong one. This is in part achieved with proper carbonation vs a fully fermented beer. Also balance between the alcohol and remnant sugars. One doesn't want a cloying sweetness or harsh alcohol notes.
Euge, what do you mean by "proper carbonation vs a fully fermented beer". Do you mean well carbonated and fully fermented?
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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 08:40:09 AM »
It's about dryness and high attenuation.

Dryness is the important part to me.  You can have high attenuation and a relatively high final gravity, but for digestibility you want to finish low.  I've started targeting lower OGs on my Belgian beers in order to finish lower and have the same alcohol content.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Digestibility
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 08:47:34 AM »
yes low FG and high carbonation are keys.
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