Author Topic: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)  (Read 1156 times)

Offline BrodyR

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Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« on: August 29, 2014, 04:01:29 PM »
I'm thinking about brewing a session-strength CDA/Black IPA and had a couple questions.

1) I'm assuming that debittered Carafa III will still drop the pH as a roasted malt so I would treat it the same as any other roasted malt when using Martin's software? Or would I be better off throwing the Carafa in at the end of the mash and adjusting the water as I would a pale ale? I've read mixed opinions on wether or not that makes a difference if the pH is accounted for either way.

2) How much Carafa Special III is about right? I've heard that you want the SRM at 30+ for that black look but I've also heard you want to keep the Carafa around 5%. 

Offline beerlord

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2014, 04:30:33 PM »
Can't help with the water question as I'm still learning how to treat my water but as for Carafa III, I use 3% and most recipes suggest no more than 5%.  But, I also add 3% of chocolate malt as well.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2014, 05:29:01 PM »
If you add the Carafa late, then it will still lower the pH of your wort. It won't affect converstion, but it will affect flavor. I'd recommend using a calculator like Brun'water, and include the Carafa in the mash. I would treat it just like any other roasted grain.

I've never brewed a CDA, but I tend to like the commercial examples that have a touch of roast. I don't think 5% of something like Carafa special or Midnight Wheat would be a problem at all.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 05:32:26 PM »
If you add the Carafa late, then it will still lower the pH of your wort. It won't affect converstion, but it will affect flavor. I'd recommend using a calculator like Brun'water, and include the Carafa in the mash. I would treat it just like any other roasted grain.


+1.  I say mash it with the grains too, and be sure to enter the lovibond rating (and amount) into Bru'nWater or similar.
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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 06:14:33 PM »
If you add the Carafa late, then it will still lower the pH of your wort. It won't affect converstion, but it will affect flavor. I'd recommend using a calculator like Brun'water, and include the Carafa in the mash. I would treat it just like any other roasted grain.


+1.  I say mash it with the grains too, and be sure to enter the lovibond rating (and amount) into Bru'nWater or similar.

+2.  Adding dark grains late is a workaround for not adjusting your water.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 06:51:29 PM »
My preference is to use the regular Carafa rather than the dehusked, but I like to have a decent roast character.  I used 3% in my last black IPA, and it's pretty well balanced (to the point where I'm going to bump it up a bit next time).
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 08:23:23 PM »
I'm the opposite of the above opinions. I like virtually no roast character. Close your eyes, take a sip, and you wouldn't know its 'black'. Messes with your mind, maaaan...

Either way:

If you're going with huskless black malt, I like Briess Blackprinz. Less ashtray flavors (at least when I chew on them).

You can also use Sinamar, which is like concentrated Carafa special malt extract. I know some brewers use it to adjust color, or as the sole source of color, in the keg.

It doesn't take much Carafa special / Blackprinz to make the beer black, so you should have less of a pH change than in your normal stouts/porters, which (generally) have more roast malt. Relax, read and adjust if needed.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 06:21:45 PM »
About 1/2 lb of Briess Midnight Wheat in a 5 gallon batch makes a nice CDA as well...
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Cascadian Dark Ale Questions (pH & grist)
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 08:04:59 PM »
My experience with this style is that it's focused on adding color and not adding roast flavor. That should be well suited to adding the roast at the end of the mash. If the "roastless" mash is adjusted to produce a relatively normal pH of around 5.4, adding that touch of roast at the end should limit the color and flavor extraction and give your hop-focused BIPA a better chance to balance. That late roast addition should drop the wort pH a bit, but probably not too much. If you do find that the kettle wort pH is getting too low, then it is OK to boost the pH with a kettle addition of baking soda or lime. If you are using the supporter's version of Bru'n Water, you can quickly assess what the pH does with and without the roast addition and also have the ability to predict what that kettle addition of baking soda or lime should be. You can figure it out with the free version too. It's just a bit more of a PITA.
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