Author Topic: Lacking malt character  (Read 1699 times)

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 04:08:58 PM »
Hey, y'alls. I'm having an issue with my beers lately. I guess the best way to describe them is "overly clean" or just plain "lacking malt character". The beers are very drinkable, but just kind of missing something.

I use my tap water through a home RO system. The water is very nice and clean. I adjust water with Bru'n water spreadsheet. I usually shoot for the 50-75ppm range for calcium, chloride, and sulfate, adjusting, usually, with equal amounts of gypsum and calcium chloride in the mash and sparge.

Two things I can think of that would cause this: Too low of a mash temperature. I've been missing low lately, usually in the 148-150 range. So I've been mashing for 90 minutes because of it, instead of adding boiling water to raise or anything. I'm on a bigger system, so I'm getting used to higher water volumes.

Or, I'm not using enough calcium chloride in my water. It's usually around 2g for 5 gallons of mash/sparge water for 7 gallon batches.

I should also mention that these beers were Brewing Classic Styles bitter, Northern English brown, and a couple others that I can't think of right now. So they should have plenty of malt character, I'd think. Also the yeast was Wyeast 1335, which does indeed seem very dry and crisp, but it doesn't seem like the beers should be lacking that much malt character.

Any thoughts as to causes for a thin, kinda watery, lacking malt character, beer? My pH in Bru'n water is usually figured for the 5.3 range, and shoot for 5.4-5.5 for darker beers.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 04:14:50 PM by beersk »
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 04:13:14 PM »
you've mentioned some of the culprits already.
depending on the beer, some munich, melanoiden can help.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 04:15:18 PM »
I say use a tad more chloride, a little less sulfate and mash maybe151-152 for 60. And there's always a few oz of Aromatic to bump it up a bit.
 
Jon H.

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 04:15:42 PM »
you've mentioned some of the culprits already.
depending on the beer, some munich, melanoiden can help.

I also had an oktoberfest back in September that was VERY clean, it was the BCS oktoberfest. It was really good, but also lacked malt character.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 04:17:46 PM »
you've mentioned some of the culprits already.
depending on the beer, some munich, melanoiden can help.

I also had an oktoberfest back in September that was VERY clean, it was the BCS oktoberfest. It was really good, but also lacked malt character.

ok- so as Jon mentions chloride bumped up and the mash temp should fix considering your grist selection is style appropriate.

edit: was your oktobefest mashed low temp also?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 04:22:19 PM by wort-h.o.g. »
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 04:22:52 PM »
Thanks. I think I will in fact up the chloride and the mash temperature. Are there any other potential causes for lack of malt character?

The oktoberfest was step mashed: 30 minutes at 145, and 40 minutes at 155, I think.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 04:25:07 PM »
Thanks. I think I will in fact up the chloride and the mash temperature. Are there any other potential causes for lack of malt character?

other than what s been mentioned, all that pops out is yeast selection. some yeasts drive more of the malt characteristics than others.

think you'll see a difference with the chloride and mash temp-i'd start there.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 04:35:08 PM »
Thanks. I think I will in fact up the chloride and the mash temperature. Are there any other potential causes for lack of malt character?

The oktoberfest was step mashed: 30 minutes at 145, and 40 minutes at 155, I think.

just a suggestion you can decide if you want to try -use a little melanoiden. its been described as cheating decoction in that the added melanoidens do what the maillard reaction does in a decoction.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 04:41:12 PM by wort-h.o.g. »
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 04:37:26 PM »
My off-the-cuff troubleshooting:
A) Calibrate your thermometer
B) Use a warmer serving temp
C) Make sure you're not overcarbonated
D) What base malts are you using? Are you using English/continental base malts as called for? The US stuff just isn't close.

The BCS O'fest is malty, but not a malt bomb. Maybe you need to recalibrate your palate a bit? Try to find some fresh commercial examples of the styles you're brewing and do a side-by-side tasting.

Side note - try swapping the CaraMunich in the BCS O'fest with some good (i.e., not Briess) Aromatic malt. That does a nice job of kicking up the Munichy goodness.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 04:47:51 PM by erockrph »
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19858
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 04:43:44 PM »
Jut a WAG, but I think it's the yeast.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

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 HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 04:44:06 PM »
WL833/WY2487 is great for a malty beer, if you haven't tried it.  WY2206 too, obviously.
Jon H.

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 05:08:31 PM »
Thanks, guys.

Eric - I'm using a Thermopen for measuring my mash, as far as I know, it's been very accurate.
I do serve my beer pretty cold. I keep my kegerator at 38, but the beer comes out in the 35-37 range, with 10 PSI going in. Perhaps that's part of it.
And for base malts, I'm using good German malts and British malts. Best and UK Pearl were the base malts for these beers.
Yeast for the oktoberefst was Saflager 34/70, which I've really liked. But perhaps it is too clean and dry for oktoberfest style...although a friend of mine brewed the BCS without the caramunich (forgot to add) with the same yeast and it was much maltier than mine. So that sort of points me to water. He used tap and I used RO with minimal additions. Mine was cleaner and more enjoyable, IMO.

So, it sounds like a combination of a bunch of things here: water (up the chloride), mash temp (mash a little higher, like 153-154), serving temp (serving a little cold maybe), and yeast (using yeasts that don't accentuate malt character).
Anything else you guys can think of that I'm missing?

« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 05:12:04 PM by beersk »
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19858
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 05:17:30 PM »
Try 1450
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

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 HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 05:26:04 PM »
Jon H.

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Lacking malt character
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 05:33:00 PM »
Actually, I have a pack of 1450 in my fridge for my next series of beers. Haven't brewed with it in a couple years, looking forward to it.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse