Author Topic: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer  (Read 1895 times)

Offline dzlater

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I brewed a batch of pale ale, the beer is kind of thin
and is lacking in maltiness to counter the hops.
I believe it's because I sparged too fast under shot my
gravity and added DME to adjust.
I know the best idea would to either let it sit a while and hope
time will improve it or too brew another batch and then blend
but I had a thought
could I steep some crystal 80
at around 170f,  boil it,chill, and add the "extract" to the keg
Is this a totally bad idea?
or might it actually work?
Dan S. from NJ

Offline MDixon

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 06:02:58 AM »
I'd suggest you use some maltodextrine. It won't add sweetness, but it will add body which will increase the perceived sweetness and help balance the hop bitterness. Dissolve over heat in enough water to make it liquid and then add to the beer. Be prepared for the carbonated keg beer to foam with the addition of the maltodextrine and get the lid back on quick.

The problem with the crystal steeping idea is some portion of the steep may be fermentable and you'd need a significant volume of water to steep the crystal.
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Offline richardt

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2010, 06:07:32 AM »
I've never done what you're proposing to do.  But I've brewed plenty of watery beers during my extract years (mainly due to oversparging or the mistaken belief that 'If I add more water, I get more beer."--which is true, but at the expense of the beer's flavor/body/balance/etc.)

Will you be fermenting in the keg?  How do you plan to deal with the trub/yeast and the excess CO2?  Do you even have enough headspace to add a couple pints or quarts of beer to the keg?

Steeping grains--since you say your beer is thin/watery, if you go this route, you ought to keep the total amt of steeping water to a minimum (keeps pH from rising, and keeps the wort thick, i.e., high OG).  Adding dextrin malt help enhance the body of your beer, too (and you'd be able to use less water than the steeping grains approach).
 
I would go no higher than 170 F with your sparge water temps to avoid tannin extraction (controversial--some say pH is more of an issue--brought on by using too much hot sparge water).

Offline dzlater

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 04:27:29 AM »
......................................

Will you be fermenting in the keg?  How do you plan to deal with the trub/yeast and the excess CO2?  Do you even have enough headspace to add a couple pints or quarts of beer to the keg?

Steeping grains--since you say your beer is thin/watery, if you go this route, you ought to keep the total amt of steeping water to a minimum (keeps pH from rising, and keeps the wort thick, i.e., high OG).  Adding dextrin malt help enhance the body of your beer, too (and you'd be able to use less water than the steeping grains approach).
 
I would go no higher than 170 F with your sparge water temps to avoid tannin extraction (controversial--some say pH is more of an issue--brought on by using too much hot sparge water).

The beer is already kegged and carbonated. Going to the homebrew shop one day this week maybe
I'll try adding the malto-dextrin powder. Right now it's drinkable,imagine a beer brewed with light dme and no specialty malts that's what I would say it reminds me of.
I don't want to make it worse trying to make it better.
Thanks for the input.

D
Dan S. from NJ

Offline MDixon

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 05:54:59 AM »
Go with a pound of maltodextrine powder. Degas the keg and add the liquid to it. I heat the MD powder just enough to liquify in a small amount of water. Dump it in, slam the lid back on immediately, close, shake well, regas the keg - try it and see if you have what you are after. If not, repeat till you do  ;)
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Offline richardt

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 06:11:06 AM »
Agree with MDixon here.  Definitely degas the keg over several hours.  Once you pour the maltodextrin in--all those crystals serve as nucleation sites and you'll have a big foam over unless you get the lid back on tight quickly.

If you liquify the maltodextrin with some heated water, it will be less likely to result in a foam over, but I'd still degas the keg and be quick about getting the lid back on and sealed.


Offline MDixon

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 03:02:56 PM »
Actually I am saying take the pressure off the keg, remove the lid, dump and press on...not over a period of hours, mere seconds and be ready to get that lid on fast!!!
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Offline richardt

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 03:33:10 PM »
I respect your opinion.

I treat my beer like my children:  I hate to lose any!
De-gas over hours is still my recommendation.

You can always replace the gas.  Not the case with beer or children, which we worked hard to create.   ;)


Offline corkybstewart

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 08:19:39 PM »
I hate to go against the grain here but I'd leave it as is and fix your problem on the next batch.  If it's drinkable drink it.  I have a policy of forcing myself to drink my bad beers, every drop, all by myself.  It's made me pay more attention to my next batch. :o
Also every time I've tried to fix a batch it just hasn't worked.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline dzlater

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 03:53:33 AM »
I hate to go against the grain here but I'd leave it as is and fix your problem on the next batch.  If it's drinkable drink it.  I have a policy of forcing myself to drink my bad beers, every drop, all by myself.  It's made me pay more attention to my next batch. :o
Also every time I've tried to fix a batch it just hasn't worked.
That's the way I am leaning right now.
Like I posted earlier I don't want to make it worse trying to make it better.
This was just an idea I had and was curious what others thought. I had
heard of adding "hop tea" to the keg to bitter up a beer, so I thought why
couldn't the opposite be done? I've brewed the recipe before and it came out fine
so I know it was a procedural problem and not recipe related.
I am going to bring a few bottles to the club meeting tonight and get some other
opinions. 
Dan S. from NJ

Offline MDixon

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Re: steeping some crystal malt to adjust flavor of finished beer
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 04:18:48 AM »
Fixing a buggered up (too bitter, too light, too etc) beer takes some conviction, experimentation, and luck. My MO has been to doctor a pint till I get what I am after and then to doctor the entire keg. It's worked very well, and yes, I have put maltodextrine into a gassed keg in just the manner described without any ill effects other than the ribbons at competition  ;D
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