Author Topic: Lactose drying out a beer?  (Read 670 times)

Offline BrodyR

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Lactose drying out a beer?
« on: March 16, 2015, 04:06:48 PM »
I've been trying to brew more seasonable beers lately. A thought popped into my head today that using lactose may be one way to add a bit of body without much flavor impact but when I added a bit into a recipe in beersmith it lowered the final gravity -  Does this make sense?

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 04:21:02 PM »
Brad says it's a known issue that BeerSmith doesn't handle non-fermentable sugars correctly and it's on his list of things to fix.
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Offline denny

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 04:27:45 PM »
Just one more reason to ignore any final gravity prediction made by software.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 04:34:48 PM »
Yeah, don't see lactose lowering FG under any circumstances.
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 04:54:21 PM »
Makes sense, thanks - does anyone know of a good formula to use to predict how many points of FG Lactose will add?

Also, in general does this seem like a good idea or a terrible idea? Basically I'm trying to take my APA to something of a hybrid between an ordinary bitter and an American Session IPA. By cutting the malt to achieve a  low abv (I'm targeting around 4%, maybe 3.5% if I can still get strong flavor) I end up with really dry beer. Adding a small amount of Lactose seemed like an idea to increase body but would I be better off just mashing at 156 and not trying to get any higher on the FG? Not really sure how much flavor lactose adds.

I once had a pale ale from Tired Hands called Here Lies Session, it was like 2.5% and absolutely loaded with hop aroma but tasted like water with how low the FG must have been.


Offline gsandel

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 06:16:53 PM »
Having similar thoughts I have tried a moderate amount of lactose (10-15%) to add body in one case, and add sweetness in another to light (colored and bodied) beers.  In my opinion, at that rate, I didn't feel like it contributed much of either....of course, I didn't brew side by side comparisons.

Both beers were well loved *by everyone but me*, and I am likely to brew again, upping the ante on lactose somewhat, so "those people" won't drink my good stuff.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 06:32:18 PM »
Ok, no science behind this, but I like cream/sweet stout to use as a base to add coffee beans in, so I've made it many times.  I always felt like a lb of lactose in 5 gallons raises FG somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 points, ie., makes 1.014 more like 1.020ish.  Just an educated WAG.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:33:53 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 06:43:16 PM »
Makes sense, thanks - does anyone know of a good formula to use to predict how many points of FG Lactose will add?
I believe however many points lactose adds to your OG, it will add that to FG as well since it cannot be fermented.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:58:50 PM by Jimmy K »
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 06:47:19 PM »
Ok, no science behind this, but I like cream/sweet stout to use as a base to add coffee beans in, so I've made it many times.  I always felt like a lb of lactose in 5 gallons raises FG somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 points, ie., makes 1.014 more like 1.020ish.  Just an educated WAG.

Hmm, so if I was trying to add 2 points I would probably add ~5oz of lactose (this also seems to jive with Jimmy's statement that it should add the same to OG) . At that point it would be close to 4% of my grain bill - do you think that would add any flavor or just a bit of body?

Offline duboman

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 07:01:11 PM »
Why not just raise your mash temperature? You could also add a little aromatic malt to accentuate the malt/mouth feel, either or, or both should get you what you want.

IME, lactose not only adds body but also lends a creamy feel to the beer and you might not want that
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 07:09:48 PM »
I'm pretty sure you can add lactose post-ferment. You could dissolve it in a little water, boil briefly and cool - just like priming sugar.
 
You could add all the lactose to a growler and fill with beer. Then use that to blend and taste what it's like at different concentrations. Especially fun if you have some friends over for 2nd opinions, and 3rd, and 4th.
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2015, 07:19:30 PM »
Why not just raise your mash temperature? You could also add a little aromatic malt to accentuate the malt/mouth feel, either or, or both should get you what you want.

IME, lactose not only adds body but also lends a creamy feel to the beer and you might not want that

I have a bit of a hybrid BIAB/Batch Sparge method - Basically I have a 5 Gallon Circular Cooler that I line with a bag and mash in. I leave a gallon or two aside to batch spare with.

I've read before that mashing high with a full volume BIAB setup is a bad idea (don't recall why and I'm not positive it's accurate), so whenever I've gone for full bodied mashes I mash in thicker according to Beersmith's  'Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge' instructions. For whatever reason this seems to reduce my efficiency a decent bit (again, not sure why or if other factors are at play). Am I way off here?

That being said a creamy feel in an Ordinary Bitter/Really Session IPA may be kind of cool. I already add flaked oats to my APA's for the mouthfeel.


Offline BrodyR

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 07:19:57 PM »
I'm pretty sure you can add lactose post-ferment. You could dissolve it in a little water, boil briefly and cool - just like priming sugar.
 
You could add all the lactose to a growler and fill with beer. Then use that to blend and taste what it's like at different concentrations. Especially fun if you have some friends over for 2nd opinions, and 3rd, and 4th.

Interesting idea

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2015, 11:33:57 AM »
There are other things that could be added rather than lactose, for what it is worth - such as malto dextrin.

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