Author Topic: Simplifying Recipes...  (Read 792 times)

Offline mchrispen

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Simplifying Recipes...
« on: May 14, 2015, 04:52:49 PM »
So inspired by a recent in-depth conversation with what I consider to be the best brewers in the Texas Hill Country, I am going through my recipes systematically to simplify them, reduce the unnecessary malts while still bringing the proper flavor profiles for a given recipe. Seems a coincidence that Gordon's and Drew's recent articles touch on this, or perhaps providence?

Like many, I have crutched on tossing in a bit of this and that along the way, making some of my recipes cluttered. So a couple of random (and perhaps tedious) questions for the wiser brewers here, hoping for a master's class:

Goals: Transitioning my style appropriate beers to a single base malt (ie. Wyermann's Pils), and building recipes with the minimal crystal/caramel and secondary base malt to accomplish the goals. I brew a ton of pale ales, lagers, saisons and various strong Belgian styles. I plan to stick to a secondary stock for British and Scottish styles, which I feel requires the characteristic malts.

1. Head retention. I expect carapils/wheat to cover this, but if I eliminate it, how to recover the dextrous goodness it can bring? Mash a few points higher? Protein rests?

2. Malty-ness. Some styles require high malty character, others less. I tend to use large doses of Munich or Vienna to help cover this. I don't find crystal/caramels particularly malty. Red X is very interesting as a malt bomb base. Please don't ask me to decoct :) - but I can step mash and have been using hochkurz mashes to good effect.

3. Color. While I brew paler styles, I have been scared of using small amounts of Roast Barley, Chocolate or Midnight Wheat as I have been burned (pun intended) with overly roast/toast/acrid flavors when using, even when cold steeped.

Let's start there. More questions, but this is enough to spark some talk?
Matt Chrispen
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Blogging from the garage @ accidentalis.com
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 05:12:15 PM »
1 - You probably don't need to change anything to have good head retention.
2- For high malty styles, you can drop your other base malts.  On the other hand, even simple beer recipes can have two base malts.

Offline denny

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 05:16:58 PM »
Head retention is pretty much dependent on process, not ingredients.  Duvel has about the best foam you'll ever see and it's nothing but pils malt and sugar.  Read this....http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2015, 05:23:43 PM »
A protein rest isn't going to help you.  In my experience it can have the opposite effect of what you desire, because today's malts just plain don't need it.  If you love the character and head that wheat gives, then keep it in your recipe.  Maybe even increase it and use as a base malt.

Small amounts of black grains won't kill your beer.  If it's tasting funky it might be due to a mash pH thing.  So then reserve it for the tail end of the mash, and you'll be fine.  Maybe even offset its acidity with a fairy sprinkling of baking soda at the same time.

Munich and Vienna are awesome.  Use lots.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 05:24:34 PM »
Head retention is pretty much dependent on process, not ingredients.  Duvel has about the best foam you'll ever see and it's nothing but pils malt and sugar.  Read this....http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques

Oh sure... unleash Colby. BTW his BBQ is pretty good!
Matt Chrispen
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 05:50:42 PM »
If you want head retention with all pils malt, try a step mash with a long step rest at 158-160F, the extra long chain dextrines help a lot.

Out of curiosity, who do you think the best Brewers in the Hill Country are? We have spent a fair amount of time in Drippin' the last few years.
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rabeb25

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2015, 06:04:23 PM »
I concur it is process dependent. No "foam enhancing" malts in these beers.







When I do use wheat:


« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 06:07:29 PM by rabeb25 »

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 07:27:59 PM »
If you want head retention with all pils malt, try a step mash with a long step rest at 158-160F, the extra long chain dextrines help a lot.

Out of curiosity, who do you think the best Brewers in the Hill Country are? We have spent a fair amount of time in Drippin' the last few years.

Hopfenundmalz - I get good results from hochkurz mashing - usually around 150F for 60 and then around 158-160 for 30, but have not pursued that with ales. I should do it. Used a 148-158 schedule for my BoPils, but the jury is out - I am slowly dropping the temps to lager for a few more weeks - but save for the sulfar - tastes pretty amazing in the hydro samples... and lots of condition already.

As for the best brewers... won't name names, but the breweries (completely my opinion) are The ABGB, Real Ale and Live Oak. Secondarily Hops and Grains, Pinthouse Pizza and (512). Not a big fan of Jester King, but they make the occasional great beer. I am friends with several of the brewers - but spend a great deal of time at ABGB (seriously their helles is amazing).

Secondly - Rabeb25 - those are gorgeous! Step mashing? or simple infusion?

I would also like to settle on a basic mash schedule for most of these (again exception for certain styles) to simplify. I think this will eliminate irrelevant processes and better allow me to evaluate A to B as I brew. IE... Denny has said he pretty much infusion mashes for 90 minutes for most beers (I hope I got that right).
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 07:57:16 PM »
If you want head retention with all pils malt, try a step mash with a long step rest at 158-160F, the extra long chain dextrines help a lot.

Out of curiosity, who do you think the best Brewers in the Hill Country are? We have spent a fair amount of time in Drippin' the last few years.

Hopfenundmalz - I get good results from hochkurz mashing - usually around 150F for 60 and then around 158-160 for 30, but have not pursued that with ales. I should do it. Used a 148-158 schedule for my BoPils, but the jury is out - I am slowly dropping the temps to lager for a few more weeks - but save for the sulfar - tastes pretty amazing in the hydro samples... and lots of condition already.

As for the best brewers... won't name names, but the breweries (completely my opinion) are The ABGB, Real Ale and Live Oak. Secondarily Hops and Grains, Pinthouse Pizza and (512). Not a big fan of Jester King, but they make the occasional great beer. I am friends with several of the brewers - but spend a great deal of time at ABGB (seriously their helles is amazing).

Secondly - Rabeb25 - those are gorgeous! Step mashing? or simple infusion?

I would also like to settle on a basic mash schedule for most of these (again exception for certain styles) to simplify. I think this will eliminate irrelevant processes and better allow me to evaluate A to B as I brew. IE... Denny has said he pretty much infusion mashes for 90 minutes for most beers (I hope I got that right).
A good health fermentation without fusels did a lot to help my head retention on ales and lagers. I don't step mash the ales.

I have had several beers from both Real Ale and Live Oak. They are very good. Have not had anything from AGBG, but they are on the radar for next time. The niece that lives in Austin likes Pinthouse Pizza.

We stopped at Jester King last time, it was a cold and windy Sunday, so the crowd was small. The beers were interesting, had some unique tastes, but something that I would normally not order first off. The Pizza business on the property had tasty pizza, and a draft selection that was more mainstream.
Jeff Rankert
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rabeb25

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2015, 08:49:14 PM »
I step mash every beer.  Hockurtz different time/temps based on the style. For me it was this step mash, combined with water and pH, and healthy yeast/fermentations. 

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2015, 08:51:03 PM »
Thanks man! and I love the brewery in the background!
Matt Chrispen
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Simplifying Recipes...
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2015, 12:35:42 AM »
If you're looking to boost maltiness while reducing your base malts, then Aromatic malt is a good option. To me, it's like Munich on steroids. Almost all of my continental styles get a bit of it.
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