Author Topic: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe  (Read 3907 times)

elemenop

  • Guest
Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« on: February 14, 2016, 07:05:41 PM »
In running a commercial brewery is there a reasonable maximum number of malts that the brewer employs in a recipe due to cost, workflow, availability etc... (obviously there's no hard limit or theoretical limit)?

What are some reasons for this limit?

Would one ever find a commercial beer recipe that employs 7 or 8 different malt types as in some homebrew recipes?  Does this add a lot of cost to the recipe for a commercial brewery?

We've all heard that "simple is better" but it seems commercial brewery outfits are forced into compliance with this cliché. (i.e. no Munich Dunkel with 6 types of malts...)

If commercial breweries are keeping it simple what makes homebrewers think that their many malt recipe will be "good" or that all of the malts are contributing something useful?

Offline Thirsty_Monk

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2344
  • Eau Claire WI
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2016, 07:13:33 PM »
Commercial Brewer are not limited an any way how many speciality malts they use.

It is matter of opinion, intention and taste. That's that simple.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2016, 07:39:52 PM »
Commercial Brewer are not limited an any way how many speciality malts they use.

It is matter of opinion, intention and taste. That's that simple.

Right, it's obvious that commercial brewers have no limited (the same as homebrewers), but how many commercial beers have a ton of specialty malts, can you give me an example?  What is the cost difference?  For example, if a recipe has 9 different malts what does that translate to in terms of end product cost increase?  How does that affect the decision of the brewery in making the recipe?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 07:42:28 PM by elemenop »

Offline Thirsty_Monk

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2344
  • Eau Claire WI
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2016, 07:53:30 PM »
Yes specialty malts are more expensive than base malts. From material point of view, less SKUs you have simpler it is.

I can not answer your question how much specialty malts other Brewers use. May be a little research on your part can help. Good place to start is Can you brew it podcast from Brewing network.

When you look in raw material cost. Malt is sold in lb here in US. If you are serious about commercial brewing, find a malt supplier in your area and ask for price sheet. There are other cost like hops, yeast, labor, energy, water, rent ... That translate to final product cost.

Good luck.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline 69franx

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3129
  • Bloatarian Brewing League
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2016, 08:01:22 PM »
I think another thought that I have heard in regards to this is that pro brewers generally want to build recipes around full sacks: 10 sacks base to 1 or 2 sacks of this and that. Nothing set in stone, but opened unfinished sacks get forgotten
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
In the works:

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2016, 08:11:33 PM »
Yes specialty malts are more expensive than base malts. From material point of view, less SKUs you have simpler it is.

I can not answer your question how much specialty malts other Brewers use. May be a little research on your part can help. Good place to start is Can you brew it podcast from Brewing network.

When you look in raw material cost. Malt is sold in lb here in US. If you are serious about commercial brewing, find a malt supplier in your area and ask for price sheet. There are other cost like hops, yeast, labor, energy, water, rent ... That translate to final product cost.

Good luck.

How many specialty malts do you use? 
How do they increase your costs? 
Would you ever be able to justify a 9 malt beer?

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2016, 08:25:34 PM »
My point is, if commercial breweries are limiting the malts due to various factors, availability, cost, usage, etc... *and these same breweries are producing saleable product, in some cases highly rated beer* what would it take for a commercial operation to invest in a high malt count beer?  I don't think they would and I don't think a commercial beer exists of that nature.

Translate that to homebrew - when a recipe approaches 5 or 6 malts one has to start wondering is it making enough of a difference?  Does it add that much flavor?  If top rated commercial beers have maybe 4 or 5 malts max then one could gather that there's not much value in going over that many malts in a recipe.

Offline duboman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1576
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2016, 08:28:46 PM »
Not a commercial brewer but its a pretty open ended question as Thirsty Monk points out due to all the other variables. You also ave to account for the pricing of the bulk purchases the commercial brewer is making. Knowing other commercial brewers, their main goal is a quality product and their desired beer recipe to produce their vision. I'm sure cost goes in to it but I would think the desired beer takes precedence and recipe ingredients wouldn't

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2016, 08:33:47 PM »
Not a commercial brewer but its a pretty open ended question as Thirsty Monk points out due to all the other variables. You also ave to account for the pricing of the bulk purchases the commercial brewer is making. Knowing other commercial brewers, their main goal is a quality product and their desired beer recipe to produce their vision. I'm sure cost goes in to it but I would think the desired beer takes precedence and recipe ingredients wouldn't

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Absolutely, cost isn't the only limiting factor... you've got labor, availability, etc...

I just don't think a high malt count commercial beer exists because high malt counts don't necessarily make good beer! (and I'm looking for a counter to that point).

Offline duboman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1576
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2016, 08:43:06 PM »
If you read Zymurgy or BYO or even some of the clone books featuring recipes from actual commercial breweries you will see examples of many styles of beers that employ more than 4 types of grain and maybe as many as 9. Also some commercial breweries will list ingredients of their beer on the website, some even provide home brewers the recipe. Somewhere there is a list of breweries that do this, don't have the link handy

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9008
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2016, 09:07:27 PM »
My point is, if commercial breweries are limiting the malts due to various factors, availability, cost, usage, etc... *and these same breweries are producing saleable product, in some cases highly rated beer* what would it take for a commercial operation to invest in a high malt count beer?  I don't think they would and I don't think a commercial beer exists of that nature.

Translate that to homebrew - when a recipe approaches 5 or 6 malts one has to start wondering is it making enough of a difference?  Does it add that much flavor?  If top rated commercial beers have maybe 4 or 5 malts max then one could gather that there's not much value in going over that many malts in a recipe.
When I toured Rouge, there were more types of malt on the storage racks than I had ever seen in one place. Multiple sacks of most. I don't remember any partial bags, but that trip was 10+ years back.

Other  breweries have beers based on fewer malts.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2016, 09:27:20 PM »
If you read Zymurgy or BYO or even some of the clone books featuring recipes from actual commercial breweries you will see examples of many styles of beers that employ more than 4 types of grain and maybe as many as 9. Also some commercial breweries will list ingredients of their beer on the website, some even provide home brewers the recipe. Somewhere there is a list of breweries that do this, don't have the link handy

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Good idea.  Started thinking about it last night at B&N reading the latest BYO and the 3 Floyds Dark Lord clone.

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2016, 09:28:17 PM »
My point is, if commercial breweries are limiting the malts due to various factors, availability, cost, usage, etc... *and these same breweries are producing saleable product, in some cases highly rated beer* what would it take for a commercial operation to invest in a high malt count beer?  I don't think they would and I don't think a commercial beer exists of that nature.

Translate that to homebrew - when a recipe approaches 5 or 6 malts one has to start wondering is it making enough of a difference?  Does it add that much flavor?  If top rated commercial beers have maybe 4 or 5 malts max then one could gather that there's not much value in going over that many malts in a recipe.
When I toured Rouge, there were more types of malt on the storage racks than I had ever seen in one place. Multiple sacks of most. I don't remember any partial bags, but that trip was 10+ years back.

Other  breweries have beers based on fewer malts.

Sure but how many of those were used in the same recipe?  Hard to say, I guess.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2016, 09:40:05 PM »
There's just no way to quantify how many malts should be used max in a beer. I like to have one base malt and maybe a specialty malt or two in most beers. In general I like fewer malts in a recipe for cleaner, more focused flavors. Using too many malts can give a muddy, nonspecific malt character to many beers. But there are those recipes that are spectacular that use several malts.
Jon H.

elemenop

  • Guest
Re: Max # of malts in commercial beer recipe
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2016, 09:46:52 PM »
There's just no way to quantify how many malts should be used max in a beer. I like to have one base malt and maybe a specialty malt or two in most beers. In general I like fewer malts in a recipe for cleaner, more focused flavors. Using too many malts can give a muddy, nonspecific malt character to many beers. But there are those recipes that are spectacular that use several malts.

Absolutely unquantifiable, but when you get to more than say 6 - 2 roast, 2 crystal, 2 base it becomes muddy - like you said.  Apply that to a commercial brewery that needs to make money off of the beer and you have found a beer that has *value* in a high malt count!  That would be a special beer indeed (one would think).