Author Topic: Ratcheting up malt flavor  (Read 1616 times)

Offline HenryL65

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Ratcheting up malt flavor
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:58:54 AM »
A month ago I brewed a Pumpkin Ale (already controversial, I know) and I was really hoping to amp up the malt flavors. I had almost 20% of the grain bill in various caramel malts, in contrast to the Pumpkin Ale I brewed last year, which had maybe 8% of the grain bill in caramel malt. The ending gravity of both beers was only a point or two different and I could not perceive any significant difference in maltiness (I take notes on all my brews).

Granted, this is not a true experiment because I'm not tasting side-by-side samples, the recipes were adjusted, and the first batch a year ago was fined with gelatin while this year wasn't.

The end question: is there something other than chucking in loads of caramel malt that I can do increase malty flavors? Would mashing at a significantly higher temp do it? I want the malty taste of an 8% doppelbach, wee heavy, etc without the excess ABV (shooting for around 6%). Thoughts?

P.S. To eliminate variables, a few other bits of info: I always make a yeast starter, generally ferment around 72-74 degrees, and cold crash after 3 to 4 weeks.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 11:05:01 AM by HenryL65 »

Offline narcout

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 11:19:18 AM »
The end question: is there something other than chucking in loads of caramel malt that I can do increase malty flavors?

Have you looked into Munich, Dark Munich, Aromatic or Melanoidin malts?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 11:27:47 AM »
The end question: is there something other than chucking in loads of caramel malt that I can do increase malty flavors?

Have you looked into Munich, Dark Munich, Aromatic or Melanoidin malts?

All of these malts would "up" your malt character in the finished product. I especially would look into Munich/dark Munich blends and aromatic as my "go to's".

Just out of curiosity, were you satisfied with the finishing gravity of the beer?

Offline blatz

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2017, 11:32:11 AM »

All of these malts would "up" your malt character in the finished product. I especially would look into Munich/dark Munich blends and aromatic as my "go to's".

Just out of curiosity, were you satisfied with the finishing gravity of the beer?

agreed - I'm in the same boat;  that said some of the richness in a doppel or wee heavy comes from the overwhelming quantity of malt.
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Offline HenryL65

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2017, 11:34:29 AM »
Have you looked into Munich, Dark Munich, Aromatic or Melanoidin malts?
[/quote]

All of these malts would "up" your malt character in the finished product. I especially would look into Munich/dark Munich blends and aromatic as my "go to's".

Just out of curiosity, were you satisfied with the finishing gravity of the beer?
[/quote]

The recipe I used had 2 lbs of Aromatic malt...I figured this to be enough to jack up some malt flavor. Do I need more? What % of the grain bill would be appropriate?

And I was satisfied with the FG...came in around 1.016

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 11:36:25 AM »
What base malt did use?  Some like Briess have little flavor, while others have a huge flavor.
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Offline HenryL65

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 11:38:46 AM »
What base malt did use?  Some like Briess have little flavor, while others have a huge flavor.

Marris Otter...I really like British malt and generally use Marris Otter as the base for most of my recipes. Doesn't make much sense for a guy in Georgia, but oh well. Maybe is ancestral genes rearing up...

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 11:40:18 AM »
What base malt did use?  Some like Briess have little flavor, while others have a huge flavor.

Marris Otter...I really like British malt and generally use Marris Otter as the base for most of my recipes. Doesn't make much sense for a guy in Georgia, but oh well. Maybe is ancestral genes rearing up...

Maybe a maris otter/munich blend. Or Maris otter/vienna blend?

Offline HenryL65

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 11:47:23 AM »
What base malt did use?  Some like Briess have little flavor, while others have a huge flavor.

Maybe a maris otter/munich blend. Or Maris otter/vienna blend?

You bring up a good point and another question...hopefully not too far off topic. How much Munich/Vienna can one use in place of a traditional base like 2-row or Marris? If my total grain bill was 15 lbs, could I use 5 lbs of Vienna/Munich, or is that going screw the whole thing up?

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 11:53:46 AM »
What base malt did use?  Some like Briess have little flavor, while others have a huge flavor.

Marris Otter...I really like British malt and generally use Marris Otter as the base for most of my recipes. Doesn't make much sense for a guy in Georgia, but oh well. Maybe is ancestral genes rearing up...

Whose Maris Otter?
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Offline stpug

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 11:53:49 AM »
So the malt bill is something like this?
  • 65% Maris Otter
  • 20% various Crystal malts
  • 15% Aromatic Malt
...and you're not getting enough "malt" character from this beer?

I suppose the solution is dependent on the type of malt qualities you seek in the finished product.  "Malt" character is as specific as saying you want "hop" aromatics; well, what kind of hop/malt character do you seek?  Crackery, biscuity, bready, doughy, caramel, toffee, toasted bread, burnt toast, grainy, etc?

Nothing about your grain bill says that you shouldn't be getting plenty of malt qualities unless this is a really low abv beer, in which case it may just not be enough total grain to present itself in the finished beer.  Assuming it's at least a standard strength or higher beer (5+%abv) then your grainbill is sufficient to get some biscuit, toast, and caramel/toffee(/raisin/plum) malt qualities depending on the types and amounts of crystal malts you used.

It is possible that you are using a yeast strain that is hampering your efforts, and that simply switching to a different strain that's more showcasing of malt qualities is enough to solve the problem.  What yeast are you using?  Some like 1056/us05/001/nottingham/etc can mask the malt qualities of the beer, whereas others like esb/1968/1272/1318 tend to help emphasize (or not mask) those characters.

Brewing process can play another factor in lost malt character but not one I'm willing to talk much about on this forum unless specifically requested.

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 11:55:10 AM »
It is possible that you are using a yeast strain that is hampering your efforts, and that simply switching to a different strain that's more showcasing of malt qualities is enough to solve the problem.  What yeast are you using?  Some like 1056/us05/001/nottingham/etc can mask the malt qualities of the beer, whereas others like esb/1968/1272/1318 tend to help emphasize (or not mask) those characters.

Brewing process can play another factor in lost malt character but not one I'm willing to talk much about on this forum unless specifically requested.

Interesting how perceptions vary.  I find a neutral yeast like 1056 lets the other flavors shine through, not mask them.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2017, 11:58:27 AM »

You bring up a good point and another question...hopefully not too far off topic. How much Munich/Vienna can one use in place of a traditional base like 2-row or Marris? If my total grain bill was 15 lbs, could I use 5 lbs of Vienna/Munich, or is that going screw the whole thing up?

Vienna and munich are base malts, and can be used up to 100% of the grist, although they have lower diastatic power than pils or 2 row and some people mash longer when using a majority of munich or Vienna to ensure expected attenuation.
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Offline HenryL65

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 11:59:01 AM »

Whose Maris Otter?

Crisp Marris Otter

Offline stpug

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Re: Ratcheting up malt flavor
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2017, 12:00:59 PM »
It is possible that you are using a yeast strain that is hampering your efforts, and that simply switching to a different strain that's more showcasing of malt qualities is enough to solve the problem.  What yeast are you using?  Some like 1056/us05/001/nottingham/etc can mask the malt qualities of the beer, whereas others like esb/1968/1272/1318 tend to help emphasize (or not mask) those characters.

Brewing process can play another factor in lost malt character but not one I'm willing to talk much about on this forum unless specifically requested.

Interesting how perceptions vary.  I find a neutral yeast like 1056 lets the other flavors shine through, not mask them.

Indeed.  I've brewed beers that are heavy with maris otter using 1056 versus 1272.  Those with 1056 were nearly in the the same ballpark as if I had used something like Rahr 2row, whereas those with 1272 were much more biscuit malty.  Yeast plays a major role in final beer flavors from both a hop and malt perspective.