Author Topic: Flavors of Grain  (Read 730 times)

Offline HopDen

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Flavors of Grain
« on: December 30, 2018, 08:32:27 PM »
I always taste my grains prior to milling. I taste them individually and together. I do this so I can get an idea of what the wort, and to a greater extent, the final product might taste like. Obviously taking into consideration the affects that yeast,hops and temperature have on the final product. I also want to know if there is any faults or off flavors I might pick up. Is it fresh? How long has it been sitting in the LHBS or my basement for that matter? I've read and re-read what this grain or that grain should taste like. I ask myself, is it malty,grainy,bready,sweet,bitter,burnt,chocolatey and so on. Does anyone else practice this? What is your take on this? I'm always interested in reading any sources of information on all aspects of brewing. I would appreciate any and all opinions or source material on this matter.

Offline denny

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 09:15:13 PM »
I make grain teas to get an idea of grain flavors.  You can also blend those to get an idea of how grains work together.  Of course, fermentation will change a lot, but it's at least a bit of an idea of what will happen.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 10:18:53 PM »
I make grain teas to get an idea of grain flavors.  You can also blend those to get an idea of how grains work together.  Of course, fermentation will change a lot, but it's at least a bit of an idea of what will happen.

I agree. It at least gives you an first hand data point vs reading a description.


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Offline RC

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2018, 01:41:07 AM »
I just pop some kernels into my mouth before milling, just like you do. IMO this gives a (very) good approximation of the flavor the grain will bring to the beer, especially for the roasted grains. And it's easier than making a tea, although that's certainly not a bad idea.

Just gotta be careful chewing the crystal malts, don't want to break a tooth on those glassy kernels!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2018, 02:23:42 PM »
The Briess hot steep method is good way to do it. I have tasted the results, and think it is a better way than tasting kernels.

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/malt-sensory-methods-you-can-perform-in-your-own-home-or-brewery/
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Offline Robert

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 02:46:19 PM »
Never thought of tasting before milling, I trust my storage methods, and rarely store grain for extended periods.   But I often walk around LHBS chewing grains, when trying to choose between similar malts from different maltsters.  You can't really make tea or a mini mash in the shop!
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Offline BrewBama

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Flavors of Grain
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2018, 03:07:38 PM »
The Briess hot steep method is good way to do it. I have tasted the results, and think it is a better way than tasting kernels.

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/malt-sensory-methods-you-can-perform-in-your-own-home-or-brewery/

Your link dead ends: “The ASBC Hot Steep Method – An in-home method designed by the Briess Technical Experts
The Hot Steep method was developed for sensory panels, brewers, and homebrewers to perform a sensory evaluation of extractable malt flavors and aromas. It is fast, easy and inexpensive when compared to the laboratory methods described above.

Article Update: 2/13/2018

The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Evaluation Method  is a proprietary method that can be viewed by ASBC Members at: http://methods.asbcnet.org/summaries/sensoryanalysis-14.aspx

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support for The American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC).”

However, if you search AHA NHC presentations she shows you how to do it.  Basically (from my notes):

Hot Steep Method

50 g of base malt (100%), or 50% (25g) base - 50% (25g) specialty malt, or 15% (7.5g) dark roast - 85% (42.5g) base malt

Grind malt in spice grinder 10 sec

Add malt and 400 ml 149*F water to thermos

Shake 20 sec

Rest for 15 min

Shake for 20 sec

Filter malt from wort (Hario v60 filter recommended)

Add wort back to thermos and filter thru grain again (vorlauf)

Taste test


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« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 03:16:04 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline denny

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2018, 03:11:13 PM »
The Briess hot steep method is good way to do it. I have tasted the results, and think it is a better way than tasting kernels.

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/malt-sensory-methods-you-can-perform-in-your-own-home-or-brewery/

We have a demo of that at experimentalbrew.com
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2018, 03:31:28 PM »
The Briess hot steep method is good way to do it. I have tasted the results, and think it is a better way than tasting kernels.

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/malt-sensory-methods-you-can-perform-in-your-own-home-or-brewery/

Your link dead ends: “The ASBC Hot Steep Method – An in-home method designed by the Briess Technical Experts
The Hot Steep method was developed for sensory panels, brewers, and homebrewers to perform a sensory evaluation of extractable malt flavors and aromas. It is fast, easy and inexpensive when compared to the laboratory methods described above.

Article Update: 2/13/2018

The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Evaluation Method  is a proprietary method that can be viewed by ASBC Members at: http://methods.asbcnet.org/summaries/sensoryanalysis-14.aspx

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support for The American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC).”

However, if you search AHA NHC presentations she shows you how to do it.  Basically (from my notes):

Hot Steep Method

50 g of base malt (100%), or 50% (25g) base - 50% (25g) specialty malt, or 15% (7.5g) dark roast - 85% (42.5g) base malt

Grind malt in spice grinder 10 sec

Add malt and 400 ml 149*F water to thermos

Shake 20 sec

Rest for 15 min

Shake for 20 sec

Filter malt from wort (Hario v60 filter recommended)

Add wort back to thermos and filter thru grain again (vorlauf)

Taste test


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I'm confused, the procedure was given in the link.
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Offline BrewBama

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Flavors of Grain
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2018, 03:36:17 PM »
The Briess hot steep method is good way to do it. I have tasted the results, and think it is a better way than tasting kernels.

http://blog.brewingwithbriess.com/malt-sensory-methods-you-can-perform-in-your-own-home-or-brewery/

Your link dead ends: “The ASBC Hot Steep Method – An in-home method designed by the Briess Technical Experts
The Hot Steep method was developed for sensory panels, brewers, and homebrewers to perform a sensory evaluation of extractable malt flavors and aromas. It is fast, easy and inexpensive when compared to the laboratory methods described above.

Article Update: 2/13/2018

The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Evaluation Method  is a proprietary method that can be viewed by ASBC Members at: http://methods.asbcnet.org/summaries/sensoryanalysis-14.aspx

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support for The American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC).”

However, if you search AHA NHC presentations she shows you how to do it.  Basically (from my notes):

Hot Steep Method

50 g of base malt (100%), or 50% (25g) base - 50% (25g) specialty malt, or 15% (7.5g) dark roast - 85% (42.5g) base malt

Grind malt in spice grinder 10 sec

Add malt and 400 ml 149*F water to thermos

Shake 20 sec

Rest for 15 min

Shake for 20 sec

Filter malt from wort (Hario v60 filter recommended)

Add wort back to thermos and filter thru grain again (vorlauf)

Taste test


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I'm confused, the procedure was given in the link.

Yes, I remember. ...but then the men in dark sunglasses and brief cases made it proprietary. I’m just glad I took notes prior to the censorship by the man.


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Offline goose

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2018, 08:11:06 PM »
Never thought of tasting before milling, I trust my storage methods, and rarely store grain for extended periods.   But I often walk around LHBS chewing grains, when trying to choose between similar malts from different maltsters.  You can't really make tea or a mini mash in the shop!

Yeah, I think John might take issue with that, Rob!   ;D

That said, I have made a tea with a new recipe to get an idea of how it will work.  Although not as involved as what has been mentioned, I just microwave about 100 ml water, cool it to strike temp, and put in a small amount of the grains in the correct proportions and with the correct amount of the mash water.  That is usually enough to give me a rough idea on how the beer will taste.  The other methods are obviously more accurate but this seems to work for me.
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Offline denny

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2018, 08:14:05 PM »
Never thought of tasting before milling, I trust my storage methods, and rarely store grain for extended periods.   But I often walk around LHBS chewing grains, when trying to choose between similar malts from different maltsters.  You can't really make tea or a mini mash in the shop!

Yeah, I think John might take issue with that, Rob!   ;D

That said, I have made a tea with a new recipe to get an idea of how it will work.  Although not as involved as what has been mentioned, I just microwave about 100 ml water, cool it to strike temp, and put in a small amount of the grains in the correct proportions and with the correct amount of the mash water.  That is usually enough to give me a rough idea on how the beer will taste.  The other methods are obviously more accurate but this seems to work for me.

Be sure to let them step 10-15 min. so they'll at least begin conversion!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Robert

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2018, 08:26:54 PM »
When doing a completely new recipe, I have bought samples and done a 15 minute saucepan mini mash.   I've found it especially helpful when deciding which or how much dark grains to use, especially when worried about too much roast character,  like in a dark lager.  (Pre Bru'n Water it was a chance to get a handle on mash pH too.  And now that I've learned the cold steep method,  I'm not so worried about those dark grains for color.)
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 02:51:05 PM »
I add several grams of gypsum and calcium chloride to my mash water for brown to dark beers.  Would a steep test for the grains give accurate results without treating the water used to do the steeping?
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Offline denny

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Re: Flavors of Grain
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 03:01:18 PM »
I add several grams of gypsum and calcium chloride to my mash water for brown to dark beers.  Would a steep test for the grains give accurate results without treating the water used to do the steeping?

My experience is yes, it does.  For one thing you're using so little that it hardly matters.  For another, I think without treatment you taste the real flavor of the grain rather than what that flavor would be like if it was altered.  Just a SWAG.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell