Author Topic: West Branch Malts  (Read 861 times)

Offline Robert

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West Branch Malts
« on: June 18, 2019, 12:50:14 AM »
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2019, 01:49:18 AM »
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Dan Chisholm

Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2019, 01:55:51 AM »
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2019, 01:58:53 AM »
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
That’s for sure...the original SMASH beer. By the way, how much does a 55 lb bag run?


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Dan Chisholm

Offline BrewBama

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2019, 02:02:08 AM »
While I can absolutely appreciate and respect Brewer’s like you and others here that get down to the Nth degree of every scientific detail, I am finding myself closer to the simplicity camp at the opposite end of that pendulum swing.  If I know the lot number and can get a few data points to update the BeerSmith malt page I figure I’m doing good. Usually, I have no idea and go with defaults for ‘close enough’ using Bru’n Water color calculations and BeerSmith.

Watch builder vs timekeeper I guess. It takes all kinds. Cheers!


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Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2019, 02:03:31 AM »
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
That’s for sure...the original SMASH beer. By the way, how much does a 55 lb bag run?


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At Grape & Granary in Akron, or Vine n Hop in Brunswick (literally around the corner from the malthouse) it's $49 and pennies -- actually a hair less than Briess or Rahr.  But they get direct delivery, so there's no shipping cost to the shops.  I have no idea what price class this stuff would be in in normal distribution.   I imagine it would run about what Mecca Grade does.  So your gas money will be well spent!
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2019, 02:08:44 AM »
Thanks for the info. I think I’ll make a day of it in Brunswick and check out the malt house as well. That’s a nice price.


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Dan Chisholm

Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2019, 02:08:55 AM »


While I can absolutely appreciate and respect Brewer’s like you and others here that get down to the Nth degree of every scientific detail, I am finding myself closer to the simplicity camp at the opposite end of that pendulum swing.  If I know the lot number and can get a few data points to update the BeerSmith malt page I figure I’m doing good. Usually, I have no idea and go with defaults for ‘close enough’ using Bru’n Water color calculations and BeerSmith.

Watch builder vs timekeeper I guess. It takes all kinds. Cheers!


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I'm just letting folks know that if they plug it in to BW or BS or whatever they won't get a realistic pH prediction.  Like maybe off by significantly >0.2.  Same with a lot of malts, IME.  TIFWIW.  I didn't figure a lot of folks would care.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 02:23:31 AM »
It’s cool you guys know how to do that stuff and can use the information to your advantage.


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“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” — St. Arnold

Brewed in the Tennessee Valley. Rocket City — Huntsville AL

Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2019, 02:34:26 AM »
I'm not a scientist or anything.  Well sort of, amateur like, but I've pretty  much learned it all through my interests in brewing, baking, etc., not formally.  I'm curious.  When the software doesn't work for me, I try to work it out for myself.   The same kind of impulse that makes me brew, bake, tinker, whatever, in the first place.  Basically poking stuff with a stick to see what happens.  Maybe smarter people can use my contribution of data and build on it. 
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 03:11:05 AM »
Thanks for the info. I think I’ll make a day of it in Brunswick and check out the malt house as well. That’s a nice price.


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Oh, and don't forget to have BrewGuru on your phone or your AHA card handy.  Vine n Hop gives 10% member discounts on ingredients (not equipment.)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline HopDen

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2019, 10:58:25 AM »
Robert, another fine area grower and maltster in Columbiana,Ohio is Yarian Quality Malts. I have been using their pilsner, pale, munich and vienna for a little over a year now. I'm very happy with their product!

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2019, 11:27:36 AM »
Very cool to have a craft maltster so close by...and to think I thought I had the world by the tail when my LHBS started to carry Bestmalz Pils for me! I guess the surge in local craft is producing these side benefits for us homebrewers.

Cheers to the local availability of high grade ingredients!
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline Lost Nutz Garage

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 02:51:14 AM »
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts. 


I too love the idea of using local ingredient when possible.   I have used West Branch Pale and Pilsner as my base malt for the past 2 years and 20 or so brews.      I don't know that the malt is any better or worse than malts from the big guys, but I enjoyed the beer.    The AHA discount at Vine & Hop makes the 50# bags a steal.

West Branch now lists a Vienna and Munich on their website, I want to get my hands on those too.

I'm on a quest to brew with local and small producer ingredients when possible.   To that end, I also plan to use exclusively Ohio grown hops during the next brewing season.

Ed
aka/ Lost Nutz Garage (& Brewery)

Offline Robert

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Re: West Branch Malts
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 03:18:09 AM »
The Munich and Vienna don't seem to be released yet, but Kristen at Vine n Hop had some samples, with analyses,  as well as of another product in development that I'm not quite sure what category it fits.  ("Special 60" -- that's the color range, but it's enzymatic, so maybe a very dark Munich type.)  I gather there will be more products eventually than just what's on the website.  I look forward to transitioning more and more to them.  I guess since they've only been open for 15 months we should be patient with the rollout.*   I just hope this weather doesn't impact things too badly -- there's an inherent risk in committing to contracting for local barley.

If you have good information on hop resources I'd be interested.  My complication is that I'm also committed to using whole cone.  I talked -- by sheer chance at Vine n Hop -- with the owner of Barn Talk Hops, who said I might be able to arrange to get some set aside pre-pelletizing.  At this point, I'm just happy to minimize imported ingredients in my beers.

*EDIT  Just looked back at my notes.  Looks like the Pale was first available to homebrewers about a year ago, and the Pilsner a couple of months later.  If that's any guide, the availability of the Vienna and Munich does seem to be taking quite a while.  But most of their production is going to breweries and I don't know how much of what they're actually making.  Patience, I guess.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 01:34:29 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.