Author Topic: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?  (Read 629 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« on: January 01, 2021, 05:19:23 PM »
In the latest issue of Brew, the folks at Springdale Beer Company (see page 45 of the Jan-Feb 2021 edition) suggest a 14-day conditioning recommendation for a recipe with 19.42 % brown malt in the grist to ensure complete fermentation.  They assert that brown malt "often results in slowing the fermentation down in the end and you need to be sure that you have really reached terminal gravity before the final racking."

I have made numerous brown ales and porters with brown malt at up to 14% of the grist and have never noticed a delay as compared to brews without brown malt in the mix.  To be fair to the fine professionals  at Springdale Beer, I tend to give my brews at least 8 days and often more before taking the first of 2 and occasionally 3 FG samples at 2-day intervals (which will often run fermentation to 14 days if I use a third FG sampling )and also haven't always keep super accurate records. 

I would be very interested in hearing if other brewers have packaged beer with brown malt prior to 14 days and have noticed any problems with doing that.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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Offline denny

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2021, 05:29:30 PM »
I have never had a problem with it.
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Offline roger

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2021, 01:47:09 AM »
I've never personally had a problem with brown malt taking longer to ferment either.

A different, but related issue, I have always followed the Crisp recommendation of 10% max. usage. Just me but 20% seems way too much for my personal taste.
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2021, 01:09:45 PM »
Every October, I brew an incredible porter and have never had any fermentation issues.  That said, I only use between 8-9% brown malt in the grist.  20% seems like an excessive amount to me also IMHO.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2021, 03:07:14 PM »
As far as what's the upper limit on the amount of brown malt you can use, it's a matter of taste. 

I like coffee black and strong, yet millions "adulterate" it with cream or sweetener or both.

Writing about the porter style, Randy Mosher indicates brown malt can be used at 20% or more and also writes that for historic porters it can form the majority of the grist with just enough pale malt added for conversion.

I've used 10 -14% in quite a few brown ales and porters with results that I and some of the local brew club members liked.

Don't let someone else put limits on your brewing.  Try it and taste it for yourself.

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Offline denny

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2021, 04:08:42 PM »
As far as what's the upper limit on the amount of brown malt you can use, it's a matter of taste. 

I like coffee black and strong, yet millions "adulterate" it with cream or sweetener or both.

Writing about the porter style, Randy Mosher indicates brown malt can be used at 20% or more and also writes that for historic porters it can form the majority of the grist with just enough pale malt added for conversion.

I've used 10 -14% in quite a few brown ales and porters with results that I and some of the local brew club members liked.

Don't let someone else put limits on your brewing.  Try it and taste it for yourself.

AFAIK, the brown malt Randy is talking about is very different than the brown malt we have these days.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2021, 05:18:03 PM »
You're correct that modern malts are improved from those from decades and centuries past. 

However in Randy Mosher's Mastering Homebrew in the section on Malts (pg. 59)  he makes his comment on historic porter under the heading of Brown Malt and under the subheading of Uses which is in the present tense. To me, the use of the present tense indicates he is talking about our present day improved malts.

I always appreciate your comments many of which have improved the results of my brewing.  Thank you!
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2021, 06:01:15 PM »
I use brown malt quite a bit up to 20% and a few times even higher with no issues as described . Also even though Randy Mosher describes uses in the present tense doesn't change the fact that brown malt today is very different than 100 years ago. Not just better modified but malted in a completely different fashion.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 03:24:21 PM by Kevin »
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Offline RC

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2021, 11:28:31 PM »
It makes no sense to me why brown malt would "slow the fermentation down in the end." I'll keep an open mind, but unless there is something extremely unique about brown malt that only Springdale knows about, I just don't think this is true. Online recipes are useful for the actual ingredients, but IMO the process instructions given in most of them should be taken with a huge grain of salt (e.g. that recipe also instructs to rack to secondary, which, as has been exhaustively discussed on this forum, is a bad idea except in a couple of situations).

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2021, 12:49:14 PM »
I remember making brown malt from pale malt years ago.  My LHBS operator (Seidel grad) told me to toast the malt on a cookie sheet in the oven, waiting until the kitchen smelled like cookies to determine doneness.  Here’s a link to a BYO article by Kristen England with much enlightened history:

https://byo.com/article/brown-malt/

Cheers.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2021, 11:37:41 PM »
I remember making brown malt from pale malt years ago.  My LHBS operator (Seidel grad) told me to toast the malt on a cookie sheet in the oven, waiting until the kitchen smelled like cookies to determine doneness.  Here’s a link to a BYO article by Kristen England with much enlightened history:

https://byo.com/article/brown-malt/


how did it turn out compared to commercial stuff?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Brown malt taking longer to ferment?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2021, 09:35:31 PM »
I remember making brown malt from pale malt years ago.  My LHBS operator (Seidel grad) told me to toast the malt on a cookie sheet in the oven, waiting until the kitchen smelled like cookies to determine doneness.  Here’s a link to a BYO article by Kristen England with much enlightened history:

https://byo.com/article/brown-malt/


how did it turn out compared to commercial stuff?
  I thought it was great, but it was so long ago that I don't remember the specific porter recipe I used it in - maybe a well known experimental brewer's BVIP, but I could be mistaken.  I do remember the cookie smell in the kitchen, though!
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"