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Are crystal malts better extracted in the presence of base malts?

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Kaiser:
While reading through Bamforth and Lewis’ “Essays in Brewing Science” I came across this interesting statement on page 87:

“crystal malts require pale malt for adequate extraction”

Up to this point I always believed that no enzymes are necessary for proper extraction from crystal malts which is why can steep them. But I was always wondering if it is truly the case that crystal malt’s sugars are not affected by enzymes. I.e. can active b-amylase make some of the extract from crystal malt more fermentable during the mashing process? That problem however is not necessarily what they mean with the above statement.

I’m thinking of an experiment that could demonstrate if Bamforth and Lewis’ statement is true: 3 mashes with the same mash thickness but different grists (100% carapils, 50/50 carapils/pale malt, 100% pale malt) mashed for 1 hour at the same temperature. Ideally the mash pH should be the same and may need some control since these 3 grists are expected to have different distilled water mash pH values. Level of extraction is then assessed by testing the gravity of the mash liquid. That is then put in relation to the potential of the respective grist and if the 50/50 grist is truly doing better than the 100% carapils grist there might be something to this.

Not that this has far reaching implications in brewing, it would just be good to know to satisfy the inner geek.

Kai

bluesman:
Kai,

It's great to have a guy like you amongst the community here. You are such the scientist.

I'm interested in understanding your findings. Good Luck!  8)

guvna:
This may be a silly question, but how would gravity measurements let you know whether a sugar is more or less fermentable? I'd imagine that this could only be determined after fermentation with equal pitch rates and yeast strain based on the terminal gravity.

Kaiser:

--- Quote from: guvna on November 19, 2009, 08:23:43 AM ---This may be a silly question, but how would gravity measurements let you know whether a sugar is more or less fermentable? I'd imagine that this could only be determined after fermentation with equal pitch rates and yeast strain based on the terminal gravity.

--- End quote ---

yes, that is correct. Threw in the statement about fermentability b/c it was just another though I had on the subject itself. Fermenting the produced wort in a fast ferment test setting might be able to show that. But to do that I rather do an experiment where I extract only the enzymes (cold water steep) and add them to a mash of only crystal malt. The control would be the addition of a boiled enzyme extract. The latter would compensate for the fact that even a cold water steep extracts extracts some sugar from malt.

Now that I think about it, that might be an experiment that is much better controlled than working with different grists that may cause different mash pH conditions. After fermenting the resulting wort, It would also be able to tell us if enzymes have an effect on the fermentability of crystal malt.

Kai

bonjour:
There are two types of extraction

1: Flavor Extraction
2: Starch Conversion/sugar extraction.

I don't believe (I don't know, have never tested) that all the starch in crystal malts has been converted.  It is in this starch conversion that I believe that base malt (with enzymes) will assist.

Fred

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