Author Topic: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?  (Read 2875 times)

Offline pehlman

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Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« on: August 18, 2011, 03:17:09 PM »
I just got Gordon Strong's latest book (Brewing Better Beer) and he mentions adding the dark and roasted grains at the end of the mash during the vorlauf. I understand the concept, and how mashing without them keeps the water pH easier to control, as well as how you can get less harshness and tannins. But my question is with actually executing this...

Do you just add your dark grains to the top of the mash and run the vorlauf right over it? Or are you actually stirring these grains in there and then recirculating the wort? I think in my head I just imagine this not extracting that much color and flavor from the grains. But then again, I haven't actually tried it yet! :)

PS - Im still using a cooler for a mash tun so my vorlauf just consists of lautering into a pitcher and pouring it back over to top of the grain-bed.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 03:23:02 PM »
I was wondering the same thing. To add to your question, do you crush the grain or add whole?
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 03:26:24 PM »
Adding the dark grains at vorlauf has been my standard procedure for more than 10 years and I can say with confidence that it does not seem to matter whether you stir the dark malts in or just let them sit on top.  I've done it both ways and it seemed to make no difference.  
So these days I just put them in and leave them alone.

I always crush the dark grains.
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Offline pehlman

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 03:32:36 PM »
Ok cool. I will have to give it a try one of these days! Did you still notice a good amount of flavor and color make it's way into the wort?? Or at least a difference compared to mashing with the dark malts?
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Offline Al Equihua

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 04:34:52 PM »
i crushed the grains too, and added at the end of vorlauf and above and get it "rinsed" just for a nice color in a brown ale...
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Offline narcout

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011, 04:25:11 PM »
I gave it try for the first time a few batches ago on a black IPA, only I added the crushed grains to the tun just before the (batch) sparge.  I got a lot of color and flavor from the grains, and the beer came out really well.  It also helped me keep my sparge pH in line.
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Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 09:15:19 PM »
I know this is an old thread, but it's along the lines of exactly what I am wanting to ask. Gordon Strong has another book I just picked up, his recipe book. And in it more of the late mash/cool steep techniques for his dark grains and crystal malts for his recipes. I know he does this because of using RO water and very little added to it. If he didn't practice this technique, he would have a hard time with his mash ph brewing certain beers.

Anyway, besides doing so for a mash ph/brewing water aspect is the benefit worthwile? I'm fixing to brew a Porter next and I have been thinking of at least maybe holding off the Chocolate malt and Black malt until the last 15 minutes of the mash. I don't have a recirculating system, so adding the malts just before or during my vorlauf doesn't seem like it would be sufficient for the roast character needed. I'm all for limiting the acrid harshness, but the roast is an important character of say a Porter. I have no desire to cold steep or steep the dark grains seperately. My water is quite alkaline so the dark grains help my mash ph. I'm just wondering if anyone has done more of a late mash with the dark grains over a vorlauf or the other cold/seperate steep methods?


Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 09:26:49 PM »
I have made it a habit to add a lot of the darker roast malts and even crystals (when I use them, which is rare anymore) at the end of the mash.  I like the pH control I get and it seems to mellow out the acrid tendencies of the dark roast malts and yet still allows a nice roast flavor to come through on those beers where I want it to be.  The cold steep method just seemed to use up a lot of dark malts to get the right results.

You might want to consider using RO - I start with 100% RO on all of my beers.
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Offline brewday

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 09:33:37 PM »
I have made it a habit to add a lot of the darker roast malts and even crystals (when I use them, which is rare anymore) at the end of the mash.  I like the pH control I get and it seems to mellow out the acrid tendencies of the dark roast malts and yet still allows a nice roast flavor to come through on those beers where I want it to be.  The cold steep method just seemed to use up a lot of dark malts to get the right results.

You might want to consider using RO - I start with 100% RO on all of my beers.

+1

This is my process/experience as well.
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Offline neddles

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 10:46:01 PM »
I have made it a habit to add a lot of the darker roast malts and even crystals (when I use them, which is rare anymore) at the end of the mash.  I like the pH control I get and it seems to mellow out the acrid tendencies of the dark roast malts and yet still allows a nice roast flavor to come through on those beers where I want it to be.  The cold steep method just seemed to use up a lot of dark malts to get the right results.

You might want to consider using RO - I start with 100% RO on all of my beers.
With that method, would you not have to adjust the pH twice? Once for the mash and once for the kettle? A mash pH of say 5.4 is going to give you a much lower kettle pH after you add the specialty malts (depending on quantity, obviously, and color) I start with 100% RO as well and love the control but adding the specialty malts late is still going to mess with your pH in the kettle if I am understanding your process correctly.

Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2015, 03:30:35 AM »
I have made it a habit to add a lot of the darker roast malts and even crystals (when I use them, which is rare anymore) at the end of the mash.  I like the pH control I get and it seems to mellow out the acrid tendencies of the dark roast malts and yet still allows a nice roast flavor to come through on those beers where I want it to be.  The cold steep method just seemed to use up a lot of dark malts to get the right results.

You might want to consider using RO - I start with 100% RO on all of my beers.

I have used RO many times, I really have no reason to. My water is pretty good for most beer styles. It's Lake Michigan water and I can't help but think of all the craft breweries in and around the Chicagoland area that use the same water (source).

When brewers say they have tried this late mash addition, how late we talking...10-15 mins left in the boil?

Offline brewday

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2015, 07:49:48 AM »
When brewers say they have tried this late mash addition, how late we talking...10-15 mins left in the boil?

I add them at vorlauf.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2015, 07:54:30 AM »

When brewers say they have tried this late mash addition, how late we talking...10-15 mins left in the boil?

assuming you meant mash, not boil.

I fly sparge, and add right before I turn on my pump to add sparge water into the MT.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2015, 08:03:45 AM »
I'm in the minority - I mash it all together and account for it in software. Zero acrid bite.
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Re: Adding Dark Malts at Vorlauf?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2015, 08:05:31 AM »
I'm in the minority - I mash it all together and account for it in software. Zero acrid bite.

I should clarify.  I only do the add at sparge method for beers where I want more subtle roast - schwarzbier comes to mind (maybe since I just made one and the chocolate/roast is on point from the samples I've stolen from the keg).  Stouts, I put in the whole time and adjust my pH.
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