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Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: Manolo on December 28, 2011, 03:34:23 AM

Title: Dark grains
Post by: Manolo on December 28, 2011, 03:34:23 AM

I read the article on Brewing Beer with dark grains. I find it very interesting, although I do not fully agree that steeping dark grains at the end of the boil is such a good idea.

I once steeped dark grains while brewing a stout beer and the result was harsh and unpalatable. However, I recently brewed the same recipe mashing all grains, including the dark ones, from the beginning and added some Irish moss at the end of the boil. The result was much better (my best stout ever!). I do think that the Irish moss help me get rid of the dark grain tannins.

If my conclusions about the effects of Irish moss in my recipe are right, I think this is an easier way to avoid the problems induced by the use of dark grains than the advices on that article.

Any criticisms are welcome.
Title: Re: Dark grains
Post by: Myk on December 28, 2011, 01:04:27 PM
I suppose that could be good for someone with naturally soft water who wants to mash a darker beer without adjusting their water, but the majority of people in the world are blessed with hard water so we need the acid in our mash.

As a big fan of roasted malt bitterness I look at such suggestions, like no or low boil extract beers, to be nothing more than people coming up with different ways just to be different to keep people listening or reading. Seriously, how much talking about beer is there to do without going extremely scientific and losing audience because of that?

I never heard that about Irish Moss, only that it helps coagulate proteins.
Title: Re: Dark grains
Post by: Ghosttrain on December 31, 2011, 06:37:07 PM
One important addition to Myk's post.

There are two types of water hardness.   Permanent hardness which comes from the mineral content in the water commonly Ca and Mg ions.    These typically have nothing to do with the pH of the water and can not be removed by boiling.    Temporary hardness comes from the carbonate in the water and tends to increase the pH of the water.    I have very low mineral content water ("soft"), but my tap water is usually at 7.5 pH.     As a result I tend to keep the darker malts in the mash to drop my mash pH to the 5.6 range without having to add acids.  If you don't know your mash pH you may want to keep the darker malts in the mash since it would be hard to drop the pH too low with the malts alone.

In Palmer's book there is a good discussion on Total Alkalinity and Residual Alkalinity and the impact on the mash.