Beat the Brewer Recipe Ideas

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by GoatmanBrewsMD, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. GoatmanBrewsMD

    GoatmanBrewsMD Aspirant (227) Dec 16, 2010 Maryland
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    So I've entered a contest competing against 9 other homebrewers and the head brewer from the brewery hosting the event. The goal is to brew a 5 gallon batch for judging. The beers will be transferred to kegs and served at a release party where the 11 beers will be judged by the attending people.

    I need to come up with a recipe idea and looking for some help and advice. Everyone in the competition is getting the same grains (see below for grains) and all other components of the beer are fair game (hops, yeast, adjuncts, water profile) . More grain can be added but only up to 5% of the grain bill.

    7 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) 40.6 %
    6 lbs BEST Red X (BESTMALZ) (15.2 SRM) 34.8 %
    1 lbs 4.0 oz Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) (Dingemans) 7.2 %
    1 lbs 4.0 oz Caramel Malt - 20L (Briess) (20.0 SRM) 7.2 %
    1 lbs 4.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) 7.2 %
    8.0 oz Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) (60.0 SRM)2.9 %

    Thanks for helping to brainstorm a bit.
     
  2. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Unless you're making an American Barleywine or an Imperial Red Ale, that's the worst grainbill that I've ever seen. Even then, it's not that good. Guess you could go for something like Arrogant Bastard, if you wanted. Eesh.
     
  3. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Do you have to use all those grains? And how much time do you have from now until the competition?
     
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  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,446) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Do you have to use all the grains? Or can you scale them back as long as you maintain the proportions? Can you steep some of the grains (for like 30 seconds)?
     
  5. GoatmanBrewsMD

    GoatmanBrewsMD Aspirant (227) Dec 16, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    The grains are all mixed into the bag. They are not separated. I have to turn my keg in by November 3rd.

    All mixed together. I'd have to scale back the whole grain bill and not sure what I'd end up with.


    Haha I agree. I got the spread sheet and didn't know what to do with it.
     
  6. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (412) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    How about souring it with lacto and/or brett and doing a dark sour?
     
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  7. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yeah I was thinking along these lines as well. It's a gamble, but maybe a gamble is the best strategy (along the lines of going for it on 4th down when 3 points won't do you any good). A middle-of-the-road beer is not going to stand out in a competition like this and would be hard to pull off in any case. So go for something a little crazy!

    In terms of timing, if you brew it soon I think you could do a mixed fermentation sour (by which I mean a combination of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus, as commonly sold by vendors such as Yeast Bay). @EvenMoreJesus can give you some better guidance on timing, but I seem to remember him stating that you don't need as much time as people generally suppose. [Edited to add: Ehhhh I did the math wrong, this seems a little too quick for a mixed-fermentation sour, but I'd love to be told I'm wrong about that.] The advantage of a mixed-fermentation sour is that it will thin the beer out and provide some sharp acidity to differentiate your beer from the others. I have brewed a mixed-fermentation sour that had a lot of crystal malt in it and it came out pretty damn good, not nearly as cloying and syrupy as the malt bill would have suggested. (Admittedly your malt bill has other issues, but I think similar logic applies.)

    A beer brewed with Lactobacillus is basically the same but less so. What I mean by that is that Lacto will not thin the beer out much, or get the beer as sour as Pedio will. Still might be a good approach, I don't know.

    Another thought is that 5% of this grain bill (which is the limit for additional grains) is nearly a pound. You could throw a bunch of roasted barley or black patent malt in there and make a decent stout. The roastiness would be playing the same role as sourness described above—it would overwhelm the other malt flavors and differentiate your beer.
     
    #7 minderbender, Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  8. MrOH

    MrOH Crusader (792) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Since roasted barley isn't malted, it's technically an adjunct. Go for a stout.
     
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  9. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (371) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    ive brewed some weird stuff, with that bill, im at a loss.good luck
     
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  10. GoatmanBrewsMD

    GoatmanBrewsMD Aspirant (227) Dec 16, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    Thanks. I think I'll need it.
     
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  11. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (421) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Why try to put a white-shirt on a turd? My suggestion is to cheat (sort of). Take the supplied grain and feed it to the cows. Then with a decent grain bill, brew something that's sure to be a crowd pleaser . . . you know . . . something like a Bell's Two Hearted clone. This will overwhelm the unwashed-masses and you will capture first place. Then just politely explain livestock ate your grain and you had to brew with what was on hand (somewhat true). You'll abdicate the trophy but bask in the sweet glory of victory.
     
  12. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (64) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
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    There are some posts I wish I could like twice.
     
    #12 riptorn, Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  13. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (371) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    +1 for the Florida team
     
  14. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (235) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    God what a terrible grain bill....I’m at a loss but I agree I’d add roasted barley and try to make a stout.
     
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  15. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (371) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    i,m feed the cows, hahahahaahahaah
     
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  16. Supergenious

    Supergenious Disciple (341) May 9, 2011 Michigan

    Yeah, this is a tough one! Couple ideas (but not really sold on any of them).
    -You could add candi syrup and Belgian yeast, and call it a dubbel of sorts.
    -It could maybe pass as a California common? Sort of?
    -Sour it with Goodbelly and then add some fruit and/or hops.
    -Biere de Garde?
    -Hop the shit out of it and call some kind of IPA.
    -The Stout idea is good too.
    Good luck on this one!
     
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  17. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (259) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    The Bier De Garde idea sounds interesting.. do you have to use all the grain? I know it’s mixed up but maybe use less of it and go for a super dry low ABV hoppy Bier De Garde maybe add some Brett to give it a little depth. Bunch of noble hops late and a super long and low mash. I guarantee you it would stand out, although with that much crystal I don’t know how dry you could get it? Maybe with a decent amount of sugar??
     
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  18. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (105) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    Can you use fruit,syrup,spices or any yeast you want. I have a few ideals if you can.
     
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  19. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,555) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    hm, if you really want to win, scale that down to a smaller batch, and go get some new grain. Ferment it with a neutral yeast and lightly hop it. Now you have a feel for the malt bill and can try to wrap your head around what would play well with it. You have just under 2 months so if you aren't going to go for souring then you might be good. Just a thought
     
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  20. GoatmanBrewsMD

    GoatmanBrewsMD Aspirant (227) Dec 16, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    Yes, all of those are fair play. The only restriction is any additional grain. It can only be a 5% addition to the grain bill.
     
  21. GoatmanBrewsMD

    GoatmanBrewsMD Aspirant (227) Dec 16, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    I'm honestly not sure if I have to use all the grains or not. That really wasn't specified. But this may be something to consider.
     
  22. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    If he has 8 weeks and doesn't mind not using hops, this is a pretty good idea.
     
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  23. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yeah, I mean, the keg has to be turned in on November 3, which is tight timing (7 weeks). But on the upside, the beer isn't being bottled, so there's no danger of bottle bombs, and maybe it will sit for a while longer before being judged. Speaking personally, mixed fermentation is the approach I would take. Partly this would be out of curiosity, but I also think it's a reasonably good way to deal with this malt bill. I am almost tempted to try it myself, but I'm not going to do that. I guess you should check to make sure it's okay given that I suppose the beer will be dispensed on someone else's tap system.

    Again speaking personally, I would go with a vial or two of Yeast Bay's Melange or perhaps a couple of packs of their beta sour blend (or both!).(I have no affiliate with Yeast Bay.) There are plenty of other vendors with good blends, although it appears Bootleg Biology is out of stock right now on the blend I would recommend from that source. Just don't use Wyeast's Roselare, which has a reputation for not getting the beer very sour.

    I agree with EvenMoreJesus that hops shouldn't be used in this scenario. Just give it a good blast of oxygen (which Brett really likes) and ferment in the low 70s and see what happens. It might not turn out great, but again, it's a "go for it on 4th down when you need a touchdown to win" kind of situation in my view, and it's not as though the other options are great.

    But I get it if you decide to go with a different approach. Sours aren't for everyone. Good luck!
     
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  24. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Yeah . . . don't do that.

    Well . . . at least the first generation of it. IMO, takes up until the third gen. to really hit its stride
     
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  25. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (105) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    As mentioned above I would use about 14/15 lbs and do a Belgium style using trappist yeast and then let it sit on cherries. The sour ideal is also good.
     
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  26. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (706) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Brut IIPA ...a real test for the Amyloglucosidase :slight_smile:
     
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  27. skleice

    skleice Aspirant (244) Aug 6, 2015 Connecticut

    This thread is very entertaining. Carry on...:sunglasses:
     
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  28. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (791) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Cut your sparge early, liquor down heavily and hop with EKG. You should be able to pull a decent Best Bitter out of that grain bill, I’d imagine...
     
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  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,206) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    A sour in a month? GTFO. Add 5% chocolate malt throw some abbey ale yeast and some candi sugar and call it a bsda
     
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  30. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    A Best Bitter with 17+ lbs. of grain in a 5 gallon batch? You'd have to dilute those first runnings quite a bit.
     
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  31. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Keg must be turned in by November 3, that's closer to 7 weeks than a month. @EvenMoreJesus reports that a mixed fermentation sour can be ready to go in 8 weeks, so it doesn't seem like a huge stretch to me. I'd add that one premise of my advice is that it's better to take chances in a competition like this. With complete control of the malt bill, you could simply brew something you know to be excellent, but that's not an option here. Setting yourself apart from the crowd seems like a good strategy to me.
     
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  32. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (791) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    When life gives you lemons...
    My first idea was to dump the first runnings altogether, then add Pilsner as your 5% bonus grain to the mash and just submit the second runnings beer, but that seemed wasteful. :grin:
     
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  33. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,206) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    There are so many off flavor compounds that are likely to be created by pedio and brett while they do their work it's more than likely that the beer will be immature. We are talking about a beer that could need up to a year to hit its stride, and the op needs it done and amazing by the first week ofNovember. . I'm not saying it's impossible, maybe @OldSock can weigh in, but I do feel the likelihood of failure is greater than a clean beer would be.
     
  34. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,206) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Just because he is turning in 5 gallons doesn't mean he can't run off 10. Or 8. Or 25.

    Edit, the op could run off enough for 2x 5 gallon batches, brew two separate beers and enter the best one. Possibly steep some specialty grains in one etc.
     
  35. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yeah I mean I've been meaning to ask @EvenMoreJesus about this. Personally I've only brewed a couple of mixed fermentation sours, and I let them go for at least six months before bottling them. But @EvenMoreJesus seems to have experience indicating that an extended aging time is not necessary.
     
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  36. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I guess I should justify my response. I'm not saying that these beers will be mature at this point. I'm just saying that they'll be ready to package, as they'll have reached a stable terminal and will develop in the bottle. In my mind, extended aging equals more oxygen exposure, which is usually not a positive thing.
     
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  37. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (791) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Kinda what I was thinking. It’s a way to minimize the damage of that horrid grain bill. And if everybody else uses the whole bill and tries to polish that turd, having the only drinkable beer in the lineup might be the golden ticket!
    I live for bending the rules...:grin:
     
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  38. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (179) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    [Gilda Radner voice] Never mind!

    I mean I don't know. I worry about oxygenation too, and it's why I don't take a lot of samples from my mixed fermentation beers early on. So I don't really know what they taste like at 8 weeks. I was moving one from one fermenter to another at about 4 weeks one time and I tasted the beer, and it was really thick, I think maybe ropy. I didn't try it again for months, so I have no idea how it was 4 weeks later.
     
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  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,206) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    That's the rub, terminal gravity and ready to drink are miles apart with sours. Pedio throws a buttload of diacetyl, among other off flavor compounds like butyric acid. It can take the bugs weeks or months to clean that mess up. Adding oxygen won't help either. Soooooo, split batch double runoff one clean one sour?
     
  40. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Ehh . . . Pediococcus sp. only make VDKs and EPS when they are in their log. phase, so if you pitch enough and yeast is still active in solution this won't be an issue. I've never heard of pedio making butyric acid, though. Clostridium sp., on the other hand . . .

    That said, I do agree with you that "ready to package" and "optimum flavor profile" may not be one in the same. However, when you have a deadline, sometimes you have to take what you're given.
     
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