Missing malt flavor in Homebrew

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Redindie, Dec 21, 2016.

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  1. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    Hi all,

    I've been brewing for about 2 years now, and have slowly improved my setup (BIAB) over time to brew some enjoyable IPAs. However, after trying to brew some browns and reds, I can't seem to get a malt flavour in the final beer. I've tried multiple recipes and yeasts, but no change.

    I've tried adding +20% Munich to recipes with no avail.
    I've tried using Bottled water and tap water.
    I've tried both sparging and no sparging
    I've tried different dry yeasts (no liquid yeasts yet)
    Pitching rehydrated yeast with wort at 21°C
    Fermenting at 18°C on primary for 2-3 Weeks, then bottling
    Priming with corn sugar

    The beers taste fine, just not malty. Sometimes sweet, but without the malt aspect. Typical OG is 1.054. Finishing at around 1.012.

    I'm really out ideas... Does anyone have any ideas what would cause this?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Grand Pooh-Bah (3,043) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Hmm. If you had to describe what you mean by malt flavor without using the word malt, what would you say?
     
    crcostel likes this.
  3. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    being able to taste the character of the grains. Not the sweetness. I've tasted some great beers, where you can taste the hops, but you can also tastes the grains to an extent and it complements the hops nicely. In an extreme example, a porter has an intense malt taste.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    At the risk of leading the witness, below are some descriptors that I use to describe various malty flavors:

    · Doughy

    · Bready

    · Biscuity

    · Cracker-like

    · Toasty

    · Bread Crust

    · Chocolaty

    · Roasty

    And because I don’t have a good independent word: Pilsner malt flavor.

    For the case of a Porter I would use the combination of Chocolaty and Roasty (and for my homebrewed Robust Porter I would add the descriptor of licorice as well).

    I would not state that the above is a complete list but it is fairly comprehensive.

    Which of the above would you like to achieve for your various beers?

    Cheers!
     
  5. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    Thanks guys. The challenge though, seems getting any "maltyness" at all. The body is always clean/slim. Not watery though. Mouthfeel seems fine.
     
  6. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Pooh-Bah (2,623) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Mash at 5.5-5.6 pH for more malt flavor.
     
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  7. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    so the higher PH leads to weaker conversion aka sweeter and maltier?
    I currently land around 5.2-5.3
     
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    What are you using as your base malt?

    When I am looking to produce a beer with a "clean" malt backbone (e.g., a West Coast style American IPA) I purposefully select North American 2-row as my base malt and a bit of very light crystal malt (i.e., 20 L) to achieve this "clean" malt backbone.

    Cheers!
     
  9. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    mostly 2 Row Weyermann as a base. Recently substituted a large portion with Munich but no changes in malt flavour. The last try was 63.8% Pale Ale, 21.3% Munich, 8.5% CaraAroma, and 6.4% CaraRed. Color is fine, but maltiness is just weak. Can hops cover it up? Maybe too much bettering hops?
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    “In short: high pH -> more amino acids have lost a proton from their amino groups -> they are now more likely to donate an electron to the reducing sugar -> more Amadori products -> more melanoidens.”

    http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing#Maillard_reactions

    Cheers!
     
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    You have a fair amount of 'character' malts in thay grains bill (i.e., Munich Malt, CaraAroma, and CaraRed).

    Maybe try Jeff's suggestion and up your mash pH since that will aid in the development of melanoidens but I am surprised that this would be needed given that grist.

    Hmm, I will think more on this and see if I have any other ideas.

    Cheers!
     
  12. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    I'll try the higher PH and see, but it's been quite frustrating. Are there any bacteria that would eliminate malt flavour? I had some Bombs in the past, but even with recent batches that have been fine, the issue persists.
    I ramped up the special malts thinking it would give me that flavour I want, but no luck.
     
  13. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    I have noticed that my brews come out darker than calculated...
     
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Do you happen to know the Calcium, Chloride and Sulfate levels of your tap water?

    Cheers!
     
  15. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    PH = 7,4
    Chloride = 79 mg/l
    Sulpahte = 52 mg/l
    Calcium = 87 mg/l
     
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    If it wasn't for the fact that you mentioned your mash pH was 5.2-5.3 I would have said this might be due to a higher mash pH since that condition encourages Maillard Reactions.

    Hmm?

    Cheers!
     
  17. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    I started adding some Acidulated malt to get the ph down.
     
  18. Redindie

    Redindie Initiate (139) Feb 10, 2016 Germany

    The thing is, the wort going into the boil has the maltiness I'm looking for. It's just getting lost somewhere.
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Well, so much for that theory. Those values look reasonable to me (i.e., shouldn't be the reason for diminished malt flavors). The Sulfate value is on the lower end of the range I would suggest (50 - 150) but it is within the range.

    Time for me to think some more.

    Cheers!
     
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,351) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    FWIW I achieve a mash pH of around 5.3 for my Oatmeal Stout and Robust Porter (no acid additions - just what happens with my alkaline tap water and the dark malts). Those beers are very malty. Maybe they would be more malty if I 'bumped up' the mash pH but frankly I have always been happy with how they turn out so I have never tried raising the mash pH for my malty beers.

    Cheers!
     
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