Base Malt Difference

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by ltrog, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. ltrog

    ltrog New Member

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    I am looking to capitalize on economies of scale by purchasing my primary fermentable base grain in the 55 lb sack. With that said, I will be committed to brewing several batches using this single type of grain as the base malt. Will I see a significant difference in desired beer flavor that the recipe designers are trying to achieve if I don't use the prescribed base malt? My novice perception is that base malt is primarily used as a sugar source and only to a lesser degree to achieve a desired flavor for the beer. Flavor is brought on by hops, specialty grain, and yeast strain differences. Is this correct? I was planning on going with a simple Rahr 2-row which I can get for less than $1/lb to be my catch all base malt. I brew all types of beers from very light IPAs to dark stouts. The 55 lb bag will last me a year with the frequency I brew at.

    Thank you very much for your time in answering my question.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I recon that'll do you just fine I do the same myself just by a sack or ale and a sack of pils malt. There are differences between base malt grains for sure but weather on not you can tell the difference I'm not sure I could.
     
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  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I do what you are planning. A 55 lb sack of 2-row and adjust with specialty grains. If you’re interested, Brulosophy has done some testing on this topic.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I keep a good Pilsner and a good 2-row in quantity. Also a fair amount of Vienna and Munich and Wheat on hand. Those are my primary ingredients and I'll supplement with a few lbs of Victory and various Crystal malts or CaraMunich plus a few dark roasted malts as needed.
    You'll find a difference when brewing clean lagers where you'll probably prefer to have some good Pilsen malt but otherwise everything can be had from a good basic 2-row.
     
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  5. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I have a bunch of base grains but really, a sack of 2-row will work for pretty much everything. You may not get "exactly" the described character but you'll get a good beer.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. There are differences between base grains but they're subtle.
     
  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I should really do some experiments sometime with this as I have tubs of 2-row, Marris Otter, Vienna, and Munich and I can't say with any confidence I could actually tell them apart. I stopped stocking Pils malt for that reason, now I do a "Vienna Pils" if necessary.
     
  8. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i did 3 small batches of 2 row, vienna, and munich as a test years ago. but vienna and munich had a very distinct taste to me, with the 2 row being somewhat plain, but not bland. I'd definitely suggest giving it a go
     
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  9. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I am going to play devil's advocate here and throw in the proverbial, "it depends" ;)
    I have only done this with one beer style, but I did do a series of more-or-less SMASH pale ales a few years ago varying only the malt....100% pilsner, 100% pale ale (german, assuming 2-row), 100% vienna and 100% munich.
    There was definitely a distinct difference between them!
    I think if you are adding enough specialty malts or have a fairly complex malt bill to begin with, you won't necessarily notice much of a difference, but if you are going more SMASH, then yes, it does make a big difference.
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    This is where the blind tasting question comes in, cause bias is a beast. I had a beer I fermented with Ale and Lager yeast from the same wort and in a triangle test no one was able to tell them apart. Not super scientific but makes me suspicious.
     
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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I keep 2 row, and Maris Otter on hand as base malts, but use mostly 2 row. I use the MO for stouts and porters, 2 row for various IPA's. Not a lager guy, but down the road when I get really good (read: really consistent) I want to try a Pilsner Urquel clone.
     
  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, doesn't really answer your question...
     
  13. Meatwad

    Meatwad Member

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    There are a few nuances between most base malts but when brewing for consumption vs competition it won't matter (unless we're talking British styles; in that case Maris Otter is a must). Even for competitions I'll use non-continental base malts if I don't have enough on hand.

    My Belgian Blonde won a gold at 2019 NHC first round in Milwaukee using American Pilsner malt. My Tripel took a gold at a competition this year using American Pilsner.

    When you start getting into the German styles which need grainy-sweet profiles then I'll use German Pils malt because you really can't replicate that flavor with anything else.

    I brew often enough that I keep sacks of American Pils, German Pils, Maris Otter, Americna White Wheat and French Pils on hand.
     
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  14. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    A bag of 2 row will serve you well. Keep it in a container that mice can’t get into and watch out for moisture. I keep the grain in the bag and that inside a metal garbage can. That also keeps it in the dark to reduce the chance of oxidation. If doing a pils, Vienna lager, etc. go get fresh new base malt for those light beers. Cheers!
     
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  15. Doz

    Doz New Member

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    maltings.jpg

    An English Bitter, base malt and some crystal with one or two hops really lets the base malt shine through, I'd suggest MO was wasted on darker beers as again the malt bill is more complicated. But there again the variables of weather and terroir will make a difference in the small scale. Some people swear by floor malted barley, I suspect that I'll take a trip to Warminster soon to find out.
     
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  16. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I do the same thing for the same reason. Since I mostly brew Irish Reds and Scottish ales my base grain is Maris Otter. So, get the base malt that matches the style you make most often. You also need to consider how long it will take you to go through it. As long as it's stored cool, dry and pest-free you could likely have it for almost a year before noticing any significant degradation in aroma and taste. At least the it was in my case. Not sure how long before it would impact the flavor of the beer produced from it.

    Something I started to do last year was to store my grain in a large Ziploc space saver bag. The kind you suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner hose. After a year (almost to the day) I didn't notice any degradation in flavor or aroma.
     
  17. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I've got some white wheat that is at least a year old and haven't noticed an issue. Grain will store a very long time if you keep it dry.
     

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