Crisp Malt Forward Pale Ale

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by surfmase, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I have been been playing around with variations of the Stone Pale Ale, trying to create a go-to session pale ale recipe. What I can't seem to nail is a nice clean light malt flavor that I experience with commercial craft beers. My malt is Weyermann Pale Ale with variations of Carapils, Carared, Caraaroma. Yeast is Safale US-05. fermentation temps are not regulated, but basement is luckily within range or a hair cooler. 1 degree above (theoretical) final gravity I rack to keg and carbonate.

    Here is a list of my suspects; can anyone offer advise on fine tuning this recipe/process?

    -water has high residual alkalinity: I use lactic acid to drop ph to 5.2 in mash
    -actual final gravity is up to 1 degree higher than theoretical
    -yeast aeration inadequate, shaking fermenter for 3-4 min after pitch

    Thanks
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I find controlling the alkalinity adds to "crispness" in beer (actually makes it a bit tarter). Can be controlled with lactic acid, phosphoric is closer to flavorless for acidity. I've started getting really crisp light beers, here are the steps I've taken to do so:

    1. Fermentation temperature control. Try to keep the temperature in a narrow range. I either use the lagering fridge or a tub of water to stabilize the temperatures.
    2. Controlling residual alkalinity. The bit of acid I add to do this adds to tartness, tartness reduces the perception of sweetness and the more acidic mash reduces tannin extraction - astringency.
    3. Keeping most of the trub out of the fermentor. This actually works to control harsh flavors.
    4. Aerating with oxygen instead of air.
    5. Always pitching either a starter or two packets of dried yeast.

    Temperature control had the greatest effect. My basement AVERAGES 68 degrees but the temperature can swing by several degrees either way in the course of a day. Placing the fermentor in the tub of water both conducts heat away from the fermentor more effectively, reducing the temperature gain caused by fermenting yeast, and adds as a more massive heat sink to buffer temperature changes in the basement. Your process will vary, this is what worked for me.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    just add a tiny bit of Caramel Munich and it will give a good malt flavor it is around 60 in color though, for a lighter beer ive found that fermenting as low as you can helps keep it a very clean flavor

    I personally ferment at 60 , no yeast taste at all
     
  4. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    Thanks for the great advice guys!

    I've been working on temperature control, think I have a plan, just have to implement it. Was going to use the aquarium pump with air filter method to aerate cause it seemed easier. I will try the water as thermal mass next go-round just cause it makes sense.

    I have also started using a starter on your previous advice nosy bear, and it has helped.

    Never tried keeping trub out of the fermenter, basically was thinking purely about volume going into fermenter. Another thing to try.

    Along with caramunch; don't know why I've never tried that yet.
     
  5. bloodysafety

    bloodysafety New Member

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    more gypsum = hop foward
    less or no gypsum = malt foward
     
  6. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    when I do the water calculator for a specific recipe it refers to the SO4 / Cl ratio. I've interpreted something like <1 toward malty and >1 toward bitter. However, usually my water summary has inadequate values for both SO4 and Cl to give a meaningful indication. I've just written a recipe with 1g gypsum, 2g epsom salt 3g table salt 1g CaCl and get a ratio of 0.7 (malty) without overdoing my Ca levels. I'm also going to try Caramünch I.

    http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/231868/leo-carillo-summer-swell
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's a pretty involved water adjustment. I usually can get by with calcium chloride and some acid, either lactic or phosphoric. Disclaimer: Our water supply in Aurora, Colorado is generally quite good. I don't like any kind of harshness so I've pretty much cleaned out the gypsum from my brewery. I've also never run into a situation where I'd add sodium, unless it's in the form of bicarbonate or hydroxide to counter some acidity, and switching from mashing my dark grains to capping the mash with them has pretty much negated any need for that. Ditto epsom salts - in the mash, it's just a weaker form of calcium.

    I definitely subscribe to the "less is more" school when it comes to water. The less I dork with it, the lower the odds my beer will come out tasting like Perrier. After much fussing with water, my process has come down to this: Use 5 gallons of distilled water, five gallons of tap water, add two tsp calcium chloride and 3 ml of 88% lactic acid. That gives me a water pH of 5.5, a mash pH of about 5.3. By capping with the dark grains and crystals, I don't have to worry about the acidity they provide or harshness that can leach out of them because they aren't in the mash long enough for either to matter. I check the mash pH and can add either some acid or bicarbonate if the pH is too far off.
     
  8. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    Seems like good advice, in all aspects of life.
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    on water all i do is filter with 2 carbon filters then ph adjustments, my water is pretty good here too
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    General comment: Water adjustment, as long as your water is reasonably good to drink and not extremely hard, is just fine tuning. It's just about the last thing a homebrewer should approach, there are so many other factors that make a much greater difference in the taste of a beer.
     
  11. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    I appreciate the input. I hadn't considered that that was an involved water adjustment. The water here is hard with a high residual alkalinity, and with a lighter beer I need about 8 ml of 88% lactic acid to get below 5.5ph. When I did this last adjustment in the calculator I tried to get all of my positions in the "green" and also used the balanced profiles as a point of reference (not target). There are of course multiple combinations that achieve this, and each compound affects the adjustment differently. Just to compare, my combined additions are less than two tsp, but the acid is 8 ml for 5 gal. I also agree with the keep it simple concept. I somehow also though that spreading the additions around rather than only using just one would keep things balanced... perhaps not applicable in this application? So this begs the question, is a "balanced" profile misleading? What if the SO4 and Cl values are really low? no need to bump up? I would assume that this helps get hop or malt flavours to come through?
     
  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if you have hard water like me, its very hard to make a good smooth tasting lite beer, nothing to do with the recipe, you just need a softer water period for any lite style beer.

    I use 2 very good in-line charcoal filters $25 a piece to remove the harshness, chlorine taste and minerals from my city water just to make a good blond, then I adjust my ph with phosphoric acid, on a lite or blond it takes alot
     
  13. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    just a quick follow up on how this one worked using some of the advise from this thread.

    Kept most of the trüb out of the fermenter.
    Placed the fermenter inside 100L pot with water up to level of wort. Temperature of the water jacket started at 19C and ended at 21C.
    Mistakenly used a handful of München Malt instead of Caramünch
    edit: also used an aeration stone 1hr long after pitching.

    Result came out very nicely. Most noticeable was the smooth and clean taste with absolutely no yeast flavor. It had a very light color, probably the lightest I've achieved yet, but it wasn't quite as malt forward as I had hoped for. Certainly a recipe to continue working out, specifically with the Caramünch correction.
     
  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    you can also play with Aromatic Malt for a good malty taste
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Even as good as our water is, I'll use distilled or RA water for the lightest beers. Sometimes I blend 50% tap to 50% distilled water to cut some alkalinity.
     
  16. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes I agree, I use 2 $25 in-line carbon filters and salts to soften the water for a lite beer, the lighter the beer the more you can taste impurities and you have to start your recipe with the correct water
     

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