Recent brew doesn't quite hit the mark


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Jun 20, 2015
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Hi all,
I wonder if you could help me troubleshoot and improve a recipe I brew a few weeks back.
74% Maris Otter
11% Munich (10L)
3% Carafa II (400L)
11% Torrified wheat
2% Flaked barley (not sure what this is doing here)

Mash temperature was ~155F/68.5C (was supposed to be 149/65 but I misread the notes on brew day).

Hopped using EKG and Fuggle one first-wort bittering addition and one at flame-out for ~22 IBU.
~1oz EKG first wort
~1oz + 1/2oz EKG + Fuggle flameout.

The yeast was wyeast 1469. pitched from a 2 ltr starter. Fermentation temperature ~66F/19C.
I thought over-pitching slightly will help with the fact that I don't have means to properly oxygenate the wort.
On primary for 2.5 weeks before bottling. Conditioned for about 4 weeks so far.

OG was 1.052 and finished at 1.017 (was expecting 1.014)

My experience evaluating beer is very limited so it is difficult for me to identify issues.
I like the beer and how it tastes, I like the complexity from using this yeast.
I feel it could use a bit more bitterness. I am fine with the level of aroma and flavor.
The beer's body is just too big, I assume this is due to the mash temperature and the flaked barley?

A comment I got from a friend who doesn't know much either, but tries hard to be helpful, is that the malt flavor is too potent... I think he is right.
I have used Carafa in a stout I brew before, and I was not able to feel the flavor that predominates in this beer.
Do you think the light Munich malt may be the culprit here?
What changes would you make?
Flaked Barley definitely will add to the body, as well as head retention. With the amount of torrified wheat I'm sure the flaked barley could be left out.

I'd suggest to get more of that stout style to add more roasted malts, and drop a bit of the Maris. In the last stout I made I used 10.1% Roasted Barley and 3.8% Black Malt. That might add to more of that perceived bitterness you're looking for too.
let it age, those types of beer need more aging than most, especially with Carafa II, that grain is noted for milky thicker texture but it will drop some of it over time, chill it very cold and let it set for 30 days after fermenting
The light Munich is could be adding the malt flavor your friend is complaining about - is it a "bready" taste? All in all, I'd think age would mellow it. There are many variables to a recipe including how did you process the dark grains, but I think the body issue is mash temperature dependent. You admit you don't know why the flaked barley is there - find out why. I never use an ingredient if I don't know its purpose. I've seen recipes where the brewer actually uses ingredients that "cancel" one another because they didn't know why they were using them.

First wort hopping will give you bitterness but the overall impression in my experience is not as intense a bitterness as boiling the hops. The approximations from the recipe builders are scientific wild-a***ed guesses at best so here experience with the ingredients and effects on flavor are important.

All in all, this is a very doable recipe, not too many ingredients, but the ones that are there are very strongly flavored. Maris Otter makes a wonderful, very malty pale ale by itself. Carafa is very intense in both flavor and color. Munich adds the flavor of bread - not crust. Flaked barley adds body and head retention and, admittedly, I've never used torrified wheat. I think I'd like it.
Gents, thank you for your feedback.

The flaked barley is there because I thought it would help with head retention, but it is probably unnecessary given the amount of torrified wheat already in the recipe.

This recipe is based strongly on a Riggwelter clone that featured in 'can you brew it' ...
I took to heart comments made by some authors: munich is the new crystal and try carafa instead of chocolate.
So I changed the grain bill and ended up with a recipe where most of the grains contribute heavily towards flavor.

Don't get me wrong, I really like it and I am downing without hesitation but, there is obviously room for improvement.

Thanks again.
The comments about Munich and Carafa are valid - I love both malts! Problem with Munich is you have to mash it, reducing its utility to extract brewers....
Guess everyone missed the fact that he mashed in at 155F. This is called an "alpha rest". By doing so, you created less fermentable maltose in your wort and a bunch of unfermentable sugars. That malt forwardness you are tasting is less a result of your grain bill and more from your mash temperature.