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Brewing tips

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:15 pm
by Imakewort
Lets see if we can start a thread on brewing tips,

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:25 pm
by Imakewort
From The Maltose Falcon's brew club
The following table contains tips and rationales important in working with chocolate (and vanilla).

Do not use milk, semi-sweet or baker's chocolate. These chocolates contain cocoa butter and other lipids that can harm the beer's head and lead to staling as the fats go rancid with age and oxygen exposure. Even distribution of the cacao solids in wort or beer requires melting the chocolate and stirring. There is no good way to do this without releasing the fats.

Do not use cacao in the boil. Boiling or hot extraction leads to a thinner, more insipid cacao character.

Do not use cocoa or cacao nibs in primary fermentation. Cacao contains antifungal agents that may kill or inhibit yeast. Best case is a long lag time; worst is an infection.

Use cacao in secondary fermentation for best results. Cold extraction, particularly with the aid of alcohol, improves the flavor and aroma profile of the end product. There are no issues with lipid extraction in cold temperatures used for secondary fermentation (low 60s).
Limit contact time; taste periodically to determine the level of extraction. Nibs may need up to 1-2 weeks of contact time for best results. Cocoa powder (alkali process; defatted) does not require nearly as much time due to the far greater surface area exposed to the extracting medium (beer).
I use 6-8 oz. cacao nibs in 5 gallons, or 1-2 oz. cocoa powder in 5 gallons. This varies by supplier; you will have to do some experimenting to find the best cocoa powder or nibs. I prefer nibs. Don't overdo it! The idea is to leave the base beer qualities evident while enhancing the chocolate character.

Use less bittering hops than you think are necessary for the base beer style. Cacao and cocoa powder contribute considerable bitterness, albeit of a somewhat different character than hop bitterness.

Use less cacao/cocoa in a strong beer. Extraction of the organic aroma and flavor compounds increases with alcohol content. This is one parameter you have to work out by trial-and-error. Add some vanilla beans to round out the flavor profile. Works pretty well for chocolate chip cookies, doesn't it?

Do not use vanilla beans (or extract) in the boil. Vanilla beans exude considerable oils that may interfere with head retention and contribute to staling. This is not an important factor for sodas, so go ahead and boil your vanilla when making cream soda. The flavors and aromas from vanilla extract will be lost during the boil.

Use vanilla beans (or extract) in secondary fermentation. Vanilla beans are okay in primary, but a lot of volatiles are lost in the vigorous CO2 blowoff of a good ferment. Extraction is better in the alcoholic environment of the secondary fermentation vessel.
Be generous. I use 2-4 beans in secondary, split and cut into ~2 inch lengths. Expensive, but then I got a bunch of free vanilla beans a while back, so it's free to me.

Use less vanilla in a strong beer. See above comments about alcoholic extraction of volatile components.

Take your time. Young chocolate beers are pretty unapproachable. The alkaline bitterness is startling at first, but fades with time. The flavors mellow and mingle with age. Give it a couple of months to come into its own.

Bottle condition these beers. My opinion. The yeast does continue to work despite the presence of some suspended cocoa/cacao particles. I have found that bottle conditioned chocolate porters are more subtle and drinkable than force-carbonated versions.[/url]

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:51 pm
by redtail28
That great let me be the first to start off.
My first brew on my system was a Belgian Golden Strong.
Due to a personal grain shortage I had to up the
percentage of table sugar. Now My starting OG was 1.070
and FG was 1.006 which should have been dry.
I now have this beer kegged and few club members
try it out said that it was sweet. But still very drink able
even at 8.3 ABV.

My grain bill was
20# pils
5 # table sugar
Stryain Golding 60 min
saaz 15 min
Sorry I cant remember the amounts off hand
WLP 570 Belgian Golden ale yeast
90 min boil
fermented at 64 to 68 for 3 days the raised up to
the high 80 with the aid of heating blanks.
primary last two weeks,secondary has been
a couple of months.

OK now how do I make this less sweet?
up the grain and lower the sugar?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:14 pm
by redtail28
Good information Igor.
I think that a topic or thread on brewing tip
should be placed in the general forum

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:02 pm
by Imakewort
Now what temp did you mash at? is your thermometer calibrated?
The higher temp you MASH at the sweeter it will be, sounds like you had enough yeast

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:04 am
by redtail28
We started at 132 for 15 min but with the
Low recirculation flow we had trouble raising
The temp so it lasted more like
45 min. the highest the mash got was like
145. As for as my thermometer it can’t
Be calibrated.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:47 am
by Imakewort
I run all my water thru a carbon filter and a RO DI system, to make sure all the chlorine is gone and help sanitise it I heat to 200F and let cool to strike temp, Learned this from professional brewers.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:01 am
by Imakewort
ok is your mash tun direct fired, because if your recirculation is really slow you probably over heated your mash

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:39 pm
by aleguy
With those stats, your beer should be dry, dry, dry. Perhaps the perceived sweetness is from esters that formed from the introduction of so much table sugar rather than residual dextrins. You might try a trippel yeast next time instead of a golden ale. that should introduce some spicy notes more than sweet esters.