1A - Pilsner Malt

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1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby lexuschris on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:44 pm

I wonder if everyone else has the same flavor preception of Pilsner malt in a beer?

When I taste a beer with a majority of Pilsner malt, I get a definite 'grainy' flavor from it. It tends towards a corn-like flavor in my mind... is that just me?

When I taste this flavor in beers, I assume it is from a pilsner malt. In some styles, it is welcome. In others, I wonder if it is a flaw in recipe or a flaw in techinique..? Thoughts?
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby brahn on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:53 pm

To me pilsner malt definitely comes across with a sort of grainy sweetness.

It doesn't remind me of corn at all, although a common flaw in beers with a large amount of pilsner malt is DMS which can come across as cooked corn.
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby bwarbiany on Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:33 am

I get the same "grainy" taste out of it... It's one of the reasons I like it so much. US Pale malt is so smooth it usually seems boring. But a blonde with 50% pale and 50% pils? Just enough grainy quality to make it interesting...
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby brahn on Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:22 am

+1 - I love that grainy-ness!
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:23 pm

Pilsner malt is definitely more grainy tasting than domestic 2-row. In the right style, it is outstanding. If there is any corn flavor, it is probably a result of poor brewing processes by the brewer. As Brent mentioned, because Pislner malt is so pale, it contains more of the precursors that produce DMS. If the wort is not boiled long enough (suggested time is 90 to 100 minutes) and the wort is not cooled fast enough, you will end up with DMS in your finished beer. This can result in a cooked corn aroma and flavor in your beer (yuck).
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby JonW on Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:41 pm

Hmm.... A timely discussion as my next recipe is going to be a clone of Russian River Row 2 Hill 56. It's over 60% pilsner.
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1B - Grainy flavor from ..?

Postby lexuschris on Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:49 pm

So question 1A was trying to get consensus on what people perceive as Pilsner malt flavors.

Question 1B is why I am getting this flavor in my new beers, when there is no Pilsen malt at all. When I pulled out a bottle of my last pale the other night, it tasted great .. if it were a hoppy blonde or something else that you expect that grainy character. So that got me wondering..

I've brewed 7 batches on my new rig, and all my pale ales have this flavor, without any Pilsner malt. I've started to build a matrix of possible culprits, and am graphing as much as I can for each brewday onto it... trying to see a commonality. Its not finished yet, but I would love to hear thoughts on where this flavor may be coming from.

The new rig has moved me to use many different techniques that I did use before, and many new pieces of equipment. I also have a few ingredient items I'm looking at too..

+ Hop spider w/paint strainer bag
+ Pumps
+ Direct Fire mash / recirc
+ mash-out
+ fly-sparge
+ plate-chiller
+ sanke-fermenter
+ fermentation fridge w/ranco controller
+ CO2 push from fermenter to kegs.
+ water treatment for pH
+ homegrown hops
+ yeast starter pitch whole, or decant first
+ emergency transfers to different boil kettle

So many new variables, it is really hard to nail down where this is coming from. Each time it is a grainy, husk like flavor with a slight sweetness to it. I would not call it cooked corn/cabbage, but having never had a DMS issue before, it may very well be a bit of DMS. (note to self: put boil & cooling times on matrix)

Again, any other thoughts on variables to plot to find out where this is coming from .. is appreciated!

I can bring a bottle or two to the next meeting for some confirmation on what the off flavor is likely to be..
-_LexusChris

p.s. one other odd variable occured to me today.. What if I bought American 2-row, and I received Pilsner
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby bwarbiany on Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:19 pm

Could it be astringency that you're mistaking for graininess?

If it's DMS, it could come from not having as vigorous of a boil as well...
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby brahn on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:12 am

The fact that you say it is "husk like" makes me think astringent, like bwarbiany said.
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby lexuschris on Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:01 am

Good suggestion. I did an APA on 6/10/12, which defintiely had a husky flavor to it. It was definitely astringent, and that is one of my bad batches. My best guess on that batch was that I tried fly sparging, but did not do it correctly. I basically pumped the HLT onto the bed at full speed, while draining at full speed. I caught myself half way through, and reduced the rate of flow on both pumps. However, I imagine the flaw might have been so much high pH water hitting the grain bed at 178-F and pulling tannins out of the husk material.

Because of that issue, I switched back to batch sparging (with pumps) to get back to the process I have more success with.

I've 3 brews without the same issue right after that: Weizenbock, club Trippel, Amer.Brown. The 1st and 3rd had enough dark roasty/malty notes, that might have masked the off flavor. I thought the Weizenbock was pretty decent. The American Brown I used too much Baking Soda in the water treatment, and tasted too 'rounded'... but still okay. Not at all astringent/grainy.

The trippel, I saved a growler of, and it tasted perfect .. and very light in body .. so I may have addressed my issue with that one.

However, after the Brown ale, I did another APA on 1/1/13. This one tastes like Pilsner malt to me. Not astringent like the 1st APA. That is the one I can bring to the meeting and see if you think it is DMS, astringency or something else. I could use the help to calibrate my taste-buds on this one...

As for the 1st APA and astringency, I know too hot or too high pH on sparge water can be a culprit. Anything else?
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby DrDually on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:12 am

Chris, have you checked your local water report and what are you doing about adjusting pH in the mash?
I have been playing with water adjustment for the last year. The last two batches have 93% efficiency using very slow sparging and pH in range of 5.4
If interested, I found a single page spreadsheet that is sooooo easy to use to calculate water adjustments
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby dhempy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:24 am

Is this the Palmer sheet or some other?

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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby JonW on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:33 am

I'd be interested in checking out the sheet. Up to this point I've not done any additions to my water and I've not thought my water needed to be modified, but this is something I have been thinking about lately.
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby DrDually on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:26 am

Here is the link to original
http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

I found some possible errors and made corrections. Now it does not try to divide by zero
Also note, the water report values are for Santa Ana
Attachments
Santa Ana Water Calc 08Mar13.xls
(68.5 KiB) Downloaded 211 times
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Re: 1A - Pilsner Malt

Postby brahn on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:22 pm

Chris, you're pretty close to me, you're welcome to borrow my pH meter for your next brew if you'd like to check the pH of your mash/sparge. I've also got lactic acid that you could use to make an adjustment if you find out that the pH is too high.

That's a nice spreadsheet, much simpler than some of the other ones I've tried.
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