Stout Trouble

Get advice on making beer from raw ingredients (malt, hops, water and yeast)
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PeeBee
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Re: Stout Trouble

Post by PeeBee » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:27 pm

You've already decided it might be a "blip" but next time you could, with a nod to "Orlando's" reasoning, dispense with the flaked barley and replace it with more pale malt? Unmalted barley was introduced relatively recently (1920-30s) to Guinness. You might prefer it "all-malt", it might even make an indiscernible difference? But if the cause is some missing component in the mash reducing enzyme activity to below levels needed to complete the job, well this time you can up the enzymes and not worry about a difficult to pin-down "problem" just now.

Roast barley replaced black malt too, but I wouldn't switch that (unless brewing an all-out historic recipe) 'cos it emphasises the "dry" finish that set Guinness apart.

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Kev888
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Re: Stout Trouble

Post by Kev888 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:10 pm

Well yes, one could avoid or reduce the issue by not using as much flaked barley. But the 70%-20%-10% recipe is brewed by a great many people and normally just works as expected (give or take the odd gravity point). For it not to suggests some underlying issue that to my way of thinking would benefit from being either shown to be a one-off blip, or if not then to be understood - whether one chooses to do anything about it or not.
Kev

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PeeBee
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Re: Stout Trouble

Post by PeeBee » Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:23 pm

Kev888 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:10 pm
Well yes, one could avoid or reduce the issue by not using as much flaked barley. … ^^^
Aye, 'twas only a "suggestion" to get past the immediate requirement (there's this rumour that Xmas ain't far off?) before choosing to deal with some in-depth trouble-shooting. I entirely agree; my "delaying tactic" shouldn't be used to put off indefinitely finding underlying issues.

But it was interesting grubbing through the done research (mostly done by Ron Pattinson) for Guinness recipes that might back up what I'd suggested; and there wasn't any! In fact I only found one earlier recipe for Guinness, from mid 19th century, pre-dating the 1880 "free mash tun act" (so unmalted grain in beer was illegal anyway), was a complicated recipe (including amber malt), a good bit stronger, and basically unlike Guinness today. I also picked up that "dry" Irish stout might be fairly recent, and attenuation for Guinness leapt from 75% in 1950 (about the same as London stouts) to 85%, probably a change of yeast? So choosing to follow what I said about switching flaked barley for more pale malt wouldn't have anything from Guinness that might back it up even just a little bit. But useful grubbing all the same: I'm getting quite keen to return to my stout brewing after many stout-less years.

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Kev888
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Re: Stout Trouble

Post by Kev888 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:12 pm

It can certainly be interesting to look back, see where things we do today originated and so on. Challenging to interpret sometimes though, and many things including the malts themselves have changed over the years so those we get today are not necessarily comparable. As i showed to my cost last year failing to make a historic beer with lots of modern brown and amber malt!

With the recipe in his thread though, it (and similar variations) are very well proven by a great many homebrewers. Partly due to the popularity of Graham Wheeler's BYOBRA book which includes a version; it normally just works as it should.

If it was just a one off blip then no matter at all, could be any number of minor mistakes that will not normally be repeated - I'm sure most of us have been there (I certainly have). Though it would be nice to do a repeat brew at some point to check that it actually was. If not then it might be flagging up something important, either specific to the flaked barley being used or possibly something with significance for other brews too.

In that case my first port of call would simply be to check that what was being expected of the flaked barley in terms of its gravity potential was realistic to begin with. If all was well there then one could look at the quality/nature of the grain itself and what is known of the basic mash conditions. Hopefully a clear answer could be found there, if not then it could start getting tricky to track down, unfortunately.
Kev

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Re: Stout Trouble

Post by Addled Jim » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:37 pm

I'm pretty much decided now that I'm going to rebrew this recipe exactly the same, as soon as this one's ready to keg. I'm willing to accept I must have made a mistake somewhere and the blip is down to that.
Next time round I will take more care throughout the process, complacency may have been my downfall and I'd rather determine this first before moving on to a different recipe.
Thanks for your replies, I will report back when I Brew it again - James

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