Mashing non-diastatic malt

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Cobnut
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Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by Cobnut » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:38 pm

I've been reading a bit about historic British beers recently - including the Durden Park Beer Circle book/pamphlet on "Old British Beers and How to Make them".

I've made an attempt at the Whitbread 1850 London Porter using Chevallier malt and modern brown and black malts (and 140g EKG in 23L!), but I also see that in the 18th century, porters were made with 100% brown malt. Unfortunately, with modern malts this wouldn't be possible as modern brown malt is non-diastatic, meaning under normal circumstances it'd have to be only a % of the mash together with diastatic malts to provide the necessary enzymes for starch conversion.

This set me thinking.

Could I buy alpha and beta amylase enzymes and mash 100% modern brown malt?

A bit of googling suggests that alpha amylase is quite readily available, but beta less so (bit of a specialist chemical, so harder to find and likely rather pricy).

So maybe not a viable approach.

What does the JBK "Hive Mind" think about this idea?

100% brown malt with some commercial alpha amylase mashed at the low end to ensure good conversion?
Fermenting: DogBolter clone, Dry Hopped Lager (Pilsner)
Conditioning: Belgian Blond, London Porter
Drinking: SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel, Quickie Voss Kveik IPA, Make American Stout Great Again, Dunkelweizen, Sussex Bitter, Schonramer Helles clone
Planning: Single hop pale ale, 1750 Porter

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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by PeeBee » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:03 pm

It isn't just that historic brown malt was diastatic whereas modern brown malt isn't: The historic stuff was made by an entirely different process.

The "modern" stuff (drum roasting was around since early Victorian time) allowed brewers to get some of the porter flavour while using pale malt for the majority of fermentables (more economic). So you can expect a brew made with 100% modern brown malt with enzymes to replace the "missing" ones to taste completely wrong and probably come out too dark as well.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by PeeBee » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:55 pm

To get at "historic" brown malt make your own (from scratch, not by using the instructions in the old Durden Park Beer Club booklet which is to make an approximation of modern brown malt), or perhaps use a scheme I followed when making an 18th century porter emulation and make up an approximation using a variety of different modern malts to fill out this curve:
By comparison, a modern malt could be represented as a narrow spike on such a graph.
BrownMalt.jpg
The curve approximates the make up of "historic" brown malt, which you fill out with malts of various hues (including some crystal, and I included some smoked malt too) in the proportions dictated by the curve (a statistical distribution curve with positive skew!).

There are caveats associated with the latter method: I developed it in my head which is a breeding ground for some pretty wappy ideas! All the same, it made for a very excellent beer, better than the "1850 Whitbread" one I've got on at the moment. I brewed a cut down 1.070 version, not the 1.090 headbanger in the booklet.

(EDIT: I was following the 1750 recipe on the Web site but using 100% my contrived brown malt - it isn't in the booklet but #126 "Original Porter (1743)" is the closest.)

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by Cobnut » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:57 am

Thanks @PeeBee.

Once again, your suggestions are informative.

I'd be interested in your recipe if you're prepared to share.

My Whitbread 1850 Porter is still aging - although I did have a taste of a small bottle last weekend at less than a month of aging and it certainly has promise. I bit more time and it should smooth out beautifully and make for a lovely beer.

Would be very interested to try something even more "historic" - if only I coudl find time in the brew schedule!

Cheers!
Fermenting: DogBolter clone, Dry Hopped Lager (Pilsner)
Conditioning: Belgian Blond, London Porter
Drinking: SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel, Quickie Voss Kveik IPA, Make American Stout Great Again, Dunkelweizen, Sussex Bitter, Schonramer Helles clone
Planning: Single hop pale ale, 1750 Porter

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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by orlando » Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:15 pm

Crisp do a high diastatic malt. You might consider using a proportion of this to replace your base malt to allow you to up the Brown Malt. Although it isn't quite the same, Mild Ale Malt is another way of getting some of that maillard flavour into it as well.
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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:02 pm

Cobnut wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:57 am
… I'd be interested in your recipe if you're prepared to share. …
Well, you asked for it! It's taken from a post on another forum that has fallen into obscurity it seems?

If I did it again (I ought to!) I'd probably rearrange my "brown malt emulation" so that it includes crystal malts (what goes below had crystal malts added as an afterthought, not merged into the "emulation") and also to use the larger range of malts available now (Crisp Table Malt, Crisp Munich and Dark Munich Malts, various other Crisp and Simpson Malts, etc.). And I would encourage you to do the same, not blindly follow the below.
Porter Discussion (holistic approach!)
Postby PeeBee » Sat Jan 27, 2018 17:27

Porter was made from 100% brown malt. Brown malt was most likely a "shortcut" in malt production to keep it cheap and plentiful (compared to artisan "country" producers, whose techniques were quite impractical in the expanding cities). Brown malt was dried fast using high temperatures, just being careful not to burn down the... oops, there goes another malt-house. It was scorched and pretty brown in colour. Unlike modern malt the old malt grains would have been subject to varying temperature throughout the grain bed being heated. The high temperature and damp grain would cause some malt to "pop" or be "blown" (or "explode", to make it more dramatic). There are some suggestions that some of the grain "stewed" during the process to produce something akin to crystal malt within the grain bed (basiclly "mashed" insitu). This suggestion is taken further by some suggesting quite a high proportion "stewed" and the end result was sold as "porter malt" - I can believe this as it suggests further "shortcutting" ending up with an inferior product which rather than being ditched is sold as an advancement - would never happen in commerce today would it!

There's a writeup of traditional brown malt production here: http://www.beeretseq.com/new-insight-in ... 0s-porter/. But we needn't rely on this to decide what's best, it just makes an interesting read.

So how do I emulate this (I can't be bothered to try making it from scratch). Old brown malt was diastatic so I'll start with modern day Pale Malt. Making brown malt will have resulted in a fairly random range of roasts, so I'll cut the Pale Malt with Extra Pale ("Low Colour" or "Lager") Malt, "Munich" Malt and Mild Ale Malt. And because I'm convinced I need smoke flavour I'll further cut it with a Smoked Malt. This gives:

25.5% Warminster Maltings Pale Malt
21.0% Warminster Maltings Low Colour Pale Malt
15% Warminster Maltings Smoked Malt
14% Warminster Maltings Mild Ale Malt
2% Warminster Maltings Munich Malt

I used Warminster Maltings malt because that is what I had and from previous experience I could estimate the amount of "smokiness" I'd get from the smoked malt. The quantities are pretty random to reflect the randomness of roasting in the historic stuff. Determining the "random" quantities was easy; it's what I had left in stock!

You can probably see where I'm going with this. I was pleased with myself devising this approach to emulating traditional brown malt, but have since found out this is more or less how Meantime went about formulating their "London Porter" (can't seem to get it any more). http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/post1640/. Ideas are never "new".

Now for colour and "roastiness". I believe the (modern) brown malt is important because it is strongly flavoured and I don't want to miss out on that. I'm not bothering with the dehusked dark malts to reduce bitterness, because I won't be using much:

6.0% Warminster Maltings Amber Malt
7.0% Warminster Maltings Brown Malt
2.5% Warminster Maltings Chocolate Malt
1.5% Warminster Maltings Black Malt

And finally, to pay lip service to the "stewing" ideas (and add a bit of extra flavour):

2.5% Warminster Maltings Crystal Malt
1.0% Warminster Maltings Crystal, High Colour, Malt
2.0% Warminster Maltings Crystal, Extra High Colour, Malt

I mashed at 67C for 75 minutes, raising temp towards 75C in last 15 minutes. I'd dropped my brewhouse efficiency expectations to compensate for high gravity and fairly old (left-overs) malt. It was sparged, which isn't historically correct but what the hell.

Boiled for 60 minutes with East Kent Goldings (whole) to give 81 calculated IBUs, but the IBU contribution wasn't reduced to account for hop aging (2/3rd were a year old, 1/3rd left-overs and two years old). No late hops.

Fermented with Wyeast #1099 (Whitbread Yeast) which is a pretty old strain and not very attentuative. Pitched at 16C, allowed to rise to 19C to complete primary ferment (4 days), then cooled to 14C. OG70, FG18, about 72/73% attenuation.

Casked after just over two weeks and primed for about 1.3 volumes CO2. Matured 3 months. Served on hand-pump (not really historically accurate - hand-pumps were invented by the 18th century but not properly developed until the 19th century), maintaining a scrap of CO2 top-pressure (2PSI).

Not like any beer I've ever come across! Very strongly flavoured, near enough addictive. Black, not brown (it's actually very deep red) so next time could throttle back on the roast malts. Not at all as bitter as I was expecting which was surprising, some bitter "harshness" from roast malt detectable but not an issue. Very slight "prickle" from the carbonation. Smokiness is subdued and mellowed as expected and adding very much to my perceived "oldness" of the beer. But its just reinforced my idea of what porter might have been like, even less reason to believe (in the short term) some of the newer ideas of what it was.

What of "coffee", "chocolate", "vanilla" and other wierd and wonderful flavours that often get added to "porter" these days? Obviously they are undeniably historically incorrect, but I think you could even add a vindaloo curry to this recipe (a "black IPA"? Geesh) and you wouldn't notice - it really is that powerfully flavoured!

Things I might do differently next time: Up the hops just a little bit (10-15%). Reduce carbonation, holding to 0.75 - 1.0 PSI. Reduce more strongly roasted malts (chocolate and black) by about 1/3rd.

(EDIT: Having started the second cask, I go back on the suggestion to add 10-15% more hops. It is quite bitter enough as it is. May be due to the initial higher carbonation of the new cask? May be because it is not currently being served on hand-pump and the mellowing effect they have, yet?)

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Mashing non-diastatic malt

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:36 pm

orlando wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:15 pm
Crisp do a high diastatic malt. You might consider using a proportion of this to replace your base malt to allow you to up the Brown Malt. Although it isn't quite the same, Mild Ale Malt is another way of getting some of that maillard flavour into it as well.
The Crisp "Table Malt" mentioned in my last post is Crisp "reinventing" Mild Ale Malt. It also covers "Vienna Malt", but I think it was assumed Crisp Mild Ale and Vienna malts were the same whereas they've come clean now and we know its the same.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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