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Hi All

Going to try a Black Rock Brown next brew. I got a kit converter with this - a blend of malt and dex, some hops and chocolate malt. LHBS recommended simmering this for 10m and just throwing it in to max the flavour. Any downsides to this? Clear beer isn't so much of a big deal with darker ales.

I also picked up some cascade to DH and was going to put some in the simmer as well, but not sure if this is worth it with this style? I've always done hop additions, and remembering my bitter was a bit bland having only a small amount of fuggles added.

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51 minutes ago, Lab Rat said:

Hi All

Going to try a Black Rock Brown next brew. I got a kit converter with this - a blend of malt and dex, some hops and chocolate malt. LHBS recommended simmering this for 10m and just throwing it in to max the flavour. Any downsides to this? Clear beer isn't so much of a big deal with darker ales.

I also picked up some cascade to DH and was going to put some in the simmer as well, but not sure if this is worth it with this style? I've always done hop additions, and remembering my bitter was a bit bland having only a small amount of fuggles added.

I imagine you will steep the grains so it is advisable to boil the liquid once you remove the grains.  Putting some fermentables into the boil is a good practice,  especially if you are adding hops too.  The sugars improve hop extraction. 

You will get more IBU's out of the same weight of Cascade than Fuggles.  Therefore, if you're looking for more bitterness, that is a good way to do it. 

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Hi Seamus. can't easily separate the grains, they are all begged together with the sugars and hops. I was just going to simmer the lot as suggested, cool and add to the fermenter. I haven''t bothered straining the mix before when I've boiled hops, but wasn't sure whether to do the same with grains. LHBS said not to bother, seeing what others thought.

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3 hours ago, Lab Rat said:

a blend of malt and dex, some hops and chocolate malt

Hi Lab Rat, I assumed by the above description that the chocolate malt was grains.  Is there actually grains in the mix, or is the chocolate malt just a dry version?  Probably not a big deal either way.  I have read that grains should not be boiled because it can extract tannins which cause unwanted and unpleasant flavours in your beer.  However, if there is not too much and you are only boiling for 10 minutes I doubt any negative outcomes would be detected.  If the chocolate malt is a powdered version it can be boiled no worries at all.

Having the hops and grain in the same mix is awkward.  I was going to suggest to heat some water in a pot to between 65-70°.  Chuck in your kit converter, give it a stir until the powdered malts dissolve, and leave to stand for 30 minutes.  This step will extract the grain goodness.  Then strain into another pot, catching the grains and hop matter.  Then boil the liquid for the aforementioned 10 minutes.  However, then you do not get the hop bitterness that the boil produces.

If the mix contains grains and you decide to boil the whole kit converter, I would definitely strain the boiled mix into your fermenter.  Think of what half a cup of wheat goes like sitting in a cup of water for a week or two.  I would not want that in my fermenter for that time.

Straining will also remove the boiled hop material, although that is not critical.  Once the hops are boiled, and their bittering goodness is extracted, when they are cooled to fermenting temperature they do not add anything more.  Maybe you would get a tiny bit of flavour from them.  However, you are better off to do a hop tea or dry hop to get flavour and aroma.

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All together.............That seems a bit strange. And he wanted you to simmer it. I have never heard of this from a LHBS

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19 minutes ago, Shamus O'Sean said:

Hi Lab Rat, I assumed by the above description that the chocolate malt was grains.  Is there actually grains in the mix, or is the chocolate malt just a dry version?  Probably not a big deal either way.  I have read that grains should not be boiled because it can extract tannins which cause unwanted and unpleasant flavours in your beer. 

Yes, choc malt grain, pre cracked.

I've used converters before, but only ones with hops added. it's never much, probably 10g. I've tried brews with boiling, and just tipping them in. Hard to tell a difference unless I try a beer side by side done each method. I always dry hop as well, as most kits are only a base and are never hoppy enough for decent flavour.

I guess I'll simmer, steep and strain. There's only around 50g of grain in there anyway, so probably need more to make a significant difference overall Coopers advanced recipes usually call for around 200g+ grain

 

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If they are grains you don't really want to be simmering them. That is a really weird way to package them though, they're usually separate from the extract. 

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1 hour ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

If they are grains you don't really want to be simmering them. That is a really weird way to package them though, they're usually separate from the extract. 

Brown ale kit converter No72. Seems a popular thing, loads of them online. My LHBS makes up these kits too. Instruction on this one, says just to steep with the mix.

https://www.australianhomebrewing.com.au/kit-converter-72-brown-ale

 

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Steeping is fine, that's what is normally done with speciality grains anyway. They just aren't simmered or boiled. 

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32 minutes ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

Steeping is fine, that's what is normally done with speciality grains anyway. They just aren't simmered or boiled. 

Ah, I though steeping was much the same as simmering and leaving to cool. I can always sieve a lot of the grain out to separate it, but some of it will be too fine. What do you suggest as the best approach to using it?

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If you're able to separate it, simply heat some water to about 70 degrees, pop the grains in for half an hour or so then strain them out and boil the resultant liquid and do the hop additions if any. Probably put 100g or so of the malt mixture in for the boil too.

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Hi Lab Rat,

It is the husks of the grains you that have to worry about; exposing the husks to high temps, as you would if you boiled them, extracts excessive tannins / harshness / astringency from them.

Sieving is  probably good enough for removing them. Personally I put my grains in a fine mesh bag. You can get them at your LHBS. It is generally recommended that you keep the grains less than 77C. Steeping is usually done well below this at around 60C (although the temperature does not need to be exact; it is just for the purpose of helping the sugars to dissolve in a timely fashion). Mashing is usually done between 65-70C.

As for which hops to use, Fuggles or Cascades, it depends on whether you want a UK or US style. UK styles usually don't use a lot of late hops, maybe 20gm of Fuggles boiled for 5 minutes. 

Cheers,

Christina.

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Thanks Otto, Christina.

I never intended boiling the grains. I'll forgo the simmer, and do the steep/ liquid boil given I'm adding some extra cascade as well.

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So...I put this one down this arvo. Sieved out as much grain from the malt mix as possible. First time using grain, so wondering how is this?

  • BR Nut Brown extract
  • Brown ale kit converter - 1kg. 500g malt, 500 dex and other sugar
  • Kit contained about 50g Choc malt grain, steeped 30m with some dry mix, strained.
  • 10g of unknown hops in malt mix. 15g Cascade. Both hops boiled with grain steep 10m.
  • 10g Cascade at flameout for 10m. Strained before mixing.
  • Will add 25g cascade DH at day 4-5.

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2 hours ago, Lab Rat said:

So...I put this one down this arvo

I reckon it will be a ripper.  Your process sounds really good.

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Cheers, we'll see how it goes. I was going to try something similar to Coopers Nut Brown recipe, but went the kit converter instead, as it had grain in it. Totally different grain to the Coopers recipe though.

Not tried grain steeping before, but at 50g there's not much there. Coopers recipes with grain usually go for 250-300g.

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Ok, here's a weird one.

OG was 1031. I thought that was low. This one was slow to get going, then dropped 15 points overnight. Now 7 days later SG is 1001. Never had a beer get this low.

So, checked hydro in water. It's reading 0.992. So is it stuffed? Shouldn't it be reading 1.000 -  which would make my gravities 8 points out, then everything makes sense.

Beer is good, but needs more malt. No more kit converters for me, I can do my own hopping and steeps.

Edited by Lab Rat

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41 minutes ago, Lab Rat said:

So is it stuffed?

If it has read correctly in water previously it probably is stuffed.  Maybe a crack or somehow condensation has gotten inside.

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Yes you would be looking at an OG of 1.038-39 with those ingredients in 23 litres. Given the hydrometer error it's obviously sitting around 1.009 currently and is probably finished. 7 days is plenty of time for it to ferment down 30 points. 

I'd say the hydrometer is stuffed with an error that large. It may go further out as well, especially if there is a leak. Mine reads 2 points low but it's consistently there so I just add those points to all my readings. 

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