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Can Roast Barley loose its flavour?

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Whistledown

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Over the last few years I have made many Guinness clones with great success. My latest attempt however is missing that roast barley bite. I use the same recipe every time, ie pale malt, rolled barley and roast barley. I grind all my own grains. With the roast barley I usually grind the grain in a coffee grinder and add towards the end of the mash. This has always worked for me. The roast barley I used may have been over 12 months old. I it likely that it has gone stale and lost its astringency?
 

razz

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I have stored roast grains for a couple of years with no noticeable changes Whistledown. But before milling I always chew on a few pieces just to make sure the malt is still crunchy and has the flavour it should have. If it’s not the roast barley perhaps it’s some other part of your process? Change in water, etc.
 

Whistledown

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Thanks Razz, It is unlikely to be the water as I am on tank water which is filtered, the result is clean soft water (total dissolved solids less than 7ppm), I then treat it as RO and add minerals from there. I took your advise and chewed on a few grains of the roast barley and it seemed almost tasteless for a black grain. I am going to buy some more so I can at least do a comparison. Thanks again.
 

razz

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No probs, it's worth keeping small amounts of grain vacuum packed also. That's if you have a food vacuum.
 

Whistledown

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Footnote. I bought some fresh roast barley and performed a taste test. The roast barley I used in the mash was stale and tasteless compared with the recently purchased grain. I managed to resurrect the brew by making a strong roast barley tea and adding it to my corny keg to mix with the original beer. Whilst not the best stout I have ever made it is now drinkable. I look on this as a win as I was going to throw away the original brew.
 

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