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Caramelized Wort Techniques.

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chefeffect

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Howdy,

I made my first 'Scottish Heavy 70/' a few days ago and caramelized 3.8Lt of wort in a pot, then added it back to the boil for a 21Lt batch. I wasn't really sure how far to go with the reducing as I didn't want to burn the proteins in the wort, as they surely would have burnt before the wort got a full on caramelisation. I tasted the fermenting wort and can taste some caramel flavours but was expecting something with more balls.

Here's a video of the wort. I actually took it a little further but didnt film it as I didn't want to burn it after spending 60 minutes reducing it.

The first time I did a BIAB I burnt my bag and some grains to the bottom of the keggle :eek: Yeah!! should have stirred during raising the temp, or used a false bottom which I do now. I made an IPA and it had this awesome caramel flavour which really made the beer, I really want to get that flavour again so I wanted to try the Scottish Heavy 70 first and learn how its done, plus the Scottish Heavy looks like an awesome session beer.

Has anyone done this method or used hot rocks before? Can someone tell me if I reduced the wort far enough?
 

Bribie G

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Wort caramelisation was discussed on AHB a couple of years ago. I think the consensus was that what you are getting is more likely good old Maillard reaction = toasty biscuit and that genuine caramelisation is going to be a bit hit or miss and if you don't know what you are doing you could end up with a burnt mess. Have you thought of adding dark Candi Syrup?
 

chefeffect

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Have you thought of adding dark Candi Syrup?
No I have not, interesting, may have to get some and have an experiment. Have you used it before? or anyone else?

Yeah I kind of thought it might be bit more of a Maillard reaction when reducing in the pot. There is a video that looks like they are getting some caramelization from using hot rocks which to me would be a better option. As you mentioned could be hit and miss though.
 

DarkFaerytale

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This is my favourite beer (scotch 70 or 80) and one i make often, with and without caramalisation, i usually take a portion of the first mash runnings, 2 or 3 leters and boil it, i really boil it, make sure to stir it every now and then, i give it a good hour, sometiems a little longer and add it back a little befor i flame out. i'm at work so can't see the video but what your looking for imo is something thats thick, kinda like tinned goo. i find that the use of the scotch ale yeast that wyeast has halps out alot as well as it likes to finish early, i usually get caramel and buscuit from mine.

as bribie said it was discussed a few years ago and there is a really good thread on it so i'd suggest a search for that one

good luck
 

black_labb

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The hardest thing about caramelisation is you need to start burning the sugars, just not too much. What makes it really hard to do is it is easy to think you are making an effect as you are evaporating water and the flavour is getting more concentrated without actually changing much aside from some extra melanoidens.

The only time I was able to notice much of a change was when I thought I had burnt it and decided just to chuck it in anyway and call it a porter instead of an american brown if it was too burnt tasting. Turned out perfectly with some extra caramel complexity.
 

chefeffect

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This is my favourite beer (scotch 70 or 80) and one i make often, with and without caramalisation, i usually take a portion of the first mash runnings, 2 or 3 leters and boil it, i really boil it, make sure to stir it every now and then, i give it a good hour, sometiems a little longer and add it back a little befor i flame out. i'm at work so can't see the video but what your looking for imo is something thats thick, kinda like tinned goo. i find that the use of the scotch ale yeast that wyeast has halps out alot as well as it likes to finish early, i usually get caramel and buscuit from mine.

as bribie said it was discussed a few years ago and there is a really good thread on it so i'd suggest a search for that one

good luck
Did a quick search before, might have to look a bit better. Yeah the method you mentioned is pretty much exactly what I did. I might have to get that yeast you mentioned I nearly bought some the other day but ended up getting 'Dennys Fav 50' instead. If I like this beer will try the yeast you mentioned.

The hardest thing about caramelisation is you need to start burning the sugars, just not too much. What makes it really hard to do is it is easy to think you are making an effect as you are evaporating water and the flavour is getting more concentrated without actually changing much aside from some extra melanoidens.

The only time I was able to notice much of a change was when I thought I had burnt it and decided just to chuck it in anyway and call it a porter instead of an american brown if it was too burnt tasting. Turned out perfectly with some extra caramel complexity.
I kind of thought the same thing about caramelising the sugars, because I make caramel from sugar for catering, and you really need to heat the crap out of it to get any flavour or colour. I will try the dark candi syrup, but I wonder if just adding sugar that's been caramelized might do a similar effect?
 

Muggus

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Bribie G

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The UK breweries added various caramelised inverted sugars to their brews - somewhat like the Belgian Candys.

I'm pretty sure QLDkev has been using this method to recreate some of the old brews from the "Shut up about Barclay Perkins" site.
 

Feldon

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as bribie said it was discussed a few years ago and there is a really good thread on it so i'd suggest a search for that one
Might be this thread from 2009 ? http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=21386

Edit: Includes this comment by Chappo:

Caramel is made by heating sugar slowly to around 170 C (340 F). As the sugar melts and approaches this temperature, the molecules break down and re-form into compounds with a characteristic caramel color and flavor. A variety of candies, confections, and desserts are made with caramel and its products: caramel apples, barley sugar, caramel with nuts (such as praline, nougat, or brittle), and caramel with custard (such as crme caramel or crme brle).

Ok so basically I reckon we are ALL doing it wrong. If you boil bejebuz out of the wort to reduce it your not actually caramelising the wort your either burning it or just reducing it.
 

Logman

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No I have not, interesting, may have to get some and have an experiment. Have you used it before? or anyone else?
I use it in Scottish Ale but use the Amber Syrup and it imparts a pretty strong flavor. Very nice, improves it considerably. Worth trying in a batch at the very least. :icon_cheers:
 

chefeffect

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That second video is awesome!! would love to try that, lot of work.

The UK breweries added various caramelised inverted sugars to their brews - somewhat like the Belgian Candys.

I'm pretty sure QLDkev has been using this method to recreate some of the old brews from the "Shut up about Barclay Perkins" site.
interesting site will have to do some more looking around in there.
 
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Nick JD

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Using CARAmalts is a great way to get caramel flavours into your beer as they have been kilned at caramelisation temperatures. ;)
 

Bribie G

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+1 - I don't frig around buying my Caraaroma by the kilo any more, I get the 5k pack every time for the discount.
 

black_labb

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Might be this thread from 2009 ? http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=21386

Edit: Includes this comment by Chappo:

Caramel is made by heating sugar slowly to around 170 C (340 F). As the sugar melts and approaches this temperature, the molecules break down and re-form into compounds with a characteristic caramel color and flavor. A variety of candies, confections, and desserts are made with caramel and its products: caramel apples, barley sugar, caramel with nuts (such as praline, nougat, or brittle), and caramel with custard (such as crme caramel or crme brle).

Ok so basically I reckon we are ALL doing it wrong. If you boil bejebuz out of the wort to reduce it your not actually caramelising the wort your either burning it or just reducing it.
Different sugars caramelise at different temperatures, also a low ph reduces the temperature you need. As the amount of water in the sugar reduces the boiling tempertature increases. When you are just about to burn it the temperature is high enough to caramelise, but as you drive off that last bit of water it burns. I think we are going about it the right way, we just don't have enough control over it as it is too hard to tell the difference between caramelisation and burning. I haven't measured the temp of the caramelising wort but

I've made invert and belgian candy sugar successfully quite a few times. Adding acid to lower the pH helps, as well as adding some DAP to speed up the maillard reaction which I know are different from caralisation (The phosphate is a catalyst to maillard reactions). Getting the amber and quite dark is easy, but getting the very dark stuff is hard because it is again hard to limit the burning. I read somewhere to add a touch of treacle or mollasses to it to get that last bit of darkness and flavour into it without burning it which I've done and it works really well.

Possibly a bit of treacle could help with the caramel flavours. I know it doesn't come from malt but once things are caramelised that much there isn't much difference where it comes from. It's not really out if style. Otherwise as people mentioned the different crystals are already caramelised to different extents
 

chefeffect

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I would agree as a caterer I make caramel all the time with sugar and getting the process just right takes time, skill, patience, and experience. I cant fathom actually caramelising wort by reducing it. All the proteins and other break material etc, etc, would burn before getting the wort up to the high temperatures required for making caramel. I have half a bag of Caraaroma because I love the flavour, maybe I should just start incorporating this into my recipes a bit more..

Next question is, after this reducing of 3.8Lt of wort from a 21Lt batch which is about 18% of the overall recipe, what will this process do to the fermentation, will it be less fermentable or more? I would assume less. In beersmith my OG was 1.038 and the predicted FG was 1.009 but it didn't have an area to add caramel process into the recipe, what would you think the terminal gravity might be??
 

Helles

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I would agree as a caterer I make caramel all the time with sugar and getting the process just right takes time, skill, patience, and experience. I cant fathom actually caramelising wort by reducing it. All the proteins and other break material etc, etc, would burn before getting the wort up to the high temperatures required for making caramel. I have half a bag of Caraaroma because I love the flavour, maybe I should just start incorporating this into my recipes a bit more..

Next question is, after this reducing of 3.8Lt of wort from a 21Lt batch which is about 18% of the overall recipe, what will this process do to the fermentation, will it be less fermentable or more? I would assume less. In beersmith my OG was 1.038 and the predicted FG was 1.009 but it didn't have an area to add caramel process into the recipe, what would you think the terminal gravity might be??

I dont think it will make a difference to the fermenterbility of the wort
Terminal gravity should be the same as with normal boil
As with a longer boil you will have a darker maillard reaction making it darker and a deeper stronger caramel flavour


Hav not try this my self YET
 

chefeffect

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I dont think it will make a difference to the fermenterbility of the wort
Terminal gravity should be the same as with normal boil
As with a longer boil you will have a darker maillard reaction making it darker and a deeper stronger caramel flavour


Hav not try this my self YET
Yeah just wondering because the wort has not gone below 1.014 been steady for 3 days or so, and looks done. Anyway's will try again, maybe do the stein version with the hot rocks, that would be sweet!!
 

manticle

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I haven't noticed a huge difference in attenuation when I've done it.

One thing I have noticed though is a reduction in head retention IF I take the reduction too far. If it's just a reduction to a thick but still runny syrup, it adds to the flavour but I still get good retention.

I think the 'caramelise' term is used fairly loosely.
 

chefeffect

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I haven't noticed a huge difference in attenuation when I've done it.

One thing I have noticed though is a reduction in head retention IF I take the reduction too far. If it's just a reduction to a thick but still runny syrup, it adds to the flavour but I still get good retention.
That's something to keep in mind, for next time...! Mine was super thick and really reduced.
 

manticle

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Be interested to know how you go as the head retention thing is experiential and nutted out with some conversations with Screwtop so it's not definite.

I remember him suggesting something about proteins becoming 'locked' inside a lipid rich solution being a possible cause (hope I haven't misquoted - I can't find a whole lot of references about it but observationally there seems to be a correlation).
 

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