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Dryness In Extract Brewing

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deebee

The Bludgeon Brewery
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Overall, my biggest criticism of my own brewing is that I have trouble producing a truly dry beer. All-grain brewers can adjust mash temperature and grist ratios to tweak dryness but it seems that extract/mini-mash brewers like me cant do much about it. I just aerate the wort as much as I can before pitching a decent-sized starter and hope that I get good attenuation. Then if it conditions for long enough it will dry out a little more. But in the end, extract brews have a sweetness thats difficult to shake.

I do notice its less of a problem in my partial mashes, but time is my enemy and I dont often get to do a minimash. Extract with specialty grains is my standard method and I still do a few kits n bits brews.

I have steered away from using enzymes after reading forum posts about flavourless dry beers, but am tempted to try one to see whether it works.

I do enjoy drinking full-bodied chewy ales, but I would like to be able to make some dryer beers. What techniques do other extract brewers use to produce dryer beers?
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Replace some nice malt extract with (shudder) sugar.

how much yeast and what kind do you pitch? How do you aerate, for how long and when. Are your brews made with 1Kg crystal?


Jovial Monk
 

Batz

Batz Brewery...Hand crafted beers from the 'Batcav
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I bet your mashing too high Dee-bee , I too had this problem , I don't like sweet beers .

Also the bitterness / malt profile makes so much difference , possiable I am telling what you alread know here , but I can forward you a copy of an interesting email on this from maltcraft if you like
 

deebee

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JM, yes I am awake to those issues and limit specialty grains to 500-750g per 23 litre batch. I actually find that roast barley does add a sort of dryness or something that tastes like dryness, that burnt bitterness flavour. Lately I have been using your second drop into fermenter about 12 hours after pitching as follow up aeration. I do aerate well. The only yeasts I have used have been Thames Valley, American Ales I and II, Irish Ale, and safales S04, S33.

Batz, my problem is not mashing enough rather than mashing too high. My part mashes don't have the same problem as my all-extract brews.

Not all of my beer is too sweet. But it seems to be a factor I have little control over.
 

JasonY

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Could it be your priming sugar? Since I have started kegging my bottled beer tastes 'sweet' ... I have tried dextrose (worst of the lot), dried malt (ok but needs a long time to condition) .... currently back to caster sugar which shouodl hopefully ferment out completely ..

An idea anyway
 

PostModern

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deebee, what extract do you use? I use primarily Bintani Light DME and don't have this problem. Early on I was using Coopers LME and had some of the residual sweetness you talk of. Fixed that with extra hopping :)
 

deebee

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Thanks for all tips. It was drinking that Taddy Porter the other night that got me all melancholy about not being able to achieve the same dryness. I'm mostly over it now, but will look into your suggestions.

Hmmm sugar...maybe just a little.

I will take your tip PM and ask for Bintani by name. (As soon as I finish my 20kg bag of Wander DME.) Extra hopping is what I have been resorting to and it helps with balance, but it doesn't really achieve "dry".
 

jayse

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Deebee.
One thing i would do to check the attenuation of the DME your using is make up a 1 litre wort with about 125g of dme and ferment it out and check the final gravity.
This will tell you how good the attenuation is for a perticular extract.
With this you can see what you need to get out of the other fermentables your adding. If the F.G ends up high you'll need to go easy on crytsal malts etc or as JM said use 5% sugar(maybe dextrose would be best).

We have diccussed the pale grains coopers use with wes on the grumpies site and i pressume wander would be made in a similar way.(most likely by lion nathan somewhere i expect).
Anyway these pale malts the extract is made from is malted in way that leaves a final product that needs to be used along side a fully fermentable sugar as the malts on there own will be to sweet and full bodied.
Grain brewers do not use any of these malts but all of the mega breweries do without the use of these malts the breweries could not get away with using so much sugar in there worts.

Making any sense here.
anyway don't be affraid to add 500g of dextrose to a malt extract with low attenuation. This should see you right.

Cheers Jayse
 

deebee

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Thanks Jayse, that makes a lot of sense. I do remember reading that thread on grumpsy. From memory my big bag of Wander was made in central or northern Europe, but actually I have only just bought that and haven't drunk any beer made from it yet. I generally use coopers LME and the generic DME that gets bought in bulk and repackaged at the HBS

I guess the answer is to replace some extract with dextrose, ensure good aeration and starter size, make more partial mashes and expect some residual sweetness in some all extract brews.
 

PostModern

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An interesting post by Graham Sanders (in OCB, I think) that may be of use...

Once you go onto full malt beers, and especially grain beers, YOU DONT RACK
THE BEER OFF THE YEAST EARLY. At 5 days this is where you really want the
yeast to do the hard work, fermenting complex sugars. Taking the beer off the
yeast at five days will guarantee the beer will not ferment fully and leave
a sweet thick beer.

Leave the beer on the yeast for at least two weeks, then think about
bottling. You will see better results. and no, you wont get off flavours
from yeast dying. It takes a lot longer than two weeks.
I admit to being lazy racker and often leave the beer in primary for more than 10 days. This may have been the reason I don't have the sweetness issues you speak of deebee.

Also, I just looked at the label of the Bintani malt and find it is made by Wander in Switzerland.

Cheers,
PoMo.
 

deebee

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Thanks for that PM,

Actually upon reflection I have noticed that some of my more recent beers have less of this sweetness. I couldn't call them really dry but they're not noticeably sweet. These are the beers I have made since I started to get fussy about aeration, so attenuation has clearly been a factor.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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That is the advice I always give, rare example of me agreeing with Motor Mou, err Sanders. Except I don't recommend leaving the beer on the yeast in summer!

Irish Ale yeast is known to be not fully attenuative, don't use where you want a dry finish. WY 1728 Scottish and above all Nottingham Ale yeasts are very attenuative. If using Safale or other dried yeast always add at least 2 packets (23g)

I would also rouse at day 4. Clive LaPensee, a slightly eccentric writer on brewing, rouses by bubbling filtered air using an airstone and aquarium pump, though most say don't aerate after day 3 from pitching. Swirl the fermenter or even open the lid and stir the yeast cake back up into the beer. Always good for a few extra points that. At the end of ferment, when the yeast isn't very active and so not generating much heat is where some (CAREFUL) application of gentle heat may be useful.

Jovial Monk
 

deebee

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Isn't Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale supposed to be the Guinness yeast? How do they get it so dry?
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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hehehhe add sugar, probably :)

They mash brew, of course so a low mash temp, high water: grain ratio ends up with a dry beer. What Guinness actually do I have no idea.

Jovial Monk
 

Stratis

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deebee said:
Isn't Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale supposed to be the Guinness yeast? How do they get it so dry?
Guiness Draught has a low original gravity. Also, they add a bacterial culture (I think it's Lacto) which dries it out even more and gives it that Guiness "tang".
 

Asher

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Gee... everything said so far rings true and sums up my brewing history so far.... ;-)

Fermentation is a too often forgotten part of homebrew. In my opinion its the area worth concentrating on and perfecting before stepping into the world of grains.... If you can make a quality beer with liquid yeasts and extract by providing them with a quality home to ferment in, everything else is easy....
Allot of people look to their grain bill and mash schedule to fix sweetness/body problems that probably came from bad fermentation techniques.....

I had problems with under attenuated extract beers for a while. Also diacetyl problems (sometimes described as a butterscotch sweetness) All stemming from the yeast dropping out of suspension before it had finished its job (especially with Safale). A quick rouse in the second week of fermentation and a religious two weeks in the primary cleared the problems right up....

I never had any luck with the enzymes... at the time I was getting them from a dodgy supplier so no idea what state they were in...

Asher for now
 

GMK

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Stratis

The extra tang in Guiness is from adding 10% of off/sour beer prior to bottling.
This gives Guiness the Tang....they put 105 aside of every batch for this to be added back.
 

Stratis

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GMK - that makes more sense. Therefore it wouldn't dry it out, as the soured beer (or the whole batch in the case of bottling) would be pasteurised.

I'm actually not a big fan of Nitro'd Guiness Draught. I suppose it's a good session beer, but I prefer the Extra Stout.
 

wardy

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What a great thread... this seems to be the crux of the issues i am facing too. My beers are too sweet. I've always used a lot of malt, so i thought that was my problem, and in my next beer i was going to exclude adding DME to the kit, and instead add dextrose.

I tried to make a cascade premium lager with 1.5kg kit black rock dry lager, 1.5 kg Morgans pale malt extract, 400 g LME, Saflager yeast... and the taste was almost spot on, except it was sweet and malty instead of dry.

So it seems like it could be fermentation problem, and that i should aerate the wort more and/or rouse the yeast midway through ferment??
 

PostModern

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wardy said:
So it seems like it could be fermentation problem, and that i should aerate the wort more and/or rouse the yeast midway through ferment??
I'd just be giving the beer 2 weeks in primary, if thus far you've only been in primary for one week. Ensure adequate aeration, of course, but I reckon rousing is only useful in stalled ferments - where you're quite a few points off target FG and know that mashing too high wasn't the cause.
 
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