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What is your go-to ALE base malt?


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#1 ER Pemberton

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 08:36 AM

After using many different base malts like CMC 2-Row, MaltEurop and some others, I concluded that I liked Rahr Pale Ale malt for things like pale ales, ambers, blondes, reds and even British styles.  It had a deep, rich character and it was always consistent.  I am just finishing a 50-lb sack of it and I feel like my recent ales have been on the 'flat' side.  Chils mentioned this happening with some pilsner malts in the past where the finished beer is just "thin-tasting" and sort of "dirty".  My processes are the same and my lagers lately have been great so I'm [carefully] blaming this particular sack of malt.  I have an additional 10-lb bag of Rahr Pale Ale malt which might be just fine and I also have a 10-lb bag of Munton's Maris Otter, then I'll be out of ale base malt.  Do you guys have a go-to that you keep on hand as a 'general-use' ale base malt?  What is really strange is that the 2nd to the last batch I made (a Glacier pale ale) had a very quick-dissipating head on it.  My most recent batch (Signature Ale) is the same way.  The head on it is like a Coke... bubbly and thin and quick-to-fall which is very unusual for me.  Not sure if I can blame that on the Rahr or not but it's not the glass and it's been 2 batches and my lagers are fine.  

 

Ps.  Where is Chils?



#2 Zsasz

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 09:04 AM

CMC pale ale is my favorite domestic option.  if I'm not considering price I really like using TF and son GP.


Edited by pickle_rick, 09 December 2018 - 09:05 AM.

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#3 HVB

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 10:04 AM

As with Pickle I use CMC most of the time because that is the cheapest option and for most of those beers I want to malt to disappear.

 

As for Chils, I have wondered the same.  I assume some PH stuff drive him away?


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#4 ER Pemberton

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 10:09 AM

As with Pickle I use CMC most of the time because that is the cheapest option and for most of those beers I want to malt to disappear.

 

As for Chils, I have wondered the same.  I assume some PH stuff drive him away?

If Chils left because of some PH stuff then I would be okay with that... I've occasionally felt the same.  I hope it's something that easy.

 

I'm considering taking a drive to the one nearby LHBS that has sacks for sale all stacked up near the front door.  What they will actually have is a crapshoot but I'm going to look for something 'different' than what I have been using and see if it makes a difference.  I'm in a run of lagers at the moment but I have some 2112 beers coming up where I plan to use standard 2-row/pale ale malt in the grist and if that first one comes out much different then I'm going to conclude that this sack was just a little off... and that's not out of my experience.  I've seen it before.  Cheers. 



#5 ER Pemberton

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 12:35 PM

They had Briess "Brewer's Malt" for $50 a sack, Simpson's GP for $89, Crisp Maris Otter also $89 and then Dingman's Pale Ale for $100.  I haven't brewed with Briess products in awhile and I think there's a reason for that.  I was standing there and said to the guy working, "I know this Briess is about half the price of the others but I'm not sure it's worth it" and another customer said, "LIVE A LITTLE!" and I agreed.  So I picked up the Simpson's GP.  55 pounds for $89 and then a 10% discount that they give me there.  Malt prices are getting higher for the better products.  



#6 Bklmt2000

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 01:56 PM

A good Pils malt is my go-to base malt for all beers in my brewery, whether ale or lager.

 

I've had good success w/ Avangard pils for the last couple of years, and I have an order of Swaen malts (2 bags of pils, 1 of light Munich) on the way, should arrive Wed/Thurs.


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#7 neddles

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 02:56 PM

Really depends on the type of ale I am making. I can think of circumstances where I would prefer all of them (GP, Pils, M.O., pale, American pale ale) in one ale style or another.


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#8 djinkc

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 03:26 PM

I used CM for years when Country Malt would sell it to clubs and liked it fine.  I'll use Rahr when it's all I can get for a reasonable price.  Great Western 2-row is what I have been able to get lately.  Honestly my palate can't tell much difference between those three.  MO or GP are a nice step up but I haven't used either in years.


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#9 ER Pemberton

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 03:54 PM

I know everyone's system is different as are their taste buds but some of my beers seem to be coming out on the drier/hoppier side.  For reference, I have been mashing around 150° with a single infusion.  I doubt mash temp is making much difference but what temp is everyone mashing at?  I also think that some of the low-O2 processes are having an impact too... low-O2 beers are supposed to finish drier and many people on the low-O2 board are mentioning that their low-O2 beers seem hoppier or they're "getting more from their hops than they're used to".  That's true for me as well.  On yesterday's batch of lager, the focus was on "malty depth"... more Vienna in the grist, more CaCl and no CaSO4, less bittering-hop IBUs.  I seem to be missing "pop" and depth lately in my ales.



#10 djinkc

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 05:05 PM

The last time I measured mash temps it was 148df.  That's about what I want unless I have a lot of unmalted adjuncts.  Even then I just go longer if I'm concerned.  The size of my grainbills don't vary much.  I forgot to check more than a few times and then didn't care since I know my setup.  EHLT temps are checked every time.


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#11 Bklmt2000

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 05:22 PM

I know everyone's system is different as are their taste buds but some of my beers seem to be coming out on the drier/hoppier side.  For reference, I have been mashing around 150° with a single infusion.  I doubt mash temp is making much difference but what temp is everyone mashing at?  I also think that some of the low-O2 processes are having an impact too... low-O2 beers are supposed to finish drier and many people on the low-O2 board are mentioning that their low-O2 beers seem hoppier or they're "getting more from their hops than they're used to".  That's true for me as well.  On yesterday's batch of lager, the focus was on "malty depth"... more Vienna in the grist, more CaCl and no CaSO4, less bittering-hop IBUs.  I seem to be missing "pop" and depth lately in my ales.

 

I usually mash in the ~149-150°F range for most, if not all, of the beers I make these days.  And probably 75% of the beers I make are ales.


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#12 ER Pemberton

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 05:26 PM

Thanks guys, that's helpful.  I still see people saying that they mash at 152-154° and then I hear Denny say that you could mash anywhere between 145 and 160 and tell no difference which is why I thought that mash temp may not be relevant here.  There is more to do on this subject but the last two beers I've made have my expectations very high.  



#13 HVB

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 06:27 PM

Thanks guys, that's helpful. I still see people saying that they mash at 152-154° and then I hear Denny say that you could mash anywhere between 145 and 160 and tell no difference which is why I thought that mash temp may not be relevant here. There is more to do on this subject but the last two beers I've made have my expectations very high.


I mashed a Czech Pils at 160 accidentally and it still finished about 1.010-1.012 and tasted fine. I still will adjust mash temps but with the modified malts today I am not sure it maters as much.
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#14 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 09:04 AM

Rahr two row has always been a solid work horse for me; love the profile it gives; never been disappointed, and buy it whenever the LHBS has it on sale. Avangard Pils has always been a go-to malt for lagers. Munt's Marris Otter; while a solid malt, has always been hit-or-miss; depends on how good the quality of the bag that i buy; example: once a year, i do a MO/EKG smash barley wine; some years, its fantastic; other years, its just doesn't seem to "pop", and the malt profile is what you can say is "dirty";  just a muddled malt flavor, best way to describe it. 

 

Grain is a living product; and as a guy who buys base malt by the 50 lb bag, and promptly either vacuum seals it or store it in a 5 gallon bucket with a sealed Mylar bag and silica gel packs for storage no more then a year; it has to depend on initial harvest.

 

a few years back, got a steal and a half of a 50# bag of Great Western's 2 row, and it was an amazing base malt! been priced outta the market ever since- not sure if it was a great year or a fluke; never had the chance to compare it. 


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#15 ER Pemberton

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 09:09 AM

I did have the chance to use Great Western 2-row once and I seem to remember it performing well.  I don't see it much in my local shops.  



#16 denny

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:44 PM

1st choice - Mecca Grade Lamonta

 

Runner up (still VERY good) - GW pale


Thanks guys, that's helpful.  I still see people saying that they mash at 152-154° and then I hear Denny say that you could mash anywhere between 145 and 160 and tell no difference which is why I thought that mash temp may not be relevant here.  There is more to do on this subject but the last two beers I've made have my expectations very high.  

 

In general, that's correct.  Most of today's malts have so much diastatic power that mash temp doesn't matter nearly as much as it used to.


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#17 Bklmt2000

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:50 PM

In general, that's correct.  Most of today's malts have so much diastatic power that mash temp doesn't matter nearly as much as it used to.

 

One reason to mash lower (beyond habit, in my case): mashing higher means using more fuel (propane, electricity, etc) to heat the strike water higher.

 

Or, waste not, want not, if Ben Franklin was a homebrewer in the modern world. :D


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#18 Merlinwerks

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 09:51 AM

For most ales I use a blend of CMC Superior Pils and Bairds Maris Otter, proportions will vary depending on what I feel like. For maximum attenuation I generally mash at 152F - 153F based on this ARTICLE and the STUDY it is based on. However, I also feel it probably doesn't make a significant difference anymore...


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