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Author Topic: Newb question about grain  (Read 2848 times)

Offline nbmonte

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Newb question about grain
« on: February 25, 2016, 06:53:10 PM »
So I've decided to go all grain. I've read my brew book a few times, researched online, and decided to jump in. I picked out the recipes I want to try and made a list of ingredients to get. I'm in an Irish ale phase ( my favourite beer is currently Smithwicks) and my starting recipe calls for pale malt. Cool. But once I started looking I realized there are different types of pale malt. How do you decide on which one to use?  Do you simply pick one and then try others?  Is there a resource that explains the subtle differences between varieties?  Does manufacturer/supplier make a difference? Or is pale malt, pale malt no matter where or who you get it from?

Any insight is appreciated.

Offline robcoombs

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 07:29:25 PM »
Congrats on the upgrade to all grain! You'll love the control and freedom.

Pale malt can mean any pale base malt. For example 2-row. There are numerous types of base malts though, marris otter, pilsner, the list goes on. Generally speaking, 2 row works for most styles, or at least can be substituted in without much difference. But there are some styles that demand specific base malts, such is the case with pilsner and Belgian styles.

Easiest thing to do would be to google 2 row vs marris otter vs pilsner. Or something along those lines. There is too much info out there to quote you  a reply. I would think 2 row or marris otter would work in an Irish ale, but I'm no expert on the style. Others may want to chime in.

Good luck and feel free to post any other questions.

Offline Roger

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 07:36:42 PM »
Congrats on the upgrade to all grain! You'll love the control and freedom.

Pale malt can mean any pale base malt. For example 2-row. There are numerous types of base malts though, marris otter, pilsner, the list goes on. Generally speaking, 2 row works for most styles, or at least can be substituted in without much difference. But there are some styles that demand specific base malts, such is the case with pilsner and Belgian styles.

Easiest thing to do would be to google 2 row vs marris otter vs pilsner. Or something along those lines. There is too much info out there to quote you  a reply. I would think 2 row or marris otter would work in an Irish ale, but I'm no expert on the style. Others may want to chime in.

Good luck and feel free to post any other questions.
Yea what he said!

Offline Jake

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 08:49:24 AM »
To add to this and to give you an idea on what other people are doing (may or may not be of value to you), on a typical NBCBA grain order, I'd say that typically our order would be made up of at least 50% maybe 60% 2-row malt because as Rob said, 2-row is good for a lot of styles. I know that in my beers, I'd use 2-row 95% of the time as my base malt. I'd say that less than 20% of the other grains on a pallet would be made up of Marris Otter or Pilsner.

ALTHOUGH, the last beer I homebrewed was a Scottish Ale recipe and I used Marris Otter as my base malt because this is traditional in this style of beer. So if you're wanting to brew a true Irish ale I'm assuming that Marris Otter may be considered the traditional option (this is my assumption, I'll let you do the research into that) ... but at same time, this does not mean that my Scottish ale wouldn't have turned out equally as well with 2-row ... I would have still been drinking some very good beer with either base malt option.
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Offline shazapple

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 11:02:05 AM »
To expand on what Jake said, I wouldn't focus on the ingredients too hard at this point. You'll be pretty busy learning the process for your first several brews. I'm just at the point now where I have some experience with the process so I can focus more on the ingredients and how it affects the beer. Whatever you do the beer will taste awesome!
Lee

Offline nbmonte

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 10:14:30 AM »
Thanks for the replys, it makes more sense now. I don't know why I never googled it in the first place, Google holds all the answers.

Offline robcoombs

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 10:37:48 AM »
Thanks for the replys, it makes more sense now. I don't know why I never googled it in the first place, Google holds all the answers.
Never hesitate to ask questions here. It's just that that question was so broad it was impossible to write out everything about base grain.

Offline DandyMason

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 08:33:36 AM »
Welcome to the hobby!

Just thought I would mention, my understanding is that Pilsner, Marris Otter, etc. is all 2-row malt ... The canadian pale malt we use just happens to specify that it's 2-row on the bag, so we usually call it 2-row. Apparently the alternative is 6-row barley which is used for like Bud and Coors who have massive proportions of adjuncts. So whenever we say 2row we mean the canadian pale malt. Maybe someone can chime in and confirm this, but thought I would mention in case something confuses you in your research! Hope i didnt just cause further confusion ....

For now, I would say just get some ingredients in and learn technique.

Offline Roger

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Re: Newb question about grain
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 09:22:03 AM »
Yea that's right most all base malt is 2-row except 6-row obviously. We just call the stuff we get 2-row instead of Canadian 2-row. They all might have a slight flavor difference between them but at this point I think a beginner's technique will affect the flavors far more than the type of base grain used.
Cheer's and happy brewing!