hist-brewing: blown malt/tannins

BrewInfo brewinfo at xnet.com
Thu Nov 16 13:54:21 PST 2000

Adam writes:
>    -  I am certain that Snap and blown malt have been out of production
>for quite sometime and while some English and Welsh friends make Blown
>malt at home i have no idea how one would make Snap malt.  I would
>recommend that one use home smoked brown malt from one of the English
>floor maltsters which would provide something close if not on target.

If you (or anyone on the list) can provide some instructions for making
Blown malt, I would be very grateful.


Adam also writes:

>brewinfo at xnet.com (brewing) wrote:
>    "Finally, tannins do not lower pH and if you are making any effort
>to extract
>tannins from your malt, then you are in error."
>    - While it is true that tannins do not lower pH i think that it is
>incorrect to say that one should never attempt to extract tannins from
>their mash.  Tannins do provide a crucial element to the flavor profile
>of several different styles of ale.  Specifically i know of several
>accomplished Lambic brewers who purposely extract tannins from their
>mash because they believe that it helps with the prolonged secondary
>fermenting common to the style.
>    Also, several ale styles, including some currently in production in
>France and Holland,  use wood to provide preservative and flavor
>attributes.  Wood certainly does contribute plenty of tannins to these

I too know quite a few accomplished amateur pLambic brewers and I'm not
aware of any of them making any effort to extract tannins from their
mash.  Given the incredibly long aging that Lambic undergoes, it is
not suprising that any extracted tannin would have long since combined
into very long (and thus very soft) polyphenols by the time you consume
it.  Polyphenols combining into longer molecules is one of the reasons
that red wine improves with age.

Indeed wood contributes plenty of tannins, however, I don't consider this
to be an intentional extraction of tannins.

Some tannins (polyphenols) are inevitably extracted from the aleurone
layer of the malt and even more from the hops (1/3 of the tannins in
American Pale Lagers come from the hops and that's beer with only 12 IBUs...
consider how much more tannin is extracted from the hops when you are
shooting for 60 IBUs!!!).  Without polyphenols, beer would be far less

I do still stand by my original statement, that a brewers should not go
out of their way to extract tannins.  In other words, I do not believe
that you should try to extract more tannins than are normally extracted
in the course of the typical brewing process.  Oh... you forgot to mention
how much more tannin is extracted in decoction mashing (to which I respond:
if you could minimise the tannin extraction in decoction mashing, you also
wouldn't need months of lagering).


Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
korz at brewinfo.org

P.S. I do appreciate your comments on Sweet Gale and agree that there
probably isn't anything to worry about.  On the other hand, as I said
in my previous email, if we could find a numeric value at which there
is clinically proven safety, then we could be sure to not exceed it.
Until then, I feel that a warning is prudent.

By the way, Grozet is also made with Myrical Gale, if I'm not mistaken.

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