hist-brewing: Re: Brown Malt...hist-brewing-digest V1 #730

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Wed Nov 29 11:56:14 PST 2000

    I am not sure that your malt production techniques are on spot.  My
friend Finnboggi's various homemade brown malts provide excellent
yields, typically 48% with no sparge and 30% unmalted cereals!  And no
he doesn't use thermometers and such such because he is to stubborn to
listen to the modern view point that i keep telling him about.
    Actually, i think that old style brown malts were very smoky and a
lot less astringent and roast like then their modern counter parts and
had a taste very different then more modern dark malts.  This is of
course just based upon my experiences and may their for suffer what the
methodologists call "microscopic fallacy" and i would not be the least
suprise that others on this list have more experience with malting the
old way then i.
    I  doubt if the issue was "lets substitute lots of brown for a
little bit of these new dark malts and we will have something that looks
and tastes the same".
	I say this because no one really knows how the economic advantage of
the various malts brakes down in terms of actual points of extraction
per pound per shilling.  Rather i think that drum malting is more cost
effective as it is less labor intensive then floor malting and as a
result wood smoked malts became a rarity.  Also, once the commercial
sector chooses a malt the kind of malts available to the public drop
quite a bit.  Again it seems reasonable that lots of economic factors
ended old fashioned malt production and perhaps even marketing altered
public perception.  PB Loomis hinted at some of this kind of thing in
recent post.
    Oh, by the way, if anyone has suggestions for my perception of the
old strong
porter recipe closer to what the original would have tasted like please
tell me.
JazzboBob at aol.com wrote:

> Indeed, my experience with using homemade brown malt has resulted in very low
> conversion extraction rates and yields.  I have just opened my homebrewed
> bottle of a (ca.1800) Dorchester Ale that I brewed with 45# of malt.  The
> original recipe used only amber and brown malts; such would not mash
> satisfactorily today.  John Harrison recreated a recipe that used a
> combination of 15# pale, 20# crystal, and
> 10# brown malt for a total of 45# grain for a 10 gallon size.  The grist was
> chosen to reproduce the old beer character, taste, and color required in a
> form that uses modern grains.  I mashed all of these grains and only managed
> to get a OG of 1.090 for a 10 gallon brew.  I typically would get at least an
> OG of 1.125 for a similar amount of pale malt when I mash my Barley Wines.
> I assume the low yields were caused by weak conversions of the brown malt.
> As far as the beer goes...it's as dark and rich as any strong porter I've
> ever had.  The color is a deep translucent black with a dark tan/slightly
> reddish head.  The flavor is somewhat bitter and acrid almost as if too much
> black patent malt was used even though no black/chocolate/or roast barley
> malt was used.  There is a distinct roasted and smokey flavor from the brown
> malt.
> My conclusion is that the brown malts created beers with dark brown and black
> color and roasted flavors along the lines of a modern porter and stout.  It's
> easy to see why the old brewers would substitute a lesser amount of black
> malt for color and flavor purposes instead of having to use large quantities
> of the low yielding brown malt.
> Bob Grossman
> Jazzbobob at aol.com
> <<
>  Adam writes:
>  >    In so far as why old style brown malts, however one defines them,
>  >disappeared from the market place would be hard to say without some real
>  >research.  I doubt if it was due to their lack of enzymatic power as
>  >plenty of old recipes call only for brown malts and unmodified cereals.
>  >The comparatively poor performance of old style malts was certainly not
>  >a problem when brewing was a domestic as opposed to a commercial
>  >pursuit.  This was especially true prior to the eubiqitous presence of
>  >sparging when a single grist bill provided two or even three batches of
>  >ale and high adjunct brewing was common.
>  >    While it is true that modern pale malts have enzymatic
>  >characteristics that are clearly superior to malts of old i think that
>  >the real issue is one of economics, particularly those related to the
>  >scale of production and brewing leaving the farm and Roadhouse and
>  >becoming an industrial process .  Specifically i am referring to the
>  >decline in the cost of producing pale malt as a function of the decline
>  >of fuel costs and the advent of drum malting during the industrial
>  >revolution.  These developments it would seem helped undercut the
>  >economic advantage that porter producers originally had.
>  The demise of brown malt is well documented.  I believe I got this
>  information from the Brewers Publications Beer Style Series book, Porter,
>  written by Terry Foster.
>  The story goes that while pale malt had already been invented, it was
>  far more expensive than brown malt.   With the invention of the hydrometer,
>  brewers realised that while pale malt was more expensive per pound, it
>  was cheaper per gravity point.  The issue is not enzymes, but rather
>  the starch content (which leads to higher yield).  When brewers realised
>  that they could make something *similar* to Porter with pale malt and a
>  bit of black malt, they abandoned the inefficient brown malt.
>  Al.
>  Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
>  korz at brewinfo.org
>  http://www.brewinfo.org/brewinfo/
>   >>
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