How to improve this recipe (kamikaze knitting club)

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Monkhouse

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Hey, I brewed this recipe back in January and it was pretty impressive to be fair. I do have a couple of things I would like to improve about it though as I really want to brew it again in the next couple of weeks and thought you guys with more experience of what character you tend to get from different malts could advise…
This was the recipe (off malt miller)

Crisp Caramalt (1044 grams)
BESTMALZ Pilsner (5822 grams)
Weyermann® Carafa Special® Type 3 (224 grams)
Crisp Dark Crystal Malt (372 grams)
Sorachi Ace Pellets (45 grams)
Magnum Pellets (13 grams)
SafAle™ US-05 11.5g (1 packs)


Method​

Beer Style (main): American Ales
Beer Style (sub): American-Style Stout
Batch Size: 25
Original Gravity: 1.072
Final Gravity: 1.019
ABV %: 7
IBU: 30

THE MASH
Temperature °C: 68.9
Length (mins): 45
Out temp °C:
Out time (mins):


THE BOIL
Boil time (mins): 60

Additions and timing:

224g Chocolate Wheat Malt added to grist. (not included in kit)
13g Magnum pellet – 60 mins
13g Sorachi Ace – 10 mins
32g Sorachi Ace – 15 mins whirlpool

Secondary additions and timing:

75g Maple Syrup added to secondary for 5 days (not included)

Yeast: Safale US-05
Fermentation temperature/steps: 19.4c

So…. My observations after enjoying the beer the past few weeks would be:

Head retention- pretty crap, any suggestions on how to improve?
Mouth feel- it felt quite thin especially for a stout, I was very much thinking of throwing some oats in the next time I brew it. How much oats for this batch size and what type etc?
Lastly- I was too scared of an infection to add the maple into the fv so upon advice from rob at MM I added to end of boil- I could not pick out any maple notes in the beer. Would adding it to the fv have made much of a difference? Perhaps if next time I double the maple but still add to end of boil i may actually taste it or will it just all ferment out?
Your thoughts as always much appreciated 👍🏼
1655579379552.png
 

the baron

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Add Carapils for head retention say 100g and maybe wheat too, add Oats as you suggested, also Maple syrup is a expensive item to use and a small amount will not give much flavour in a stout. If you do decide to carry on with the maple syrup add it to the Fv do not be frightened of a infection it is packaged ready to use and is pastuerised. Its only the anal brigade who put the frighteners on people regards things like that it is well safe just spray the bottle of maple syrup with starsan before use
 

Sadfield

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There shouldn't be an issue with head retention in a beer that contains bittering hops, wheat and Roasted malts, all of which are foam positive. Before adding extra ingredients to the grist, you may want to look at your process. I notice that there isn't any kettle finings listed in the recipe, so you possibly may not be precipitating out any foam negative proteins and lipids. Are you separating wort from the trub when transferring from your kettle to the fv?

As for body, an FG of 1.019 shouldn't be thin, so I wonder what your water composition is. Stouts favour a chloride rich water, which enhances the perception of body and malt sweetness. A simple test would be to pour your stout into two glasses and add a pinch of table salt to one, to see if this improves the beer.

If you do add oats, be aware that their lower nitrogen levels and the lipids they contain can be foam negative. Under 10% is usually a safe level, although that's for beers that don't already have a foam issue.


I think you are worrying unduly about adding the maple syrup. The best thing to do is dissolve it with a little boiling water and add to the fv, both ensuring it is pasteurised and making disperse easily into the beer.
 
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75g of maple is not very much and likely will have minimal impact. I have added it plenty of times straight from the bottle into the fermenter with good results. I have also used it to prime bottles with better results.

I am not sure why you wouldn't add the choc wheat to the mash? I would just throw it in then. Adding it to the boil is another extra step that seems unnecessary.

20% crystal malts is probably on the high end but if you had good results before there is no reason to change. I think I might use s-04 rather than us-05 though, it has more character that is nice in stouts.
 

Monkhouse

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75g of maple is not very much and likely will have minimal impact. I have added it plenty of times straight from the bottle into the fermenter with good results. I have also used it to prime bottles with better results.

I am not sure why you wouldn't add the choc wheat to the mash? I would just throw it in then. Adding it to the boil is another extra step that seems unnecessary.

20% crystal malts is probably on the high end but if you had good results before there is no reason to change. I think I might use s-04 rather than us-05 though, it has more character that is nice in stouts.
I did just add the choc wheat to the mash- I questioned this also with rob from MM and he said it’s likely it wasn’t in stock whe the author made the recipe and then added it later.
What character does crystal malts add? I did note that the beer fairly early on had very pronounced liquorice notes which to be honest put me off allot but then it mellowed out very nicely thank God.
I’m after trying to smooth out this beer as much as possible tbh as I think that’s what it was lacking.
 

Monkhouse

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The very last bottle! As I sip it I’m thinking it could do with perhaps some residual sweetness, it does seem quite dry for a stout. would this sweetness be more obvious then if the maple had been added to the fv? I know I keep mentioning it I’ve really got a thing about adding stuff to the fv as the only time I did this was dry hopping and I ended up with an infection but this was at extract brewing level where I didn’t spend an entire day brewing so now I’m even more anal about not doing it 😬 I just need the confidence to go for it.
I’ve heard a blanket of co2 will protect beer in the fv from oxygen when adding stuff and if it’s just a case of squeezing half a bottle of maple straight from the retail packaging into the fv a few days before bottling then maybe I’m not going to end up with an infection like last time…
 

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Monkhouse

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There shouldn't be an issue with head retention in a beer that contains bittering hops, wheat and Roasted malts, all of which are foam positive. Before adding extra ingredients to the grist, you may want to look at your process. I notice that there isn't any kettle finings listed in the recipe, so you possibly may not be precipitating out any foam negative proteins and lipids. Are you separating wort from the trub when transferring from your kettle to the fv?

As for body, an FG of 1.019 shouldn't be thin, so I wonder what your water composition is. Stouts favour a chloride rich water, which enhances the perception of body and malt sweetness. A simple test would be to pour your stout into two glasses and add a pinch of table salt to one, to see if this improves the beer.

If you do add oats, be aware that there lower nitrogen levels and the lipids they contain can be foam negative. Under 10% is usually a safe level, although that's for beers that don't already have a foam issue.


I think you are worrying unduly about adding the maple syrup. The best thing to do is dissolve it with a little boiling water and add to the fv, both ensuring it is pasteurised and making disperse easily into the beer.
I just tried this- I divided up my last bottle of this stout into 2 glasses and added a pinch on salt to one. The one with the salt straight away created a foamy thick head and when I drank it; the whole beer (albeit a bit salty- maybe added too much salt) felt allot thicker regarding mouthfeel and actually like a stout- more like what I’m after! What do I need to add to my boil or mash or strike water to get this result? Bearing in mind I use the hot tap (combination boiler) to get my strike water hot then add to tea urn to do the rest of the heating. This load goes into mash tun for mash then I heat up sparge water (again from hot tap) what I’m getting at is that I don’t have a vessel that I can put all of my brew liquor in to treat it all in one go.
 

Sadfield

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I just tried this- I divided up my last bottle of this stout into 2 glasses and added a pinch on salt to one. The one with the salt straight away created a foamy thick head and when I drank it; the whole beer (albeit a bit salty- maybe added too much salt) felt allot thicker regarding mouthfeel and actually like a stout- more like what I’m after! What do I need to add to my boil or mash or strike water to get this result? Bearing in mind I use the hot tap (combination boiler) to get my strike water hot then add to tea urn to do the rest of the heating. This load goes into mash tun for mash then I heat up sparge water (again from hot tap) what I’m getting at is that I don’t have a vessel that I can put all of my brew liquor in to treat it all in one go.
It's tricky without diving down the rabbit hole of water treatment.

Next time you brew a Stout, I'd suggest getting some calcium chloride and adding half a level teaspoon of it along with the same of table salt (sodium chloride) to the mash. This would add the following.

Calcium- Improves , flavour, and stability in beer and is beneficial to yeast and enzyme reactions.

Sodium- rounds out flavours and enhances sweetness.

Chloride- enhances flavour and body.

That should move things in the right direction. Much like cooking you could add the salt prior to carbonation/bottling, by adding to taste.

This thread is very good if you want to go deeper into water treatment.

 
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Its a pity that those ingeredients come mixed together, you are on the borderline with the crystal malts as Pennine pointed out. If I was going to add chocolate malt to that recipe I would sub out the Crisp dark crystal malt for the chocolate.
I have mentioned before on here if some brewer would produce FWK's he would make a killing.
 

Monkhouse

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Its a pity that those ingeredients come mixed together, you are on the borderline with the crystal malts as Pennine pointed out. If I was going to add chocolate malt to that recipe I would sub out the Crisp dark crystal malt for the chocolate.
I have mentioned before on here if some brewer would produce FWK's he would make a killing.
I don’t think they do come mixed together if I remember right
Its a pity that those ingeredients come mixed together, you are on the borderline with the crystal malts as Pennine pointed out. If I was going to add chocolate malt to that recipe I would sub out the Crisp dark crystal malt for the chocolate.
I have mentioned before on here if some brewer would produce FWK's he would make a killing.
do you mean completely take all the crystal malt out of it and instead use 596g of the chocolate malt in its place?
What does crystal malt do to a recipe?
.
 
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I don’t think they do come mixed together if I remember right

do you mean completely take all the crystal malt out of it and instead use 596g of the chocolate malt in its place?
What does crystal malt do to a recipe?
.
Crystal malt adds unfermentable sugar so it sweetens the wort. I would sub it for the same amount of chocolate malt.
 

Monkhouse

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Crystal malt adds unfermentable sugar so it sweetens the wort. I would sub it for the same amount of chocolate malt.
Does this look right? I’ve taken the crystal out and upped the chocolate wheat in its place
 

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Monkhouse

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Does this look right? I’ve taken the crystal out and upped the chocolate wheat in its place
Or could I not just keep the crystal and up the chocolate anyway plus 400g torrified oats. I’ve just checked and you’re right the malt miller do mix all the ingredients up together if you buy it as a kit (which I would do as for some reason it’s cheaper lol!)
 
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Or could I not just keep the crystal and up the chocolate anyway plus 400g torrified oats. I’ve just checked and you’re right the malt miller do mix all the ingredients up together if you buy it as a kit (which I would do as for some reason it’s cheaper lol!)
Sadfield is pointing you in the right direction, don't run before you can walk! Water is very important ingredient of beer. You have enough brews under your belt to start to think about water treatment. It really isnt that hard. Don't try to make a recipe which becomes to messy, keep things simple. If you have somewhere near by which sells RO water use that, probably a teaspoon of gypsum and chloride will be enough to treat the water. Use the same recipe from Malt Miller and see the difference it makes. You won't make award winning beers just yet but it will come.
 

Monkhouse

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One other thing regarding water treatment- is it the same water treatment for any beer style? Like would I do the same with a stout as I would for say a saison for example?
 

the baron

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No there are different water styles for different beer styles hence you have probably heard of Burton Ales which use burton water etc
 
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No here’s a sch put together by Strange Steve plus a few I’ve added

Water Profiles



Appleton

71 calcium

24 magnesium

63 sulphate

27 sodium

109 chloride

75 alkalinity



Bitter

150 calcium

250 sulphate

130 chloride

35 alkalinity



Tanglefoot

110 Calcium

16 sulphate

31 chloride

284 Alkalinity



Tribute

156 Calcium

179 sulphate

100 chloride

32 Alkalinity



Czech pilsner

50 calcium

50 sulphate

50 chloride

<15 alkalinity



Dark Belgian ale

50 calcium

35 sulphate

70 chloride

60 alkalinity



Blonde Leffe

30 calcium

11sulphate

20 chloride

10 alkalinity

35 sodium

10 magnesium



Blonde Tripel

48 calcium

60 sulphate

26 chloride

10 alkalinity

35 sodium

15.7 magnesium



Hefeweizen

100 calcium

50 sulphate

100 chloride

20 alkalinity



IPA

110 calcium

250 sulphate

50 chloride

20 alkalinity



NZIPA

19 calcium

8 Sulphate

13 chloride

21 alkalinity



Kolsch

50 calcium

25 sulphate

50 chloride

<15 alkalinity



NEIPA

120 calcium

50 sulphate

150 chloride

20 alkalinity



Oktoberfest

75 calcium

30 sulphate

75 chloride

30 alkalinity



Dunkel

58 Calcium

10 sulphate

21 chlorine

150 alkalinity



Pale ale

120 calcium

200 sulphate

75 chloride

20 alkalinity



Saison

120 calcium

75 sulphate

75 chloride

20 alkalinity



Stout

150 calcium

75 sulphate

180 chloride

100 alkalinity



Suffolk Strong Ale

80 calcium

80 sulphate

75 chloride

100 alkalinity
 

Monkhouse

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No here’s a sch put together by Strange Steve plus a few I’ve added

Water Profiles



Appleton

71 calcium

24 magnesium

63 sulphate

27 sodium

109 chloride

75 alkalinity



Bitter

150 calcium

250 sulphate

130 chloride

35 alkalinity



Tanglefoot

110 Calcium

16 sulphate

31 chloride

284 Alkalinity



Tribute

156 Calcium

179 sulphate

100 chloride

32 Alkalinity



Czech pilsner

50 calcium

50 sulphate

50 chloride

<15 alkalinity



Dark Belgian ale

50 calcium

35 sulphate

70 chloride

60 alkalinity



Blonde Leffe

30 calcium

11sulphate

20 chloride

10 alkalinity

35 sodium

10 magnesium



Blonde Tripel

48 calcium

60 sulphate

26 chloride

10 alkalinity

35 sodium

15.7 magnesium



Hefeweizen

100 calcium

50 sulphate

100 chloride

20 alkalinity



IPA

110 calcium

250 sulphate

50 chloride

20 alkalinity



NZIPA

19 calcium

8 Sulphate

13 chloride

21 alkalinity



Kolsch

50 calcium

25 sulphate

50 chloride

<15 alkalinity



NEIPA

120 calcium

50 sulphate

150 chloride

20 alkalinity



Oktoberfest

75 calcium

30 sulphate

75 chloride

30 alkalinity



Dunkel

58 Calcium

10 sulphate

21 chlorine

150 alkalinity



Pale ale

120 calcium

200 sulphate

75 chloride

20 alkalinity



Saison

120 calcium

75 sulphate

75 chloride

20 alkalinity



Stout

150 calcium

75 sulphate

180 chloride

100 alkalinity



Suffolk Strong Ale

80 calcium

80 sulphate

75 chloride

100 alkalinity
Oh wow 😂😂 I see now why it’s a rabbit hole 🤦🏼‍♂️ cheers 👍🏼
 

the baron

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You need a water profile of your own water first then input it into a water treatment calculator and just add chemicals to the required levels although as you said it is not quite straight forward if you have some sectors already higher than the amount required.
I am no expert so I will let one of the more accomplished water treatment aficionados explain it better
 
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