Maris Otter vs. Pale Malt

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Burlyman

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My taste buds are not discerning enough to tell the difference, but I would like to hear your thoughts on this one..
I'm just wondering how much difference there really are.. Which do you use and why?
 

jjsh

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Like you, I barely notice the difference, but I do think MO is a bit more 'malty' than some of the modern pale malts.

To be honest, unless I'm brewing something special and historic with Chevallier malt, I use whatever malt I have a 25kg sack of, presently Muntons planet malt. However, I am going to try and get a sack of Fawcetts Maris Otter next.
 

jjsh

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Looking at my records, in reverse order, these are the sacks of pale malt I've used. These would have been aided by smaller amounts of other pale base malts - Mild, Vienna, Chevallier and Lager.

Muntons Planet (average)
Hook Head Ale ( v good)
Muntons something or other non descript pale malt, possibly propino (average)
Fawcetts Maris Otter (v good)
Golden Promise (Fawcetts IIRC, quite good)
Fawcetts Maris Otter (v good)
 

Burlyman

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Like you, I barely notice the difference, but I do think MO is a bit more 'malty' than some of the modern pale malts.

To be honest, unless I'm brewing something special and historic with Chevallier malt, I use whatever malt I have a 25kg sack of, presently Muntons planet malt. However, I am going to try and get a sack of Fawcetts Maris Otter next.
If MO is a bit more malty then maybe a better option for darker beers..?
 

Burlyman

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Looking at my records, in reverse order, these are the sacks of pale malt I've used. These would have been aided by smaller amounts of other pale base malts - Mild, Vienna, Chevallier and Lager.

Muntons Planet (average)
Hook Head Ale ( v good)
Muntons something or other non descript pale malt, possibly propino (average)
Fawcetts Maris Otter (v good)
Golden Promise (Fawcetts IIRC, quite good)
Fawcetts Maris Otter (v good)
Very interesting and thank you for sharing..
 

jjsh

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If MO is a bit more malty then maybe a better option for darker beers..?


Actually, I think in darker beers with more complex malt bills, I find the difference a specific base malt can make can sometimes get lost. I think it is most noticeable when brewing something like an English golden ale, where the character of the base malt gets a chance to shine through, or perhaps a new word IPA where it can balance the massive hop load?
 

An Ankoù

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I think if you're doing a SMaSH like Summer Lightning it's hard to tell the difference. As soon as you start putting anything darker than caramalt in the mix you've drowned the unique flavour of the base malt. I usually use HookHead from The Homebrew Co or Crisp's Flagon when I order from Geterbrewed. I've got 10 Kg of Marris Otter stashed away for my next Summer Lightning, though.
On the other hand, I think substituting Pilsner malt for pale malt makes much more of a difference.
 
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Burlyman

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Actually, I think in darker beers with more complex malt bills, I find the difference a specific base malt can make can sometimes get lost. I think it is most noticeable when brewing something like an English golden ale, where the character of the base malt gets a chance to shine through, or perhaps a new word IPA where it can balance the massive hop load?
That make sense and something I will definitely keep in mind with my next IPA. Thank you.
 

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I think if you're doing a SMaSH like Summer Lightning it's hard to tell the difference. As soon as you start putting anything darker than caramalt in the mix you've drowned the unique flavour of the base malt. I usually use HookHead from The Homebrew Co or Crisp's Flagon when I order from Geterbrewed. If got 10 Kg of Marris Otter stashed away fro my next Summer Lightning, though.
On the other hand, I think substituting Pilsner malt for pale malt makes much more of a difference.
My next brew will be Summer Lightning and I'm going to go with a 50/50 MO and Bohemian Pilsner for the first time.
 

Cwrw666

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Doing Victorian style pale ales which are basically an EKG SMASH, then maris otter gives a very slightly darker colour and a slightly sweeter brew. I just use Hook Head now. If you're adding in any other grains at all you won't be able to tell the difference. In a SMASH you can but neither is better than the other, just slightly different. Obviously for a Victorian brew, the Hook Head is more authentic.
 

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I can offer a bit of background. My late father in law worked for a government/EU quango called Home grown cereals authority. As a chemist he joined them in 1960s the idea behind the organization was at the time we imported a large amount of grains for brewing, distilling, baking and animal feed so the quango was set up to improve our efficiency and he was working mainly on long term storage. MO had been first grown before he started but he did spend a lot of his early time at their lab. helping with further research and he told me it had been developed just for brewing and longer storage life and succeeded beyond expectations and was far better than any other brewing malt available at the time. I recall him telling me a several years later, as a home brewer I was always asking questions, other strains were being improved and or developed also as he was involved in improving communications between the growers, storage, millers and customer to get consistency in the final product the gap was narrowing between MO and other varieties. Towards the end of his career he did say to me the only strain he felt was in anyway better and justified a higher price was golden promise, he felt the Rolls Royce of malt. As a footnote when he retired we were self sufficient in grain and he received an MBE for his work.
 

An Ankoù

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My next brew will be Summer Lightning and I'm going to go with a 50/50 MO and Bohemian Pilsner for the first time.
I'd be very interested to know how that turns out. I used to use MO extra pale for some beers (my favourite being Bishop's Farewll, Oakham) but found I was getting very poor extraction. 50/50 with Pilsner might be just the ticket.
 

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Thank you so much for this information and a great story about your father in law for receiving such a prestigious award..
Cheers, I got to see his expertise once while having a pint one lunchtime a friend informed me a home brew stall had opened at the nearby market. At closing time we went to the stall which was selling loose grains and hops, deep joy for me. He examined the pale malt and asked where he had bought it to which the guy was a bit put out so John informed him he was selling Canadian animal feed not meant for human consumption, John had overseen the large shipment a few months before and could recognise it by sight and feel. A few years later a brew shop opened, Beersunlimited in nearby Southend, when I first when in there it was the same guy. He told me John had been right and to thank him as he had learnt a lesson. The shop is still there but Cliff has retired.
 

MyQul

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I can offer a bit of background. My late father in law worked for a government/EU quango called Home grown cereals authority. As a chemist he joined them in 1960s the idea behind the organization was at the time we imported a large amount of grains for brewing, distilling, baking and animal feed so the quango was set up to improve our efficiency and he was working mainly on long term storage. MO had been first grown before he started but he did spend a lot of his early time at their lab. helping with further research and he told me it had been developed just for brewing and longer storage life and succeeded beyond expectations and was far better than any other brewing malt available at the time. I recall him telling me a several years later, as a home brewer I was always asking questions, other strains were being improved and or developed also as he was involved in improving communications between the growers, storage, millers and customer to get consistency in the final product the gap was narrowing between MO and other varieties. Towards the end of his career he did say to me the only strain he felt was in anyway better and justified a higher price was golden promise, he felt the Rolls Royce of malt. As a footnote when he retired we were self sufficient in grain and he received an MBE for his work.
Do you know whether we are still self sufficient in grain (specifically barley for brewing)? I dont want to mention the B word but you never know...
 

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I'd be very interested to know how that turns out. I used to use MO extra pale for some beers (my favourite being Bishop's Farewll, Oakham) but found I was getting very poor extraction. 50/50 with Pilsner might be just the ticket.
Will do, the recipe was originally based on my stock position but now I'm keen to see how it turns out.
 
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