Author: Caleb De Frees – Gladfield Malt Editor: Dermott Dowling – BeerCo
Brown Ale, Porter and Stout… Oh, My!
As the weather cools our go-to beers at Gladfield Malt in NZ [and BeerCo in AU] quickly change from the crisp bright beers of summer to the more robust, darker – maltier beers of winter. Instead of comparing the complexity of the hop profile we look for some warmer flavours that are a bit more filling and rich, especially after a chilly day working out in a cold southerly wind.
For darker beers, I choose my malts in two distinct ways.
1. Simple. Let one specialty malt be the showcase and provide all the flavour to the finished beer. Stout is my favourite example as I only use a rich roasted barley and base malt. I think of it as a showcase of all the flavours you can get from just one specialty.
2. Complexity and Layering. For different styles of Porter and Boch, I like a more complex approach. In this case, I will choose malts from different colour ranges and blend them to achieve layers of flavour. Roasted Wheat at 600 EBC has a much different flavour contribution to a Dark Chocolate at 1350. Balancing these flavours that come from different roast levels is the challenge of a good dark beer.
There is a lot of hype about using a de-husked malt to reduce astringency. The theory being that with the husk intact burning happens during roasting which adds the astringent bitter flavours. But much of that hype is misplaced. As Maltsters, there are many ways we can adjust our roasting process to reduce any burning that could happen in the roasting drum. Using careful water additions we can allow the husk to steam as it darkens, preventing any charring and allowing a very even roasted product. One thing a dehusked version of malt is often missing is the deep flavours of true chocolate malt.
For some recipes using the darker Gladfield Malts to keep you warm in the darker depths of winter head on over to our Recipe Library on the Blog and if you have some to share then send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them for the benefit of other brewers out there! Share what we know it’s how we grow as brewers.