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Slainthe Blarg - Ramblings of a Self-confessed Brewer

I got Roasted!!!

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...or at least, some of my grain did.

I like a stout now and then, especially one home-made by myself. I have used Beerguevara's (BGV) Stout Kit a couple of times but I want to try my hand at designing my own recipe and, therefore, roasting my own grains would be needed.

So I go back into BGV and order a load of good old trusty 2-row grain, about 4kg milled and another 1kg unmilled, make sure I have all my other ingredients at home and then wait for a gap in the loadshedding to try a roasting.

I decide to follow Jason Johnson's guide "Roasted: A Homebrewer's Guide to Home Roasting Grain", partly because at the time it was a free download on Amazon.co.uk here, but also because it looked like a very simple guide to follow.

For some unknown reason, I decide to try roasting caramel malts first, rather than starting with dry roasting. No, I have no idea why. Don't ask. :-)

When I got out of bed on Tuesday morning, I checked to see if there would be loadshedding for the day and it looked like there wasn't, so I started off my experiment.

As per the instructions, I first soaked my grain for about 4hrs, which is a prerequisite for caramel malts.


Once that was done, I put the pan into the oven and upped the temperature of the oven a bit to start the mash process and set a timer so that I could stir the grain every 20mins to make sure that no hot spots developed and the temperature was more or less evenly distributed.



After the required 90mins mash, I removed the tray from the oven.

That was where the easy part ended.

Next I had to dry the grains, so I split them into two pans and stuck them back in the oven at a higher temperature (all temperatures had to be converted from Fahrenheit in the book to Celsius - come on USA, catch up to the rest of the world!!) and again, set a timer so that I could stir the grains to ensure a more or less even dehydration.

After an hour, I felt it wasn't going fast enough, so I took the pans out of the oven and left them in the direct sunlight. Capetonians might remember that Tuesday was a blisteringly hot day, so I used it to my advantage. And this went a lot quicker than the oven, as well as saved some prepaid electricity. It took about another hour and my grains were, to my inexperienced hand, about ready to be roasted.

Again, I fired up the oven to 200degC and put two pans of grains onto separate shelves. Within 20mins, the colour started changing, but I wanted darker roasts for these, so I left them in.

As you can see by the last photo, the pale malt grains in the photo are plain old 2-row with nothing done to them. The caramel malt grains were only caramelised and dried out, with no roasting time. The bottom two grains were roasts and after 30mins, I had a dark amber roast, while another 10mins gave me a dark copper roast. The taste and sweetness differences between them all is remarkable.



Roasting is a hands-on experience. You have to watch the oven like a hawk or risk over-roasting or burning your grains. My dark copper has a very toasty flavour, so I think I got those grains out just in time. Any longer and I probably would have had to toss them to the birds.

Would I do it again? Yes, it is an exciting part of the brewing experience. I learned some valuable lessons, so next time I will know what to do different.

Now I just need to set aside a day from woodworking to brew that Dubh Glas Stout. I will do one brew with cocoa powder and another without so that I can have a variety of flavours in the beer as well.

Slainthe!!!
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Updated 1st July 2020 at 12:59 by SimonB (Fixed http links)

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Comments

  1. CapeTownBrew's Avatar
    Very cool! Well done.
  2. StevenD (Slainthe)'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CapeTownBrew
    Very cool! Well done.
    Thanks Brett. Have you tried roasting grains yet? It's actually quite exciting, but stressful as well... :-)
  3. CapeTownBrew's Avatar
    Not yet, I only brewed for the first time this year 2 weeks ago, then again last week! Needed to get 40L done for the Southyeasters Summer Festival, so haven't really had the time to "play" as much as I would like to! Would definitely like to give it a go.
  4. BeerBot's Avatar
    Looks sweet StevenD. Please do keep us updated on the brewing results. I roasted some dry pale malt a few weeks back for a bitter to give it some nutty, bready flavour. It smelt amazing, like peanut butter cookies and bread. Have not gotten around to brewing it yet but hope it's gonna be good
  5. StevenD (Slainthe)'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBot
    Looks sweet StevenD. Please do keep us updated on the brewing results. I roasted some dry pale malt a few weeks back for a bitter to give it some nutty, bready flavour. It smelt amazing, like peanut butter cookies and bread. Have not gotten around to brewing it yet but hope it's gonna be good
    Will keep you posted for sure. The fermentation has slowed to almost a stop, so I will start taking hydro readings from today to determine when I am going to bottle.

    I found that the caramelised malt had more of a nutty flavour than the darker roastings and that the darkest one was toasty rather than nutty.
  6. BeerBot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StevenD (Slainthe)
    Will keep you posted for sure. The fermentation has slowed to almost a stop, so I will start taking hydro readings from today to determine when I am going to bottle.

    I found that the caramelised malt had more of a nutty flavour than the darker roastings and that the darkest one was toasty rather than nutty.
    Hey StevenD. Do you have an update on your beer brewed with the meticulously home roasted malt I plan on finally brewing the bitter within the next 2 weeks or so and maybe we can share notes
  7. StevenD (Slainthe)'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBot
    Do you have an update on your beer brewed with the meticulously home roasted malt
    Hi...I have only one word for the result. Awesome.

    Of the three stouts I put together, the plain one came out great (nicely carbonated, lighter mouthfeel than expected, head that lasts), the coffee stout was fantastic (very strong flavours, just like I enjoy both), but the chocolate stout was waaaaay too dense on the cocoa powder even though I followed measurements from another recipe. Next time i will cut the cocoa by two thirds in the same fermenter volume (85g cocoa to five litres of wort was too heavy).

    That I could get three vastly different beers, enjoyable beers, from a roasting of a plain old two-row grain was very rewarding, and I recommend everyone to try it at least once. I will gladly do it again.
  8. BeerBot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StevenD (Slainthe)
    Hi...I have only one word for the result. Awesome.

    Of the three stouts I put together, the plain one came out great (nicely carbonated, lighter mouthfeel than expected, head that lasts), the coffee stout was fantastic (very strong flavours, just like I enjoy both), but the chocolate stout was waaaaay too dense on the cocoa powder even though I followed measurements from another recipe. Next time i will cut the cocoa by two thirds in the same fermenter volume (85g cocoa to five litres of wort was too heavy).

    That I could get three vastly different beers, enjoyable beers, from a roasting of a plain old two-row grain was very rewarding, and I recommend everyone to try it at least once. I will gladly do it again.
    Wow, that's great to hear Steven. It just love how home roasting adds another dimension to home brewing. It just makes it that much more special and personal. I've been quite keen to make a stout with some cocao powder in it. I am a huge fan of Youngs Double Chocolate and would like to make something close to that some time.

    So you say the recipe you followed called for 85gram/5 litres you say (340gram / 20 litres) - I usually make either 20L or 40L batches. So you scheme about 28grams / 5 litre would be better? What recipe did you use? I would like to give it a try.

    I've also wanted to brew a beer with coffee in it but I am a bit lost as to how much to add. How did you go about doing that? Theres info on the US sites but I like getting the opinion of local brewers

    Cheers
  9. StevenD (Slainthe)'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBot
    So you say the recipe you followed called for 85gram/5 litres you say (340gram / 20 litres) - I usually make either 20L or 40L batches. So you scheme about 28grams / 5 litre would be better? What recipe did you use? I would like to give it a try.

    I've also wanted to brew a beer with coffee in it but I am a bit lost as to how much to add. How did you go about doing that? Theres info on the US sites but I like getting the opinion of local brewers
    If I had to make another cocoa stout, I would use 85g to 20L of wort. The cocoa in my beer is very strong and you really only want a hint of a chocolate flavour. This first attempt was just an experiment and I didn't follow any particular recipe, just did a brew added cocoa and coffee to two small batches to see what would happen.

    For the coffee brew, I just added five measures of coffee grounds to 5L of wort when I put it into the carboy to ferment, and it turned out great, so it appears that one measure to 1L is somewhere around the right amount (for my taste anyway).

    Good luck with your experiment!! Slainthe!!