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Thread: US grains vs. european grains

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Ex-Germany / California
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    601

    US grains vs. european grains

    Looking at my malt bill and considering whether or not if I should save some money on fermentables, I was contemplating moving from German grains to US/domestic grains. They are, as most of you know, considerably cheaper and would help my bottom line. Have any of you made a similar switch? What interests me the most is the domestic pilsner grains and malted wheat. How is the difference in quality? Better efficiency?

    Any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Oakland, CA USA
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    When I worked at Trumer, we did a test brew with domestic pilsner malt. It does not taste the same as German pilsner malt. I won't say "better" or "worse" (too subjective), but definitely different.

    extract efficiency was comparable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    53

    US vs EU

    Domestic malt that is labeled pilsner/vienna malt is not a "true" lager malt. Domestic grain has a WAY TOO high protien content. The European grain was bred to be lower in protien content. It wont taste the same. It wont taste even similar. If you are looking to cut costs, Try Dingmans Pilsner Malt from Belgium through Cargill. The price is comparible to domestics. i was going to do the same and was steered away. The Dingmans was cheaper than the Gambrinus "lager" malt as well!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    East Syracuse, NY
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    I switched years ago to us malt for my base. I found I had to add a little munich malt to get the same flavor profile

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    NSW Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by frigatebay
    I switched years ago to us malt for my base. I found I had to add a little munich malt to get the same flavor profile
    We have similar problems here in Australia with our domestic malts lacking a good "malty" profile which is not surprising if you look at the beer styles they are malted for both here in Australia and Asia!

    Adding a bit of Munich is an option, but for a pils style I would go with 1% to 2% of German melanoidin malt in preference to Munich. Munich will more closely mirror an English malt style at 5% or so but when used in a pils style, can leave a bit of a flavour "hole" between the base malt and the munich flavour/aroma especially if the customer sits on their beer allowing the temp to increase. Oh, and always use a pale Munich around 6 to 10 Lovibond.

    Cheers,

    Wes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    675

    It depends....

    Depends what style you're making and what your sales model is. If you're making Imperial IPA, no sweat -- save a few bucks. If you try to make German Pilsner with American 2-row, it's not gonna be right.

    Assuming you're making a style where the malt profile is prominent, and is "supposed" to be continental, I think you'll see a reduction in quality and sales if you switch.

    If you're a brewpub selling over the bar, don't switch -- you'd have to have an enormous reduction in cost to justify a small reduction in sales because your markup is so big.

    If you're packaging and have tighter profit margins, maybe consider it because the sales drop might be worth it if the cost savings is high enough.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Louisville, KY
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaltAlchemist
    Domestic malt that is labeled pilsner/vienna malt is not a "true" lager malt. Domestic grain has a WAY TOO high protien content. The Dingmans was cheaper than the Gambrinus "lager" malt as well!
    Dingeman's Pilsen 11.5 % max. protein
    Weyermann Pilsener & Boho. Pils. 11 and 10.8 % max. protein respectively
    Cargill IdaPils & EuroPils 12 and 12.5 % max. protein respectively

    I'm not convinced 1 - 1.5% more is considered "WAY TOO high".

    Source:
    Weyerman Malt via BSG

    Dingeman's via Cargill

    Cargill
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    675
    I don't know if the protein content matters as much as just the taste. It's different strains of barley grown in different soil, so it's gonna taste different!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    993
    Quote Originally Posted by Woolsocks
    I don't know if the protein content matters as much as just the taste. It's different strains of barley grown in different soil, so it's gonna taste different!
    Agreed. As said by:
    Quote Originally Posted by irishsnake
    When I worked at Trumer, we did a test brew with domestic pilsner malt. It does not taste the same as German pilsner malt. I won't say "better" or "worse" (too subjective), but definitely different. extract efficiency was comparable.
    Not necessarily better or worse but different and only when tasted side by side. I would rather use domestically grown malt that perhaps supports the growers on my continent than buy malt that has to ride a ship to my door. I do tend to buy all imported specialty malts (non-base malt).

    Your mileage will vary.
    Cheers & I'm out!
    David R. Pierce
    NABC & Bank Street Brewhouse
    POB 343
    New Albany, IN 47151

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    NSW Australia
    Posts
    29
    It isn't just the protein level you need to watch, The level of modification is absolutely critical. It should mirror the protein levels. For instance, with a protein level of 11%, I would expect to see a Hartong of 42 or the Kolbach Index at 44.

    If the protein level is lower at say 10, then a Hartong of 38 to 40 or a Kolbach at 40 to 42 would be good.

    We need to have faith in the maltsters ability to produce a great brewing malt. There is however the fact that single infusion brewing leaves little room for compromise. We must have WELL modified malt. Those that have the ability to to program step mash can progress to the next chapter.

    Wes

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