Amber malt is one of the most versatile toasted malts around for brewers. The range of beers that amber malt can find itself in is wide in part due to its colour and the biscuity, toasted flavours it imparts. It can find itself in the darkest of beers, right through to amber beers and even lagers.
Amber Malt: Amber Colour
When you see the copper coloured hue of amber malt it is easy to see how it gets its name. Amber malt starts out the same as regular pale malt but after germinating, drying and kilning it undergoes an additional step of high temperature heating to toast the barley further.
This toasting step gives amber malt a amber, copper colour and imparts additional flavour as a direct result of this toasting phase.
History Of Amber Malt
Modern versions of amber malts are not the same as they were in the past. If you are a fan of brewing historical recipes then you may find amber malt as a good substitute but not exactly how it would of been all those years ago.
Originally amber malt would have had many of the qualities of a base malt with plenty of enzymes and diastatic power, modern versions do not. It was also common to toast amber malt over open fires which would of imparted a subtle smokiness.
It is of course not very practical to produce amber malt in this way anymore but it is good to have an amber malt available when it could of nearly disappeared altogether if it wasn’t for craft brewers wanting to make use of historical recipes and ingredients.
Amber Malt Flavour
The toasting of amber malt gives the barley a biscuity, dry cracker like flavour which makes it a versatile malt for a variety of beers.
Probably the most common usage is in darker beers like stouts and porters alongside other darker roasted malts like roasted barley, chocolate malt and black malt. The flavour profile alongside these darker malts are a good match.
Used in smaller quantities amber malt can also work well in lighter beers to add a nice toastiness. Beers like English pale ales and even some lager make use of amber malt for the savoury, toasted character it adds
Amber Malt Enzymes & Diastatic Power
The highly kilned, toasting phase of making amber malt means there is little enzymes or diastatic power left in amber malt. There is still a lot of potential extract available as it is only toasted rather than completely roasted.
Mashed alongside other base malts is best way to use amber malt, steeping amber malt as part of malt extract beer will introduce too much starch so all grain or partial mash is the way to utilise this malt.
Variability Between Maltsters
You need to take note that depending on which maltster produced the amber malt you are using there is quite a lot of variability.
Check the colour and the maltsters specifications for an idea of the strength and final colour of your amber malt because this could make quite a difference in the final beer.
Amount of Amber Malt to Use
Typically, you will find that the use of Amber malt will top out at around 5% of the grain bill. The flavour of amber malt is quite unique and can overpower a beer if used in too high of an amount.
I would suggest amounts in the range of 2 – 5% but some maltsters suggest more than this and upto 10%.
Orange wine is unique. Maybe not as popular as some of the other fruit wines but can make a great early evening sipper with a little thought going into the recipe. This recipe is good for any type of orange, tangerine, mandarin or blood orange so it is worth experimenting to find your perfect flavour.
Light & Zesty Orange Wine
If anyone has ever tried fermenting orange juice then you will know that the outcome is usually not so good. Orange juice, of course, is just one part of the fruit. There is the juice, the pulp and the zest. Nearly all of that orange flavour we want to retain in this wine recipe comes from the zest.
The juice is delicately flavoured and light tasting, fermenting this alone drives off the “orangeness” we want to remain in the finished wine. The zest, on the other hand, is packed full of oils that are truly the essence of orange. Utilising the zest in this orange wine recipe is crucial to the flavour and taste of this orange wine.
An Orange Wine Is The Sum Of Its Parts
Oranges are primarily juice, this is great for wine making but fermentation changes the flavour so much we need to help the wine along. Juice, pulp and zest from the oranges is better than just the juice alone but we can also accentuate the flavour by using other ingredients:
Orange Blossom Honey
Using honey rather than normal white sugar adds another layer of flavour that can really round out and enhance the orange wine.
Better yet, we can use honey derived from the orange tree in the form of orange blossom honey. Whilst orange blossom honey is not “orange flavoured” necessarily it really completes the circle of utilising one ingredient to the maximum.
Using honey can enhance any fruit wine and is something I have learnt from making mead. It does really well in this orange wine so it is what I recommend for this recipe. You can still use normal white sugar if you wish but I urge you to spend a little more and use honey in this recipe if you can.
Choosing Your Oranges, Blood Oranges, Tangerines, Mandarins, Satsumas
All these fruits are familiar to the orange but each has their own unique qualities. It is personal preference as to which you use, each will produce a great wine so I would suggest choosing according to some of the following criteria:
Availability: If you so happen to have a glut of oranges then you should definitely use these. If one variety such as tangerines are in season where you live then use these, they will be tastier and riper than other oranges.
Seasonality: At certain times of the year you will find blood oranges in your local store at others satsumas. Following the season means the quality of the fruit is better and the orange wine will be better.
1 Sachet Yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122 is a good choice but experiment with others)
Orange Wine Method
1. To begin, prepare the oranges zest half of them with a potato peeler to end up with fairly large sections of zest. Take care to zest only the outer layer of zest and leave as much of the white pith as possible behind.
2. Add the zest to the straining bag and begin to peel and segment the oranges. Segment the oranges with a knife and leave as much of the pith between the segments behind. Do this for all the oranges and add the prepared orange segments to the straining bag.
3. Put the straining bag in the sanitised fermenter and start heating half of the water in a large pan. Bring the water to the boil for a minute or so and then remove from the heat.
4. Add the honey to the hot water and stir to combine, then pour over the fruit in the fermenting vessel. Give everything a stir to combine and then add the remaining half of cold water to bring the temperature down. Add the crushed Campden tablet and leave, covered, for 12 hours.
5. 12 hours after adding the Campden tablet, add the yeast nutrient, tannin, pectic enzyme and stir gently to incorporate. Leave the must for 24 hours.
6. The following day, add the yeast by sprinkling onto the surface of the must (you can rehydrate according to the packet instructions for best results). Cover the vessel and fit an airlock and allow to ferment.
7. Fermentation will start several days after pitching the yeast, stir the must every day to keep the fruit circulated. After 7 days lift out the straining bag and allow to drain thoroughly but avoid squeezing out any liquid. Cover the fermenting vessel and allow to settle for at least 24 hours.
9. Over several weeks or months, the wine will clear. After a month or so some sediment will have built up, rack to a clean demijohn and allow to condition. Repeat this procedure when any substantial sediment has begun to settle.
10. After at least 3 – 4 months the wine will have cleared and you can think about bottling. It is best to allow the wine to condition as long as possible. Leaving the wine in the demijohn for 6-8 months is not a problem and will in most cases be beneficial.
This orange wine is a great sipping wine where the whole fruit is used. The flavour of whatever orange you use shines through in the finish in part due to the flavour of the zests. It is definitely worth making and you can usually make it year round due to availability
Pineapple is a tropical fruit but even so, it is available year-round in many places, either fresh or in cans so it makes a great wine to make when other fruits are out of season. It’s great for bringing a tropical shine to even the coldest weather when not much else is growing.
You’ve Never Heard Of Pineapple Wine?
Pineapple wine may not be that common compared to other fruit wines. In countries like Hawaii and other tropical countries where pineapples grow, making alcohol with pineapples is quite commonplace.
Pineapples are one of the sweetest fruits around and this high sugar level is perfect for winemaking. The flavour and natural acidity of the pineapple come through in the finished wine, reminiscent of a pineapple flavoured Sauvignon Blanc.
Fresh Or Canned Pineapple?
This pineapple wine recipe works with both fresh or canned pineapple so the odds are that if there are no fresh pineapples available near you can still make this pineapple wine. It makes this wine a real year-round possibility.
I would usually recommend fresh if available as you can choose the fruit yourself and test how ripe it is but really you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between canned pineapple wine or fresh.
One thing you will want to note however is that if you do use canned pineapple for this wine recipe that there are no preservatives or additives. These preservatives will interfere with fermentation and possibly stall the fermentation. Always look for 100% natural ingredients, just pineapple canned in its own juice.
Picking The Best Fresh Pineapples
If you use fresh pineapple for this recipe then taking the time to pick out ripe pineapples will make a lot of difference to the finished wine.
You want ripe pineapples, you can tell as the leaves can be easily pulled from the crown with a short tug. Under-ripe pineapples have less sweetness and are slightly tarter but are better to use than over-ripe pineapples.
Over-ripe pineapples should be avoided. You will notice the surface of the fruit will have a grey powderiness and it is quite possible the pineapple is already fermenting so avoid this at all costs.
Building Body In the Pineapple Wine
Pineapple wine needs a little help to retain the flavour and body you would expect from such a full flavoured fruit. After fermentation, the wine can be a little thin so we need to boost the body and bolster the flavour.
Adding raisins to the must give the finished wine more body and the wine will have a sweeter quality so the pineapple flavour can really shine.
What You’ll Need To Make Pineapple Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres
1 Sachet Yeast (Lalvin D-47 is a good choice but experiment with others)
Pineapple Wine Method
1. Prepare the pineapple by cutting the top and the skin from the flesh. Cut the flesh away from the core into small thumb sized pieces. 2. Chop the golden raising roughly and add these along with the pineapple to the straining bag. Set the staining bag with the fruit and the raisins into a sanitised fermenting vessel and ensure the top of the bag is secured. 3. In a large pan heat half the water and slowly add the sugar to dissolve. Bring the pan up to a boil and ensure all the sugar is stirred in to prevent scorching. Once boiling simmer for a few minutes. 4. Remove the sugar solution from the heat and pour over the pineapple and raisins in the straining bag. Give everything a gentle stir around. Top up the fermenter with the remaining cool water and allow to cool to room temperature before adding a Campden tablet. 5. 12 hours after adding the Campden tablet, add the yeast nutrient, tannin, pectic enzyme and acid blend and stir gently to incorporate. Leave the must for 24 hours. 6. The following day, add the yeast by sprinkling onto the surface of the must (you can rehydrate the yeast according to the packet instructions for best results). Cover the vessel and fit an airlock and allow to ferment. 7. Stir the fermenter gently every day to ensure the pineapple gets fully broken down. After 10 days fermentation should have begun to slow or stopped remove the straining bag with pulp and allow to drip dry and discard. Cover the fermenting vessel and allow to settle. 8. The following day rack the pineapple wine to a demijohn / carboy for clearing and conditioning. Fit the demijohn with a bung and airlock. A hydrometer reading will inform you that the wine has reached finishing gravity, around 1.000 +/- 0.003. 9. Over several weeks or months, the wine will clear. After a month or so some sediment will have built up, rack to a clean demijohn and allow to condition. Repeat this procedure when any substantial sediment has begun to settle. 10. After at least 3 – 4 months you can think about bottling the wine. The pineapple wine will improve with ageing so leaving the wine in the demijohn up to 6 – 8 months is perfectly fine.
When bottling the wine you can consider back sweetening and stabilising. Sample the wine if you would prefer a sweeter finish then follow the instructions here.
This pineapple wine is best aged in the bottle for upto 6 months before sampling. The longer you leave the wine the better as it will continue to improve with time.
Black malt or black patent malt is one of the three main dark grains that are synonymous with brewing dark beers. Although it has not quite got the allure of chocolate malt or roasted barley, partly due to the name, it is still essential to brewing not only dark beers but adding colour and complexity to other beers. In this article, we will take a look at how black malt is made and how to use it in your beers.
Black Malt: An Obvious Name
Black malt has an unfortunate name and not a stellar reputation in most brewing literature. Unlike chocolate malt or roasted barley whose names evoke something a little more appealing than black malt, it is, however, easy to see why it is called black malt.
Just take a look at black malt and you can see it is completely black and generally when you perceive something black it doesn’t necessarily look appetising. It has led black malt to have a reputation of tasting acrid and burnt in some cases. Is this really the case?
What Does Black Malt Add To A Beer?
First and foremost black malt adds colour to a beer and is primarily used in dark beers on its own or alongside other dark grains. It’s one of the darkest grains available to brewers and used in any large amount will produce dark-brown to black beers. Used in smaller amounts, however, it is a useful malt to adjust the colour of beers.
Whilst black malt provides a lot of colour to a beer it is useful to note that it does not colour the beer foam. This can result in fluffy white heads on the finished brew whereas other dark grains can turn the beer foam a cream, tan or brown colour.
Black Malt For Colour Adjustments
Black malt often finds itself in recipes as a means of making it slightly darker. Used in small amounts you can achieve a shade darker tan or even a reddish hue to a beer.
The usefulness of black malt used in small amounts like this is the flavour imparted is minimal. Most people expect even a small amount of black malt to add burnt, roasted flavour to the beer but this is not true. Used in small amounts black malt can be really subtle. It is not until you start increasing the proportion of black malt that the flavour really starts punching.
Black Malt Flavour
The flavour of black malt is of moderate roastiness and a combination of coffee, bitter chocolate and an acidity. The more you use the more it can, of course, overpower a beer but used alongside other malts it can be very characterful.
How Black Malt Is Made
Black malt starts life as pale malt like most other malted grains. Unlike a grain like roasted barley that is unmalted.
The pale malt is loaded into a roasting drum and heated to 220 – 230°C (428 – 446°F). The malt is then kilned for a period of up to 4 hours. The black malt has to be carefully watched as if the roasting goes on for too long the malt will literally turn to charcoal and burn.
Debittered Black Malt
Many maltsters offer a debittered black malt to produce beers with lots of colour without flavour associated with dark grains. The process of producing debittered black malt involves removing the husk of the grain. The husk on the grain when roasted produces bitter flavours so by removing the husk you have a grain that has a smoother less astringent character in the finished beer.
Amount Of Black Malt To Use
Typically up to 10% in Porters. Stouts and other dark beer.
1 – 3% to add colour to lighter beers.
Used on its own or with other dark and roasted grains black malt is used as up to 10% of the malt bill in stouts and porters. Black malt adds colour without so much of the flavour as roasted barley so it is good to boost colour without overpoweringly roasty notes.
In lighter beers, it adds colour without flavour which is particularly useful in schwarzbiers, dark lagers and dark beers where you do not want so much of the roasted flavour.
The name chocolate malt gives away a few clues about this dark highly kilned malt. Chocolate malt is a classic choice of malt for getting the colour and flavour that we want in porters although is it the best malt to get a chocolate tasting beer. In this article, we will take a look at how chocolate malt is made and how to brew with it.
The “Chocolate” in Chocolate Malt
Depending on where you are in the world the chocolate malt available to you may be different. Different manufacturers or maltsters produce different colours of chocolate malt so the chocolate malt produced in the UK, for example, has a darker roast and is, therefore, a lot darker in a beer than chocolate malts from US maltsters.
The name chocolate malt refers not only to the flavour profile but also to the colour. Just as with chocolate for eating, chocolate malt also come in a spectrum of light to dark varieties.
Below is a selection of some of the chocolate malts available from different maltsters:
425 – 475
375 – 450
300 – 380
450 – 500
185 – 250
As you can see in the table there is a wide degree of colours and therefore flavours of chocolate malt. This means choosing one is not just a case of saying chocolate malt but rather the type as well as the impact on the finished beer could be a mild, light chocolate flavour or a dark roasted bitterness.
How Chocolate Malt Is Made
Chocolate malt is most often made with pale malt which could be two-row or six-row and then roasted for a period of time to achieve the desired colour of the chocolate malt being produced. The roasting temperature is around 230C and the duration of around 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the final colour.
The longer the roast the darker the chocolate malt and this will, of course, vary the flavour profile with the darker chocolate malts having a more intense roasted flavour just as you would find with darker chocolates.
Barley, Wheat & Rye Chocolate Malt
Not only is chocolate malt made with barley as is most common with other roasted grains, wheat and rye also have chocolate variations that are useful for various recipes and bring something unique. Rye has a spicy quality to it and the darker chocolate wheat malt is fairly roasty,
Chocolate malt is predominately a big flavoured malt and is used as such. Whilst it can be used in small amounts to adjust the colour of a beer, black malt is more suited to this task.
Chocolate malts are most closely associated with brewing porters but that is not the only use for this malt. Any beer requiring darker colour an subtle chocolate notes can benefit from its use. Beers such as:
Chocolate Malt Percentage of the Grain bill
Typically 0 – 10%
Chocolate malt usage can range from just 1-2% of the grain bill to introduce a subtle background hint of chocolate to a more robust use of up to 10% which will bring dark, roasted and bitter coffee notes to the beer.
Can You Get A Chocolate Flavour From Using Chocolate Malt?
Whilst it is called chocolate malt, this primarily refers to the colour of the malt. If you are looking to get a milk chocolate flavour running through the beer then adding chocolate malt to the grain bill is a good idea, however, you need sweetness.
To get that sweet chocolate milkshake quality to a beer you need to add sweetness which the chocolate malt alone does not provide.
A balance of crystal malts and chocolate malt used together is the best way to achieve a milk chocolate like flavour into your beer
If there was ever a beer that was synonymous with a beer style then Duvel is it. As soon as you think of a Belgian golden strong ale, Duvel is the first beer you think of.
Duvel has a very simple recipe using just Pilsner malt, sugar and Bohemian hops. Combined with the Duvel yeast strain and really unique and precise beer is the outcome. Duvel is one of the first beers I tried to clone and it is not easy to replicate even with the simple ingredients.
The Duvel Moortgat Brewery was established in 1871 by Jan-Leonard Moortgat. The breweries flagship beer became Duvel after a beer brewed in the 1920’s to commemorate the end of WW1 was brewed called Victory Ale. The 8.5% ABV of the beer earned the beer the nickname of Devil and so the beer became known as Duvel.
To brew a malt extract version of this beer substitute the Pilsner malt for the following:
3.6kg (7.93 lb) Pilsen Liquid Malt Extract
This Duvel recipe has been primarily sourced from a Brew Your Own article detailing the recipe. There are multiple variations of Duvel recipes online but I am 99% sure Duvel uses only Pilsner malt, dextrose, Saaz and Styrian Goldings hops so this rules out a lot of the Duvel recipes out there.
It is highly likely that Duvel is brewed with a multi-step mash. Many Belgian beers are and with a primarily Pilsner malt base, it is difficult to believe that traditional multi-step mashes that were historically used on poorly modified malts have not been continued even though malt quality has improved.
Duvel is a simple beer that relies heavily on the correct yeast, make sure you build a good starter if you are attempting to clone Duvel.