Friday, November 4, 2016

Simplifying Homebrewing - Grains

I recently purchased 12 - 1 gallon PET storage containers to hold my adjuncts and grains. I live quite a distance from the nearest homebrew supply store and since I'm not very good about planning my brew days I keep quite a few grains on hand. I thought 12 containers would be enough to hold the various bags of grain in my storage locker but I was just plain wrong. So now I'm going to attempt to outline what 12 grains I should have on hand that will allow me to brew the most variety of beers. I could just buy more containers but since I'm trying to be more budget conscious, and I have a limited amount of space I thought I would try this route.

Frequently Brewed Beers

I should probably start with a list of beers I know I brew repeatedly. That will help pick some of the grains to keep on hand.

  1. Panhead Supercharger Clone - About 2-4x/year.
  2. IPA 2x/year
  3. Hefe 2x/year
  4. Saison - 2x/year in the summer
  5. Brown Ale - 2-3x/year
  6. Porter - 2-3x/year
  7. Stout - 1-2x/year (Includes RIS)
  8. Barley Wine 1x/year
  9. Winter Warmer 1x/year
  10. Belgian Dark Strong 1x/year
  11. Munich Dunkel 1x/year
  12. Doppelbock 1x/year
  13. Sours 4x/year (Includes Kettle Soured)

Base Malt

I keep a 50lb bag of Briess 2-Row for my base malt but have found recently that I'm brewing a lot of English beers and I keep buying 10lb bags of Marris Otter. I'm contemplating a complete change to Marris Otter but it's going to mess with my brewing budget. 2-Row is $50, I think Marris Otter is more like $65 a bag.

Crystal Malts

I'm a huge fan of cherry and dark fruit flavors in my beers so I definately want Special B, British 135/165 and C120. The supercharger clone used c20 and honey malt so those are a must.

  1. Crystal 20
  2. Crystal 40 - Layering in Brown and amber ales
  3. Crystal 80 - Layering
  4. Crystal 120
  5. Crystal (british) 135/165
  6. Belgian Special B
Well there's half the containers just in crystal malts. After black malts there won't be much left. I could cut out the crystal 40 if I find I'm frequently missing something else but I think I can make this work.

Black Malts

My porter uses carafa II or midnight wheat, I like the wheat better. The stouts use chocolate and roast malt. If I include a black patent type malt I'm screwed for much else. I need a flaked barley for quite a few of these darker beers, especially if I ferment with a highly attenuative yeast it sort of rounds the beer out, so I'll leave off the black patent for now.
  1. Midnight Wheat or Carafa Special
  2. Chocolate Malt
  3. Roasted Barley

Other Malts

My stouts and porters also call for either flaked oats or flaked barley for some creaminess. If I have to choose just one I'll go with flaked barley, I think it adds a little more body with the creamy mouth feel.
  1. Honey Malt
  2. Flaked Barley
  3. Biscuit/Victory
Biscuit malt is good for layering in several types of beer. The munich dunkel, browns, porters and stouts all benefit from some biscuit malt. 

I left out wheat malt which I use quite frequently between the wheat beers and sours but those are beers I usually plan out a bit. They are seasonal like the Barleywine, BDS, Winter Warmer and Doppelbock.

I'm sure this list will change over time as my brewing tastes change, or I realize I missed something I use quite frequently.