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A lot of talk is about dry-hopping in order to bring out the aroma of hops lost during the boiling process. Could a similar approach be used for malt? That is, could the addition of crushed grains to the primary/secondary change the aroma profile of a beer?

Of course, you would have to find some way of sterilizing the grains first (I don't know, steaming?) but would this work?. Has anyone tried it?

Crazy thought for Sunday.

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+1 for at daring to think differently! Nothing may come of it, but it will raise some interesting questions in reaching an answer. –  mdma Sep 11 '11 at 22:54
    
Thanks mdma. I might just try this on my next batch. –  Poshpaws Sep 12 '11 at 10:02
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5 Answers 5

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I've often wondered about how to get more of that wonderful aroma in the beer, but unfortunately, I don't think adding a few oz of grain (cf. dry hopping) will add any appreciable difference, considering that the aroma that is there has been produced by several pounds of grain. (Although the wort was boiled which may drive off aromas.)

Just thinking aloud, you might get closer to your goal of more malt aroma by saving some of the wort and boiling it in a sealed environment, and then leaving to cool, in the same spirit that a hopback is used with a chiller to capture hop aroma. Although boiling wort is normally in a open environment to allow Dimethyl Sulphides to evaporate, we are only talking a quart or two, so we can hope this small amount isn't above the taste threshold.

On a more practical level, you can get more malt flavour and aroma to come through by adjusting the recipe:

  • add chlorides (up to 50ppm) to emphasize the malt
  • use less hops to avoid masking the malt flavour and aroma
  • add malts that have a stronger aroma or malt character: munich is a good neutral choice since the character is pure malt, but other speciality malts can be added such as amber, biscuit, victory, melanoiden and in smaller quantities, coffee and chocolate malt to give other aromas as desired.

And just to finish on a wild guess, perhaps cold storage after fermentation may also help preserve more of the aroma, in the same way hop aromas are preserved through cold storage.

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I doubt that you'd actually extract any aroma/flavor from adding dry grain. Which of course raises the question "what aroma do you expect to get from adding dry grain?". And as you say, you'd have to have some way to sanitize the grain to prevent a lactic infection. I can't think of any practical way of doing that.

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OK, well this would depend on the grain, but when I crush 2-row I smell malty/biscuity aromas. Even more so for biscuit malt. Doing the same for crystal gives a light caramel aroma. I suppose roasting barley will sanitize it, but then you'd end up with a strong roasted barley aroma. –  Poshpaws Sep 11 '11 at 17:39
    
When I brew with 2-row, I get malty/biscuity aromas. When I brew with crystal I get caramel aromas. –  brewchez Sep 11 '11 at 21:12
    
Point taken Brewchez...but maybe I want more aroma... –  Poshpaws Sep 12 '11 at 9:25
    
Maybe try different maltsters for differences in character. I appreciate the spirit of the question. –  brewchez Sep 12 '11 at 20:26
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I agree that it's a very interesting question. I don't think just adding sterilized grain to the beer will do much, though. I imagine you'd end up with more cardboard/wet cereal flavors and aromas than anything else, especially if you leave them in for an extended time.

I might try steeping the grains in hot water such that you extract aromas and flavors, but don't activate the enzymes for starch conversion (will look up some temps later). That way you could add that wort to your finished beer to add character without the yeast getting much more food to eat.

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Given that you make Black IPAs usually by steeping Carafa III in cold water to extract colour only, I don't think you'd get much flavour out of adding malt to fermented beer. Plus the high chance of infection would mean you'd end up with some pretty interesting flavours...

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From what I understand the specific mash temperature allows the grain molecules to form chains (the temperature determines the length of chain). At a certain length they are "fermentable" and another "unformentable". the unfermentable chains are what make up aroma and flavor as well as other things, there for I believe that you would need to mash the grains to get anything out of them. can't hurt to try though!

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You kind of have it backwards. Malt already has the long chains of molecules (called starch, unfermentable) and the temperature of the mash dictates how those starches break down into fermentable sugars. It's not so much the length of these sugars that determine their fermentability, but the types of bonds between them. The left over sugars that are unfermentable have bonds that the enzymes can not break. But these left over molecules do not impart aroma, only sweetness and mouthfeel. –  BeerSensor Nov 22 '11 at 13:48
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