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Black Session IPA?

So we threw together the cats and dogs of accumulations tonight and brewed what we call a session Black IPA. 5 gallon batch. Steeped 1# 10L light caramel and 1/2# black malt. Used 2 1/4 # leftover light DME and 1# of dark DME. Being it was a little low on fermentables, tossed in 1/2# of corn sugar and a pound of brown sugar at 15 minutes. Hopped it 60 min. 1 oz. Columbus, 30 min 1/2 oz. Chinook, and flameout 1/2 oz of Chinook and 1 oz of Cluster. Wort tasted good. OG was 1.046. We’re shooting for about 79 IBU and 4.6% ABV. :beers

1/2# of black malt?

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Went back and reread last night’s post. Wow… Edited it so hopefully it make sense.

yea…that’s…a lot of black malt even just steeped.

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As a “noob”, I think you’re telling me I am missing something. I looked to see what the effects of black malt are and besides color and some bitterness, I couldn’t see what the issue might be. The wort tasted pretty good from the sample. Can you school me please?

Doing the research on the black malt made me wonder more about the brown sugar and the corn sugar. I discovered that most advice points to holding off on the brown sugar and corn sugar till late in the fermentation process.

By the way, the guy at the LHBS didn’t seem at all concerned with my choice of black malt. Of course he was selling product but I think there’s honor among brew people right?


Many ways to brew it well. There were a couple of things in your recipe that appear to be unconventional. Nothing wrong with an unconventional process that results in a beer that you enjoy.

A couple of observations

  • Black malt is typically used, in small amounts, to add color. It will also add some roasty flavor. With darker malts, people are concerned about the bitterness/astringency that can be produced. A search on cold steeping dark malts" should get you started.
  • Brown sugar contains molasses (which will add some color and flavor), so most people will use just table / corn sugar. I’ve brewed a couple of time with brown sugar and enjoyed the result. Generally, when I use sugar, it’s a small amount (around 10 gravity points) at the end of the boil. In an extract + steeping grains recipe, this will make the beer a little less malty.

Hopefully someone will add their experiences about making bigger beers by adding sugar during active fermentation.

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Looks like a hoppy porter to me. I use molasses in my porters all the time. As far as the black malt I’m not sure. I use a 1/4 pound chocolate malt in my roggenbier which in my version is a rye IPA and it’s just about right for me.y our looking for color not flavor. But let us know how you like it. Do you plan on dry hopping?

Check that. I just read my recipe for that roggenbier and it was 1/8 lb in 10 gallons. So definitely 1/2 in 5 will be noticeable. It might still be good but the hops will be overwhelmed IMO

I know that you’re trying to use up some odds and ends, but midnight wheat is a good choice for darkening a brew without adding a lot of bitter astringency.

First off, thanks for the comments and advice!

I’ll take credit for poor planning on this deal. One phrase I’ve seen on the forum is “What are you trying to accomplish?” Should’ve done some research! My son and I emptied the brew cupboard and basically made up a recipe based on what was available. We had talked about making a dark beer so since we are quite a ways from access to a LHBS, I picked up the malt last time I was there. I thought I had more DME but when I realized we were short we scrambled and came up with the brown sugar and the corn sugar. As for dry hopping, I want to taste it once it ferments. My first thought was Centennial or Centennial/Simcoe but based on what I think we might end up with I may have to rethink.

Update: No visible signs of fermentation since Monday. Hydrometer was 1.042 Monday, now 1.031 so something is happening. Danstar West Coast yeast. Should I pitch more?

Just left the LHBS and checked. The malt was Black Prinz. Said on the label that it had zero astringency.

Yea that’s a briess roasted malt 500L. Here’s what they say about it.

 1-2% Minor color adjustment with little to no flavor impact in lighter colored lagers and ales
 2-5% Adds color with subtle, smooth flavor
 5-10% Use in larger quantities for color plus mild roasted malty flavor

It’s flavor tends toward, roasty coffee flavors. A couple ounces of it would have likely given you the color you wanted for a black IPA. You’ll likely get more roasty flavors from it. Could overwhelm your hops but may not. What temp and how long did you steep?

If it’s just color you’re going for in a black IPA or schwarzbier where you don’t want the roastiness, I prefer carafa special II or III, 415 and 470L respectively. They’re dehusked so there’s not much flavor at all. Only takes a few ounces of the CS III to darken a beer.

I’ve never used that yeast but it’s supposed to be a med to high attenuator. You brewed it Monday? What’s been your fermentation temperature? Has there been no krauesen?

When I plug your fermentables into BS2 I get 1.041 for a 5 gal batch so it sounds like it’s fermenting.

Thanks a ton for the info! I’ll definitely make those notes in my book for this beer. Finally got some krausen this afternoon. The ambient temp is right at 60-65. Feeling much better. If nothing else it ought to be interesting.

Brewing a big single hop Mosaic right now. The one that had me panicked about infection. :scream:

Here’s to being one happy camper!

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@dannyboy58. The black experiment beer is the one at about 5 o’clock in the picture above.

Steeped from 56 DF up to 170 DF. Didn’t notice anything roasty however we were partaking of our high IBU Mosaic ale. (Which explains the original cryptic post! LOL)

Okay, well a failure. :disappointed: The beer came out with a final gravity of about 1.001, had some weird gunk floating on top, sour, was super astringent, and smelled weird. I posted Ruh rohhh concerning the fact I had apparently forgotten the difference between cleanser and sanitizer so perhaps that was the major issue. What I really think is that I didn’t really plan this recipe and just tossed in what I had to get to the right ending numbers. I definitely will go after this again with a little more planning though. Live an learn.

Sad but I think you got the right attitude.

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