From the HBD Archive
From: (Tony Babinec)
Subject: modified malts and British beers
Date: 1992-07-09 14:41:00 GMT

Pale ale malt is "highly modified," but so is most widely available
U.S. lager malt. The modification of pale ale malt facilitates the
single step infusion mash, which is relatively easy to perform. With
less modified malt, one might instead use a step infusion mash or even
a decoction mash. See Greg Noonan's book for the reasons to use
decoction mashes on undermodified malt. From past discussions on HBD,
as well as lots of visits to U.S. brewpubs, it seems that U.S. malts
are mashed in single step infusion mashes with good results.

Now, pale ale malt is also more highly-kilned than U.S. lager malt, and
will pound for pound produce a "darker" beer--red-amber versus gold-straw.
Color adjustments can be made with crystal malt in small additions.
Another brewing issue, if I'm remembering correctly, is that lager malts
carry precursors of dms, a flavor appropriate up to a point in lagers but
not in ales.

Beyond the above general points, we're treading on near-religious :-)
ground. Some might say that in the end you should use British malts for
British beers, as that's what they do and there are subtleties of flavor
imparted. Most U.S. commercial brewers and pubs, you can be sure, do
not import British malts, but instead use local malts. The American
Pale Ale style is a consequence. Aside from malts, hops are a very
important part of the style, with Americans employing Cascade,
Willamette, and other Northwest hops. World-class beers such as Sierra
Nevada Pale Ale are the result. But, SNPA is quite different in taste
from Fuller's E.S.B!

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