Monday, March 14, 2011

Amaranth Belgian Table Beer

Ive recently been playing catch up with my brewing. The hot summer months here in AZ are coming up quickly and I need to build up my stash of homebrew for the summer. This summer I think I'm going to build up a stock of almost only Belgian ales.

My last attempt at a Belgian Table beer turned out fantastically. Generally when a recipe is as good as that one was I don't mess around with it too much, but I had a few questions from people looking to brew their own and I really think that yeast profile really lets the grain flavors shine through. So I had been thinking of alternative grains that might work well in the beer, and a couple Ive been wanting to brew with recently have been Amaranth and Quinoa.

Ive been eating quite a bit of both lately, and I really thought that the nutty flavor of Amaranth in particular would lend itself well to this type of beer. I googled around trying to find out if anyone else out there had used Amaranth in homebrew, but I didn't have much luck past finding a few references to chicha, or to it being banned by the conquistadors due to its ritualistic use in sacrifices.

Now I wasn't sure what to make of its gravity contribution, so I did some back of the envelope calculations and came up with Amaranth having roughly 30pts/lb/gal, due to its starch content relative to wheat and barley. Amazingly this seemed to work out extremely well, and I hit my numbers exactly post-boil. To prepare the grain for using in the brew, I soaked it in water and boiled if for about 20min. The seed starts out with a whitish color, when its done all the seeds will be translucent. Then I added it to the mash as usual; I did think about blending it so it was smoother, as I was a bit worried about getting the starches out of the tiny seeds but everything seemed to work out well enough. When I use it again though I think I will grind it up first.

For the rest of the recipe I stuck to the basics from the last attempt. A balance of pilsner to get to my desired gravity, and lots of European hops late in the boil. I did knock the IBU's down a notch for this one, but I did that so I could really focus on the flavor contributions to the beer from the amaranth.

Amaranth Belgian Table Beer
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0Amaranth (Boiled)
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.75Mt Rainier (6.8%)60
1.00EKGs (4.5%)10
1.50EKGs (4.5%)KO
Mash Schedule
170F2qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastArdennes WY3522 - 1.2L Starter
80% effIBU24
7gal BoilFG-


sciencebrewer said...

Awesome brew idea! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

I made a Belgian wit last year with 50% unmalted amaranth. I ended up with the densest four-finger head I've ever experienced. The head was creamy, perhaps even viscous, and never dissipated. I suspect this was a result of the high protein content found in amaranth. The beer itself was nice, but the head was too much.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Agreed, looks really tasty. I just used buckwheat for the first time, so many grains I need to try out. I need to get my summer beer production ramped up.

Ryan said...

What did you use the buckwheat in? I was a bit disappointed with the flavor contribution from buckwheat when I used it, it did give a very thick creamy body though

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I put the buckwheat in an amber-ish sour with some Jolly Pumpkin dregs. The wort was almost gloppy pre-boil, but the sample I pulled had a "normal" consistency.

Buckwheat is supposed to have to capric/caprylic acid that Brett (according to Wild Brews) can turn into some interesting fruity esters. I’ve got a dark saison going with buckwheat honey as well.

Ryan said...

I used the buckwheat and buckwheat honey in a braggot, and it definitely has a funky note to it, I could see that being pretty interesting in a saison

The bragot, despite how low it finished, had a really nice thick mouthfeel

FurioSan said...

I love your experiment - it helped me a lot with my coming experiment high gravity amaranth belgian red ale
i'm going to use 15 kg of grist including 5kg of amaranth

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