Saturday, October 22, 2011

English IPA with Tapioca Starch

I don't brew many super hoppy beers like most homebrewers do, but from time to time I really crave a nice fresh homebrewed IPA. This time around I decided, somewhat last minute, to brew up an English IPA. Since the batch was sort of spur of the moment and I was feeling a bit lazy, I didn't want to run to the homebrew store. So this batch was limited to what I had on-hand.

I just recently grabbed another sack of Marris Otter, and Ive been using MO quite extensively as of late. This time around though I thought it would be nicer to have something that was a bit lighter bodied than your typical MO or MO + crystal beer. Ive just tapped the keg of the Toasty English Pale I brewed up a month or so ago, which was MO + crystal, so I was especially motivated to try and change up the malt profile a bit. I wanted something a bit lighter bodied and a bit less malt punch, something that would be tipped toward the hops and and easy drinker.

As I said I was feeling extremely lazy so I scrounged around my kitchen for miscellaneous ingredients to thin the beer a bit. I did have some flaked corn laying around, but I'm saving that for another attempt at a Kentucky Common, so that was out. What I did have though, was a full bag of Tapioca Starch that had been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to find it a good use. (I buy lots of random ingredients from Ethnic stores, and they tend to sit around waiting for me to be inspired). Immediately I knew I wanted to use this in the beer.

I jumped on my computer and googled up tapioca starch in homebrew. Somehow it only came up with single hit. It was a thread on HBtalk and frankly it really didn't have any information on using tapioca starch. The entire thread most people were trying to talk the OP out of using it in a beer! I never was able to find out if the guy actually tried it or not, but going blind has never been something to stop me.

I'm really not sure why everyone was so hesitant to use the tapioca starch, but many times things or ideas that are new or unheard of make people nervous. Well, Ive never been skittish to try something new, so in the mash it went! I did google around a bit to find the gelatinization temp of tapioca starch, and luckily it is in the normal range of mash temps 65-70C aka 149-158F, so no crazy step mashes or pre-gelatinization needed. I don't think I could have lucked out any better!

I'm expecting the starch to be completely converted to fermentable sugars and provide next to no flavor, but only time will tell. It could very well be extremely potent flavor-wise and dominate the beer, which could be pretty interesting in its own right.

I'm wasn't really sure what to make of it for potential gravity, but I assumed it was roughly the same as sugar at 46pts/lb. The tricky thing was entering it into Beersmith. I'm pretty sure that conversion of the starch is 100% so its essentially like adding sugar. So, if its entirely converted to glucose mash efficiency should really affect the extractable sugars, which means you really cant enter it as a malt. Unfortunately entering it as a sugar in Beersmith omits it from mash calculations. So I estimated the gravity by entering it as sugar and entered it as a malt for mash calcs.

Now your saying why not just add some sugar to the kettle to accomplish the same thing? Well Ive really never liked adding sugar to beers, except in the case of a very flavorful sugar, and using Tapioca starch is something that it seems no one has really tried. Tapioca starch is also extremely cheap, I bought the roughly 1# bag for 40¢ which is a quite a bit cheaper than sugar around me. For these reasons it seemed a great choice for adding fermentables to a beer when its only purpose was lightening the flavor and body.

When adding the starch to the mash I mixed it in thoroughly to the grain before adding water. I think you could probably also make a thin slurry of starch and water as well to add to the mash. Mixing everything together gave me a few more dough-balls than normal and was a bit thicker but it wasn't much of a problem. Within 15min the mash had thinned considerably and looked more like normal. Within 30minutes it was negative for starch, buy I still waited 60min (laziness). Tasting the runoff it was extremely sweet, much more so than usual.

Tapioca English IPA

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
8.5Marris Otter (Muntons)
0.5Tapioca Starch
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.25Simcoe (12.7%)60
1.00Amarillo (9.3%)15
2.00Simcoe (12.7%)10
1.00Amarillo (9.3%)<170F
1.75Simcoe (12.7%)<170F
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastThames Valley WY1275 (Slurry)
85% effIBU51
6.5gal BoilFG

Review - 1/7/12 - Notes & Thoughts


Jeremy said...

Awesome! I was just at my local Asian market this week buying palm sugar for a brew, saw tapioca starch, and chickened out. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Kyle said...

Wow, cool! I'll be checking back here to see how it turned out. I can get it cheap at the store just around the corner too.

I love the way that global food markets are changing the ingredients that homebrewers put into beer.

Ryan said...

Im thinking this will be a convenient replacement for cornsugar if I ever need it. There's a lot of other things that make me curious in those store as well. Anything really jump out at you when your wondering in one?

Jeremy said...

Date syrup (middle eastern) is going into a BSDA I brew soon. Been wanting to incorporate seaweed somehow into a stout. The bricks of dark cane juice from Mexico and South America make phenomenal beginnings of dark brewers invert. It is too dark to get #1 out of, but give you a great head start over something like 'sugar in the raw' when trying to get something as dark as brewers invert #3.

asheville brewer said...

i went through a phase of using different starches from the Asian mart, i did 50% starch 50% 2-row and it always converted and ran off fine. I also used water chestnut flour and cassava flour. The only one that had any noticible flavor to me was the water chestnut flour which had a ..."chinese food" subtlety to it...

Unknown said...

how long did you ferment this for?

Ryan said...

Id have to look at notes to be exact, But I recall it sitting in the fermetor about 3wks

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose you could up the tapioca weight on this recipe?

Ryan said...

Anon - I could see upping the tapioca starch in the beer, essentially it is just a source of simple sugars in the beer (sort of like adding dextrose)

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