Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:28 am

Jimbo wrote:+1 to the comments about 100% specialty being undrinkable. Also, they are very expensive.

Undrinkable? I don't think. But I will find out. Today I will distill the Carafa malt.

Very expensive? The cheapest base malt here is 1.55€ per kg. The Carafa is 2.35€. Both is dirt cheap compared to fruits IMO. If I want good pears, I have to pay 3€ per kg. And for a 10l mash I need almost 10kg pears, but max. 3kg malt. Today I payed 17€/kg for hazelnuts (without skins, slightly roasted) for a hazelnut-Geist. I started with fruits, so I am always happy about the low costs for mashing whisky.

But you are right, the price is an argument always. And yes, making my own speciality malt is an option. But buying is better for repeatability and comparing. I never malted and dried grain, I don't want to run into problems and destroy my experiment with first-time-mistakes.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby bilgriss » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:22 am

Even if the end results were undrinkable, or just unpalatable, I think this could be some very interesting blending stock. At the very least, it is likely to be interesting and worth the effort of experimentation.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:47 am

Spirit (single) run of the Carafa malt:

Because of the results with the Special W malt I decided to distill it without the yeast this time. And I took the 1m column instead of the 50cm column, but distilled after the foreshots at a lower abv. And I was prepared for an early tails cut.

The result is much better than the sugarhead with the spent malt. It doesn't have the scorched smell (probably the scorched smell is mainly in the hulls of the malt) and almost nothing of the yeast smell (because of the "The answer was copper"-thread I now wonder if it is a sulfate smell). The same dried herbs aroma like the sugarhead and (surprise!) a strong peppery mouthfeel I never had before. Not a sharp alcohol bite, more like black pepper warming your mouth.
Better than the lighter Spezial W malt. But probably because of my bad cuts (I normally stop collecting small jars during the hearts and start again before the tails. This method is lazy, but not 100% safe, because if I start again too late, I messed it up. This time I payed for my lazyness).
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:49 am

It is not the end of this experiment for me, but I have other priorities the next months:
- Pears
- Wheated bourbon (try the corn brewers use instead of polenta, try infected backset, and I need more used oak sticks and want to try another toasting profile)
- peated malt (I will use a different malt than last time)
- A few vapor infusions (hazelnuts, sloes, white thorn, quince)
- And then perhaps I will ferment other speciality malts. Or coffee? I wonder if fermented and distilled coffee would taste similar. Perhaps even better?


Perhaps a few months aging on wood my opinion about the results of this experiment will change a bit. But this is my summary up to now:

- Speciality malts for whisky are much less extreme than for beer.
- A medium speciality malt has much maltiness. But a different maltiness, sweeter, darker, less smooth. A dark roasted malt has no maltiness. So it tastes not really like malt whisky.
- Although the mash is extreme bitter, no bitterness will come into the distillate.
- Same for the extreme chocolate aroma of the mash. There is only a hint of chocolate in the distillate.
- The aromas I found: dried dark fruits, dried herbs, smoke from herbs, less chocolate and coffee than I thought, peppery mouthfeel.
- The darker the malt the less starch is fermentable. You get always a SG like with normal malt, but a high FG. With a 290 EBC malt you will yield 25% less alcohol than normal. With a 1150 you yield only 25% of the alcohol. So when mashing a roasted malt you have to add sugar.
- A hot break doesn't work with speciality malts.
- Crush the grain very coarse. The inside of the grain is very easy soluble. And the hulls are very weak and contain scorched aromas.
- Don't ferment on the grain.
- Don't distill with the yeast
- It doesn't have more heads than a normal malt, but earlier tails.

Too early to say "this is the new thing everyone here has to try". Because like peated malt it is not 100% pleasant. And my nose is overloaded now, I don't have enough distance at the moment. But when someone reads this thread and gets inspired and doesn't like his spirits only mild sweet and mellow, I am sure it is no waste of time.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:22 am

Thanks for the experiment.
I have found that small quantities of toasted or toasted malts carry through to final spirit, so I would have expected your results to be much more overwhelming.

Great recap, after following this it will be hard for me to resist picking a specialty malt and trying this myself. :thumbup:
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby bilgriss » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:38 pm

Really interesting!

With regards to coffee and carbohydrate content / potential for using as an adjunct, I would predict pretty low yield. The carbohydrate content is relatively lower than proteins, more like a bean than a grain. I roast my own coffee, and it is true that flavors and sugars are liberated during roasting, to a point, and then beyond that (dark roast) they are once again consumed by roasting, so a relatively light to medium roast would offer the best potential.

This paper gives some pretty interesting information:

http://www.ift.org/~/media/Knowledge%20 ... hapter.pdf
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:03 pm

Yes. Like the Carafa malt a coffee bean malt would be a sugarhead too. I would expect maximum 2% abv from the beans and add another 8% with sugar.
And yes. Probably it is a good idea to try a light roast first. Thanks.

Edit: I will read the pdf tomorrow. Looks interesting.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:40 am

After three months on oak I did a first tasting of the three speciality malt whiskies.

The first was the Spezial W with 280-300 EBC
the second the Carafa Typ 2 with 1100-1200 EBC
the third a sugarhead from the draff of both malts

I have all in all 9 bottles with different oak sticks, some are still very light in color, some are colorwise ready to bottle. This is an interesting point, because here the amount of oaking changes the perception of the whisky very unexpected: Before oaking I wrote "...the extreme chocolate aroma of the mash. There is only a hint of chocolate in the distillate." And I wrote about a very interesting dried herbs flavor in the distillate. Now after three months on oak, the darker oaked bottles have developed a strong chocolate flavor and lost much of the herbs flavor. For me it looks like the chocolate aroma without sweetness tastes like herbs. Or the herbs aroma plus sweetness tastes like chocolate.

The peppery mouthfeel remained same and especially the draff sugarhead is very extreme here. The aging effects are faster than with normal whiskies. Everything has smoothed out. The draff sugarhead has lost the scorch taste, the special W has lost the musty tails flavor. But the nice dried cherry flavor is reduced a bit unfortunately.
I like the combination of soft but peppery mouthfeel very much. So I think in the end I will like the draff sugarhead most. I wrote "the hulls...contain scorched aromas" and "Don't ferment on the grain". This is definetely wrong after aging on wood.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby Odin » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:26 pm

Aging solves so many problems in drinks. Great update, Der Wo. Drinks also solve many problems related to aging, but that's another subject. Just kidding.

Regards, Odin.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:40 pm

Great update. I've been following this thread and I'd like to try some other specialty malts myself.
Interesting how much aging a bit affected the product.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby der wo » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:14 am

Yes Odin, I think all languages have the jokes about the influence of alcohol on the perception of beauty of women.

MC, of course I would be very happy, if other members try something similar.
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Re: Experimental mashing 100% speciality malt whisky?

Postby Dan P. » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:12 pm

Great read, thanks!
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