Ask Mr. Wizard

Maximizing Malt Aroma and Character

TroubleShooting

Brad Lawrence — via Email asks,
Q

There is a specific flavor and aroma that I am trying to coax from my beer. The best way I can describe it is truly fresh malt flavor and aroma, not malt sweetness, that makes it into the finished beer. I was sitting at Founder’s a while back and ordered a PC Pils, this beer had the flavor and aroma of fresh baked bread and boiling wort. It melded perfectly with the fresh American hops. I have been chasing this dragon for quite some time. I have tried different malts (Munich, Vienna, Aromatic, Melanoidin, etc.), different maltsters, single infusion mashes, decoction mashes, even different boil times and intensities. Looking for other variables to explore; maybe mash pH? I rarely, if ever, stray from 5.3.

A
I have been on this same journey before and it can be a real challenge chasing elusive flavors that sometimes seem impossible to capture, and perfect malt flavor is one such genie.
Response by Ashton Lewis.