Author: Ray Found
When I started brewing, I learned one does not drain the wort from the grains without performing a vorlauf, that is, recirculating sweet wort until it runs clear. It was deemed a requirement that contributes to the full extraction of sugar from the grains, help set the grainbed for effective lautering, and prevent astringency producing grain husks from making their way into the boil kettle. I initially learned about the horror of husks while reading comments about the now infamous Good Eats episode where Alton Brown boiled his steeping grains with extract and hops. Tannins!
It makes sense to me that grain husks might impart some flavor that is different than the endosperm it encases, after all, whole grain bread does taste different than white bread. However, the results from our first vorlauf xBmt showed that tasters could not reliably distinguish between a beer that had undergone a vorlauf from one that hadn’t, making me wonder if perhaps the amount of grain making it to the boil played a role.
We tend to focus our xBmts on the practical, but occasionally a time comes where testing extremes could potentially yield more meaningful information. That time is now. (more…)