Patagonia Perla Negra Q&A with Damian McConn from Summit Brewing

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Malt Q&A with Damian McConn; head brewer of Summit Brewing, St. Paul, Minnesota

Type of malt: Patagonia Perla Negra (Black Pearl), supplied by Brewers Supply Group

Jon Sicotte: When was the first time you used Black Pearl it and what did you like about it?

Damian McConn: We conducted some experimental brews of higher gravity stouts back in early 2013 that included Perla Negra as part of the specialty grist. It possesses a really nice espresso/milk chocolate quality.

JS: What in its profile makes it stick out as a great specialty malt?

DM: Very little acridity, minimal scorched characteristics, low phenolics and mild bitterness.   

JS: What other hops or malts go well with it?

DM: In a recipe for Rebellion Foreign Extra Stout, Perla Negra combined extremely well with Simpsons Chocolate and Brown malts. The Boadicea hop variety from England also seemed to complement the malt grist well. I would expect that Steiner Experimental hop 06300 with its unique chocolate/bourbon and licorice characteristics would also work well.  

JS: What is one of Perla Negra’s unique characteristics?

DM: The maltsters at Patagonia use a specialized de-husking process to completely remove the husk, then apply a gentle roasting regimen in order to produce a very balanced and mellow roasted malt.    

JS: Are there any surprise flavors that it can create or be perceived?

DM: The espresso note dominates, but there was a definite hazelnut quality to the malt.

JS: Do you have any dreams of using this for something you haven’t tried?

DM: We also have used this ingredient in a black kolsch; worked really well. At some stage I’d like to see how it might interact with lager yeast and traditional German hops in either a Doppelbock or Schwarzbier.


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