« on: May 10, 2010, 06:40:22 PM »
I applaud those who find the homebrewing hobby (or "obsession") so fascinating that their childlike curiosity compels them to conduct an experiment. But, most of these studies are quite poorly designed with regards to their hypothesis, materials and methods employed, the use of objective and standardized metrics, and arriving at unsupported and biased claims and conclusions.
As a homebrewer, I'd actualy respect your opinion more if you just wore flip flops and a loud tropical shirt and said, "Well... in my experience, underpitching yeast blah blah blah (insert your opinion here)." Otherwise, it's just dogma hiding behind the scrim of science.
"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism."
-Sir William Osler
Well, that's slightly patronizing. I agree with "Dr. England's" last sentiment (and I'm not questioning his credentials, but the only professor I ever had who actually told us to call him "Dr." was completely clueless) -- that allowing word of mouth myths to perpetuate only harms the hobby. But most of his objections are basically excuses to dismiss without even commenting. Not sure about the reason for this experiment? Don't be obtuse. It you think that testing different procedure or ingredients in a homebrew setting with only "subjective" sensory analysis is a waste of time, just come out and say it. But a useful contribution to making great beer is not necessarily the same as one that help us understand the metabolic pathways of yeast in a laboratory.
Your quote about dogmatic belief can apply to scientists as well. I'm sure mathematicians smirk when they see biologists who are absolutely convinced they know what's going on with life