Howdy, guys! Toastedman, it's great to see somebody older than I am here!
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Okay, just ordered How to Brew. Thanks for the recommendation, all.
In the meantime, still trying to figure out where we've got astray.
It sounds likely that the well water is the problem. Our water is very good for drinking, but I suspect high in minerals. That might well be the culprit. Too bad, I was hoping it might be something fixable (like temp, which perhaps we could up in the hopes of reactivating the yeast).
If water was the problem, there's no fix, is there?
About the kits: I don't believe they're extract kits (since I don't know what that is, I'm assuming that's not what they are). The ingredients are all dry, except the yeast, which is a liquid pack.
Any other thoughts on possible fixes, or should I just throw out these two batches and try a third using distilled water? I hate to do that, since it's about $70 of ingredients down the drain -- but that may just be the way it is.
I've played around with different ratios and I can't say I've noticed a difference in mouthfeel or flavor either. I went from a 5 gallon cooler to a ten gallon cooler, which gave me the opportunity to use a higher water/grist ratio and the only thing I've noticed is that I don't need to sparge more than once after the additional run off.
agreed - I sort of let the ratio 'find itself" so that I get equal runoffs from the first run and sparge. as long as it is within 1.25 qt/lb and 2.0 I don't worry about it.
...equal amounts for first runnings and sparge is my target.
Ndcube - I would not brew anything out of that book.
Denny - it was Spencer Thomas first and then I followed up later. I think we had talked about it at AABG meetings first, but can't remember for sure. He did a head-to-head taste comparison of pressure cooked full decoction and normal mash. My contribution was the pseudo-decoction with two separate, parallel mashes, one of which is boiled, with or without a pressure cooker, and then combined.
Do you use the same water?
Maybe there are more salts in the mash at the higher ratio affecting your pH more.
All I can say is that I like the lower mash ratio in "most" beers except IPA's. From batches made in the past, to me it seems a higher ratio is more grainy or harsh while a lower ratio seems to have a more mellow finish. I'll definitely know after lowering it for the next few batches, and I'll do a few of the same recipes at a higher ratio just to prove it for myself.
I'm going to guess that ain't happening ... this isn't Cosco.
I'm going back to a ratio closer to 1:1. I know with a higher water to grain ratio you get higher efficiency but I like my beer a littl maltier and more mouthfeel. Any thoughts on it?
Perhaps the lupulin gland oils that are dissolved at 150F vs boiled at 212F react to form different compounds that affect the perceived bitterness in various ways. There have been studies on the effects of temperature on alpha acids in the lupulin glands of hops. I would be interested to understand the findings, but it's $30.00 per study.