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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 04:55:15 PM

Title: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 04:55:15 PM
Here is a rough draft of my fauxpils results, along with my raw data. I'm hoping with some discussion I'll be able to update and change anything I may have neglected. Differences between the beers was very small and frequently contradictory, so I caution you from reading too much into my results.

This study was really easy to put together, very hard to analyze. I'm providing my data so you can look at it for yourself to decide if I draw a reasonable conclusion. If you disagree with my methods or results, it's easy to find qualified people on the AHA forum to serve as evaluators. Any study is useless if it can't be replicated, so I encourage anyone interested in this topic to organize their own study.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B29juefwLV4gSk0xN0NfRDFONnM < Latest version of results and summary.
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B29juefwLV4gcnNjZFRCakpVa2s
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B29juefwLV4gVnNBanpUaDNscFk
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B29juefwLV4gRHhZUExfUmlBcHM

Big picture:
1) Decoction probably won't make your beer better.
2) Decoction mashing extracts more gravity from malt, and may extract more compounds that can be perceived as "dry" as well. Whether that's good or bad for a given recipe will depend on personal preference and your targeted beer profile.
3) The wort from the decocted beer was noticeably clearer. Hot break can bind with hop acids and reduce hop utilization, so the difference in perceived bitterness may be due to reduced hot break in the boil kettle.
4) Using melanoidin malt doesn't emulate decoction mashing
5) There were a lot of contradictory descriptions of the beers. How people perceive aroma and flavor is complex and not easy to anticipate.

What the data supports:
1) Decoction increases mash efficiency.
2) There was no statistically significant correlation between the BJCP scores and recipe.
3) 57% of evaluators preferred the no-sparge beer with 5% melanoidin malt (5%) over the triple-decocted beer (3X), 29% had no preference, and 14% preferred 3X.
4) Judges were significantly more likely to correctly identify duplicate beers than expected based on a random guess. 

What the data probably supports:
1) Small difference with 3X leaning toward dry/bitter, 5% leaning toward malty/balanced.

What the data might support:
1) No difference other than color
2) Small difference, but no agreed-upon difference.
3) Either no-sparge or decoction had no effect, and the only difference was due to melanoidin malt.

What the data doesn't support:
1) Decoction makes a better beer
2) Decoction makes your beer maltier than using melanoidin malt w/no sparge.
3) Decoction makes a smoother beer
4) Decoction makes a beer more people prefer

Problems with the study:
1) Small sample size
2) I only have room for two fermentors in my freezer, so I could only make two beers at once to compare.
3) There were some issues with inconsistent carbonation from bottle priming. I've never noticed a difference in carbonation levels in my beer before, so this was really interesting for me.
4) A couple samples may have had a low-level infection. If I could consistently brew perfect beer, I wouldn't spend so much time on the AHA forum trying to learn about brewing.

Mixed variables:
I framed the study as a comparison of no-sparge vs decoction because I wanted to confound evaluators' expectations. If decoction could provide some special je ne sai quoi beyond just darker color and increased maltiness in a way that melanoidin malt can't emulate, that should have shown up in the results, with more people preferring 3X or more people describing 3X in more favorable terms. In any case, it's possible the no-sparge, decoction or the melanoidin malt had no effect, but I'd say it's more likely that no-sparge or decoction had no effect and melanoidin malt had some effect.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 02, 2012, 05:25:54 PM
Wow, Nate, VERY interesting!  I want to thank you for all your effort with this!
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: garc_mall on August 02, 2012, 05:30:59 PM
You got me with that melanoidin malt. I felt that the astringency was wrong in a no-sparge beer, but the darkness and maltiness got me. If I would have known there was melanoidin in the no-sparge, I probably would have changed my mind. I think I might add some melanoidin in my alt next time I brew it. Thanks for the analysis, it definitely made me think about how much your knowledge and perceptions affect the beer you taste.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: ccfoo242 on August 02, 2012, 06:20:48 PM
Thanks for the information.

Sent from the future...
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: kramerog on August 02, 2012, 06:22:43 PM
I think the experiment was well designed.

You appear to ascribe tannins as a source of difference between 3X and 5%.  Another possibility could be the extraction of minerals as described in http://www.hoptomology.com/2012/07/25/the-pilsner-urquell-showdown-decoction-vs-single-infusion-was-it-worth-it/?goback=.gde_100650_member_138949540 (http://www.hoptomology.com/2012/07/25/the-pilsner-urquell-showdown-decoction-vs-single-infusion-was-it-worth-it/?goback=.gde_100650_member_138949540)
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 06:34:33 PM
Another possibility could be the extraction of minerals

That's really interesting. I've updated my OP to reflect that it may not just be tannins that cause a perception of dryness. My water had low minerals, but not nearly as low as Pilsen water.

When I tasted the beers in my study in an A/B tasting, it was really obvious what the differences were. When I did an A/B/X triangle tasting I really struggled to identify differences. I'm not sure how the person in that experiment structured his tasting, but I think A/B vs A/B/X makes a huge difference in your results.

Also, in his experiment did he compensate for the increased efficiency? I adjusted my decocted version to keep OG and FG the same as the 5% version. I'm surprised his OG and FG figures were so different.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: bluesman on August 02, 2012, 06:39:00 PM
I haven't had the time to go through all of the data yet, but want to thank you for all of your hard work on this experiment. Very nice work Nate!  :)

Your contribution to our hobby is much appreciated.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 06:44:47 PM
I haven't had the time to go through all of the data yet

Don't think too hard on it. Listen to the music, not the notes.

I spent hours and hours running statistical analyses and compiling lists of descriptors, only to end up with graphs and charts that were meaningless, confusing, or not supported by the subtext of the evals.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tom on August 02, 2012, 06:50:02 PM
Awesome!
Thanks a lot for doing this.
Title: Re: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: ccfoo242 on August 02, 2012, 06:53:12 PM
I spent hours and hours running statistical analyses and compiling lists of descriptors, only to end up with graphs and charts that were meaningless, confusing, or not supported by the subtext of the evals.

Well then, the Koch brothers have some global temperature data they'd like you to chart. :o zing! Thank you, I'm here all week.

Sent from the future...
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: kramerog on August 02, 2012, 07:06:55 PM
Another possibility could be the extraction of minerals

That's really interesting. I've updated my OP to reflect that it may not just be tannins that cause a perception of dryness. My water had low minerals, but not nearly as low as Pilsen water.

When I tasted the beers in my study in an A/B tasting, it was really obvious what the differences were. When I did an A/B/X triangle tasting I really struggled to identify differences. I'm not sure how the person in that experiment structured his tasting, but I think A/B vs A/B/X makes a huge difference in your results.

Also, in his experiment did he compensate for the increased efficiency? I adjusted my decocted version to keep OG and FG the same as the 5% version. I'm surprised his OG and FG figures were so different.

The blogger's study is not as well designed as yours.  I don't think that he tried to control the gravity like you did.  However his data matches comments I've read that the Pilsener Urquell water is super soft but that the necessary calcium content for yeast health comes from the malt.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on August 02, 2012, 07:11:58 PM
i can't wait to go through in more detail
thanks for letting me participate and evaluing my beers as well

don
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on August 02, 2012, 07:41:04 PM
i may have mentioned this in the initial thread, but one of the things i wanted to share was the bottle labeling.  NateO had the bottles labeld with shapes circle, star, square, rather than 1, 2, 3 or a,b,c.  this meant that there was no predisposition on order being tasted or even an assumption that beer 1 and 2 are different and which one is 3.  just a little take home for future studies.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 02, 2012, 07:50:26 PM
i may have mentioned this in the initial thread, but one of the things i wanted to share was the bottle labeling.  NateO had the bottles labeld with shapes circle, star, square, rather than 1, 2, 3 or a,b,c.  this meant that there was no predisposition on order being tasted or even an assumption that beer 1 and 2 are different and which one is 3.  just a little take home for future studies.

I agree.  I thought that was brilliant!

BTW, Nate is it OK if we identify ourselves in the results so people can laugh at us (me)?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: saintpierre on August 02, 2012, 08:18:37 PM
Wow, interesting research! Thanks for the hard work, much appreciated!
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: redzim on August 02, 2012, 08:29:27 PM
i can't wait to go through in more detail
thanks for letting me participate and evaluing my beers as well

don

yes. it was fun to participate and I am learning a lot by going thru the notes of the other tasters and trying the remember the 3 beers I had.  thanks for pulling it all together.

-red
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 08:31:02 PM
BTW, Nate is it OK if we identify ourselves in the results so people can laugh at us (me)?

I left the names off to protect the guilty. I didn't want to embarrass anyone for misidentifying a duplicate, or let people's opinions about the evaluators impact their analysis of the feedback. So at this point I'd ask to keep it confidential and let the feedback speak for itself.

Not that I'd accuse anyone of listening to you, Denny, but I wanted to avoid anyone believing one side just because of who they are.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 02, 2012, 09:13:24 PM
I could tell who one of the Judges was from the BJCP ranking.  ;)
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 02, 2012, 09:14:39 PM
BTW, Nate is it OK if we identify ourselves in the results so people can laugh at us (me)?

I left the names off to protect the guilty. I didn't want to embarrass anyone for misidentifying a duplicate, or let people's opinions about the evaluators impact their analysis of the feedback. So at this point I'd ask to keep it confidential and let the feedback speak for itself.

Not that I'd accuse anyone of listening to you, Denny, but I wanted to avoid anyone believing one side just because of who they are.

;)

wise man
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: jeffy on August 02, 2012, 09:14:53 PM
I could tell who one of the Judges was from the BJCP ranking.  ;)

Me too, but I haven't had a chance to see how wrong I was yet.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: garc_mall on August 02, 2012, 09:24:16 PM
I was just glad to see that most of my taste observations agreed with all the other testers. It makes me more confident in my tasting skills, which means that I really need to work more on the knowledge side of the BJCP, so I can prepare to take my test.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 02, 2012, 11:19:26 PM
FWIW I slightly preferred 3X. My wife strongly preferred 3X. I thought 3X was rounder and crisper, while 5% was maltier and brighter. Clarity was good in both, but better in 3X. I think shipping wasn't great for the beers, so clarity in the responses was all over the map, from brilliant to hazy.   
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: malzig on August 03, 2012, 11:24:54 AM
Big picture:
2) Decoction mashing extracts more gravity from malt, and it probably extracts more compounds that can be perceived as "dry" as well. Whether that's good or bad for a given recipe will depend on personal preference and your targeted beer profile.
3) Using melanoidin malt doesn't emulate decoction mashing
Excuse me if I have the experiment wrong, I can't open all the files.  Also, don't mistake this for criticism of your experiment, as finding possible alternate interpretations of results is all part of the scientific process, as you know.  Also, excuse me if this is all obvious.  :)

If the comparison was between a decocted beer and a no-sparge beer with Melanoidin, it seems like there is one too many variables at once to make conclusion #2.  I'm glad to see the Melanoidin test, though. 

But to say that Decoction makes a beer taste dry would have required a comparison to an identical recipe that wasn't decocted.  The primary conclusion seems to be the that Melanoidin Malt makes a beer taste maltier than a decoction.  In that case, it's possible that the Decoction might have no effect and the Decocted beer might taste relatively drier simply because it is less malty.  Then, preference might come down to whether someone prefers a maltier beer, or not.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 12:31:33 PM
it's possible that the Decoction might have no effect and the Decocted beer might taste relatively drier simply because it is less malty.  Then, preference might come down to whether someone prefers a maltier beer, or not.

That's possible, and I certainly can't disprove it, but I think there's something else going on there too. The "Big picture" section was my attempt to draw conclusions based on my study, in the context of everything else I know about brewing. The reason I said decoction probably extracts more "dry" compounds, with the qualifier "probably" is that OG and FG were the same, and IBUs were theoretically ~10% lower in 3X because of the increased batch size and decreased utilization.  All other things being equal, I would've expected a 10% decrease in IBU to be a bigger deal than 5% melanoidin malt when OG and FG are the same.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on August 03, 2012, 01:27:05 PM
BTW, Nate is it OK if we identify ourselves in the results so people can laugh at us (me)?

I left the names off to protect the guilty. I didn't want to embarrass anyone for misidentifying a duplicate, or let people's opinions about the evaluators impact their analysis of the feedback. So at this point I'd ask to keep it confidential and let the feedback speak for itself.

Not that I'd accuse anyone of listening to you, Denny, but I wanted to avoid anyone believing one side just because of who they are.

thanks for protecting me 8)
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 03:30:26 PM
Keep the criticism coming guys. I can't stand baseless conjecture, but there has to be some conjecture to draw any conclusions. I made the data available because I wanted the conjecture process to be as transparent as possible.

I tried to split up my conjecture based on my perceived level of evidence. The only thing this study shows beyond a reasonable doubt is that the fermentability was the same and the decocted beer had higher efficiency.

To me, there is clear and convincing evidence the beers were in fact different, though just looking at the BJCP scores, stated preferences, and percentage of misidentified duplicates, you could easily argue the beers were the same. While supported by the evidence, I don't think that conclusion is correct.

Other than that, there's no other conclusion I stated I'm committed to, and will gladly change my mind based upon reasonable analysis.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: jeffy on August 03, 2012, 05:31:49 PM
I doubt you can conclude much from my feedback other than two of them were the same.  The third beer in my group, 5%, had some off-flavors unrelated to the experiment.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 07:25:36 PM
I doubt you can conclude much from my feedback other than two of them were the same.  The third beer in my group, 5%, had some off-flavors unrelated to the experiment.

I'll update my OP to reflect your feedback. I think your descriptors were fairly consistent with what other evaluators picked up on, so I don't think all of your feedback was useless. I've omitted your preference and impression of relative maltiness/dryness in my summary.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 07:57:34 PM
Does anyone else think it's weird OG and FG were the same when 3X spent so much time at 158* and 5% was just a single rest at 149* with a mashout?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: morticaixavier on August 03, 2012, 08:26:19 PM
Does anyone else think it's weird OG and FG were the same when 3X spent so much time at 158* and 5% was just a single rest at 149* with a mashout?

that is interesting. does this imply that mash temp does not have as much effect on FG as common wisdom says? or is there something about the decoction process that makes a MORE fermentable wort contrary to the idea that decoction produces a wort higher in melanoidens(sp?)
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: erockrph on August 03, 2012, 08:28:45 PM
Does anyone else think it's weird OG and FG were the same when 3X spent so much time at 158* and 5% was just a single rest at 149* with a mashout?

You know, I remember hearing Dr. Charlie Bamforth on one of the homebrew podcasts not too long ago make an off-the-cuff comment that alluded to mash temps not having as much of an effect as commonly thought. He didn't really go into any specifics IIRC. I hadn't gotten into all-grain at that point, so the comment kind of slipped by me, but I'm wondering if this is the type of result that he was referring to.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 08:36:50 PM
I remember hearing Dr. Charlie Bamforth on one of the homebrew podcasts not too long ago make an off-the-cuff comment that alluded to mash temps not having as much of an effect as commonly thought.

I remember hearing that too. When I first started brewing, I used a lot of recipes from the brewers at Avery. All their mashes I'm aware of are at 149*, so that became my default temp. I'll occasionally mash at 162* but I can't swear it makes a difference.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 03, 2012, 09:14:36 PM
Does anyone else think it's weird OG and FG were the same when 3X spent so much time at 158* and 5% was just a single rest at 149* with a mashout?

Not really.  You got beta action with the lower temp.  It doesn't look like the 2012 NHC presentations have been posted yet, but Greg Doss from Wyeast gave a very interesting seminar about a mash temp vs. fermentability experiment he'd done.  Surprising results which kinda make me question a lot of things about mash temps.  I'm looking forward to being able to go over it again.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: kramerog on August 03, 2012, 09:21:31 PM
Does anyone else think it's weird OG and FG were the same when 3X spent so much time at 158* and 5% was just a single rest at 149* with a mashout?

Worts were diluted to have the same OG.
3X mash spent 45 minutes at 149*.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: jeffy on August 03, 2012, 09:29:48 PM
I just noticed that you adjusted the mash pH to 5.3 at the beginning of the acid rest.  I thought the purpose of the acid rest was to lower the pH.  Did you check the mash pH later on?  I suspect it may have been lower than optimal.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 03, 2012, 11:03:57 PM
Worts were diluted to have the same OG.
3X mash spent 45 minutes at 149*.

Yes I had to add 3L to 3X to hit the same pre-boil gravity as 5%. The total mash volume was 19.6L so a bit more than half the mash (10L for first decoction) went from 95* to 158* in 7min, then rested for 15min before raising to boiling over 14min. So half the mash spent around 20-25min at a higher mash temp than 5% before we got to that 149* rest.

Did you check the mash pH later on? 


I checked the pH again after adding the first decoction back to main mash and got the same pH (5.3). All pH samples were cooled to between 85-88*F. Pre-boil pH was 5.7 on both. The post-boil pH was 5.4 for 3X and 5.5 for 5%. I doughed-in at 95* to avoid any protein degradation that wouldn't be present in a single-infusion. I could've doughed-in colder but it would've been a bigger jump to get to sacc. rest temps.

I used brand new calibration liquid and checked calibration before each batch. My pH meter isn't the fanciest so it may have been off a bit, but I think the numbers are as close to correct as could be expected.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 12:50:29 PM
Kai pointed out that the perceived difference in bitterness may have been due to reduced hot break in the kettle for 3X. The wort for 3X was noticeably clearer running into the kettle, so there may have been less hot break to bind the hop acids.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: erockrph on August 06, 2012, 02:08:58 PM
Kai pointed out that the perceived difference in bitterness may have been due to reduced hot break in the kettle for 3X. The wort for 3X was noticeably clearer running into the kettle, so there may have been less hot break to bind the hop acids.

This is interesting. I wonder if this means a triple decoction is worthwhile for a massive IIPA.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: beersk on August 06, 2012, 02:32:53 PM
Kai pointed out that the perceived difference in bitterness may have been due to reduced hot break in the kettle for 3X. The wort for 3X was noticeably clearer running into the kettle, so there may have been less hot break to bind the hop acids.

This is interesting. I wonder if this means a triple decoction is worthwhile for a massive IIPA.
Why not just a regular IPA?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 02:44:47 PM
Yeah, I was actually just thinking about using decoctions when making IPAs. It makes a lot of sense to be able to filter the hot break through the grain bed. I think the effects in an IIPA would be even more dramatic, since your utilization is working against higher gravity, and more hot break.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: bwana on August 06, 2012, 02:55:25 PM
This study is very interesting. How much Melinodin did you use for 5 gallons?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 03:10:15 PM
This study is very interesting. How much Melinodin did you use for 5 gallons?

200g for 19L. So ~7oz in ~5gal.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 03:27:23 PM
Kai pointed out that the perceived difference in bitterness may have been due to reduced hot break in the kettle for 3X. The wort for 3X was noticeably clearer running into the kettle, so there may have been less hot break to bind the hop acids.

This is interesting. I wonder if this means a triple decoction is worthwhile for a massive IIPA.

If you're thinking about it increasing the bitterness, I'd have to say there are easier ways.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 06, 2012, 03:48:36 PM
...Greg Doss from Wyeast gave a very interesting seminar about a mash temp vs. fermentability experiment he'd done.  Surprising results which kinda make me question a lot of things about mash temps.

I'm very interested in that one as well.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: erockrph on August 06, 2012, 04:00:38 PM
Kai pointed out that the perceived difference in bitterness may have been due to reduced hot break in the kettle for 3X. The wort for 3X was noticeably clearer running into the kettle, so there may have been less hot break to bind the hop acids.

This is interesting. I wonder if this means a triple decoction is worthwhile for a massive IIPA.

If you're thinking about it increasing the bitterness, I'd have to say there are easier ways.

I'm thinking specifically about IIPA's that are aiming for the 100+ IBU level, where you are close to maxing out on IBU's and you want to cram as much as you can in there. It would be interesting to see how many more IBU's you can squeeze in using a decoction, if any.

I agree for most hoppy beers, it would be a heck of a lot easier to just use a couple extra ounces of your bittering hop (or maybe some Hop Shot) to get the same result. I'm just wondering if we can somehow raise the upper limit on IBU's.

Maybe if I feel adventurous some day I may boil then chill a batch of wort to get the hot break and cold break to fall out, then rack off the trub and re-boil for 90 minutes with like 300+ IBU's worth of Hop Shot just to see what happens.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 04:19:14 PM
...Greg Doss from Wyeast gave a very interesting seminar about a mash temp vs. fermentability experiment he'd done.  Surprising results which kinda make me question a lot of things about mash temps.

I'm very interested in that one as well.

The one thing I remember fro it is that he found a 153F mash temp produced the most fermentable wort.  Surprised me!
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 04:21:54 PM

I'm thinking specifically about IIPA's that are aiming for the 100+ IBU level, where you are close to maxing out on IBU's and you want to cram as much as you can in there. It would be interesting to see how many more IBU's you can squeeze in using a decoction, if any.

I agree for most hoppy beers, it would be a heck of a lot easier to just use a couple extra ounces of your bittering hop (or maybe some Hop Shot) to get the same result. I'm just wondering if we can somehow raise the upper limit on IBU's.

Maybe if I feel adventurous some day I may boil then chill a batch of wort to get the hot break and cold break to fall out, then rack off the trub and re-boil for 90 minutes with like 300+ IBU's worth of Hop Shot just to see what happens.

But I don't think it would actually raise the IBU limit.  Maybe just your perception of IBU.  And what about the increased tannins from the decoction?  Could they be mistaken for additional bitterness?  In order to know you'd have to do 2 identical batches, one decocted and the other not, and then have them analyzed.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on August 06, 2012, 05:42:34 PM
I've been following this experiment from the sidelines and I'm really intrigued by the results.  Thanks for taking the time to do this, Nate!  Very interesting stuff!
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 05:48:48 PM
But I don't think it would actually raise the IBU limit.  Maybe just your perception of IBU.  And what about the increased tannins from the decoction?  Could they be mistaken for additional bitterness?  In order to know you'd have to do 2 identical batches, one decocted and the other not, and then have them analyzed.

IBU is just a measurement of isomerized alpha acids, correct? If so, is there a scale or way to determine perceived bitterness? Kinda like in meteorology where there's the measured temperature and the heat index. I think it's pretty common to perceive low-level astringency as bitterness. If your IPA recipe is really close to where you want it, and you just need a little bit more dry bitterness, decoction may be something to think about. I guess you could just mash out too hot if you wanted more tannins, but I think it'd be easier to control the amount of tannin extraction via decoction.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tomsawyer on August 06, 2012, 05:59:20 PM
I always thought my decoctions resulted in a little higher efficiency that also showed up in the FG.  I do quite a bit of no-sparge and haven't noticed any difference in efficiency between it and normal single infusion with batch sparge.

I think there are so many variables that there is really no extrapolating to a "big picture".  I brewed an Ofest Saturday and was too lazy to decoct so I did single infusion/no-sparge with a touch of melanoidin.  Seems like my weird brewing methods and sloth paid off.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 06:17:26 PM
I always thought my decoctions resulted in a little higher efficiency that also showed up in the FG.  I do quite a bit of no-sparge and haven't noticed any difference in efficiency between it and normal single infusion with batch sparge.

My range of efficiency when using the floor-malted bopils and a normal sparge is about 72-77%, with 73-74% being most typical, so I don't think I lost much, if any, efficiency due to the no-sparge. The triple-decoction's 90% efficiency was definitely above what I typically get with one- or two-step decoctions, which are more in the 80-85% range. I'm pretty surprised the OG and FG in my study were identical. I didn't test to absolute limit of attenuation, so I'm not sure if one of them could've gone further if I had forced it.

The main motivation behind this study was my frustration with the number of people who say "melanoidin malt does the same thing as decoction" when it really, really seemed to not be the case. I agree you should be conservative with any conclusions drawn, but the results have been surprising to me and have given me a lot to think about.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 06:21:11 PM
But I don't think it would actually raise the IBU limit.  Maybe just your perception of IBU.  And what about the increased tannins from the decoction?  Could they be mistaken for additional bitterness?  In order to know you'd have to do 2 identical batches, one decocted and the other not, and then have them analyzed.

IBU is just a measurement of isomerized alpha acids, correct? If so, is there a scale or way to determine perceived bitterness? Kinda like in meteorology where there's the measured temperature and the heat index. I think it's pretty common to perceive low-level astringency as bitterness. If your IPA recipe is really close to where you want it, and you just need a little bit more dry bitterness, decoction may be something to think about. I guess you could just mash out too hot if you wanted more tannins, but I think it'd be easier to control the amount of tannin extraction via decoction.

I don't know of any way to measure perceived bitterness, kinda like there's no way to measure aroma.

And I'm trying to imagine how easy it would be to control tannin extraction via decoction....
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 06, 2012, 06:31:15 PM
I don't know of any way to measure perceived bitterness, kinda like there's no way to measure aroma.

And I'm trying to imagine how easy it would be to control tannin extraction via decoction....

I just meant that I've never heard of or made a beer that had an obnoxious level of tannins due to decoction mashing. I have had and made beers that were obnoxiously tannic because of sparge or grind issues. So if decoction actually does extract more tannins, then it's not likely they'll be obnoxious, while just sparging with too hot or alkaline water, you're more likely to extract an unpleasant amount.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 06:48:17 PM
Got it.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tomsawyer on August 06, 2012, 06:57:32 PM
I always thought my decoctions resulted in a little higher efficiency that also showed up in the FG.  I do quite a bit of no-sparge and haven't noticed any difference in efficiency between it and normal single infusion with batch sparge.

My range of efficiency when using the floor-malted bopils and a normal sparge is about 72-77%, with 73-74% being most typical, so I don't think I lost much, if any, efficiency due to the no-sparge. The triple-decoction's 90% efficiency was definitely above what I typically get with one- or two-step decoctions, which are more in the 80-85% range. I'm pretty surprised the OG and FG in my study were identical. I didn't test to absolute limit of attenuation, so I'm not sure if one of them could've gone further if I had forced it.

I get similar efficiency with a no-sparge where I use all the water in the mash.  The math seems to work out about the same.  I do have to mash longer to get conversion though.

I wasn't trying to rain on your parade either, I'm all for doing tests especially when theres beer involved.  Be sure and put "further testing is required" somewhere in your writeup, thats standard for scientific papers and code for "need more research funds".
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 07:33:02 PM
I get similar efficiency with a no-sparge where I use all the water in the mash.

Lennie, do you mash really thin or do you mash at a "normal" ratio and then add water before you run off?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: anthony on August 06, 2012, 07:39:29 PM
...Greg Doss from Wyeast gave a very interesting seminar about a mash temp vs. fermentability experiment he'd done.  Surprising results which kinda make me question a lot of things about mash temps.

I'm very interested in that one as well.

The one thing I remember fro it is that he found a 153F mash temp produced the most fermentable wort.  Surprised me!

What was the equipment set up for this? How did he maintain temperature?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 08:45:09 PM
What was the equipment set up for this? How did he maintain temperature?

Damn, I wish I could remember more, but there was drinking involved!  All I can recall is that he had a very innovative little setup.  I'll try to find out when the info will get posted.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tomsawyer on August 06, 2012, 09:37:57 PM
I get similar efficiency with a no-sparge where I use all the water in the mash.

Lennie, do you mash really thin or do you mash at a "normal" ratio and then add water before you run off?
I mash thin, all the water is in the MLT the whole time.  Its generally a ratio of about 3.25qt/lb for a 1.050 range recipe and goes up for bigger grain bills (to compensate for the absorbed water).

I suppose it wouldn't matter if I mashed at 2qt/lb and added the water, if all thats going on is the extra buffering effect of the components in the wort.  I just like the idea of steeping in a more dilute solution, less chance of high concentrations of solutes inhibiting further solubilization.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 06, 2012, 09:42:55 PM
I get similar efficiency with a no-sparge where I use all the water in the mash.

Lennie, do you mash really thin or do you mash at a "normal" ratio and then add water before you run off?
I mash thin, all the water is in the MLT the whole time.  Its generally a ratio of about 3.25qt/lb for a 1.050 range recipe and goes up for bigger grain bills (to compensate for the absorbed water).

I suppose it wouldn't matter if I mashed at 2qt/lb and added the water, if all thats going on is the extra buffering effect of the components in the wort.  I just like the idea of steeping in a more dilute solution, less chance of high concentrations of solutes inhibiting further solubilization.

Thanks.  I think I'm gonna start experimenting with this.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tomsawyer on August 06, 2012, 10:39:38 PM
All you gotta have is an MLT that is nearly twice the size needed for a conventional brew.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: morticaixavier on August 07, 2012, 02:56:44 PM
All you gotta have is an MLT that is nearly twice the size needed for a conventional brew.

seriously! I have been doing no sparge of late. mostly out of laziness honestly (I can treat all my brewing liqour at once, don't have to use two kettles etc.). I did an 1.080 old ale a couple weeks ago, 30 litre batch and my 70qt extreme was full to the tippy top.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 07, 2012, 03:45:58 PM
I'm not sure if it was clear from my writeup, but with moderately soft water and 5% melanoidin malt and no-sparge I was able to hit my target mash and sparge pH without any fiddling or acid additions. Just from a practical point of view for people without reliable pH measurements, no-sparge offers some advantages over traditional sparging, although batch sparging probably won't raise your pH too much.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 07, 2012, 09:36:28 PM
A couple people asked about color, so here's a picture of the two next to each other (3X on the left, 5% on the right):
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pADskznCO_A/UCGJpikXcNI/AAAAAAAAAIE/Jgh6t_fhbAY/s1600/3xv5%25.JPG)

They're pretty close. In the sun you can tell them apart, but in lower light they're harder to tell apart.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: morticaixavier on August 07, 2012, 10:42:29 PM
so much for more color from 3X eh? the one on my right is noticably darker.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 07, 2012, 10:58:37 PM
so much for more color from 3X eh? the one on my right is noticably darker.

Well, I didn't have a control beer, so it's possible 3X would've been darker than a regularly mashed/sparged beer. Both had chill haze that faded quickly when the beers warmed a bit, so I'm not convinced decoction mashing makes a clearer beer, as some claim.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 08, 2012, 02:07:27 AM
so much for more color from 3X eh? the one on my right is noticably darker.

I have not found much increased color from decoction mashing and nateo's decoction boils weren't all that long either. I actually mentioned to him that there will be more color from 5% melanoiden malt than from decoction.

Kai
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: malzig on August 08, 2012, 02:26:49 AM
Both had chill haze that faded quickly when the beers warmed a bit, so I'm not convinced decoction mashing makes a clearer beer, as some claim.
With that degree of chill haze it looks like tannin extraction might have been a problem with both beers.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 08, 2012, 02:37:22 AM
With that degree of chill haze it looks like tannin extraction might have been a problem with both beers.

If so, what's the cause?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: malzig on August 08, 2012, 10:40:32 AM
With that degree of chill haze it looks like tannin extraction might have been a problem with both beers.
If so, what's the cause?
I only brought it up because you said that the pH was okay without adjustment.  Is it possible the pH measurement was off, because that seems unusual for such a light colored beer.   But there are other related factors, like low calcium concentration that may decrease polyphenol precipitation enough to lead to chill haze.

Not to knock either technique, but it might be worth noting that both thin mashes and decoctions have the potential to lead to increased tannin extraction, which can cause chill haze if they don't precipitate out well.  Chill haze is supposed to be a very good marker for tannins before they show up as astringency.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 08, 2012, 01:48:58 PM
Is it possible the pH measurement was off, because that seems unusual for such a light colored beer.   

It's possible, but I don't think it's likely. I calibrated my meter before measuring the pH with brand new calibration solution.

But there are other related factors, like low calcium concentration that may decrease polyphenol precipitation enough to lead to chill haze.

Not to knock either technique, but it might be worth noting that both thin mashes and decoctions have the potential to lead to increased tannin extraction, which can cause chill haze if they don't precipitate out well.  Chill haze is supposed to be a very good marker for tannins before they show up as astringency.

How low are you talking about for the calcium? I had about 60ppm Ca.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how a thinner mash would increase tannin extraction, for a given gravity and pre-boil volume. Thick mash + regular sparge means thick first runnings, thin second runnings. Thin mash + no-sparge means one medium runnings. I don't get why one would have more tannins than the other. 
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Hokerer on August 08, 2012, 04:03:06 PM
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how a thinner mash would increase tannin extraction, for a given gravity and pre-boil volume. Thick mash + regular sparge means thick first runnings, thin second runnings. Thin mash + no-sparge means one medium runnings. I don't get why one would have more tannins than the other.

The thinner the mash, the less the grains can bring down the pH. Too high a pH leads to tannin extraction.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 08, 2012, 04:22:57 PM
The thinner the mash, the less the grains can bring down the pH. Too high a pH leads to tannin extraction.

For a given pH though, how would a thinner mash extract more tannins?

Unless my calibration solutions were manufactured improperly or my pH meter was busted, I don't see how pH would've been an issue. If tannins were an issue in these beers, I suspect that there is more to tannin extraction than just pH and sparge temperature.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 08, 2012, 05:10:32 PM

The thinner the mash, the less the grains can bring down the pH. Too high a pH leads to tannin extraction.

It's more useful to think about it the other way around: The thinner the mash the more water and with it the more minerals that can push up the grain's pH. But given Nateo's statement about pH, this was not the case.

Tannins are always extracted and they are actually needed to precipitate haze.

Kai
Title: Re: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: erockrph on August 08, 2012, 07:22:04 PM
The thinner the mash, the less the grains can bring down the pH. Too high a pH leads to tannin extraction.

That is really dependant on the mineral content of the water in question. pH of a weak acid/base solution isn't a strict function of concentration the way a strong acid solution is. It is much more dependant on the pKa of the various buffers in solution.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: malzig on August 09, 2012, 11:42:32 AM
Tannins are always extracted and they are actually needed to precipitate haze.

Kai
I think that a lot of brewers forget that tannins are always extracted.  I like to see substantial Oberteig in the mash tun, which I interpret as good precipitation of polyphenol-protein complexes in the mash, where most of this precipitation can occur.
How low are you talking about for the calcium? I had about 60ppm Ca. 
I have recently tried a number of lagers with calcium concentrations in the 30-45 ppm range, after a number of prominent brewers suggested that pale Lagers can benefit, flavor-wise.  Usually I would shoot for 50-75 ppm for a Lager  I don't think there was an obvious flavor improvement, but the beers cleared slowly.  They have required about 2-3 weeks of lagering to clear, despite being clear at the end of fermentation, where my lagers are usually crystal clear after 1 week in the fridge. 

It's possible that the slightly higher pH, from the lower calcium, is the culprit not the calcium per se.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: jeffy on August 09, 2012, 02:33:10 PM
Tannins are always extracted and they are actually needed to precipitate haze.

Kai
I think that a lot of brewers forget that tannins are always extracted.  I like to see substantial Oberteig in the mash tun, which I interpret as good precipitation of polyphenol-protein complexes in the mash, where most of this precipitation can occur.
How low are you talking about for the calcium? I had about 60ppm Ca. 
I have recently tried a number of lagers with calcium concentrations in the 30-45 ppm range, after a number of prominent brewers suggested that pale Lagers can benefit, flavor-wise.  Usually I would shoot for 50-75 ppm for a Lager  I don't think there was an obvious flavor improvement, but the beers cleared slowly.  They have required about 2-3 weeks of lagering to clear, despite being clear at the end of fermentation, where my lagers are usually crystal clear after 1 week in the fridge. 

It's possible that the slightly higher pH, from the lower calcium, is the culprit not the calcium per se.

That's new word for me - oberteig - I looked it up.  I understand this is the very fine, almost powdery stuff that sometimes collects on the top of the mash bed after fly-sparging.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: denny on August 09, 2012, 03:45:40 PM
That's new word for me - oberteig - I looked it up.  I understand this is the very fine, almost powdery stuff that sometimes collects on the top of the mash bed after fly-sparging.

I sometimes see it after batch sparging, too.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 09, 2012, 03:48:48 PM
So, is Oberteig good or bad?
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: malzig on August 09, 2012, 04:21:11 PM
I see Obertieg with no sparge brewing, too. It should be somewhat method agnostic and show up during the Vorlauf.  I seems like it makes sense that you might get more if you extract more protein or tannin, and your pH is good, but that would be speculation, on my part.

I consider it a positive sign that you are seeing good precipitation of protein-polyphenol complexes in the mash, where most of that should occur.  I figure that it means your mash pH is in the right spot.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 09, 2012, 04:28:40 PM
Now that you mention it, I did notice Oberteig on 3X but not on 5%. I didn't know what that stuff was called, or what it was. I just assumed it was hot break from the decoction mash.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 09, 2012, 04:56:11 PM
Now that you mention it, I did notice Oberteig on 3X but not on 5%. I didn't know what that stuff was called, or what it was. I just assumed it was hot break from the decoction mash.

A big part is the hot break from the decoction mash. In a non decoction mash the amount of protein break is much less and thus you get less Oberteig.

Kai
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 09, 2012, 05:01:07 PM
I consider it a positive sign that you are seeing good precipitation of protein-polyphenol complexes in the mash, where most of that should occur.  I figure that it means your mash pH is in the right spot.

hot break material is generally composed of coagulated proteins and not so much the protein/tannin complexes. This is because proteins and tannins bind very weakly and these bonds are only stable at cold temperatures. The reason why chill haze disappears with rising temperatures.

But a low mash pH will help the protein break in the mash. In fact more protein is coagulated in the mash (even in infusion mashing) than coagulates in the boil later.

Kai
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tom on August 09, 2012, 11:52:28 PM
That's new word for me - oberteig - I looked it up.  I understand this is the very fine, almost powdery stuff that sometimes collects on the top of the mash bed after fly-sparging.
I sometimes see it after batch sparging, too.
+1
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: narcout on August 10, 2012, 01:27:43 AM
although batch sparging probably won't raise your pH too much.

I know others have had a different experience, but I find that my pH rises significantly during batch sparging unless I take corrective action (treating the sparge water with phosphoric acid and/or reserving some or all of the dark grains for the sparge). 
Title: Re: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 03:01:07 AM
Quote from: narcout
I find that my pH rises significantly during batch sparging unless I take corrective action (treating the sparge water with phosphoric acid and/or reserving some or all of the dark grains for the sparge).

Narcout, you must be having water with fairly high alkalinity.

Kai
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tschmidlin on August 10, 2012, 07:20:53 AM
I have recently tried a number of lagers with calcium concentrations in the 30-45 ppm range, after a number of prominent brewers suggested that pale Lagers can benefit, flavor-wise.  Usually I would shoot for 50-75 ppm for a Lager  I don't think there was an obvious flavor improvement, but the beers cleared slowly.  They have required about 2-3 weeks of lagering to clear, despite being clear at the end of fermentation, where my lagers are usually crystal clear after 1 week in the fridge.

It's possible that the slightly higher pH, from the lower calcium, is the culprit not the calcium per se.
It is not a pH effect, flocculation is calcium dependant.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on August 10, 2012, 12:05:21 PM
In my experience, hazes after cold conditioning have always been protein hazes. Even unflocculated yeast settles fast compared to protein hazes.

Kai
Title: Re: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: narcout on August 10, 2012, 03:02:42 PM
Quote from: narcout
I find that my pH rises significantly during batch sparging unless I take corrective action (treating the sparge water with phosphoric acid and/or reserving some or all of the dark grains for the sparge).

Narcout, you must be having water with fairly high alkalinity.

Kai

I've actually been brewing recently with 100% RO water with the same result. I'm going to start a different thread about this so as not to highjack this one.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on August 10, 2012, 03:32:24 PM
FWIW the beers in those pictures were chilled from room temp overnight. If I let them sit in the fridge for a few days, both beers have much less haze.

I've actually been brewing recently with 100% RO water with the same result. I'm going to start a different thread about this so as not to highjack this one.

I'm also surprised by that. I used to always pre-acidify my sparge water, even when batch sparging, but after not acidifying and staying </=5.7 anyway, I've stopped pre-acidifying on most batches.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on August 10, 2012, 10:14:55 PM
i let them sit for several days before i got to them and they were brilliantly clear.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on October 18, 2012, 08:28:44 PM
If anyone is interested, I sent in the 5% version to the COC light hybrid comp as a 6B.

Here's the feedback:

Judge 1 (certified):
Checked "astringent" box on left.

Ar - 5/12. Upfront herbal hop aroma. Very light background malt aroma. No esters, no diacetyl, no DMS.

Ap - 2/3. Light hazy medium gold color with moderate to light head of medium size, white/off-white bubbles.

F - 11/20. Big herbal, slightly vegital (sic) hop flavor up front, continuing all the way through. Very light malt. Balanced sweetness with low hop bitterness. Hop bitterness lingers with some fruity ester sweetness.

M - 4/5. Medium/light, dry mouthfeel & body. No warmth, light astringency in finish.

O - 5/10. Has some blonde roots, but misses the mark with all those hops. Lower hop level and/or boost malt profile. Good carb level and color, and the type of malt used. Tasty.

T - 27/50

Judge 2 (not certified):
Checked "DMS" and "astringent" boxes on left.

Ar - 7/12. Hop aroma immidiately apparent, some herbal (strain? [illegible]). Is it palisade? I couldn't detect mush else in the aroma, perhaps a light malt in the background. Could consider it a medium level hop aroma.

Ap - 3/3. Dark yellow to golden color, Good clarity, not brilliant. Medium head retention with [illegible] in the bubbles.

F - 10/20. Flavor is dominated by hop flavor (probably same as aroma). There is some light to light-medium malt as well. Fairly clean, balanced towards hop. Finishes dry/bitter with a slight astringency. Not balanced correctly. Should be more towards malt side.

M - 3/5. Medium body, medium carbonation + a creaminess as well. Very low warming in the finish, mostly just bitterness in the finish.

O - 5/10. This beer is mainly not balanced correctly + is very herbal. I would tone down the hops a bit next time. Interesting hop selection.

T - 28/50.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: morticaixavier on October 18, 2012, 10:00:12 PM
wow, tough judges huh? I havn't recieved my sheets yet, they might be at home in  the mail as we speak. I didn't win though.  :(
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on October 18, 2012, 10:17:57 PM
wow. i just went back through my comments.  they sure seemed to detect more hops than what i would have felt. i thought they were appropriate.  i did see that i had a "tang" noted.  i suspect this may be astringency as it is way evident in my beers now that you pointed it out when you sampled mine and i am more tuned in to it.  i don't know that it was evident in your beers enough to note it.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on October 19, 2012, 01:32:18 AM
Yeah, I really thought the hops were present but low. The only thing I can think is that all the others in the flight had very low hop flavor/aroma so mine stuck out.

I haven't tried palisade hops. Are they similar to crystal?

I'm not a big fan of entering contests in general, but I was the only one in my club who had a cat 6 beer ready to go for the comp.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on October 20, 2012, 01:20:44 PM
i am not sure much about those hops.  i am pretty limited to what i grow,(santiem, magnum, sterling) and i have used hallertau, willamette, and mt hood a bit
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on October 20, 2012, 04:23:55 PM
I'm really interested in what caused the perceived astringency in these beers, especially the no-sparge. My pH and temps were all in the proper range, and I took a lot of care when I crushed the grain. I wonder if it was just that the relative dryness accentuated astringency that would've been covered up if the beers had been sweeter?

I cracked open a bottle of 5% last night to drink while looking over the notes, and I kinda see the "herbal" hop character, but I thought it was pretty restrained, in the grand scheme of beer. I'm coming to realize that I'm just incapable of brewing "to style" and I should quit entering comps.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: tom on October 20, 2012, 04:56:29 PM
I wouldn't take it as gospel from one certified and one not certified judge.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: mabrungard on October 20, 2012, 05:08:37 PM
There certainly are folks with very keen palates that have little or no BJCP rank, but I too would caution against validating the findings of a Certified and an un-ranked judge.  An untrained palate may consider elevated bittering to be 'astringency'.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: Kaiser on October 20, 2012, 09:49:49 PM
Nateo, how old were the hops. I recently brewed a English style pale ale with old hops (maybe 3 years) that I had in the freezer. The beer has what I call a dusty finish. I hat this off flavor before and at this point I blame it on using old hops.

I once had a pack of Hallertauer that I used on the first few beers I brewed at the then new house. The flavor made me research water and pH since I thought it was astringency coming from the grain. The first beer I brewed with new hops was one of the best I ever brewed. When I used the other hops again I realized that they were to blame.

Kai
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on October 20, 2012, 10:08:23 PM
Kai - They were from the 2011 crop, so not exactly young, but I didn't think they were that old. They had been in a ziplock for about 4 months when I used them, so they weren't vacuum sealed anymore. I had some Willamette from 2010 that grew kinda grassy/unpleasant, so I think I know what you're talking about. I've also had some cascade leaf hops that got super oxidized (the beer tasted like cardboard), so I know the flavor is distinct from oxidation.
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: weithman5 on October 22, 2012, 01:34:28 PM
There certainly are folks with very keen palates that have little or no BJCP rank, but I too would caution against validating the findings of a Certified and an un-ranked judge.  An untrained palate may consider elevated bittering to be 'astringency'.

that's just it though, i didn't think these beers were all that bitter
Title: Re: Fauxpils results and discussion
Post by: nateo on October 24, 2012, 09:16:21 PM
I'm down to my last bottle of 5%, so I thought I'd do one more A/B comparison. They're almost 6 months old now, so I thought I'd check in on how they've aged.

Aroma - 3X slightly more "floral" hops-scented, 5% had a more distinct malt aroma (like a vienna lager). Both had very little aroma.

Appearance - 3X formed about an inch of dense white head, which lingered throughout the glass. 5% formed about 1mm of head, which mostly subsided. Clarity was outstanding on both. You could read a newspaper through either, but 3X appeared slightly clearer, possibly because of the lighter color. 3X had slightly better lacing, but the difference was minimal.

Flavor - The hop flavor from 3X was more floral, while 5% was more herbal. 5% seemed both more sweet and more bitter; more sweet initially then more bitter in the finish. Maybe related to the herbal character of the hops? 3X had a more subtle, but nuanced flavor. 5% was more "one-dimensional."

Mouthfeel - 3X is noticeably drier, with perceptible, but not obnoxious, astringency. The mouthfeel on 3X seemed more full. Carbonation levels seemed close, maybe the same, but I'm not great at perceiving small differences in carbonation.

Overall - I think 3X has aged more gracefully. 3X is better, and 5% is worse, than I remembered them being. But the differences weren't pronounced enough to fundamentally change the perception of the beers. The subtle herbaceous character that developed in 5% is definitely interesting, and I'm not sure what's going on there.

At 6 months, I'd say 3X is a slightly better beer. The hop character is fresher, the mouthfeel is fuller, and the flavor is more balanced. There are so many variables I won't say, definitively, that decoction increases the cellar-ability of a beer, or anything like that, but it's interesting to see how the beers have evolved. I'm acutely aware of the possibility that "operator error" could be responsible for all of the differences.