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General Category => Zymurgy => Topic started by: nateo on May 09, 2011, 04:17:16 PM

Title: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: nateo on May 09, 2011, 04:17:16 PM
Interesting article about pitching rates. I thought it was interesting that ester levels were pretty similar, while the underpitched beer had a lot more fusels and solvent character. The lacing and head retention difference was interesting also.

I've heard a lot of people say that underpitching Belgian beers results in more esters, but it would seem from this test that you'd be getting more hot alcohols and impairing fermentation performance, which was always my gut feeling on that.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: gordonstrong on May 09, 2011, 04:24:37 PM
Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think excessive fusels and solvents are part of a Belgian character.  It's even worse when these people are entrants to homebrew competitions and you're a judge.  Headache city.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: denny on May 09, 2011, 04:29:32 PM
The results seem to mirror the conflicting opinions of the "experts"....some say under pitching produces more esters, others say it produces fewer.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: punatic on May 10, 2011, 05:14:23 AM
Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think excessive fusels and solvents are part of a Belgian character.  It's even worse when these people are entrants to homebrew competitions and you're a judge.  Headache city.

It's OK to spit.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: Will's Swill on May 12, 2011, 03:24:16 AM
Nope, bitterness is tasted on the back of the tongue (I think).
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: tygo on May 12, 2011, 10:51:47 AM
Nope, bitterness is tasted on the back of the tongue (I think).

Bitterness, as well as the other flavors, can be tasted on all parts of the tongue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste_bud#Localization_of_taste_and_the_specious_.22tongue_map.22
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: johnf on May 12, 2011, 11:12:18 AM
Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think excessive fusels and solvents are part of a Belgian character.  It's even worse when these people are entrants to homebrew competitions and you're a judge.  Headache city.

It's OK to spit.

That changes retronasal perception of aroma, IMO. The wine people don't think so.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: andyi on May 12, 2011, 12:11:20 PM

"Underpitching" assumes understanding of "optimal" pitch rates - whatever optimal means in terms of yeast growth rates and health.
I find Belgian yeast profiles are affected by many other factors including fermentation temps, aeration, time, etc. - I know, I have experience the ill-effects of all the factors  ;)

I focus on the "optimal" rates and use prayers to the gods, temp control and a lesser extent O2 manipulation to get the ester profile I'm looking for.

-Cheers
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: punatic on May 12, 2011, 02:44:33 PM
Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think excessive fusels and solvents are part of a Belgian character.  It's even worse when these people are entrants to homebrew competitions and you're a judge.  Headache city.

It's OK to spit.

That changes retronasal perception of aroma, IMO. The wine people don't think so.

I agree.  When I was a judge most of the time I didn't spit for that reason.  But, being a judge means tasting a lot of bad beer too.  Spitting can be a life saver.   ;)
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: tumarkin on May 12, 2011, 03:00:09 PM
Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think excessive fusels and solvents are part of a Belgian character.  It's even worse when these people are entrants to homebrew competitions and you're a judge.  Headache city.

It's OK to spit.

That changes retronasal perception of aroma, IMO. The wine people don't think so.

I agree.  When I was a judge most of the time I didn't spit for that reason.  But, being a judge means tasting a lot of bad beer too.  Spitting can be a life saver.   ;)
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 03:14:10 PM
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.

I agree, Mark.  I can judge an entire flight and drink less than a bottle of beer doing it.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: a10t2 on May 12, 2011, 03:17:40 PM
The results seem to mirror the conflicting opinions of the "experts"....some say under pitching produces more esters, others say it produces fewer.

To be fair, that could be something that's strain-dependent. Ideally, I would like to have tested a few different ones.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: tumarkin on May 12, 2011, 03:21:36 PM
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.

I agree, Mark.  I can judge an entire flight and drink less than a bottle of beer doing it.
Actually, in rereading Carl's post, I think he's specifically trying to save us from 'bad beer.' While that's admirable generally, in judging we have to take one for the team, drink the bad beer and try to give pointers to improve it next time. But, people always assume you have to drink a lot as a judge.... just not so.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: blatz on May 12, 2011, 03:24:19 PM
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.

I agree, Mark.  I can judge an entire flight and drink less than a bottle of beer doing it.

the perverse problem is when you have a really, really awesome flight.  Its a sin to let great (40+) beer hit the dump bucket.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 03:27:13 PM
The results seem to mirror the conflicting opinions of the "experts"....some say under pitching produces more esters, others say it produces fewer.

To be fair, that could be something that's strain-dependent. Ideally, I would like to have tested a few different ones.

Absolutely.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 03:28:02 PM

the perverse problem is when you have a really, really awesome flight.  Its a sin to let great (40+) beer hit the dump bucket.

That one gets set aside for when the round is over.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: bluesman on May 12, 2011, 05:00:54 PM
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.

I agree, Mark.  I can judge an entire flight and drink less than a bottle of beer doing it.

+1

When I first started judging I would drink all of the beer that was sampled in the cup but after watching David Houseman judge beer , I discovered how to taste the beer and how to make good use of 1oz of a beer sample for the judging of an entry. I find that small sips is all that is required to adequately taste the beer. Gulping the beer is not necessary.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: punatic on May 12, 2011, 05:28:27 PM
Not really... lets say you judge two large flights in the morning. If you limit yourself to an ounce per beer (adequate for most evals) that's still less than 2 bottles of beer. so even in a full day, you don't have to drink a lot - and it's better for your judging if you don't.

I agree, Mark.  I can judge an entire flight and drink less than a bottle of beer doing it.
Actually, in rereading Carl's post, I think he's specifically trying to save us from 'bad beer.' While that's admirable generally, in judging we have to take one for the team, drink the bad beer and try to give pointers to improve it next time. But, people always assume you have to drink a lot as a judge.... just not so.

Actually, what I am saying is you don't have to consume any at all to give a fair and knowlegable acessment of a beer, wine, whisky, etc.  It is done by professional tasters everyday.  If you choose to take one for the team and end up in headache city then go for it.  

Perhaps things have changed since I stopped judging.   As often as not the beer being judged had plenty of room for improvement.  Occasionally there was what I called a bolt of lightning - that beer or mead that sat me back in my seat and made me say, "Wow!  That is amazing!"

Perhaps the scoring system has changed too; you can score 40+ now?
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 05:36:25 PM
Actually, what I am saying is you don't have to consume any at all to give a fair and knowlegable acessment of a beer, wine, whisky, etc.  It is done by professional tasters everyday.  If you choose to take one for the team and end up in headache city then go for it.  

Perhaps things have changed since I stopped judging.   As often as not the beer being judged had plenty of room for improvement.  Occasionally there was what I called a bolt of lightning - that beer or mead that sat me back in my seat and made me say, "Wow!  That is amazing!"

Perhaps the scoring system has changed too; you can score 40+ now?

I appreciate what you're saying, but my opinion is that we owe it to the entrants to at least taste a bit of their beer.  I've judged beers where the aroma made you gag and still tasted it. 
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: blatz on May 12, 2011, 05:49:55 PM
Perhaps things have changed since I stopped judging.   As often as not the beer being judged had plenty of room for improvement.  Occasionally there was what I called a bolt of lightning - that beer or mead that sat me back in my seat and made me say, "Wow!  That is amazing!"

Perhaps the scoring system has changed too; you can score 40+ now?

I've only been judging about 6 years or so, but in listening to some of the old guys in my club, judging 15 years ago was actually fairly easy - for a flight of 8 beers, maybe 4 were drinkable and not clearly infected or fermeted too warm, etc. And of those 4 there were usually 1 or 2 that clearly stood above the rest.  Maybe this is similar to the experience you had?

I guess with the popularity of homebrewing and much more easily accessible info on brewing better beer thanks to forums like these and publications by the likes of Gordon, Jamil, Palmer, etc., the entries have generally improved across the board to the point where now 6 of those 8 in the example above are solid beers.

My comments above were in slight jest, but the fact is I judge a flight of 6 amber/dark lagers a few weeks ago and had 4 beers that were worthy of 40+ scores, the best of which it turns out was a vienna lager by our very own forum friend "Spanishcastleales".  I made sure to save that and the dunkel I was really fond of as a reward for all the writing  ;D

Max possible score is 50 nowadays.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: weithman5 on May 12, 2011, 06:48:24 PM
just read the article last night. nice job. i think it would be interesting to see a comparison with "over pitching"  if i recall (yes it was last night but my faculties are limited) you pitched under at about half of normal ( 3 and 7.5) what would happen if a beer was pitched at twice normal?  just curious.  of course now i am going to have to play around
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: punatic on May 12, 2011, 09:55:22 PM
Perhaps things have changed since I stopped judging.   As often as not the beer being judged had plenty of room for improvement.  Occasionally there was what I called a bolt of lightning - that beer or mead that sat me back in my seat and made me say, "Wow!  That is amazing!"

Perhaps the scoring system has changed too; you can score 40+ now?

I've only been judging about 6 years or so, but in listening to some of the old guys in my club, judging 15 years ago was actually fairly easy - for a flight of 8 beers, maybe 4 were drinkable and not clearly infected or fermeted too warm, etc. And of those 4 there were usually 1 or 2 that clearly stood above the rest.  Maybe this is similar to the experience you had?

I guess with the popularity of homebrewing and much more easily accessible info on brewing better beer thanks to forums like these and publications by the likes of Gordon, Jamil, Palmer, etc., the entries have generally improved across the board to the point where now 6 of those 8 in the example above are solid beers.

My comments above were in slight jest, but the fact is I judge a flight of 6 amber/dark lagers a few weeks ago and had 4 beers that were worthy of 40+ scores, the best of which it turns out was a vienna lager by our very own forum friend "Spanishcastleales".  I made sure to save that and the dunkel I was really fond of as a reward for all the writing  ;D

Max possible score is 50 nowadays.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=7350.30
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: a10t2 on May 12, 2011, 10:29:23 PM
i think it would be interesting to see a comparison with "over pitching"

That was my original thought, but to do triangle tests on three pitching rates everyone would have to get nine samples, which would either mean brewing multiple batches (and introducing that as a variable) or cutting the sample size by two-thirds.

If enough people were interested in an over-pitching experiment, I'd certainly be willing to do it again.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: johnf on May 12, 2011, 10:32:54 PM
The results seem to mirror the conflicting opinions of the "experts"....some say under pitching produces more esters, others say it produces fewer.

Maybe this is why you put "experts" in quotes but I find that people who write about fermentation professionally or academically tend to say lower pitching rates produce less esters and people who write about it as a hobby tend to say the opposite.

So it's like that Five Star 5.2 stuff, it works as long as you don't check the pH. Under pitching produces more esters as long as you don't have a large and trained tasting panel or a gas chromatograph.
Title: Re: May/June issue pitching rate article
Post by: nateo on May 13, 2011, 05:14:38 AM
Under pitching produces more esters as long as you don't have a large and trained tasting panel or a gas chromatograph.

Exactly! It just FEELS like it's more Belgiany. Underpitching is cool and different, so it must make your beer cool and different too.