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Messages - kmshultz

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash temp calculation
« on: June 05, 2013, 09:07:06 PM »
Let's not forget that multi-step mashes are an option, too. If you think about it, it can afford you a greater control over your wort fermentability in the case that you are uncertain if the entire mash has a uniform temperature during a single-infusion mash. Matt Brynildson at Firestone Walker uses a separate beta and alpha rest for many of his beers, and I sure trust that guy!

I recently did a Belgian Blonde which I mashed in the upper protein range (132F) for 15 minutes, then 147F for 40 minutes (shorter than a single-infusion beta rest would ideally be, as others have mentioned above), and then 40 minutes at 156F to finish the conversion with some less-fermentable sugars. I've just packaged/carbonated the beer and it has a very firm-yet-refreshing medium body, even with having used 8% cane sugar. But everyone's system is unique, of course.

For single infusion mashes, the general rule seems to be that if you're doing a pretty high gravity beer (> 1.075 or so) that you do not want to have an overly sweet/big body (i.e. it's not a barleywine or Imperial stout), mash low -- in the high 140s or so. If you are brewing a low gravity session beer and want to avoid it becoming too thin, mash into the mid 150s.

Of course yeast strain choice plays into it as well. And your own system's fermentability (everyones is different!). And your own drinking preference. I like to mash lower than most people but that is just me. It just takes time to find out what works best for your own enjoyment (or for the judges' enjoyment, if that's also a goal).

Cheers,
Kent

2
Ingredients / Re: Simcoe and Columbus?
« on: June 05, 2013, 08:42:37 PM »
So you are looking to brew something "lighter" with Columbus and Simcoe? Have you used these hops before? ;) They are both pretty aggressive, though I suppose if you use restraint they could be less in-your-face. I recall recently listening to a Brewing Network podcast where the guys from Anchor were interviewed. The head brewer Mark Carpenter commented on how lovely a hop Citra can be, even (or maybe especially) when it's used in lesser amounts to showcase its subtleties, i.e. in Anchor Brekle's Brown.

Although I am very partial to the qualities of noble and noble-type hops myself, it seems these days that the old rule of low alpha hops being generally superior for refined flavor is being thrown out the window. I say if you want to brew a light/session ale with restrained usage of Simcoe and Columbus, go for it! Sounds like a fun (and different) kind of beer. The new craft brewers in England are brewing exactly these types of American-style session ales that are meant to display aggressive American hop character, but of course they aren't as hop-forward as the American beers!

Both of these hops are pretty dank and resinous. Simcoe in particular is sometimes known for that 'cat pee' character when it's used in higher amounts. I haven't used it in high amounts for just that reason. Seems like narvin's advice is pretty spot-on; Columbus is good as a bitter hop (and also late), and Simcoe is better left to late/dry-hop additions.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Kent

3
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« on: June 05, 2013, 04:37:05 PM »
It may be too late for this reply, but I have to disagree with dean_palmer regarding the amount of priming sugar to add. Many sources recommend using about 1/3 the ratio of priming sugar for priming in the keg versus bottling. That is, if you use 4.5 oz of priming sugar to prime a 5 gal batch in bottles, use about 1.5 oz of priming sugar to prime a 5 gal batch in a 5 gal keg. I have keg primed several times, and my experience bears this out -- I usually use between 1.0 to 1.5 oz of priming sugar per 5 gal, and I find it to be just about right. Then again I prefer most beers a little on the low side of carbonation, so YMMV.

It's something to do with the ratio of headspace volume to total beer volume being different in a keg situation versus bottles.

Anyway, let us know how it works out!

Cheers,
Kent

4
All Grain Brewing / Re: Residual Sweetness
« on: June 05, 2013, 10:31:11 AM »
In my experience, mashing high to favor alpha amylase (and hence less-fermentable sugar) does *not* necessarily increase the perception of sweetness -- just the body/head.

Crystal malts are certainly a way to get some perceived sweetness guaranteed, but not all crystal malts are created equal. They vary not just in color, but also flavor and level of perceived sweetness. The lighter color Crystal malts (40L or less) tend to taste more lightly caramel-sweet (think candy), whereas the darker Crystals can have raisin and dark fruit flavors which do not taste as sweet.

I would echo what morticaixavier said about yeast strain choice as well. Lower attenuation yeasts (particularly British type, like WLP002) can leave a perception of sweetness, and perhaps the apple/pear fruity esters contribute to that impression as well.

Cheers,
Kent

5
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: All grain jump
« on: June 05, 2013, 09:17:15 AM »
1) what are the major components needed to jump from extract to AG?
What others have said. You may want to try Brew in a Bag (BIAB) if putting together a mash tun/manifold is intimidating, or if you simply want to keep things simple.
2) is the learning curve steep?
There is a lot more to know with All-grain, but you don't *have* a lot to get started. Steep some grain in your mash tun for an hour, run it out.
3) how much longer are brew days?
I don't recall how long extract days were, but AG can be a little longer, 4 to 6 hours depending on your sparge setup and what kind of mash you're doing. Again, BIAB brewers may have a brew day more similar in length to extract brew days.
4) is there any noticeable taste difference between AG and extract with similar recipes?
Extract beers can be every bit as tasty as AG for certain styles if you have very fresh extract, but for other styles it's harder for Extract to match AG in my opinion (see next point).
5) if not, what's the point?
All grain really gives you the freedom to get more creative, as well as craft more authentic-tasting beers for certain styles that it's hard to make with extract (i.e. Witbier). It's hard to get the flavor of Wit just right using Wheat extracts, not to mention the milky pale color. For me, the gear/geek-out aspect isn't so important, but then again I'm just not a gear-head. I like to keep my setup simple rather than complicate it with gear I don't need. I'm strongly considering trying BIAB even though I've been using a more traditional AG setup for a few years now.

Cheers!
Kent

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