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Messages - Steverino

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1
All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 25, 2012, 01:23:17 PM »
1) Watch out for hot-side aeration.  Unnecessary.
2) Make sure you rack to secondary after 2 weeks to avoid autolysis.  Unnecessary.  It's more like 2.5-3 months, and there's more risk of oxidation and contamination than autolysis.
3) Don't use too much adjuncts or it will result in "cidery" flavors.  Completely false.

Those are a few biggies.  There are no doubt a dozen others that I can't think of off the top of my head in 2 minutes.

1) I admit I did not know this. Quite a few of my beers are over a year old before I get to them--I've always considered it a good idea (good practice) to avoid HS aeration.
2) I take your point
3) Not sure I agree completely with this. Surely, at some point too much adjunct will produce something other than beer.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 25, 2012, 01:14:02 PM »
I wouldn't call this a "big theory".  There's just very little test data out there today that would prove it right or wrong.  So, without a lot of data to support or refute at this point, I wouldn't dare jump to any conclusions and declare the theory "shaky" or of a "thin foundation".  Go ahead, prove me wrong, if you can, but present the results in an objective manner in such a way that they are based on TASTE, not facts, figures, IBUs, etc.  I am confident I'll get there, eventually.  I'm just not there quite yet.


My friend, 'objective' means facts and figures, not (subjective) taste. And the taste you're basing your theory on seems to have been garnered from one or two beers. Scientific? Not by my understanding of the scientific method.

You are probably right about me. I'm a traditionalist. The lore of brewing is one of the things I've always found most appealing about our avocation. When I was developing my brewery I admit to casting my eye back to the great brewers for guidance. I considered them the masters and myself an apprentice. I felt I could do a lot worse than emulating those brewers who made the beers I admired.

At the same time, I question everything--especially contentions based on anecdotal evidence.


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All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 25, 2012, 12:34:01 PM »
science has helped us to understand how to make better beer and proven many old rules of thumb to be ridiculous.

Like what?
I'm not trying to be provocative, really I'm not, and I'm all for science. I think it's helped us understand the process much better than ever-better than when the Reinheitsgebot was drafted, better than in the dark days before the thermometer had been invented. (There's a doc running on netflix right not that claims beer invented science.)
And certainly malts are different from what they were 100 years ago or even 50. But adjusting for our modern malts, hops, yeasts--what time-tested rules of thumb are ridiculous?

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 25, 2012, 08:27:53 AM »
82 is just dandy. The real trick is whether or not you can repeat it and if you picked up anything "off". Odds are that you're fine. I start looking askance at numbers above 85%

+1.  When efficiency approaches 90%, that's when the beer starts getting thin and watery in my experience.  82% is just fine, and in fact is pretty much my goal -- high enough, but not too high.

Wonder if you'd care to support your theory with a little chemistry...

You see, that's just it -- chemistry and science don't matter so much, and in this case maybe not at all.  In my opinion, the only thing that matters is TASTE.  And taste, of course, is somewhat subjective, which is another piece of the whole puzzle.

I can get >95% efficiency.  I have done so once or twice, and I've proven to myself that on my system I can hit >90% with ease.  BUT... am I making really good beer that way?  Some people will say, ooh, ah, he can get 95% efficiency, I should try doing that too.  But you probably haven't tasted that 95% eff beer, either.  Well, I have.  And?  My taste buds aren't quite sure yet, but are leaning more towards the opinion that uber-high efficiency is NOT such a good thing.  I think my beer tastes better if I purposely try to get less sugar and more of that non-sugary grainy stuff in my beer than if I'm just extracting maximum sugar.  Because in theory, sugar by itself is flavorless.  What I mean is, the only flavor you really get from any sugars is from the impurities therein.  Same holds true for brown sugar, molasses, honey, etc.  It's the impurities that give these sugars all their flavor.  What impurities?  Well, in malt we have things like husks, tannins, starches, proteins, melanoidins, whatever, in addition to maltose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, you-name-it-ose.  So, I suppose the theory goes, if you're squeezing every possible molecule of sugar out of a minimum amount of grain and hitting 100% of possible efficiency, while you might not be turning out pure white flavorless sugar from such a process, I think you are indeed actually taking your beer a little closer toward the flavorless range.  You've got more sugar and less impurities because you're doing such a darn "good" job at extracting all the sugars out of your grain.  See what I mean?

I'll say it again -- more experiments are necessary.  But I have a hunch that I'm right.  I'm just too damned lazy, especially to try to prove it to a highly technical and often downright geeky population of millions of homebrewers and beer lovers that absolutely do NOT want to hear that they should NOT be striving for maximum efficiency, and that what they really need to strive for is consistency and thereafter should shut up and sit back and revel in their seemingly crappy 70% or 75% efficiency.  I argue that bigger is NOT better.  But a lot of people can't stand to hear that.  They have to keep tweaking, and tweaking, and wondering what they're doing wrong.  I say that as long as a brewer is consistent, and their beer tastes really good, they aren't doing anything wrong, and have no reason to tweak or try to fix that which is NOT broken.

The best advice I can give anyone on anything related to brewing, especially to all the novices out there, is: Take all those old brewers' tales and rules of thumb, everything you've read about in old books... and throw them all out the window, and figure out the truth on your own.  With just a few batches experience, you'll come to find and agree that SO many old rules of thumb are SO wrong that it ain't funny -- it's downright hysterical!!  In the end, the only way you're going to find out the truth is to seek it out on your own, formed by your own experiments and your own experiences, with the subjective topic of "taste" verified (or not) through objective opinion -- BJCP is a good place to get some assistance, but don't stop there, either.  Read a lot, but take it all in with LOTS of grains of salt.  Because in the end, we need to figure out what works for us, ourselves, and discover our own truths.  Everyone else be damned if they try to tell you you're wrong based on who knows what, when you know the truth based on your own experience.

</pontification>

It's obvious you've put a lot of thought into this. But I gotta say--once or twice? You've hit 95% efficiency 'once or twice' and the resulting beers have been less than stellar--though your taste buds are not 'quite sure yet.' With respect, that's a pretty thin foundation upon which to build such a big theory.
You say you prefer less sugar and more of the non-sugary stuff. That's fine. With your mash temps, your pH levels, your water chemistry--you determine the profile of your mash, your wort. If you want a higher proportion of dextrins, you'll mash at a higher temp. But it seems to me that a higher efficiency is just getting more out of your grist. Same ratio of fermentables to unfermentables, just more of both.
You write:
'The best advice I can give anyone on anything related to brewing, especially to all the novices out there, is: Take all those old brewers' tales and rules of thumb, everything you've read about in old books... and throw them all out the window, and figure out the truth on your own.  With just a few batches experience, you'll come to find and agree that SO many old rules of thumb are SO wrong that it ain't funny -- it's downright hysterical!!'

I think you're on even shakier ground there. There's an old adage about not reinventing the wheel that I think may apply. In the ten thousand years we've been brewing we've learned a thing or two. 'Brewers' tales and rules of thumb' survive because they are valuable; they don't if they're not. Like evolution. Why on earth would you tell new brewers to 'throw them out the window?' What are you, a book burner?

And it's not just the methodology of brewing that's been formed by evolution. Our beer styles have come down to us through the ages. 10,000 years of development and tweaking, 10,000 years of test marketing. 10,000 years of learning what we like and what we don't. The styles aren't rules and regulations, they're valuable data about what works for us. There's have been a lot of changes in home brewing since I started 25 years ago, and most of them have been great. But two I consider unfortunate have been 1) the move toward ever faster brews (shorter mashes, batch sparging, etc.) and 2) the seeming disregard and often downright disdain for brewing lore. It seems somehow a uniquely American arrogance--10,000 years of testing, tweaking, refining? Screw that--I LIKE 100 IBU beer! Style guidelines? Fascism!
Now I'll get off my soapbox.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 23, 2012, 12:33:39 PM »
82 is just dandy. The real trick is whether or not you can repeat it and if you picked up anything "off". Odds are that you're fine. I start looking askance at numbers above 85%

+1.  When efficiency approaches 90%, that's when the beer starts getting thin and watery in my experience.  82% is just fine, and in fact is pretty much my goal -- high enough, but not too high.

Wonder if you'd care to support your theory with a little chemistry...

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All Grain Brewing / Re: question about a mash schedule
« on: March 12, 2010, 03:56:50 PM »
Why do you think you need a p rest?  Don't do it just because the books say so!  You have experienced brewers here telling you that it isn't necessary.  Isn't that enough to at least make you want to see?  :)  Keep it simple, then when you have a handle on things give the p rest a try.

Jeez, let the guy do a protein rest rest if he wants to. Don't do it because the books say so... really? I'll take your word there are lots of experienced brewers here. For sure, there are lots of opinionated brewers here. And truth be told, most of those brewers mash in coolers and would find it very difficult to do a multi-step mash. To me this smacks of--this is the way I do it, so you ought to too.
Just my .02

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The Pub / Re: Latest Woods family photo.
« on: December 04, 2009, 11:47:41 AM »
I gotta say that I really don't find that funny....

+1

I agree. Not funny.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: wort quality and water ratio question
« on: November 28, 2009, 06:54:41 PM »
I just did some digging in the literature on this and this is what I found:

Briggs "Brewing Science and Practice" : At high mash temperatures thicker mashes yield more fermentable worts while at normal mast temps thin mashes yield more fermentable worts

Narziss "Abriss der Bierbrauerei": the wort fermentability of well modified malt mashes shows little sensitivity to mash thickness.

Kunze "Technologie Brauer Maelzer": thicker mashes give more fermentable worts.

If 3 of the most respected brewing authors can't agree on this subject, how should we?

In the end, pick a mash thickness that works for a given beer and adjust the fermentability through the starch conversion rest(s).

Kai


I just want to chime in to say thanks for this discussion. I guess I've been under a rock since the millennium, because I've been using 1.25 to 1.5 forever. (And I've got the worn out rotator cuffs to prove it.) I learned the 1.5-per-quart and the thicker-favors-enzyme-activity lore and until tonight, never questioned it. My great thanks to jcsbeer and Kai.

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The Pub / Re: SWMBO
« on: November 20, 2009, 05:09:16 PM »
Not to get serious--but anybody know where the expression came from? As far as I know it was Rumpole of the Baily, the great John Mortimer character of novels and TV. A brilliant lawyer and great human being, Rumpole was hen-pecked unmercifully by SWMBO--a moniker he would mutter only under his breath. He was a good man living under the heel of a rather stupid, bullying woman. Tragic because that's not the way it's supposed to be. So, am I offended? Not really. Would I ever use the expression? Never. FWIW, I think we've already gone a bit too far down the path of male feminization.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Help..
« on: November 20, 2009, 10:29:48 AM »
A lot, if not all, the micro nutrients that Fred mentioned should be present in malt. I build my water from RO water all the time and don't see fermentation issues.

Kai

I blend RO with tap water (municipal well water) to get the PPM I need for the style I'm brewing. If you have fairly hard water, it takes very little of it to provide adequate minerals for the yeast, IMHO. For lighter beers, it's usually something like 9:1, RO:tap.

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Pimp My System / Re: My Brewery and Alehouse-Shed
« on: November 14, 2009, 11:57:17 AM »
Wow! You put the rest of us to shame. That's just beautiful, brother.

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Brewing an Altbairisch Dunkel right now. Mid boil.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: spent grains
« on: November 13, 2009, 11:08:08 AM »
I currently feed mine to the chickens, but I'm interested in some spent grain bread recipes. Can anyone share some.

I just use my standard bread machine recipe, but substitute about a third of the flour with spent malt.

My standard recipe is:

1 1/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups flour
1-2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp yeast

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The Pub / Re: Beatles, Sounding great after all these years
« on: November 13, 2009, 10:30:21 AM »
I grew up in the era of the Beatles, but had sort of soured on them--probably from hearing the same few songs a few too many times. Listening to this set has really revived my love of this great band. It's easy to forget what a seminal group this was. Heard a BBC documentary recently about the effect of the Beatles in the USSR. An amazing story.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: spent grains
« on: November 12, 2009, 08:36:09 PM »
I compost it--it's a great addition. I also have a bread recipe in which I use it. Adds a nice nutty flavor.

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