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Messages - tomsawyer

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You could do no-sparge with water that doesn't give you an alpha step, but why not just mash with all of the water to begin with?  There's obviously space in the tun.

I generally stay between 1.5 and 2qt/lb, thats a nice consisntency for a mash.  I've heard of people (commercial operations mostly) mashing up to 3qt/lb, so I suppose I could.  I don't see a real benefit to it, other than only warming up water once.  I was thinking the step mash aspect would be nice but I just wasn't expecting as pronounced an effect as I saw.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too warm to have added yeast?
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:09:18 PM »
Room temp is also a little warm.

Not at my house, after the last heating bill we lowered from 65F to 60F.  With a cover or sweater its OK but I kind of feel like I'm being lagered.  Great ale fermenting temp, my beers are taking noticeably longer to carb up though.

I do generally use a swamp cooler without the evaporation, just as a sink to maintain a more constant temp during ferm.  Works like a charm in the summer.

Right, 90min at 150F and then adding my "sparge" water to step up to 158F or so for a short period.  This is what I've been told was typical of no-sparge, and the bump in efficiency puts me very near what I get with a single infusion at 150F and a batch sparge.  What I haven't tried yet is a no-sparge with water that doesn't give me an alpha step.  Thats on my list since I'm brewing some dry beers and have gotten the upper end of style FGs a couple of times.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:11:48 AM »
Since I'm on the committee for this competition I can offer some specifics.

Judging is by BJCP category with the exception of 27 and 28 (Cider and Perry) which are combined for judging.

In multi-flight categories "queued judging" will be employed such that all of the beers in the category are pulled in order and each set of judges gets one and then when the finish gets the next one in the pull order. For most categories pull order would be in subcategory letter order (and in no particular order within the subcategories) but for fruit, smoke and wood aged, spice herb vegetable, specialty, and meads and ciders the head judge may choose to alter the pull order with the aim of pulling in increasing order of assumed palate impact (so a smoked hefeweizen before a smoked imperial stout, for example).

The average number of beers per set of judges does not exceed 10 in this case but in multi-flight queued judging the fastest pair may judge 1-2 more than the slowest pair (hopefully not a bigger discrepancy than that). As others have said ten minutes per beer is a good pace that everyone can strive for. Highly experienced judges working together can go quite a bit faster. Our two Saturday sessions are set 4 hours apart. Most judges will finish in under 2 hours so this isn't a terribly aggressive schedule (by design as the afternoon session must start on time since we have the brewery tour after). In our case we gave some consideration to the palate impact of a particular category when deciding how to split it into flights. For example 10 sour ales were split into two flights. I can't think of a real example off the top of my head but had we had 10 English Brown Ales we would have kept those in one flight.

We will have around 1 printed set of guidelines per every other judge. Given how many phones I see out lately at competitions I believe this will be more than sufficient.

We will provide labels to judges. We will also provide round stickers that you can write the entry number on and stick on your cup so you don't have to use a sharpie or grease pencil.

Every flight has a Certified or higher judge and most categories have a National or higher judge so you will be paired with more experienced people. Feel free to ask them questions, almost everyone I run into is happy to help other people.

John, could you be more specific?  ;)

Seriously, thanks for the heads up.  I'll work on a time frame of 10min per beer, that should be plenty for 10 beers in 2hours.  I'm really looking forward to the competition, the tour, the talks, the BBQ and the wine.  And if theres beer thats good too.

I forgot to mention the best part of this weekend, I get to call my wife a wench for two days straight, to her face.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lazy Monk Brewing LLC
« on: February 15, 2011, 12:46:03 AM »
Looks great, sounds tasty.  I'll look for your products when we get up to WI.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:26:52 PM »
John I understand the concept of descriptive vocabulary completely and I want to do justice to the brewer who paid to enter their beer.  I found out during the BJCP test that its easier said than done.  I may make myself a list of precise descriptors for each category, just as a crutch.

I'm normally mashing at 150F and the temp may drop a few degrees over the course of an hour to 90min.  My theory is that the short (10-15min) rest favoring alpha amylase is chunking up new starch that doesn't have time to be chewed into mono/disaccharides before I run off and boil.  Its just a correlation though, it could also be the cooler ferm temps in my basement.  Plus some of my results are coming from altbier ferms @60F and I don't have a ton of experience with WY1007.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:19:12 PM »
More good stuff.  I might just look like I know what I'm doing.

How many beers are typically judged in a session and how long do you expect we'll have per beer?  They said they have more entries than last year, but they've enlisted more judges.

All Grain Brewing / Re: fruity tasting pilsener??
« on: February 14, 2011, 08:32:49 PM »
Could be you didn't pitch enough yeast, lagers require large starters or multiple dry yeast packs.  Could be you rushed it from primary.  There are myriad reasons it came out fruity.  This is a hard beer to brew well.

I initially tried Brewferm's lager yeast for a pils, wow that was a nasty brew.  Tasted more like pils minus the "L".  I've also brewed with S23, another failure.  Some of this may have been a lack of adequately cool temps.  Since I got a fermenting freezer I've cranked out a couple of nice German pilsners.

All Grain Brewing / Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
« on: February 14, 2011, 08:26:38 PM »
I have an inexpensive Hanna pH meter, and I check my calibration every time I use it.  I rarely have to re-calibrate though, it has been quite steady (within 0.1pH units, the thing reads to 0.01).  I do rinse it well after each reading and store it with storage buffer.  I have more trouble with the pH buffers, the 4.0 likes to grow a white mold.

The one other aspect of the EZ Water that I noticed, is that it doesn't take boil loss into account when calculating flavor ion concentrations.  This can increase the actual concentrations by 20-30%.  Is this the case or am I missing something there?

On the subject of hard vs soft water, I would think the bicarb is going to have some amount of buffering ability even though its not exactly in its sweet spot as a buffer since the pH is about 1 unit below the pKa.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 14, 2011, 07:50:27 PM »
All good advice except that one about not drinking too much on Friday night, but that might be the most critical one for judging Saturday morning.  We have a session Friday evening, then Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Hadn't thought of a flashlight.  Will bring a corkscrew, that should be good for popping corks and fending off pushy judges.  They know I'm new and supposedly put me with more experienced people.  Then again, almost anyone would qualify as being more experienced.

Question, is it common for newer judges to keep a hard copy of the BJCP guidelines handy?  I'll have thoroughly reviewed my categories but I would feel more secure having it available.

General Homebrew Discussion / First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 14, 2011, 06:45:04 PM »
This weekend I'm judging for the first time at a competition in KC.  I got my assignments, I'm judging porters, Belgian/French ales, and Scottish/Irish ales.  They don't tell you which particular styles within the category, in advance.  Needless to say I'm excited!  And just a little worried about doing a decent job of it.  I also entered four beers and this is my first time entering beer in a comp as well.  Talk about your rookies.

What do you typically do to prepare for judging a competition?

Since I started doing mashout or no-sparge after a 90min mash I get a bump in efficiency but the wort isn't as fermentable because what was finishing at 1.010 will come out 1.015.  Part of me likes the efficiency but I don't always want that kind of FG.

I usually let the mash go for 90min, it doesn't really hurt anything as long as you have the time.  I also feel like the flavor compounds (Maillard compounds) might steep out better with a longer soak.  Its like making tea, you can get color with a teabag in a minute but it tastes more full after five.

All Grain Brewing / Re: EZ Water Calc 2.0 question
« on: February 13, 2011, 04:52:16 PM »
Does chocolate malt count as a roasted malt for the purposes of inputing an amount of roasted malt in the "Recipe Info" section of EZ Calc 2.0?  I know it's not as roasted as roasted barley.  Does it have a similar effect on pH in similar proportions as roasted barley though?

It's the color, not necessarily the roasting, that matters.

How do you get one without the other?  Are we differentiating between kilning and roasting?

Also, is roast green barley more acidic for a given Lovibond, than roast malt?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acid rest
« on: February 11, 2011, 12:56:30 AM »
I'm no expert but I'd call that sulfate level moderate.

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