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Messages - musseldoc

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: cold break
« on: January 01, 2013, 08:11:35 AM »
I like to switch over my immersion chiller from tap to ice water once I hit about 80F, which takes the wort down to 40F.  It is impressive how much break falls out.  Sometimes it interferes with how much wort I can transfer cleanly to the fermenter. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP Tasting Exam
« on: January 01, 2013, 08:02:06 AM »
By now the details of the styles should be memorized.  Now you need to get some fluency with judging and writing.  I would get a few classic examples of some styles, sit down with them and fill out a BJCP scoring sheet.  Then repeat and repeat until the structure of the responses come flowing out as naturally as possible.  Physically write out your responses until until you get some consistency in how you are presenting your evaluation.  Read the BJCP examples and mirror their flows and patterns to tasting and evaluating beer.  After a few times, evaluate a beer as if it were a different style. How would you evalute a dry stout as an APA?  How would you 'fix' the beer to taste like an APA?  All good practice for developing your own personal judging style. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Thermometer?
« on: January 01, 2013, 07:51:06 AM »
Right, I was making the distinction for beer, and assuming (maybe incorrectly) he wanted to monitor fermentation temp.  I recirculate, so monitoring the outflow of the mash with the infrared is quite accurate.  No single thermometer in a single place is accurate for a static column of mash. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Secondary fermentation
« on: January 01, 2013, 07:45:14 AM »
One thing that I always keep in mind on this debate is santitization.  Not all of the tales of off flavors come from the beer sitting on the yeast cake too long, but rather bugs that made it into the beer. 

That said, yeast are the only thing that will 'clean up' your beer.  If that is what you want, then leave the beer in contact with the yeast as long as possible.  IMO, the only reason to secondary is to 1) leave a little off flavor, and 2) get clear beer fast.  If you want a little yeast by-product, e.g., a touch of diacetyl in an ESB, then transfer to secondary.  If you need to turn over your beer faster and want it clear, then transfer to secondary.  When you transfer beer, you force the yeast to flocculate and fall out of suspension faster.  I believe the theory on this is that the mechanical action of the fluid transfer causes CO2 to offgas, creating bubbles and thereby nucleation sites for yeast to flocc.  There are many pics of this online where people do side by side comparisons, and the rate at which the yeast falls out of suspension is dramatic. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Thermometer?
« on: January 01, 2013, 07:20:27 AM »
Just curious, but what makes you think your thermometer isn't accurate? 

I like the infrared thermometers a lot.  We use them every day at my work.  The best part is you don't have to contact the beer with a probe.

+1 on the Ommegang.  Their beers rival the best Belgian ales out there.  Best part is they don't have to be transported across the pond. 

I have brewed with both 7C's and FF, and I found the 7C's to have more grapefruit character than FF.  If you blend to make FF, then I would make Simcoe a supporting hop, not the dominant. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German Lager flavor, round 2
« on: December 30, 2012, 09:43:15 AM »
I have enjoyed these two threads so far.  Here is what I took from the thread(s): to be German, do as the Germans would do.

1) use german style ingredients: germanic malts, noble hops, style specific water profile
2) use a german style process: mash profile, decoction, hochkurz, fwh, long boil.
3) ferment like the Germans: german yeast strain, fresh pitch, big pitch, ferment cold, lager even colder, be patient.
4) drink, by the liter in a boot, of course  ;)

There are tomes written on the German methods of brewing.  Kai has even translated some of the original German texts for us.  I think the 'hows' are fairly straight forward.  That said, many palettes are dialed into imported German beer flavors.  If that is what you like, what you define as German, then adapt the above to reflect what you like.  Honestly, if the greater purpose of this thread is to gather information for entering beers in competition, remember, it is a crap-shoot as to whether you get BJCP judges with palettes dialed in on having spent time in Germany, having visited germany once, only trying German styles imported into the USA and only really having read books and guidelines on the lager styles. Brew what you like. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Just for You tomschmidlin...
« on: December 30, 2012, 08:42:30 AM »
I know that at my grocery, I can buy undried herbs, like basil, parsley, rosemary and cilantro.  They come in special packeages and are kept refrigerated.  They look pretty 'wet' to me. I can also walk over two isles and buy dried herbs, like basil, parsley, rosemary and cilantro.  It is obvious that these are dry, however, only if they are dated do you know if they are fresh.  Same with the refridgerated product.  I don't know of any lingo that translates to all passions, hobbies or vocations.  Like someone said, often it is about marketing and drawing attention to your product.  Is Cognac really just distilled grape alcohol?  Is Champaign just sparkling wine?  Why have appellations and business specific lingo?  Sometimes it is all that sets your product apart from another.  Is there really a difference between bud/miller/coors?  Billions are spent trying to convince you there is....

Dried is used as an adjective to describe the hops.  Wet is an adjective used to describe the hops.  Fresh is an adjective usd to describe the hops.  Seems like beer enthusiasts are trying to make them nouns, like they are their own new 'thing'.  If we use our adjectives correctly in font of the nouns (hops), then there really is no confusion, although we may disagree on how long after picking hops are considered 'fresh'.  If breweries are not specific with their descriptions, then we are left to make assumptions, which is their faux pas.  Wet hops can be fresh.  Wet hops can be old.  Dried hops can be fresh.  Dried hops can be old.  We just need two adjectives in front of the noun as a description of the hopping: moisture + time. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: December 28, 2012, 01:29:44 PM »
If you are using an airlock, then the headspace should be CO2 and keep you safe from oxidation (not indefinitely, but a while).  I think the most important variable is ensuring that yeast is present in whatever container you choose to lager your beer.  Obviously, if you leave it on the primary, then there is plenty of yeast.  However, if you are transferring to a keg or secondary carboy to lager, make sure you transfer the beer before you crash cool to lager temps.  This way, some yeast makes it over into your new lager vessel. 

Beer Recipes / Re: What is your best session beer recipe?
« on: December 28, 2012, 05:47:46 AM »
I am a big fan of the English Mild.  There is a solid recipe on the AHA website as a starting point.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: December 25, 2012, 11:25:50 AM »
John Palmer made a statement about noble hops and German beer on his last interview with BeerSmith.  He claimed that the oxidized beta acids are largely responsible for the bittering of German beers and the characteristic noble hop character.  Anyone investigated this with their beers?  Any discussion on that interview in regards to this thread?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wee heavy help!
« on: December 24, 2012, 07:57:43 PM »
one of the cool things about big beers like this is how much amazing complexity you can get just from process.

this link is to a really well regarded wee heavy recipe that a regular here on the forum created. You will notice that there is exactly 2 malts and one of them is only 1% of the recipe. His trick of boiling down some of the first runings to create caramel, coffee character is quite good and I have used it to good effect.

anyway here is the link

EDIT: to add that one of the most important aspects of any scottish style, in my mind, is the yeast. the edinborough ale yeast gives a slight smokey earthy peaty thing that really makes a scottish ale. Some folks put a pinch of smoked malt in scottish ales for this reason but you don't really need it with that yeast. I suspect this will not be particularly useful for you in brasil but if you have a friend coming to visit from the states try to get them to bring a tube of yeast with them. You'd have to step it up ALOT after that trip but if you really like scottish ales...

I agree with the above recipe, unfortunately, many of my BJCP brethren don't always concur.  I brewed the traditional 2-malt Wee Heavy and entered it into 4 or 5 competitions.  All came back the same - needs more malt character.  Well, I came up with a (very) knee jerk reaction recipe where I added 1 lb of most of the grains from 3L to 25L, then threw in .25 to .5 lbs of several caramelized grains from 40L to 120 L, and of course some roasted barley to finish it off.  This thing has 14 or 15 grains in it.  So far, I have taken 1st place in two competitions with it (2 national, 2 certified and 1 recognized judges). is very discouraging that this worked. 

To the OP, congrats on the brew.  Brew it the way you like it and call it what you want  ;)

Other Fermentables / Favorite book on mead
« on: November 20, 2012, 09:16:06 AM »
I am just getting into meads.  Do you have a favorite book for mead making?  Is there a "how to brew" equivalent for meads?

Here are the 3 that caught my eye on amazon:

Mead: Making, Exhibiting & Judging by Harry Riches

Making Mead (Honey Wine): History, Recipes, Methods and Equipment by Roger A. Morse

The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations by Ken Schramm

There should still be a higher partial pressure of CO2 in the solution than in the atmosphere.  If you shake the starter, does it release bubbles (like bubbles rising in your pint glass)?  Do you see foaming?  If not, then the yeast did not take off. 

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