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Messages - musseldoc

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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. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Robust Porter/Final gravity advice
« on: August 19, 2012, 04:33:03 AM »
You are only at about 12% crystals, which is not excessive, so I think 1.022 is a bit high.  You may just have lethargic yeast or maybe under-pitched a bit.  I would pitch a bit of krausen from your next batch of ale.  I imagine a little more time at 70F where you have it will help, regardless.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pitch Lagers Warm and Chill?
« on: August 19, 2012, 04:26:27 AM »
I also believe that when yeast detect a large drop in temperature, especially a 10 degree or greater swing, they start to go to sleep.  This can result in some off flavors as they reinforce their protein coat, as well as under-attenuation issues. A yeast that is pitched cool (40-45F) and warmed (48-52F) with the wort will be active and increasing in metabolism. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs vials?
« on: August 19, 2012, 04:21:23 AM »
Hold on to them until you have enough to turn in for merchandise from White Labs. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: August 14, 2012, 06:17:06 PM »
Back to FWH.

I have to say that earlier hops additions gives me harsher and lingering bitterness.
Not sure why FWH would not do the same.

This is my experience.
Kind of learned it hard way with 350 gallons of beer.

In George Fix's book, principles of brewing science, he sites the blind taste tests where FWH was show to have a cleaner, less harsh bitter taste, despite having higher measured IBU's.  I think Gordon goes into this in his book too, and he is a big believer in FWH.  I only tried it once with an APA.  I took a medal at a fairly large competition (300+ entries), and my scoresheets described the beer as malty and dry with a bright hop flavor and no harsh bitterness.  I am fairly convinced that FWH does produce different flavors than 60 minute additions.  I know Jamil is not sold on it tho. 

I know that regardless of traditional or FWH,when I use a low alpha hop to get a lot of IBU's, then I get a lot of vegetal material (polyphenols) dissolved in the beer and it comes out grassy and astringent.  To me, that makes the bitterness harsh. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: August 14, 2012, 06:08:54 PM »
I also believe the source of the malt makes a big difference.  I have made many pils only beers using different cultivars and maltsters, and they all taste different. They all have that signature Pils sweetness, but side by side you can definitely tell they are not the same malt.  Some continental pils have too much sweetness and throw off the malt profile, for me; the resulting beers are a little less authentically German.  They come out more like French Pilsners, with almost a grape-like pils sweetness. 

Can you go into this a bit more? I mean, can you name some names? I'm interested to hear the results.

Sure.  I have tried with Briess, Munton Weyerman and one from my homebrew shop labeled Belgian Pils (don't know the brand).  Munton calls their pils lager malt, but it is the traditional luv range of pils malt.  The Weyerman had the richest malt character with some sweetness.  The Belgian was fairly clean with a distinctive pils sweetness.  The Muntons had the intense pils sweetness that was grape-like.  Briess was somewhat sweet, but almost just neutral malt in character. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: August 12, 2012, 07:06:33 PM »
I disagree, more tannins are not extracted.  Monitor the pH during the decoction and you'll see for yourself.  A decrease in pH decreases tannin extraction.  Higher temps off-gas CO and thus bicarbonate.  Additionally, the precipitation of calcium phosphate at higher temps releases hydrogen ions.  The pH has no choice but to go down. 

You may have a crush or lautering system that gets you 80+% efficiency anyways, so you may not see a change in mash efficiency.  Most will see an increase though.  However, you will have no choice but to see a difference in fermentability.  You cannot perform a step mash profile without converting more sugars into maltose and less into dextrins. 

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