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Messages - Alewyfe

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about kettle and fermentation pH
« on: September 17, 2012, 08:30:33 AM »
A pre-boil pH of 5.4-5.5 is a good target. The cast out pH should be around 5.2-5.4.

As for beer pH, it will depend on the beer style. My lagers tend to be around 4.3 and ales are a bit less.


??Ales a bit less??  I'm trying to "process" this pH stuff, but i would have expected that lagers would run lower than ales. Why the converse effect?.

I just did an Ordinary Ale recipe that I have done many times with no water adjustments. This last batch I inadvertently got the mash pH a little low (5.1..those pesky room temp vs mash temp numbers, grrr) It finished with a pH of 4.1 and I thought it was quite a bit different and what I would best describe as more lager like than previous batches.   Also, I've read so much stuff lately that i can't remember where I got the numbers from, but IIRC,  around 4.4 was a number sited by tasting panels as being most prefered and drinkable as a post fermentation pH. I going to start measuring all my favorite comml beers out of curiosity.

All Things Food / Re: Get off Your Can!
« on: September 14, 2012, 09:36:51 AM »
18 qts. plain tomatoes in jars and 5 gals of Spaghetti sauce on the brewery burner at this moment. I don't have enough tillable land for a big garden...we live on a rock. Neighbor always over plants and has presented me with 7 large flats of tomatoes thus far. Trying to can or dry anything i get so as to save precious freezer space for hops.

Zucchini pickles sound interesting, Denny.

Take fresh Zucc, slice lengthwise in 1/4 strips. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. (may have to cut in half if they're larger) Grill them till they're charred then thin out some of that Pesto with a little buttermilk and pour it over the top....lovely.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To Share or Not to Share
« on: September 09, 2012, 09:56:22 AM »
Do not cast your pearls before swine.
You can watch the way they taste it. If they throw it back like it's a frat house challenge...they ain't our kind of folks and it's a waste of your efforts. OTOH, if they sample and taste thoughtfully and are interested in learning, it's fun to turn people on to HB.

Office party...nope.  One on one or smaller get togethers....for sure.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Tried my first India Black Ale
« on: September 08, 2012, 09:14:03 AM »
I have never had a black IPA that I thought was worth the glass it was served in. Just a style that clashes in every way to my taste buds.

Agreed. I've had a number of commercial black IPAs, some with a schwarzbier-like roastiness and others with a robust stout-like roastiness. If there's not enough roast, I feel like I'm drinking a regular IPA and wondering why it's black, but if there's too much I just taste roast and why wonder it's called an IPA. Not to say that they can't be good beers, I'd much rather have a nice American IPA followed by a nice stout.

+1 and +1

The Pub / Re: Glass Shape Affects Drinking Speed
« on: September 06, 2012, 08:56:51 AM »
my heart starts racing and skipping beats. 

That happens to me too Denny...mostly when I'm just thinking about beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I once had too Many Beers.
« on: August 30, 2012, 10:03:08 AM »
I once had too many beers.
Most fun that I'd had in years.
We partied all night,
then toasted daylight.
Me and 1800 NHC conventioneers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I once had too Many Beers.
« on: August 29, 2012, 10:08:29 PM »
I once had too many beers.
The swimbo had nothing but sneers.
To avoid the ol' grouch,
I retired to the couch.
I haven't slept THAT well in years!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Grain crush and hot/cold break generated
« on: August 29, 2012, 09:27:55 AM »
I use a paint strainer bag and a big funnel....I have several pre-sanitized because it usually takes more than one as there's so much gunk in them. It's not a real solution, it just keeps some of the material out of the fermenter. You'll still get a lot of the fine stuff passing through.

Equipment and Software / Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
« on: August 29, 2012, 09:19:55 AM »
For me, it's always a matter of what on the wish list is going to give the most bang for the buck. I've wanted plate chillers and pumps. I opted for one pump first. That lessened my chill time significantly and aided in moving stuff around without lifting. Second benefit is that I just use a 5 gal pail with ice water and run a short hose from that to my IC. In the warm summer months using my tap water I get down to around 80 with the IC in the wort. Then hook up the pump to the IC, pumping ice water through the chiller, I can get it down to where I need it for pitching either lager or ale yeast.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Style Guidelines and Judging
« on: August 26, 2012, 09:31:59 AM »
Glad to see the topic is being discussed. I have noticed this tendency and am happy when a normally to style beer takes a medal. I've always considered this more a case of ignorance than cheating, but it also seems to be getting more prevalent.  I have a hard time with palate fatigue when tasting and would probably myself take more notice of the big guy in the flight.

Could BJCP put the onus on the entrant by asking for a declaration of abv on the entry form? Not to necessarily catch them, but to give them pause to consider the "style specifics" when entering. It may accomplish nothing, but then it may make them think. I stewarded at second round and have nothing but praise for the judges at my tables. I don't think that any change needs to be made to judging, but adherence to style is a must if there is to be any point in competing.

As Bill Pierce aptly responded..." It's prevalent enough to be a real problem, and it undermines the stated goal of conducting fair and objective competitions."

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Style Guidelines and Judging
« on: August 25, 2012, 09:31:30 PM »
to put it bluntly, we ain't drinkin' numbers!

drinking, and judging for that matter, is about one person's perception of a given beverage in their glass. a beer in a competition does need to fit general style parameters, but winning beers often push those parameters.

and who knows if that is the real recipe?!?

Thanks for your comments. Not looking to nit pick, just to get educated.  I'm interested in how important adherence to style actually is in competition.
My question is about "Competition" only....when drinking or brewing for one's own enjoyment, I agree, who cares. Make it as you like to drink it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Style Guidelines and Judging
« on: August 25, 2012, 07:17:49 PM » I'm going through Zmag and looking for some recipe ideas to put my own spin on for the next brew session. I'm looking at the Cat. 10 winner, an American Amber. Based on the recipe submitted, this one is certainly pretty far outside the style guidelines for an Amber. 66 IBU's and nearly 7%ABV. That looks a lot more like an IPA to me.

I like to push the style guidelines to make my beer stand out a bit for competitions, but I'm always being dinged about stuff being a bit high alcohol for style.

Any thoughts on this from the judges out there? Just kind of surprised me that it would go gold at national level being that far out of style.

Using Brun'Water and reading Martin's, AJ's, Kais and Noonans work re: mash pH has helped me to actually start to understand what I'm trying to do with my water. Results today with a newly purchased pH meter indicates that I am getting very close to desired pH using Martin's spreadsheets. Results in recent competitions indicated that my attention to water was netting better beer.

Thinning my mash to 1.5ltrs/# has increased my efficiency from around 70 to 75%. Todays batch of ordinary, using the tighter controls the pH meter afforded has given me another 10% increase in mash efficiency. (what ever will I do with all the extra beer?)

Also got a pump earlier this year which has helped get wort chilled faster. Also like it for recirculating mash to vorlauf...beautifully clear wort into the kettle.

Equipment and Software / Re: Broke a glass carboy this morning
« on: August 19, 2012, 09:03:55 AM »
The only thing I lost was the ability to watch the active fermentation through the side of the fermentor

Pull airlock. Put eye close to hole. There's no step three!

Remove eye from proximity to hole. Replace airlock. (Can't fool me Sean Terrill!)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Weddings and beer
« on: August 16, 2012, 12:52:10 PM »
Here's to you Mic and your Brew-bride to be.   

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