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Messages - erockrph

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I do 60, 20, 10, and 5 minute hop additions plus a steep.  Why?  Because I like the results.  Objectionable aromas like cat pee and onions seems to be reduced or eliminated with some boil time.  I don't steep hops that are prone to foul aromas.   

I'm finding the opposite. Some hops like Citra seem to stay soft and pleasant when they are not used in the boil. I have to wonder if there is some sort of isomerization reaction that creates those off aromas like cat pee and garlic? It does seem limited to certain hop varieties.

The results of this study are consistent with my observations.

4mmp = potential for cat pee

I read that study a bit differently. 4MMP is decreasing in the boil, but increasing in fermentation. This says to me that the 4MMP is being chemically bound during the boil (and the authors also refer to two studies that have indeed found that is is happening), and then released by the yeast during fermentation. Since 4MMP has a flash point of 129F, it looks like this conjugation may have a protective effect - i.e., the 4MMP gets bound during the boil before it can flash off.

Furthermore, they also indicate that copper binds 4MMP. So, if you use a copper wort chiller that is another mechanism where you may possibly end up with more 4MMP in your finished beer by boiling it compared to steeping it, if it turns out that the bound 4MMP has less affinity for copper.

Regardless, we taste with our tongues and not an HPLC. The chemistry here is complicated enough where sensory analysis will continue to trump chemical analysis for quite some time, I'm sure.

Ingredients / Ribes (currants and gooseberries) for the homebrewer
« on: July 22, 2014, 08:33:40 AM »
There have been a few mentions of currants and ribes floating around in a few posts. I have been growing several varieties over the past few years, so I thought I'd share my thoughts and experiences:

I have red, pink and black currants growing, as well as both red and green gooseberries. They are quite easy to grow. This is my third year and I'm getting about 2 pounds from each of my currant bushes, despite heavy pruning last fall. One thing to note is that most Ribes varieties are susceptible to white pine blister rust, so they are restricted or banned in many areas. Even if you are able to find an online supplier that will ship them to you (hint, hint ;) ), use good judgement whether it would it would be the best idea for your local flora to introduce Ribes plants.

My gooseberries aren't yielding quite as much, but I have been pruning them quite a bit until I figure out how I want to train the bushes. They grow a lot more like vines than the currants, which are well-behaved little bushes. Gooseberries have nasty thorns that put blackberries to shame.

Red/Pink Currants - these are like a cross between a tomato and a pomegranate aril to me, both in flavor and seediness. Pink currants are just a variety of red currants. They have less tomato and are sweeter than red currants. I find these suitable for eating out of hand (more so than red ones), but they are seedy enough where I wouldn't want to eat a mass quantity. I am planning on syrup from my red currants this season, and they make a decent jelly as well. For brewing applications, my best guess would be a Flanders Red, many of which have a touch of a ketchup thing going already (at least to my palate).

Red Gooseberries - I haven't been getting a lot off of mine, but they rarely make it indoors from the garden. The inner flesh is very similar to a blueberry - sweet, fleshy and mild. Then the skin has this great sweet-tart flavor to it. It does have a bit of muskiness, which I enjoy, but might not be everyone's tastes.

Green Gooseberries - more tart than their Red cousins. They're good for pies and jams. If I were making a gooseberry beer, I'd probably use the green ones. I think they'd be pretty good in a saison. Mikkeller makes an excellent gooseberry lambic.

Black Currants - this is the one that gets thrown around the most in homebrewing as a flavor descriptor for hops. All parts of the plant have a distinct musky/spicy aroma. To me, it is much closer to the aroma of tomato stems than cat pee, but I guess I can see where the descriptor comes from. I guess that is a perception issue that varies from nose to nose.

If you can get your hands on a fresh black currant, by all means try it. I find the fresh berries to be distinctly different than juices or jams. That musky note just isn't the same once they're processed, IMO. Don't get me wrong, eating a fresh black current is not a particularly enjoyable experience - it is bitter, tart and tannic. But it is certainly eye-opening of you haven't had one.

As far as brewing applications go, you see black currant in a lot of commercial meads, and it's a great fit there. It adds some tannins and tartness that rounds out a berry melomel nicely. I've also had a fantastic lambic from Hanssens Artisanaal that used black currant. Of all my ribes plants, this is the one I had more of. I'd really like to use quite a bit of these in my sour beers. I'm debating whether to store this year's harvest until next year in hopes of having enough saved up over 2 seasons to use to secondary a beer on, or to make a syrup to add to a Berliner Weisse (among other things).

One other idea is to use them in a Pale Ale or IPA. I've read from some articles in the perfume industry that the blackcurrant aroma pairs well with rose, so it seems like it would fit well with New World hops that already exhibit currant-like flavors, as well as sharing many of the essential oils that are present in roses.

I think you're much better off using a lager strain that tolerates warmer temps than using an ale strain. WY2124 or Saflager 34/70 will get you closer than any ale strain, even pushing the low 60s for fermentation temps. The yeast character is distinctly different between an Alt, Koelsch or lager strain.

I disagree.  I made much better pseudoests with WY1007 than 2124.  Much cleaner.

I guess fermentation temps and personal preference are the deciding factor here. As clean as it may be, WY1007 still produces a characteristic fermentation profile that tastes more like an Alt than a lager to me. To me, that lager yeast fermentation character is more important.

I think you're much better off using a lager strain that tolerates warmer temps than using an ale strain. WY2124 or Saflager 34/70 will get you closer than any ale strain, even pushing the low 60s for fermentation temps. The yeast character is distinctly different between an Alt, Koelsch or lager strain.

The Pub / Re: Best Album of All Time
« on: July 20, 2014, 09:12:40 PM »
Wow, you guys are old. Don't get me wrong, my friends' parents turned me on to a lot of the bands that have mentioned here, but there has actually been some great music put out since the 70's.

Plus, everyone knows that Master of Puppets is the greatest cassette tape of all time.

You can always lager in the bottles after they're carbonated. How cool can you maintain your fermentation temps?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's brewing today -- 7/20/14
« on: July 20, 2014, 01:07:08 PM »
No brewing, it is time it drink the lagers brewed in winter.

German Pils, CAP, and a special lager with American hops (mt. hood, sterling, santium, crystal).

We will also have pretzels, radishes (spiral cut white ones), and obatzda for starters. Later we have an assortment of German wurst and potatoes.

I've never heard of beer radishes until now. Sounds brilliant. I just might have to grow some to have ready for Oktober...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's brewing today -- 7/20/14
« on: July 20, 2014, 10:35:22 AM »
Getting a starter of WY2633 going for October's batch of 'fest.

I think I'm going to make another small starter and throw in a handful of my black currants that are still hanging on the bush to see what I have going for wild yeast on my fruit.

I'm brewing a pumpkin saison today that I am going to ferment on the yeast cake from a clone of Perrenial's Hommel Bier.  This will be my first attempt at fermenting on a cake from another batch.  The yeast is the wyeast 3724 belgian saison.  The Hommel bier has been chugging away for 7 days and I will rack and dry hop it for another week.
I'd be afraid of your first beer stalling out if you rack it this soon. Even if I'm reusing the yeast cake I never rack a beer out of primary until it hits FG.

Beer Recipes / Re: Rye IPA recipe feedback
« on: July 19, 2014, 01:10:20 PM »

So, if the Vienna is a base malt, is there a good reason to use it here at 8 percent of the bill or would I do as well replacing that with another pound of Maris otter?
To my palate Vienna and MO are in the same ballpark. I'd just sub out Vienna for more MO and keep it simple if it were my beer.

Ingredients / Re: How do you... cucumber?
« on: July 18, 2014, 01:55:32 PM »
I'm jealous. My cucumbers didn't make it this year. Most summers I eat a whole cucumber with lunch at work every day. Cut into sticks with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cukes are one veggie that I've never had too much of.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: incorporating fresh raspberries
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:10:08 PM »
If you freeze the fruit first, then thaw it will help release juice. although with rasperries that's less of an issue.

That's my SOP with most fruit. I put it through a hard freeze, let it thaw, then crush them in the baggie before dumping them in the fermenter.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bell's Two Hearted...a lesson
« on: July 18, 2014, 11:49:13 AM »
I am pretty meh about a beer you can get everywhere, even if it is one of my favorites (which most all national brands are not, but I am lucky to have a few excellent locals, and a lot of good ones).  Would we be over the moon on Cantillion or Westy if we could all get it at Buffalo Wild Wings?

While being on everywhere is great for the brewery, and builds a brand following with Joe six-pack; a beer you can get anywhere becomes a "safe" beer....where no other choice is "interesting" enough.

I am not sure that many on this forum will ever be all that brand loyal.

Yeah, brand loyalty doesn't mean as much for the "Joe Mix-a-six-pack", as many of us are.

I wouldn't order Cantillon at BWW, but I would at an upscale seafood restaurant. It's not my regular beer at home, and it's wouldn't be at a chain restaurant, either.

Other Fermentables / Re: First time cider maker.
« on: July 18, 2014, 06:09:03 AM »
You might want to consider pectic enzyme if you heated your juice, otherwise you have the potential for some pectic haze.

So chilling could reduce bottle bombs (carbonation) but its still a risk?

Chilling doesn't reduce carbonation that's already there. It just slows the yeast's metabolism way down. They will eat the remaining sugars and produce additional CO2 much more slowly than if they were left at room temp.

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