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Topics - mpietropaoli

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General Homebrew Discussion / BJCP / Sensory Question - DMS = noble hops?
« on: December 12, 2013, 07:32:51 PM »
I am a relatively new BJCP judge, and have judged about a half dozen competitions.  I have had a few instances where I have perceived DMS when the other judges haven't. 

We recently carbed up 3 versions of a 1.080 or so RIS (naked, oak-aged, bourbon oak aged) and I perceive DMS in all of them, particularly when its served on the cold side.  Once its warmed a bit, I get an amazing symphony of bready malt, baker's chocolate, light roast, warming, and some hop flavor. 

I honestly have no idea how this beer could have had DMS.  100 minute boil, in-line therminator, cold pitched US-05, fermented at 66, temp raised to 68 after a week, then 70 for the remainder.  We used magnum to bitter to about 40 IBU, then got the remaining IBU's (total of 80, calculated) from Green Bullet hops, which I'm told are somewhat like Fuggles or EKG, especially when used late.  I am confident in our cleanliness, hot and cold-side processes.  We ferment in a 1/2 bbl stainless steel conical, in a dual-stage temp controlled fridge. 

Any feedback or similar experiences would be appreciated!

General Homebrew Discussion / Tanginess in IIPA (BRY-97)
« on: October 29, 2013, 06:02:42 PM »
This is a new one for me....posted this over on NB as well, but thought I'd try here. 

Brewed up our clone of Pliny, with a whole mess of hops. Have brewed this before on this system, and it came out basically exactly like Pliny. Amazing beer.

Of course, this time, the cheeba monkeys at our local HBS/weed-growing hydroponics store didn't have S-05 OR WLP001, so we went with BRY-97. I grew up a starter in an APA, and we pitched at a rate assuming 60% viability, since the starter was such a hoppy beer.

Have the clone kegged up and carbed, and it has a great hoppy aroma and flavor, right up until the middle of the taste when this weird tangy/not-quite-tart (maybe slightly astringent?  I'm not really the best at ID'ing that) flavor takes over. I have tasted lacto (both intentional and unintentional), and I really don't think this is lacto. This beer was fermented in a 14 gallon stainless steel conical that is scrubbed hard after each use and impeccably sanitized.

After fermenting/racking the starter APA (which was decanted off of hop matter before pitching the first pitch of this yeast), the harvested (2nd gen) yeast sat in a sanitized container in the fridge for about a week.

Also, the IIPA was dry-hopped, yeast dropped, cold-crashed, and gelatined before kegging. Pretty clear for a hoppy beer. One possibility is we pitched too much of the BRY-97 cake into the beer.

I know some british ale yeasts have a slight tanginess to them. Could this be a yeast issue?

More importantly, are there any additions I can make to tame this down a bit? I tried adding about a 1/4 tsp of gypsum to a pint, which did nothing. A 1/4 tsp of baking soda seemed to help a bit, but I feel like that might destroy any hop flavor/aroma.

Whether its my mistake or not, I probably won't be using this yeast again as it doesn't floc at all.  Oh, and also, raised by Mr. Brungard on NB, we don't usually treat our muni water at all aside from charcoal filter and campden. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Roggenbier!
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:19:48 AM »
Can't find much on this style, or homebrewed versions of it.  I typically like all beer styles, but am not a huge fan of hefes...I think it is because I find them lacking in malt character.  Voila roggenbier.  Plus I would like to grow up a hefe cake to brew a weizen bock on our 1/2 bbl system.  Was going to do jamils recipe fermented nice and low, and 62. 

Anyone have any thoughts n the style, tasting notes, or recipe tweaks?  I have read the bjcp guideline, but would like to hear from some brewers

General Homebrew Discussion / Cidery Taste in Biere de Mars
« on: May 01, 2013, 07:23:39 PM »
Made a Biere de Mars-ish beer a few months back, bottle conditioned this one (bottled 2 weeks ago, so definitely still young for the gravity), but there is a distinct thin/cidery taste.  The honey (meadowfoam) was added at the last 3rd of fermentation or so.  Given the attenuation on this beast (3711; basically about 94% attenuation!), it would up with way more alcohol than planned (8.81% as opposed to 7.3% or so)...I'm thinking this should be a longer-term cellarer, as the booze is a bit evident as well.  Stepped up starter of 3711 based on  Lagered for 4 weeks after primary. 

Will the cideryness dissipate?  I don't think it is acetaldehyde. 
Biere de Mars
16-D Bière de Garde
Author: MCP
Date: 2/25/2013

Size: 5.0 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 94.4%
Calories: 229.89 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.071 (1.060 - 1.080)
Terminal Gravity: 1.004 (1.008 - 1.016)
Color: 11.47 (6.0 - 19.0)
Alcohol: 8.81% (6.0% - 8.5%)
Bitterness: 27.9 (18.0 - 28.0)

1 lb (7.7%) Meadowfoam Honey - added after boil, steeped 1 m
6 lb (46.1%) Belgian Pils - added during mash
1.75 lb (13.4%) Munich Malt - added during mash
4.2 lb (32.3%) White Wheat Malt - added during mash
1 oz (0.5%) Kiln Black Malt - added during mash
12 g (27.3%) Magnum (14.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
12 g (27.3%) Saaz (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
20 g (45.5%) Saaz (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 1 m

Ambient Air: 70.0 °F
Source Water: 60.0 °F
Elevation: 0.0 m

gravity measurement at 1.004! on 3/10/13
began lagering at 35* on 3/13/13, bottled on 4/17/13
slightly cidery taste, tasting on 5/1, vanilla from meadowfoam honey really coming through well

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.24

Ingredients / Best Way to 'Dry Adjunct'
« on: April 29, 2013, 05:28:45 PM »
Cross posting on another forum, but there is just some great experience on here, so here goes:

The aroma coming off of my witbier after chilling was absolutely sublime. Citrusy, fruity, little wheaty malt...I wanted to keep this aroma around so bad I ran to a buddy's house to get some fermcap, hoping it would minimize my amazing aromas blowing off. It didn't. My ferm chamber has smelled amazing for the last 5 days, and my beer doesn't.

Was thinking of adding some more chamomile (and maybe more zest, though it seems this is easy to overdo) in a muslin bag. I usually add dry hops during the last third of fermentation to the primary and don't worry about infection since the yeast is so active and the presence of alcohol.

I would be a little uncomfortable adding chamomile and ESPECIALLY citrus zest, since the skin of fruit is so full of nasties. Any recommendations? Maybe just spray them with star-san? add them to boiling water, immediately cover, boil for 1-2 minutes, remove from heat, cool and add the whole thing to the fermenter?

The yeast is still a bit active, as I've raised the temp up from my pitch and initial ferment temp of 66 (up to 70, then 72 today), but I seem to have reached a final gravity (1.011 off of 1.048).  It could also just be off-gassing taking away more of my precious aroma.

The brewer and founder of a new farm brewery/hop farm in our area came to one of my clubs meetings recently.  They have an AMAZING story, great packaging, and seemed like great guys overall.   They are doing cool festivals, do a lot for their community, and have helped with legislative matters. 

Then we tried their beer....

Every one of them (4 different beers) produced on a 7bbl system were extremely flawed.  Acetaldehyde, fusels, lots of sulfur (?)...borderline offensive beer. 

They said they would love feedback, but I didn't necessarily feel comfortable sitting back, twirling my imaginary mustache, and asking them about pitch rates and yeast viability.  However I did ask them, "What yeast do you use in this beer", to which they both replied with quizzical looks.  Mind you, there was an amber, an IPA, a bitter, and a stout.  The reply was "one of the dry ones", but I'm not even sure they were fully confident in their answer. 

Part of me was thinking of emailing them privately and suggesting they get some formal sensory analysis done (politely).  I am awaiting my BJCP written exam grade, but am currently only a Provisional judge, so I'm not sure if that means me. 

Thoughts from pro brewers?   Homebrewers?

General Homebrew Discussion / Lagerus Interruptus
« on: March 26, 2013, 07:28:44 PM »
Have a biere de mars and a kolsch lagering right now in my lagering fridge.  Would it be ok to pull them out for a few days and leave them in my 60* basement so I can control ferment temps on 2 new batches I am going to ferment?  Probably only going to precisely control temps for the first few days, then bring the new fermenters up to my first floor, with an ambient temp of 66-67, at which point I can resume lagering.  =

Trying to find more info on what goes on...all I can really find is that it sounds like club night, but it goes on all the time, and clubs do 2-3 hour shifts...

I feel like this might be like high school where I rather be a guest @ the party than host the party :-)

General Homebrew Discussion / Oxidation Story and Question
« on: March 09, 2013, 11:30:15 AM »
So a quick story to (hopefully) benefit all.

I submitted a few beers to a comp in NYC (Homebrew Alley), one of them being an IPA I made in mid-Dec that I thought was great (judging was mid february). This beer actually came in 2nd @ a local non-sanctioned hedonistic comp in late january.

17.5 from the judges @ homebrew alley. The main thing they cited was acetaldehyde.

WTF? Then I had the last bottle I had at a club meeting in late february. Lifeless. No hops. Awful. One guy said acetaldehyde. ACETALDEHYDE!!? Green apples? How could that be possible? I pitch a ton of yeast, manage it well, etc. PLUS the beer WAS great at one point.

So I was going through my process (typing it out actually) and realized the following. Since I have been kegging, I will typically keg, then bottle with the blich beer gun, so I can free up my serving fridge which also doubles as my ferm chamber. It hit me. I love to 'quick carb'. I don't always CO2-purge when I rack to my keg. So I am shaking up my keg like a polaroid picture with oxygen in there, and diffusing both CO2 and O2 into my beer. As a long-term storer in bottles, this is a major problem.

But wait, why green apples? Why acetaldehyde? One thing I have been very diligent about in my last 20 or so brews is yeast. For the last few years. proper management, starters, pitch rate, manipulate temps well. Acetaldehyde is usually a result of improper yeast management.

Oh wait. Or oxidation....oxidation REVERSES a lot of the reactions that happen during fermentation. "intermediate" compounds that are formed during fermentation AND TYPICALLY REABSORBED rear their ugly heads as a result of oxidation (like acetaldehyde).

Lesson learned (hopefully). I need to drink the $#@!T out of my beers now so they don't have the chance to age and get worse. I have noticed this in most of the beers come to think of it.

I just carbed my 80/- and its excellent. But I didn't CO2-purge. I have heard that you can precipitate out oxygen by adding either additional campden tabs or vitamin C to the keg. I might try this, as I was planning on submitting this AWSEOME 80/- to NHC. Anyone have experience with adding a campden tab (or five) to a kegged beer to reduce oxidation? Or I might just rebrew it.

<slaps forehead>

Yeast and Fermentation / Kolsch Fermentation Schedule - WLP029
« on: March 05, 2013, 05:26:39 PM »
Okay, I know you can't put beer on a schedule, the yeast work on their own timetable, 'its done when its done', etc. etc. etc. 

That being said, the majority of my ales are done in 7-10 days.  I ferment the majority of my ales pitched in the low-mid 60's, and let them rise up to the mid-high 60's, in some cases (belgians and saisons) continue to raise up to the low-mid 70's to finish.  Now I have to say, on 90% of my beers, I am using Chico, Notty, or a Belgian yeast. 

So this is my first kolsch, Jamil's recipe (10.3# pils, 0.5 vienna, mashed at 149, 75 min, 15g magnum @ 60)

I chilled to and pitched at 58, let rise up to 60, and it is cranking away 36 hours later with a minimal lag. 

My question is, could I raise the temp up to 65 after 5-6 days, let it finish up at that temp, and if it is @ terminal gravity by day 13 or, stick it in the ferm chamber to lager?

I have two objectives:

1.)  free up my ferm/lagering fridge (I have a couple other beers I'd like to crash/cold condition)
2.)  Make an awesome kolsch

Hopefully the two aren't mutually exclusive.  I know with the majority of yeasts, the most critical time to control temp is the first 48-72 hours, though longer is preferred.  I have had great success in the past (for instance with a steam beer I made) pitching and conducting fermentation at 60/61, then raising up to ambient temp 65-68 after 5-6 days. 

Thanks in advance!

General Homebrew Discussion / 87% efficiency brew in a bag...possible?
« on: March 03, 2013, 02:48:15 PM »
Am starting the boil on a BIAB "5 gallon" kolsch. 

10.3 LB Weyermann Pils
.5 LB Wey Vienna

-doughed with 5.4 gal to reach mash temp of 149, 75 minute mash
-raised to mash out of 170 for 10 min
-2 gal of 168* water for a single batch "sparge" (I remove the bag from my kettle and place in an empty fermenter with the sparge water for 10 min, and teabag it a bit :-)....took a brix measurement, got about 1.75 gallons @ 1.018/6 brix from this step)
-I squeeze my brew bag like it owes me money after the sparge, collected 7.25 gallons at 12 brix/1.048 pre-boil, so 348 total gravity points

by my calc, this is somewhere between 87 and 89% efficiency (10.8lb total grist, times maximum yield of 36-37 points per gallon per pound, or 399 gravity points....divide 348/399 = 87%). 

I am considering adding some water volume, but is this possible?  Help!

General Homebrew Discussion / Last minute BJCP
« on: February 22, 2013, 09:10:23 AM »
So I am taking my tasting exam on Sunday for BJCP.  6 beers, 1.5 hours.  I have been filling out no less than 5 scoresheets per week, sometimes under test conditions, sometimes not.  My exam coordinator was kind enough to look at a few of my scoresheets and gave me some of the following feedback:
-one thing he mentioned was to never give a ‘range’ in the comments, which makes sense for flavor/aroma/mouthfeel, but I think it can be appropriate for color.  Ie “dark hay to medium gold”??  Not having an SRM guide next to me during the test, is it worth taking a shot and being more vague with a range?  Or should I just take a stand and say the beer is ‘light copper’ or ‘medium amber with ruby highlights’.
-On the overall section, I rarely offered suggestions for improvement.  I can definitely do this, but I’ve scored a few beers, such as Muncher Edelstoff Helles, where I literally have no suggestions on how to make it better (I scored @ a 45).  I feel like this is also risky business, as “consider increasing the amount of roast malt” (for a American Stout, FX stout, or RIS, eg) or “consider a yeast or higher fermentation temp that will yield more esters” (for a too-clean ESB or premium bitter) are presumptuous.
-Finally, where is a good place to mention the ‘balance’ of the beer (ie toward hops, malt, or ‘even’ in the case of a well-made premium bitter or something)?  I’m guessing in “overall impression”?  I didn’t always mention the balance, and it was something he mentioned in his feedback. 
Any last-minute advice would be appreciated!  Another potential gap I saw was in some of the nuance of styles and my scores not matching up.  For instance, I mentioned a “rich noble hop flavor with carmelized malt” in an Oktoberfest I judged, but didn’t take off points for high hop flavor.  I am at a point with all the styles where I could describe them in a few words to someone with no knowledge, and tell if a beer is miscategorized, but I can definitely miss some of the finer nuances. 
Wish me luck!  My goal is to get above 80 so I can take the written exam later this year…which sounds like a beast of a beast.

General Homebrew Discussion / This is a new one
« on: February 20, 2013, 07:50:39 PM »
Ok I had an appointment cancel today so I figured it was a perfect opportunity to brew my 80/- that I didn't get to this weekend. Went ahead with a single decoction to mashout and a 1G of first runnings kettle carmelization (simple grain bill: 97% Eng. Pale Ale, 3% roasted barley), and I think the decoction gave me rockstar efficiency again on the BIAB. I calculated @ 84%.

Anyway, I had to add water volume to the kettle to maintain my BU:GU ratio, and had about a half gallon of extra wort. I thought it would be a great simple way to get my 3711 French Saison started. Pitched a non-swollen smack pack into 1.5L or so of 1.055 80/-, thinking it was not hoppy, and relatively session strength, with some trub for yeast nutrient.

Not seeing much activity 3+ hours later, usually I see a big krausen in an hour or so.

So, a n00b like question from me: I am hoping this starter will still start, but could it be that its a dextrinous malt (mashed around 158*), or higher gravity, or did I perhaps ruin my precious French Saison Yeast?? Blah!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Questions about using corn meal
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:33:09 PM »
Ok somehow in my house we have accumulated about 4 lbs of cornmeal (I think there have been a few times when making cornbread where my wife would just buy a new package. 

In 40 brews, I have brewed one cream ale that I liked.  This past weekend I brewed a faux CAP that I am really psyched about.  Took a preliminary sample to see where I was in the ferment and it is already tasting pretty darn good. 

I want to brew Your Father's Moustache soon, but I can already see myself becoming obsessed with this style and beers based off of it.

Anyway, I would love to use this cornmeal I have in a simple lightish drinker with some good saaz character.

-Does corn meal go stale?  I know its something to do with whether the germ is removed or if they're steel cut or otherwise (?)  Google is not yielding good information on this, but some of this corn meal was bought a year ago or so.
-Do I have to do a cereal mash with cornmeal?  If it helps or makes a difference, I typically brew in a bag (so gluey mash shouldn't be a huge issue), 5 gal batches
-Is this corn meal better suited to make a bunch of corn bread for a homeless shelter?

Yeast and Fermentation / The Lesser of two ferment temp evils
« on: January 29, 2013, 06:08:41 PM »
So I did a quick Premium Bitter today and realized I don't have a way to ferment it right @ 67*. 

I have a faux pilsner going in my ferm fridge set at 60*.  The ambient temp in there also happens to be 60*.  The pils is in the midst of high krausen (US-05) and is bubbling pretty regularly.  I checked the gravity, and it had only dropped from 1.058 to 1.045 (if it was further through fermentation I would have moved up to the first floor of my place with a pretty regular ambient temp of 65). 

My question is, is it better to ferment my premium bitter (1L starter of Nottingham) at an ambient temp of 60* in my fermentation fridge, 58* in my basement, or 65* on my first floor?  I want some ester production, but I feel like if I have it @ 65 degrees ambient, the ferment could take it up north of 70*, and I don't want fusels.  Any thoughts are appreciated. 

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