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Messages - mabrungard

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Commercial Beer Reviews / 3 Floyds Yum Yum
« on: April 04, 2015, 05:16:01 AM »
I had a glass of 3F's new Yum Yum APA last night. At first, when they brought over the glass, I was pissed because it was only a 12 oz glass. I figured there must be a reason, so I readied my taste buds.

Pure nirvana. An explosion of well-mannered and balanced hop flavor and aroma. The malt backbone was adequate to support the hopping. I don't know exactly what drives the cost of this beer, but its obviously the hopping. 3F's website says this is a blend of proprietary hops, so they seem to have something special. They call it juicy and I agree. At 5.5%, it is an APA, but in the fashion of the day, they call this a Session Ale. I'm assuming they are referring to a Session IPA since 5.5% is kind of high to be sessionable.

Very fine beer. At the end, I was pissed again, that glass was indeed too small since I ran out too quickly.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Using lactobacillus
« on: April 04, 2015, 05:02:48 AM »
No need or desire to oxygenate prior to a lacto pitch. It is an anaerobic process that we want in order to avoid promoting the growth of other aerobic or heterotrophic organisms.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Using lactobacillus
« on: April 03, 2015, 08:10:54 AM »
I've had good results with Berliners using the following process, and I assume the same applies for Gose:

- Lacto starter, no O2/no stir, 1 week @90*
- Pitch lacto starter, no O2, 1 week @90*
- Drop temp, O2 as usual, pitch yeast/brett as usual
- Ferment as usual.

I don't boil, but I do sample periodically for preferred level of tartness.

I just finished a Berliner with a very similar technique. I did use the 'handful of malt' in the starter method for lacto innoculation. It does go through some funky odor periods, but does clean up. Both the starter and the main wort were brought down to a pH of 3.1.

The primary difference to the method above is that I do boil for an hour following the lacto stage. A very nice, sweet and tart aroma comes off the kettle during boil. After cooling, US-05 was pitched into the fermenter and it did ferment the beer down to under 1.012. I do have to comment that the ferment is a little slow due to the low pH, but it did its job! The beer is reminiscent of a slightly orangy Mimosa. So that term 'Champagne of the North' is apt. Very tasty.

All Grain Brewing / Re: A question regarding Munich and wheat beers
« on: April 01, 2015, 10:04:53 AM »
Is everyone aware that a Dunkelweizen is typically composed of at least 50% wheat malt and the remainder is Munich malt (with maybe a touch of Carafa for color)?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in a Minute
« on: April 01, 2015, 08:56:09 AM »
I thought it was a joke when I saw the blended result, but no, out poured real beer. Amazing!

Thanks, AHA!

Hop Growing / Re: Trim back first shoots?
« on: March 31, 2015, 09:28:47 AM »
How high did they get when you trimmed?

They weren't trained, yet. So they were all over the ground. I'd say that they were at least 2 ft long and I seem to recall they were actually longer. Those crowns are barely peeping through the ground this year. I guess it has been colder for longer this year, compared to last year.

Hop Growing / Re: Trim back first shoots?
« on: March 31, 2015, 05:57:05 AM »
I did a test on side by side Cascades last year. I cut back one of the plants at about the end of April and let the already flourishing other plant climb. In my review of the results, I'd say that it improved the quality of the hops from the cut back plant. I'll continue to trim my plants from now on. Be aware that I'm at 40 degree Latitude and my date of trimming will be different from other latitudes.

Equipment and Software / Re: Super cheap pH meter
« on: March 31, 2015, 05:50:27 AM »
Keith, I wrote about pH probe storage in a post on the Bru'n Water facebook page. It presents information direct from a major industrial pH equipment manufacturer and the recommendation is to use a potassium chloride storage solution.

There are manufacturers that recommend using distilled water to keep the bulb on their probe's moist, but that distilled water shouldn't be in contact with the bulb or it will osmotically draw the ions out of the probe's electrolyte. For that type of storage, you need to use just a couple of drops of distilled water in the probe cover and that creates the moist environment without the possibility of destroying the probe. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Smoked American Pale Ale
« on: March 28, 2015, 11:29:17 AM »
I'm liking pecan a lot these days.

Says Mr. Smoke! I'd listen.

For some reason, I'm thinking that the smoked wheat malt from Weyermann might be a nice touch. I've had several Grodzinskis made with it and it just seems like it could compliment an APA. No proof, just a thought.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: do I need to use campden tablets?
« on: March 27, 2015, 10:29:58 AM »
With over 15 years of beer study, I've learned how insensitive some drinkers are to some faults. On top of that, that classic chlorophenolic flavor is considered to be desirable to some drinkers. Clearly, any fan of really peaty, phenolic scotch wouldn't think that chlorophenolic flavor is a fault.

So just relying on your own senses to assess if your beers have a chlorophenol problem may not be ideal. Employing the palate of someone who is sensitive to chlorophenols is a wise 'second opinion'.

In general, if you are getting your water from a municipal water system, its just so easy to drop that dose of Campden in the water and being sure. The good thing is that the boiling process COMPLETELY degrades the sulfite from the Campden into harmless sulfate. No need to worry about Campden when you dose it at our typical 1 tablet per 20 gallons!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: continental vs domestic malt flavors
« on: March 27, 2015, 10:21:54 AM »

Floor malted barley tends to be less modified. The stuff you can find here is not terribly far apart from non-floor malted but if you can source from smaller German or Czech maltsters (and I have no idea how you could do it) that is floor malted it is known to be even less modified.

While I agree that floor malted tends to be less modified 'in average', I like what one of my clubmates terms floor malted as. He calls it more variable or inconsistent. In other words, there can be some kernels that are highly modified and some that are very poorly modified...the net result is that the overall modification is a little lower. Compare that result with the high degree of uniformity that non-floor malted malts present.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Evaporation Rate
« on: March 26, 2015, 07:38:36 AM »
I agree with you, Rob. If the wort surface area in the kettle is constant with respect to depth, then the boil off rate is likely to be constant too. My observations are that it is a constant rate in my system. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Evaporation Rate
« on: March 25, 2015, 12:52:17 PM »
I agree with Mark that the boil needs to be active enough to roil the surface a bit and you can actually see trub being moved through the kettle by the boil action. You don't need to have a volcano in the kettle.

When I first started using my electric kettle, I was surprised to find that I could boil off about 2 gal/hr. That was way too much. I finally learned how low I needed to turn down my element to bring the boil down to a more normal rate of about 1 gal/hr.

From what I can tell, excessive boil-off rate doesn't do anything good for the brewer. In essence, you will have to make up for that lost water either through a larger pre-boil volume or with a make-up water addition at the end of the boil. Neither is energy efficient. The other consideration is that the wort never gets any hotter and the isomerization rate is not increased, nor is the rate of DMS production or volatilization.

Therefore, it appears beneficial to reduce your heat source and aim for a more typical evaporation rate around 1 gal/hr.

Sounds like you were oversparging just slightly.  Reasonable workaround instead of dealing with refractometers, I suppose.

Not really, I always use a refractometer. Even stopping sparging at 3 brix was insufficient for eliminating the tannins.

The relative volumes of mashing or sparging water don't have a lot to do with anything, in my opinion. Just have enough water for the enzymes to do their job.

On a side note, I mash at a slightly thin ratio of around 1.5 qts/lb and that does tend to leave me with more sparging water volume than mashing water volume. I've recently stopped putting all that sparging water through the grain bed and it has improved my beers. Now I reserve a gallon or so from the sparge and just add it directly to the kettle to meet the preboil volume requirement. The beers had been having a slight tannic astringency and with that revised approach, it has gone away. 

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