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Messages - chumley

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Beer Travel / Re: Ireland
« on: October 09, 2015, 12:51:50 PM »
I did visit the Guinness storehouse and did the self-guided tour.  It is pretty neat, but a bit too touristy for my tastes.  Plus, after a week of touring craft breweries, I was brewery toured out.  I also visited Jameson and did not tour (the wait was a little long).

I went on a tour of the Macallan distillery in Scotland.  That was very interesting.  Comparing the mashing, lautering and fermentation schedules for distilling, compared to beer brewing, was quite interesting.

One thing I got out of the Guinness tour.  They do not use Dublin water for brewing.  They have always used water from the adjacent mountains, which are uplifted sandstone, and the water is very soft with little alkalinity.

Beer Travel / Re: Ireland
« on: October 09, 2015, 11:06:13 AM »
We just got back from a trip to Ireland.  Landed in Dublin Sunday, September 27, after 10 days in Scotland, and got home this past Tuesday, October 6.

We took a 5 day guided craft brewery tour of Ireland:

I highly recommend it to everyone.  Small group interested in beer, the guide Mia is friendly, very knowledgeable, and gives you great discussions of Ireland as you travel across the countryside.
Like the rest of Europe, craft beer has really exploded in Ireland in the past 5 years, and new breweries are opening up, and current craft breweries are expanding, at a remarkable pace.  We visited Eight Degrees, Franciscan Wells, Blacks of Kinsale, Stonewell cidery, Killarny, Burren, Galway Bay, and White Gypsey.  All had excellent beer.  A couple of nice stops at Irish smokehouses as well.

The Cliffs of Moher are a must visit (walk the trail to avoid the crowds) and the Burren is cool as well.

Beer-related, one of the highlights was sitting in the Salt House pub in Galway, which is owned by the Galway Bay brewery.  The night we were there (Thursday October 1), they were putting on three guest taps from the White Hag brewery, and the White Hag brewers were on hand.  One of the beers they had was a a heather sour ale, bittered with gruit (no hops), and fermented with whatever wild yeast was on the heather.  It was an amazing beer (their 10.2% Imperial Stout was pretty good as well).

One tip:  in Dublin, have dinner and a few beers at L. Mulligan Grocer.

But I've also heard it said by some experts that melanoidins produced during the boil are flavorless and contribute only color and not flavor.  Caramelization is also a negligible factor until gravity gets really high or unless making a steinbier or something where the heat source is localized and hundreds of degrees hotter than the conventional gas burner or stovetop.  All sorts of things to ponder, and to experiment more on!
Well, it certainly does explain how Pilsner Urquell gets a lot of it's color and flavor by the really long boil they employ. Don't they boil for like 3 hours? I doubt it's from doing decoction alone.

My recollection from the PU tour is that the three hour boil is more like a "fast" simmer, rather than a vigorous boil.

The PU tour guide (this was in 2002, so my memory may be a bit hazy) said that when PU modernized the brewery in the early 1990s with modern German equipment, they experimented with several parameters in the brewing process.  They then had a tasting panel, those workers in the brewery who were determined to have the most sensitive palettes, to taste the beers and see if it made a difference in the product.  They determined that using stainless steel conical fermentors made no discernible difference compared with the traditional wood fermentors.  But, triple decoction was kept, as well as the long simmer/boil.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bringing yeast back from the dead...
« on: September 15, 2015, 09:41:03 AM »
And now, we have six years.  Though, to be fair, a slant is a little different than a vial of liquid yeast.

Probably not THAT different, but still...

If anything, I'd think it would be more fragile.  The recommendation is to reculture slants every 6 months.  chumley, did you do that?

No, I did not reculture the slant.  It was straight from the lab.

Yes, it did seem a lot like Westmalle yeast, in regards to taste.  I bought it after reading an old Zymurgy article where tripel wort was made at a local brewpub, and split between 8 or 9 different yeast varieties.  The CL300 was the taste panel winner.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bringing yeast back from the dead...
« on: September 15, 2015, 09:33:20 AM »
In 2011. I gave a guy in our local club a six-year old slant of Brewtek CL300 Belgian ale yeast.  He made a starter, and it took off in a week. After he brewed with it, I got some of the slurry back and made a killer tripel with it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Farmer thinking of growing Hops!
« on: September 12, 2015, 08:15:24 PM »
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but.....


(I said these words to my now defunct LHBS owner 5 years ago).

As someone who listens to the news, I realize that almonds are the worst water suckers in the Central Valley.  But hops suck a boatload of water, too.  Surely there must be something better, crop-wise that doesn't require so much water.

For the last 10 years, I have brewed beer for the office Christmas open house.  The company pays for my ingredients, as well as some brewing gear on occasionally, so it has worked out well for all parties.

A couple of years ago one of the VPs told me he had a bumper crop of pumpkins this year, including pie pumpkins.  Great! I replied, I will brew a pumpkin beer this year.

I cut them up, seeded them, and put them in the oven to roast.  What I did not factor in, is that freshly harvested pumpkins have A LOT OF LIQUID in them.

So, while I was merrily getting the brew started up down in the basement, my wife comes home to find the oven smoking like a chimney from all the liquid oozing out of the cut up pumpkin roasting.\

I continued anyway.

At the Christmas party, 2 months later, I received a few compliments on the pumpkin ale.  But personally, I could taste kitchen smoke in every sip.

I will never brew another pumpkin ale again.  (And to start with, I am with Denny.  I have always hated them. Biggest. Beer. Gimmick. Ever.  [Okay, session IPA has surpassed that]).  :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: September 10, 2015, 01:57:40 PM »
I am going to brew a Czech pilsner this weekend. I will have it fermenting in the chest freezer while I am on vacation for three weeks, so it will be ready to keg and lager when I get back.

10 gallons. Split it between WLP800 Pilsner (PU) and WLP833 German Bock (Ayinger) yeast.

You should do this with the Dupont strain, to see if the pressurized fermentor stalls.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: British Ale Yeasts
« on: September 04, 2015, 08:18:11 PM »
If we are going to switch gears and talk about dry English yeasts, my favorite is Munton's Gold (not the regular Munton's).  Closest dry yeast to Fuller's that I have ever used.

I wouldn't call it patience, just laziness.  Which makes gueuze an excellent style for me.  ;)

I still have a 5 gallon glass carboy of cyser I made in 2000, sitting in the basement.  I top off the air lock about once every six months...

Seven pitches is pushing it.  I have done up to 5 with lager yeasts, and the fifth ferment definitely had some non-lager character with it.  Three is about the most I would do with ale yeasts.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bohemian Pilsner Hop Schedule
« on: September 02, 2015, 04:22:01 PM »
I like a lot of Saaz for FWH and at knockout.

I use Clusters to bitter.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Czech Pils Water Profile
« on: September 02, 2015, 10:07:53 AM »
I just listened to the Czech Styles presentation in the 2015 conference seminars. In it Bob Hall recommends super soft water:

Carbonates: 15
Calcium: 7
Sulfates: 5
Magnesium: 2
Sodium: 2
Chloride: 2

Anyone ever go that soft?

According to the city, my tap water is:

Calcium 8.1 mg/L
Magnesium 1.3 mg/l
Bicarbonate 35 mg/L
Sulfate 5.9 mg/L
Sodium 5.9 mg/L
Chloride Not available

So I go pretty close to that.

I'll bite- what category did you win gold in?  But more importantly, you mind sharing the recipe?  :D

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