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Messages - anthony

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My First First Place (Brag Warning)
« on: June 06, 2011, 07:03:09 AM »
Thanks again for coming out Lennie, we really appreciated it :-) It was a great weekend and I hope the organizer gets the results posted soon for everyone.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: 17th Annual Boneyard BrewOff
« on: May 25, 2011, 02:16:24 AM »
We're up to about 200 entries now, registration will be closing soon! Get those last minute entries in, and come judge/hang out with us in Champaign, lots of great beer appreciation opportunities!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: 17th Annual Boneyard BrewOff
« on: May 23, 2011, 10:40:14 AM »
One week left to get your entries in... we're also still looking for some more judges, please volunteer if you are able!

Homebrew Competitions / 17th Annual Boneyard BrewOff
« on: May 13, 2011, 08:52:47 AM »
Fire up those fermenters! The Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots is proud to host one of Illinois' oldest homebrew competitions. This year, the 17th annual Boneyard Brew-Off will be held on Saturday, June 4th, 2011. This event is sanctioned by the AHA/BJCP and is also one of the competitions in the circuit for the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year. Entries for the competition are due between May 16th and May 30th. More detailed information can be found on the website:

If you are a judge or would like to volunteer as a steward, please visit our sign up page: This competition is always a lot of fun for those involved and is a great opportunity to get critical feedback on your homebrew.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Edit: I did a decoction, damm!t...
« on: May 12, 2011, 11:16:37 PM »
If you thin it too much, you won't get any carmelization.

Caramelization is subtly different than a maillard reaction. Maillard reactions work on amino acids, caramelization works on sugars. When I do a decoction, for the most part, I am attempting to concentrate sugars and coax the various malt compounds into a maillard reaction.

If you are truly caramelizing during your decoctions, it is probably too thick.

Good point.. I can't find the original reference for that page either, but I'm sure it was somewhere on the NorthernBrewer forum.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA First Round
« on: May 05, 2011, 10:56:37 PM »
One of my favorite recent judge comments was (on a Belgian Dark Strong Ale): "Though the style guideline provides for the level of sweetness you have in this beer, I prefer the drier examples of this style."  I was blown away that he basically acknowledged that one aspect of my beer fell within the guidelines but outside his personal taste preferences,and then dinged me for it... ???    

So, you were within the style guidelines... that's like hitting the broad side of a barn.  Many of the well regarded Belgian Dark Strongs are dry (the Trappists hit 87-88% AA).   Just because a dozen beers are listed in the guidelines as being of this style does not mean they can't range from 35 - 45 point beers.  I think "I prefer" could be shorthand for "It is generally accepted that many exemplary beers of this style are"...

Guidelines are just guidelines.  Does every beer with no apparent flaws that fits the huge range of parameters allowed for most styles score a 50?  Absolutely not... being "to style" means nothing more than not being disqualified.  There are technical aspects, but also asthetic... otherwise, we could simply use a lab analysis to do scoring.

Meh, the first beer listed in the BJCP guidelines for Belgian Strong Dark, when fresh, well treated, etc. better score 50... and the last beer (in BSDA) better score ~37... if I send in a Westy 12 fresh, well treated from the brewery, anything less than 50, to me at least, means there is some sort of uncalibrated scoring going on from novice judges... I mean honestly, it isn't my fault if everyone hasn't made it to In De Vrede to taste the beer, but if I see a Master level sort of judge on the scoresheet, I expect if they haven't at least made it to Belgium yet, they've had the opportunity to taste the 50 point example of this beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA First Round
« on: May 05, 2011, 03:35:00 PM »
Maybe they really enjoyed drinking beers that exactly line up with the guidelines... "mmm.. 20-28 IBUs never tasted so good."

Good info Sean.

That pic just looks like vials of different amounts of settled yeast to me.  The 25% one has ~2.5x the settled yeast as the 10% one and so on.  It doesn't look like it's really telling you anything except how to eyeball 10% of a vial (or whatever).  Am I missing something?

Well, if I remember right, those are 25mL vials, so with the numbers (like 1.4e9) they're also showing you what different pitching rates look like after they flocculate.

I'd be interested to see a statistical breakdown of where the growth is... is it in number of new brewers entering or number of entries each brewer is sending in...

If it is the latter, a change to how Ninkasi and Homebrew Club of the Year are calculated at the 2nd round might fix it... along with some corresponding carry over from what happens in the 1st round as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA First Round
« on: May 05, 2011, 03:09:26 PM »
One of my favorite recent judge comments was (on a Belgian Dark Strong Ale): "Though the style guideline provides for the level of sweetness you have in this beer, I prefer the drier examples of this style."  I was blown away that he basically acknowledged that one aspect of my beer fell within the guidelines but outside his personal taste preferences,and then dinged me for it... ???   

I don't think there is much wrong with the judge's comment and that goes to the heart of what I feel is difficult to express on the judging forms...the beer is good and meets the style guidelines, but I don't really prefer it.  Its that subjectivity that is hard to put into words.   I've judged plenty of beers that didn't do ANYTHING wrong, but that just didn't have the nuances, perceptions, and enjoyment that would put the beer on top.  In some ways, the Best of Show judging is a perfect case in point.  Its not that the beer in front of you is well brewed and to style, it also has to have those special touches.  Unfortunately, I can't define exactly what those touches are, but I know them when presented with a flight of beers that are compared directly.  (this harks back to the line: 'can you define, but I know it when I see it')

A few years back, I was judging in a competition with a judge and I said essentially this exact same thing... now granted, I'm not in the BJCP, but I've entered/judged my fair of competitions and traveled to a few beer destinations... I said that in my mind, all things being equal in regards to the general gist of a beer's compliance with stylistic guidelines, that drinkability earned a few points when I evaluated a beer.... boy did he crucify me.. not only that, he wrote a very verbose letter to the organizer and a few BJCP officers informing them that I wasn't judging according to the guidelines and how dare I "actually say to him something like "this is about what I would enjoy drinking, [not about strict adherence to the artificial guidelines]".

A couple things happened as a result of that... I lost pretty much all interest in actually taking the BJCP exam, and I lost alot of my motivation to judge at that particular competition.

Ah, that NB thread has the picture I was thinking about too:

What if you're rinsing it though?  As in adding in say 2-3x the volume of cooled boiled water as you have slurry, swirling it up, and letting it settle out for a few minutes then pitching the liquid.  It would be better to set it at a low non-yeast percentage and low yeast concentration, right?
Whatever methods gives you the most accurate count, and ime it's using the settled yeast volume.  If you took 100mL of settled yeast and mixed it with 300mL water I'm not sure it would look all that different than 200mL yeast + 200mL water once you shook it all up.

This is a question that I see all the time on homebrew forums and nobody seems to have a definitive answer for yeast count per unit volume of settled yeast. Or at least the ones that claim to don't agree.  We have yeast count but then we also have viability and non-yeast percentage numbers and everybody seems to be guessing at all three.  It seems the yeast count of settled yeast part should be straightforward enough.  Guessing at two variables is better than guessing at three.

There is a picture somewhere from Wyeast or WhiteLabs showing vials with different yeast densities in them; of course I can't find it when I am looking for it.

That being said, I think it still really depends on the strain because some strains flocculate more compactly than others, etc. The bottom line is that the only real way to estimate counts are with a microscope. But in the majority of homebrew situations, this is totally overkill, just infer your counts by monitoring everything else you can (lag time, attenuation, flavor formations, off flavors, etc.) then use those other data points to adjust your pitching rate.

I typically do what I think Denny is suggesting, tell the calculator you are repitching from slurry, and go very pessimistic about the non-yeast percentage and the thick-thin slurry numbers are.

All Grain Brewing / Re: I'm going to do a decoction, damm!t...
« on: May 03, 2011, 01:01:48 PM »
Geez, all these acid rests getting thrown around is becoming confusing... just to be clear, I am an advocate of almost always skipping both the phytase and the 4VG rests... I only suggest the phytase rest as a place to start a decoction mash since it is a convenient temperature to get everything wet, mixed together, and there are no serious side effects from sitting at that temperature (or below it as the mash slowly coasts downward) versus sitting at a proteinase rest for longer than intended.

For the 4VG rest, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference, but I always just choose one yeast or another (or a blend of both) depending on the profile I am looking for versus trying to make one yeast do one ester/phenol.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Snap, crackle, BURP!
« on: May 02, 2011, 08:05:03 PM »
One year MoreBeer's forum contest had a cereal theme too.

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