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Messages - anthony

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction mashing with a cooler
« on: April 21, 2011, 07:43:24 PM »
Decocting ales works too... but again try and use a simple, deliberate malt bill, using the decoction to add additional complexity... like an all British base malt English Barleywine... or a Wheat+Pilsner+Dark Munich Weizenbock... or Wheat+Pils Weizen.

I think in a lot of those examples, a decoction can smooth out sharp spots that will eventually smooth out with age.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: High terminal Gravity
« on: April 21, 2011, 07:26:40 AM »
That is a lot of specialty malts, I doubt you're going to get much more attenuation.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction mashing with a cooler
« on: April 21, 2011, 07:21:59 AM »
While I am well aware of the various stances on decoction... and I think it is commendable that it is being recommended that individual brewers try it for themselves... but then in the same breath, the recommendation becomes, "Well try it, but don't bother following any of the sort of industry standard or traditional ways of doing this."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to try and become a champion of decoction here... for one thing, I've seen what happens to all of those folks over the years  :P (search for mashweasel and decoction on the Northern Brewer forums for instance).. but I will say this, if you're going to try and objectively evaluate decoction versus a specialty malt recipe, do yourself a favor and evaluate a classic recipe using the classic process versus a new recipe (with specialty malts). A protein rest at above 125F but below 140F (i.e. a proteinase rest) will not negatively impact the head retention or the resulting beer's body... and I believe for a simple, single malt beer, even with a "well modified" malt, the proteinase rest is crucial to getting the right mouthfeel/body. During triple decoctions, I've left the majority of the mash at a 135F rest for 30+ minutes with no resulting issues. And if you're getting significant color development from your decoction, then you need to do thinner pulls.

I think a reasonable test is a pilsner only, triple decocted Helles versus a pilsner+munich+melanoidin single infusion Helles... choose for yourself which you like best.

I almost think that the competition mentality pushes a lot of brewers, commercial and homebrew, into these "extreme everything" sorts of phases. You enter a bunch of well-brewed beers into a competition that target the lower to middle end of the style guidelines and be confused when you receive a bunch of 30's back on your score sheets...

One experiment I'd like to do one of these days is enter fresh, well-cared for commercial examples into a home brew competition, making sure that the organizers are aware of it and exclude them from ribbon contention. In categories like Pale Ale, IPA, Stout, and Strong Ales, I doubt the commercial beers would consistently place in the top-3 and it isn't because homebrewed beers are so much better than commercial beer; it is more about the lack of emphasis on drinkability in judging... just my 2c anyhow.

I usually just take care of these situations by blending at the kegging part of the process, assuming all other things were equal and that it wasnt an intentional split batch.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belgian saison
« on: April 12, 2011, 06:30:28 AM »
I love the classic strains flavor profile but I hate babying it so I do things a little different to work around its weird speed issues (which actually seem to sort of correlate to pH drop, similar to other published findings regarding wine yeasts and mead pH). I make a big starter of the classic yeast and then using extra wort on brewday, I make a starter for the 2nd string yeast, usually one of the other Saison strains and get it going.. then after 2-3 days, I dump that entire starter into the batch and attenuation sails right into single digits while still maintaining all those great esters that the classic strain is so known for.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kolsch question
« on: April 07, 2011, 01:34:39 AM »
Yes, Koelsch can be very different between the breweries.  Altbier can also be very different from place to place in Duesseldorf.

Herr Strong may have something to add. 

Yep. We hit all of the classic pub Alts in Dusseldorf too.. I'd highly recommend anyone visiting one of the two cities consider just visiting both since they are just a short train ride from each other.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kolsch question
« on: April 06, 2011, 10:09:41 PM »
Last summer/fall, I had the opportunity to taste all of the "classic" examples of pub Kolsch in Koln and I think the biggest difference between most homebrew versions and those versions is the clarity...

I only wish more judges would make this trip because the style does have a lot more range (not in appearance/color so much as flavor/esters) than most judges (or their scoresheets) would have you believe....

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