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Messages - The Professor

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Beer Recipes / Re: porter feedback
« on: August 20, 2014, 04:26:22 PM »
...And I love the Munich in porter and stout, for a nice malty base...

A big +1 on that.
These days, at least some Munich (and often quite a bit of it)  finds its way into most of the ales and porters I make.

Beer Recipes / Re: porter feedback
« on: August 20, 2014, 10:18:58 AM »
Looks good to me...but if I were brewing it  I'd drop the chocolate malt altogether (but that's just me...I think it throws the flavor out of balance and contributes harsh notes), and stick with some carafa (though I personally  use carafa III special).
My porters also improved a great deal when I started using larger amounts of caramel malt, especially very dark caramel malts (and up to a full pind of that). German CaraAroma malt also works smashingly well in porter.
Contrary to one might expect, he caramel malts don't make the end product out of balance on the sweet end of things at fact the color and roastiness that comes from the dark caramel is quite intense...and delicious.

Just opinions, that's all.  In the end it all depends on what kind of flavor profile and mouthfeel you're going after.
If you were going for an historically authentic porter, you'd probably wind up with the simplest grain bill of all:   all, or nearly all, brown malt.

Do you hav a favorite commercial example of the style??

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Choosing a house yeast
« on: August 19, 2014, 02:44:40 PM »
If you don't make many high ABV beers, WLP002/WY1968/S04 is perfect for most American and English styles (also ciders)
I use 1968 in my high ABV old ale with great success.  I've also used it in an imperial stout.  It's regularly taken both these beers from >1.09 to <1.02.
Treated right, it does just fine with high OGs.  Big pitch, good aeration, good fermentation temps.

I totally makes outstanding hi-test ales.
It's among my top 3 favorite yeasts.

my main go-to yeasts are:
1) The Survivor---my house strain, origins unknown, in use since the 1980s  (started as a multi-strain; I let then let them slug it out for close to 2 dozen successive repitches and then plated it.  god only knows what I wound up with after at least 25 years of mutation, but it works great in my setup for a wide variety of beers)
2) WY 1968
3) ECY "Old Newark Ale"  (becoming a real favorite over the last couple of years)

honorable mention:   dry s-04, but only when I'm in a hurry or doing a spur-of-the-moment brew session.  not bad at all for what it is.

From a homebrew standpoint, are the "clone" recipe in Mitch Steele's IPA not very close? I have never tasted the original, but do remember my father drinking it so I could have the can in my collection. ...

It is probably worth noting that Ballantine's IPA was never released in cans.  Your dad probably drank Ballantine XXX, which was also a very good and worthy brew in it's day.
After the mid 1980s or so, not so much.   :-[

We need the Professor to chime in here.
Tried a Ballantine XXX clone a while back with no success.  IIRC, East Coast Yeast has the original yeast.

You can be assured that I've been following this story quite closely. It sounds as though they are really trying to come up with a credible re-creatiion of this great old product  and you can bet that I'll be anxiously seeking it out in the coming week when it starts to show up here locally.  I do indeed have a vivid recollection of the original product (including tasting notes dating back to the mid/late 1970s).  Recreating as a homebrew it has been my own quest since the 80s.

From reports I've read, it looks like the current recipe is a lot more complicated than the original likely was, and that  they are most probably  foregoing the long aging that the original product had (and which is a pretty important aspect of the brew they are looking to resurrect, and of the IPA style in general) but it still has the potential for being maybe a bit better than a lot of the so-called  IPAs that seem to get rushed out these days.

I'll keep an open mind.  Denny's characterization of it as being "guardedly excited" is pretty much how I feel, knowing that that given some of the shortcuts being used they certainly won't replicate the old classic exactly.  But if they manage to come even close, they may have a winner on their hands.  Even if it's really good, they'll  need to overcome the almost guaranteed dissing by  the brainwashed  übersnobs who will dismiss it out of hand (probably without even bothering to taste it) just because a big corporation is behind it (ignoring the reality that some small avalanche of new breweries are releasing their own share of some less than stellar product these days).
We'll see.  I'll post my (unbiased) impressions as soon as I get to try a few bottles.

Meantime, , here's a link to a pretty good (and even encouraging)  radio interview with the new product's brewmaster:

I just noticed that there's a punctuation typo on the new product's label  (there shouldn't be an apostrophe where it says 70 IBUs!).
I guess Pabst wasn't budgeted for a proofreader.   :P

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« on: August 13, 2014, 08:56:23 PM »
If your sanitation is good, the pros greatly outweigh any cons (which are few and far between anyway).  One of the 'pros' is not spending money for yeast every time you want to brew.  A bigger 'pro' is the fact that repitching the yeast from a batch almost invariably results in a more robust fermentation (at least that's what I've observed).  On top of that, it seems that after  a few generations of healthy fermentations  you end up with  yeast that has entrained itself to your particular environment, and which can be repitched from batch to batch many times with only occasional reculturing new starters.

I actually selected my house strain more than 25 years ago by combining several strains (including one favorite that was passed along to me whose origins was unknown).  I took that through more than 20 repitches, and was getting better results with each successive brew until I finally cultured up the "winner" (since ultimately, one strain will dominate) and wound up with a yeast that since the 1990s has never failed to give really great results across a wide variety of  "styles".  I'll still play around with other strains (I've become a huge fan of ECY's "Old Newark Ale" strain), but always wind up returning to the "winner" of my old 1980s experiment.

Experimentation is, in fact,  one of the most fun and potentially rewarding parts of this hobby.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: The Beer Bug
« on: August 09, 2014, 10:43:59 AM »
It's snazzy, all right, but I just can't see the limited usefulness being worth that much money.

I tend to agree..."limited usefulness" is an understatement.
Like so many gadgets out there these days, it's an interesting bit of engineering, but I can't see how it's in any way a necessary item especially on the homebrew level.
Seems more like something  for folks who want to win with "the most toys".

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Barleywine Yeast Suggestions
« on: July 28, 2014, 09:32:38 AM »
I'm currently planning to mash at 151. When formulating my recipe, BeerSmith says I should hit 1.026 FG. Then again, you really can never nail the FG perfectly with bigger beers. Only about 9% specialty grains, so I'm thinking that will also help the attenuation.

Got a recipe? 1.026 sounds kinda high.  I would mash at 148 for 90-120 minutes

I don't think 1.026 is too high at all for a beer like that.

That's about where I would expect a good barleywine/Burton ale to end up, hopefully (and properly) with a mildly sweet finish.
I also wouldn't even consider drinking it until it's aged at least one year (or preferably longer)...all the more reason to brew it more often. ;D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast taste difference
« on: July 08, 2014, 12:59:41 PM »
This is a great write up from Kal @ the electric brewery comparing US-05 & 1056.

This might help!

Unlike Kal, I can tell the difference.

I can too...and MUCH prefer what 1056 delivers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fruit flies
« on: July 07, 2014, 02:03:14 PM »
I don't have a major fruitfly problem, but when they do periodically show up but since I like fresh fruit bht generally hate it when it is refrigerated, they do show up now and again. 
I do the following and it works like a charm:

--fill a small jar or a small bown about 1/4 full of vinegar...sprinkle in a little bit of dry yeast, and cover the container with clear plastic wrap with some holes poked into the plastic.  They get attracted to this solution, find their way in (through the holes) have their last meal, and can't manage to get out.  This has worked quite effectively for me for more than 35 years.

Now if I can only get rid of the groundhogs that are tunneling around my house. :-\
Suggestions are welcome.

Equipment and Software / Re: Indestructible hydrometer
« on: June 28, 2014, 07:34:17 AM »
Does it exist? I need one.

I found the best way to never break a hydrometer is to buy an extra one.

I bought an extra one about 10 years ago 'just in case' ...but despite the slight additional clumsiness that has come with getting older,  I'm still using the first one I ever bought (in 1977).

Ingredients / Re: Your favorite Hops that are rarely mentioned...
« on: May 26, 2014, 09:09:44 AM »
I'd add Brewer's Gold, Cluster, and Nugget as underrated/under used...

Brewers Gold, Cluster, and Bullion are still my favorite 'old school-go to' hops.  I use these more than any other varieties.  Nugget and Colimbus are also ones I try to keep a supply of.

I guess I just don't like the overly citrus or 'tropical' flavors found in so many of the newer varieties, or if I do use them, I use them for blends, in  small quantities.

Other Fermentables / Re: aging mead
« on: May 15, 2014, 06:59:06 PM »
I wanted it to end at 1.035 but it just would not come down. I started with WLP Bourbon yeast then added 4 packs of dry Lav 71b and then tried re pitching with WOP high gravity yeast at the end but it didn't want to continue, the ABV was already 13%. OG 1.150 FG 1.058.

Do you think its done completely or can I squeeze a couple of points out over the next year?

I never tried to stop fermentation it did that all on its own.

If you give it time, it will still go down.  The fermentation often continues, albeit very slowly. Even my standard, wine strength  meads stay in the fermenter for up to six months...and my stronger ones get 1 racking after about 8 months, and then stay in a secondary vessel for up to 2 years before I even think of bottling some off.  And then I age them for a couple years more before consuming.

Decent mead can be made quickly enough.  Really, really great meads need more patience.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US 05?
« on: May 15, 2014, 06:53:00 PM »
US-05 seems like the right choice, but a starting gravity of 1.100 is pretty high.  Anyone know what the alcohol tolerance is for US-05?  I know the 1056 is stated as 11% which is right around the 1.100 target gravity, and since they are similar strains, I would assume they have similar tolerance, but dont know for sure.

I've used US05 up to 12% ABV. worries, it can handle high gravity brews  just fine.   
I've even repitched the slurry into subsequent brews and never had any flavor or performance issues.
Dry yeast has sure come a LONG way quality wise.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew vs Commercial Brew
« on: March 24, 2014, 08:17:09 AM »
Killians Red is a pretty bad example of an Irish Red ale. It's a mass produced reddish BMC type beer. That said, kudos to you for having the better beer. It's a sign of a skilled brewer who can brew a beer as clean as a mass produced b eer!

I agree about the present state of Killian's Red...not much to write home about.

However, when it was first introduced it was quite good (and was marketed and labeled as an "ale", and definitely tasted like one in character).
It was actually quite good, and showed what the Coors brewers were really capable of.
But after a couple of years when it was rebranded as a lager and reformulated a few times, it seems that it was stripped of everything that made it at least stand out a bit. 
The only things left now are the name and the color.

On a side note...I was recently given a bottle of Killian's Stout...and it was not bad at all.
Predictably, it gets dismissed by the über geeks because 1) it is restrained and not 'over the top' (unlike many American stouts) and 2) because it is a Miller-Coors product.
I don't drink much store bought beer, but I'd add the GK  stout to my short list.

But I still prefer homebrew over any commercial beer.

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