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Messages - The Professor

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31
Ingredients / Re: Oats
« on: October 31, 2015, 11:12:30 PM »
I've used flaked, rolled, quick, and instant oats at various times.
After a lot of experimentation, I determined that the quick or instant oats gave the best results (and were easier to use).
But any of these will work. 

I wouldn't use steel cut though.  Save those for cooking with dried fruit for breakfast... or to make Goetta (aka "Cincinatti Scrapple")

32
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: What's your favorite hidden gem
« on: October 25, 2015, 09:35:47 PM »
I recently stumbled on a sixpack of Stegmaier Porter (Pennsylvania)...I was surprised to see it, since the last time I had it was more than 40 years ago.  These days it's brewed at The Lion in Wilkes Barre, PA...and it's fantastic (and a real bargain, too).  It's 'chewier' than the other famous PA porter (from Yuengling) and quite nice.
I actually prefer the old timey PA porters from these two brewers over most craft brewer porters (except perhaps for Anchor Porter...which is still a real gem).

33
Beer Recipes / Re: recipe formulation with nugget/cascade/
« on: October 25, 2015, 09:23:37 PM »
I on the other hand, being a big proponent of single hop brews,  have made a number of them (including IPAs and Porters) with Nugget alone and absolutely loved the results.
It totally depends on your personal taste, and the only way to dial that in is to brew with it and try the results for yourself.
The interwebs are a great place for getting info and opinions, but sometimes (especially in food or brewing forums) it's to easy to get steered away from something you'd potentially like by listening to other opinions (no matter how well intentioned they may be).

So while I can definitely see where Nugget by itself may not be for every taste...but it may be to yours.  It most certainly was to mine  8)

34
Kegging and Bottling / Re: carbonating with soda syphon
« on: October 25, 2015, 09:14:46 PM »
I dont know. But I recently got one of these. Works great. Especially for quick carbing small samples for a final taste test before packaging.


I got one of these when they first came out many years ago and they're great, work quite well with bog-standard plastic pop bottles of any size, and it offers some control over the level of carbonation to boot.  Definitely much better than trying to use a siphon bottle.
I don't use it regularly, but it has most definitely come in handy on many occasions.
And it works.

35
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How Pilsner Urquell used to be made
« on: October 17, 2015, 01:40:38 AM »

Love the beer hunter stuff even more now that traditional brewers are closing/merging/changing etc.  Great history!

I wish that the Discovery Channel would re-release these videos on DVD.  I wonder if they were recorded in 4:3?
Most likely shot in 4:3

Given that the original footage was shot on film (rather than video)  so many  years ago...most likely in the 16mm format...  it's a safe bet that the aspect ratio of the original footage was indeed 4:3.
However, that aside, if the original film elements were properly preserved, they should yield very high quality without artificial enhancement  if transferred to modern high definition video format for re-release.  One could only hope though that if that is ever done, they retain the original 4:3 ratio and avoid the temptation to crop top and bottom for widescreen, unless it is done with great care and on a shot-by-shot basis.

36
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: blending
« on: October 11, 2015, 02:37:20 PM »
Blending is an important skill for correcting minor problems or imbalances in beers. It has produced more than one Ninkasi winner in the past and you can too...if you have the palate and skill.

So true.  Over the years I've had batches that didn't end up as intended, and I was always able to salvage them by blending with other brews I had on hand (some of my favorite standard 'house' recipes were actually the result of some of these blends). Taking good notes on brew day and careful measuring at blending time allowed pretty accurate reproduction of the blends and repeatability by subsequently using some 'reverse engineering'.

The blending idea has certainly been used in commercial settings as well, both in actual production as well as experimentation/formulation.  It's standard procedure in some UK breweries, and it has also been suggested (whether it's true or not) that many of Pabst's contract brewed 'legacy' brands actually may be a variety of blends using a core set of standard brews.

In the early '80s, I attended a beer talk/tasting in New York conducted by Matt Reich, the guy behind the excellent New Amsterdam Lager.  During a chat with Matt afterwards, I asked how he and his consultant (the esteemed Joe Owades) came up with the flavor profile and formula for New Amsterdam (which was a very good beer, and unsurprisingly in many ways quite similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager, which  hit the market around the same time).   His answer was that one of the primary things they did to arrive at a prototype for the final product was to concoct and taste various blends of a large selection of commercial products (both domestic and imported) which were available at the time.

37
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Compliment a brewer can get
« on: October 10, 2015, 06:13:51 PM »
...His mind was made up that dark beers taste bad, and are too heavy - he didn't like them at all...

Lots of folks feel that way but often have an "aha" moment (no pun unintended ;D) when they taste the right 'dark' beer.
When I was in college in Iowa in the beginning of the 1970s, my beloved IPA was not distributed in that state, so I pestered the local grocery store manager into ordering a supply of Pabst Bock...and that beer became my preferred alternative (when it was available) to the Bud, Hamm's, and Grain Belt  that everyone was drinking.  Whenever I offered some of the bock  to my friends they refused, and I was looked upon as crazy (in all fairness and in retrospect, that characterization wold be hard to deny).  I usually got the common "they only make when they clean out the barrels every year" comment.
My favorite though was when I offered it to a collegemate in the agricultural department, and he offered the following very poetic observation: "How can you drink that?  Don't you know that stuff will give you the s***s??"   :o

38
The date on the bottles of the current version of Bally IPA is indeed the packaging date.

39
I make my own beer ;)

Exactly...me too. 
It has been a very long time since I've purchased a full sixpack of any commercial beer...BMC, "craft", or otherwise.
I simply don't need to.

40
All Grain Brewing / Re: Momentary Lapse of Reason...
« on: August 29, 2015, 05:01:20 PM »
It will be completely beer sanitary. Sometimes we way, way, way over-worry about sanitation. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But stuff like bottled water is sanitary enough for beer, no problem. Things like aluminum foil, plastic bags, paper towels, bottled water are all sanitary enough for clean beer fermentation.
Ever since Denny claimed that foil fresh off the roll is good to go, ive trusted that. But just to be safe I spritz with starsan lol

Yeah I always squirt it with starsan and give it a couple of minutes of contact before using it.

I still don't.  After 13 years, no problems.

Same here.  Using foil right off of the roll is perfectly safe.  And with regard to bottled waters (whether distilled, spring, or purified), I believe that most bottled waters nowadays probably get a UV treatment at bottling, the way many of the better non-heat pasteurized farm ciders do.   I've only topped up with bottled water very infrequently, but whether  it is UV treated or not, it has never posed a problem or caused infection.

41
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What qualifies as "Real Ale"?
« on: August 29, 2015, 04:52:05 PM »
....I do not believe real ale requires use of ingredients from England or any other part of the British Isles or to be brewed there
... The big issue for homebrewers is usually whether CO2 is artificially introduced to carbonate or serve the beer. CAMRA opposes even the CO2 breathers on casks because it interferes with the natural oxidation that otherwise occurs in a cask...
Absolutely orrect with regard to the ingredients.  British brewers have been using American hops (and even American malts)  since the 19th century.  Also, sugars of various types are definitely not a taboo (it can be argued that some truly authentic Brit style ales actually require them)

The co2 issue is a tricky one.  Real Ale should certainly not be overcarbonated (like most American beer and ale is) but where CAMRA's definition loses me is the requirement of allowing air into the cask as opposed to a protective blanket of inert gas, and if you've ever been to England and experienced the difference in quality of Real Ale at various pubs, it becomes obvious that the disallowance of a blanket of co2 or nitrogen is a big mistake.   Allowing air to displace the liquid in the cask as it empties is fine, just so  long as the the turnover in a busy pub  allows a cask to be emptied within a day or two.  Beyond that, exposure to air is definitely detrimental to the beer.  When I was in the UK, I had some really incredibly fine Real Ale...and on the other side of the coin just as much that ranged from "tasting a bit off" to being virtually unpalatable (kind of like the state of "craft" beer in the USA, which is also becoming a bit of a crap shoot nowadays.  LOL)

42
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Things you wish breweries would figure out
« on: August 18, 2015, 03:29:56 PM »
Five different IPA's in the tap room isn't really a variety.
A very good point  along with a number of others in this thread.  I love IPA, but most of them taste and look cloudy and amateurish (and I have a quiet chuckle every time I hear the nonsensical excuse that "IPA is supposed to look that way").

With regard to brewer salaries, in speaking to people I know or have known in the commercial brewing world over the years it is clear that there is quite a wide range.  It depends on a lot of things:  how committed to quality the owner is, the size of the operation, how much business the brewery is doing, and of course, how much the brewer is willing to accept..  I've heard of talented head brewers with a good, specifically focused total brewing education and a proven track record making at least $60k/year...but  brewers working under the head brewer will generally rarely come even close to that kind of salary for two reasons:  1)  they are the "line cooks" of the brewing world and 2)  (based on what I've been told more than once) they are a 'dime a dozen'.

One of the things that a lot of breweries need to figure out (especially the new breed of small, "local" ones) is that rushing product out the door using the 'freshness' hype spin actually often results in clearly sub-par product.  Of course, aside from the impatience factor that is often a holdover from the homebrewing roots of many of the small, local startups,  proper aging/storage is certainly a problem for the new breed of small brewers because time is money; they generally need to turn product around quickly.
Here in NJ there have been quite a few new small breweries popping up and most of them are serving beers that taste like they were brewed last week (and that's not a compliment).

43
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: No head retention in lagers
« on: August 03, 2015, 11:16:54 AM »
Excessive aging and contact with autolyzed yeast could also be a factor.

Perhaps oxidation could be contributing to a lack of foam?

In any case, I wouldn't blame aging, necessarily.  I can't speak with regard to lagers specifically since while I love them, I rarely brew them...but my  IPA, Porter, and Barleywine/Burton which I brew a lot of and all of which get an average of 8-12 months aging at minimum (and in some cases far longer)  tend to pour pretty consistently with very long lasting heads of foam that leave a generous, clinging  lacing on the glass.

44
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP catagory for pilsner ale
« on: July 22, 2015, 01:54:39 PM »
I always need help categorizing my beers. Everyone always tells me to enter it as what it tastes like. So, what does it taste like? Even with ale yeast, it could come across as a pilsner depending on the yeast strain, its fermentation and storage profiles...

Precisely...just enter it as whatever it most tastes like. That is. after all, the most important parameter and, in the end, the only one that really matters at all.
I've tasted lager beers made with ale yeast that actually tasted more authentically  'lager-like' than some which were made with actual lager yeast.  As suggested by others in this thread, there are factors at play in the flavor profile of a beer other than the type of yeast (or other ingredients) used.

45
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Stone Pale Ale 2.0
« on: June 23, 2015, 10:32:52 PM »
It's puzzling to me.  Like skylar, I'm not a particularly big fan of Stone's brews (and speaking for myself, don't really understand the hype surrounding the brewery) but I will say that they had a reasonably decent product with their Pale Ale...so I do have to wonder what compelled them to change it.  Has an official explanation ever been offered?

When ever I see an established product touting the words "improved", the vast majority of the time it turns out to be anything but.  More often than not the words "new and improved" could more accurately be characterized as a consumer warning.
The old saying is, "if it ain't broke, don't fixit". 
I guess they thought that their Pale Ale was 'broke".   ::)

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