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Messages - The Professor

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All Grain Brewing / Re: umami water treatment
« on: September 14, 2010, 11:47:04 AM »
Did it once a while back after reading some of the first reports about umami for the same reason's the OP is thinking.

Didn't really notice much of a difference in the beer except a sour salty thing. Never saw the need to repeat the trick.

That sounds about right... I don't even like the effect MSG has in most  prepared foods (and I can always tell when it's in there).  I think both the frenzy over the healthfulness of it and supposed allergic sensitivity to it (which is in reality very rare despite people's paranoia) is overblown...  but by and large I still think it is  a totally dispensable ingredient for any food, and the contribution to beer flavor would likely be akin to a salted meat broth.  It may be naturally derived, but I don't consider it a natural ingredient and probably wouldn't want it in my beer anyway.

Then again,  on the other hand maybe I should follow the advice I'm always dishing out and just try it before I make a judgement... I guess one could add some to a single serving of a finished beer to assess the affect. 

Still,  it seems to me that MSG in beer would be just as bad as putting saccharine or other artificial sweeteners into it.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Saranac Pale Ale
« on: September 11, 2010, 08:35:13 AM »
They have definitely had a QC issue . . . I had a Black Forest Lager back in May at the Memphis Zoo Brew that was pure vinegar. Bad enough that the server was more or less warning . . Sample at your own risk.  :-\

I think most of the Saranac products are solid and well made beers.

I think though that the inappropriate "sourness' you experienced is usually more the fault of the bar and their handling of the beers than a fault of the brewery.
Especially considering that Saranac comes from Matt Brewing Co, which has been around long enough (100+ years) to know how to avoid such problems.

Now,  if it were beer from a small micro, I might not be so quick to blame the bar since I've had some firsthand experience with freshly tapped kegs of smaller brewery beer exhibiting really bad off flavors and/or unintended sourness.  I think most small brewers are savvy enough to invest in efficient and quality cleaning and filling equipment in order to avoid such problems, but there are some that probably cut corners and wind up with a result such as this. 

In the case of your bad Saranac experience, I'd wager that the "cellarman" was not taking care of the lines properly,  or using an air/co2 mix (not all that uncommon in establishments looking to save money on co2) ...or a combination of both.

Beer Recipes / Re: English IPA tips
« on: September 08, 2010, 02:55:41 PM »
Burtonise the liquor.
Floor malted Maris Otter pale malt only (low colour if you want to be authentic).
No other malts.
Perhaps a little sugar in the grist - up to 10%.
English hops  - I suggest Kent Goldings - lots of them, but keep it balanced. (OG 1.070, 50 IBUs - or thereabouts)
English ale yeast that ferments dry - Nottingham is pretty reliable
Age for 18 months, and then dry hop.

That's the way to go, and pretty much how I've done it for years.  I don't think I've ever aged it for 18 months...usually more like 12.
But  it's worth the wait, and that wait is  a good excuse to brew it regularly.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blow out tubing?
« on: September 04, 2010, 08:13:11 PM »
I haven't used a blowoff tube since the mid '80's.
Invest in  a 6.5 or 7 gal carboy for your ferments and the blowoff tube (and all the beer it potentially  blows out) will be a thing of the past. Give the fermentation more room, and the blowoff tube is totally unnecessary.

The only way I see a blowoff tube as an advantageous thing is if you can rig it so it is mounted stable at the top of the fermenter, so the beer and some of the yeast  it blows out can recirculate, as in the old Burton Unions systems, such as the ones Bass once used;  when they "modernized" and stopped using it, it robbed their beer of it's unique character.  (But that's fodder for a whole 'nother thread!)

The Pub / Re: Worlds Oldest Beer Found?
« on: September 04, 2010, 05:49:21 AM »
Pretty neat...and yes, I would be curious to see the results of an analysis of a sample. 
Being 'stored' for so long out of the light and in the cold environment of the sea floor,  the results of the analysis could be very interesting indeed.  A tasting would certainly not deliver the true original flavor of the product, but given the enhanced preservation environment of the apparently well sealed bottles,  a taste  would at least give some clear hints as to what this beer once was.
Really fascinating.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottle Caps
« on: September 03, 2010, 06:23:38 PM »
I'd say give it some time...and keep it is a warm enough environment for the remaining yeast to do its thing.  The type of caps you use should have no bwaring at all on the carbonation.  I use the o2 absorbing caps regularly on strong beers meant for keeping, and the beers can last for years.   
The o2 caps are great and worth the minimal extra cost (they only cost me an extra dollar or two per bag of caps. 
The trick to their effectiveness, I'm told, is to not allow them to get wet before applying them.  And again...they have no affect on the carbonation whatsoever as long as they're on tight.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How fast is too fast to move to all grain?
« on: September 02, 2010, 09:33:12 PM »
Go see someone do it end-to-end before doing it yourself, though.  A lot of what you do is visual, so you need to know what "looks right."

While that's undoubtedly the best way to do it, that's not the way I did it.  I'd never seen anyone do AG before I started.  I just read a lot of books and the usenet group rec.crafts.brewing and jumped in.  Once I was done, it was kind if like "wow, is that all?".  The point being that if you can't brew with someone else to learn, don't let it stop you.

I agree totally.  AT least two people I know started brewing all-grain from their FIRST BATCH.
As for me, I brewed extract for quite a few years,  thendoing  partial grain, but when I saw what grain could be had for in bulk, it was a no brainer taking the plunge to AG. 
Like Denny, I read everything I could get my hands on and went in well prepared...and the very first AG batch came out really good.  My reaction was much  like Denny's..." that all there is to it?"  At that point I felt sort of dumb for not switching much  earlier after hemming and hawing about it.

As far as extra equipment expense, it doesn't have to break the bank, not by a longshot.  For 20 years or more I've been brewing all grain with a  5 gallon round Rubbermaid/Gott cooler ($20);  a false bottom for the cooler (a gift from my LHBS for referring a load of business to them); a counterflow wort chiller ($35), a home made 220V/3000W electric keggle with a false bottom  (around $120)...and miscellaneous hoses, copper tubing, and other ephemera totalling no more than $40.   A total of $215 over the course of a few months...totally manageable and it did the job and continues to do so.

In the music world, musicians who like an array of gizmos, FX boxes, and have to have anything that's currently state of the art are often referred to  (often by themselves) as "gear sluts".

Brewers can be that, I mean,  get fancier if you can afford it and like to fuss around  with the gear, but it's absolutely unnecessary. You can make beer just as high quality  with picnic coolers and other repurposed vessels as you can with a multi $K automated system. 
Then you'll be ready for that SABCO rig  when your lottery ticket finally wins. ;D

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Shiner Oktoberfest
« on: September 01, 2010, 03:39:40 PM »
I suppose this is just a case of different strokes for different folks.

That, ultimately, is what keeps the whole 'beer thing' interesting.
There will be as many percerptions about any beer as there are tastebuds sampling them.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pouring a Pint, Brit-style
« on: August 31, 2010, 01:41:31 PM »
It's sad when the word "pint" is taken to mean some random amount of beer. ...
When I can make 5 gallons of my own beer for what I'd spend on two pints in most places, the times when I actually pay for it, it better be done right.

That's for sure. 
I was dragged kicking to a FRIDAY's recently, and I ordered a pint of Sam was served in one of their  'signature' glasses which I suspect is less than a US pint to being with, and it was underfilled to boot.  Like, enough so that it would fit into a 12 oz glass. 
Apparently there are segments of the beer industry (including, I'm told,  some distrubutors)  that actually encourage bars to use various 'cheater' pints to fatten up the bottom line. 
I haven't done the math, but seems that those 2-3 ounces not delivered each time a "pint" is ordered  would certainly add up to quite a few real pints of extra profit over the life of a keg.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Yuengling, Transferred
« on: August 31, 2010, 07:04:02 AM »
I've done it a few times, both with leftovers like you've got, or with a new keg like Drew mentioned.  No problems at all.

I would have stopped by, but it's nearly 3000 miles :)

I would have stopped by too (I'm less than 15 miles away)...but found this thread too late!
I've transferred leftovers from commercial kegs as well with no problems.  Usually though, if is something bland  like Coors or Bud, I'll dump a couple bottles of Guinness or something into it to give it a bit more flavor.  Works surprisingly well, too.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Oskar Blues ...
« on: August 30, 2010, 04:34:07 PM »
I agree Mike, I found the "adventurous taste buds" comment a little silly. I didn't care for it at all and would not buy it again. And, FTR, haveing to drink 4 probably felt like drinking 6.  ;)

It's ok.  I do say silly things sometimes.
It's part of my M.O.   ;D

I certainly meant no offense! ::)
I am a reformed/recovering  beer snob and  big supporter of "to each his own", especially when it comes to taste in beer. After all, one man's elixer is another's poison.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Oskar Blues ...
« on: August 29, 2010, 04:17:44 PM »
I haven't had the Gubna, but it sounds like I don't need to get more than one :)

At least try it before you dismiss it... I think the stuff is awsome...very complex, lots of different flavors going on.  Admittedly it's not for un-adventurous taste buds, but I found it to be great and on par with all of their products.  And they get extra points for packaging it in cans.

As a very wise man once said, "You'll never know until you check it out."

All Grain Brewing / Re: Black IPA?
« on: August 29, 2010, 04:14:16 PM »
...The result was damn fine and more of a "black IPA" then the stuff that came in the bottle.

That's great, but the real thing to remember is that it is totally open to interpretation anyway, since the so called "style" has no real rules other than dark and hoppy.
Besides I have a real problem with calling it ANY kind of IPA if it's darker than deep amber/copper.  Hell, I've had Porters that fit the description some folks hang on "Black IPA". 

There seems to be a lot of arguing on the interwebs about this "style".  For what it's worth, I believe that it originated on the commercial level with Greg Noonan, but it's a pretty safe bet that such a beer as brewed up in a few basements somewhere long before he put it on tap and tagged it with a most puzzling name.

The arguments I read aound the net about this style are all pretty dumb, if you ask me.  (But nobody did, so I'll stop ranting now.   ;D  )
Basically, it matters not a whit if it's good beer.

(written as I sip on a suspiciously hoppy and hop-aromatic dark dry ale from a 19 year old recipe... ::) ;D  )

For me, short of a small walk-in cooler, a commercial "True"  Coke fridge would probably do it for me;   mainly for cold conditioning since I already have a decent fridge I could dedicate for serving.  Right now it pulls double duty and hence, serves my drafts at a considerably colder temperature than I like.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Your Homebrew Name
« on: August 26, 2010, 03:35:30 PM »
I like your slogan, Al.

Me too :)

Thanks, gents.
And I shall always do my utmost to live up to the spirit of that slogan.

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