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Messages - The Professor

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631
...Yes we have forgotten our roots. And Budweiser did the forgetting for us.


That statement sums it all up pretty well. 
Ironic too, since despite it's lower common denominator kind of appeal, I think that most of us here agree that it is probably one of the most skillfully made and utterly consistent commercial beers out there. 
Unfortunately, with all of that skill and the strict QC that goes into it's manufacture, the one thing missing is any distinctive flavor. 

 After years of burning out my tastebuds with hop bombs, I've found that I can truly sometimes enjoy beers whose flavors are on the lighter side of things if it's all in balance.  I consider Bud to be in a category of beers that lack balance (simply because there isn't really much of anything to balance to begin with).

I think that AB-InBev makes some good beers, but if I am in a situation where Bud is the only beer around, I almost always opt out. 
Even a glass of cheap red wine is far more satisfying to me.

632
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sam Adams Octoberfest
« on: August 07, 2010, 02:35:20 AM »
Not sure I agree that it's a 'meh', even if it seems to lack the malty richness I like in the German festbiers. 
As it is, it's a decent brew that kind of manages to at least somewhat evoke the German examples.

Truth is, none of the American made ones I've tried in recent years taste as good to me as the German imports.  Even the German O-Festbiers that are not of the Maerzen style seem more satisfying than our domestic attempts. 

The closest American O-Fest to those German imports was from the unfortunately short lived, but excellent,  Red Bank Brewing in NJ (circa early/mid 1990's).  Theirs was made from a fairly simple grain bill (using grain that the brewery imported themselves from Germany), and the brew was given the traditionally long lagering period.   All of their beers had the most fully authentic German malt character that I've ever encountered in an American made beer.  Not sure why the brewery folded...perhaps distribution issues, or maybe they were just a little bit  ahead of their time.

I'm sure that there will be a few new American made O-Fests popping up this year, and I'll definitely give them a try.  I hope I find a winner...It's one of my favorite lager styles.

633
Other Fermentables / Re: Anybody know a recipe for a port?
« on: August 05, 2010, 09:02:16 AM »
As others point out, it is basically sweet wine with brandy added (which helps arrest the fermentation and aid preservaion; some cheaper ones also add sulphiting agents).  These are the main elements of port, but another important one is time.  Made right, the stuff will taste pretty good even when young, but will definitely get even better with some age.

634
All Things Food / Re: beer can chicken, does it work?
« on: August 04, 2010, 11:16:46 AM »
I brine most stuff I grill...chicken, turkey, pork, and especially shrimp.

Ditto that (though it never occurred to me to brine shrimp...gonna try that!).
When I do chicken, I brine it in a porter based solution with salt, white and black pepper,  fresh onion and garlic juice, some sweet paprika, thyme, rosemary, and spoonful of vinegar (I don't add the vinegar if the porter is a well aged one).   
Then the bird gets cooked over indirect heat; after the first  15 minutes I put a small amount of soaked applewood  chips on the fire, and then let the heat do its thing till the chicken's done.

This preparation is pretty much my favorite way to enjoy chicken. And the next day or two, the meat is really great sliced cold and added to a big green salad. In fact, I  almost like it better the next day.

635
Beer Recipes / Re: Pilsner recipie with ale yeast
« on: August 01, 2010, 05:01:20 PM »
No matter what the recipe, you'll need to be able to ferment cool (maybe high 50s, low 60s-not  as cold as a lager) and cold condition the beer after it's done in order to produce a similar beer.

Right.  The cold conditioning is, I think,  a very important factor here. 
I've made plenty of bastard lagers/pilseners for special occasions where it was a mainly BMC crowd, by using WY1056 and fermenting at my ambient basement temperature (60°F);   I had really good results even when I opted to use sugar to keep things on the light side  color-wise.   I'm convinced that the cold aging really helped bring the illusion together.

636
Beer Recipes / Re: Wee Heavy Recipe Check
« on: August 01, 2010, 04:48:50 PM »
Bottled this one today.  The sample tasted very good and the alcohol presence definitely moderated quite a bit since I racked it.  Assuming my self control is up to the task I'm planning on letting it age another month in the bottles before i crack it open.

Be sure to put at least a couple of bottles  aside (if you can) to taste 6 or more months down the line.  Based on my experience with Wee Heavy (a favorite 'style' of mine) If it's good now, and you bottled with proper sanitation and attention to keeping the oxygen out of the process,  it'll probably be amazing with more age on it.

Big beers definitely  don't have to be aged...but most such brews will usually benefit greatly from it.
Just my opinion of course (an opinion shared by many)... but your own palate is the deciding factor in the end.

637
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Is old malt extract safe?
« on: July 28, 2010, 07:10:27 PM »
If the can isn't bulging you may as well give it a try.  The resulting beer may (or may not) have an off taste or odd 'tang'  due to the age of the product, and the degree of that off taste will depend on how the can was stored.

Give it a try and report back.

638
The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 27, 2010, 09:27:27 PM »
"Craft" has nothing whatsoever to do with the size of the brewery.  They may cease to be considered "artisanal" , but still be a "craft" beer.
Actually, they're not very high on my list of craft brewers to begin with, but that's just my opinion.  They do have a following, hence, the aquisition reports.  Kudos to them.

But really,  with the bigger brewers reaching back to tradition and beginning to make beers of more character, the  term "craft" is becoming a bit muddled.
 "Craft"  doesn't (and shouldn't)  apply only to small brewery product.

639
Zymurgy / Re: Aging beer
« on: July 27, 2010, 09:19:52 PM »
Where does this play into storing prior to consumption? What I am trying to say or ask that is, is how
does aging play into ones plans for beer? I like brewing well ahead of my consumption rate. That is I
like having a variety of beer on stock, and I brew beer and it does tend to age anywhere from 3-6 months
on some and some of my specialty beers almost a year...You guys don't choose to skip brewing a
particular beer just because it might sit to long, do you?

Some of my beer gets aged even though I did not "plan" to age it. It just happens to sit next to beers that
I may like more and consume faster...All in all storage is key. No O2, most are in a keg on pressure.

It all just boils down to the question:  "Do you like the aging effect?"
The answer will vary from brewer to brewer.  As for me, I always factor aging time ino my beers.

In my situation,  I brew often enough that most of the beer I produce manages to cold age for at least 6-8 weeks;  some are aged in the cold for much longer than that, by design (as long as a year).  I've yet to brew a beer that sits "too long"...with only a few exceptions, cold aging for at least my default period significantly benefits almost every beer I make on a regular basis.  Even the more hop forward ones.

It's true that many homebrewers (and certainly most brewpubs) are in a hurry and not very good...  or maybe not so  well equipped... to plan ahead to factor in adequate aging...but my feeling as far as aging goes is that hundreds of years of tradition can't always be wrong.

640
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« on: July 27, 2010, 09:07:34 PM »
IMO kegging will definitely help. The whole "bottle bucket" bottling method is not a very good way to bo9ttle beer. Ironically, having a kegging system is a far better way to bottle beers with nat. carb because you can purge the bottle with Co2.

Another thing I would recommend (though I didn't see it mentioned) is skip secondary.

I agree...set up a kegging system and you have the best of both worlds.  I have bottled some strong beers from keg and they taste fine years down the line (as long as your sanitation is good).
I do secondary all of my beers, but that's a matter of personal choice (and reflecting confidence in my procedures in that I am not introducing o2 or other contaminants o my beers during secondary and/or bulk aging.

But yes...by all means set up to keg.  You won't regret it, and you and bottle fully conditioned beer from the kegs.

641
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Congrats, Majorvices!
« on: July 24, 2010, 03:53:14 PM »
A little late, but I wanted to add my heartfelt congrats on your new endeavor, Keith. Glad yo hear your up and running at last.
I'm sure you've got a winner on your hands.
Shine on, brightly, Major!

642
Ingredients / Re: Carabrown
« on: July 22, 2010, 10:13:18 PM »
I just picked some up this week and am looking forward to test-driving it this weekend.  I was told to expect a "biscuity, almost graham cracker quality".
Should be interesting...

643
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Filtration Systems
« on: July 20, 2010, 09:03:01 PM »

...How many people utilize filtration in their brewing process? Are you happy with the results?...

I filtered a couple of batches some years ago.  It was a hassle. 
If you're worried about starbright, clear beer, cold temperature and patience clears the beer just as well and tastes better (to me anyway).

But you should give it a spin and see if you have a different result than I did. 
Lots of folks filter their brews and love the end results. 
It just wasn't for me though.

644
The Pub / Re: Martini's
« on: July 20, 2010, 08:56:55 PM »
e'n majd furdeni benne

nevetett hangosan!   (LOL)

645
professor and major, can you expand on what you do? when you go back and forth are you rinsing the yeast and then creating a new starter everytime? to me, it sounds like the OP was just going to toss a batch on top of an existing yeast cake, i'm assuming you guys aren't doing that.

After primary fermentation, I save the yeast in a flask which is then simply covered with foil and stored in the back of my beer fridge.  I don't wash the yeast...I've tried it and it's a pain and makes no difference in the results, so I don't bother. 

When reusing yeast, the only time I do a starter is if the yeast has been in storage for more than 4 weeks.  Other than that, 1/3 to 1/2 of the stored slurry is all that's needed for the next batch. 
I totally agree with other observers that the flavor improves considerably after the yeast has gone through a few re-uses. 

My house yeast is like tubercle's "Frankenyeast"...I've kept it going for 20 years and counting and it's used for 90% of the brews I make.

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