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Messages - The Professor

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676
The Pub / Re: What does “craft beer” mean to you?
« on: June 30, 2010, 08:36:07 PM »
... IMO the beer determines whether it's a craft beer or not, not the brewery.

I agree 1000%
The size of the company / brewery has nothing to do with whether a beer is a "craft" product.  I have always felt this way.

Both the artisan brewers and the big brewers  can and do make products that are a cut above  'average' beer.  The main difference is that the bigger brewers are still devoting much of their production to making the kind of beer that the vast majority of beer drinkers still want,  alongside efforts to make more products of real distinction than in the past. 
We used to complain when they didn't make that effort.  But now they are making that effort, and in some cases doing it very well.  Just because they use bigger kettles doesn't negate the craft of it.

677
All Things Food / Re: Bioengineered Salmon?
« on: June 29, 2010, 01:38:19 PM »
If it's not wild Chinook, it's not salmon!


AMEN to that!
Farm raised salmon is bad enough...now bioengineered too?  And like bioengineered vegetables, they will likely not be required to identify it as such?

I envy you west-coasters...here in the east farm raised Atlantic salmon is prevalent (and tasteless, and nutritionally deficient besides) and wild Atlantic salmon is all but extinct.

Love that Chinook or Sockeye when I can get it!!!. 

678
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is a good, low ABV IPA possible?
« on: June 27, 2010, 08:29:08 AM »
Since the BJCP is certainly not the last definitive authoritative word on "styles" (except maybe in amateur competition) I tend not to take any pronouncements on "style" very seriously, though it is interesting to hear different  takes on the subject. 

Anyway...coincidentally, and timed well with the appearance of this thread, Ron Pattinson's blog  ..which (along with Zythophile's blog)  has some of the best researched writing on historical beer styles around... talks a bit about IPA in today's installment. 
Everyone interested in brewing history should be reading these two blogs...to read Ron's latest writing on IPA go here:  http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/

It should always be remembered that  the best example of any "style" is the one that pleases your own palate the most.  While there may be some expectations of what one will experience tasting a beer labeled as a certain specific type, historically it seems that there has always been a a fair amount of wiggle room and it has always been open to individual interpretation rather than a 'rulebook'.
 

679
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: IPA or IPL?
« on: June 20, 2010, 10:49:10 AM »
I appriciate the input and as I suspected there would be differing opinions, which is great.  I understand that using the wrong/inappropriate ingrediants can cause a beer to be in the wrong style.  I also entered a Munich Helles that was excellent, but used American Hops instead of German hops, still a great beer but as the judge was very clear to point out (22 pts) it was NOT a MUNICH.  I revisited the BJCP styles and there are some catagories clearly named lager or ale, but some are named beer or not at all (porter, stout), so I see the point about a mis-labled product.  I think I should have placed the Helles in catagory 23, but I am still leaning toward the IPA catagory for my IPL.
  Where do we draw the line?  I know, DWHAHB.

I'm not clear on why a line has to be drawn at all. 
If whatever process or ingredients you use achieve a result that reflects a given "style" of beer and has the right flavor and other characteristics of a given "style", then that is the "style" you produced.  The end result is what matters.   
By using ingredients at hand and manipulating them as well as the brewing methods,  you're simply doing what brewers have been doing for centuries:  adapting.

It's really just not that big of a deal. 


680
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: IPA or IPL?
« on: June 20, 2010, 08:10:13 AM »
It's only wrong if it doesn't taste like an IPA.  The ingredients don't really matter.  It's all about the finished beer.

Right on.  I don't think that this can be emphasized enough. 
If it looks like an IPA and tastes like an IPA, there's no reason to call in anything else... and if you're entering it in a comp, that's the right category.  The fact that it took a blue ribbon is proof of concept enough. 

I know folks that have won awards for 'lagers' made with 05/1056/001...in one case, even with a highly respected German trained brewmaster on the judging panel.
So definitely,  while tradition and authenticity is nice, it's ultimately the end result that really matters more than how you get there.

681
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New York - and Beer
« on: June 19, 2010, 10:16:12 PM »
Here's a few of my favorite beer bars (all in Manhatten except for the last one, which is in Staten Island)...I'm sure folks will weigh in with some others.

The Blind Tiger Ale House — 281 Bleecker Street
Burp Castle — 41 East 7th Street
d.b.a. — 41 1st Avenue  (just avoid it on the weekend...it becomes a noisy, obnoxious zoo)
Killmeyer's Old Bavarian Inn — 4256 Arthur Kill Rd (Staten Island)...emphasis is on German beer and they serve some very good German food

These places all have nice selections, often with some real surprises.
There are a few brewpubs in and around the area, but nothing really to write home about   (the three best ones closed years ago). The remaining ones are average at best.  I'll leave it to someone else to make suggestions based on their recent NY brewpub experiences; mine have been less than satisfying.

682
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegged IPA - Flavor Change after 1 week
« on: June 17, 2010, 01:55:51 PM »
After pouring myself an IPA from the keg, I found its flavor had changed considerably from last week. It was more bitter, almost harsh, and the wonderful grapefruit/citrus aroma from the late addition hops was almost non-existent.

What happened?

I kegged this beer about two weeks ago... last week it was fine, but a little under-carbonated. I turned the regulator to about 10 psi to up the carbonation a little under a week ago. Could this be the cause?

The amount of carbonation is a matter of personal preference...I think that a lower level of carbonation brings out flavors more, and a higher level can accentuate harsher notes and hide the more subtle notes  (serving it too cold can also do that).

Leave it alone for another week or two and you may like the result better taste-wise as the harshness smooths out a bit.  It's not too late for aroma either... I age my IPAs much longer because I like them better that way (personal taste),  but even so,  my practice in recent years has been to not dry hop the beer until a few weeks before I start pouring it.  The result is the clean but still quite intense bitterness that I like, and a nicely enticing aroma.

683
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
« on: June 16, 2010, 06:00:58 PM »
A real counterpressure bottle filler will let you purge the bottle with CO2. Then you pressurize it to the same pressure as the keg (I like to overpressurize it at 18-20 psi). Turn off the CO2, turn on the beer valve and adjust the pressure relief valve for a smooth fill. When full, turn off beer valve, let out more pressure from the relief valve, remove CPBF and cap on foam.

I bottle using exactly the method that Kai uses...a cobra tap with a tube jammed into it... and it works great. 
As far as purging the bottles, I manage to do that too...I have a manifold on my co2 tank connected to another cobra tap that has a stopper attached...I give each bottle a shot (usually 6 at a time) then fill the forzen bottles with the nearly frozen beer, then cap 'em.  Works great, it retains the carbonation level I like, and I have subsequently kept beers bottled that way for a year or more with no problems whatsoever.
The Beergun and the homemade CPF's are both great, but by no means are they necessities for bottling up to a case or two of beer at a time.

684
I've never felt the need to sanitize the oak cubes, you can just drop them right in.  Many times I've added oak cubes and have let them age for many, many months with no problems.

Right...you probably don't need to sanitze them, especially if they've been whiskey soaked.  If not soaked, and if it makes you feel more secure, you could steam the chips or cubes or even stick them in the oven.

I'd be more worried about contact time.  I've tasted a lot of potentially great beers pretty much ruined by too much oak (especially where American Oak is used).
Of course, that threshold is something you have to determine for yourself by frequent tasting during the aging process.  For me, the big beers are so complex on their own that while some oak character can add a nice dimension to the beer, too much oak can easily overpower the other flavor subtleties happening in the background.

685
The Pub / Re: Calling BS! ?
« on: June 15, 2010, 09:23:31 PM »
When is calling BS when BS is BS not correct?

For instance, the AT&T "3G" network map they air nationwide for all to see.  THAT is pure BS.... I'm in the map and tried their "3G", even talked to their reps... connection speed was worse than dialup.  No s***, honest truth.  I went back to dialup.   :o  Yet their adverts continue... when will America wake up and call BS without fear that its not PC or get sued?  How many gallons or BARRELS per hour is it.. which report is telling "the truth".   The British government wasn't happy with how America is pinning things on BP... WHY?  What does the British GOVERNMENT have to do with it?  Our President had to "call" and soothe Britain?  WTF?! 

PC is killing America!   >:(

I agree with you on the whole "PC" thing.

As far as the BP debacle goes, the Brits werent upset with pinning the whole disaster on BP per se...I doubt that anyone would deny that BP fracked up BIGTIME.   
I think rather that they were concerned with the constant references to the company by some in the administration as "British Petroleum", a name the company hasn't gone by for many years;  rightly or wrongly (opinions differ on it) I think they were concerned that constantly referring to the old company name reflected badly on the Brits and wrongly inferred that the British government should shoulder blame, when they are, of course, blameless in this.

ANyway, no matter how you characterize it, it IS a sad, sad event.  And all indications now point to cost-cutting and corporate greed as the main reason for this mess.

686
Beer Recipes / Re: Oaked IIPA
« on: June 07, 2010, 07:36:57 AM »
What I really should say is it drinks like a session beer and you may not remember you had that last pint.  ;D

Ah yes....been there, done that. ;D

cheers!

687
Beer Recipes / Re: Oaked IIPA
« on: June 06, 2010, 08:29:24 PM »
Like what you are doing with the hops. My only other concern would be that the malt bill might be too "meaty". A IIPA should be ... how should I say it ... tricky. What I mean is, you should sit down and drink two or three of them without realizing what you are getting into. Kinda like a doppelbock. Its a session beer, but  you probably didnt mean to have that last one, if you know what I mean.  ;)

Personally, I think that Pliny the Elder is still the model for this beer. IMO you would be better off simplifying the grain bill. Malt is not the focus here. I like about a  1.075 OG and about 5% of the grain bill to be plain sugar, for dryness. I also like a little crystal malt in the to back up the malt with some sweetness. The sugar will drive your FG down and the crystal will give you some mouthfeeel and a touch of balance. Thats how I would do it.

Doesn't have to be exactly that way though. What you have would probably make a great beer as is.

Good advice all 'round...and I suppose that Pliny really is the best current example.  And a simple grain bill is certainly not a bad thing.
But session beer? 
Has the definition  for that mutated too? ;D 
With a beer of that ABV, that's gonna be one helluva session.

688
The Pub / Re: Speaking of Grandma's and IPA's...
« on: June 04, 2010, 03:48:55 PM »
i recently found out that my great grandfather was also a brewer.  he passed well before i was born though.

My dad used to tell me stories about his father (off the boat from Hungary) making both beer and wine at home.  Evidently he sourced the beermaking stuff from one of the breweries in Pittsburgh that had transitioned away from alcohol (officially, anyway) during the dry years.  My grandfather died more than 20 years before I was born and didn't even live to see prohibition repealed.    My older aunts & uncles had pretty high praise for my granddad's fermentations...I sure wish I had the opportunity to chat about this stuff with him.
 
My late dad sure did enjoy my homebrew though.

689
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Imperial?
« on: June 04, 2010, 03:10:23 PM »
I have heard a couple of "'Imperial Milds" lately and laugh at the oxymoron that it is.

Other than the fact that the term "Imperial" itself has become something of a cliche these days,  the fact is that historically the term "mild" had nothing whatsoever to do with the strength of the brew (and according to more than one researcher, some of the original 'milds' didn't even have reduced hop rates). 
"Mild" meant only that the beer wasn't tart from extended age.
That means that all my beers are "Milds"  ;D ;D ;D

Ha!  For the most part and with only a couple exceptions, mine too apparently.
Basically, and historically speaking, your probably not far wrong about that. Just serves to further illustrate that the recent phenomenon of pigeonholing beers into SO many new so called "styles" has really become something of a joke. 
Seems these days, if  one extra hop cone gets added to an existing style everyone wants to make it a new "style".

In any case, I still say that "Imperial" and "Extreme" have become nothing more than tired marketing gimmickry.  I know that I'm not alone in that feeling, too.
 
In the end, it's BEER.

690
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Imperial?
« on: June 04, 2010, 08:15:50 AM »
I have heard a couple of "'Imperial Milds" lately and laugh at the oxymoron that it is.

Other than the fact that the term "Imperial" itself has become something of a cliche these days,  the fact is that historically the term "mild" had nothing whatsoever to do with the strength of the brew (and according to more than one researcher, some of the original 'milds' didn't even have reduced hop rates). 
"Mild" meant only that the beer wasn't tart from extended age.

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