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Messages - The Professor

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A 30 Year Beer
« on: August 09, 2010, 10:26:19 PM »

Yeah, for one sachet plus shipping it will be almost $40.  I'm not sure I want it that badly - 25 euros for shipping on a single pack of yeast?  WTF?  I'm going to try to find a US source, then I'll bank it so I can pull it out whenever I want.

wow...WTF indeed.  I don't know what changed, but  I sure as hell didn't get that high a quote when I checked into it last year...nowhere near that high.

There must be a domestic source somehwhere.  BEVERAGE PEOPLE used to carry the Vierka brand, but don't seem to any longer.

But you definitely have the right idea...once you find a source you only really need to buy it once.
It would by nice if Wyeast or White could carry this strain.  It shouldn't be that difficult for them to source it, and I think it would be very popular once people try it. 

I think a decent approximation though might be the Chablis strain combined with Sherry Flor, since Tokaji has characteristics at least somewhat evoke both of these.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A 30 Year Beer
« on: August 09, 2010, 05:51:52 PM »
And Drew, if you've never used Tokaji (aka Tokay) yeast, get your hands on some and use it for this project.
Trust me on will be special.

Where can we get some of that?  Any ideas?

I'm  still using the descendents of  my first purchase of Vierka Tokaji yeast many years ago... I've tried to get a few fresh packets of Vierka (they served up the yeasts on dried grape skins)  but no one seems to carry it anymore (perhaps they've gone out of business).

There is however an outfit in Belgium that sells a dried Tokaji strain, and they do ship overseas...


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A 30 Year Beer
« on: August 08, 2010, 10:23:47 PM »
Yeah, I love Tupelo meads, but ouch 24 lbs? I usually use 18 as my max line.

18 lbs of Tupelo would make a great 'keeper' mead.
And Drew, if you've never used Tokaji (aka Tokay) yeast, get your hands on some and use it for this project.
Trust me on will be special.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A 30 Year Beer
« on: August 07, 2010, 08:23:00 PM »

I'd have a hard time choosing between a hefty and hearty Barleywine/Burton ale or a good old Sack Mead.  Both are prime candidates for this undertaking.  I have long aged both of these categories (never 30 years, but I have meads that made it passed 20) so I can unhesitatingly vouch for the fact that you'll be mighty glad then that you're doing it now.

So if it were me, I'd do a batch of each.  Seriously.

You'll have one hell of a tasty celebration stash...  the hard part will, of course,  be keeping your mits off of it until it's time for that document burning bonfire. :'(

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sam Adams Octoberfest
« on: August 07, 2010, 04:09:37 PM »
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.

prof - Left Hand and Gordon Biersch are pretty good American versions. Left Hand was best 2 years ago - last year's was good but not as spot on.

I agree SA Fest isn't meh - its not too bad, and I'll probably drink at least a six packs worth before the season is over (but after its actually begun  ;) ) its one of SA's better products, IMO.  I just get too much of a caramelly thing going on rather than a toasty malt flavor and the latter, to me, is one of my favorite facets of the style.  I love vienna malt.

Thanks for reminding me about the Gordon Biersch!    I did have some of that while in Los Angeles early this year and it was quite good.  It would be nice if that one were more available here in would definitely be on my short list of commercial beers that I still buy.

I agree with your take on the SA and also that it's one of their better products...  and  you're also right that the caramel flavors (while good)  are no substitute for those toasty, "round" malt flavors.

...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.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sam Adams Octoberfest
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:35:20 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.

Other Fermentables / Re: Anybody know a recipe for a port?
« on: August 05, 2010, 04:02:16 PM »
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.

All Things Food / Re: beer can chicken, does it work?
« on: August 04, 2010, 06:16:46 PM »
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.

Beer Recipes / Re: Pilsner recipie with ale yeast
« on: August 02, 2010, 12:01:20 AM »
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.

Beer Recipes / Re: Wee Heavy Recipe Check
« on: August 01, 2010, 11:48:50 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.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Is old malt extract safe?
« on: July 29, 2010, 02:10:27 AM »
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.

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 28, 2010, 04:27:27 AM »
"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.

Zymurgy / Re: Aging beer
« on: July 28, 2010, 04:19:52 AM »
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.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer staling prematurely?
« on: July 28, 2010, 04:07:34 AM »
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 all means set up to keg.  You won't regret it, and you and bottle fully conditioned beer from the kegs.

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