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Messages - The Professor

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All Things Food / Re: Marmite
« on: February 10, 2010, 06:00:21 PM »
Marmite is great stuff (as is Vegemite).  Great on toast.  Because of the intensity of flavor, it is designed so that you just spread a very thin film of it on your 'travel to the mouth' media.  If you use too much (as is the American tendency with almost everything.  LOL)  there's no question that it's a bit salty and overpowering.
But used the correct way, it's tasty stuff for sure.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Origins of Chico strain?
« on: February 08, 2010, 09:24:21 AM »
The thing that leaves me scratching my head is it doesn't act like an English ale yeast at all, but totally acts like a German ale yeast. Top cropping, low flocculator, ferments cool, dusty and hard to clear, and extremely clean. I wish someone had some more insight into its origins.

Wish I saved the link .................

Read that it was originally a wine yeast from Europe

I'd sure be interested in reading that article.  That is a hypothesis I've not heard before. 

As far as this strain being "hard to clear", I have to say that I have never found that to be a problem with the "Chico" yeast, and I have used it a lot over the course of the least 20 some years.  It doesn't floc and pack as hard as some yeasts, but always has cleared on it's own for me fine,  with no special treatment.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: so the debate is
« on: February 07, 2010, 10:29:14 PM »
You can start with a killer AG recipe, the freshest, best quality ingredients, and a big slurry of healthy yeast, but if you can't control the fermentation, you won't make great beer.  If you do go AG, you'll need temp control anyway....why not take care of that first?

Right on the money, Denny, as always.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Origins of Chico strain?
« on: February 06, 2010, 03:14:14 PM »
From info I've been able to gather, it is indeed the strain Ballantine used for their ales and according to former brewery personnel I've spoken to over the years, it is a British strain.  Some accounts say that it was brought over in the 1930's when Ballantine's new Scottish brewmaster took over the kettles. There is little or no  doubt though that the strain originated in the UK.

I agree that it makes one hell of an altbier as well.
For my money, it's probably the perfect all around Ale yeast 

The Pub / Re: Getting ready for another Nor'easter...
« on: February 04, 2010, 09:36:53 PM »
Well, I'm "getting outta Dodge" (in my case, NJ)   just in time...a few hours before the flakes start falling I'll be on a plane to Los Angeles for a weekend gig.  The trip back Sunday should be interesting...hopefully it'll all be plowed out and over with...

Equipment and Software / Re: Sweet
« on: February 02, 2010, 08:58:25 AM »
Nice going.  You won't regret the move to all grain. ;D

All Things Food / Re: Black-Eyed Peas
« on: January 25, 2010, 09:58:33 PM »

OK here's my Black Eyed Peas experiment over the weekend, gone right. 
I've already made another batch.

This is a dip, kind of like hummus I guess...good with chips, on wheat crackers, pita bread, rye melba toast...or any other mouth delivery vehicle of your choosing.

1 can Black Eyed Peas (drained)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
Black Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tblsp Pickapeppa sauce
2 Tblsp First Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a dash of sea salt or kosher salt

put all of the above into a blender or food processor and whirrrr it until smooth.

The smoky character of the Black Eyed Peas and the garlic bite on this stuff is fantastic.  An yep...great with a nice hoppy beer!

All Things Food / Re: Ethnic Cooking
« on: January 25, 2010, 09:46:41 PM »
... this morning she made scrambled eggs mixed with onions and bacon. The bacon was not crispy. it was like lumps of fat. The onions were under cooked as well as the eggs. EWW

...A cooking quote of hers. "You can not over cook a chicken"  :o

Well,'s really easy to overcook chicken (especially the breast meat, which I hate anyway).
But the eggs you describe... sounds like a perfect breakfast... I hate crispy bacon, and I love soft and runny scrambled eggs.   Must be my eastern European genes.

Different strokes I guess. ;D

Ingredients / Re: Adding a big malt flavor to beer
« on: January 24, 2010, 08:20:06 PM »
Munich Malt does the trick for me.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing less than 5 gallon batches
« on: January 24, 2010, 08:40:21 AM »
Early on in my brewing when I was an avid extract brewer (we're talking more than 35 years ago)  I would often experiment with small batches.
But frankly, since going all grain many years ago there isn't really any point to doing less than 5gal batches because of the time factor involved  with all-grain. 

But if I were to once again do a smaller batch with extracts, I'd just use the equipment already on hand.  Aside from my regular fermentors, secondaries, etc., I have a couple 3 gal carboys and an assortment of 1 gal wine and juice jugs that would serve.

...At least partly because of Ballantine IPA's legendary status in American brewing, the style has been attempted in recent years by numerous microbrewers.

Attempted is the word. 
I am forever spoiled, with Bally IPA having been my go to beer from the late 60's  right up to the mid 80's when they stopped making it to the original specs.
It outclassed every IPA being made today by any brewer, big or small.  A few have come close, and I'll keep tasting them, but I haven't handed out any victory cigars yet. ;)

Meantime, my experiments with the homebrewed version continue...

Wood/Casks / Re: Wood aging with cubed oak or spirals
« on: January 17, 2010, 06:30:34 PM »
I like cubes (especially light or medium toast Hungarian oak) because that's what I'm accustomed to, they are easy to bake or steam-sanitize (a must do step for me),   and ultimately because after 20 years of using them,  I know what to expect from them  in terms of quantity and exposure time.  Whatever you use, it does take some experimentation to find that "sweet spot". 

American oak is fine but you do need to be especially careful with's so easy to overdo it.

The key with any oak though is to take it easy.  Too much is really cloying (though of course, it boils down to personal taste in the really have to find what you like).  But I've tasted some very good homebrews that would be great ones were it not for overdone wood character.

The secondary is a good place to add the wood, though if you have keg equipment, that is really the best place to do it.  You really do need to monitor the infusion of the oak flavors though.  Too much really can be quite unpleasant.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's your Favorite Style of Beer?
« on: January 16, 2010, 07:42:59 AM »

I have two favorites...on practically opposite ends of the flavor spectrum:

IPA (plenty bitter and aromatic but without any grassy late hop flavors).
Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy.

In truth, I  like most traditional "styles" except Belgian and Wheat beers, but the two types I've mentioned are beers I can enjoy anytime.

All Grain Brewing / Re: To dilute or not to dilute
« on: January 13, 2010, 12:56:56 PM »
...Is there a definition out there for classic American malt liquor?

It's such a weird category, and the name 'Malt Liquor' is apparently only a result of antiquated post prohibition (often on a local level) alcohol laws, so it probably shouldn't even be recognized as it's own "style" (like a lot of other categories too...but that's for another thread   ;)).  

I guess it has come to mean high alcohol beer regardless of the fermentation method (with the ghetto beers pretty universally having a very high adjunct-to-malt ratio as well).

But really, with beers like Optimator, Oktoberfest, and other more real "styles" being labeled as 'malt liquor' in some jurisdictions, I personally feel it makes the term pretty useless in general.

I'd just call it a strong lager...that's what it is before you dilute it, and that name covers it better than anything else.

As far as "to dilute, or not to dilute" (from the lost version of Hamlet, no?)    that's a decision only you can make...and it depends entirely on what you want to drink. 
As for me, I'd leave it alone.

The Pub / Re: The Nostradamus Effect, 2012, Armageddon?
« on: January 10, 2010, 01:40:21 AM »
How could I watch Fox news?

Fox News is reason enough to turn the TV off.
Fox News is reason enough to not even own a TV.

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