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Messages - The Professor

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Foster's Premium Ale
« on: April 20, 2010, 07:56:53 PM »
The caramel coloring shouldn't be a surprise. 
What is surprising is that the US  brewers making the stuff under contract are so up front about telling you they use  it!

In any case, there's nothing wrong with using it...many of the best ales brewed in the UK evidently make use of it, since it can make a subtle flavor contribution as well....they just don't usually mention it on their labels.

You're right about it being easy to drink and I do remember enjoying it for precisely that reason.  I found it to be pretty nicely balanced.
(I last tried it out of curiosity when the Miller made version appeared on the shelves) .

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sam Adams Long Shot Six Pack
« on: April 20, 2010, 07:43:41 PM »
Looking forward to this sampler.
I'll probably just give away the bottles of Lemon Pepper Saison but am very anxious to try the Barleywine and Old Ale (and you're me the two are practically the same category...and two of my favorite beer styles lately after years of drinking mondo-hopped ales).

As far as Barleywines being too sweet, that is often the case, and to me (or at least to my personal tastes)  that characteristic is just the mark of a badly made or prematurely consumed one.
I don't know what kind of aging  the SA brewed version of the winning entry was given (or for that matter, how much age the actual entry had on it when judged)...perhaps when the recipe was stepped up for commercial sale it was tweaked a bit to reflect and compensate for not being aged as long before bottling.  I wonder...

In any case, while I prefer some age on many of the beers I make myself,   a good amount of age is practically mandatory for my enjoyment of a barleywine, since the aging softens the sweetness somewhat as well as the hotness of the alcohol,  while retaining the malty richness.

I'm sipping on one of my last bottles of a 2 year old barleywine as I write this. 
And I'm kvelling.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Light Munich Malt
« on: April 20, 2010, 07:27:24 PM »
It makes a fantastic lager as 100% of the grist.
I also use at least some in practically every ale I make as well, and have always used a hefty proportion of it in my Wee Heavy...there's probably no good reason not to use 100% there too.

Experiment !!! 
Besides the fact that it's your beer,   there are no rules anyway, at least none worth slavishly adhering to (except for maybe sanitation).

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada 30
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:15:44 AM »
The 'Fritz and Ken's' has made it's way to the East Coast in recent weeks...I just picked up a few bottles in central NJ. 
I'm looking forward to trying one this weekend and will probably pick up a couple more to hide away.  It will be interesting to see how this beer ages, as it seems like a good candidate for that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too green! Dry hop question
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:10:25 AM »
  Lately I've been experimenting more with distilled hop oil for aroma as well...I'm getting pretty close to the result I'm really looking for with that. 

That would be "hop shots" ?

I don't know...I'm not familiar with 'hop shots'. 
The hop oil I've been trying to produce (after trying a couple of very expensive commercial ones)  is rather like the  distilled hop oil that the Ballantine brewery made in house for use in their ales;  it, along with their extended aging in wood for certain of their products, pretty much defined their beers, particularly their very bitter and aromatic  IPA which I enjoyed so much.  The contribution of the hop oil was predominately aromatic (and intensely so), although there was a flavor component too.  They used the hop oil in addition to dry hopping during the aging period  (relatively short term for their regular XXX ale, and longer in the large wooden storage vessels where the IPA and Burton ales were aged.

Although I've managed to come close, my home attempts at making the hop oil have unfortunately been rather inconsistent thus far.  I'll keep trying though....

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too green! Dry hop question
« on: April 19, 2010, 03:29:42 PM »
To me, 20g seems like a lot for a 5 gal batch (28g=1oz) unless you have a real short contact time.

When I dry hop anything, I rarely use more than 1/4oz (that's 7g) for a 5 gal batch;

Around here, we call that "why didn't you dry hop it?".  ;)  I never use less than an oz., often 2-3 oz. of mixed varieties.  And I frequently use my homegrown Cascades.  I guess it just a question of different people. different tastes.

 ;D  HA.  I know what you're saying Denny...and you're right, as always it really just boils down to individual taste.

I know it seems low (and I guess in looking back, I do use more than that in my own IPA)...but for most of the regular quaffing ales I make, the 1/4 oz seems to do pretty well...I wind up with a nice floral aroma with no grassy-ness whatsoever.  Depends a little on the varieties used, but the stated amount kept at cellar temps for a few days or a week does it for the average brew.

Even so (and again, it's just habit and personal preference) I tend to use a bit less dry hop than most, but will opt for longer contact time if need be.  Lately I've been experimenting more with distilled hop oil for aroma as well...I'm getting pretty close to the result I'm really looking for with that. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too green! Dry hop question
« on: April 18, 2010, 04:22:11 PM »
To me, 20g seems like a lot for a 5 gal batch (28g=1oz) unless you have a real short contact time.

When I dry hop anything, I rarely use more than 1/4oz (that's 7g) for a 5 gal batch;  I dry hop in the keg and leave it at cellar temps for a day or two then get it into the cold.  I'll then taste it until I get the level of dryhop effect  I want, then get it off of the dry hops into another keg (or if I'm designing the beer for bottling, I'll dry hop for a week or two then get it into the bottles from the keg).
The amounts and timings are variable, depending on what's needed for any particular  beer.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs Clarity-Ferm
« on: April 17, 2010, 10:47:35 AM »
Never heard of it.  Sounds interesting, but I'd like to know what's in it, too.

Me too.

I also wonder what the trade off (if any) is for a 'shortcut' solution like this is in terms of the end product compared to just giving the brew time to clear on it's own. 

Other Fermentables / Re: Clarifying mead
« on: April 17, 2010, 10:43:10 AM »
If you're in a hurry cou van use the clearing agents, and I have used them myself a couple of times...they do the job quite efficently, but you don't really need them.   
I usually just let my meads clear on their own schedule. 
The end product has always been noticeably better that way (to my taste buds, anyway). 

The Pub / Re: Healthy Beer
« on: April 17, 2010, 07:21:31 AM »
This represents a new low in beer.
I'm getting so tired of the "unusual ingredients" trend (fad?) that some breweries seem to be embracing.  I guess there's an audience for it, but as for me, I find a well made 'real' beer to be much more interesting and compelling.

Seems like a fine fit to me, especially if you can manage to ferment a bit  on the cooler side  as an authentic Scottish ale would be anyway (but not at lager temps). 

Either way, It's worth a shot.

All Things Food / Re: Ethnic Cooking
« on: April 13, 2010, 09:06:17 PM »
English pub fare tonight.

Used some of that lard.
Steak and Kidney pie.....

A thing of beauty.  LOVE steak and kidney pie...I hate it when places dumb it down to be "steak and mushroom" pie.

I learned growing up that offal is not awful.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cost Per Batch?
« on: April 11, 2010, 09:39:22 PM »
I buy malt from a brewpub for $0.50/pound. hops by the pound and dry yeast for basic recipes.  Even figuring equipment costs of $5 per batch, which is probably twice what it really is,   I can easily brew 10 gallons of a standard porter, pale ale or oatmeal stout for under $25.  I don't brew to save money, I never have, but the way I see it is that the money saved can be spent on my next beer focused vacation.

Sounds about right to me...I generally pay a similar amount for my malts (when I can),  I buy hops in bulk, and have been using primarily the same yeast since 1989.  I can make 5 gal of a standard brew for under $10.00 and some pretty hefty brews for the winter months for anywhere from $13.00 -18.00 per 5 gal.  Not too many years ago (less than 10 years ago) , I was buying Crisp Maris for less than $18.00 per sack and the costs per batch were even lower.

Brewing at home began for me almost 40 years ago as a "can I do it" kind of challenge.  The cost savings over commercial beer was never really the main issue, but it is a great benefit of homebrewing (and especially appreciated these days);  for at least the last 15-20 years there has been no real reason to buy any commercial beer other than curiosity or research.  It's actually been quite a LONG time since I bought a commercial beer that I wished I could emulate.

Me tooo...

Based on experience it appears many of us HB'ers also like to limit our consumption during the brew session. I generally won't pour a beer until the wort is chilling.

You have better restraint than I.

All Things Food / Re: Beans
« on: April 10, 2010, 04:51:55 PM »
Here's a great recipe I like to use with anything BBQ.

2 cups navy beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup of your fav BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.
2.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
3.Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.
4.In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
5.Bake for 3 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

Well damn, that looks good...gonna give it a spin!

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