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Messages - drjones

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All Grain Brewing / Re: rising vs. falling mash temps
« on: June 04, 2013, 04:51:49 PM »
Thanks, Sean - that's a great link.  Nice work.
I'm still curious about the denaturing rate of beta-amylase at the upper end of its range.  It seems like enough survives a 158F dough-in if the reverse mash cools from there.  Clearly, the resulting conversion will be biased toward less fermentable sugars, but it seems there's plenty fermentable goodness left when all is said and done. Sounds like one should expect a couple of points higher FG, but not, say, 10 points higher.  I suppose if one were to mash-in at about 160F the results would be more exaggerated - though Lagunitas is making some pretty good beer in this temperature range, if what I hear is true. 
Of course, this all comes form the desire to be lazy, and just let the mash do its thing with less tinkering.

All Grain Brewing / rising vs. falling mash temps
« on: June 03, 2013, 04:54:22 PM »
Basic question:  What is the difference between a mash that starts at 148 and rises to 158 over an hour, vs. one that starts at 158 and drops to 148 over the same time period, assuming a comparable rate of temp change over time?  The risk of the high temp dough-in seems to be the increased potential to denature beta-amylase, leaving only alpha-amylase.  At what point is this really going to happen?  158F, 162F, or higher?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« on: May 21, 2013, 05:02:51 PM »
Keith hit the main points, but I'd also add that lagers are going to ferment slower than ales in general at the cool temps they prefer.  I've let mine go at least three weeks at 50 degrees F to finish out.  In addition to the starting temperature issue, it sounds like you tried to jump to the lagering stage a bit early.  Let the fermentation finish out first (jump in if anyone disagrees!), then transfer to secondary (or keg), and lager ("store") another month or two at close to freezing temps to let it settle out.  Keep at it - a clean traditional lager is with the effort and wait!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Grains on hand
« on: May 20, 2013, 05:04:44 PM »
I agree with all of the above.  As a rule, I'd keep a light crystal (20-40L, or carapils) on hand.  Balanced with a dark crystal (80-120L) - I've made good use of a 10 pound purchase of Crisp 77 for a number of beers, nice stuff and not the typical American 60L flavor.  I like to use a bit of melanoidan or aromatic for extra maltiness - but the Munich recommended by all will get you there, too.  When it comes to dark malts, I love the pale chocolate.
Good luck on keeping it simple, though.  Soon, you'll probably have a couple dozen bags of miscellaneous ingredients.  Just keep 'em labeled!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beers for the non-craft drinker
« on: May 15, 2013, 05:38:27 PM »
Though I've started doing all-grain now, it's good to know there are some inexpensive and quick extract brews I can throw together quickly if needed.
There's nothing better than doing a quickie kit beer after a couple of dozen all grain batches.  Feels like a holiday!

I jumped to all grain after a steeping kit and a partial mash kit, but primarily because a buddy had provided most of the equipment I needed to go there.  That aside, I've been recently impressed at how excellent a friend's kit beers have been.  It seems the main reason to take the plunge is when you want to work with Vienna, Munich, Rauch, Rye and straight wheat malts that will be hard to find as extracts.  Otherwise, I'm quite convinced that most of the kit manufacturers have really dialed in those recipes.  The rest is up the the brewer - good process=good beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beers for the non-craft drinker
« on: May 15, 2013, 05:15:17 PM »
Sometimes older people (40+) and non-beer-drinkers will dislike hop bitterness, but not know what that means, and assume that "light" in color means "light" in bitterness.
Ignoring the 40+ thing (I'm 49), I think this raises a good point.  What do people mean when they say "light"?  Most casual lager drinkers probably don't know themselves, but it seems it may be any of the following, probably in descending order of relevance:  color, bitterness, maltiness, calories, alcohol.  One of the things I love most about brewing is the range of possible expression and potential for creativity.  Want a straw-yellow, hopped-up, session beer - no problem.  How about a black, 15 IBU lager - why not!   
It makes me think back on my years in Cologne, ca. 1990.  Koelsch was king, of course, but as a beer novice I always found it a bit insipid (but nothing beat hanging out in an outdoor cafe drinking from those tall delicate glasses on a summer afternoon!).  Dusseldorf was nearby, but every time I'd order an Alt, I was disappointed by how bland it seemed for a "dark" beer.  I know a bit better now, but it helps me realize how confusing it can be to the "non-specialist."
Thanks for all the great recommendations.  I think I'll have to do a Koelsch soon for old times' sake and give that poor old Alt a second chance.  I suspect the neighbors will enjoy them both, and if they're lucky, I'll share the saison.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bottling prep
« on: May 14, 2013, 07:28:01 PM »
Why is using the dishwasher a better idea that Starsan? Seems much faster to just submerge in a bucket for a couple of minutes.
I've heard some horror stories from a local HBS about dishwasher sanitizing.  In this case, a guy was having sanitation issues from an unknown source - until they did a culture on the insides of his dishwasher and got all sorts of scary stuff growing on the plate.  I'm sure this depends a lot on the dishwasher - is it new, stainless, does it have a real sanitizing cycle?
I'm a bottle-only guy, and have probably capped at least 1200 in the past year.  Personally, I soak re-used bottles in oxyclean or PBW for a couple of days, bottle brush as needed, rinse, dry, store, then soak again in a tub of starsan on bottling day.  I'll sometimes use the dishwasher to rinse after a cleaning soak, but I always go with the starsan soak before bottling.  I have a classic (non-spraying) bottling tree, and can't imagine bottling without it.  The caps are dumped in a bowlful of starsan beside me on the floor, then the fun begins. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beers for the non-craft drinker
« on: May 14, 2013, 07:03:42 PM »
Jeff, how do you usually add the Poblanos?  Fresh or dried, whole or ground, into the boil or secondary?  Sounds interesting!

General Homebrew Discussion / Beers for the non-craft drinker
« on: May 14, 2013, 04:51:53 PM »
The question we all dread - "Do you have something light?"  So, what to do for your non-craft beer buddies?  I continue to be surprised that such folks are happy to drink what I consider a rather flavorless pseudo Berliner Weisse I made a while back.  This very light (ca. 3.5%ABV) ale was made with 8% acidulated malt, a 2-row base, a dash of cara-pils and US-05 dry yeast.  I find it pretty close to water, but these American light lager drinkers seem to enjoy it.  What are your own experiences appealing to their curious palates?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: April 16, 2013, 05:43:57 PM »
Transferred my first Belle Saison trial to secondary yesterday.  OG 1.056 (pilz, wheat, aromatic malts, 1 lb light jaggery, mashed at 148).  Made a 1500 ml starter 24 hours ahead.  Based on my refractometer (adjusted with BeerSmith2) it was down to 1.000 after 8 days (I should note that I did not even add any yeast nutrient to the starter).  I'm sure the refractometer estimate is not perfect, but this yeast clearly ate through the batch pretty ferociously.  I ferment my saisons in a small room with a space heater.  This one was kept at about 76-78 degrees after the second day.  In the past I've used Wyeast French Saison 3711 which has always worked well (no stalls at similar ca. 80 degree temps).  This one seems to have behaved similarly.  Just had a small sample, but did not take specific notes.  Had a "classic" saison aroma, though, and was already a very pleasant beer.  I will certainly use this one again.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Quick souring method
« on: April 04, 2013, 05:02:33 PM »
It is truly a strange brew.  I've tried to reproduce something like a 14th or 15th century London ale based on some reading.  I have no idea if this is even close, and the result is certainly not what anyone today would consider a good beer.  They may not call it beer at all!  However, if I put aside my assumptions, the result is a refreshing, light beverage (3% alcohol), and I can see that people would have enjoyed it in the days before hops became accepted. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Quick souring method
« on: April 03, 2013, 08:51:42 PM »
Thanks, rockhopper.  That makes sense.  I was going to bottle this yesterday, but fermentation kicked back in and the ale clouded.  Has a new funky odor. But still tastes fine.  A bit spritzy, but not sour.  I'd rather it cleared up again before bottling, but I'm not sur how much longer it has before it just spoils.
I could not pin down the aroma, but my wife says "sourdough cheese sandwich" so something kind of interesting is going on.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brett in Berlinner?
« on: April 03, 2013, 05:09:02 PM »
My question relates to Tom's.  I started a "no boil" unhopped ale recently as an experiment.  I was not trying to produce a sour beer, but the method was similar to some used in Berliner Weiss sour mashes.  The cooled wort  (used Crisp ale malt) was immediately pitched with a dry Cal ale yeast (rather than letting it sour first).  It fermented a week with a typical krausen, which settled out as the ale clarified during the first half of week 2.  I intended to bottle this after 14 days, but fermentation has kicked back in, a new krausen (light and bubbly) has developed and the beer is cloudy with yeast again.  The gravity during the first week went from 1030 to 1007.  The flavor at that time was not sweet, nor had it appreciably soured.  After 14 days it has a definite funk aroma, but it is more yeasty than anything else.  The flavor is mild, fresh and somewhat "spritzy" but far from lactic or acetic.  I assume a wild yeast has kicked itself into gear.  Any thoughts?  Again, this is primarily just an experiment, but I wonder what bugs or wild yeast strains might have been on the malt.  I expected it to develop more lacto.  Overall, it seems to have been relatively clean malt, but this new recent activity was a surprise.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stuck Fermentation
« on: March 29, 2013, 10:08:48 PM »
Ckujawa - Once you get in the habit of using the refractometer on fermenting wort and running the numbers in a calculator to make the appropriate conversion, you'll be glad you have it.  I use the tool built into beersmith2 and it is very straightforward.  Different calculators use somewhat different functions to make the gravity conversion, so it is always an estimate, but I find the refractometer much more convenient than a hydrometer.  Also, they are significantly less fragile! 

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