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Messages - dmtaylor

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Wort Hopping
« on: Today at 08:01:23 AM »
FWH is no more special than boil hops.  Add them anytime before reaching a boil, or even a minute or two after.  You shouldn't be able to taste any difference.

The Pub / Re: Shrubs
« on: July 26, 2017, 10:56:46 AM »
I've tried making shrub before.  It was probably just a bad recipe, but I found the vinegar character to be just too overpowering, burning my throat, so I dumped it.  And I like vinegar a lot, on salads or for dipping bread into, etc.  It might just be more a matter of finding the right ratio of vinegar to fruit juice.  Perhaps just 5-10% vinegar is all that's appropriate.  I don't know much more about shrubs.

Now kombucha, on the other hand.... I just made my first kombucha, and damn, it turned out just perfectly wonderful on my very first try.  Took 13 days to get to just the right amount of vinegar where you can taste it without getting burned.  Currently in bottles.  Popped the first bottle a few days ago and it wasn't carbonated yet, so I'll open the next one in another couple days.  But it was so easy.  The only downside really is the time involved.... 13 days to ferment, then another 7? 10? days to carbonate.  I'll know more soon.

Other Fermentables / Re: Questions on a First mead
« on: July 24, 2017, 08:20:54 AM »
I think 1.5 lb/gallon fruit sounds right.  You can definitely get this done in time for Christmas.  I would use the sweet mead yeast (4184?) if you want to retain sweetness, otherwise it will ferment longer and taste more dry with most other yeasts.


76% with 3787? Did you do that on purpose?! 😉

No, I'm not quite sure what happened with that one.  It was my first time with that strain and it was super sluggish for some reason even fermenting at room temp.  It turned out okay but not awesome.

Wait.... Yeah, that is pretty normal for this strain, no?  Maybe you were thinking of 3711?

The Pub / Re: song title game
« on: July 17, 2017, 02:55:48 PM »
No Way Out - Peter Gabriel

OK, you believe it.  Any evidence you can offer?

Well, I haven't done laboratory-quality experiments, but here's specific numerical data from my last 10 batches so you can review it and decide for yourself if you think I'm full of crap:

Yes, these were all single infusions.  Temperatures are averaged over the course of the mash, typically starting about 3-4 degrees higher and falling 3-4 degrees lower than the numbers reported.


I'm big on single infusion, almost always do.  And, I don't believe beta amylase is denatured as fast as some folks might be led to believe.  I think it lasts a good while, such that starting a mash at 152 F which then falls to like 145 F within say 45 minutes (like mine does!) still allows people (like me!) to reap most of the benefits of beta.  My beers usually attenuate pretty normally depending on strain, like in the 70s for many yeasts or up to 80-82% for US-05 (which I use quite a bit), which I think is all pretty normal.  Sure, many of your English yeasts will attenuate less in the 60s like normal too.  But I haven't noticed anything odd, and I really don't fret over insulating the mash tun.  I just aim a few degrees high then let it fall.  I say all this, and, I only mash for 40-45 minutes on average, which should in theory reduce my attenuation even more.... but it really doesn't.  Maybe by a couple percent, but not where I'd really notice it too much.  Sure, if I want super high attenuation, I'll mash longer, and it does improve attenuation.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Using very hard water for all beer styles???
« on: July 17, 2017, 01:54:35 PM »
Dave, I have no real idea and am curious about it too, but is it possible these phosphates could later bind with other things in the mash or boil since it is acidic?  Kinda like having to rack off chalk that was precipitated from preboiling?

I'm no expert, but as I indicated above, I *believe* phosphate, IF it were to be present in beer in detectable quantities, will only re-dissolve into the beer in presence of:

1) more acid / lower pH -- this happens naturally during fermentation, but with adequate vorlauf is unlikely to remain in the wort in detectable quantities;

2) ammonium -- could occur during fermentation as a result of yeast death, again only with inadequate vorlauf;

3) sodium -- more likely to occur with a purposely salted beer such as gose, or with bad source water;

4) potassium -- well uh.... I don't think potassium is really a big thing in most beer, excepting gose again, or maybe oyster stout or something goofy like that.

Which leads me to believe that unless you've got really cloudy wort at the start of fermentation, or maybe if your Brewing in a Bag (BIAB) and just letting all your crud go right into your boil kettle, a phosphoric flavor in the finished beer is very unlikely.  This is interesting to think about...... it might be reason for a BIAB'er to consider recirculating or filtering somehow, IF they use phosphoric and notice any add twang to the final beer.  My guess is that it's probably very very rare, if it happens to anyone at all ever.

Sort of interesting to think about all this.  That said, I'm probably way off, and would be interested to hear Dr. Brungard's thoughts on all this.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Using very hard water for all beer styles???
« on: July 17, 2017, 10:08:31 AM »
Good idea, it's always best to try things for yourself. 

I recall Gordon Strong saying that while phosphoric acid is neutral but using more of it in high alkalinity water leads to a soda pop type flavor.  I agree.  I think acid is best used with water under 100ppm ALK or so.  If that were my water, I'd cut 50/50 with RO for ales and do 100% RO on lagers.  I fooled with lime treatment but felt it was too time consuming.  Really cool to see the science though...

I'm probably misunderstanding or oversimplifying something regarding the pH of aqueous solutions or whatever, however I do also feel compelled to share a thought with you all, which you can feel free to research and validate or refute....

A very long time ago, I think I learned in college a general "rule of thumb": that nearly all phosphates (except hydrogen phosphate, a.k.a. phosphoric acid) are insoluble in water.  As such, I have always figured that this is likely why phosphoric acid is so flavor neutral, because anything it touches, at least in water/aqueous solutions, turns into some insoluble solid mass that precipitates out of solution, which unless you eat it on purpose, you should not taste at all in your final beer, because it cannot be in the beer!

So, if you can taste a "soda pop" character from too much phosphoric, then you've likely succeeded in completely obliterating any and all cations that may be dissolved in the water, leaving behind nothing but H3O+ hydronium (a.k.a., H+) with the phosphate (PO4---) and maybe some other anions, which is I think is very unlikely unless you were to use just a ton of it.

Martin or others, feel free to fix me where I'm wrong.


EDIT: Looks like sodium and potassium also play nice with phosphate, as well as ammonium.  Not that it matters much for most beers besides like gose or something like that.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Attenuation question
« on: July 14, 2017, 06:25:12 PM »
Yes, this is your problem:

- I brew using Briess liquid extract

Try dry malt extract instead.

Thanks! Why is DME more fermentable?

DME isn’t more fermentable than LME.  It’s just less twangy, i.e., doesn’t stale as easily.

I was also under the (mistaken?) assumption that your darker beers had lower attenuation because in fact darker extracts are less fermentable than lighter ones, as others mentioned as well.

The Pub / Re: Tipping ettiquite
« on: July 14, 2017, 12:08:03 PM »
Apparently I'm procrastinating at my place of work again, oops.

I was just thinking again, that I should probably back off on my current standard tipping rate of 20-25%.  And I can tell you why:

I worked in a restaurant for 9 years (mostly cooking in the kitchen, 7 years).  They had the utmost respect for the customers, their mantra was "the customer is always right", etc.  They treated us employees very very well also, and everyone from dishwasher to head cook got a cut of the tips, commensurate with their job and performance.  It was all very fair.  But the thing that for some reason always stuck out for me: The hostess or server was always expected to tell the kitchen when the table included young children, so that in the kitchen we could purposely speed up their order where possible.  Why?  Kids generally have less patience, are more noisy, drive their parents and nearby customers crazy, etc., and it's just a win-win for everyone if we get them their food and let them stay or go whenever they're ready, rather than having them wait 30-40 minutes for their food to arrive because they showed up at the busiest time of the night or whatever.  Senior citizens were not treated the opposite, but rather everyone else's orders were prepared in the order they were received in most cases unless someone told us they were in a hurry.  If several orders popped in at the same time, the orders for tables of 2-4 were put ahead of the tables of 6+, because more people would expect to have to wait longer anyway.  Might seem odd to anyone not familiar, but I swear there was a method to the madness, and I wish every place would care as much as this place did/does.

Now having 3 kids of my own, I really have the most respect for places that recognize that maybe we don't necessarily intend to kill 75 minutes at the restaurant; maybe we'd prefer to get our food in ~20 minutes so we can go out and do something else.  All too often, your server couldn't care less about their tip or their customer.  I shouldn't be tipping those people 20%, but for whatever reason, I do anyway.  I really shouldn't.  15% is fine for those who only do an adequate job or even less than adequate.

But for bussing and/or wiping tables?  Nah, that's not even worth a dollar IMO, although I do it anyway.  I wouldn't tip the janitor at McDonalds, so why should any other place where you order your own stuff and clean up after yourself be any different?

This is an advanced topic.  Opinions as well as "facts" are all over the place on the usefulness of the different rests or lack thereof.  I second the motion to review  In all honesty, you can make fantastic beer without knowing anything about this topic.

Others may beg to differ, and may provide you with more information, and I'm cool with that.

The Pub / Re: Tipping ettiquite
« on: July 14, 2017, 07:07:53 AM »
My view:

If you can set your empty glassware in a bus bucket at the end of the session, then do not tip a single penny.

If a bus boy is running around cleaning glasses and wiping tables, a buck would be all that's appropriate, but it's still purely optional.

This coming from a guy who 99% of the time tips a server >20% at any standard bar or restaurant.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Attenuation question
« on: July 14, 2017, 05:30:03 AM »
Yes, this is your problem:

- I brew using Briess liquid extract

Try dry malt extract instead.

I'll just leave this here as well:

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Cost of a Sixer?
« on: July 13, 2017, 11:34:03 AM »
I realize that, it was a semi-rhetorical question. The issue is that people aren't discerning, and will pay those prices. The "old" prices would come back if folks stopped shelling out for over-priced beer.

Yup.  And they won't.

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