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Messages - dmtaylor

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46
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: most common off-flavors
« on: April 14, 2016, 05:41:02 AM »
By the way... a personal peeve of mine.... astringency is WAY less prevalent than most judges will tell you.  I would say that 3 times out of 4 that a judge uses the term "slight astringency", they are in fact full of crap, trying to show off their judging prowess or something.  This occurs greatly with inexperienced judges but unfortunately often continues farther up the ranks.  While astringency is indeed very possible, I've experienced it many times, the term is WAY overused.... Be cognizant of this common error.

I just read Marshall's new analysis of how smart people think they are when it comes to tasting beer.  And just look how many friggin people think they are experts when it comes to tasting "astringency".  The result is disproportionate, and I believe supports my previous statements just about perfectly.  Check this out:

http://brulosophy.com/2016/04/14/under-the-surface-results-from-the-homebrewers-perceived-abilities-survey/

47
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Danstar Windsor
« on: April 14, 2016, 03:59:21 AM »
Re-bump:

how'bout using Windsor in a barley wine? I've planned a 1.120 OG barley wine next weekend, which I could dump onto the cake of the this bitter. Should make for a pretty lively yeast, I reckon. Just not sure how well Windsor holds up to a potential 12% abv...

Very dangerous.  Your result of 76% attenuation is very anomylous.  Using Windsor in a 1.120 wort is sure to give you a final gravity >1.040 unless maybe you add a ton of sugar and mash low for many hours or overnight, and even then... I would not recommend trying this.

48
All Grain Brewing / Re: getting rid of clorine
« on: April 11, 2016, 05:04:46 PM »
I'm so lazy, I find dicking around to get a Campden tablet to dissolve to be a pain.
My approach is to put the tab under a piece of plastic wrap and smack it with something heavy. It turns to an easily dissolvable powder with minimal effort. Plus, taking my aggression out on the tablet helps clear my head from all the other math and measuring that was done during the water treatment.

I crush the tablet in my fingers.  They're soft and it's fun.

Chumley, consider storing your Campden right next to your peroxide.  Then next time you'll enable a lazy choice.

49
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: most common off-flavors
« on: April 11, 2016, 08:47:07 AM »
Big ones in approximate order of how often they seem to occur (with my own definitions of flavor descriptors):

1) DMS (creamed corn, cabbage, celery, rotten vegetables)
2) Hot alcohol / solvent (bad vodka)
3) Oxidation (wet cardboard & sadness)
4) Diacetyl (butter or butterscotch or slickness)
5) Extract twang (metallic caramel & hint of banana)

I'm somewhat sensitive to DMS, so I might pick on it more than it is perceived by others.  I don't usually pick it up in my own beers.  I think it's due to less than adequate boil rigor primarily, and I boil every batch super vigorously.

Solvent flavors basically come from fermenting too hot.  Keep it cool, eh?!

There are different forms of oxidation, but the stale form will happen to any/every beer with enough age, so it's always a possibility.

The other stuff really doesn't happen as much anymore in my experience.  Even diacetyl isn't as prevalent as much anymore, and extract twang is less and less prevalent, at least with brewers who've got a couple years experience and know to use fresh dry extract.

By the way... a personal peeve of mine.... astringency is WAY less prevalent than most judges will tell you.  I would say that 3 times out of 4 that a judge uses the term "slight astringency", they are in fact full of crap, trying to show off their judging prowess or something.  This occurs greatly with inexperienced judges but unfortunately often continues farther up the ranks.  While astringency is indeed very possible, I've experienced it many times, the term is WAY overused.  People describe it like a bitterness in the flavor.  I've even seen a Master judge use the term when describing the aroma!  Totally, totally wrong.  It's a dryness, as if you're sucking on a sponge or have been mouth-breathing in the Mojave Desert.  Can best be duplicated by chewing a while on grape skins, after the juice is all gone, just keep chewing on those skins.  That dryness, which is also a sort of spiciness, is astringency, and it's usually caused either by pH problems or by wild critters.  It's not the same as bitterness.  Be cognizant of this common error.

50
All Grain Brewing / Re: Upper (dulute) limit on Mash Thickness
« on: April 11, 2016, 07:52:32 AM »
I have heard figures of 3-4 qt/lb as being the upper limit -- beyond that, theoretically you might start to lose efficiency or extract tannins due to pH problems.  So, to be safe, personally I wouldn't recommend going above 3 qt/lb.  Will you still make good beer if you go above that point?  Well yeah, probably.  But keeping it down under 3 qt/lb is good insurance if you're not sure.  If anyone has experience to the contrary, then please share!  Let somebody else be the guinea pig!  ;)

51
I'm starting to wish there were more comps with a 50/50 mix of homebrews and commercials, so we could find out for sure how things stack up.  I'd find it interesting.  I actually do something similar to this when running my own homebrew club's small club-only comps -- I always add an extra commercial example to compare blindly with our homebrews.  Funny how the commercial beer has blindly never ever gotten any higher than 4th or 3rd place maximum (out of an average 8-9 entries), and is often much lower.  Wish I could see this done on a bigger scale.  Bottom line really in my view is that it shouldn't matter.  These days, homebrewers are making beers every bit as good as commercial, or even better.  It wasn't always like this, but it definitely is like that now.

I can also see how a commercial brewer could never really "win" a homebrew comp.  They'll be ribbed either way like others said unless they entered as a pseudonym.  And maybe they do, once in a while, but not that any of us should really care either.  What difference does it really make?  None.

52
All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 10, 2016, 11:30:01 AM »
You should experience an increase in efficiency of at least 5-10% with a double sparge.

195 F is perfect sparge temp for batch sparging.  You did good.

I never have, Dave.  MAYBE 2%, but mostly nothing.

Hmm... it's worked for me.  The higher efficiency I've seen might be more due to collecting extra wort and boiling longer, though (like 105-120 minutes).  You and I may both be right when you include that additional variable.

53
All Grain Brewing / Re: getting rid of clorine
« on: April 10, 2016, 11:26:42 AM »
I'm in the "campden is cheap insurance" camp.  You can buy a 25 pack from morebeer for 2 dollars.  At 1/2 a tablet per 10 gallons, you are talking 4 cents a batch.   I'd rather pay the 4 cents and not wonder if my filter is running slow enough actually get every bit of the chloramine out.  Chlorophenolic off flavors are detectable in very low amounts, and when they are there, they are horrible.

Yes!  Totally agree.  Campden is super cheap, and chlorophenol is horrible.

54
All Grain Brewing / Re: getting rid of clorine
« on: April 10, 2016, 06:32:39 AM »
I have found evidence on the WI DNR website that Milwaukee has used chloramines since at least about 2005.  Campden then is your safest bet.  Search around on here if you like, that's where I got it from:

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/DrinkingWater/QualityData.html

55
All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 11:00:50 AM »
Any estimation on the type of efficiency achieved by using this method? (For projection sake next time)

What temperature do you heat the sparge water to? Is 195* safe to use?

You should experience an increase in efficiency of at least 5-10% with a double sparge.

195 F is perfect sparge temp for batch sparging.  You did good.

56
All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 09:42:10 AM »
Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?

The oats didn't hurt anything, that's not an issue.

Split the sparge in half.  Try to get 1/3 of your total preboil volume from the first runnings, then 1/3 from the first sparge and 1/3 from the second sparge.  The two sparges are the same 1/3 of the total each.

57
All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 09:03:49 AM »
Big beer, lots of grain = lower efficiency.  That's all this is, I think.  Could also be that the grains weren't crushed quite enough.  But the bigness of the desired beer and the big grain bill was the real killer.  For a big beer it's a good idea to double-sparge and boil for a long time, like 100-120 minutes, to rinse more of the sugars out of those grains and concentrate down more.  Otherwise you throw a lot of sugars away with just a single sparge because so much wort stays soaked into the huge grain bill.

Unlike the advice of others, for a big beer I also REDUCE the water to grain ratio, down to about 1.0 qt/lb.  This likewise forces you to sparge more, helping your efficiency significantly.

Otherwise, about 65% is about the best efficiency you could have hoped for, in my experience, with just a single sparge of a desired 1.080 beer.  So, 55% wasn't bad really.

58
All Grain Brewing / Re: getting rid of clorine
« on: April 08, 2016, 07:25:16 AM »
MKE uses a lot of chlorine.  Definitely use 1/4 Campden tablet per 5 gallons water.  Cheap insurance indeed.

59
Life is too short to drink bad beer.....

I say this more and more now anytime I'm drinking anything other than an imported German lager or truly classic example made in the States such as Lakefront Maibock (man is that beer ever awesome).   ;D

Jeez, I should really be brewing more lagers, and dumping way more batches.  Like probably 3/4 of them.

Actually my phrase is something more like, "Life is too short to drink anything other than world-class."  That's what I really mean.

60
I have dumped 11 batches in the past 11 years.  11 years ago, my average batch size was 3 gallons.  Today my average batch size is 2 gallons.  Overall average was probably around 2.7 gallons.  So, I have dumped an overall average of about 2.7 gallons per year.  However, I have responded 0 gallons because I have now dumped only 1 batch in the past 4 years, and hopefully have improved both my sanitation practices (now use glass fermenters only) and recipe formulations (due to research and experience) such that I won't need to dump any more hopefully.

So there you have my long-winded justification to go along with my brief click of the 0 number.  Not to mention, your survey didn't break down the gallons to figures between 0 and 5.   ;D

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