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Messages - dmtaylor

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571
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lacto Fears
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:30:21 PM »
Several years ago, I purposely made a sour beer, fermented in plastic buckets.  For the next 3 batches after that using the same buckets, these batches became Lacto contaminated unintentially.  This was true even after soaking the buckets in bleach solution for over a week.

Moral of the story -- Don't be as cheap as I am.  Do yourself a huge favor and spend the $15 or whatever to buy new buckets and hoses.  That's what I ended up doing.

572
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Basic Fermentation Temperature Question
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:25:53 PM »
Let's talk mills - Denny, you've got a JSP right?  What about you Dave? :)

JSP?  What's that?

I absolutely refused to buy a grain mill due to the cost, but I did accept one as a gift for Christmas a couple years ago.  I am now the very happy owner of a BarleyCrusher malt mill, with premium aluminium body and 7-lb hopper.  But before that, I sincerely used a blender to "crush" all of my grains -- and I did this successfully for about 30 batches.  Works great, if you're super cheap like me.

I win.

573
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WY3068...Sulfur at kegging.
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:20:33 PM »
Nice thing about sulfur is that it always disappears with age.  Give it another week or two, and it will either be gone, or so subtle that you'll really need to search for it on your palate to detect it at all.

574
I'm most likely the cheapest, most ghetto brewer in the entire nation

I'd be willing to challenge ya for that title, Dave!

Denny, do you boil on your stovetop?  Do you ferment solely in plastic buckets?  Use the winter weather for lagering vs. a fermentation fridge?  ;)

575
All Grain Brewing / Re: What would you call this beer?
« on: May 31, 2011, 11:54:53 AM »
I'm glad it will still fit into the style type that Denny recommended...

Well, sure, doesn't take much to fit a beer into the "beer" category.  ;)

576
I'm most likely the cheapest, most ghetto brewer in the entire nation, but...... even if I wasn't, I couldn't see shelling out any dough at all for a temperature controlled system if I was happy with the ales I was making in my basement in the low 60s.

Which I am.  And which, it seems, you are, too.

577
All Grain Brewing / Re: What would you call this beer?
« on: May 31, 2011, 08:31:45 AM »
Looks to me like an American Amber Ale, or maybe Brown if it gets that dark.

http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style10.php#1b

Sound about right to you?

578
Ingredients / Re: Honey malt - should I bother?
« on: May 30, 2011, 01:32:00 PM »
Sean, I like honey malt.  I probably wouldn't use 12%, but you can certainly do 5% with excellent results, or maybe 7 or 8% without it getting too overpowering.  Go for it.

579
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Specialty grain mash converted?
« on: May 30, 2011, 01:27:52 PM »
I could be wrong, but I believe aromatic malt has some enzymes, and Vienna definitely has plenty, and this was only a partial mash... so why should we be very surprised that this converted?  At 80 minutes, it was definitely mashed long enough to give those enzymes time to work.

Five days isn't much time to expect fermentation to be complete.  Warm it up and give it more time -- you might be pleasantly surprised that the gravity falls a few more points.  Maybe no lower than 1.022 with all the extract and crystal you've got in there, but this is more likely a result of bad extract than a bad mash... perhaps some combination of the two effects, but my wager is on the extract and crystal being the more limiting factors.

580
All Grain Brewing / Re: too effecient?
« on: May 28, 2011, 06:34:00 AM »
High efficiency doesn't mean you're extracting undesirables, not at all.  It just means you're crushing your grains enough and getting the sugars out efficiently (go figure!).  Seriously, I've hit 90% efficiency, and the beer doesn't taste bad, not at all.

581
All Grain Brewing / Re: All Grain Efficancy
« on: May 27, 2011, 04:42:32 AM »
Measure your efficency before the boil. It has nothing to do with after the boil.
I know what you're trying to say tubercle, but this is misleading.  You can measure your efficiency in the kettle before or after the boil, it doesn't matter.  The efficiency will not change.  You can measure it in the fermenter and it will be lower than in the kettle because of losses, but that's just a different kind of efficiency.

Efficiency is just the sugar content of the volume.  If you collect more and boil it down you will have a higher gravity, thus a higher efficiency.  But the boil didn't (and can't) change the efficiency.

+1.  It's a matter of science.

582
All Grain Brewing / Re: All Grain Efficancy
« on: May 24, 2011, 04:16:51 AM »
It's mostly about the crush, but there's a tradeoff between grinding into flour versus being able to run it off.  Every system is a little different, but why not push the limit and see what your system can do.

Boil time and batch size also make a difference.  It's easier to get higher efficiency with smaller batches because percentagewise, you can collect more runnings out of a smaller amount of grain, so you're basically "wasting" less of the malt sugars.  The more wort you collect (and boil off) out of the lesser amount of grain, the higher your efficiency will be.  I see this on my 3-gallon batches when I can easily hit 90% efficiency on my system.  Basically, when I'm done sparging, there's not a whole lot of sugar left in the grains anymore because I still need to sparge to get enough wort in the kettle for ~4.5 gallons, then boil off a whopping ~25% of that over the course of an hour.  If I do a longer boil, efficiency goes up even more because I need to sparge even more to get my preboil volume.

583
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: More malt flavor/mouth feel
« on: May 22, 2011, 08:32:42 PM »
It's largely a matter of control.  You have no way of knowing what sort of grains or whatever the extract maker might have used to reach the dark color.  It can also affect fermentability - seems that the darker the extract, the less fermentable.  And extract has enough unfermentability already.

+1000.  Hokerer hit this right on the nose.  And bottom line is taste.  If you like your extract beers made with the dark extract, then by all means, continue on with it.  But if your stouts end up tasting like caramel and molasses instead of coffee, etc., then you might want to switch over to light extract plus a lot of roasted grains.  In other words, get you color and flavor from your own grain, not just whatever some extract manufacturer has thrown in there.

584
Nice idea.  Thoughts:

You should be able to dig up a lot of data just by visiting all the competitions' websites.  You'll at least get the top 3 entries for each style, and you can usually go back for a few years to see what might have been winning then as well, IF you're interested in past data.  I mean, why not -- I wouldn't limit new style possibilities to fads that are only popular in 2011 but where the interest will fade in a couple of years.  We need to find the styles with several years' stay-time, IMHO.

One previously undefined style that sticks out in my mind way more than the Black IPA fad is the "Hoppy Orange Lager", a la Sam Adams Boston Lager, Lakefront Riverwest Stein Beer... okay maybe those are the only two examples with similarity, but in my mind, it should be stylized as those beers are pretty dang popular but don't fit into any other style.  These are sort of like Vienna lagers but no Vienna malt, more crystal, and more hoppy.  Speaking of which...

Another idea is to separate American Oktoberfest from German-style Oktoberfest.  The Americans don't do it right, and tend to make something more like... Hoppy Orange Lagers!  But I digress.........

585
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Competition letdown
« on: May 20, 2011, 10:08:10 AM »
As a judge myself, I can honestly tell you: The whole trouble with competitions is that they are judged by humans.  And as such, there can be any number of things to screw up a human's judgment.

1) They might not be trained or certified in the BJCP program.
2) They might have eaten onions or garlic the night before, or just smoked a cigarette, or didn't bother to brush their teeth.
3) They might have a head cold.
4) Their palates might be fatigued from already having consumed dozens of beer samples.
5) Their mom/spouse/children might not love them.
6) They might have a really weak personality and believe that if the National judge sitting next to them detects the slightest hint of DMS or diacetyl, then by golly he must be right and it's a terrible beer, even if they don't detect the same thing.
7) They might have time pressure to get that scoresheet out in less than 5 minutes.

It is for these reasons that I always recommend that if you want really good feedback from competitions, you NEED to enter each beer in not just one, not even just two, but THREE competitions.  Then you'll have at least 6-8 scoresheets, and can look at all of them at one time, and throw away the ones where the judges obviously did something stupid or didn't know what the hell they were talking about.  After throwing out half of the scoresheets, you're left with maybe ~3 good scoresheets and can make improvements in the future based off those.

Seriously, this is exactly the process I've used to get the most out of competitions, and I think I'm making better beers because of it.

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