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Messages - dmtaylor

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How many actually calculate their actual current AA but looking up the drop off rate and figuring out the current AA by time and storage temp? Probably almost 0% of us.

I did this a few times and then gave up because (a) the various online calculators give wildly different figures, and (b) the creators of the recipes I was using presumably didn't bother making the adjustment at their end, so it was pointless me doing it.

I do wonder how accurate IBU levels could possibly be if alpha acids decline in storage as fast as people say. Getting the right bitterness consistently might actually be impossible for homebrewers. Hopefully someone will tell me otherwise.

For years I have assumed losses for alpha acids based on a swag, not using calculators but attempting to allow for a little common sense based on my own experience.  In real life experience, it seems to me that perception of bitterness is not nearly as bad as any calculators put out.  If for example I have hops that started at 6.0% alpha acid, and I stored them in my refrigerator for 12 months, and a calculator says there should be a loss of 50% of the original so that it would go down to 3.0% alpha acid remaining, I know from experience that if I assume the 3.0% that a calculator provides, my beer will turn out WAY too bitter.  If I instead swag that "meh... maybe it goes down to 5.0% after a year", I have gotten more accurate results, but even in those cases, more often then not, the beer still turns out a little too bitter.  So, either alpha acid is way more stable then people tell us, or else the beta acid takes over at some point and offsets part of the alpha loss.  For some reason I thought I read someplace that as beta acids age, they develop compounds that are MORE bitter instead of less bitter like alpha acids do.  So there might in fact be some sort of balancing act going on.  I can't recall where I picked that up, I'm sure it will be Googled by somebody else.  But anyway, my point........

It's probably impossible to actually use any calculators to try to determine loss of perceived bitterness of hops due to age.  Way too many variables.  You can swag it if you like, but my experience says that the perceived bitterness probably only changes by a maximum of about 0.5% alpha acid equivalent per 12 months, somewhere in that ballpark anyway.  It's not as bad as anyone without experience will tell you, I do know that.

All Grain Brewing / Re: "Extracty" all grain flavor
« on: March 23, 2016, 11:53:37 AM »
That's a lot of crystal.  Love to say "I told you so", but hey, it happens.  I just did it on my last batch, so to say we should have known better... well I dunno, maybe we should have.  Oops.   :D

All Grain Brewing / Re: Red Plum Ale
« on: March 23, 2016, 06:29:49 AM »
That recipe looks pretty tasty.  I'd back off a bit on the Special B though.  Personally I'd never use more than 5%, or maybe 6-7% at the absolute most.  It is a very strong malt.  Other than that, looks great.

All Grain Brewing / Re: "Extracty" all grain flavor
« on: March 23, 2016, 05:47:28 AM »
Possibly too much crystal malt.  Also could be from melanoidin malt or aromatic malt.  I had this happen on my most recent ESB, and I'm sure it's a combination of both.  I used almost 20% crystal malt (too much) plus melanoidin on top of it.  Yeah, I overdid it.  I still like the beer, but it's a bit cloying, and could be perceived by less experienced folks as tasting "extracty" and actually does taste rather "syrupy".

Could also be from too much oxygen in how you handle the fermenting beer.  Do you rack to secondary after the first few days in primary?  If so, don't next time, and then see if the problem goes away in those subsequent batches.  Also you could try purging your racking vessels and kegs (if you keg) with CO2 gas prior to racking to push all the oxygen out before ever racking the beer.  Possibly could also be a leak in your hoses allowing oxygen in.  And along with that...

Could possibly also be a contamination thing.  Are you using old plastic fermenters and hoses?  It's a good practice to replace all that soft stuff at least every ~18 months, because once it gets any small amount of contamination at all, it will never die, no matter how much sanitizer you throw at it.  It builds some kind of immunity to it, and thus just needs to be replaced.  This being said..... this probably is NOT your issue.  It's either oxygen, or recipe formulation, or both, I would have to guess.  I just say it because it's general good practice, and plus, people might sometimes associate "extract" beer flavor with what are actually contamination problems based on beginning brewers using a lot of extract and not quite having the sanitation thing down pat yet.

I kind of blame too much focus on numbers on how the style guides are set up. We're numbers people and I think we focus too much on that.

I have to agree here. You don't taste calculated IBUs.

It's a nice guide for developing your personal taste in a given recipe and nothing more.

Gordon Strong always says "the BJCP guidelines are intended for judging competitions and nothing more" or words to that effect.  If that were true, though, then the numbers wouldn't belong in there at all.  They all should be deleted.  Only thing is... they're not deleted.  Instead, they're tweaked and perfected over time.  How much time and effort has gone into generating and maintaining all those damned numbers over the years, which are supposedly only "for the judges"?!

Methinks the BJCP actually condones that people everywhere are using the guidelines as the homebrewer's bible, knowing very well that we design recipes based on it to the point of ensuring we nail the numbers.

They should really take the numbers out of there.  They don't belong there.  Either that, or admit that the BJCP has had this secret goal of molding how each and every style under the sun is brewed for generations to come by at least all those who cares about "style" and "winning".  Like it or not, the BJCP has evolved to become something way bigger than their original intent.  And thus far, it is apparent that their goals have actually evolved along with the unavoidable natural evolution of how the guidelines are used, and this appears to be truth regardless of their acceptance or refusal to admit it.

The above statements reflect facts and opinions as understood by me myself and do not necessarily reflect those understood by the BJCP organization.  Furthermore, the above statements should be inferred neither to condemn nor to praise the BJCP organization.  The writer of this post, who happens to be BJCP Certified, has developed conflicted thoughts and opinions surrounding the goals and conduct of this organization, his involvement in which he maintains has been a positive experience in net overall, regardless of any perceived criticisms, intentional or not.  Now he'll shut up, and if he wasn't at work, he'd have a beer.  Or actually probably a cider.


To whomever posted the Gulden Draak, I think I've found a beer I'd like to try and clone!  Time for some research on the yeast used by the Brouwerij Van Steenberge.

Please let me know if you come across any good info.  It is one of my absolute favorites.

That's my all-time number one favorite beer as well.  The clone beer book by the Szamatulski's contains a recipe for it, but I'm afraid I haven't tried to brew it yet.  Someday I'll analyze it to death and brew it 5 times in a row until I nail it.

You cannot "clone" a beer.  You can make something in the same vein.

Oh... I dunno..... Chimaybe you can.......  ;)

all the IBU formulae in the universe are all wrong when compared with laboratory results

That has not been my experience.

That's good to hear.  I've got to admit, I personally have never sent any samples in for IBU testing, so I can only go based on what I've read and heard from others.  Of course you know 99% of them are sending in IPAs that have been hanging around for 3 months or who knows what.  ;)

Beer Recipes / Re: Experimental SMaSH Rye malt and Galaxy
« on: March 22, 2016, 10:12:52 AM »
You may not like the way a 100% rye malt beer tastes.

That's a good word of caution.  Everyone doesn't love it.  I find that in amounts as high as 40% as I have used, it gives a downright earthy, sort of muddy flavor, and muddy grayish color as well for that matter.  It's not for everyone.  But, you WILL learn a lot about its flavor if you do a SMASH, though!  I still think it's a worthy experiment.  And with Galaxy in there...... it's going to taste great I think.

Ingredients / Re: Gravity contributions of Raisins, Dates and Figs?
« on: March 22, 2016, 10:09:44 AM »
Would there be any advantages other than increased sugars if mashed?

Why would mashing make any difference?  And good point about straight sugar, Dave.

I'd never thought about this until yesterday, but considering that the dried fruits contain more carbohydrates than simple sugars, if you mashed with enzymes, these carbs (i.e., starches) should theoretically be convertable just like we all do with malt, converting starches to sugars.  Raw malt is sweet, but gets much sweeter with mashing, etc.  So, why should fruits with extra starches be any different?!?!

Unless his thesis is on marketing new products... um, ya.

I also gave no email, though he probably can hack his way in anyway
Mic drop

Well, yeah....  ::)   8)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Not converting??
« on: March 22, 2016, 05:15:47 AM »
I haven't done one in years either, but if I had ta lot of adjuncts I would.

But just to reiterate - if you have husk material your test will always show unconverted, which is why so many people have problems.

More common with BIAB (no recirculation) I would bet.  I brew in a bag too but I also "filter" or do a sort of fly-sparge through layers of colanders and mesh.

Beer Recipes / Re: Experimental SMaSH Rye malt and Galaxy
« on: March 22, 2016, 05:13:50 AM »
He's only making a tiny batch, I assume BIAB, so for that the hulls probably aren't necessary.  Otherwise, yes, they would be in a cooler mash tun!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Favorite Bottles?
« on: March 22, 2016, 04:39:12 AM »
I love bottles where I already removed the labels.  Otherwise I love the ones where the labels slide right off as soon as they get a little bit wet.  ;)


Beer Recipes / Re: Experimental SMaSH Rye malt and Galaxy
« on: March 22, 2016, 04:36:13 AM »
Yum.  Expect it to have a very full oily body, unique earthy bready flavor, and the most huge creamy head with the best retention you ever saw in your life.  I would recommend priming less than normal for carbonation on the low end for that reason.  Also, of course, the Galaxy hops are lovely but will also overpower some of the rye's more subtle complexities.  But it will turn out awesome overall.  Cheers.

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