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Messages - dmtaylor

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826
Beer Recipes / Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« on: January 08, 2016, 06:45:22 AM »
Here we go again.

827
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Alpha degradation
« on: January 07, 2016, 01:00:40 PM »
If they are noble, the beta will take over. Its creates a slightly harsher bitterness, but you can use them the same will little to no alpha adjustments.

^^^ This.

Personally I find that as long as the hops are properly stored (cold, no oxygen), all the calculators and data available tend to way over-estimate the loss of actual real-life bitterness from the hops.  For example, some sources might say that X hop with 5% alpha will be reduced to 4% after 12 months.  But if you assume this is correct and pump 4% into your homebrewing software, it tastes too bitter as if it still had about 4.7-4.8% alpha or something like that.  It does degrade, but...... it's not so easy to pick it up, until several YEARS later.  And even then, it doesn't lose as much as you think.  That's been my experience.  I've used hops that were 3-4 years old many many many times, and based on taste in the final beer, they really never seem to lose more than 1-2% alpha acids as calculated in software.  If tested in a laboratory, then sure, maybe these beers have less IBUs.  But then, what about beta acids?  IBU tests don't look at beta at all; however, your mouth does!  Beta stays around for a long long time and probably makes up for most of it.

That's my experience.  I use lots of really old hops with great success.  Don't use them for aroma in your IPAs.  But for bittering?  That's exactly where you SHOULD be using them!!

828
Beer Recipes / Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« on: January 07, 2016, 10:04:21 AM »
Care to explain your brew process? Very curious, and I like details.. prefermentation mostly.  8)

Sure... My "Dave's Double Decoction with Minimal Minutes and Minimal Messing Around Method" is similar to Kai Troester's double decoction method, with personalized tweaks.  Like I said, it's been a few years, so these notes actually date back to 2013 (copy & paste):

0) This is a no-sparge process.  If you don't have enough volume after the decoctions, just add more water.  Expect an efficiency hit for this, and add extra malt up front to compensate.  More malt = more malt flavor!

1) Calculate the strike volume using about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb -- maximum for small beers, minimum for bigger beers.
2) Treat the strike volume with salts as necessary, then bring 1/3 of it to a boil.
3) Meanwhile, use the other 2/3 of the strike volume to moisten the crushed grains cold at room temperature.
4) Add the boiled volume into the moistened grains.  Resultant temperature should be 95 to 105 F.
5) Immediately pull 2/3 of the thick mash using a colander, and add heat to hit 154 F for 15 minutes.
6) Add 1-2 qt warm water (exact temperature not too important) to the first decoction per 5-gallon batch size (disregard exactness of preboil volume at this point), then bring to boil for 15-40 minutes -- maximums for dark beers, minimums for light.
7) Add first decoction back into the main mash and rest at average >=148 F for 15 minutes (exact temperature not terribly important, between 148-158 F should be fine).
8 ) Pull 1/3 of thin mash and bring to a boil.
9) Immediately upon the second decoction reaching a reasonable boil, add the second decoction right back into the main mash -- no waiting around.  Resultant temperature should be ~170 F for mashout.
10) Immediately pull the grain bag (if BIAB) or runoff and continue brewing as normal.

Honestly I can't say I've done this process with no sparge yet.  Last time I sparged and it turned out great.  But in future I intend to try it as a no-sparge process, as part of my underlying and continuing theory that less sparging = more malt necessary = more malt flavor in the final beer!

The universe can debate the merits of this process or lack thereof all you want.  This is the way I shall do it for at least the next couple batches, until such time as I might continue to tweak the process again.  To each their own.  8)

EDIT: By the way..... a good 6 months of lagering and/or aging seems to help, too.  Good thing I'm lazy and don't drink heavily.

Oh, and other thing: Boil all your noble hops for a full hour.  Tastes yummy that way.  You don't need any late hop additions.

829
Beer Recipes / Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« on: January 07, 2016, 08:55:42 AM »
I achieved "it" once.  "It" was very nice, very very nice........  I have not brewed any lagers in a few years now.  Time to brew another one very soon.

Just don't do a protein rest.  Poor efficiency (on purpose!) also helps (gasp! yes!).

830
Beer Recipes / Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« on: January 07, 2016, 08:35:31 AM »
Dorst Hornbush says Helles MUST HAVE the protein rest for 30 minutes at 122F or 50C. If you choose to skip this rest, he says it is not a true helles. I'm not so sure about that, but whatevs... I plan to include it in my next helles just because. I usually do a Hochkurz step infusion mash, it's easy enough. I've actually been conditioning my grain lately before mashing in as well. I really like what that's doing for the crush and the run off of the mash.

No offense to Horst... Actually I don't really care. You do rests based on malt, not based on style. unless you are getting very green malt, which you are not because it has a shelf life of like days...Overworking the malt will hurt you. Rests and temps are ALWAYS based on this. Infusion/step and decoction will change those times as well.

For the record... *dmtaylor Likes this*   ^^^^^

Seems I've been missing out on some great discussions recently.  Welcome back (although you sure weren't gone for long... just a few days!? just couldn't NOT participate... right??  ;)  ).

831
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 07, 2016, 07:24:15 AM »
Ugh.... change the name, but don't change the man....

832
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 02:13:48 PM »
Do an ice bath and a boil test. If your ice bath is accurate, it's probably fine. Boil test should read ~211, despite what people say, I've NEVER seen water boil at 212 except in my chemistry and physics labs where we were using distilled water.

It depends on elevation and water quality.  Best is distilled at sea elevation.  Assuming you're not at sea elevation, the interwebs will provide the elevation and temperature adjustment for your particular city.  And you're right, it's usually a reasonable amount less than 212 F actually.


In the mean time, I'm brewing some smaller batches till I can get this sh*t figured out.

I've been brewing small batches for the last 4 months. Big fan. Lots of diversity in my pipeline. So many beers to choose from :)

Certainly nothing wrong with that!  For the vast majority of brews these days, I'm brewing 1.7-2 gallons.  Nothing but advantages from my perspective.

833
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 02:11:14 PM »
How about grain bed temperature differences? What if it's 150F in one spot and 147F at the other end of the cooler? I've seemed to notice something like this in my cooler. I try to stir for several minutes after mashing in. Spit balling here; doubt that's the case.

This happens for certain in any/every mash tun.  The only way to characterize the "real" average mash temperature is to measure in at least 3 or 4 different places and take the average.  You can't know for certain what your average mash temperature is if you only check in one spot.  It also changes with time.  I find my mash temperature jumping all over the place for the first 5-10 minutes after initial strike water addition.  After that it settles in to a nice even temperature for the most part... plus or minus 2-3 degrees in different spots.

834
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:39:18 PM »
I'll back you up and say no way your thermopen is off.

Somebody here (link below) said their Thermapen was off by about 5 degrees.  Anything's possible.

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/150159-calibrating-a-thermapen-in-boiling-water/

835
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:07:56 PM »
At what temp do you consider it a "protein rest"?

The worst impact occurs at 122 F, and that's where I get my experience from.  I've heard some folks now use 131 F and don't have the same problems.  Personally, I see no need to perform a protein rest at either temperature -- it just is not worth any risk of the likely impacts: no body, no head, watery.

836
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:06:19 PM »
I have not been doing a protein rest, Dave. Sorry I missed that.

Well that answers that one!  Okay.

Thermometer calibration might be off.  Maybe you're actually mashing at like 146 F or who knows what?  That could affect body maybe.

Trying to help.

837
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 12:10:04 PM »
I'm still most concerned about whether you're doing a protein rest -- that's numero uno.  Yet no one is talking about it.

I don't think pH is the issue.  Also don't think mash time, not really... a low & slow mash will increase attenuation by a couple points, but won't hurt body like a protein rest will.

838
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 10:35:50 AM »
I typically mash around 150F for 75 minutes, but have done some Hochkurz step infusion mashes as well with the same results.

Do you incorporate a protein rest?  A protein rest is certain to kill body.  Don't ever do a protein rest.

The length of mash time is also too much.  Try just 40 minutes as I do -- works great.

You say you think this might be a yeast issue, but you didn't tell us what yeast you use.  In any case, I seriously seriously doubt the problem is related to yeast.  It's a mash issue.

839
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US-05 Smells Like Bread Yeast
« on: January 03, 2016, 12:53:26 PM »
Hmm.  I suppose it can happen with any yeast.  The most bready yeast I have ever used in my life was Wyeast 1007.  That stuff tastes wonderful!  If you like bread at all.  Probably would make awesome bread.

840
Wild mold and bacteria are turning it slimy.  Try adding a teaspoon of bleach once per week.  That is what I do for my (real) humidifier.

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