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Messages - dmtaylor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Favorite yeast for a Belgian IPA?
« on: January 20, 2013, 08:42:02 AM »
My favorite Belgian yeasts are WLP500 and WLP530.  I have more experience with the WLP530 -- this yeast will make a nice dry beer, perfect for the Belgian way of thinking.  However it is also a somewhat fussy yeast and will need extra time to ferment -- give it a good 4 to 6 weeks to ferment out all the way or you could have a gusher.

Out of your hop options, my gut says that Apollo would turn out really nice.  While I have never personally tasted it, based on the flavor descriptions I have seen of an "orangey" and spicy character, it sounds like a great meld with Belgian IPA.  Otherwise I'd go with Amarillo which also has a certain tangerine sort of thing going on.  Reminds me of a really strong witbier or something like that.  The other hops will also be great of course, but the two "A" hops would be my personal leanings.

I am normally an all-grain brewer, but at the request of a friend, recently I came up with an extract/mini-mash recipe for Bud Light.  And then I was thinking, I might actually want to give this recipe a try in my own house, as it is just crazy enough that it might actually work.  And I want this beer to be as dry as possible, no residual sweetness to speak of, just like the real Bud Light.  All distilled water would be used, maybe even a little acid to help bring the mash pH down.  However, I also know that the various extracts in the market today have different attenuability depending on which manufacturer, i.e., some extracts won't ferment down below 1.018, no matter what you do or how much simple sugar or adjuncts you add or whatever.  But.... what if it were possible to level this playing field?  What if you could use ANY manufacturer's extract and still get reasonably consistent results in regards to high attenuation (goal would be 1.010 or less).  Since this is a mini-mash beer, what would happen if you used the following process?:

1) Steep a pound of crushed 6-row malt in a bag (mini-BIAB) in about 3 quarts of water at 147 F for 75 minutes.
2) Pull the bag out, but while the enzymes are still active, add all your extract, ensure it is all dissolved, and also let THAT sit at 147 F for another ~20 minutes.  A small amount of heat will need to be added to bring temperature up, but since there's only 3 quarts of sweet wort at this point, this is not difficult at all.
3) After "mashing" the extract for ~20 minutes using the dissolved enzymes from the grain, add all the rest of your brewing water (total of 6 gallons), bring up to a boil, and brew as normal (5 gallon recipe).

The theory is that the high enzymatic content of the 6-row will be plenty to break down any complex sugars that may be in the extract -- you could extend the extract "mash" to an hour or more if you wanted the beer to be as dry as possible, but my guess is 20 minutes would suffice.  Then add your water and brew as normal.

I have a feeling this will work, and I kind of want to try it.  What do the other all-grain mashing experts think?  Has anyone else tried anything similar to this process before?  How did it turn out??

Going Pro / Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
« on: January 17, 2013, 11:01:27 AM »
BYO magazine also recently posted an article about a German lager where the step mash is performed by direct heating of the mash tun.  After several step-ups in temperature, they finally drain the sweet wort and then do a sort of triple batch sparge.  I'm describing this based on memory, but essentially what was described was that you wanted to get half your volume from the first runnings as normal, but then after that you split your sparge into three equal parts, adding a third and draining completely, then repeating this process two more times.  This process, also, sounded very much like batch sparging to me, with a twist in that they keep the mash very thick by only sparging a little bit at a time, three times.  But I bet it would accomplish pretty close to your conventional batch sparge.  This article, too, might have been written by Horst Dornbusch?  Sometimes I have a pretty good memory... other times, not so much.  But I just read the article about 10 days ago so I'm probably not too far off.

Thank you, Denny, for sharing.  Interesting seeing that the Germans are not as far off from the conventional wisdom of the rest of the world as some might believe.

Ingredients / Re: Vanilla extract
« on: January 15, 2013, 03:44:27 PM »
Store-bought vanilla extract is nasty and of very low flavor.  To get good vanilla flavor, you need one of two things: 1) actual vanilla beans, or 2) Mexican/Central American vanilla extract.  Otherwise I wouldn't be surprised at all if the flavor is gone as commercial vanilla extract is crap.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Schedule help please
« on: January 14, 2013, 12:07:46 PM »
I would agree with Dave that you don't need to do a protein rest but in this case it really won't hurt either.  Personally I would skip it, but if you were to do a protein rest, personally I would limit it to 5 minutes or no more than 10 minutes for sure, as a longer protein rest will indeed hurt your head retention.   In my experience, 5 minutes should be all you really need to notice an effect, whereas 30 minutes would basically kill all the body and head retention characteristics of the beer.  In a Belgian, not such a terrible thing necessarily, as they like their beers "digestible", but since this is more of a Belgo-American thing being an IPA, you probably wouldn't want to do it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Porter temp profile
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:58:08 AM »
I ferment my porters at about 62 F the whole time, maybe raise the temperature to 65 F in the last 1/4 of fermentation but it is optional.  English yeasts are fine with the coolness.

Ingredients / Re: Victory Storm King Hops and Yeast
« on: January 07, 2013, 08:52:25 PM »
A Storm King clone recipe was just posted in the December 2012 issue of Brew Your Own magazine, page 12.  They use Centennial, Cluster, and Cascade hops.

You're welcome.  :)

Ingredients / Re: Dry Spicing a Wit
« on: January 07, 2013, 11:57:20 AM »
Soaking in vodka is the best way to go, IMHO.  And I would go the route of coriander plus fresh peels/zest as opposed to old dried peels alone.  Soak in a little vodka for as little as a few hours to as long as a week, then pour the flavored vodka into your beer, and you're good to go.

All Grain Brewing / Re: What exactly is...
« on: January 07, 2013, 05:02:25 AM »
Could be any of the above, and most likely nothing to worry about.  Could be a slight infection but probably won't affect flavor unless you age the bottles for a couple years.

It depends on how it tastes, but assuming the coffee and chocolate are easy to pick up then its a 21A Spice Herb Veg Beer.  If you can't pick these flavors up easily, then you might be better off entering it into one of the Stouts, category 13.  If entered as a 21A then the judges will be looking for those flavors, and if they can't find them, your score will be marked lower.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German Lager flavor, round 2
« on: January 04, 2013, 02:45:55 PM »
Autolysis.  Yeast cells explode or are pierced by ice crystals, releasing the yeast's guts, which can give your beer a meaty or brothy flavor -- not usually desirable characteristics!

I totally agree.  I'll usually sniff a beer for a good 1-2 minutes before taking a single gulp, unless there is nothing there to smell which does happen on occasion.  Always drink out of a glass, never out of a can or bottle, because you lose half the flavor if you can't smell it in the glass!

First, learn what all the common defects are, e.g., diacetyl = butter, acetaldehyde = green apple, DMS = corn or celery or cabbage, oxidation = wet cardboard, chlorophenol = band-aid, other phenols = pepper, smoke, electrical fire, etc.  Then, every time you taste a beer, search for these flavors.  Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes you can detect something is a little off but can't nail down what it is until you think about it.  Very often, there are no flaws at all, so be careful not to get too carried away -- sometimes a really good beer really is just a really good beer!  Also, you might want to practice writing out BJCP scoring sheets to train yourself how to describe all of the flavors you are tasting.  When I first got into BJCP classes and early days of being a judge, I wanted to score every beer I tasted!  After doing this like 100 times, the nostalgia or mystique or whatever you want to call it finally wore off, so that now I kinda sorta judge every beer I taste all the time, but I don't bother putting numbers to it.  With practice, the flaws (if any) will jump right out, and the really good beers will stand out as really good beers, AND you'll be able to describe exactly what you like about them.  As with anything, practice makes perfect.  I would also say that taking a BJCP judging class was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life.  It's awesome.  If you're thinking about it and the opportunity comes up to attend a class, jump on it.  You'll love it.  But I do think it is possible to be self-taught.  Probably will just take more time and self-determination.  Learn the faults, and memorize a flavor wheel, and practice diligently 100 times, and you'll get the hang of it.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbonation quandry
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:41:08 AM »
80% by volume, for sure.  Not sure about weight.  And the 80% is just a swag.  Maybe it really is more like 87%.  It's somewhere in there.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbonation quandry
« on: January 02, 2013, 10:25:36 PM »
Heck no.  If you want a lot of head, add more than the standard amount of sugar.  If you want a creamier head, use wheat or rye or a ton of hops.  Same as anyone would do even if they used corn sugar.  The differences between the different sugars in qualities of the head or carbonation or flavor or anything else are ZERO.  Use what's cheap and easily available.  For me, in my kitchen, I've always got a couple pounds of beet sugar in the cabinet.  Snatch a little of that and you're golden.  Just keep in mind that whatever amount you used for corn sugar, you only need 80% as much of beet or cane sugar, as it's a little "stronger".

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