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Messages - Joe Sr.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:51:07 PM »
No fermentable sugars, then what is the 30 +/- 5 %???????

You are familiar with long-chain unfermentable sugars, right?

From "How to Brew."

Chapter 20 - Experiment!
20.1 Increasing the Body

Very often brewers say that they like a beer but wish it had more body. What exactly is "more body"? Is it a physically heavier, more dense beer? More flavor? More viscosity? In most cases it means a higher final gravity (FG), but not at the expense of incomplete fermentation. On a basic level, adding unfermentables is the only way to increase the FG and increase the body/weight/mouthfeel of the beer. There are two types of unfermentables that can be added: unfermentable sugars and proteins.

Unfermentable sugars are highly caramelized sugars, like those in caramel malts, and long chain sugars referred to as dextrins. Dextrin malt and malto-dextrin powder have been previously mentioned in the ingredients chapters. Dextrins are tasteless carbohydrates that hang around, adding some weight and viscosity to the beer. The effect is fairly limited and some brewers suspect that dextrins are a leading cause of "beer farts," when these otherwise unfermentable carbohydrates are finally broken down in the intestines.

Dark caramel and roasted malts like Crystal 80, Crystal 120, Special B, Chocolate Malt, and Roast Barley have a high proportion of unfermentable sugars due to the high degree of caramelization (or charring). The total soluble extract (percent by weight) of these malts is close to that of base malt, but just because it's soluble does not mean it is fermentable. These sugars are only partially fermentable and contribute both a residual sweetness and higher FG to the finished beer. These types of sugars do not share dextrin's digestive problems and the added flavor and color make for a more interesting beer. The contribution of unfermentable sugars from enzymatic and caramel malts can be increased by mashing at a higher temperature (i.e. 158°F) where the beta amylase enzyme is deactivated. Without this enzyme, the alpha amylase can only produce large sugars (including dextrins) from the starches and the wort is not as fermentable. The result is a higher final gravity and more body.

Proteins are also unfermentable and are the main contributor to the mouthfeel of a beer. Compare an oatmeal stout to a regular stout and you will immediately notice the difference. There is a special term for these mouthfeel-enhancing proteins - "medium-sized proteins." During the protein rest, peptidase breaks large proteins into medium proteins and protease breaks medium proteins into small proteins. In a standard well-modified malt, a majority of the large proteins have already been broken down into medium and small proteins. A protein rest is not necessary for further protein breakdown, and in fact, would degrade the beer's mouthfeel. A protein rest to produce medium-sized proteins for increased body is only practical when brewing with moderately-modified malts, wheat, or oatmeal, which are loaded with large proteins.

To add more body to an extract-based beer, add more caramel malt or some malto-dextrin powder. You can also increase the total amount of fermentables in the recipe which will raise both the OG and FG, and give you a corresponding increase in alcohol too.

Grain brewers can add dextrin malt, caramel malt, unmalted barley or oatmeal in addition to using the methods above. Grain brewing lends more flexibility in fine tuning the wort than extract brewing.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« on: December 06, 2013, 07:44:37 PM »
steeping temperature is irrelevant, 5 minutes in room temp water will easily allow for 80% plus extraction of the sugars with a decent crush(the muslin bag was my 50%).

Chapter 13 - Steeping Specialty Grains

13.2 Mechanics of Steeping
To use the caramel and roasted specialty malts, the grain must be crushed to expose the sugars to the water. While the grain is soaking, the hot water is leaching the sugars out of the grain and dissolving them into the wort. The factors that influence how well the sugars are extracted are the steeping time, temperature and the particle size. Obviously, the finer you crush the malt the more completely you can extract the sugars. However, most supply shops have their mills adjusted for mashing and lautering purposes and if the particle size where much smaller, it would be difficult to contain within the grainbag.

His process is sound, his thermometer failed him, even though he doesn't even need one.

I'm not sure what you're arguing.  Time and temp doesn't matter (according to Repo), except it does (reference Repo's quote from "How to Brew" a book I may have heard of).

Rather than attempt to create an argument how about some constructive advice? 

If his process is sound and steeping is as simple as running room temp water over grains (your contention), why is his gravity low?  Do you have advice for the OP?  Or do you prefer to argue with those of us who have attempted to give advice?

I stand by my previous statements.  The gravity he will get from steeping grains is not something to worry about.  He is not mashing, so worrying about the efficiency of his steep is worrying too much.  He will not extract significant fermentable sugars from steeping and that is not the point of steeping.  If he wants to mash, he should go ahead and do it but the grains he is steeping are not grains you mash.

Your turn.  Constructive this time.

adjective \kən-ˈstrək-tiv\

: helping to develop or improve something : helpful to someone instead of upsetting and negative"

From the Merriam Webster dictionary.  A book you may have heard of.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Palate Fatigue
« on: December 06, 2013, 04:09:59 PM »
It is quitting time.  I am off to attempt to fatigue my palate.  If I am successful, any report back may make little sense.  Wish me luck.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Another thread about plastic buckets (sorry)
« on: December 06, 2013, 02:50:32 PM »
65 ambient will be fine. particularly if you put the fermenter on or near the floor where it will be slightly cooler. The temp will likely raise ~5 degrees at the height of fermentation but unless it's a very big beer with lots and lots of yeast it won't get higher than that.

People have reported as much as 10 degrees on big beers though.

I start my fermentations on the floor of my basement with ambient temp this time of year.  Overall ambient is maybe 62-ish during the winter.  At the height of fermentation on a big beer spewing blow off I hit 66/68 last week.  I've got the fermenters covered in cardboard boxes (from shipping) which are actually very good insulators.  When activity starts to drop, I raise the fermenters up to counter height and they'll sit at 66 for awhile before dropping.  If I need to raise the temp on them, I'll put them near a heat vent and I can keep them close to 68 but never higher.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brrrrrrew Day
« on: December 06, 2013, 11:02:54 AM »
Damn! Mort beat me to it!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Palate Fatigue
« on: December 06, 2013, 10:57:40 AM »
This is why I rotate kegs.  They don't need to stay in the kegerator til you kill em.

I need to rotate what I have now, but I keep hoping someone will come over and kill the keg of pumpkin.

Consequently, I've been drinking more wine...

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Goose island bourbon co stout
« on: December 06, 2013, 10:24:26 AM »
I paid $9.99 for a 12 oz. bottle.  Well, actually $19.98 for two.

$22 for a 4-pack I can see as reasonable.  Not sure it's actually "reasonable" but it fits more into the pricing of similar beers.  4-pack of Dragon's Milk is $16.99.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Goose island bourbon co stout
« on: December 06, 2013, 09:18:38 AM »
So I drank a bottle last night and have to agree that it is not as bourbon-forward as I recall.  It was quite good, though I still think it's over-priced.  My wife called it outstanding, so you know the bourbon does not slap you in the face.

Last time I had this was after the Giants won the Superbowl in 2007 and my recollection was that it was boozy and bourbon forward.  I also think I paid a lot less back then.  I recall the four packs sitting out on display...  This bottle was much more complex.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Micro Barrel Aging
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:19:33 AM »
I thought about that, too, when I said a week to 10 days.  That's the time frame I give for 5 gallons.  We're talking WAY less here, both in volume and likely in time.

Maybe this could be a good way to make an oak concentrate for dosing larger batches.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brrrrrrew Day
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:10:02 AM »
I'll be brewing in my kitchen on Saturday with complete control over the temperature.  I shall postpone christening the new pot and burner until warmer weather.

As far as garage heaters, I've never found anything electric to be effective and I never want to run the propane heater as then I need to vent the garage and let the cold in.  Of course, my garage is detached, 100 years old, uninsulated and when I've needed to heat it I have been laying on the slab working under a car.  You can blow hot air under the car, but you'd have to do so for a loooooong time to warm up all that cold steel.

Here's what you need:

Or better yet, something like this:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Micro Barrel Aging
« on: December 06, 2013, 07:59:57 AM »
White whiskey?!?  AGHHHHH!!!!

But seriously, IMO you'll need more than a couple months to improve a bottle of white whiskey.  I don't care for the flavors, but there some what do.

Beer style suggestions for oak: Big stouts, old ales, barleywine, anything with strong bold flavors.  I've had oaked Belgians and found them to be nasty.  IMO the flavors don't pair well.

Beer is typically only aged a couple weeks.  Since the barrel you describe allows for tasting, you should begin tasting after maybe a week to 10 days and see where you're at.  I go longer on oak than some, but I seem to have a lower taste threshold for the tannins.

Priming - you can use carb tabs, but I've been unsatisfied with those.  You can also dose each bottle with precise measurements of sugar.  There are calculators for that, but I have no link for you.  Sorry.

I've done all my oaking with oak chips, never with a barrel although I frequently dream of it. 

The Pub / Re: White Whiskey
« on: December 06, 2013, 07:43:24 AM »
The moonshine I have always had is 100% corn and often sugar. The white whiskey is mostly corn with barley or rye or whatever they use as the other grain. I hear what Carl is saying but to me good bourbon is good because of the interaction of the spirit with the wood. I have found the flavors in "white whiskey" in bourbons that were oak aged and found those "white whiskey" flavors to be flaws to my pallet.

I'm with you.  I've tasted heads and tails before, and I don't think those are the flavors, though I'm glad Carl chimed in and he may be right.  Maybe they are making bad cuts to get more product, but some of the flavors are almost botanical.  I don't think they add anything botanical and the distiller gets good reviews from lots of people so who knows?  It's not the alcohol kick I've gotten from other jars I've tasted, but simply odd unpleasant flavors.

FWIW, I've had the aged stuff from another local distiller as well as one from Iowa and I just don't care for it.  The white whiskey flavors come through strongly and the whiskeys aren't smooth.  My guess is the spirits aren't aged long enough.  It seems people think these odd flavors are what makes it "craft" but to me they make it crap.  Especially at the micro distiller prices.

And Hendrick's gin?  That stuff goes on the shelf with the white whiskey.  Although I've had some guests who will drink it which means maybe I should move it up a shelf.  Or find more discerning guests... I'd put a smiley here, but I've never done that and I'm not starting.

The Pub / Re: White Whiskey
« on: December 05, 2013, 06:44:14 PM »
Slate had an article called "Unaged whiskey helps young microdistilleries keep afloat. There’s just one problem: It tastes awful

The bottle I bought a year ago was touched twice and still sits where I store my bourbon. It's awful. Truly awful.

You describe this bottle exactly. My buddy last night described if as metallic.

I may try running it through a brita and putting it on se charred chips. I can let it sit a few years. Ain't gonna drink it for sure.

As far as gin, I'll stick with Bombay sapphire.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Goose island bourbon co stout
« on: December 05, 2013, 05:54:20 PM »
Picked up two bottles on the way home.  Will drink one and save one for my planned but yet to happen stout party.  I already have some oak aged Old Rasputin awaiting that day...

The Pub / White Whiskey
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:31:04 AM »
A year or two ago someone gave me a bottle of this stuff from one of the local craft distilleries.  It's terrible.  I can't drink it and I can't serve it to friends.

I tried aging some on oak in Ball jars and did a sampling last night with a buddy.  The light toast American oak was still terrible.  The medium French oak had improved and had some oaky flavors but still could not out-compete the weird medicinal flavor of the whiskey.

I have most of a bottle left.  What do people do with this stuff?

I'm thinking maybe some charring some of the chips, or getting some charred oak cubes but I'm not sure the experiment is worth it anymore.

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