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Messages - hubie

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(apparently it's not technically carmelization...)

I guess that depends upon whether you are scorching your extract on the bottom of your pot. :)

All Grain Brewing / Re: too effecient?
« on: June 07, 2011, 08:26:52 AM »
I think we need to keep in mind the source of this 75-percent number.  It is basically a single rule-of-thumb for people to keep in mind so that they don't get too hung up on particular numbers.  Years back it was fashionable to people to boast on their systems based on how high their efficiency numbers were.  You don't want people to think that because so-and-so gets 85-percent that I need to keep sparging until I get that too.  It is all very process dependent and hard to encapsulate into a single number, but pressed to do so, it probably isn't a bad number to use.  However, in using a single number, it is important to keep in mind Kai Troester's observation from his 2010 NHC presentation on efficiency, that one man's 75-percent is not the same as another: one could have 95-pct conversion efficiency with a 79-pct lauter efficiency, while another could have poor conversion (79-pct) and over-sparge (95-pct lauter efficiency) and make a much different and probably worse tasting beer.

The best quality wort comes from the first runnings.  As soon as you add any sparge water, the wort decreases in quality.  For those of us who sparge, we count on the fact that there is a certain amount of sparge water that you can add and still not notice any significant decrease in quality, which is where other rule of thumb numbers like stop sparging when your runnings fall to 4 Plato come from.  The 75-pct number captures this point by suggesting a compromise between the best wort quality and efficiency number.  One may quibble about whether it should be 80-pct, 85-pct, or even 70-pct, whatever it is, I think as an all-encompassing number it probably isn't bad.  It would probably be better to go the next step and come up with rule-of-thumb numbers for no-sparge, batch sparge, etc.

One is probably best served by making sure they get decent conversion efficiencies, at least in as far as it doesn't affect your lautering ability (don't grind all your base malt into flour, for instance).  If you're mashing in your kettle with a blanket wrapped around it, maybe this means stirring your mash from time to time to get a uniform temperature.  Your lauter efficiency will be what it is for your system and your process (batch vs. fly vs. no-sparge), and if you change your system (go from braid to manifiold to false bottom) you'll need to figure out what your new lautering efficiency is.  At the homebrew scale it isn't nearly as important to have a high efficiency as it is to have a consistent efficiency.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Traveling with Homebrew
« on: June 06, 2011, 02:43:01 PM »

Ouch, I guess they take that stuff seriously in VA

I recall (about 25 years ago) that DC raised issue with VA over this.  At the DC end of the Key Bridge there was a liquor store (Dixie Liquors).  The VA cops (don't recall if they were State or local) would sit on the VA side of the bridge with a telescope watching people come out of the liquor store.  When they drove over the bridge they would pull them over and fine them for bootlegging if they had more than a gallon with them.  The VA stores were State-run and had higher costs. 

Other Fermentables / Re: New to Kefir
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:58:12 AM »
Are all kefir grains created equal?  Coming from a brewing perspective knowing all the different variants of yeast, my guess is that kefir grains would differ as well.  That being said, what is a good source for grains?  There doesn't seem to be a shortage of sellers of them.  The Australian site looks very nice and I'd consider purchasing grains from them, but unfortunately they don't tell you on the web site how much they are, and it isn't clear if you can just order grains, or if you have to purchase the book, etc. 

One thing it was nice to learn from that site was that you can't just make kefir by adding commercial stuff to milk like you can do with yogurt.  I was going to try that myself thinking I can grow up my own grains, but apparently it doesn't work out that way.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Priming sugar options? Your preference?
« on: June 06, 2011, 07:53:26 AM »
Are those Coopers tablets just one per 12-oz bottle?  I recall the directions being something like 1 tablet per bottle, but 2 for a long neck.  I assume the long neck is something like a 22-oz bottle?

When I get back from travel, I have a wheat beer that I am going to experiment by priming some of the bottles with fruit juice.  Like priming with just about anything, I have no idea how much character (if any) the priming agent will carry over to the beer.  I've always wanted to experiment with krausening as well.

Otherwise, I just use plain old table sugar (sucrose).  I boil it up in a pint or so of water before I add it to the bottling bucket.  I just read the amount I need right of of John Palmer's priming nomograph.  I have a copy of it in my brew log so it takes me, like, five seconds to figure out how much sugar I need.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: (California) Bulk glass bottle suppliers?
« on: June 06, 2011, 07:41:01 AM »
Being on the east coast myself, do you recall which wholesalers you found out here?  I might want to keep that info stored in the back of my head for future reference.

All Grain Brewing / Re: All Grain Efficancy
« on: May 26, 2011, 11:02:33 PM »
While their systems are obviously different from ours, stirring is stirring and you don't include extensive mechanics in a system unless there is a pay back of some kind. I've thought many times about including a stirrer in my system, but I just can't figure out how to do it neatly and inexpensively.

Obviously there are benefits for them, and for others.  But I've tried stirring the mash half way through a number of times and all it does for me is lose heat from the mash.

I thought the mash was stirred in a direct fired tun for temperature uniformity and to keep the grains from scorching on the bottom.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash schedule for no boil Berliner Weiss
« on: May 26, 2011, 10:58:20 PM »
The tart flavor is out front, and if you drink it with the woodruff or raspberry syrup that is even more out front.

So where does one get woodruff syrup (in the US)?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Spent grain
« on: May 26, 2011, 10:53:41 PM »
The first time I dumped it on the compost pile and didn't stir it in, the dog later jumped into the pile and ate it all.  I didn't actually see him eat it, but I won't go into how I knew he did ....

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