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Messages - blair.streit

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General Homebrew Discussion / 2017 NHC Competition Chat
« on: April 30, 2017, 09:10:59 PM »
...are you sure you aren't thinking of hefeweizen's description as banana bread? Banana esters shouldn't ever be in a Marzen IMO. Descriptions as bready - yes, banana bread -no.
Yeah I can't find any of the references I'm thinking of now, and I get your point. There's a part of my brain that associates "sweet/rich bread" with "banana bread" even though they're not the same (think King's Hawaiian rolls).

On that note I'm also trying to wrap my head around how banana esters are present in the aroma but not in the flavor. Does this potentially mean they're just there in low amounts?

What was your temp schedule on your Marzen, out of curiosity? Yeast strain? Regardless, sounds like a cooler ferment schedule would clean up the esters.

Pitched WLP833 at 47F and let it rise to 50 where I held it for a week before a slow rise to finish off / clean up.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2017 NHC Competition Chat
« on: April 30, 2017, 06:58:58 PM »
After almost 3 years of fumbling around in the dark I figured it was time to enter a comp and get some unbiased feedback. I entered 3 beers into Austin and just got my scores in the mail yesterday:

  • Altbier(7B) - 35.5; first time I brewed this one
  • Marzen (6A) - 38; This is the one I really want to nail
  • Baltic Porter(9C) - 40; I've brewed this one a couple of times and liked it; Got kicked in mini-BOS

I was very pleased with the results and feel like I received some good, actionable feedback on the Alt and the Baltic Porter.

On the Marzen, I'd like some help from the group to interpret the results and one aspect in particular that confused me. In short, it appears that both judges detected some banana in the aroma that was not noted in the flavor or anywhere else. It was marked under esters, but I'm not 100% sure if I was actually dinged for that or not. The guidelines on aroma state, "Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes." I see a lot of reviews of commercial Marzen stating "banana bread" as an aroma descriptor.

So, before sharing the recipe or anything else, I'm curious about your thoughts on the banana just from this feeedback? Is this where I should focus, or based on the details below do you feel I'm over-emphasizing this one bit of the feedback?

Here's the detailed breakdown of the scoresheets in case it's helpful:

Judge1 - 39
Aroma - 9/12; Malt - Bready, Hops - Floral; Esters - Banana
Appearance - 3/3; Persistent ivory head on burnished copper
Flavor -   15/20; Malt - Bready, Hops - Very slight Spicy (no esters/other/balance marked)
Mouthfeel -   5/5; Crisp, dry finish
Overall - 7/10; "Drink a pint"; Comment - Flavorful, easy drinking and very well-brewed

Judge2 - 37
Aroma - 7/12; Malt - Bready, Hops - Floral/Spicy; Esters - Banana/Fruity; Comment - Strong banana at first, going to spiciness
Appearance - 3/3; Cream head on copper   
Flavor - 15/20; Malt - Bready, Hops - Spicy (no esters/other/balance marked); Even balance
Mouthfeel - 4/5;
Overall -   8/10; 4/5 on all intangibles; "Drink a pint"


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2017 NHC Competition Chat
« on: April 13, 2017, 02:47:48 PM »
Come on St.Louis results...I know you're out there.  Today's the day...I hope.
So based on the St. Louis results being posted a little over a week after judging, it seems plausible that Austin results wouldn't be posted until early next week (judging was last weekend)? Just trying to get a general sense so I don't wear out the "refresh" button on my browser ;-)

any thoughts on Charles Bamforths comments re: meta usage?
If what Bamforth says is true, any leftover sulfites may be converted to undesirable compounds. I can't speak directly to this but he is certainly a known and reputable source.

I think the sulfur bomb beers may be a result confirming certain aspects of what Bamforth says. If you are using a known sulfur producing yeast and you overdose on Meta you may open up a pathway to sulfide and additional sulfur flavor components.

I've tasted it more as a burnt match character in some Hofbrau beers. I remember it was very prominent when I had one of their Helles beers served at a branded tavern they have at a ski resort (IIRC it was in Taos, NM).

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20 had to admit this:

It was a tasteful and fairly objective write up with experiment self critiques and the whole nine. Definitely can't complain about that.
Couldn't agree more! It's clear that a lot of time, thought and selflessness went into the experiment and subsequent write-up here. It's a lot easier to Monday morning quarterback than it is do put ourselves out there and do it with the level of professionalism that these guys bring to the table every week.

Hats off Brulosophers -- keep making it easy for the rest of us to comment from the cheap seats ;-)

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Maybe "it" is just sulfur and everyone is right...
I agree, but so far I'm having a hard time figuring out a simple way to test it. Unless there's a simpler way to introduce these sulfur compounds in the right proportions post-boil, I guess you'd just have to do a bunch of trials with varying levels of SMB in the mash.

I understand Bamforth's point, and my only addition is that there's a "sweet spot" for any seasoning and that past that point you quickly go into negative territory.

My hypothesis is that up to a certain point,  these sulfur compounds add a dryness/crispness that works well to accentuate the malt flavor in many beer styles. Similar to salt on french fries -- up to a point most people prefer it. However, once you go past that point you quickly tip the scales the other way.

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All Things Food / Re: Sous-Vide Circulator Recommendations
« on: March 25, 2017, 02:42:31 PM »
Yeah I think portioning out perfectly pre-cooked food is one of the biggest upsides of sous vide.

I love a good steak, but with my meat thermometer and a fair amount of flipping I feel I can achieve a better "eat now" steak on the grill with less mess/time.

However, I love using the technique you guys described to cook chicken or steak towards the rarer side of the safe zone and then store it in the fridge. Then I can be lazy and heat the last little bit in the microwave without overcooking. It makes putting chicken or steak into a salad something I can achieve in under 5 minutes.

On the beef side, one place where I think sous vide can do something unique is with cheaper/tougher cuts like flank. With a little time in the bath those things soften right up and then have tons of flavor. It's just hard to extract any other way because most cooking methods won't allow you to simultaneously cook them evenly and also loosen up some of those tough bits.

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All Things Food / Re: Sous-Vide Circulator Recommendations
« on: March 16, 2017, 02:19:40 PM »
I'm admittedly a Kenji fanboy, but if you've always been underwhelmed by chicken read this:

I cooked mine to 140 and then pan seared as hot and fast as possible in some ghee. It changes my entire opinion of chicken.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: portable oxygen cylinder
« on: February 23, 2017, 04:35:10 PM »
What I meant by benefits, though, was that I can't be sure that using the O2 cylinder has improved my fermentation and/or beer.    Maybe it has, but it wasn't a game-changer.
I think this is a good point and something we often overlook. There's always a way that's "faster" or "better" or "sexier" or "more like I do it", but very few people do rigorous enough comparison to know for sure that it's helping their beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: portable oxygen cylinder
« on: February 23, 2017, 03:20:12 PM »
I realize this wasn't the question you asked, but FWIW I use a 5 pound welding oxygen tank with a pediatric O2 regulator. At least on paper I can get ~10ppm in ~90 seconds @ 1.5Lpm.

I've used it that way over 80 times (including batches and starters) and I haven't even seen the needle move in terms of its capacity. I'm guessing it will last > 200 uses and then a refill is pretty darned cheap.

It's a little more money up front (and space), but for me it's one less thing to worry about (and costs less over the long run). Plus, you can hit your ppm target a lot faster than with an air pump.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Experimental Brewing podcast Episode 23
« on: February 22, 2017, 06:59:19 PM »
Here's Russell's reply....

That's pretty close to my recipe, keep it simple. I'd pop a dash of carapils in there to help counteract any head loss from any oil residuals. It does taste way better than it has any right to.

Cool, thanks for playing go-between Denny! I did notice the issues with head retention, so that's a good idea. I'm gonna try tweaking a few things and if I get around to doing this again I'll let you guys know how it turned out.

Equipment and Software / Re: Quick Disconnects
« on: February 22, 2017, 05:34:51 PM »
+1 to what all of these guys said. I've been really happy with my Cam Locks (bought from Pro Flow Dynamics and like the gaskets as Martin mentioned).

After reading this I now want to put one on the end of the water hose that I use for chilling so that it's easier to connect/disconnect when I get to the end of the boil.... And maybe onto my water filter and RV hose for pulling water.... And maybe in the backyard for the sprinkler too  ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Experimental Brewing podcast Episode 23
« on: February 22, 2017, 04:26:05 PM »
Based on this episode I made a 1 gallon stovetop batch of the Cool Ranch Dorito beer. I went with about 1/3 Cool Ranch Doritos (by weight), 1/3 Pils and 1/3 Pale 2-Row with a little Cascade – fermented with WLP001. Here are my observations:

1) Flavor-wise this is WAY more appealing/compatible with beer than I would have imagined (though still totally weird).

2) Using some of the herbs/spices from the Cool Ranch Doritos without the chips themselves would probably be better (dealing with the oil is gross, though even at 1G you can manage to rack below the oil and minimize pickup).

3) At 33% of the grist (by weight) the Cool Ranch flavor is WAY too intense for my taste (e.g. it's interesting a few ounces at a time, but I would never drink a full pint of this). That said, I agree that it has some nice flavors that are compatible with a summer/lawnmower type beer.

I'm curious to adjust this and try again based on those observations. Not sure when I'll get around to it, but wanted to post this in case anyone else is moving along the same lines and too afraid to admit what they've done.

Also, thanks to Drew for the recommendation of the Anova sous-vide cooker. In addition to making some GREAT food over the past several months, it came in quite handy as a mash temp stabilizer for this 1G batch :D

Keep it weird everyone!

Equipment and Software / Re: Chest Freezer/Temperature Control
« on: January 06, 2017, 08:57:27 PM »
1) A properly insulated probe attached to the carboy will read within 0.5F of beer temp; use that as your baseline, do it the same way every time, and adjust from there. 65 via your process  will not be the same as 65 via someone else's (don't worry, you'll still make great beer)

2) 1 degree F delta is fine, even 2 is probably OK. I set mine to 1 when I'm fermenting and 2 when conditioning (to minimize compressor cycles)

Question about 2) response above: Do you have your temp probe in the air or in a container with thermal mass? I moved my probe to a half gallon container with a thermowell. The probe is placed approximately in the middle of half gallon of water that's in there. I have a chest freezer/kegerator. I started with a 2 deg differential but have since moved to a 1 degree differential. My target is 37 degrees for conditioning. Hope I'm not burning out the compressor that much more quickly. The cycling seems fine so far.

In my conditioning fridge I just leave it dangling in the air, which is one of the reasons I went to 2F delta. I wouldn't overthink it - your solution seems more than adequate.

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Can you detail out an example line by line (e.g. recipe, strike and mash water volumes, pre and post boil gravities and volumes)?

My guess is that in spelling it out that way you'll either find the culprit yourself or someone here will spot the missing link.

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