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Messages - morticaixavier

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Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: May 01, 2012, 02:38:34 PM »
Its a goal of mine to win in the IPA category with an AIPA - its always very popular and a style that many seasoned brewers have great recipes for. I assume its also heavliy swayed by palate fatigue and over-the top bitterness.

I thought my best bet was to push the ABV past the style guidelines, almost to an IIPA, but keep it fairly dry with some sucrose. Condition if needed to remove over the top alcohol warmth, then dry-hop the hell out of it.

Is this 'cheating'?

ahh the million dollar question. I wonder the same thing. obviously there is nothing to stop you from doing this, just as there is nothing to stop me from entering the 80/- I just brewed as a 60/- except ethics. it's frustrating therefore that I might never be able to win with an actual 60/- without 'cheating' in this way.

So, to recap, we have 1 strategy for doing better in comps;
  1) brewing to the top end of the style guidlines or beyond and more so brewing to the top end of the whole category and ignoring the lower gravity sub categories.

what else ya got?

Beer Recipes / Re: Low Alcohol Beer Ideas?
« on: May 01, 2012, 02:33:33 PM »
Are we talking low alcohol or low calorie or both?

At this point I'm strictly foucusing on producing a very low gravity beer that tastes great. At this point I'm not concerned about the amount of calories.  The style of the beer does not matter either just as long as the low gravity beer tastes great.

I guess what I should be asking is, have you ever brewed or tasted a low gravity beer that was phenomenal?

I think the most striking and great low ABV beers I have had were lambics. The added complexity from the brett and other bugs makes up for what is lost with lower gravities. I also think that by mashing really high (like 160-162) and using only first runnings you can get alot more flavour with a lower abv.

Zymurgy / Re: Why should I renew my subscription?
« on: May 01, 2012, 01:04:15 PM »
I personally would be a bit embarrassed to frequently use this forum and not contribute something to it's maintenance. The collective wisdom of the longtime AHA members who contribute to and moderate this forum is more than worth the price of membership.  Also, I've lived in 2 states now where the active efforts of AHA and it's members have made it possible to pursue this hobby legally.
    “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
    -Aldous Huxley
It's like all those people who listen to NPR and never contrib... never mind  :-\ (gotta get that membership up to date as well!)

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: May 01, 2012, 12:55:41 PM »
I agree, but given palate fatigue, beer staling, and other issues, is not always due to naive judges who think bigger is better.  But I think it often is.  I will say that my doppelbock was technically my best beer out of the three I submitted, yet it got the worst score.  Why?  It was on the low end of the ABV range, yet it was almost identical to Celebrator in terms of OG/FG stats.  Biggest complaint was lack of alcohol warming.  Really?  I think most judges would prefer an alcoholic bock versus one that showed complexity in malty body, and this is a problem.

that's funny cause my lowest score was for the barrel aged barley wine because it was too boozy.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 1st round NHC results
« on: May 01, 2012, 09:06:58 AM »
I like this everyone-gets-an-entry stuff.
Sure there are more than 30K members, but until the last couple years it hasn't filled up, so there's plenty of history of less than 10% of the membership participating.
I like the max 5 entries per day stuff too.  It won't help with the explosive growth of the competition/hobby for more than a couple years but it's a start.
And as for the GABF "members-only" stuff, that makes way too much sense; stop that crazy talk! 


But how could you guarantee that trend would continue if everyone got one entry?  I could see a situation where more people would enter since the entry was included with their membership.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

I read his suggestion as saying members would get an option. They would still have to pay the 10$ or whatever, but they would have right of first refusal.

I don't think you will get 75% efficiency on a 1.115 beer.  You might have some DME available to add just in case.
On the other hand, he very well might.  My last three "big" beers came in at 1.082 @ 75.51% BHE, 1.096 @ 74.55% BHE, and 1.102 @ 75.80% BHE.
Thank you for your input.  I seriously doubt he will get a 75% efficiency on a 1.115 beer.  I am just trying to help prevent a dissapointing outcome based on my experience. 

Have you brewed a 1.115 beer with 75% efficiency (without boiling for 8 hours)?  Has anyone?  If he has done it before I honor him.  If you have, please tell us how you did it.


I've come aweful close, and I only had to boil for 3 hours.  ;D

Did a partigyle and if I calculated the whole batch efficiency it was right around 75%. The first runnings were a 1.115 and the second runnings 1.034. There were a lot of second runnings. I think I might even have squeezed out a couple quarts of starter wort out of that mash.

Ingredients / Re: Rhizomes?
« on: April 30, 2012, 11:14:18 PM »
Ok so I planted them April 17th which is two weeks ago and I have 3 out of the six showing growth. Two being the hallertau and one cascade plant. Should I have faith in the other three even after two weeks and no sprouts.

Should I expect a certain percentage of plants to be failures?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

have faith brother. one of my centennial came up after almost a month.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 02:41:38 PM »
I had several Duvels and because of defects I was scoring generously in the low 20s

IMHO beers listed as BJCP Classic Styles should score in the 40s on a consistent basis.  There are always bottles, sometimes in a 6-pack with a 40 point plus beer that will score considerably lower.

Of course there is always that. even the best brewery probably sends out a bad bottle on occasion. and obviously the judges have no control over the handling that bottle has recieved before it arrived on the table and a Judge can't really be faulted for not giving something a 50 based simply on the idea that a 50 is 'impossible' but I think the principal holds that if it's on the list of commercial examples it should score extremenly high and it would be worth while figuring out a way to rank judges based on their response to a classic example.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 01:12:14 PM »
I would think that the listed commercial examples should always score a 50 right?

That's a joke, right?

Ever read the commercial calibration bit in Zymurgy every month?  Never a 50

It was sort of a joke, I do read that column but those aren't always the listed commercial examples are they? still, joking aside, if the score is based on how well the beer represents the published guidlines, and those guidlines are based on the published commercial examples the those examples should score perfect. and, in fact, any deviation from that perfect score is a measure of how much subjective 'like/don't like' based bias is present for each judge.

I also entered an all ivanhoe hop rye IPA and got decent scores (low 30's) and both judges were very up front about the fact that while the beer was technically very good, no off flavours or other faults, they did not score it as highly as they might have because they didn't care for the particular character of that hop. This is fine, it was cat 23 so I suspect subjective measures make a huge difference there. but in a more specific category, cat 9 for instance, it seems like there should be a lot less room for that and blind tasting the commercial examples would provide some measure of that bias.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 12:56:47 PM »
Perhaps if a judge was given a sample of the actual commercial calibration beers blind and would fail the test if they didn't give it a 50 it would help. I would think that the listed commercial examples should always score a 50 right?

The stopper thermowell also works great as previously suggested.

But, I've heard that Johnson controller's probes are too large for the thermowell, which is unfortunate.

I think my johnson would be to large for that... sorry, couldn't help myself. It doesn't help that the two biggest players are Johnson and Love.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 10:59:24 AM »
I just want to add, I got some good feedback from this comp and it highlighted some issues I might be having generally with my process. I can see how it is useful for that purpose as well.

That is its best use imo!

Well, yes and no. It is very useful to get the feedback, just as it's really fun to compete at, say billiards, even if you don't win, but it's more fun to win.  ;D

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Grain storage
« on: April 30, 2012, 10:50:28 AM »
I put mine in plastic buckets.  When I am not using my fridge to ferment in, I place the grains inside the fridge to keep them away from any pests that may get in the garage.

I am not sure this is an issue, but I know that with some things (like coffee beans) keeping them in a cold place can actually be detrimental as the switch from cold to warm and back again can cause condensation to develop in the container. Just some thign to keep in mind. I think the solution would be to package in 1 - 10 lb increments so you aren't taking a tub out, opening it and putting it back in over and over.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 10:39:57 AM »
I just want to add, I got some good feedback from this comp and it highlighted some issues I might be having generally with my process. I can see how it is useful for that purpose as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Barley Wine Storage
« on: April 30, 2012, 08:38:41 AM »
If you have the extra Keg and space I would for sure leave it in the keg. Bottling will just risk oxidation. In terms of how long to age it, that really depends on the beer, which is another good reason to leave it in the keg as you can sample a nip here and there until it gets where you want it to be. If you bottle I would figure out a way to remove o2, either purge with a beer gun or similar, or add a touch of priming sugar and a little fresh yeast when you bottle so it can scavange any o2 that gets in.

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