Author Topic: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good  (Read 4675 times)

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2012, 11:04:43 AM »
While I love the Germans very much, I disagree that an American malt can't be expected to taste elegantly malty.  Not true in my opinion.
Dave

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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2012, 11:28:10 AM »
American barley cultivars have been tailor bred for the American brewing industry, that vast majority of it being used for thin, near flavorless light lager.  ::)

Offline Steverino

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2012, 12:34:01 PM »
science has helped us to understand how to make better beer and proven many old rules of thumb to be ridiculous.

Like what?
I'm not trying to be provocative, really I'm not, and I'm all for science. I think it's helped us understand the process much better than ever-better than when the Reinheitsgebot was drafted, better than in the dark days before the thermometer had been invented. (There's a doc running on netflix right not that claims beer invented science.)
And certainly malts are different from what they were 100 years ago or even 50. But adjusting for our modern malts, hops, yeasts--what time-tested rules of thumb are ridiculous?
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2012, 12:41:51 PM »
1) Watch out for hot-side aeration.  Unnecessary.
2) Make sure you rack to secondary after 2 weeks to avoid autolysis.  Unnecessary.  It's more like 2.5-3 months, and there's more risk of oxidation and contamination than autolysis.
3) Don't use too much adjuncts or it will result in "cidery" flavors.  Completely false.

Those are a few biggies.  There are no doubt a dozen others that I can't think of off the top of my head in 2 minutes.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Online denny

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2012, 12:46:00 PM »
Denny, that's an interesting data point, assuming it's true (coming from you, I don't doubt it quite as much).  But I might also argue that the reason Americans love hops so much is that they cover up shortcomings in the malt profile, especially when compared to the Germans and other continentals who've really got the good ingredients and processes down pat to do it right every time.  Meanwhile it's not too hard to make a hop tea, put a little malt sugar in there for complexity and fermentables, and call it delicious.  And when you think of Sierra Nevada, what's the first thing that comes to mind?  Probably a hoppy beer ala SNPA or Celebration or whatever hoppy flavor of the day.  So if their malt character might be lacking in some respect at 100% efficiency compared to what they might get if they purposely lowered it to 75%, who's going to care!?  Well, I'm a malthead (as opposed to a hophead).  I care about malt character.  Many many many people really seem to not care enough about the malt.  If they've got fermentable sugar and 100 IBUs, they're happy as clams.  Not me.  Which is no doubt why I keep on rambling about the need to experiment with malt flavor vs. efficiency.

Dave, although SN does focus on hop forward beers, I certainly don't think they have a weak malt profile.  The malt is what makes the hops work, to me.    Ramble on!  ;)
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2012, 12:52:01 PM »
1) Watch out for hot-side aeration.  Unnecessary.
2) Make sure you rack to secondary after 2 weeks to avoid autolysis.  Unnecessary.  It's more like 2.5-3 months, and there's more risk of oxidation and contamination than autolysis.
3) Don't use too much adjuncts or it will result in "cidery" flavors.  Completely false.

Those are a few biggies.  There are no doubt a dozen others that I can't think of off the top of my head in 2 minutes.
1. Unnecessary for homebrewers, necessary (or a good idea, depending on what you're doing) for pros.
2.  See above.
3.  Now that we use yeast nutrients and healthier yeast.

I think the point is that these became rules of thumb for good reasons - we may know more now and can get around those reasons, but that doesn't mean all of them should be thrown away.  Follow the rules in the beginning and you'll make better beer, then as you learn more about brewing and your system, start breaking rules and see what happens.

The "rules" are there to help people, if you've moved beyond them that's cool.  Not everyone has.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline a10t2

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2012, 01:08:50 PM »
1. Unnecessary for homebrewers, necessary (or a good idea, depending on what you're doing) for pros.

I wouldn't even go that far. I'd say everyone should avoid oxidation throughout the process. Home brewers are just more likely to have equipment limitations that make that impractical.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2012, 01:13:03 PM »
1. Unnecessary for homebrewers, necessary (or a good idea, depending on what you're doing) for pros.

I wouldn't even go that far. I'd say everyone should avoid oxidation throughout the process. Home brewers are just more likely to have equipment limitations that make that impractical.
Oxidation yes, but I've found hot-side aeration to be a non-issue on my system with my normal practices.  I don't go out of my way to avoid it, there are just few opportunities for it to happen.  Maybe that's what you mean by impractical?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Steverino

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2012, 01:14:02 PM »
I wouldn't call this a "big theory".  There's just very little test data out there today that would prove it right or wrong.  So, without a lot of data to support or refute at this point, I wouldn't dare jump to any conclusions and declare the theory "shaky" or of a "thin foundation".  Go ahead, prove me wrong, if you can, but present the results in an objective manner in such a way that they are based on TASTE, not facts, figures, IBUs, etc.  I am confident I'll get there, eventually.  I'm just not there quite yet.


My friend, 'objective' means facts and figures, not (subjective) taste. And the taste you're basing your theory on seems to have been garnered from one or two beers. Scientific? Not by my understanding of the scientific method.

You are probably right about me. I'm a traditionalist. The lore of brewing is one of the things I've always found most appealing about our avocation. When I was developing my brewery I admit to casting my eye back to the great brewers for guidance. I considered them the masters and myself an apprentice. I felt I could do a lot worse than emulating those brewers who made the beers I admired.

At the same time, I question everything--especially contentions based on anecdotal evidence.

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Offline a10t2

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2012, 01:22:04 PM »
Oxidation yes, but I've found hot-side aeration to be a non-issue on my system with my normal practices.  I don't go out of my way to avoid it, there are just few opportunities for it to happen.  Maybe that's what you mean by impractical?

From a process standpoint, I don't consider cold-side and hot-side oxidation to be all that different. Or at least, the fix is the same - avoid contact with the air. You're absolutely right that with decent equipment HSA can be avoided almost entirely. OTOH, there are definitely home brewers who do things like let the wort drop several feet from the lauter tun into the kettle.

Shelf life and storage conditions are big concerns for pro brewers, whereas home brewers have more control. Store the beer warm for a couple months and it makes sense to pay just as much attention to HSA as to CSA, IMHO.
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Offline Steverino

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2012, 01:23:17 PM »
1) Watch out for hot-side aeration.  Unnecessary.
2) Make sure you rack to secondary after 2 weeks to avoid autolysis.  Unnecessary.  It's more like 2.5-3 months, and there's more risk of oxidation and contamination than autolysis.
3) Don't use too much adjuncts or it will result in "cidery" flavors.  Completely false.

Those are a few biggies.  There are no doubt a dozen others that I can't think of off the top of my head in 2 minutes.

1) I admit I did not know this. Quite a few of my beers are over a year old before I get to them--I've always considered it a good idea (good practice) to avoid HS aeration.
2) I take your point
3) Not sure I agree completely with this. Surely, at some point too much adjunct will produce something other than beer.
Beer makes you feel the way you should without beer.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2012, 04:27:10 PM »
Shelf life and storage conditions are big concerns for pro brewers, whereas home brewers have more control. Store the beer warm for a couple months and it makes sense to pay just as much attention to HSA as to CSA, IMHO.
Absolutely - when I said "depending on what you're doing" I was thinking of pub brewers who brew small batches and they're rapidly consumed.  That's about the only case of a pro not needing to worry about it that I can think of.  In general, yes, pros need to worry about it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2012, 07:49:11 AM »
This has been a fun read for me.  Lot's of topics and theories.  I just wanted to add a thought on high efficiency: 

One looks to achieve full conversion in the mash and then lauter the beer.  Your efficiency depends on how good your mash and lautering processes are.  I believe that if you hit and maintain the proper temps in your mashing and at mashout, then you should not necessarily get a grainy and/or thin beer.  And if you have a good sparging process, you can have a great beer with a high efficiency because you rinsed the grains in the optimal manner-ie Sierra Nevada.  Where you run in to problems with a high efficiency beer IMHO is not performing a proper mash for it (Hochkurz, Decoction, etc.) to get the correct body and mouthfeel, oversparging and/or not hitting proper mashout temps. 

Dave
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2012, 09:02:56 AM »
To hit 100% you would have to sparge down to zero. Isn't there some rule about stopping the sparging at 1.008? I batch sparge and even in a low gravity beer I leave about twice that gravity absorbed in my spent grain. Batch sparging can't extract 100%. Getting most of the malt converted is key. Most of what is still there is because it was insoluble due to crush and so it was not accessible by the enzymes for conversion.  I don't see how the 15% I dump out is any different than the 85% that made it into my wort. Its just stuck too deep in the grain.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 09:05:36 AM by Malticulous »