Author Topic: NHC brew letdown  (Read 3815 times)

Online gmac

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2012, 05:07:41 PM »
Sometimes I have found that I am my biggest critic of my beers.  Maybe you are being a little too harsh on yourself gmac.

You're probably right.  The one that's got me bummed out is my California Common.  I've entered that in two competitions and scored well in both but this time I think the cooler fermentation temps at this time of year have really made a difference.  My basement was probably 60 or so and the beer just doesn't have the ester profile that I'm used to.  It was probably 65 to 68 last time I made it.

I also think I do a decent APA (it's scored in the low 40's before) but I didn't get it done in time  :'(

My English IPA is ok but the gravity ended up weaker than I wanted and then I had a keg-related mis-hap.  The picnic tap blew off the end of the line and dumped about 3 gals of beer into the bottom of the freezer. 

My wheat is good, can't complain about that one.

I put my Kolsch into the cold room with a blow off hose and water and it got really cold and sucked some water up from the cup.  It doesn't seem contaminated but I was worried for a while.

I used the Kolsch yeast to make cider (last time I used American Lager).  It's taking forever to clear.  Yes, I know that's a major change.

I tried an Irish Red (first time) and it's really, really cloudy.  Fined it today but I guess I can't say too much about it because it's the first time I've done this one.  I used 2 oz of roast barley and there is no perceptible roast character.  I made an ESB that I've done lots of times and really like and added 2 oz of roast barley at sparge just for colour (which I've done before) and got very strong roast flavour that clearly doesn't belong in an ESB.

I don't think my smoked porter is smokey enough this time but it'll be ok.

My French Saison has too much coriander despite being exactly the same amount as I used last time when it was great.

I made a CAP that is reading 1.002 FG right now (WLP800).  Seems a bit lower than it should be.

Otherwise, everything went great. :)

Offline hokerer

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2012, 08:39:29 AM »
Otherwise, everything went great. :)

"Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?"
Joe

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2012, 01:53:37 AM »
I used the Kolsch yeast to make cider (last time I used American Lager).  It's taking forever to clear.  Yes, I know that's a major change.

Could also be higher levels of pectin in your apple juice. Hitting your juice with pectin enzyme when you pitch the yeast will help. I'm assuming you know the other tricks, like crash cooling and fining/filtering.

I tried an Irish Red (first time) and it's really, really cloudy.  Fined it today but I guess I can't say too much about it because it's the first time I've done this one.  I used 2 oz of roast barley and there is no perceptible roast character.  I made an ESB that I've done lots of times and really like and added 2 oz of roast barley at sparge just for colour (which I've done before) and got very strong roast flavour that clearly doesn't belong in an ESB.

Ow. I'm skeptical of putting roast barley into just about anything other than a Stout or Irish Red. For color adjustment, go with Carafa or even caramel coloring.

I don't think my smoked porter is smokey enough this time but it'll be ok.

If the underlying recipe is great, just specify the lower level of smoke in your ingredients and hope that you get judges who appreciate subtlety. Not every smoke beer has to smell like a forest fire.

My French Saison has too much coriander despite being exactly the same amount as I used last time when it was great.

Might have used fresher or higher grade coriander this time out. Again, if the base beer is good, consider entering it. Maybe it's not a saison, but it might be a legitimate Belgian Specialty or SHV beer.

I made a CAP that is reading 1.002 FG right now (WLP800).  Seems a bit lower than it should be.

In that case, there's a chance you might be able to pass it off as a German Pils, SAL or PAL, depending on how body and hop character turn out.

Online gmac

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2012, 08:31:33 AM »
Thanks Thomasbarnes.  There's something not right with the cider. I'm gonna re-do for personal consumption.

I guess it really didn't matter because as I posted in my bottle woes thread, my supplier really dropped the ball, even though they assured me repeatedly that they could get me bottles.  I should have cancelled my order two weeks ago and gone elsewhere but they assured me they'd get me bottles and then didn't so I chose not to enter this year.  I guess I can use the extra year to refine some of these recipes.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 10:34:02 PM »
Thanks Thomasbarnes.  There's something not right with the cider. I'm gonna re-do for personal consumption.

Define "not right." Is it just the cider not wanting to clear or off-flavors?

You might have some wild yeast in there that aren't wanting to flocculate and which are throwing off-flavors. In cider, wild yeast tend to come across more as sharp and slightly vinous, perhaps with a bit of smoke.

Offline micsager

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Re: NHC brew letdown
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2012, 08:47:13 AM »
I have brewed beers that scored in the 40's, but that is rare.  Through my judging experience, I'd say that finding a beer that scores in the 40's in competition is rare too.  Looking at the Commercial Calibration results that are presented in Zymurgy, 40's are rare in the commercial ranks too. 

Brewing a beer in the mid to upper 30's can easily get you medals.  It all depends what other beers show up that day.
+1 on that.  My flagship Amber took first prize last year at a fairly large local comp. with a score of 37/38.  This year, same recipe scored 38/39 and didn't even place.  (but the comments on the judging sheet were sure nice)