Author Topic: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine  (Read 3035 times)

Online Kaiser

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They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« on: December 04, 2012, 12:22:08 PM »
Last night I joined my Boss at DejaBrew, an on-premise brewing place in Shrewsbury MA, to watch him and his friends brew a few batches of beer. Like many on-premise brewing places the brewing process is largely extract with specialty grains.

First thing I noticed is that even starchy grains like Aromatic and Rauchmalz get "steeped" in the full water volume while the water heats to 180F. No "proper" mash here but the beers don't seem to suffer from starch haze either. Looks like that even at the high water to grain ratio, that exist, the starches that make it into the water convert just fine.

They also pitch a single WL vial into 10 gal of cooled wort, even for lagers. The ales tasted fine and were enjoyable. The lagers were ok too, but did lack some of the flavors that I like in them. But none of the beers had off flavors that we commonly associate with under pitching.

Wort is aerated by shaking the heck out of the fermenters, which are plastic drums lined with plastic bags. I think that should be sufficient for the ales.

They used to have in-line aeration and propagated their own yeast, but got rid of it b/c they found that the additional work was not needed.

Go figure.

Kai

Offline davidgzach

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 12:26:20 PM »
Kai,

How the heck did they get away with pitching one vial in to 10G of lager wort?  Do they have a diacetyl removing machine or something?  How long is the lagering period?

Dave
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 12:28:12 PM »
The process of making beer is forgiving, isn't it?

Most of the stuff we do is to get from fine to Very Good to Excellent or even Outstanding.
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Offline denny

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 12:32:40 PM »
Dan Listermann has said that malted barley wants to become beer.  We all know there are many roads to the same destination.  Some of them may be better or worse than others, but most will get you where you're going.
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Online Kaiser

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 12:33:54 PM »
How the heck did they get away with pitching one vial in to 10G of lager wort?  Do they have a diacetyl removing machine or something?  How long is the lagering period?

I had a few lagers, and no diacetyl. I'm pretty sensitive to that stuff.

I'll have to ask about the lager fermentation process when I'm back in 2 weeks. That's when they bottle.

After the primary fermentation of 7 days (ales) the beer is cold crashed for 7 days, filtered and force carbonated.

Kai

Offline davidgzach

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 12:37:51 PM »
How the heck did they get away with pitching one vial in to 10G of lager wort?  Do they have a diacetyl removing machine or something?  How long is the lagering period?

I had a few lagers, and no diacetyl. I'm pretty sensitive to that stuff.

I'll have to ask about the lager fermentation process when I'm back in 2 weeks. That's when they bottle.

After the primary fermentation of 7 days (ales) the beer is cold crashed for 7 days, filtered and force carbonated.

Kai

Please post that?  I intrigued now as to what they are doing for lagers....

Dave
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Offline denny

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 12:40:45 PM »
Do they ferment lagers cold or at the same temp as ales?  The reason I ask is this...for years I judged at local homebrew comps where BOS was always won by the same guy.  He made fantastic lagers of all varieties, especially bock.  No one who was judging had ever heard of him but year after year we were astounded at the quality of his lagers, including guys who had been brewing for 30 years.  He eventually joined our club and one night I had a chance to talk to him about his beers.  He pitched a single vial or smackpack into 5 gal. at room temp and fermented them at room temp.  Seldom even did lagering after fermentation.  Let me reiterate that these are some of the best homebrews I've ever tasted.  Everyone in the club was in shock, although AFAIK no one has had the guts to try his methods.  But it's certainly food for thought.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 12:41:07 PM »
for my 50th my wife got me a brew session at a place in chicago. kind of fun to do things a little differently and with someone elses stuff.  made a kolsch. tried it the other night and almost undrinkable.  medicine.  i think they did not dechlorinate the water first as i struggled with this when i first started. i let it sit for a while in the glass. (forgot about it actually) and was tolerable.  a friend who went with me tried one and he couldn't pick it up beyond a tang flavor
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 12:47:21 PM »
Do they ferment lagers cold or at the same temp as ales?  The reason I ask is this...for years I judged at local homebrew comps where BOS was always won by the same guy.  He made fantastic lagers of all varieties, especially bock.  No one who was judging had ever heard of him but year after year we were astounded at the quality of his lagers, including guys who had been brewing for 30 years.  He eventually joined our club and one night I had a chance to talk to him about his beers.  He pitched a single vial or smackpack into 5 gal. at room temp and fermented them at room temp.  Seldom even did lagering after fermentation.  Let me reiterate that these are some of the best homebrews I've ever tasted.  Everyone in the club was in shock, although AFAIK no one has had the guts to try his methods.  But it's certainly food for thought.

Wyeast does list 2124 up to 68F.  That could be worth an experiment outside a Cali Common.
Dave Zach

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 12:55:20 PM »
I think the cold conditioning portion of lager brewing is less important that we think. I also think it makes a difference, but it's easy to get away without it. Currently both my freezer chests are broken and I'll have to get away w/o properly "lagering" my Schwarzbier. At least it's winter and my basement is at ~60 F

Kai

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 01:36:31 PM »
I kind of think starch that is completely unconverted might just drop out rather than form haze.

I am told that Budweiser is fermented at 56F and lagered 3 weeks at 50F.  Doesn't get much cleaner than that.
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Offline anje

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 02:17:24 PM »
Do they ferment lagers cold or at the same temp as ales?  The reason I ask is this...for years I judged at local homebrew comps where BOS was always won by the same guy.  He made fantastic lagers of all varieties, especially bock.  No one who was judging had ever heard of him but year after year we were astounded at the quality of his lagers, including guys who had been brewing for 30 years.  He eventually joined our club and one night I had a chance to talk to him about his beers.  He pitched a single vial or smackpack into 5 gal. at room temp and fermented them at room temp.  Seldom even did lagering after fermentation.  Let me reiterate that these are some of the best homebrews I've ever tasted.  Everyone in the club was in shock, although AFAIK no one has had the guts to try his methods.  But it's certainly food for thought.

Wonder if this means I could make lagers in my tub-of-water temp control system?
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 02:20:59 PM »
Wonder if this means I could make lagers in my tub-of-water temp control system?



I would think so.  However, I would also think it has a lot to do with the yeast strain.  Some just plow out diacetyl and sulphur if underpitched and warm. 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 02:22:32 PM by davidgzach »
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Offline beersk

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Re: They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 02:21:22 PM »
I kind of think starch that is completely unconverted might just drop out rather than form haze.

I am told that Budweiser is fermented at 56F and lagered 3 weeks at 50F.  Doesn't get much cleaner than that.
Too bad it tastes like ass.

I've fermented WY2124 at ales temps for a 1554 clone, it works very well.
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Offline denny

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They do a lot of things "wrong" yet the beer tastes fine
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 03:37:55 PM »

Wonder if this means I could make lagers in my tub-of-water temp control system?

I've been doing that for years, but the tub of water is in my garage for winter.
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