Author Topic: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)  (Read 4258 times)

Offline macbrews

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2012, 05:00:57 PM »
As far as hitting your mash temp, I always like having a bit of hot and cold water immediately available to add to the mash if I don't hit it right on.  This is especially beneficial if you don't have the ability to add direct heat.

Mac

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2012, 05:20:07 PM »
ah, a few of the pics showed up as red x's from work.  so was 3.7 gallons the finished volume in the kettle?  74% seems pretty high for a process that is nearly no-sparge but I guess you are a strong squeezer.   ;D
"pipette" = just a little plastic tool that looks like a tiny turkey baster.  I have hundreds since I do reef tanks.  handy for many things.

finally, though it certainly didn't hurt anything, I would say that that 20 minutes in the boil is overkill on sanitizing your chiller.

cheers-
--Michael

Offline amh0001

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2012, 09:22:13 PM »
Thanks for the advice guys. I appreciated all the comments. I will definitely have to check out those glove beernut.

I actually learned a lot about my process creating this thread. The key things that stood out to me as i made this thread are as follows:

1. Hitting my targets

Although I thought I used common sense and a good effort at achieving my targets for the recipe, I actually did not achieve many of them. for example. The ingredients were off. My mash temps were off. My OG was off. My yeast pitch was probably off, etc. Not that I was way off in any of them to ruin my batch, but it points out to me that I need to keep running my system without changes so I can hit all my targets. That should be a goal i realize now, and for any brewer I think it is a great idea.

2. Expectations of a beer

I realize now that yes my process does need some improving, but also maybe the reason I am so critical of my beer is some what personal preference in taste. I know that any style done really well will stand out as good, but i kept changing recipes or equipment to try to fix things.

The solution?

Now that I have received some comments from other brewers that my process isn't too shabby, I realize how I can actually improve it. I think it would do me a lot of benefit to work on a single recipe or two and get them really dialed in. Instead of trying new things all the time.

For instance one of the best beers I brewed was Jamils Taddy Porter recipe. But my mash was about 4 degrees too low and I think the beer could have used that added mouth feel to be even better. I need to work on a single recipe so I can really figure out what my numbers are going to look like everytime IE boil off rate. Perhaps mash temp loss, and calibrate my measuring tools.

This would give me consistency and real brewing wisdom on my system.

What do you guys think about this?

Offline ultravista

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 09:22:57 PM »
So what kinda work does a hand model get, hand jobs? ... couldn't resist ...

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2012, 05:38:05 AM »
When you substitute ingredients, you need to adjust your expectations as well.  Different ingredients give different results, always.  I have have not brewed a beer yet where changing something didn't change the result.
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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2012, 06:06:39 AM »
Great job on the pics!

Adding a thermometer to your kettle will help you hit your strike water temps better.  I know this really helped me.  I typically shoot for 10 degrees warmer than I want to mash at, usually works like a champ.

As far as refining your process, I would say that only you can do that.  The BIGGEST thing that helped me, was to stop making changes and just brew! Like you,  when I first started brewing, I made changes or bought new equipment that totally changed each subsequent brew day.   Try to brew the same exact way every time.  That really helped me start turning out great beers, regularly.

Also, I might add.  Don't brew styles that you wouldn't normally buy.  I went through a phase about 6 months after I started brewing, where I was determined to brew a different style every time.  Big mistake on my part.  Why am I wasting my time brewing a Dunkelweizen and Octoberfest when I would never order one when I go out?  I only really enjoy Stouts, IPA's, and APA's, mainly.  While I'm all for branching out.  Stick to brewing styles that YOU really enjoy.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 06:09:12 AM by liquidbrewing »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2012, 06:13:12 AM »
Liquidbrewing has some very good points.  When I started out, I was determined to make a Continental Pilsner so I brewed the same style 5 or 6 times in a row.  I figured if I could make this style of beer I could make anything.  It really allowed me to dial in my process and equipment.
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Offline amh0001

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2012, 06:29:38 PM »
Wow guys, great comments! It makes perfect sense. I just ended up buying a thermapen to help with my temp measurements.

Liquidbrewing, you and I seem very similar in changing set ups and brewing different styles. I generally like to have 3 things on tap. Something hoppy, Something dark, and something light and malty or even fruity. I decided to work on brewing a very easy recipe for american wheat. At least this way by brewing the same beer I can add different things to it afterwards to make a crowd please. I am adding Cantaloupe to the first batch, but of course I will drink the beer a little bit just wheat to see how it came out re my process.

Reading all your guys post has put my desire to brew into high gear. Im set to brew once a week for this whole month!

CHeers!

Offline amh0001

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Update, racked to keg, taste
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2012, 09:59:43 PM »
Just an update. I racked this beer to the keg the other day. It tastes pretty good. It didnt pick up any cinnamon flavor from the stick, and its a little bitter on the hops side for a "oatmeal cookie" beer. It finished at 1.020 and I enjoy the mouth feel. I'm hopping if I let it age a bit the hops will mellow and let the malt shine. I don't think the beer has any off flavors so we shall see. I will post a picture soon.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2012, 07:34:42 AM »
To me, it seems that whole cinnamon sticks really need extended contact time to release their flavor. I'm not surprised that your not getting much from a 5 minute steep.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Update, racked to keg, taste
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2012, 08:52:07 AM »
To me, it seems that whole cinnamon sticks really need extended contact time to release their flavor. I'm not surprised that your not getting much from a 5 minute steep.

+1, I just added 250 ml of vodka that had been soaking on 5 broken up cinnamon sticks(true cinnamon instead of cassia, so the flavour and heat is more subdued) for a month almost to 5 gallons of stout and it's still a subtle note in the flavour and a bit more in the aroma. you might be able to steep some additional cinnamon in boiling water, like making tea, and add that if you want more flavour.
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Jonathan I Fuller

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2012, 09:00:13 AM »
The heat is definately needed too. I added ~20 sticks to 5 gallons of fermented cider for a months and got a barely woody flavor out of them.
Jimmy K

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Offline amh0001

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Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2012, 09:42:19 AM »
I agree. I did the same thing soaking the sticks in vodka for a month and added the whole thing to 3 gallons of apple cider. Never knew it was in there lol. From a pumpkin spice ale I did, I noticed the powdered cinnamon just added to the keg did let cinnamon flavor come out, so I added some to the brown. To be honest I think it tasted better without it. The hops are too bitter for that sweet cinnamon style. It tastes more like a heavy american brown ale, now with cinnamon which doesn't quite go together lol! Anywho, I know it will age out. It still taste quite good and drinkable. It has a great mouthfeel and creamy head from the oats. The 1.020 gives it great malty flavor and body.

If i were to do it again, I would back off a bit on the hops and skip the cinnamon. And then I would make a nice american brown ale lol! Dont know about a Christmas oatmeal cookie beer tho.

Thanks again for all the imput guys. I love seeing the comments.