Author Topic: Observation  (Read 2682 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Observation
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2013, 05:10:40 PM »

Put it this way. Denny's makes a lot of omelettes. They are not bad. Probably worth the $4.99. But they are not even close to most homemade omelettes.

Kudos to pro breweries. But lets not blindly accept that a pro beer is a quality beer by default. Or that a pro brewer is a better brewer by default.

I didn't know that Denny makes omelettes, too!  What is it that the guy can't do!

Seriously,  most pro brewers are quite good and way more consistent than homebrewers can hope to be (or they would have trouble surviving); even so, homebrewers can make some damn fine beer and every so often nail it right up there with any commercial brew of the same style - depending on the style, of course, because some styles just don't convert well to the small batch, hand crafted methods, especially without knowing the large batch methods employed on the commercial batch.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Observation
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2013, 06:04:43 PM »
Glad I got the banter going on this.  Fun stuff.

Its debatable which specific beer is the best ever because is subjective despite the efforts of BJCP to make it objective. But let's imagine that the process was purely objective based on empirical evidence. And the best ever is identified as X. I believe the odds are that X is produced by a professional brewer whose ancestors all were pros way back to the beginning of selling beer.

Now look at each pro brewery. Its logical to think that a brewery exists due to the existence of their brewer and that brewers best beer, or maybe that brewers three best beers. Narrow it down a bit. Take the top beer of the top twenty-four breweries in the USA. That would probably be one hell of a case. But likely would not contain a bottle of X.

Now take the bottom five beers from the bottom 100 breweries in the US. This would be 500 beers I would not sell, buy, or drink myself. Are they still better than the top 500 homebrews? For anyone who would say Yes, I would say You are brainwashed by our Tell me what to drink- culture. Maybe when the craft beer bubble pops and only the best survive, this will not be so.

By the way, average home brewer is a bad term because it implies that a comprehensive study has been done. If I defined average as having twenty batches of experience, good sanitation, instrumentation, oxygenation, and temp control, would that change things?

All of this to say, the brewing profession is putting some less than desirable beers on the market these days and I think it's because the thirsty masses have bought into the message that craft is cool.

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"


Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Observation
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2013, 06:13:20 PM »
After rightfully praising the commercial brewing world, just gotta add :  I'm a longtime lover and brewer of the  West Coast IPA family.  I've had fresh Pliny, Alpine, Stone , Ballast Point ,etc.   Know what ?  They're freaking amazing, but, for hopheads, they're largely based on freshness.  I like my IPAs fresh over their  (x) months old, only out of freshness, not out of any misplaced ego .   Vinnie, Patrick, and co. are beyond belief - their brewpub fresh IPAs leave you speechless.  But a decently made dryhopped IPA with hops in keg can make a homebrewer feel pretty happy.
Jon H.

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Observation
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2013, 08:56:58 PM »
Jim, I do agree with a lot of what you're saying about commercial beers, I just don't agree with what you say about the quality of most homebrews.  Iv'e been hiring people from all across the country for the past year, before they move out here I send them some money and ask them to bring me the best beers their area can offer-the one rule is that it has to be local.  Only about 1/3 to 1/2 of it would I consider great beer, most was at least good but some of it fairly sucked. 
Over the years I've drunk a lot of beer brewed by friends that was palatable at best.  I live in a small town so all 5 or 6 of us who brew here know each other.  The best brewer I know refuses to use any kind of temp control, his winter beers are not bad but they get pretty bad as spring and summer come along.  Another one always put fresh yeast at bottling so that his beer gave me the whistling farts and screaming runs-it tasted OK but was painful an hour later.
A group of us on another homebrewing forum created a recipe, found a homebrew shop that turned it into a kit and we all brewed the same stuff and shared it. Every person who participated sent 2 bottles to 3 or 4 different people.  The range of quality went from gut wrenchingly bad to magnificent, but you could not have ever known that every beer was brewed with  exactly the same ingredients.  Commercial breweries that produce beer like that won't stay in business long, but homebrewers can go on forever.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline repo

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Re: Observation
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2013, 09:03:59 PM »
It is not a fair comparison, a beer brewed to appeal to a large audience vs one brewed to specific tastes. Freshness is huge on certain styles. A lot of places now have really really good small batch stuff only available at the brewery.  This is where the brewers get to really do what they want.

I would rather have a home brew from Vinnie than one of the Russian River beers. What seems lost here is the fact that these guys could  make homebrew too, and it would be spectacular.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Observation
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2013, 09:56:47 PM »
After rightfully praising the commercial brewing world, just gotta add :  I'm a longtime lover and brewer of the  West Coast IPA family.  I've had fresh Pliny, Alpine, Stone , Ballast Point ,etc.   Know what ?  They're freaking amazing, but, for hopheads, they're largely based on freshness.  I like my IPAs fresh over their  (x) months old, only out of freshness, not out of any misplaced ego .   Vinnie, Patrick, and co. are beyond belief - their brewpub fresh IPAs leave you speechless.  But a decently made dryhopped IPA with hops in keg can make a homebrewer feel pretty happy.

While I have yet to experience brewery-fresh West Coast IPA on the West Coast, I'm a huge fan of the style. I very rarely purchase commercial IPA anymore now that I regularly brew my own hoppy beers on a regular basis. While I certainly don't claim to brew better IPA than the pros, I can definitely brew it fresher compared to how it is available locally.

I've had a lot of mediocre craft beer, but in general I think a decent craft brew trumps a decent home brew of comparable style the majority of the time.

Personally, I still have a hell of a lot of learning and growing to do as a homebrewer. I do have enough experience to be able to brew suitably well to meet my tastes. When I brew a batch that I really nail, I'll take that over any commercial brew out there. Part of it is definitely pride, and the other part is because I know my tastes very well. Still, I'm sure that a decent commercial brewery would make the same recipe better the majority of the time. You can't help but have your process and ingredients dialed in if this is your livelihood.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

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Re: Observation
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2013, 04:11:21 AM »
This is ridiculous! I love it! But seriously, an experienced homebrewer with happy yeast can make beer that rivals the pros in quality. If we didn't believe it, we wouldn't be here trying to learn and improve our process. Maybe we could even clone Roche 10 if we brewed it hundreds of times to dial it in as they likely did. And we've all had commercial beers that sucked too. Whether it was just stale or something like the irish stout I had recently from a national chain brewpub- tasted like rauchmalt- YUK!
To suggest that brewers and the media tell us what to drink? Not in the craft beer world! They brew it once and the drinkers tell them whether or not to brew it again...and again. There's far too many great choices out there to spend my hard-earned cash on a less-than-great beer twice!

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Observation
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2013, 05:51:57 AM »
I love this debate. It's neat to see all of the opinions from around the country.

I've seen homebrew improve greatly - even in the past 3 years. I remember the first competition I judged, I had a beer that tasted like "wet dog poopy feet". No joke! Now, the biggest problems I see (beyond the occasional gusher type infection) are diacetyl and acedaldyhyde in lagers.

I'm also spoiled by some pretty great homebrewers in my club.  ;D

All that being said, I still hunt out certain commercial beers. A few come to mind: Russian River's sours, Boulevard's Saison-Brett... hmmm. Making me thirsty!  :D
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Observation
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 06:04:31 AM »
My observation on commercial vs homebrew is that the better commercial brews seem to have a level of malt character that I see in very few homebrews.  I don't know if its a matter of oxidation from the average homebrewing process vs a system that puts the beer through without ever touching air, or just what is going on, but something like Boston Brewing's brown ale has amazing malt flavor and I see this in so very few homebrews and then its often more muted.

Homebrewers can make excellent hoppy beers, and the ones that have distinctive yeast character are very much in our wheelhouse thanks to WL and WY.
Lennie
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Observation
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2013, 06:36:26 AM »
Here's an anecdotal of my point. I gave a BMC drinking neighbor a bottle of my APA with Simcoe and cascade. He gave the polite response,  'not bad. Kind of different.' Then a couple weeks later he said he got curious and ordered one of those APA things at a restaurant. Didn't say what brand, but told me that mine was better. He just didn't know it at the time. My point is that people expect pro beer to be the standard. Of course he didn't even know what it was much less what it was supposed to be.

I wonder some times if people are acquiring a taste for bad beer...

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"


Offline AmandaK

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Re: Observation
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2013, 06:52:59 AM »
Here's an anecdotal of my point. I gave a BMC drinking neighbor a bottle of my APA with Simcoe and cascade. He gave the polite response,  'not bad. Kind of different.' Then a couple weeks later he said he got curious and ordered one of those APA things at a restaurant. Didn't say what brand, but told me that mine was better. He just didn't know it at the time. My point is that people expect pro beer to be the standard. Of course he didn't even know what it was much less what it was supposed to be.

I've converted a number of my lady friends to craft beer this way.  ;D
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Offline hubie

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Re: Observation
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2013, 08:22:06 AM »
I always look at making beer to be like any other cooking.  I see this issue to be a lot like grandmother's cooking.  For some people, there is no store-bought pie that is better than the one their grandmother makes from scratch.  Whatever the reason, freshness of ingredients, choice of ingredients, the recipe itself, etc., whatever it is there are some things that bring that intangible quality to it that gets written up as that touch of love.  Perhaps in some cases the preference is influenced by a sentimental attachment.  The Mrs. Smith's company makes fine pies, but they have to make allowances for mass production that grandma doesn't.

On the other hand, there are a lot of grandmothers out there who can't make a decent pie to save their life, or maybe their pies aren't as hand-crafted because they use store-bought pie shells and store-bought pie filling.

I wouldn't put any random homebrew up to any craft brew, but I would stack any "decent" homebrew (defining decent here being someone who is adept at it) up against any craftbrew.  I certainly believe it to be true that it is easily withing the scope of anyone who wants, that they can, in general, make beer at home that is as good  or better than most commercial made beer.  There are some possible exceptions that have been mentioned, such as those requiring very special techniques or rely heavily upon local flora, but you run the same challenge trying to make San Francisco sourdough outside of San  Francisco.

Offline majorvices

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Observation
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2013, 08:39:43 AM »
Couple things to consider when you are considering pro vs  home brewer. A commercial brewer brews several times a week, brewing the same styles over and over again. He or she learns to be very consistent and really works with malt, hops, grains, yeast and fermentation every single day managing several batches. The vast majority of home brewers brew once every several weeks at most. There are those truly obsessed homebrewers who do brew weekly, sometimes multiple batches per week at a stretch. But even these home brewers don't approach the amount of time commercial brewers spend with actual hands on, day to day brewing.

OTOH home brewers can really afford to experiment and come up with some great (and not so great) brewing ideas. They spend their time reading magazines like Zymurgy and discussing ideas over forums and meetings while I think a lot of commercial brewers give up on experimenting and learning once they start brewing day to day and some probably start to assume they know everything and fall into the trap of complacency.
Keith Y.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Observation
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2013, 08:50:06 AM »
At some point it's kind of like a 1778 debate over who's tougher, Colonial Army or Militia? 

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Re: Observation
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2013, 09:17:46 AM »
The colonial army was better trained...