Author Topic: long tail?  (Read 1753 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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long tail?
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:37:47 PM »
I've been brewing for a little over a year now. Small batches on my gas stove. Extract, full grain, BIAB, infusion mash, you name it. About 15 batches in total. Although I have to admit that my beer is gradually getting better, I seem to be in the long tail of gradual improvements.

Is there one thing that you have done in the past that pushed your beer to a much higher level, or am I stuck in this dreaded tail for ever and ever?
Frank P.

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 12:48:15 PM »
Fermentation temp control was my most major improvement, proper yeast handling second, and improving my understanding of ingredients which led to much simpler grain bills was third.

Offline pete b

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 12:50:45 PM »
A couple months ago I went from brewing about once a month to once a week no matter what. That and having my water tested and making appropriate amendments has made a huge difference in the quality and consistency of my beer. I can't say enough about stove top biab in small batches because now I can make a batch after work.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 12:58:28 PM »
1/ Temp control

2/ Tie -  Proper yeast quantities/health
             pH control, water profiles for AG brewing

Lots of things helped, but these things were huge, in terms of improving beer quality and consistency.
Jon H.

Offline leejoreilly

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 01:34:25 PM »
1/ Temp control

2/ Tie -  Proper yeast quantities/health
             pH control, water profiles for AG brewing

Lots of things helped, but these things were huge, in terms of improving beer quality and consistency.

^^^This

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 01:42:57 PM »
1/ Temp control

2/ Tie -  Proper yeast quantities/health
             pH control, water profiles for AG brewing

Lots of things helped, but these things were huge, in terms of improving beer quality and consistency.

^^^This

+2 biggest improvements came from this. guess it also depends on what you think you are lacking- any descriptors?
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Offline beersk

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 01:49:06 PM »
I'd add that sanitation practices are paramount as well. But temp control would be number 1 and good aeration/yeast management for number 2. Good beer can be made with slightly less than ideal water.

But, I'd say, you should look at brewing like playing an instrument or learning a skilled craft: you're never going to perfect it and there's always, always, always, going to be room for improvement.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 01:55:41 PM »
Fermentation temp control was my most major improvement, proper yeast handling second, and improving my understanding of ingredients which led to much simpler grain bills was third.

I have a fridge with thermostat, heating and cooling (though needs to changed manually), so that's the long tail  :P

Proper yeast handling: largest batches are 12 liter, and I make liquid yeast starters (though not with stir plate), so that's the long tail  :P

understanding of ingredients: I blindly follow other people's recipes, but try to stick to the simple stuff, so that's the long tail  :P

Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 01:58:23 PM »
But, I'd say, you should look at brewing like playing an instrument or learning a skilled craft: you're never going to perfect it and there's always, always, always, going to be room for improvement.

So that's the long tail  :P
Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2014, 02:07:23 PM »
I'd add that sanitation practices are paramount as well. But temp control would be number 1 and good aeration/yeast management for number 2. Good beer can be made with slightly less than ideal water.

Well, speaking of sanitation: is there a "hidden" quality degradation impact? Meaning, you clean ok, so you don't get obviously infected beer, but if you would become more anal in you cleaning habits you would  somehow get "better" ("cleaner"?) beer?
Frank P.

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Offline pete b

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 02:14:11 PM »
Fermentation temp control was my most major improvement, proper yeast handling second, and improving my understanding of ingredients which led to much simpler grain bills was third.

I have a fridge with thermostat, heating and cooling (though needs to changed manually), so that's the long tail  :P

Proper yeast handling: largest batches are 12 liter, and I make liquid yeast starters (though not with stir plate), so that's the long tail  :P

understanding of ingredients: I blindly follow other people's recipes, but try to stick to the simple stuff, so that's the long tail  :P
Sticking to simple is good. Because I cook and am comfortable with flavors I experimented with adjuncts, spices, fruits etc. right out of the gate. The result was decent enough beer but I was learning too slowly what different malts, ferm temps, yeasts, hops etc. were contributing. Now I build a lot of simple recipes sticking close to style guidelines and really try to learn from each batch. Now I'm just as happy to learn something when I am not totally happy with  a beer but can pinpoint the cause and know how to fix it next time as I am when I nail it. (well, almost)
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 02:17:03 PM »
Fermentation temp control was my most major improvement, proper yeast handling second, and improving my understanding of ingredients which led to much simpler grain bills was third.

I have a fridge with thermostat, heating and cooling (though needs to changed manually), so that's the long tail 

Proper yeast handling: largest batches are 12 liter, and I make liquid yeast starters (though not with stir plate), so that's the long tail 

understanding of ingredients: I blindly follow other people's recipes, but try to stick to the simple stuff, so that's the long tail 
I know 300% more than I did a year ago, and about 1% of what I'll know ten years from now. I'm at the point where every beer I make is far superior to anything I made my first year, but that doesn't mean I'm always impressed with them. The more you learn the more you learn there's more to learn.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 02:17:50 PM »
Fermentation temp control was my most major improvement, proper yeast handling second, and improving my understanding of ingredients which led to much simpler grain bills was third.

I have a fridge with thermostat, heating and cooling (though needs to changed manually), so that's the long tail  :P

Proper yeast handling: largest batches are 12 liter, and I make liquid yeast starters (though not with stir plate), so that's the long tail  :P

understanding of ingredients: I blindly follow other people's recipes, but try to stick to the simple stuff, so that's the long tail  :P
Sticking to simple is good. Because I cook and am comfortable with flavors I experimented with adjuncts, spices, fruits etc. right out of the gate. The result was decent enough beer but I was learning too slowly what different malts, ferm temps, yeasts, hops etc. were contributing. Now I build a lot of simple recipes sticking close to style guidelines and really try to learn from each batch. Now I'm just as happy to learn something when I am not totally happy with  a beer but can pinpoint the cause and know how to fix it next time as I am when I nail it. (well, almost)

So that's the long tail   :P
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 02:26:25 PM »
The more you learn the more you learn there's more to learn.


^^^^^^^^ Yep.
Jon H.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: long tail?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2014, 02:49:04 PM »
Good beer can be made with slightly less than ideal water.


I agree to a point. Water profiles for flavor balance are something to tinker with after you're making good beer, but getting my mash pH right was a pretty noticeable improvement to me. I used to get pretty 'in your face' astringency on some styles not suited to my water.
Jon H.