Author Topic: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product  (Read 4672 times)

Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #45 on: March 01, 2016, 10:35:10 AM »
Some things that I've seen omitted (or not done due to lack of ingredient/equipment/knowledge but still made drinkable beer):

1.) Whirlfloc/Irish Moss
2.) Hydrometer readings (OG and FG!)
3.) Fermentation Temperature measurements (still fermented in an area that's at an acceptable temp)
4.) Yeast Nutrient
5.) Pitching Temperature measurement
6.) pH
7.) Water Adjustments

There's probably more but I guess beer is versatile like that.

I understand where you are going with your original question, but when you add this^ to the idea I think you are asking two different things.

1) Can you brew good beer with a simplified process, omitting some of the things you list? Sure, skipping Whirlfloc in the boil, not taking OG/FG readings and even limited temp control...yes you can still make decent beer.

BUT...if you try to make the same beer with differences in mash ph, water adjustments, yeast quality/pitching rates, fermentation temps...etc hell yeah you will have two different beers.  Which one will be better or what differences there will be...it depends on all those factors.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2016, 01:11:56 PM »
Let's go through your list one by one

1.) Whirlfloc/Irish Moss

Not needed (and not allowed by reinheitsghebot, not that I'm a stickler for that) but it will help seperate the hot break out of kettle and may help improve clarity and head retention of final product especially if your pH is off.

2) Hydrometer readings (OG and FG!)

So, if you aren't taking the reading but you have hit your numbers anyway then, yeah, this isn't needed. It's just something for YOU to keep up with consistency. But let's say you accidentally omitted a pound or two of maltt? Wouldn't you at least like to know? Or if there is a problem with your efficiency and your gravity is extremely low you will not have any idea about it or what you could do to fix it. Also, when you bottle underattenuated beer you will realize how critical taking FG readings really is.

3) Fermentation Temp Measurements

Fermentation temp is critical to a beer. If you have an idea that a beer is at 64 or 66 because it is in a 60 degree room that should be fine. As long as you know the ambient temp you can have a reasonable idea what the fermentation temp is. But fermentation is exothermic and will be warmer than the ambient room so you will need a very cool room indeed. If your living room is at 72 degrees and you are doing nothing to control temp you are not making the best beer possible.

5.) Pitching Temperature measurement

If you pitch at 80 degrees and don't have a way to get the temp down quickly you are going to have problems. As I have tried to make clear: temperature is extremely critical and if you are giving it a "ho-hum" attitude then I highly suspect you aren't making the best beer possible. Some yeast strains are more forgiving than others, especially if you start them out cool. But temperature is definitely something that you need to be paying close attention to detail on.

6) pH:

When you taste the difference between a beer whose pH was off compared to one that is in the correct range side by side you will understand. Generally, for many folks, the pH will check out in the correct range or with very small calcium or acid adjustments.

7) water adjustments

No argument here: As long as your water is chlorine/chloramine free and it tastes good you can make very good beer. But if you are trying to make a pilsner with very hard water or a stout with very soft water you are going to have problems (especially if you don't know your pH!) If you have water with low to medium hardness like mine you can make any style you want though you will most likely find your darker beers will taste better with some calcium carbonate additions and you kolsch will taste better with some lactic acid and calcium chloride additions and pH check on both to make sure your additions got you in the range. Though I would argue that for pale beers such as pils and kolsch the beer is better when the water is built from scratch.

Now let's say your water is super hard and you are making a pilsner and you don't add any whirlflock to help aid in break clarification (and your pH was off so you have really murky wort that will cast a long term haze) and you use a lager yeast but pitch at 77 degrees and put in a 72 degrees room with no other temp control and you didn't take an OG reading but added 2 extra pounds of malt by accident then didn't take a FG reading and bottled your beer at 1.030 (unbeknownst to you) then, hell yeah you are going to have some problems. But even if that is the worst case scenario and you just fly by night and don't pay any attention to detail, but you at least "accidentally" hit all your numbers and your pH just happens to fall close enough in the range, you could be making very good beer, but that isn't the same as making the very best beer you can make and, at the very least, you will start to have problems with consistency especially if you are trying to brew the same batch over and over again.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 01:30:21 PM by majorvices »

Offline leejoreilly

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #47 on: March 01, 2016, 02:00:41 PM »
A couple of thoughts:

- Careful attention to measurement and process probably affects consistency more than quality. If you are meticulous about brewing a beer that would score 30 points, you'll always end up with a (roughly) 30 point beer (absent judging subjectivity). If you are more cavalier, you could end up with a 20 pointer this time and a 40 pointer next.

- Precise measurement alone doesn't bring much to the party; it's what you do about those measurements that matter. Just measuring pH or gravity doesn't make your beer any different than not measuring it; making any resulting water or grist adjustments will make some difference.

- You should pursue what you enjoy about brewing. You can be a brewing engineer (glorious precision, little deviation) or a brewing artist (glorious deviation, little precision). Or a little of both. It's YOUR BEER, after all.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2016, 03:23:27 PM »
Let's go through your list one by one

1.) Whirlfloc/Irish Moss

Not needed (and not allowed by reinheitsghebot, not that I'm a stickler for that) but it will help seperate the hot break out of kettle and may help improve clarity and head retention of final product especially if your pH is off.

2) Hydrometer readings (OG and FG!)

So, if you aren't taking the reading but you have hit your numbers anyway then, yeah, this isn't needed. It's just something for YOU to keep up with consistency. But let's say you accidentally omitted a pound or two of maltt? Wouldn't you at least like to know? Or if there is a problem with your efficiency and your gravity is extremely low you will not have any idea about it or what you could do to fix it. Also, when you bottle underattenuated beer you will realize how critical taking FG readings really is.

3) Fermentation Temp Measurements

Fermentation temp is critical to a beer. If you have an idea that a beer is at 64 or 66 because it is in a 60 degree room that should be fine. As long as you know the ambient temp you can have a reasonable idea what the fermentation temp is. But fermentation is exothermic and will be warmer than the ambient room so you will need a very cool room indeed. If your living room is at 72 degrees and you are doing nothing to control temp you are not making the best beer possible.

5.) Pitching Temperature measurement

If you pitch at 80 degrees and don't have a way to get the temp down quickly you are going to have problems. As I have tried to make clear: temperature is extremely critical and if you are giving it a "ho-hum" attitude then I highly suspect you aren't making the best beer possible. Some yeast strains are more forgiving than others, especially if you start them out cool. But temperature is definitely something that you need to be paying close attention to detail on.

6) pH:

When you taste the difference between a beer whose pH was off compared to one that is in the correct range side by side you will understand. Generally, for many folks, the pH will check out in the correct range or with very small calcium or acid adjustments.

7) water adjustments

No argument here: As long as your water is chlorine/chloramine free and it tastes good you can make very good beer. But if you are trying to make a pilsner with very hard water or a stout with very soft water you are going to have problems (especially if you don't know your pH!) If you have water with low to medium hardness like mine you can make any style you want though you will most likely find your darker beers will taste better with some calcium carbonate additions and you kolsch will taste better with some lactic acid and calcium chloride additions and pH check on both to make sure your additions got you in the range. Though I would argue that for pale beers such as pils and kolsch the beer is better when the water is built from scratch.

Now let's say your water is super hard and you are making a pilsner and you don't add any whirlflock to help aid in break clarification (and your pH was off so you have really murky wort that will cast a long term haze) and you use a lager yeast but pitch at 77 degrees and put in a 72 degrees room with no other temp control and you didn't take an OG reading but added 2 extra pounds of malt by accident then didn't take a FG reading and bottled your beer at 1.030 (unbeknownst to you) then, hell yeah you are going to have some problems. But even if that is the worst case scenario and you just fly by night and don't pay any attention to detail, but you at least "accidentally" hit all your numbers and your pH just happens to fall close enough in the range, you could be making very good beer, but that isn't the same as making the very best beer you can make and, at the very least, you will start to have problems with consistency especially if you are trying to brew the same batch over and over again.
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hawkeye

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2016, 04:26:26 PM »
TLDR;

The list is simply what I've seen omitted or simplified.  Each item could be applied to a related experiment in a reasonable way.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #50 on: March 01, 2016, 04:30:29 PM »

TLDR;

The list is simply what I've seen omitted or simplified.  Each item could be applied to a related experiment in a reasonable way.
Are you kidding me?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #51 on: March 01, 2016, 04:36:47 PM »
TLDR;

The list is simply what I've seen omitted or simplified.  Each item could be applied to a related experiment in a reasonable way.

Then you should read my post or at least the very last paragraph. You may actually learn something. But seems like you are more interested in posting than learning. Your thread has been an exercise in futility. You haven't made a point, you've only asked questions and then didn't learn anything from the responses. Way to go!

hawkeye

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #52 on: March 01, 2016, 05:00:21 PM »
Aren't we all advanced brewers here?  I'm sure the empirical knowledge you've expressed is the same empirical knowledge I would express, however, looking at it from a tasters perspective could the real "Pliny the Elder" please step forward?  Or all they all "Pliny the Elder"?

RPIScotty

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Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2016, 05:09:39 PM »
Aren't we all advanced brewers here?  I'm sure the empirical knowledge you've expressed is the same empirical knowledge I would express, however, looking at it from a tasters perspective could the real "Pliny the Elder" please step forward?  Or all they all "Pliny the Elder"?

I'm so confused. What is your point? Do you have one?

If so, you have not done a very god job at expressing it.

This reminds me of that "Does a high specialty malt count beer demand a higher price" thread.


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hawkeye

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2016, 05:22:50 PM »
Just to reiterate the experiment posts,

Take one recipe and one brewer and make the same beer but on one beer "simplify" the process, now have several people taste test the beers, are they distinguishable?

Empirical knowledge listings are nice but reality is one step above that IMHO.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #55 on: March 01, 2016, 05:25:56 PM »
What are you simplifying?

Were you this philosophical stoner type in college? "If I could smell from my butt, would everything smell like crap?"

hawkeye

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #56 on: March 01, 2016, 05:29:58 PM »
What are you simplifying?

Were you this philosophical stoner type in college? "If I could smell from my butt, would everything smell like crap?"

That's a very rude post.  I haven't been rude to anyone.

Each step in the list represents something that can be simplified or not done during the experiment.

I guess the thread is basically over unless you're interested in doing the experiment.

RPIScotty

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2016, 05:33:14 PM »
I love reading stuff by Marshall, Drew and Denny but this experiment business is getting crazy.

Sometimes I just like to make and drink beer.




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Offline Stevie

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Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #58 on: March 01, 2016, 05:48:15 PM »
I didn't mean to be rude. Just trying to be funny. If you didn't get high in college, I'm sure you know a few people that were of the type I am describing.

But still, what are we simplifying? How about I secondary one batch and not another? How about I mashout one and not another? Your premise is too vague.

Have you done these experiments? Also, what does simplifying have to do with attention to detail? Attention to detail does not = more complicated.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 05:53:41 PM by Stevie »

Offline euge

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Re: Attention To Detail - Differences in Final Product
« Reply #59 on: March 01, 2016, 05:53:51 PM »
The thought experiment has devolved and run its course; there is a lot of opinion on the matter.

To the OP: if you are looking for an excuse to brew either way I'd choose the more stringent course instead of the lazy one. 8)
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