Author Topic: 6 Common Homebrew Myths  (Read 5929 times)

Offline Hooper

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2016, 08:50:51 pm »
160 brews in and still a novice...but I believe a few things...

1) Keep your grain bed below 168 F. The brews that I sparged with 190 F  tasted grainy...I have not had that since I started keeping the temp below 168 F...Decoction does not seem to cause this grainy taste...I don't know why.

2) HSA is real and avoid it to avoid that wet cardboard taste that won't be apparent until you are alone and slowly assess that great brew...

3) Dry yeast is great...but the best beers I've made are always from liquid yeast...or yeast from commercial beers...

4) If you ferment low for 7 days...you can finish in the house at 76 ambient with no adverse affects...

5) O2 aeration helps the beers ferment faster but probably doesn't change the finished product much...I choose to aerate after trying it both ways...with and without O2.

6) Is that EVOO you are using...Rachel Rae would be proud.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2016, 05:46:37 am »
A good list, but I would quibble with the liquid vs. dry yeasts.  I would agree that they are equivalent for neutral yeasts (lagers, American ale), but for those styles where you want the yeast to produce esters and phenols, such as Belgians, British, and German weissbiers, I find all the dry yeasts lacking compared to the liquid varieties that are available.

The dry yeasts today are worlds away from what was available back when I started.  Liquid strains were definitely preferable to the packs of "ale yeast" or even the Munton's.  I think the "myth" is simply a persistent bias from the days when it was true.

These days, depending on what you are brewing, dry and liquid are equally good choices.

+1. There are some really good options out there.


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Offline jeffy

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Re: q
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2016, 06:54:18 am »
Denny,
Would you be so kind to expand your rationale on HSA/ HSO being included in your myth list?

Primarily because it has been a boogeyman for so long, and that the myth part is not that it exists, but rather whether it will ruin your beer at the homebrew level.  For a long time, it was treated like that.  The monster under the bed.  The simple fact is that at a homebrew level, its effects are not something the average homebrewer needs to be concerned with.
And for me being a below-average homebrewer, it's even less of a concern ;)

I agree that the attention given to HSA is particularly troublesome in contexts where we're trying to teach new all-grain brewers. If we could create an accurate priority list indicating where new all-grain brewers should focus their energy, in my mind a fundamental understanding of controlling mash pH (for example) would deliver way more bang for the buck than similar effort applied to minimizing HSA.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever seen anything like this? I'm thinking of it as a kind of Maslow's hierarchy of brewing needs?

Anyway, I respect the continued debate and the fact that scientifically HSA is real. Determining the extent to which it impacts flavor and shelf-life will likely take years, and I'm excited to see where it goes. In the meantime, if we're mindful of the context it seems like we can adequately address the topic of HSA without it sucking up all of the "oxygen" required for other topics (yes, pun completely intended).
Denny sited Marshall's experiment with hsa as having no significant difference, but failed to mention that he consumed all the beer from both batches well before it had time to develop any oxidation.  Sure both batches were the same when fresh, but wouldn't you expect that?
Then again how many homebrewers let their beer sit around for long enough to become oxidized?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: q
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2016, 07:57:50 am »
Denny,
Would you be so kind to expand your rationale on HSA/ HSO being included in your myth list?

Primarily because it has been a boogeyman for so long, and that the myth part is not that it exists, but rather whether it will ruin your beer at the homebrew level.  For a long time, it was treated like that.  The monster under the bed.  The simple fact is that at a homebrew level, its effects are not something the average homebrewer needs to be concerned with.
And for me being a below-average homebrewer, it's even less of a concern ;)

I agree that the attention given to HSA is particularly troublesome in contexts where we're trying to teach new all-grain brewers. If we could create an accurate priority list indicating where new all-grain brewers should focus their energy, in my mind a fundamental understanding of controlling mash pH (for example) would deliver way more bang for the buck than similar effort applied to minimizing HSA.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever seen anything like this? I'm thinking of it as a kind of Maslow's hierarchy of brewing needs?

Anyway, I respect the continued debate and the fact that scientifically HSA is real. Determining the extent to which it impacts flavor and shelf-life will likely take years, and I'm excited to see where it goes. In the meantime, if we're mindful of the context it seems like we can adequately address the topic of HSA without it sucking up all of the "oxygen" required for other topics (yes, pun completely intended).
Denny sited Marshall's experiment with hsa as having no significant difference, but failed to mention that he consumed all the beer from both batches well before it had time to develop any oxidation.  Sure both batches were the same when fresh, but wouldn't you expect that?
Then again how many homebrewers let their beer sit around for long enough to become oxidized?

That was my one concern with that exbeeriment. He really didn't give any proper time to allow oxidation to rear its ugly head. I bet there would have been some major long term issues (3-4+ mos out) if the beer was aged and sampled for oxidation.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: q
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2016, 09:09:44 am »
Denny sited Marshall's experiment with hsa as having no significant difference, but failed to mention that he consumed all the beer from both batches well before it had time to develop any oxidation.  Sure both batches were the same when fresh, but wouldn't you expect that?
Then again how many homebrewers let their beer sit around for long enough to become oxidized?

That is among the problems with that particular experiment.

The other side of the conversation is that the GBF folks suggest their low DO method produces a beer that is immediately more flavorful than beers produced with more DO. I would expect if DO has such a profound effect without blasting the heck out of a beer with oxygen then we would see a noticeable effect by pumping an unnatural amount of oxygen into a beer. However, there may be a threshold for DO that homebrew typically exceeds in which case the experiment tested two beers already above the threshold and beyond the threshold perhaps we only see further staling over the long term.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: q
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2016, 09:20:10 am »
Then again how many homebrewers let their beer sit around for long enough to become oxidized?

I've got beers that stick around for awhile.  Some on purpose (strong beers that I'm aging) some just because I swap out kegs or don't drink them.

With purged kegs, the beers stay good for longer than you might expect.  Bottled from the keg, they tend to oxidize.

I haven't had a keg that's turned into wet cardboard yet. 
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Offline denny

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2016, 09:40:23 am »
160 brews in and still a novice...but I believe a few things...

1) Keep your grain bed below 168 F. The brews that I sparged with 190 F  tasted grainy...I have not had that since I started keeping the temp below 168 F...Decoction does not seem to cause this grainy taste...I don't know why.

2) HSA is real and avoid it to avoid that wet cardboard taste that won't be apparent until you are alone and slowly assess that great brew...

3) Dry yeast is great...but the best beers I've made are always from liquid yeast...or yeast from commercial beers...

4) If you ferment low for 7 days...you can finish in the house at 76 ambient with no adverse affects...

5) O2 aeration helps the beers ferment faster but probably doesn't change the finished product much...I choose to aerate after trying it both ways...with and without O2.

6) Is that EVOO you are using...Rachel Rae would be proud.

1.) your pH must have been off, which also explains why a decoction didn't show the effects. I have hundreds of batches with the grain bed hotter than 168 and no problem
2.) _can_ be real, but easy to avoid
3.) dry yeast has never had a negative effect on the quality of my beer
4.) yep
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Offline lupulus

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2016, 10:31:15 am »
I agree with the postings about the Brulosophy experiment on HSA.
Normally when one plans a research study, one does a thorough literature review to learn how other experiments that studied HSA/HSO were designed, and use this review to create the best possible design to answer this question. The best review to of the effects of HSO in flavor stability is in the Handbook of Brewing, and the data reviewed there indeed find a very significant effect in the forced aging test, but not in fresh beer. Also given the effects of oxidation at mash-in reported in Künze, a better design would have been three treatments, one with extreme oxidation control (aka LODO), one with regular homebrewing practices, and one with the extreme whipping. Also, to minimize confounding factors, I would have avoided caramel malts, an estery yeast (WLP002) and a significant load of aroma hops. If I were to choose, a Helles with very low to no hop flavor or aroma will provide the researchers the best way to pick up a significant difference should there be one. And of course, do the testing with fresh and with aged beer.
As a side note, some people may suggest using an american lager as the experimental model, but I think the clean maltiness of a good helles would provide a better control beer than a pale american lager.
Another improvement I would suggest to the Brulosophy team is to at least give a BJCP score to each beer. It is more likely one will pick up a significant difference (should there be one) when your control beer is a 40 point extremely clean beer than when your control is a 25 point beer with many confounding aromas and flavors.
I do hope this reads as a constructive contribution. This was certainly my intention  :)
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2016, 10:40:51 am »
a better design would have been three treatments, one with extreme oxidation control (aka LODO), one with regular homebrewing practices, and one with the extreme whipping. Also, to minimize confounding factors, I would have avoided caramel malts, an estery yeast (WLP002) and a significant load of aroma hops. If I were to choose, a Helles with very low to no hop flavor or aroma will provide the researchers the best way to pick up a significant difference should there be one. And of course, do the testing with fresh and with aged beer.



This^   I agree that a redo of the experiment would be helpful and that these would be the best criteria IMO.
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Offline lupulus

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2016, 10:56:27 am »
...and one more comment on HSA that I am posting separately to avoid confusing my previous point.

I am sure most of you heard (podcast) or read from Gordon Strong how he adds roasted grains at the end of the mash (vorlauf).  He likes to explain the rationale by stating that it is similar to what happens to coffee when it stays in the pot for a long time.
The scientific explanation for the stale flavor of coffee seems to be oxidation (as far as I read), so it follows that Gordon thinks that if you add dark grains at the beginning of the mash, they get oxidized.
I understand Gordon tested this hypothesis at one NHC conference but I have not seen the formal results. If you trust Gordon is right about adding the dark grains at vorlauf, it seems the most likely benefit of this is avoiding oxidation of these grains.

So, this is yet another HSA/HSO topic that may benefit from further research :-)
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Offline denny

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2016, 11:31:16 am »
I agree with the postings about the Brulosophy experiment on HSA.
Normally when one plans a research study, one does a thorough literature review to learn how other experiments that studied HSA/HSO were designed, and use this review to create the best possible design to answer this question. The best review to of the effects of HSO in flavor stability is in the Handbook of Brewing, and the data reviewed there indeed find a very significant effect in the forced aging test, but not in fresh beer. Also given the effects of oxidation at mash-in reported in Künze, a better design would have been three treatments, one with extreme oxidation control (aka LODO), one with regular homebrewing practices, and one with the extreme whipping. Also, to minimize confounding factors, I would have avoided caramel malts, an estery yeast (WLP002) and a significant load of aroma hops. If I were to choose, a Helles with very low to no hop flavor or aroma will provide the researchers the best way to pick up a significant difference should there be one. And of course, do the testing with fresh and with aged beer.
As a side note, some people may suggest using an american lager as the experimental model, but I think the clean maltiness of a good helles would provide a better control beer than a pale american lager.
Another improvement I would suggest to the Brulosophy team is to at least give a BJCP score to each beer. It is more likely one will pick up a significant difference (should there be one) when your control beer is a 40 point extremely clean beer than when your control is a 25 point beer with many confounding aromas and flavors.
I do hope this reads as a constructive contribution. This was certainly my intention  :)

I think people are misunderstanding the purpose of Brulosophy experiments.  They are not intended to be rigorously scientific, be-all, end-all information.  They are data points you can use in your own brewing.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2016, 11:41:16 am »
I think people are misunderstanding the purpose of Brulosophy experiments.  They are not intended to be rigorously scientific, be-all, end-all information.  They are data points you can use in your own brewing.


I agree, Denny. But I would like to see a LODO vs standard exbeeriment, just to satisfy my curiosity. I don't take any of it as hard, scientific evidence, or expect it.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 11:42:57 am by HoosierBrew »
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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2016, 12:28:51 pm »
With the other logical possibility with the HSA exbeeriment being that both beers were oxidized.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2016, 10:33:06 am »
With the other logical possibility with the HSA exbeeriment being that both beers were oxidized.

Ha!  Wouldn't that be the kicker.

Offline Hooper

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Re: 6 Common Homebrew Myths
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2016, 10:57:15 am »
I agree HSA is pretty easily avoidable. Mine was an extreme case where I was pouring hot wort through a strainer to remove trub prior to cooling. I started detecting that dreaded wet cardboard taste in brews that were in the keg for a while. I changed my process and that eliminated the problem.
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