Author Topic: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer  (Read 1298 times)

Offline Wilbur

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Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« on: February 01, 2018, 04:40:53 PM »
I've been enjoying all the experimentation that's been coming to homebrewing lately, Denny/Drew, Brulosophy, LODOers (Might need a catchy name, LoDOhosers?, and a few dozen others I'm probably forgetting. I'm wondering, what are your top 5 (or 3, or 10) experiments every homebrewer should do? I'd love to hear your thoughts and why.

Personally, considering the habits of my club (Most brew ~3-5 batches a year) I'd say (in no particular order):
  • Water chemistry: Chloride/Sulfate ratio
  • Fermentation temp (Lager or belgian yeast)
  • Hopping: Whirlpool vs. dryhop

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 05:08:07 PM »
I have dozens of ideas that I think would be worthwhile for everyone to try eventually.  Here are just a few of those:

1) Split batch with two different yeast strains.  This is just a no-brainer!

2) Mash time short (30) vs. medium (60) vs. long (90+).  Anyone who hasn't done this yet needs to!

3) Distilled vs. 150-200 ppm each of chloride and sulfate.  I haven't done this yet but I'm willing to bet a 6-pack that a blind triangle result for >20 people would prove insignificance.  By the way....... the magic of "the ratio" is scientifically meaningless.  The total amount of each is what matters, not the ratio.

4) Double or triple decoction vs. standard single infusion.  This one I have done a couple times already, but results have been inconclusive due to operator errors (someone else should brew these for me!).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 05:10:43 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline denny

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 05:10:40 PM »
IMO, sulfate/chloride ratio makes little difference compared to sulfate/chloride numbers.

Dave, I've done the decoction thing, as I'm sure you know.....
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Offline denny

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 05:12:01 PM »
I've been enjoying all the experimentation that's been coming to homebrewing lately, Denny/Drew, Brulosophy, LODOers (Might need a catchy name, LoDOhosers?, and a few dozen others I'm probably forgetting. I'm wondering, what are your top 5 (or 3, or 10) experiments every homebrewer should do? I'd love to hear your thoughts and why.

Personally, considering the habits of my club (Most brew ~3-5 batches a year) I'd say (in no particular order):
  • Water chemistry: Chloride/Sulfate ratio
  • Fermentation temp (Lager or belgian yeast)
  • Hopping: Whirlpool vs. dryhop

Interesting ideas, but what do you want to know?  That has to be defined for an experiment.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 05:13:04 PM »
"2) Mash time short (30) vs. medium (60) vs. long (90+).  Anyone who hasn't done this yet needs to!"

Have you tried comparisons in temp? Like difference between 30min at 145f vs 30min at 155f?

Offline Robert

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 05:17:55 PM »
Things I've recently found made a significant difference for me, worthy of more disciplined analysis (no particular order):

•SO4/Cl ratio, and other minerals (Na, Mg)

•Low intensity, lid-on boil (evap. rate <8%)

•COLD side O2 avoidance (closed transfers, purging, etc.)

•Mash: no rests <153°F (single conversion rest) and a good 15-20 min @170°F

Adopting these practices (I might think of more) has been inspired largely by info shared here on the forum (the mash program is more the result of my own experience and study.)
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 05:19:36 PM »
Dave, I've done the decoction thing, as I'm sure you know.....

I'm coming around to your point of view actually, but still want to make sure based on some real first-hand experience.  If I wasn't such a friggin $hitty brewer, then I wouldn't have to keep repeating the xbmt!
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Offline Big Monk

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 05:20:57 PM »

•Mash: no rests <153°F (single conversion rest) and a good 15-20 min @170°F


This is interesting. Do you notice side affects from bypassing beta activity?
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 05:25:54 PM »
"2) Mash time short (30) vs. medium (60) vs. long (90+).  Anyone who hasn't done this yet needs to!"

Have you tried comparisons in temp? Like difference between 30min at 145f vs 30min at 155f?

No, I can't say I've tried that yet exactly.  I have, however, mashed almost every batch for only 40-45 minutes for the past 12 years.  Maybe THAT is why my beer is so $hitty on average!  :)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 05:34:00 PM »
I have a habit of mashing 60min, because. On my last brew, that double mash deal, I pulled samples for the refractometer at 45 min and found they had hit the numbers in Kai's potential pppg chart. Even the second mash when I was "mashing" with first runnings. That was at 150f. It convinced me that an hour is unnecessary. My next brew day im doing it again, but the first mash will be at 160f and the second will be at 145f. It will be interesting to see what 45min readings will be.

Offline Robert

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 05:37:37 PM »

•Mash: no rests <153°F (single conversion rest) and a good 15-20 min @170°F


This is interesting. Do you notice side affects from bypassing beta activity?
It's early days, but: No loss of extract yield, even a tiny increase,  but better foam (and maybe flavor.)  My premise was that there is still significant proteolytic activity (which of course I want to avoid) at beta rest temps , and beta itself is still active enough at this compromise temp.  A slight favoring of dextrines also should give material for glycoprotein formation at mash off, where again there is still some further alpha activity to complete conversion.  That was my theory, and a limited number of brews so far seem to support it.  This probably really needs some real side by side trials. The fact that I'm now concentrating my efforts on improved low intensity boiling procedures, and about to incorporate BrewTan B into my arsenal means my data will be increasingly muddied. Interestingly, I should add, it appears that my final ADF has actually INCREASED by ~2-3%.  Something interesting going on here, but I'm more pragmatist than experimentalist.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 05:40:51 PM by Robert »
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Offline denny

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 06:10:34 PM »
Dave, I've done the decoction thing, as I'm sure you know.....

I'm coming around to your point of view actually, but still want to make sure based on some real first-hand experience.  If I wasn't such a friggin $hitty brewer, then I wouldn't have to keep repeating the xbmt!

Dude, I SO know!  I'm involved in an experiment to see if wort protein content plays a bigger role in hop utilization that boil gravity.  I needed 4 different test batches to do that.  I'm on my 7th.  And I may just start over again.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline denny

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 06:12:01 PM »
I have a habit of mashing 60min, because. On my last brew, that double mash deal, I pulled samples for the refractometer at 45 min and found they had hit the numbers in Kai's potential pppg chart. Even the second mash when I was "mashing" with first runnings. That was at 150f. It convinced me that an hour is unnecessary. My next brew day im doing it again, but the first mash will be at 160f and the second will be at 145f. It will be interesting to see what 45min readings will be.

I've always mashed for either 60 or 90 min.  After my successful 20 min. mash brews, I'm rethinking that.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 06:52:43 PM »
I've always mashed for either 60 or 90 min.  After my successful 20 min. mash brews, I'm rethinking that.

I switched to 45 minute mashes and boils several years ago and get good results including a hellesbock that got me my second highest score in competition.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Top Experiments for every Homebrewer
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2018, 10:02:04 PM »
IMO, sulfate/chloride ratio makes little difference compared to sulfate/chloride numbers.

Dave, I've done the decoction thing, as I'm sure you know.....
My experience is telling me it's both on sulfate/ chloride.  Obviously 2ppm:1ppm would not taste like 200ppm:100ppm, but neither would 200ppm:200ppm.  There must be a minimum level to have any effect, but then ratio matters.  Unless you're just calling that the "number" of each individual ion?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 10:07:04 PM by Robert »
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