Author Topic: Mashing confusion  (Read 11492 times)

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2010, 11:48:24 am »
I guess I don't understand why people think there should only be one way to brew.  Why does it bother people if someone else step mashes or does decoctions?  If you are able to control your processes on your system to get the kind of beer you want, who gives a rip what someone else does?

This is the basic problem I have with the spreadsheet crowd.  If you know how to use it and it works for you, that's great.  But to then extend that to say that everyone should do that is a leap of logic that is entirely without support.

Anyone who has ever taken formal logic will recognize immediately the problems with people mistaking "there exists" for "for all".

There is more than one way to brew.  Accept it.  You'll live a happier life.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2010, 11:50:51 am »
sharg

you should brew the same beer using step and single infusion and then decide for yourself what you like - it doesn't really matter, IMO, but there's no one way that's right.

frankly, for someone with 8 batches under their belt, 3 all grain, IIRC, you're making a lot of absolute assertions without a lot practical experience to back them up.  not that you may not be right, but a lot of these guys that are debating with you have tried many different techniques and compared the results - those results are what they are reporting to you, but you still should experiment and figure out on your own.

sounds to me like you're doing a lot of research and homework, which I applaud, but keep in mind a lot of brewing literature is dated and refers to brewing with less modified malts which are pretty hard to come by these days, especially on the homebrew level.

Keep at it - its a journey not a destination and all that- Cheers!
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Offline Mikey

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #62 on: December 16, 2010, 11:51:20 am »
I guess I don't understand why people think there should only be one way to brew.  Why does it bother people if someone else step mashes or does decoctions?  If you are able to control your processes on your system to get the kind of beer you want, who gives a rip what someone else does?

This is the basic problem I have with the spreadsheet crowd.  If you know how to use it and it works for you, that's great.  But to then extend that to say that everyone should do that is a leap of logic that is entirely without support.

Anyone who has ever taken formal logic will recognize immediately the problems with people mistaking "there exists" for "for all".

There is more than one way to brew.  Accept it.  You'll live a happier life.

Well said. And if the science minded experts want to ignore other people's results, then that's their loss.

Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #63 on: December 16, 2010, 12:01:31 pm »
I guess I don't understand why people think there should only be one way to brew.  Why does it bother people if someone else step mashes or does decoctions?  If you are able to control your processes on your system to get the kind of beer you want, who gives a rip what someone else does?

This is the basic problem I have with the spreadsheet crowd.  If you know how to use it and it works for you, that's great.  But to then extend that to say that everyone should do that is a leap of logic that is entirely without support.

Anyone who has ever taken formal logic will recognize immediately the problems with people mistaking "there exists" for "for all".

There is more than one way to brew.  Accept it.  You'll live a happier life.

Gordon, I totally accept that there's more than one way to brew and I'm sorry if that doesn't come through in my posts.  The point I'm trying to make is that the reasons given for this particular method don't add up based on my experience.  We're being told by sharg that his methods makes better beer and the experience of many of us don't support that.  That's all I'm saying...not that his way is "bad" or "wrong".
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 12:03:32 pm by denny »
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Offline denny

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2010, 12:04:56 pm »
Well said. And if the science minded experts want to ignore other people's results, then that's their loss.

You mean just as those people want to ignore the experience of the "science minded"?  I couldn't give a rip about the science...I care about my own experience and results.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"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 gordonstrong

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2010, 12:18:11 pm »
My post wasn't directed at any individual.  It was an appeal to avoid taking absolutist positions in areas where there isn't a right or wrong answer.

I've seen a trend in the last few years where dogma is repeated over and over as if it were absolute truth.  It's good to know that brewing a certain way works, but that doesn't deny that other ways also work.  I like to see creativity and brewers producing interesting results, and that can't happen if everyone is striving to be a clone.

I know enough great brewers to know that there are multiple (valid) ways of doing almost every step of brewing. 
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2010, 12:20:04 pm »
Gordon,

I myself object to the idea of a “one size fits all” brewing process and I’m trying many different techniques myself. Most of my beers are step mashed. However, so far I’m still trying to figure out if and how big a difference there is compared to single infusion mashing.

Like Denny I’m just pointing out where the benefits, that brewers attribute to step mashing, cannot be attributed to step mashing. And believe me, if I have fairly solid data that a more complex mashing scheme than single infusion mashing does make a noticeable difference in my beers I’ll be happy to share that information.

I’m also trying to hear arguments that I haven’t heard or read before.

Kai

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #67 on: December 16, 2010, 12:22:14 pm »
Now I'm confused.  It's the old hippies supporting the simpler methodology that are "science-minded", and the supporters of century old tradition that are ... let's say "open minded"?

I love this forum!

(BTW, the way I brew is the right way!)
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #68 on: December 16, 2010, 12:26:59 pm »
i think i will just brew in a bag ;)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #69 on: December 16, 2010, 12:56:13 pm »
This is a great debate. I wish I had the time to experiment with the varying mash methods. One of the benefits that I enjoy most in this great hobby is the freedom of choice. We have severals ways to get to the finish line and we can choose the way that we deem best. It may not be the best choice but we will hopefully learn from our misgivings and move forward to better brewing as a community.

I can certainly appreciate Denny's point. Furthermore, I am a proponent of experimentation and the creative aspects of this fine craft at the expense of failure. I am a science minded guy who believes in only that which is tangible. In other words "show me the results" or "I'll believe it when I taste it".

I hope the OP can learn from this debate and take what we are professing in a positive way. There are some awesome brewers and extremely knowledgeable folks here.  

Cheers!
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Offline johnf

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2010, 12:58:00 pm »
I would question that they are color only and without a change in flavor.

Question away, but science says that melanoidins are a color.  However, as pointed out, the same process that creates melanoidins also creates Maillard reaction flavor products.

So it's a moot point.
Only if you don't want to be precise

It's precisely a moot point. :D

In our processes, can you have one without the other?

You would probably cringe if I said "The alcohol in my beer tastes like fruit and the esters really get me drunk." despite the fact that something in there tastes like fruit and something in there gets me drunk.

Offline johnf

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #71 on: December 16, 2010, 01:01:17 pm »


I know enough great brewers to know that there are multiple (valid) ways of doing almost every step of brewing. 

I know a guy that pitches lagers with a single smack pack, warm, waits for krausen and then drops the temperature. He has a few UMMO first place medals for his lagers doing basically everything "wrong". I think his experience is what finally convinced me that results matter and it's hard to predict results on paper.

That said, I certainly agree with Denny on the value of validating impressions via blind tasting.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #72 on: December 16, 2010, 11:46:39 pm »
I hope this doesn't seem like we're piling on, but for some things you need to back it up.

If you say "I like step mashing, and I like my beer" I'm not going to try to convince you to change anything.

But with the number of science-minded people here, when you say one way has an advantage over another you're going to need to show it.

I disagree. Everyone has different tastes. Just because some say it doesn't work for them, doesn't mean it's not a valid procedure. I don't step mash, because I'm lazy, but it's been done for years and others believe in it. You can certainly squeeze out a little better efficiency, so that, in and of itself, is an advantage.
Where did I say something wasn't valid?  I'm saying back it up.  Your statement that "you can certainly squeeze out a little better efficiency" isn't certain at all.  Maybe for you on your system, but not for Denny on his.  All that means is it's not one size fits all, not that one method is more valid than another.

Now I'm confused.  It's the old hippies supporting the simpler methodology that are "science-minded", and the supporters of century old tradition that are ... let's say "open minded"?
Yeah, it's the people who want evidence and trust their personal experiments that are science minded, and that goes for old (he's not that old) hippies as much as for anyone.  It is people who support century old tradition without really knowing why that are not.  Question stuff.  Why do we do it that way?  No one needs to go around doing experiments for themselves (although it's encouraged) but you can't discount the results of someone else's experiments out of hand.  Discount them for flawed procedures, sure.  But with all of the variations in ingredients, equipment, and methodology, not to mention the differences just from a different person brewing, I'd expect there to be variations in results.  Figure out why there are variations, exactly what is causing it.  Show your work :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #73 on: December 17, 2010, 06:04:55 am »
If you have limited access to the interwebs for a few days, a discussion like this breaks out, and makes for good reading.  I learned a little on the melanoidin and Malliard discussion.

One can change the mash procedure for the style of beer being made and malts used in that beer.  For the British beers with the British malts, single infusion.  A Cereal mash for a CAP. For a beer that uses a large portion of Vienna or Munich from continental Europe as the base, I might choose to do a step mash, and that is easy to do on my system.  For a Pilsner we have done single decoctions.  For the next Doppelbock, I might consider a double decoction, or if I want to do that much work, a tripple decoction.

You can make your beer anyway you want.

One of the benefits of going to the AHA BIg Brew is to see all of the systems in one place, and to talk to the others to see what they are doing.  I find it a great way to learn new techniques.  One guy was doing a brew in a bag.

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Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: Mashing confusion
« Reply #74 on: December 17, 2010, 09:01:37 am »
I have hesitated to post this...but what the hell.
I humbly propose that I am just sharing my own thoughts/opinions.

Art – Science – Truth – Theory – Belief

There is certainly an art to homebrewing…that intangible “skill” that some brewers posses; it lies beyond scientific explanation…call it an algorithm that springs up in the brewers’ brain, spurred by environment and genetics.

But there is also science to homebrewing. Certain conditions of various physical phenomenon – temperature, pH, ion concentrations – all have a bearing on the outcomes of the brewing process. Through formulating hypotheses, conducting experiments, and making empirical observations, we can come closer to understanding the science of homebrewing, and move to formulate “best practice” guidelines…or what is “true” in a given brewing circumstance.

So what is truth? The consensus theory of truth states that what is held in consensus is true…so if we all agree to something, it is true. This might work for where a group may decide to go for lunch, BUT not for something like gravity; you cannot by consensus make gravity cease. This theory of truth certainly works for the BJCP style guidelines…but not so when determining how mash enzymes function.

The correspondence theory of truth holds that what is true is that which corresponds to the actual state of affairs. For example, what effect does temperature have on mashing? To find this out, you must devise a hypothesis, do research, make empirical observations, and conduct experiments. In the end, you may not be fully right, but you’ll likely be closer to what corresponds with reality.

Belief. All homebrewers have it. Belief that their beer is good, that using a blue cooler makes better beer, that how they brew is the best way. Belief is a personal thing…often expressed in personal terms: I believe this, I believe that. And it’s OK to have our personal beliefs; where we run afoul is when we try to force our beliefs on others…insist that they accept what we say is nothing short of truth. That generally offends people…especially when the belief runs contrary to a correspondence theory of truth, or the belief lacks reasonable research to support it.

Now I’m no genius homebrewer, I do well and enjoy the fruits of my labor, and would certainly relate my brewing practices to anyone that may ask. But, I would not insist that what I do is “best practice,” but I would rather defer to those who have greater experience, arrived at through empirical evidence, experimentation, and reasoned research. Especially when those people express their “discoveries” in humble terms and without the expectation that I “drink the Koolaid.”

Thus I choose to brew in a white cooler.
John Wilson
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Savannah, GA