Author Topic: Caveman Brewing  (Read 2967 times)

Offline chumley

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Caveman Brewing
« on: March 17, 2011, 01:44:39 PM »
No, I'm not going to brew in a fire pit or chew and spit grain....

But the broken hydrometer thread got me thinking....I have been brewing so long, that I think that I will try brewing a batch of beer without measuring anything.  No scales, thermometers, graduated cylinders, hydrometers, clocks.....nothing.

I will eyeball the amount of mash water.  Eyeball the amount of grain.  Heat the water until it gets that gassy look that means its at strike temperature.  Mash in and not look and my watch.  Mash out.  Boil.  Eyeball my hop additions.  Chill till the wort feels cool.  Add some yeast slurry and ferment.

Just to say that I can do.  I bet I can brew some pretty tasty beer, brewing like a caveman.

What do you think?

Offline timberati

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 01:48:31 PM »
I predict in the end you'll get beer.
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 01:56:17 PM »
The only real hitch I see is strike water temp(therefore mash temp). Other than that, do it!
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 03:21:29 PM »
I vaguely remember reading something about 'rule of thumb' originating with brewers as a means of quesstimating temperature before thermometers. A quick google finds references to this but no real explanation of technique. Too tire to look further at the moment.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 03:31:16 PM »
This sounds like a great idea -- I might just try it sometime myself.  I know a guy who doesn't have much respect for recipes and hardly ever measures gravity, and his beers are all pretty darn good, even placing in competitions.

Mashing without a thermometer would REALLY be interesting.  If memory serves, you heat your strike water until it starts steaming like mad, then allow to cool slowly.  When the steam dies down just enough so that you can easily see your reflection in the water, then you add your crushed grain to the water at that point for your mash.  Should get you into the 150-ish ballpark for a normal single infusion mash.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline timberati

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 04:21:58 PM »
I vaguely remember reading something about 'rule of thumb' originating with brewers as a means of quesstimating temperature before thermometers.

On the Brew Masters show, Sam Calagione says "Rule of Thumb" came from the brewers using their thumbs to test temperatures. I don't quite buy it, but it's okay as an explanation.
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 06:00:23 PM »
I vaguely remember reading something about 'rule of thumb' originating with brewers as a means of quesstimating temperature before thermometers.

On the Brew Masters show, Sam Calagione says "Rule of Thumb" came from the brewers using their thumbs to test temperatures. I don't quite buy it, but it's okay as an explanation.

True or not, makes sense to me
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Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2011, 06:47:09 PM »
I like the idea and may try it myself.

Big butt, "Rule of Thumb", makes me wonder. Body temp is 98-99* how good a mash can
you get mashing at that temp only. Plus surface temp of the human body is lower than 98*
The only time I use the rule of thumb is in cooling my wort. No thermometer. I just chill untill
the boil kettle is just slightly cooler than my hand. Then I know it is well below 98*...

I wonder what the/my tolerance of heat is. If I can take 150* by the thumb maybe that is how
it came about. If it is too hot for the thumb it's too hot.
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline bluesman

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 06:51:13 PM »
I think you should go for it. It will be the "mystery beer".

Maybe keep some notes in cas it turns out to be the best beer you ever brewed.  ;)
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 08:00:27 PM »
I know a guy who doesn't have much respect for recipes and hardly ever measures gravity, and his beers are all pretty darn good....

I know a feller like that also ::)

If memory serves, you heat your strike water until it starts steaming like mad, then allow to cool slowly.  When the steam dies down just enough so that you can easily see your reflection in the water, then you add your crushed grain to the water at that point for your mash. 

 I have read some very old recipes that describes this method. I think one of them was G. Washington's....
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2011, 10:01:43 PM »
Do a test batch with a thermometer and watch the water.  It becomes very glassy at a point, and that is a good time to add your malt.  I've noticed it in my mash tun when heating the water, but might not recognize it if I were just watching for it.  Give it a try and see what you think.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2011, 10:16:19 PM »
Maybe 8-10 years ago, a guy in our club organized a caveman brewing session....even wrote it up for Zymurgy.  There were 2-3 brewers IIRC.  Did it pretty much like chumley describes...no scales or other measuring equipment.  I went by to laugh at them.  Bottom line...the beers sucked.  Maybe someone else could do it better.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 10:18:16 PM by denny »
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Offline euge

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2011, 10:33:24 PM »
Don't you think with the boil one can guesstimate easily at least 45 minutes for a bittering charge and then throw some hops in before and after flameout?

I weighed out 6 scoops of 2-row with both hands together and it came to a pound.

Denny may be right but in the worst of circumstances I could brew some beer if all there was was the pot and some yeast. Hopefully it'd be SS so I could just let it cool and ferment in it.
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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2011, 10:51:01 PM »
Do a test batch with a thermometer and watch the water.  It becomes very glassy at a point, and that is a good time to add your malt.  I've noticed it in my mash tun when heating the water, but might not recognize it if I were just watching for it.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Interesting, I never thought to look at the water.  I always listen to it.  At our elevation (4800ft), there's an audible change at about 162f (which is nice for making tea and could be useful for a caveman strike temp).  I guess the temp of the audible change might be different at your elevation, but I would think it would be within 10 degrees +/- which would still be a pretty good strike temp.  Just a thought

Offline weazletoe

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Re: Caveman Brewing
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2011, 11:06:20 PM »
Awesome idea! Sounds like a lot of fun. Really gonna suck, cause if it turns out awesome, you'll never be able to make it again.
 
 On a related note, I've heard that about the rule of thumg also. I also heard it came from the law prohibiting men from beating their wives with a stick any thicker than their thumb.
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