HOMEBREW Digest #2991 Tue 30 March 1999

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		Digest Janitor: janitor@hbd.org
		Many thanks to the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers of 
		Livonia, Michigan for sponsoring the Homebrew Digest.
				URL: http://www.oeonline.com

  Guinness/real ale type taps ("Steve Ashton")
  Reference beers ("Steve Ashton")
  Fl Breweries (Jason.Gorman)
  Soapy taste (Nathan Kanous)
  1st Annual Palmetto State Open (hdowda)
  Diacetyl - blind leading the blind ("Spies, Jay")
  Sam Adams Spring Ale (Peter Bertone)
  re:Yeast Storage on Slant --- Age? (Michael A. Owings)
  Poor Extraction Causes (Dan Listermann)
  learning about diacetyl (Jim Layton)
  Revisions to the HBD server... (Homebrew Digest)
  RE: Soapy Taste (Robert Arguello)
  Aluminum Pot Fittings, 'Dirty' Burner Grates ("Daske, Felix")
  Re: big brew 99  milk stout (Matthew Arnold)
  Steeping is not Mashing (Charley Burns)
  Re: Homebrew judging - Why (Tyce Heldenbrand)
  Bottle carbonation problem (Paul Shick)
  Seneory Evaluations of Beers, Pumping MT/LT to Kettle (Joe Rolfe)
  Beer characteristics & commercial examples ("George De Piro")
  Re: homebrew competitions (Scott Abene)
  chicory (Scott Murman)
  Re: Westvleteren Yeast (Jim Wallace)
  Brewpubs in Cambridge, MA ("Alan McKay")
  Judging & Contests, Joke (Dave Burley)
  Water Softeners and Brewing ("George, Marshall E.")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:08:11 -0500 From: "Steve Ashton" <sashton at metlife.com> Subject: Guinness/real ale type taps "Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 16:58:39 -0500 From: "Michael Maag" <maagm at rica.net> Subject: Guinness/real ale type taps Is there a Guinness type tap, or a tap for a beer engine, or a sparkler tap that is designed to draw atmospheric nitrogen into the beer by a venturi tube or the like? If not, is there a style of tap that might be modified to do the job? I would like to dispense ale with CO2 and have the tap "suck" air (mostly nitrogen) into the beer stream. Any ideas? Cheers, Mike, In the Shenandoah Valley, VA." Why would you want to do this? The point of these taps is to release CO2 from solution and create a thick dense head, not to aerate the beer. Steve Ashton Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:14:56 -0500 From: "Steve Ashton" <sashton at metlife.com> Subject: Reference beers Try Red Hook ESB for Diacetyl. It should be unmistakable, Rolling Rock is great for DMS, and Bud is full of Acetaldehyde. I've never noticed Diacetyl in Pilsner Urquell, it's known for being skunky (mercaptan) in its bottled form. Steve Ashton Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:26:00 -0500 From: Jason.Gorman at steelcase.com Subject: Fl Breweries I am going to be in the Ft. Meyers FL area. Blah. Blah. Blah. You know the story. Are there any good brewpubs in the area? Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 07:47:52 -0600 From: Nathan Kanous <nlkanous at pharmacy.wisc.edu> Subject: Soapy taste Extract or all-grain? I believe that soapy tastes can come from lipids in the wort as a result of sparging problems. If you don't recirculate to get clear run-off, you can get these lipids into the boil and subsequently into the fermentation. I tried a new "pizza pan" false bottom that didn't have enough open area and whenever I tried to sparge, the grainbed would compact and stop flow. If I opened the ball valve all the way, it would sparge, but wouldn't clear with such a high flow rate. I gave up and ran it anyway. Can you say soap box porter? nathan in madison, wi Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:10:28 -0500 From: hdowda <hdowda at axs2k.net> Subject: 1st Annual Palmetto State Open First Annual Home Brew Competition When and Where: April 10, 1999. Judging begins at 10:30, Beulah's Bar and Grill, 902-C Gervais St., Columbia, SC. Entries: All categories and subcategories, as outlined in 1999 AHA style guidelines, will be accepted for competition. Where the number of entries is too small to form a separate class, they will be grouped with similar beers, so far as possible, for evaluation. The submitter is responsible for entering in the correct category. Three (3), 10 - 16 oz., plain brown or green capped bottles are requested. Bottles with printing or raised logos (other than "lot numbers") are not allowed. Any logo or writing on caps must be covered with an opaque marker. Swing capped bottles will not be judged but the beer will be consumed. Download entry forms from: http://www.axs2k.net/fatcat/psbentr1.htm Deadlines: Entries should be shipped to arrive between March 22 and April 6 (paperwork and checks). Shipped beers must be received by Tuesday, April 6. Entrants may hand deliver pre-entered brews to Beulah's by 8:30 AM on the day of the competition. Brewers hand delivering, are solely responsible for the condition of their beer at judging. Judges: Judging will be by BJCP judges, so far as they are available, and knowledgeable beer lovers experienced in evaluating beer. The participation of any judge will be appreciated, as will volunteers to serve as stewards. We still need a few judges, especially for lager classes. If you can help, please contact chatgros at mailexcite.com. Judges are welcome to enter beers, but they may not judge a flight containing their entry. Awards: Ribbons will be given for first, second, and third in each category, and first, second, and third best of show awards will be made. Many companies have donated super awards for winners. The Award donors are listed at: http://www.axs2k.net/fatcat/donors.htm Fees: Entries are $5.00 each. Make checks payable to Jim Griggers, with "Palmetto State Brewers" written on the memo line. Contacts: Competition coordinator: Jonney Grunnet (803) 808-9415 (grunnet at engr.sc.edu) Ship to: Harold Dowda, 1416 Waterwood Dr., Columbia, SC 29212 (803) 781-6596 (N) (803) 935-7658 (D) chatgros at mailexcite.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:56:01 -0500 From: Jeff Knaggs <jak at absoft.absoft.com> Subject: MI Beer Bars Two nice starting points for wide coverage of Michigan beer are: http://www.phd.msu.edu/bice/beer/brew.html and http://www.michiganbeerguide.com both sites are full of links to other MI sites. Jeff Knaggs Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:58:47 -0500 From: "Spies, Jay" <Spies at dhcd.state.md.us> Subject: Diacetyl - blind leading the blind All - Thomas Murray asked in #2990 about the taste of diacetyl, better ways to describe it, and commercial examples. Since traffic is relatively light, I'll take a stab at it. (( QDA approaching . . . duck and cover )) I'm not certified as a BJCP judge (though it's an avenue I'd like to explore), so these are only my lay impressions. I have picked up diacetyl in several examples of local beer (most notably and most commonly in a beer called Clipper City Gold - **Thomas, being in NJ, this may be available to you**). It is normally a wonderful pale ale with a distinct (Willamette?) hop nose. Several examples I've gotten, however, are chock full 'o diacetyl. I normally initially notice a lack of hop aroma in diacetyl laden beers that normally have it. Just a datapoint. The immediate taste impression I get is a sense of the beer being overly sweet and malty, with an almost viscous, oily mouthfeel. The "malty" flavors become very thick after a second or two, and are not at all "biscuity" or "toasty" like we expect cereal grain malt flavors to be, but rather flat and buttery. Depending on severity, the flavors can be almost sweet. The sweetness is not like the malty sweetness of a bock, though; it has a buttery, fatty undertone. These flavors tend to crowd out the hop bitterness. In extreme examples (we had one at a club competition), the aftertaste can be *distinctly* butterscotch, to the point of being almost candy-like. IMBR, diacetyl is caused by introduction of O2 post-fermentation, and can also be caused by bacteria in some cases. HTH, Jay Spies Wishful Thinking Basement Brewery Baltimore, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 10:08:01 -0500 (EST) From: Peter Bertone <bertone at physics.unc.edu> Subject: Sam Adams Spring Ale A while back someone asked for opinions about whether Sam Adams Spring Ale fit the stye of a koelsch. One of my office mates is a German who did his Ph.D. in Cologne. I thought it would be fun to give him a bottle of SASA to evaluate. I was very doubtful that he would find SASA to resemble a real koelsch. He was even more doubtful, and he had a good laugh about the notion of a koelsch-style ale being a "Spring" ale. The surprise was that both he and his wife found that SASA does taste like koelsch. There were no qualifications in what he said; "It tastes like koelsch". However, he also said that SASA is darker than koelsch and the head retention and density are also much higher. (He claims a dense, long lasting head is not present in a real koelsch.) He told me that he was even more surprised that SASA tasted like koelsch when he saw that it looked more like German Pils. This person also grew up in Duesseldorf so I plan to run a few iterations of homebrewed altbier by him. Cheers, Peter Bertone Chapel Hill, NC Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 15:14:12 GMT From: mikey at swampgas.com (Michael A. Owings) Subject: re:Yeast Storage on Slant --- Age? > This is one of the few posts I have had in the last few years of > lurking. I have a Brewer's Resource large slant of yeast that I bought > about a year ago. I used it once and resealed it with Paraseal and > have kept it refrigerated since. Question is should I just through it > out, Use it or what? Don't throw it out. The yeast may well be viable. Actually you want to make sure that: a) The yeast is still viable b) The yeast still has desired fermentation characteristics. I'd recommend re-streaking the yeast on to a new blank slant or better yet a petri dish. If the new colony takes, take a loopful and start as usual. Wrap the slant or dish in parafilm/tape and refrigerate for later use. Build your stater up to a quart or so. Make sure it is hopped at least lightly -- you want your starter to be fairly beer-like because you're going to be evaluating it for off flavors and aromas. Smell and taste the finished starter. If it seems OK, the yeast is still good. If it refused to attenuate, or tastes rancid or otherwise nasty, throw it out along with the saved yeast. I have found that while yeast can often survive long periods of storage, they may mutate over time and take on undesirable fermentation characteristics. This is especially true of lager yeasts. The only way to really tell is to build a starter and taste/smell it. Note that starters are always a _bit_ nasty -- after all, you ferment them rather warm, etc. Just look for really _obvious_ bad aromas or tastes. *********************** Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. *** And the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they pissed me off *** Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 10:16:50 -0500 From: Dan Listermann <72723.1707 at compuserve.com> Subject: Poor Extraction Causes Evidently the last portion of my Friday posting got lost in space. I will try to pick it up at a point that makes sense: I think that we can agree that uncrushed malt would give very poor extraction. I am not so sure that you will agree that floured malt will give the greatest extraction, but let us assume that you would. If one were to plot a scale of "crush" against extraction, as one progressed from no crush to flour the extraction rate would increase. The line would probably look like x = tan y or a curve similar to landau bars on a hearse. The object would be to find a point on the curve that gave the greatest extraction before lautering problems set in due to the lack of filter material. This curve can be found. I have started to do a sort of "congress mash" using different crushes gauged with standard sieves. The preliminary data is starting to show this curve. The grist remaining on the #10 screen seems to be a good indicater of extraction since it retains the endosperm that is still attached to the hulls such as the ends of the corns which are not fully exposd to the water. The gap of the mill can also be used to plot extraction. One malt could be compared to others to see what effect changes in gap setting would cause. The prototype mill that I am using has two 1.5" diameter rolls with coarse pitch knurles and it has full face adjustment ability of .016" per turn of the knob. I can repeat gaps from touching to beyond the width of any corn easily. This could be a fun club project. "Old and stale" malt is not the cause of poor extraction. Poor crushes are the primary cause of poor extraction. Dan Listermann dan at listermann.com 72723.1707 at compuserve.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:20:22 -0600 From: Jim Layton <a0456830 at rtxmail1.rsc.raytheon.com> Subject: learning about diacetyl There have been a couple of recent posts asking what commercial beers exhibit an obvious diacetyl flavor. I'd like to suggest a different way for brewers, or other beer lovers, to educate their palate. Try stewarding a first round flight of pilsner or German light lager at a homebrew competition. There will probably be at least one entry with a distinct diacetyl component, as well as other entries without. A competent judge can assist you in picking out this flavor. Most of the folks I have judged with know diacetyl, a few did not. Pick your mentor well. I agree that PU has some diacetyl in it, but its at a low enough level that it can be missed. It is fairly common to find it at a higher level in home brewed lagers. Once you have tasted the extreme example and learned to connect the word and the flavor, then you will be prepared to detect it at lower levels in commercial beers. Jim Layton (Howe, TX) Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 10:29:20 -0500 (EST) From: Homebrew Digest <hbd at brew.oeonline.com> Subject: Revisions to the HBD server... Greetings, Beerlings! Take me to your lager... Well! The most recent mail problem with the HBD server has been fixed, and, to help prevent future adventures along the same avenue, the structure of the server has been revised somewhat. If you have a webpage that is hosted by the HBD, and have trouble connecting to update your pages, please replace /spool in your directory structure with /hbd3. Other than that, the changes *should* be transparent. Those with cgi priveleges should check to ensure their scripts are still running correctly. Also, I would like any club or individual being hosted by the hbd server to send a contact e-mail address so that I might put together a mailing list in order to notify club webmasters directly rather than via an HBD post. Send these to webmaster at hbd.org, please. Finally, there are a few pages that did not fall within our file structure. You have been, for the time being, left in your original space and should not notice any changes. Once I get the filesystem cleaned up, I will move these directories to hbd3 as well (I *should* be able to notify all of these individuals individuall as I know who most of them are). Cheers! The Home Brew Digest Janitorial Staff Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 07:34:04 -0800 (PST) From: Robert Arguello <robertac at calweb.com> Subject: RE: Soapy Taste On Sat, 27 Mar 1999 11:39:49 PST dan cutcher wrote: >I am very new at this. I only have to batches under my belt....or should >I say in my stomach. The first a strong stout and the second a brown >ale. Both batches turned out pretty good...however they both had a >filmy/soapy aftertaste. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would >appreciate any help. >Dan Cutcher Dan, the only time I ever found a soapy taste/mouthfeel in my beer was once or twice when I got lazy and didn't rack to secondary in a timely manner. I believe leaving the beer on all that trub, break and dead yeast for a couple weeks was the cause. I normally rack to secondary within 1 week. Best o luck ******************************************************************** Robert Arguello <robertac at calweb.com> Corny kegs - ProMash Brewing Software http://www.calweb.com/~robertac ******************************************************************** Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 07:38:34 -0800 From: "Daske, Felix" <DaskeF at bcrail.com> Subject: Aluminum Pot Fittings, 'Dirty' Burner Grates A couple of queries to the ultra scientific masters of Zen brewism <G>... I am brewing in our kitchen (mind set adjustment alert) using 2 X 10 US gallon aluminum pots and a small converted Igloo cooler with a copper pipe manifold. The stovetop is a GE gas range - large burner will bring 8 US gallons of 150 F. wort to boil in about 40 minutes. The pots are stock - sans modifications; which brings me to my first question. I would like to modify the 'Hot Liquor Tank' (pot #1) to add a ball valve and a thermometer, if this works out I'll do the Boil Kettle. I have been following the various threads, since about Sept. '98 however, in my simple mind, appropriate materials and methods are not clear. As I am working with aluminum I am wondering what the best material for fittings might be. Can I use brass? Can I solder the fittings? If welding is necessary what is the best method? My second question... Over time, the burner grate (naming?) covering the large burner has 'grown' some dark blue metallic crusty. At first I thought this might be the paint of the original metal coming undone<?> now I wonder whether it isn't some sort of reaction with the heat, steel, and aluminum. Any ideas what this might be? Any suggestion for 'cleaning' it? Kind regards, Felix Fallen Rock Home Brewery Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:20:22 GMT From: marnold at ez-net.com (Matthew Arnold) Subject: Re: big brew 99 milk stout On Mon, 29 Mar 1999 00:21:28 -0500, you wrote: >i see that in the recipe for the collaborator milk stout they include flaked >barley and flaked oats . do these need to be mashed or can they just be >steeped like choclate malt ect.? thanks I was very disappointed that the official AHA recipe would include steeping grains that are only going to give you starch in your beer. Flaked barley and flaked oats do need to be mashed with 2-row/6-row/pale ale/etc. malt otherwise they are adding nothing but starch. They also say to use Carapils. That's OK if you're using DWC Carapils (which can be steeped) but it's bad if it's Briess (which cannot). I guess I would have hoped that at least the AHA wouldn't be giving out such bad brewing advice. Later, Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:16:46 -0800 (PST) From: cburns at jps.net (Charley Burns) Subject: Steeping is not Mashing While visiting one of the local homebrew shops recently, one of the owners was telling me about their most popular recipe that customers had been buying and making recently. One of the ingredients is a pound of munich malt, crushed with a pound of some crystal (I think it was a non-descriptive ale of some sort). In any case I was surprised they were steeping munich and mentioned that it really should be mashed. So, now they've asked me to come up with some instructions for mini-mashing/partial mashing to add to their recipe instructions. Easy enough done, but it did bring up one question. At what point does mashing become steeping? What water/grist ratio is the maximum that enzymatic action will occur fast enough to convert the starches to sugars before pooping out (technical term for you pointy heads). I have used 1.5 quarts per pound but never higher than that. Is there some reference somewhere that gives this maximum level? Charley Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:17:35 -0800 From: Tyce Heldenbrand <tyce at photon.com> Subject: Re: Homebrew judging - Why Fred Wills ponders the question why homebrewers enter homebrew competitions after they have ascertained a certain level of experinced brewing by making great beer. There are a myriad of reasons why Fred. Let me throw out 20 or 30. Here's a simple one, it's FUN!!! Sure, we all feel good when our beers wins a medal/ribbon/t-shirt or whatever. I can't believe for a minute that that makes someone an all around outstanding brewer. I have made some beers that have been judged as an excellent example of the style, and other beers have had less tha examplary. Sure, lots of people can make a good Sierra Nevada or Bass pale ale ripoff. But have you made a Vienna, Schwarzbier, Steinbeer, Lambic, Eisbock, and nailed the style to a tee? The point is, just because someone is really good at making one style of beer, doesn't mean they make all styles of beer good. The fun about brewing is trying new styles. Not too many people like to brew/drink the same beer all the time. I enjoy experimenting with the different styles, and yes, I try to brew to guidlines that defines a beer. At many competitions that I have judged or entered, there were commercial beers that were thrown in (blindly, of course). We call these beers "ringers". The purpose is to see how the judges view this beer. For example, a Pilsener Urquell was put into the Classic Pilsener category. The beer was judged as oxidized, and therefore didn't score the highest. So yes, a homebrew can score higher than a commercial beer. Obviously, the homebrewer feels good when they beat out the commercial beer. Another reason why we enter competitions is to further promote the hobby of homebrewing. This will help getting your friends, neighbors, or whatever to enjoy the process of homebrewing and having it evaluated to help improve the skills, processes, and taste of their beer. If entering competitions is a meaningless experience to you, then don't do it. The reason why we still enter these competitions after years of brewing and winning awards is, we still keep learning. Its a process which cannot be learned overnight. Just because you start winning some medals deosn't mean you stop learning. Tyce Heldenbrand San Diego Brew Tech's Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 11:20:18 -0500 (EST) From: Paul Shick <SHICK at JCVAXA.jcu.edu> Subject: Bottle carbonation problem Hello all, I have a quick question for the collective about a bottle-carbonation problem. I brewed a dunkelbock and a Maibock a week apart, putting them on the yeast cakes of two German Pilsener primaries (using Wyeast 2206, Bavarian lager yeast.) I bottled the dunkelbock after two weeks at 50F for the primary fermentation, 4 weeks at 45-40F for a secondary/quasi-lagering. I used about 3oz of corn sugar for the primings (for 5.5+ gallons,) aiming for about 2.5 volumes of CO2, guessing that the beer was at about 44F and held about 1.4 volumes already. I bottled the Maibock a bit later, after 2 weeks primary and 6 weeks secondary at the same temperatures, with the same priming rate. After 5 weeks in the bottle (at about 55-60F basement temperature,) the Dunkelbock is still flat, with no yeast sediment showing at all. The Maibock was well-carbonated after only two weeks in the bottle, at the same temperature. My worry, of course, is that too much of the yeast flocculated out of the dunkelbock during its extended quasi-lagering, and that there's not enough yeast left to carbonate. But the Maibock had even longer at those temperatures, and still had plenty of yeast left to do the job in only two week. Maybe the darker grist of the dunkelbock resulted in a lower pH, and this might effect the yeast metabolism? Maybe the yeast gods are punishing me for getting too enthusiastic about this dunkelbock before it finished conditioning? Any ideas on what's going on would be appreciated. My plan is to wait at least another month or two before taking any action on the flat dunkelbock. If it's still flat then, I guess I'll have to pop the caps and add some yeast, but I hate the thought of that. At least I have the Maibock to make the waiting easier... Paul Shick Basement brewing in Cleveland Hts OH Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 10:34:38 -0500 From: Joe Rolfe <rolfe at sky.sky.com> Subject: Seneory Evaluations of Beers, Pumping MT/LT to Kettle Some general thoughts and memories from a class I took at Siebels on sensory evaluations (which may have some basis on the BJCP variablity)... Everyone has differing thresholds of the componds that make up the 'Flavor Wheel'. One of the best classes I took (after the microbiology class) was the Sensory Eval. I found several blind spots in my tasting. Sulphidic - they could have poured the whole bottle of the 'doctoring fluid' in the sample and I still would not have caught it. On the other hand I also found several (like diacetyl) that I am very sensitive to. From what I was told by Elsa at Siebels (forget her last name) my threshold was very very low compared to the norms. Another key factor is day to day variablity - caused by what the taster ingests/smokes and the relative health of the taster. What is this crap trying to say. Everyone will have an off day, most everyone will have blind spots and very sensitive spots and these can drift with age. I dont recall the BJCP having documented this on a per taster basis. But I would venture to guess that most of the upper tier of the judges know what areas are sensitive or dull. The most enlightening experience a person can have is to educate the palate and determine the thresholds for some of the key 'flavor wheel' components. It can be done at a formal class (Siebels, UCDAVIS and I would assume a few other universities around the country). If you want to do it your self at the club level, insure that the 'doctoring' is with safe chemicals and are measured to a high degree of accuracy. Keep an accurate diary of the samplings. If anyone wants more info email me direct, I wont waste bandwidth. Flames welcome. Gerard Dolmans dolmans at mail.tss.net "My greatest concern is the pump between the mash/lauter tun and the boil kettle. Since I sparge at a trickle I worry about the pump being able to move very small quantities for an hour or slightly longer. It seems that most pumps require a several gallon per minute flow rate in order to not cavitate or to burn themselves out." Try putting a small vessel (called a GRANT) at the output of the mash/lauter and runoff into that. Hook the pump inlet up to the outlet of this vessel and pump from it. To keep grain chunks out of the pump inlet stick a nylon bag on the outlet of the mashtun. Just insure the bag is not being sucked into the pumps inlet. Never (flame word) try to pull direct from the mash tun (IMHO). It can be done, if your careful. One item to watch for is wort aeration enroute to the kettle (from cavitation or sucking air thru connections/seals). This is what I have on mine (mt/lt to valve to sack in grant to pump to throttle valve). I did not see the need to automate with a float switch, just keep an eye on it and manually (pain in the butt). I draw in asscii but is it worth it.... Good Luck and Great Brewing Joe Rolfe Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 11:18 -0800 From: "George De Piro" <George_De_Piro at berlex.com> Subject: Beer characteristics & commercial examples Hi all, Since the queue is short, and I have a few minutes, I figured that I would discuss some of beer's organoleptic qualities, including commercial examples that have certain flavor elements in a clearly discernible quantity (at least they are clearly discernible by me; you mileage may vary): Diacetyl: butter or butterscotch, very noticeable in any Middle Ages (Syracuse) beers and in many English beers (especially the older ones). Any brewpub with a Pugsley system will produce beers with diacetyl above threshold level. Failing all this, go to the supermarket and buy some imitation butter flavor (in the spice aisle). Phenols: as Jeff Renner said, the really gross ones that taste like plastic, medicine, or chlorine aren't often found in commercial beers. Pleasantly spicy phenols, like 4-vinyl guiaicol, are found in Bavarian-style wheat beers and many Belgian beers. Many lip balms contain phenol; simply read the label and purchase one with phenol in it and give it a whiff/taste. Pretty strong, and pretty gross. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS): this is noticeable in many light lagers. Perhaps the best beer to try is the reissue of Rheingold. It reeks of DMS. If you are sensitive to DMS you will smell it as a vegetable-like aroma in Rheingold. If you are less sensitive to DMS, Rheingold may smell like creamed corn. It's really the only reason to purchase such a poor (and overpriced) beer (IMNSHO). Cheesy: bake some hops (any form) for a little while at low heat. Smell them periodically. You will notice an unpleasant cheesy aroma after a short while (I don't know how long it will take). Acetaldehyde: smells like freshly cut pumpkin or unripe apples. Also smells like Budweiser (its easier to smell it if the beer is warmer than the typical serving temperature of Budweiser). Skunky: Pour a Bass ale into a clear pint glass. Set it in full sun for 30-60 seconds, then smell. You could avoid that work by simply buying Corona or Heineken and smelling what is in the bottle, but then you'll have 5 more poor beers to get rid of. Oxidized: a very broad array of flavors/aromas are caused by oxidation. These include metallic, papery (especially noticeable when the beer is swished around the tongue), vegetables, and sherry. Oxidation can also cause a decrease in the perception of malt flavors, leaving the beer unbalanced and incomplete. Many imported beers are severely oxidized, including every bottle of Sam Smiths I have ever had in the States. The major Munich brewery's 1998 Oktoberfestbiers were all quite papery tasting, even on draft, in the NYC area (and I had a reliable report of the same thing in Texas). Spaten's Franziskaner Weissbier often has papery notes, too (here in the NYC area). Sour/acidic: yogurt-like (lactic acid) or vinegar-like (acetic acid). A good Lambic like Cantillon will display these qualities, or you can simply spike a beer. Sulfur: hydrogen sulfide (H2S) smells like rotten eggs and is a common byproduct of lager fermentations. This aroma should not be discernible in the finished beer. Fruity: a class of organic compounds called esters are responsible for the fruity characteristics found in beer. On the extreme end of fruity commercial examples is Bavarian-style wheat beer, with its big banana character. Solvent-like: alcohols that are larger than ethanol (the so-called higher alcohols or fusel alcohols) can be discerned as harshly alcoholic or solventy. Certain esters can also be solventy in high enough concentrations (ethyl acetate, for one). Fusel production is *always* exacerbated by excessive yeast growth (see my recent Brewing Techniques article (Jan/Feb. 1999) about yeast management for more details). Excessive fusels are often found in high-gravity homebrew. Schneider's Aventinus probably has as much fusel character as any commercial beer will ever have, although it is still not as stupefying as many high-gravity homebrews. Brettanomyces: this earthy, musty, fruity, sharp character has many components contributing to it. Words cannot do it justice. An old bottle of Orval (all of the Orval in stores in the USA is old) will teach the drinker what Brettanomyces smells like. Fresh bottles of Orval are very hoppy in nose, with the Brett. character being very undeveloped compared to the older bottles. Those of you who still think that Brett. character smells like a horse or its blanket should check out: http://members.aol.com/Maltoon/funnypage.html Have fun! George de Piro (Nyack, NY) Malted Barley Appreciation Society http://members.aol.com/MaltyDog/maltind.html Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:37:08 -0800 (PST) From: Scott Abene <skotrat at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: homebrew competitions Randy Ricchi Writes (in response to Fred Wills's post): Fred Wills asked: Why do so many homebrewers in general feel the need to compete? Randy Answers: That's easy. Ego. I say: Damn I hope this is tongue in cheek because I really don't think that most brewers enter competitions for EGO sake. There are those Rogue Ego minded brewers that seem to only brew and enter so they can show you all those neato cool ribbons and talk about how great they are. There is a lot more to brewing and entering competitions than just talking about yourself and stepping on your "dick" in front of other brewers whilst trying to impress them. Sure the ribbons are nice (I keep them in a drawer with all the incorrectly filled out judging sheets) but that isn't the reason I enter. I enter for the feedback on the beer. I want BJCP judges to tell me where I went right and where I went wrong. If I score a 45 or I score a 12 it is all the same in my mind. I want the feedback. Sometimes you get a real bonehead judging your beer and they don't know what they are doing. Sometimes you get Al K. or Ed Bronson judging your beer and the whole world opens up and you get a great score sheet back. There is no room for egos in brewing... We are all only as good as our next brew. Look at Gump; a GABF Gold medal winner! the guy is about as nice and as helpful to other brewers as they come. Jethro knows who his mates is and isn't and he knows the difference. Sure he probably has an ego but he doesn't go around shoving that Gold medal in yer face... He just busts his ass to brew a better beer and to help others brew better beer. I say If you are entering and brewing to feed your ego then you need to get a dog or a hamster or something cause most brewers probably don't want to be around you. Well I have again rambled too much... C'ya! -Scott "Thinking of painting my TownCar Plaid" Abene === ThE-HoMe-BrEw-RaT Scott Abene <skotrat at mediaone.net> http://skotrat.dynip.com/skotrat (the Homebrew "Beer Slut" page) "The More I know About Cathy Ewing, The More The AHA SUCKS" _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get your free at yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:15:44 -0800 (PST) From: Scott Murman <smurman at best.com> Subject: chicory My personal little chicory odyssey continues, although I've already brewed the saison without any. I picked up a bottle of La Cochonnette (or Cochonne) which is also made by Brasserie a Vapeur at Pipaix, who make Saison de Pipaix. Right on the label it lists the ingredients, and last on the list is roasted chicory, so it appears I have been a little hasty in pronouncing that roasted chicory wasn't used. Michael Jackson states that this same brewery uses chicory flavored sugars for all their primings (and implies they're not alone), and I'm still not sure what to make of that. I also don't know how they get much (good) flavor from the roasted chicory. Seems to me it would only work well in a stout or porter or similar. -SM- Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 13:00:42 -0500 From: Jim Wallace <jwallace at crocker.com> Subject: Re: Westvleteren Yeast John asks about the Westvletern yeast.. if this is truly the westvlet yeast and not westmalle, the style would be a dark rich dubbel style. they make a 6, 8, and 12. one of my favorite beers but hard to get. usually sold only at the abbey gates. i have tried to culture this yeast several times with little or no luck. good to know it is available from ssc. my impression of this yeast would be one with a low attenuation.. a character I would like to achieve for the dubbel style.. mine normally come out too dry. especially when using the chimay strain. i recently made a 7 barrel batch dubbel with a local pub owner using the chimay yeast. when that was done he pitched it to a wit and eventually he will be trying it on a batch of triple. the end results should be interesting to compare. >From: John Varady <rust1d at usa.net> > >I received a vial of Westvleteren yeast as a prize from the Saccharomyces >Supply Company in MA. I have never had a beer from this abbey and therefore >have no idea of the profile of the strain. I decided to give it a try and >am using it to ferment 4 gallons of wit (I also pitched 3944 in the other >11 gallons). The starter was up in running in 15 hours and after pitched >the 4 gallons were at krausen after 12 hours. I plan on making a tripel >this weekend and pitching the dregs from the wit. Is this yeast appropriate >for a tripel (or a wit)? > ___________________________________________ JIM WALLACE ... jwallace at crocker.com http://www.crocker.com/~jwallace ___________________________________________ Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 12:41:22 -0500 From: "Alan McKay" <amckay at nortelnetworks.com> Subject: Brewpubs in Cambridge, MA Hi folks, I checked Pubcrawler so have those ones listed. Any other brewpubs or such that I should visit while in Cambridge, MA? I'll be there 2 nights 1 day on a business trip around April 8th. Also, if anyone would like to get together for a beer, just Email me. cheers, -Alan - -- Alan McKay OS Support amckay at nortelnetworks.com Small Site Integration 613-765-6843 (ESN 395) Nortel Networks Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 15:16:37 -0500 From: Dave Burley <Dave_Burley at compuserve.com> Subject: Judging & Contests, Joke Brewsters: I'm back and will be responding to e-mail as time permits. Sorry I wasn't around to enter into the discssion of BJCP and beer judging in general. I also feel the need to ramble philosophically on this subject. I have yet to read all the other HBDs, so please forgive any redundancy. I have two thoughts: 1) I think what the BJCP and like minded community service oriented individuals do to help us perfect our technique is a good thing. I look at such contests as fulfilling the function of a laboratory experiment in which the T.A. ( er BJCP) gives you a grade according to how well you did in matching a set of arbitrary guidelines based on TODAY's version of a beer. It is great practice. 2) I think what the BJCP and like-minded community service oriented individuals ( and those gatekeepers only interested in their own ability to tower their "knowledge" over other less intense brewers) is a terrible thing that squashes the true direction of what homebrewing should be - to make the best beer possible. Why, this dichotomy in my feelings about homebrewing contests and judging in general? As I understand it, the basic premise of the BJCP and other organizations is that for some reason today's beers (including the European beers) are somehow "right". At least it might be mis-construed by some due to the BJCP insistence that THIS is the correct profile for this kind of beer. I disagree with this basic premise, having had the opportunity to live in Britain as the beers were being nationalized and seeing the change over in basic profile from a British to a lighter more Americanized, cold beer delivered under pressure. Thank goodness I was not the only once who noticed it and the Real Ale program was started in Britain. In my opinion, modern beers are brewed under the influence of the scrutiny of the accountants and the taxman and the insurance companies - The brewer has to brew to these quantitative constraints and by-in-large ignore the qualitative ones. Ask yourself why beers greater than a certain alcohol content have to be labelled "malt liquor" when no such distinction existed in the past. Ask yourself why beer can no longer have the alcohol content on the label but wine can. My suspicions? LIghter bodied beers cost less to make, cost less per gallons in excise taxes and drinkers are imagined to be less drunk by insurance companies if the beer is lower in aclohol. For those of you who have made a CAP and compared it to Budweiser, you will realize that this CAP is far superior to Budweiser in any of its many forms. My wife has a declared dislike for lager ( aka Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc.) but the other day I gave her a taste of my most recent CAP. and she said "is that a lager? Wow, that's better than Budweiser by a long shot." Not much of a compliment,IMHO. But her second sip was. So what is the danger of contests and judging? It is simply that, if we are not careful, these activities may squelch the innovative development of new beers or the return to the older, better style, developed by decades and centuries of natural selection among the drinking populace, when the brewer was in charge of the kind of beer that was brewed. Are contests inherently bad? No. Are they dangerous? Yes - if given a status that is undeserved. Contests reward brewers who are skilled at brewing to a set of guidelines. This is the first step in being a good brewer. The second one is the creative and more difficult to characterize - the ability to brew *good* beer. As an example, a skilled brewer could brew a dead ringer for Budweiser, but that would not mean he could brew a good beer, necessarily. Yet this brewer may win many contests and the brewer of good, but outside the BJCP guidelines would not. What to do? I mean, why not make a hoppy lager if it is good? It is my opinion that every judging event should have an event in which the best beer in the show is rewarded a prize. This is drawn not necessarily from the winners in the various classes, but from all beers entered. A new class of guidelines will need to be developed - like refreshing, full mouthed, good looking, etc. etc. Sort of the way we subconsciously judge an unknown beer when drinking it for the first time. BJCP and others - any takers? - ------------------------------------------------- An Irishman walks into a bar in Dublin, orders three pints of Guinness and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender asks him, "You know, a pint goes flat after I draw it; it would taste better if you bought one at a time." The Irishman replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in America, the other in Australia, and I'm here in Dublin. When we all left home, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the day when we drank together." The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there. The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way: He orders three pints and drinks them in turn. One day, he comes in and orders two pints. All the other regulars notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your great loss." The Irishman looks confused for a moment, then a light dawns in his eye and he laughs. "Oh, no," he says, "Everyone's fine. I've just quit drinking." Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:10:29 -0600 From: "George, Marshall E." <MGeorge at bridge.com> Subject: Water Softeners and Brewing I have recently moved into a home that has a water softener in it. It uses the pellets for the softening mechanism, and was wondering if this will have a detrimental effect on my beers (I brew allgrain). If so, what could I do to help this out? Marshall George Glen Carbon, IL (I have no idea who Jeff Renner is) Return to table of contents
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