These last 2 months have not fared well here in Lansing, Michigan. From 2 cases of flu that lasted 24 hours (I was lucky compared to others), my workplace requiring a lot of extra training all of a sudden and a cold odd winter ending up quite wet. Let's just say a backed up sewer and extra water coming in the window wells meant the only thing flowing at our house was bad water. Then, there is cleanup - still going on at the house. The brewing gods were not finding favor with me these last 2 months! Sorry, this is rushed as I'm short on time this month.
Cheers to beer magazines. I will celebrate and show my admiration for the brewing magazines and the people that have helped me in my homebrewing interest. You can see the new ideas and questions I raise as a result of my reading. This is a special issue for 2018.
Now, these companies have registered their design of their titles and I'm being careful not to display their titles without permission in my picture above. The brew magazines I read regularly have their online presence at:
STORIES FROM MAGAZINE BREWERY KITCHENS
If you read the Oct/Nov 2017 issue of Craft Beer and Brewing, you got to check out Taylor Caron's attack on DMS reduction. I read his new recipe, his thoughts on creating a Festbier and I developed new ideas of my own when it comes to Pilsners. DMS is a bad cooked-corn taste. I believe I may have mentioned Woodland Brewing Research in past entries of this blog. I have noticed from graphs at the website, that DMS taste seems to be greatest from 15 minutes to close to about 50 minutes of the boil of wort. (The graphs seemed to have since disappeared at the site) That means that if you boil less than 15 minutes you won't generate enough DMS to taste it. After 50 minutes, you have boiled off significant DMS that it shouldn't be detected by the average group of drinkers. Some people have really good taste and may not notice the DMS corn taste until after 90 minutes of a boil. Taylor Caron's article covers the fact that SMM precedes DMS formation and gives his unique recipe that might remedy the DMS problem. Woodland Brew Research have graphs that show that, at 145 F, 95% of the alcohol should be achieved in about 100 minutes of mashing. There is also considerable starch used up, that may have something to do with SMM and DMS formation, and may be better in creating a dry Pilsner. It is actually close to the old German infusion method of producing alcoholic dry beers for the summer. Only 100 minutes would be necessary to get most of the alcohol from the batch. Caron shows his method, which at 160 drives off 80% of the starch in 20 minutes, per Woodland Brew Research. Longer mash times or a multi-step mash may use up more of the DMS even before we get to the boil. There is 2nd part to his article as he gives us the results of his experiment.
So, I have several questions raised here that might result in a better method to produce a Pilsner. Do we need to boil longer than 15 minutes? Then, couldn't we spend most of our time at 145 F for a total of 100 minutes to get an alcoholic Pilsner? Could we do decoction (frying in water) of the hops separately from the rest of the wort? Could we then add the hops decoction, to the rest of the wort, at the start of the boil? At the start of the boil could we also add the flavor hops? If the DMS was still present from that test, we could consider more times with rests at 150, 160 and mash out temps to get rid of the DMS. Caron has already given me ideas for a new Pilsner recipe.
OBSERVATIONS OF BREWING
All About Beer's January 2018 issue, did a marvelous presentation of the best 25 beers. It shows you the trends and what you could start to make in your homebrewing. Showing the public's interest in beers that are not IPA's, gives me a sigh of relief knowing I've got a better selection of beers when I go out to eat. I've never been a fan of bitter IPA's. It seems like citrus IPA's are the high point with some of the breweries in my area. The magazine issue covered blends of beer and wine with wild yeast; saisons with jasmine and rice; vienna malt lagers and cocktail blends of spirit beers that are best now. I will miss Draft magazine now that they have been bought up by the publisher of All About Beer. Draft magazine was good in describing the new ingredients being used by the breweries to make new beers. I did see Draft magazine as a great travel magazine featuring exotic locales to drink for those taking a beer vacation. However, some of us don't have the time nor money to go out on the road to enjoy great food and great brews.
Beer yeast makes all the difference. I know this issue is old, but I have to note how valuable Brew Your Own's September 2013 issue is. It has a comprehensive guide to most of the beer yeasts. Some may not be available now. It does have an extensive list of White Labs and Wyeast Laboratories, Inc. yeasts. This list should still be on the web at (it may be more updated too):
Here's your "quick-and-dirty" guide to yeasts. Flocculation and attenuation are confusing enough, but if you read the charts you can get a rough idea of the yeast. Looking for a malty yeast: most will have an attenuation from 67-73. Want esters? Try yeasts with attenuation 71 and above. With esters you're going to have to go with an ale yeast as you aren't really concerned about esters with a lager yeast. Dry ale yeasts tend to be attenuating from 72 and above. If you have a attenuation lower than 72 then it is going to be sweeter. Check with the manufacturer's description to see how they describe it. Words like "complex" or "full bodied" may not make much sense until you try it yourself.
Concerned about flocculation, check out this helpful .pdf at: https://www.whitelabs.com/sites/default/files/Flocculation_help.pdf
It seems that a lot of the magazines are covering the alternative grains for brewing. As I've gone into attempts at brewing all corn batches these articles are useful to me.
ALES & ANALYSIS OF OTHER BREWS
Stan Hieronymus, in the May 2017 issue of All About Beer, presented an insightful look at the research by White Labs and a Belgian genetics laboratory regarding yeast. Teams had documented the DNA after considerable research. Now, I can see that the yeast tree shows Belgian and German yeasts are closely related and may actually be derived from each other. A private unavailable German house yeast used by a brewery might be closely related to a Belgian yeast that is available. My ability to get a closer clone to my favorite German wheat beer might become a reality.
Each month All About Beer also covers classic beer styles by Jeff Alworth. It is worth reading and it may teach you something about the style you never knew.
Brew Your Own's November 2017 issue covered lactose sugars that can be used in a variety of craft beers. I'm looking to produce a traditional milk stout and this in article will come in handy. I'm still curious how it compares to using real dairy milk as it was done back in 1910.
I'm looking at the early Porters. Zymurgy's Sept/Oct 2017 covered the beer style Baltic Porter which I'll add to my research.
INSPIRATIONS & CREATIVITY
People involved in brewing probably have inspired me and allowed me to create my next beer at the highest caliber. I have to give the greatest credit to the following individuals:
I know many of you have heard me discuss Fred Scheer in this blog, former brewmaster to the Frankenmuth Brewery. He was the first to bring out some beers I truly liked above the rest. With a book I discovered, the ingredients to his beers were opened up to me. His tastes were pretty close to mine at the time and now they are pretty simple to make. I can now produce a great copy of his Frankenmuth Oktoberfest and the Frankenmuth Dark (Schwartzbier in disguise).
Next, I give credit to the late Michael Jackson. He is author of several books in this area. While some said he was a beer critic, I felt he did a good job with classifying styles. He went in depth in describing the various styles in Ultimate Beer, a coffee table book which is my favorite to consult to this day. His contribution to the brewing field was discussed in All About Beer's September 2017 issue.
Randy Mosher is next in line because he showed me how to construct a variety of styles in his books. He has opened up the history of beer, giving clues to the older styles and how we might reproduce them again today.
Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, is another I admire in the beer industry. He is kind of on the cutting edge to what is hot right now. My wife and I sample their beers at a local brew pub, called Hopcat, with an extensive 100 beer list menu. Dogfish head now carries great tasting beer and wine blends that I'm following in hopes of putting out a few blends of my own.
Take time to do some reading of these fine brew magazines. When I'm not brewing I do read daily. Magazine reading has helped me to find tune my brewing skills. I now do open fermentation to get better esters for my wheat ales. I know now that I can ferment at lower than recommended yeast temperatures which works great for lagers with my mini-fridge. Zymurgy's Cold Fermentations magazine issue gave me insight into the Weihenstephan's method of lagering multi-step which is almost a copy of the historic Munich Bock method featured earlier in this online beer magazine/blog.
So, go ahead. Get me started on beer magazines. They are a key to making me a better homebrewer tomorrow. Thanks guys.