Let me give you some examples of postmodernism. Postmodernism is more of a viewpoint and less of a method. The picture above looks like it could be my take on postmodern art. Partly out of focus the image is given an ethereal, almost heavenly feel to it. A bottle of Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock beer, a can of A&W Cream Soda and a can of Planters Cocktail Peanuts are things I might eat or drink. I do have to say that Bell's version of bock is really good! However, if you look at the picture it appears that the capped bottle is half full. An observer might guess that I've recapped a bottle of bock beer to try to keep the carbonation in. However, a fellow homebrewer might guess that I ran out of beer and this was the last bottle I filled. It is good advice to not cap a bottle of beer unless you fill it to about an inch from the top. It might result in too little or too much pressure in the bottle if you did otherwise.
Let me get to my point. An outside observer, say my visiting neighbor, doesn't really know what is in the bottle. The truth is hidden from him. He can't know what is really in the bottle unless I tell him. Other than that, he has to assume what it is by going with the label. So, he has no real facts about his observations. If I've been a smart ass he may not believe I'm telling him the truth about what is in there. He is to take in what I say based on whether he finds me a reliable friend. If he had time, he would have to investigate it further himself.
I've covered a lot of postmodern thought with that last paragraph. The outside observer has to investigate or analyze the bottle further to determine what is in there. At the moment there are little facts, he does have some observations. If I tell him in a joking manner he may not take me seriously. If he takes me seriously, he has to go on my information and believes me because he feels he knows me. How many of you would drink some strange liquid from a bottle with only a complete stranger telling you it was safe?
In truth, it's an old bottle I've used for homebrewing. I filled it just over halfway with water and recapped it. I threw it on the counter with those other items that were already there before the photo was taken.
As a Postmodern, I understand that the Germans have their own definition about who can create an Oktoberfest beer. It is strictly their definition but I don't have to agree. They have their German Reinheitsgebot rules to contend with. Researching the Paulaner Wiesn seems like the clues are full of lies. Germans, in social media, have told me that the beer is a lager and not an ale as indicated on the bottle. Even though I thought their website indicated darker Munich malts other German citizens have indicated it could be light Munich malts in the recipe. According to the German rules, an ale could be another clue to figuring out my beer clone. Ale is defined as allowing only extra sugar can be added.
The reader decides what an author's work means and the experimenter tends to interpret or influence what others may think of the truth. To me truth doesn't just come from scientific data. Truth can come from beliefs or opinions contrary to orthodox ideas.
My Postmodern Points are listed below. I numbered them for easier reference:
1. Every beer author and critic is important to me. Each work of ideas by an author is an important contributor to my homebrewing knowledge. I try to consider everything and am not closed minded about the process. It's fine that homebrewing bloggers want to experiment to find truth, but it doesn't surpass every idea out there by another beer author. I appreciate reading beer experiments but the statistics shows us there is room for error. More testing must be done to find out the truth. The results may not be right for all cases. I was a lab tech and realize data can be all over the place. I made many tests and trials to find out the truth. One experiment doesn't always establish truth. Be open to many different ideas. Any critical ideas floating around are also important. Take for example: the change to tax pensions in the state of Michigan has made some of the members in my family question whether it is worth living in this state. Some of my family now also question their party loyalty. I think Republicans are out of touch with their own members. Writers or speakers critical of other changes are important. If it wasn't for critics politics would be bringing changes to our way of life that would be a pain to us all.
2. There is no objective beer knowledge out there and there could be a lot of errors in the reporting of data. Many homebrewers may discuss supposed facts of brewing, but it is in many cases, which may really be just the opinions or observations of another that has been passed on to them. They may not have tested it themselves. I remember following some pie recipe from a regional Michigan travel magazine. My pie turned into soup. I duplicated the recipe in every detail found in the article and it turned into a big flop. I'm still wondering to this day if it had something to do with pressure as they may have cooked it in the hills. Or, even the article could have had typos. The pie recipe was crap! Find what works for you.
3. There are no brewing facts, but a lot of half truths. Some brewers have reported that if you mash in the upper 170's F. in temperature you'll get a more alcoholic batch, whereas some experimenting brewers say there is no noticeable effect. Randy Mosher, in his book Radical Brewing, says you need to get 3 quarts of brew water per pound of grain 145 F for 2 hours at a specific pH range to get a more alcoholic batch. This sounds like there could be a lot of half truths here - not everybody is right. I will have to investigate it for myself. Half truths come from people not getting their facts straight. A logic class taught me about how the media can lie with math by using a favorable sample set: "4 out of 5 dentists recommend..." Supposed reported facts by others are only to be considered for further investigation. Even science reports theories of what is not known and, in many cases, people run with it like it is the truth.
4. I tend to not go with doctrines, or dominant ideologies that try to maintain some status quo. If someone tells me, "we all follow the Braukaiser method", I may be hesitant in adopting what method everyone else is using. I went through the spreadsheet for that method to find a lot of mystery numbers and ended up contacting the author. I didn't jump on that band wagon. Don't jump with trends or what the majority is doing. Don't always conform. Be yourself. Consider reported facts as things to consider and investigate it for yourself. I learned that the Lutheran faith is simply a movement caused by a single man's beliefs: Martin Luther. Now, I no longer attend the church.
5. I use the Wiehenstephan method of brewing currently. Pick a reliable authority for the moment. You may find something better later on. This Wiehenstephan method was outlined in the article "Lager Brewing the German Way" from the November/December 2011 Zymurgy magazine. Dan Gordon, the author, had studied at the Technical University at Munich and ended up with a Weihenstephan brewing degree. Much of the method is outlined in the pages of the article. I feel it is reliable and an authority in my homebrewing. Find methods, procedures or someone you can trust for the present time.
6. There is really no one cause of anything in homebrewing. There could be hundreds of things contributing to your resulting brew. Infinite combinations of factors could be changed as you search for your favorite beer clone. Temperature of fermentation and amount of yeast may effect the taste. Face it, you may never get your beer clone right. Your brew water is important too, not just the pH, but every mineral quantity may effect the taste of your beer. Some homebrewers just track their pH whereas I'm tracking my minerals. Everything could be a contributing cause to a different taste next time. There are a lot of variables that affect experiments. You might have different pressure if you live in Colorado and so boiling might be different there compared to someone brewing at sea level. What if there was some strange factor that made your experiment come out differently? Think about everything that might be influencing your brewing. My mathematical modeling class taught me that. Brainstorm to try to find every cause out there. Keep records of what you put in your batch of beer and how it tasted afterwards. Look at the big picture. Economists think they can create jobs by just adjusting interest rates. There are multiple things that create jobs, but many of those economists seem to focus or announce that interest rates are the major cause of job growth.
7. All author's books, stories, reports, blogs or findings have bias. I am meaning that many statements are unfair in their report. That includes this blog you are reading. It is really rare that someone could tell you a story without a slant to it. If your gut is telling you something else pay attention to those feelings. Even our own FDA has a bias toward allopathic medicine and tends to only favor that viewpoint. Why don't they give us medical alternatives other than the pharmaceutical drugs?
As a postmodern homebrewer, I ask questions.
Modernist's scientific theory has failed us. It can't make us really happy and has not solved the world's problems. Parts of science needs to be discarded. The scientific model did not help in getting women their equal rights. Think about it! It can't take care of all the world's problems.
Listen to someone's political, economic or religious ideology sometime. Are they preaching or trying to convince you that their ideology is the way to go?
I question and critically analyze everything. I am skeptical. You can plainly see it in this blog entry.
Any message can be a ploy or marketing scheme to manipulate opinion. I'm always a little leery of cultural, religious, political and economic institutions or their people that issue statements. It is really hard to tell if someone is telling us the truth. However, we can usually tell if someone is being useful to us. Someone can be covering something up with their message. They can be using their social, historical or political position to maintain some power over others. Look at why something may appear to be irrational. If you look carefully, you might find out what's wrong with it.
Enough of brewing about the world's ills. Postmodernism - that's how we evaluate a good beer and people's messages too. When someone serves you a beer or tells you something ask yourself what's wrong with it? Be a pessimist once in awhile. Be critical and honest. Look at the other side of the coin. Consider the opposite case as possibly being true. If the kettle is black don't try to pretend it isn't - there's a good chance you didn't wash it after your last homebrewing!
I got a lot of excellent information from the following 4 books on Postmodernism. Check these books out as they are great at getting you up to speed with this view:
Teach yourself Postmodernism by Glenn Ward
the Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, Third Edition by James W. Sire
Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler
Introducing Postmodernism by Richard Appignanesi, Ziauddin Sardar and Patrick Curry
My Last Beer Was Brewed Very Well: The Dampfbier is now gone, but I may try making that one again. I had tried a local Hefeweizen beer at a new brewery with my wife. I could honestly say, my Dampfbier was better tasting than the Hefeweizen! I haven't been able to say that to often about my beers. The quality has definitely picked up. Dampfbier tastes very similar to the Hefeweizen, but it is minus the wheat grains. It is all barley.
My New Batches Coming to the Stove: I am going to try 2 future tests - call it a Mosher experiment where I use 1 pound of grain with 3 quarts of water and another pount with 1 quart of water. I will split a packet of the same dry yeast into 2 separate growlers for fermentation. These 2 small batches should help me to test his claim of what leads to a more alcoholic batch. My alcoholic batch will be between 5.2 and 5.5 pH while the other will be a lot more alkaline from the addition of bicarbonates or carbonates to the brew water.
My Cranberry Wheat Gruit Tasting: I should have known that with a 5 gallon recipe going into a 1 gallon batch that the herbs were going to taste too strong. It was too medicine-like or earthy in taste. It overpowered the cranberry also. If I do this again I will keep the presence of the herbs way down. My wife noted that it was also too sour. My bet was the wild rosemary was giving it the sour taste. It gives you drunkenness unlike regular beer. 4 herbs make it a little tricky to balance out. I don't know if I have the patience to get the recipe right. I may leave this one up to the professionals at Mountain Town Brewing Company, from Mount Pleasant Michigan, that creates their great tasting Sacred Gruit Ale.
Well, it's been great writing. The research helped me to become a better brewer too. I wish all my readers: may good beer be the results of your homebrewing. Thanks again, for being my reader. I'm retiring this blog. I will continue to brew great tasting homebrewed beer.
Coming soon are some of my cloning beer notes. I will publish sporadically as I've got some other issues on my plate at the moment. These notes may be of interest to those trying to clone their favorite beer. I won't be writing articles any longer for this but will leave it out there in cyberspace for others to see. My beer notes will be coming in outline form. You will continue to get my results of some of the experiments I'm conducting without the commentary. Just some good beer notes for my best beer fans. Goodbye.