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Old 07-26-2013, 09:50 PM   #751
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I forgot/didnt know to give my first lager a dyactle rest turned out to be the best beer ever

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Old 08-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #752
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I forgot/didnt know to give my first lager a dyactle rest turned out to be the best beer ever
Me too, no diacytl rest and severely underpitched a Bavarian lager. It turned out great.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:49 PM   #753
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Me too, no diacytl rest and severely underpitched a Bavarian lager. It turned out great.
Do you guys ever worry that this thread makes people believe they can do things like underpitch a lager and expect it to be "great"?

There are a lot of good brewing habits, especially regarding sanitation and wort production, that are typically overvalued by newbies. As many here have pointed out, you can reach into your unfermented wort to grab a thermometer, and your beer will turn out fine. You can use the wrong hops, leave out an ingredient, or come in 15 points under gravity, and your beer will be fine.

But good fermentation habits are typically undervalued by newbies. It took me months to start pitching enough healthy yeast and doing temperature control, but when I did, my beers got good. Even when I forget ingredients, forget brewing salts, come in under gravity, run out of time and don't adequately cool so I have to leave the wort out overnight in the kettle before racking, all these things: the beer is always ok as long as the fermentation is healthy.

But when I don't have time to make a yeast starter and I pitch one or two vials of yeast straight from my LHBS's cooler, my beer is not fine. It finishes sweet, and the fermentation flavors are generally more muddy. When my fermentation cooler is full and I have to ferment an ale in my apartment at room temp, the fermenting temperature inevitably goes a few degrees too high, and the beer is not fine. It tastes hot, and the esters are never very good after a temperature spike.

I guess what I mean is -- let's be careful about assigning insignificance to the ferment. Please don't encourage the fledgling brewers in our midst to underpitch or ferment hot. We know from experience that unlike sanitation and wort production, small differences in the ferment can have huge impacts on the final beer. A healthy, temperature-controlled ferment is the difference between beer tasting like "beer", and tasting like "a good try". That's not just dogma or ideology: I've experienced it myself, and one commercial brewer after another stresses the ferment as the first place to focus for improved beer quality.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:13 AM   #754
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I believe the goal of this thread is to encourage more of a RDWHAHB mentality. Mainly because most new brewers are paranoid as heck that they screwed up. Most new brewers realize that their first batch is not going to be a Chimay or HT or pick your favorite craft brew. This thread is mainly to say that it will become beer, but you do not have to be an expert or a biological scientist in order to make it. If you look at the beginners forum you will see a plethora of "Did I ruin my beer?" posts as well as "Is it infected". This thread is to let the new brewers relax a little and learn as you go and not expect amazing beer right off, but not expect that you are going to be drinking 6 day dead roadkill juice filtered through used TP, but sometimes even us seasoned (I am speaking with a modest 3 years experience here) brewers screw up a step and still come up with something good. Heck, sometimes the best brews we make are the ones that are not recreate-able due to a trial and error, or just plain error. It is not like we are telling them to skip sanitation and not pay attention, just that it is not the be-all end-all if they goof, and some mistakes are not immediate dumpers.

Just my opinion though. Disagree as you will, but in my opinion some learn by positive reinforcement, some by negative, some by reading about it and some by doing.

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Old 08-02-2013, 01:16 AM   #755
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Sure, I remember being a newbie and wondering the same things, "Is it infected?" "Did I ruin my beer?" Of course the answer to both is almost always "no".

One of the first beers I ever made, I added some sugar during the ferment. I was so worried about sanitation that after boiling the sugar, I only let it cool for 5 minutes or so before adding it to my fermenter!

The temperature of the beer went up to the high 80's for about 12 hours, and needless to say, it had some off-flavors. It was WLP001, but most people who were trying to be nice said it had some "spicy" or "Belgian" flavors. I entered it in a competition for feedback, and the judges unanimously told me it had too strong of an ester / sulphur profile.

I was so worried about sanitation, but I should have been worried about the fermentation temperature. The best method was of course to boil the sugar, let it completely cool, then add it. But given a choice between the two extremes, I would have been better off just adding the sugar straight to the fermenter without ever sanitizing it.

I wish somebody had told me how important the ferment was, and how unimportant, at least in comparison, sanitation is.

But even that beer wasn't ruined. We finished all 5 gallons after all! So, I think I understand the spirit of this thread.

But don't we serve our new brewers best not by telling them RDWHAHB (Papazian's indelible hippy mark on our hobby), but by telling them what does matter, alongside telling them what doesn't really matter?

Every new brewer wants to make a good beer; that's why they worry. But given that making good beer is the goal, isn't knowing what actually matters for making a good beer the most relaxing thing of all?

Here's an example from cooking: If you watch Good Eats but you've never cooked before, you might think that making breakfast is horrendously complicated. Alton Brown gives recommendations for equipment, ingredients, temperature, seasoning, and on and on. But the only thing that really matters is watching your bacon cook, and taking it off the heat when it looks done.

If you were going to help a newbie in the kitchen relax, this is probably what you'd tell them, "Just watch your food and stop cooking it when it looks edible." That's relaxing advice. But if you told them not to worry about anything, (Relax, Don't Worry, Drink Some OJ), then when their bacon turns out a little well done (edible but not great), they have a giant list of recommendations to try, each with supposedly equal importance. To me, that's anxiety-inducing.

It's obvious not to burn your food because we've all cooked before, but it's not obvious to new brewers that the ferment is more important than wort production. I heard the standard advice to chill out when I was new, but it really just made things worse. I was making beer that was drinkable but not great, and I wanted to make it better. But there was that huge list of techniques and ingredients rolling around in my head, each equal contenders for the cause of my beer's crappiness.

If someone had told me, "Relax, Don't Worry, Do Temperature Control", then I could have actually relaxed, because I would have known one simple thing I could do differently next time.

Maybe the slogans should be this, RDWDCT and RDWMAS (Relax, Don't Worry, Make a Starter".

I think we're right to tell new brewers not to worry, but unless we tell them what to do instead of worrying, we're not doing them any favors.

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Old 08-02-2013, 12:06 PM   #756
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Do you guys ever worry that this thread makes people believe they can do things like underpitch a lager and expect it to be "great"?
No, I think its very clear from the thread title.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:22 PM   #757
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No, I think its very clear from the thread title.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #758
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Some people spend their work day dealing with situations where a ten-thousandth of an inch makes the difference between pass and fail or in a world of black and white that doesn't allow for shades of grey.

For me, the joy of brewing is that I can afford to just roll with it. The worst that will happen is I'll waste some time and a few dollars.

My day job satisfies my need for slavish devotion to accuracy and adherence to the rules. Brewing is one of my releases from that.

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Old 08-03-2013, 04:57 PM   #759
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I spent the entire brew day sanitizing my equipment in water that I forgot to add starsan to. Beer tastes great. I brewed the exact same IPA a couple weeks later with sanitized equipment and I can't tell the difference between the two.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #760
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I spent the entire brew day sanitizing my equipment in water that I forgot to add starsan to. Beer tastes great. I brewed the exact same IPA a couple weeks later with sanitized equipment and I can't tell the difference between the two.
This is excellent
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