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Old 11-30-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
Schalk79
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Mar 2010
Cape Town
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We are running an electric brew kettle - converted keg with a 3kW hot water cylinder (Kwikot geyser element) heater.

This weekend at a beer festival a much more experienced brewer commented that all our beers have a smoky taste / flavour and he thinks it has to do with the elements scorching the wort.

He says he also picks it up in the beers of one of our local brewers who recently went commercial.

So my questions are:

What is the maximum Watt / Square inch output to use in an electric brew kettle?

What is the recommended Watt / Square inch config?

If we decide to stick with the setup as we have it now, which types of beer should we avoid brewing, i.e. what will be the least affected by the element?

Thanks
Schalk

 
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
Lost
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The question is, do you detect a smokey flavor? I have never experienced scorching even using hwd elements to boil a very light cream ale.

Maybe it was his imagination.

Seriously though, if you are concerned about it then switch to a lwd or ulwd element.

 
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:33 PM   #3
iijakii
 
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Did he know you used the element before he tasted them? If so, I think he was imagining it most likely.

I'd do some blind tests with various friends and stuff. Maybe pour two of the same beer. Have them try the first one, ask for their thoughts. Then say you have a different beer and that you're picking up a burnt flavor, see if they catch it. If so, might be just imagination when they're actively looking for it.

 
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:43 PM   #4
Schalk79
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Mar 2010
Cape Town
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Think I will try the blind tasting...

The beer he commented on had a LOAD of hops in and I think it may have been due to all the hop matter in the kettle.
I have never really picked up a smokey note before....

Guess We will make a fairly light beer next and see if we pick up any smokey / cigarette flavours...

 
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
hrafnkell
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Iceland
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I've had scorching issues with 4000w hwd elements. The beer was straight up burnt, tasting like burnt porridge. I have a camco 5500w ulwd element now and haven't been able to detect any scorching flavors.

 
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:49 PM   #6
stamandster
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I can't comment on the scorching issue... but I do know that my palate changes when I'm outside and it's cold out. For instance, for me at least, coffee starts tasting slightly disgusting. So it's possible he's picking up different things because of the environment he's tasting it in.

 
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:50 AM   #7
Schalk79
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Mar 2010
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@stamandster That sounds like a very valid point...

 
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:58 PM   #8
Lost
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stamandster
I can't comment on the scorching issue... but I do know that my palate changes when I'm outside and it's cold out. For instance, for me at least, coffee starts tasting slightly disgusting. So it's possible he's picking up different things because of the environment he's tasting it in.
Interesting. I would add that I look forward to winter for the cool crisp air with that smokey note from everyone's fireplace.

My point is that perhaps he was tasting what he was smelling. Taste and smell are inextricably linked.

 
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
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for what it's worth: scorched/burnt wort does not have a flavor I would classify as "smokey" at all. It just tastes burnt. Like blackened marshmallows.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:56 PM   #10
gunner65
 
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FWIW the so called "expert" may not know anymore than you. He also may very well be an ass who has equipment envy.
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