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  1. Gavagai

    Low Efficiency & High Attenuation

    Since going all-grain, I've been consistently seeing very low efficiency (sub 70% with a single batch sparge), and very high attenuation (85%+ AA in all malt worts with a 60 minute 150-153F saccarification rest). I've tried crushing finer and finer, even going below a 0.020" mill gap. I'm...
  2. Gavagai

    Mineral Taste in Dark Beers

    I've noticed that some dark beers, such as Black Butte Porter, have a pronounced flinty, mineral finish. Anyone know what causes this?
  3. Gavagai

    Hydrometer Correction

    I tested my hydrometer in distilled water at ~65F (hydrometer is calibrated at 68F). It read 1.003, so I've been adjusting my hydrometer readings accordingly. But the corrected readings just don't seem right. I've got an all malt pale ale (single infusion @ 152) fermented with US05 that's...
  4. Gavagai

    GH/KH Puzzle

    According to my water department, my water profile is as follows: Calcium: 3 mg/l Magnesium: 0.6 mg/l Sodium: 4 mg/l Chloride: 5 mg/l Sulfate: 9 mg/l Alkalinity (as bicarbonate): 3 mg/l These numbers have predicted my mash pH pretty well with Kai's water calculator. However, I just...
  5. Gavagai

    Plastic/Chemical Aroma After Bottling

    I had a very nice robust porter that I bottled last month. It tasted great before I bottled it. However, it now exhibits a nasty plastic aroma, at a consistent level in all the bottles. I can only guess that it picked up an infection in the racking tube or bottling bucket, but it doesn't show...
  6. Gavagai

    Cider Pitching Rate

    I've heard from multiple sources that long slow fermentations produce the highest quality ciders (see, e.g., and In my limited cider making experience (3 batches), I have found this to be the case...
  7. Gavagai

    Asphalt Aroma in Sour Beer

    I seem to be oversensitive to a particular aromatic compound that sometimes appears in sour beers. I haven't smelled it in any of the sours that I've made, but have in several well-regarded commercial beers. I can only describe the aroma as freshly laid asphalt, and when I've encountered it, it...
  8. Gavagai

    Anyone Ever Make Soy Sauce?

    Or any other fermented sauce, for that matter? Seems like it would be fun to try, but there's very little information out there. I know the basic process (Harold McGee's book has some information), but I'd like hear from someone who's actually tried their hand at it. I'd also like to know of a...
  9. Gavagai

    Bitterness & Conventional Wisdom

    There are a couple of pieces of conventional wisdom regarding bitterness that I've begun to question. Wondering if you guys agree. 1. 'Balancing' bitterness with malt. While it's certainly true that sweet flavors tend to balance out bitter ones, I don't think that's the whole story with beer...
  10. Gavagai

    Hop-stand Additions

    As far as I can see, there are three reasonable strategies for adding hops during a hop stand. 1. Standard method: add hops at flame out, perform hop stand, then chill. 2. Chill wort to a certain temperature (e.g., 180), add hops, perform hop stand, finish chilling. The idea here is to...
  11. Gavagai

    Are there any hops you actually dislike?

    After brewing enough hoppy beers, most of us come to form opinions about certain hop varieties. Based on conversations with brewers online and in real life, I've noticed that Simcoe and Chinook are especially polarizing. Ironically, it can be difficult to find a well-regarded commercial IPA that...
  12. Gavagai

    Malting process

    I'm interested in the ways that various malts are produced. Here is what I've gathered so far. Anything wrong here? And how the heck do they make melanoidin malt? Info on Weyermann malts like Carafa would also be helpful.
  13. Gavagai

    Attenuation and Environment

    I've recently moved from Massachusetts to Seattle, and have noticed that brewing here, my beers (I've fermented 5 here so far) have been taking longer to ferment and finishing sweeter—5%–10% higher apparent attenuation. I haven't been using more specialty grains or pitching at a...
  14. Gavagai

    DMS and Extract

    I just bottled an extract pale ale (with half a pound of crystal malt) and it has a very strong DMS taste. I'm quite confident that this is what the flavor is, as it's something I often taste in pale lagers, but never elsewhere, and has a cooked vegetable type flavor. The flavor is much stronger...
  15. Gavagai

    Steeping Grains: Wort vs. Water

    Though there has been discussion on volumes of steeping water, I haven't seen anything on the practice of adding malt extract to your steeping water, thus steeping your grains in wort. I believe that the reasoning behind this is the same as steeping in low volumes of water: to make sure the...
  16. Gavagai

    Campden Tablets and Sulfites

    Does the use of campden tablets to dechlorinate water (1 tablet per 20 gallons) result in a significant increase in the concentration of sulfites in the final product? My father has severe asthma and reacts to sulfites. He can't drink wine of any kind, and some beers also give him asthma (mainly...