"For the love of god ... !" - Homebrew platitudes that grind your gears

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monkeymath

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I have a severe distaste for platitudes and there are a few in the realm of homebrewing that just trigger me every time I read/hear them. I can't be the only one with this weird OCD-esque condition, so please share the worst platitudes that just always make your day a little bit worse.
Criteria:
- it should be a platitude, not a myth or simply bad/outdated advice (like "racking to secondary" or "avoiding hot-side aeration", which actually works either way for most people),
- it should be repeated every now and then, not some obscure statement you found in a homebrew book from the 1960s that nobody bought,
- it should be oversimplified, trivial and/or plain wrong (and don't forget to explain why, please).

I'll start:
"Brewers make wort, yeast makes beer"
This phrase is often uttered to underline the importance of yeast health/quantity/whatever in beer production. It seems like it's impossible to write even five lines on fermentation of beer without repeating this platitude.
I hate it because it uses the word "to make" in a very strange way: in the natural usage, since the brewer pitches the yeast as part of the production process - with the exception of spontaneously fermented beers such as lambic -, she is absolutely making the beer. She's simply employing the yeast to make beer. Otherwise, the brewer wouldn't even be making the wort, because the enzymes are the ones "making" it. Linguistics aside, if we accept that the final product achieved by the brewer is just wort (with yeast inside) and we take that as the content of the phrase, then it doesn't have any implication whatsoever. You might as well say "Bakers make dough, the oven makes bread". Duh!

"Beer consists mostly of water, so brewers need to know water chemistry"
Whenever anyone writes anything on brewing water chemistry, this is the starting point and motivation: "beer consists mostly of water" or "water is the primary ingredient of beer" and therefore it's super important. Obvious, right?
Yes, beer is mostly H2O, but it's not actually the H2O that we care about - that molecule happens to be pretty much the same every damn time. What we do care about are the minerals and ions contained in the "water". And these minerals and ions are pretty damn scarce, to the point where they are actually the ingredients used in the smallest amounts in the beer production. So by the "significance follows quantity" logic presented by the phrase, those minerals and ions should be the least important.
 

BrewerBrad82

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Troll spray.jpg
 
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@monkeymath - If we ignore the clowns do they really exist?

I'll start
I'll contribute.

... graduating to all-grain
It's a hobby. No ceremonies, no participation awards, no certificates of accomplishment.

... [xyzzy] is a rabbit hole
Stop web searching. Buy quality content.

... found some old LME
Call your local hazardous materials disposal team.

... homebrew journey
FFS: 1) it's a hobby, 2) hobbies are supposed to be expensive, and
...​
... wait for it​
...​
3) get off my lawn.​
 
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let's see if we can merge the "side topic" back into the main topic ...

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"Thank you Mr Spray Can Guy for spraying for those nasty annoying unwanted trolls.

We'll be back to tomorrow with ideas on annoying platitudes".
 

Erik the Anglophile

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On a serious note though, the notion that is starting to form that fancy equipment makes you a better brewer is mildly infuriating.
I remember that guy who bought a top of the line all in one system and shiny conicals, keg system etc to prepare for his FIRST batch, posted a few posts and havent seen him since...
 

zasada

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In Poland, the saying "a brewery is not a pharmacy" appeared long ago in order to indicate that a few dozen grams of malt or a few grams of hops one way or the other will not change the finished beer too much. Meanwhile, many beginner brewers see it as an incentive to treat hygiene in the brewery rather lightly.
 
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McMullan

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I'd like to see anyone try to make beer without yeast and water. It can't be done. Fact 😃

A college linguistics club was getting drunk at a bar.

You know they'll be getting into semantics tonight.


Or,

Every minute arguing semantics on the internet is exactly 43.56 seconds wasted.
 
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If your tap water tastes good, it will make good beer.

While it works for many (who know the mineral content of their water), it seems to fail spectacularly for new brewers (who skipped 'water chemistry' because, after skimming 264,385 articles, it's a 'rabbit hole').

Excess alkalinity + high Na + stale LME is likely to be an excellent starting point for achieving those twangy extract flavors.
 
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SFC Rudy

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@monkeymath - If we ignore the clowns do they really exist?


I'll contribute.

... graduating to all-grain
It's a hobby. No ceremonies, no participation awards, no certificates of accomplishment.

... [xyzzy] is a rabbit hole
Stop web searching. Buy quality content.

... found some old LME
Call your local hazardous materials disposal team.

... homebrew journey
FFS: 1) it's a hobby, 2) hobbies are supposed to be expensive, and
...​
... wait for it​
...​
3) get off my lawn.​
No, get off MY lawn!!!!!!
 

hottpeper13

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Floculation and sedimentation are not the same. when someone says Kveik yeast,it's like saying the Sahara desert. Ya'll know , yeast yeast and desert desert! Get with it people.
 

BrewerBrad82

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Ok, Ill engage.

"Brewers make wort, yeast makes beer"
It's a tongue-in-cheek phrase. Take it for what it's worth, the level of over-analysis here is absurd.

"Beer consists mostly of water, so brewers need to know water chemistry"
Water chemistry is not important because the physical amounts of ions is small. Got it!

*insert agressive facepalm here*
 
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Can't argue against Humungus...
Agreed.

Although ...

... one could ...

... offer an alternative view of water.

Let's go there!



Think of water in terms of initial quality and adjustments at each stage of the brewing process.
  1. What do I need to do get have a source of quality water? Do I need to make adjustments (chloride, ...)? Should I be aware of seasonal variation?
  2. What adjustments do I need to make for a proper mash?
  3. What adjustments can I make to enhance flavor?
  4. What adjustments could I make for a healthy fermentation?
No doubt that there was a lot of chemistry, experimentation, thought, and discussion needed to get here. But were here. And water adjustments are not the 'rabbit hole' that people encounter when thinking about 'water chemistry'.

(tagging @BrewerBrad82 )
 
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Kveik yeast,it's like saying the Sahara desert. Ya'll know , yeast yeast and desert desert!
This point needs to be re-inforced.

And it's not just with yeast.



"extract beers come out darker than expected", under examination, became
  • "LME beers come out darker than expected" then
  • "stale LME beers come out darker than expected".
And along the way there was discussion on how to avoid scorching the wort (make a slurry) and evaluating the initial quality of the LME.

Looking forward, there are some recent anecdotal stories where people are able to order fresh LME, brew with it quickly, and get satisfying results.



"can't make brewing salt adjustments with extract", under examination, resulted in people making flavor salt adjustments based on the brand of DME (or LME) being used.
 
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monkeymath

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I'm honestly surprised people accuse me of "trolling" here, yet no one cares to explain how the views I put forth are incorrect. Some others appear to think I intended to say in any way that yeast health or water chemistry were not pivotal topics in homebrewing, whereas I said no such thing.

Now, English is not my native language, but I think I made it pretty clear that I am merely rebutting those phrases because the reasoning inherent to them is flawed; not that I am debating the fact that they get at. Water chemistry is important, but not because there's a lot of H2O in beer. The quantity of the things you care about in water chemistry - minerals and ions in brewing liquor - is in fact tiny compared to the quantities of malts and hops. Generally, importance has nothing to do with the quantity used; yeast is arguably the most important ingredient, and you don't need a whole lot of it.

My post was also not intended as a "rant". I'd just enjoy it if people writing about brewing stopped to think for themselves for a second instead of repeating the same flawed platitudes over and over again..
 

Lagerhead1

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I'm honestly surprised people accuse me of "trolling" here, yet no one cares to explain how the views I put forth are incorrect. Some others appear to think I intended to say in any way that yeast health or water chemistry were not pivotal topics in homebrewing, whereas I said no such thing.

Now, English is not my native language, but I think I made it pretty clear that I am merely rebutting those phrases because the reasoning inherent to them is flawed; not that I am debating the fact that they get at. Water chemistry is important, but not because there's a lot of H2O in beer. The quantity of the things you care about in water chemistry - minerals and ions in brewing liquor - is in fact tiny compared to the quantities of malts and hops. Generally, importance has nothing to do with the quantity used; yeast is arguably the most important ingredient, and you don't need a whole lot of it.

My post was also not intended as a "rant". I'd just enjoy it if people writing about brewing stopped to think for themselves for a second instead of repeating the same flawed platitudes over and over again..
It’s not that I think your comments are incorrect monkeymath, it's just too high-brow for me.

As Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer say: "We drink before we think".
 

geezerpk

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On a serious note though, the notion that is starting to form that fancy equipment makes you a better brewer is mildly infuriating.
I remember that guy who bought a top of the line all in one system and shiny conicals, keg system etc to prepare for his FIRST batch, posted a few posts and havent seen him since...
Agreed to a point, but this ain't open heart surgery either. I always thought sanitizing bottlecaps was an overreach.
 
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