Member Bios - tell us about yourself

General beer discussion, beer talk, pictures, etc...

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Bilsch
Assistant Brewer
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby Bilsch » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:15 am

dilluh98 wrote: I'm a chemistry professor by trade and this forum appeals to my scientist side of inquiry, testing and sharing of information.

Tony.. welcome!
You are going to fit in here like the proverbial round peg.
Everyone here is very helpful so ask all the questions you like, and we will try to bring you up to speed.
dilluh98
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby dilluh98 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:08 am

Bryan R wrote:Cool, welcome! What place is that by chance?


Well, there are technically two good places in Austin for lager, IMO, but one seems to be slipping in their quality control of late so I'll only mention the one that I think is well above everyone else: Austin Beer Garden Brewery (ABGB). They took gold for their German pils and bronze for their helles this year at the GABF. I know that there really aren't many US breweries capturing the lingering malt flavor with their lagers so perhaps these accolades don't mean much. But really, I was most wowed by their pre-prohibition style pilsner - just wonderful stuff (I think this also took a gold one year at GABF and bronze at World Beer Cup, again, for whatever that's worth). I did get a chance to talk with the head brewer at ABGB and he kept saying, "it's all about keeping the damn oxygen out," whenever I'd bring up the flavor in their lagers. To what extent, I couldn't pull out of him.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby Techbrau » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:15 am

I was told the same thing (about keeping oxygen away) by multiple pro brewers in Germany. "To what extent" is the trick. A lot of people think they're doing enough, but in reality they're not.

From what I can tell, if you don't have an active scavenger like sulfite or ascorbic acid, total ingress over time exceeding 1-2 mg oxygen per liter of wort on the hot side seems to be enough to push you past the point of no return. On the cold side post-ferment, the threshold you don't want to cross seems to be about 100 ppb.

You have to go to pretty extreme measures to keep the total ingress that low. For a macro-sized commercial outfit, this is just an engineering problem for which many time-tested solutions already exist.

Achieving the same standard in a home or craft brewing system is far more difficult because our wort surface area to volume ratios can be orders of magnitude larger than those seen in a macro brewhouse, meaning that oxygen ingress correspondingly happens orders of magnitude faster for us. Not to mention we lack all of the specialized equipment that a macro house is using specifically to prevent oxygen ingress, like nitrogen flushed closed milling systems, water degassing towers, closed vormaischers, etc.

For a homebrew system, preboiling all of the water + SMB + gentle handling seems to be "enough". Leave out one of those (e.g. not preboiling, forgetting to add SMB or adding it too late, or splashing a little too much) and you're toast. On the cold side, spunding to carbonate in your final packaging vessel seems to be "enough". Move the beer to another vessel after that, or hook it up to a leaky gas line or impure CO2 source and you're also toast.

This isn't to say that different, better solutions currently unknown to us don't exist. The set of low oxygen brewing techniques (LoDO) we've been advocating is simply one solution that actually does work and gives repeatable results. As far as I know, it's currently the only "method" that has been shown to work at small scale. But maybe we'll discover new ideas on this forum that would allow us to brew a different way but still get the same end result.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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mchrispen
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby mchrispen » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:49 am

Glad to hear Amos, Swifty and Kim (The ABGB) brewers getting some love. They make awesome beers - Hell Yes, Industry (Pils), and Rocket 100 (PrePro American lager with 20% corn) are all award winning. I am pretty good friends with them, and have sat through a couple of brew days. They are making more and more adjustments - and I have discussed the LoDO paper in depth with Amos a few times. They are huge Kunze fans. They finish ferments under spunden, use a massive unitank for biological lactic, etc. It's a great brewpub and my "office" when working on blog articles.

Another note worthy brewery here is Live Oak Brewery, and Swifty helped establish Live Oak nearly 20 years ago... then went onto open Uncle Billy's and finally The ABGB. Live Oak continues a more German tradition - and decocts both their Pils and Hefeweisen, which are available now in cans (their old bottles were good, but the cans are great). I am headed there today for the AHA Rally. Live Oak's Oaktoberfest was stunning, and they do a few swartzbiers and more that are usually really good.
dilluh98
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby dilluh98 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:36 pm

Live Oak Brewery was the other one - I've just had quite a bit of hit or miss with their canned product lately as well as a draft of their pils at a bar that usually turns things over quite fast. Their pils (a Czech one I believe?), at the brewery, is still one of my favorite beers in town.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby Techbrau » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:24 pm

mchrispen wrote:I am pretty good friends with them, and have sat through a couple of brew days. They are making more and more adjustments - and I have discussed the LoDO paper in depth with Amos a few times. They are huge Kunze fans.


Just out of curiosity, have any of their system adjustments been inspired by our paper? It sounds like they already know what they're doing, but it would make me really happy to find out that our work has been helping American microbrewers. For me personally, that was just as big of a motivating factor as helping homebrewers when originally writing the paper.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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mchrispen
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby mchrispen » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:56 pm

They were doing these things before the paper came out. They don't use any sulfites or antioxidants. Amos, in particular, was helpful in helping to diagnose that strange astringency I was getting as possibly too much O2, triggering my purchase of the DO meter. They really brew American styled beers with a German philosophy. AND they really love what they do. Amos's reaction to SMB use wasn't positive, but understood the need at home-brew scale. They have tasted several of my Lodo beers - and more than once were impressed. Feels good when they ask for a growler.

I know Lupulin (Ric) here feels that Live Oak are the better brewery of the two. At least I know that Chip really has a more pure German brewing philosophy - even uses the Budvar malt (private contract). I haven't had a full tour of the new brewery (they opened earlier this year) so not clear on their total process. The old system was a difficult mess, the new one is German sourced. The canning line is relatively new to them and there have been a few QA issues - but I think (and one of their brewers there confirms) they feel the process has smoothed out - things should only get better. Live Oak is a package brewery with a tap room - so no growlers. Thanks Texas law.

If it means anything, I am consulting (business planning, water chem, recipes) with two new breweries (one in Kansas and one in Florida) and have pointed out the paper. I know one changed his brewery selection for a more robust German 4 kettle model. Once they are online and brewing - will know better how they are applying these concepts. Just maybe, I can open a brewpub in the next year or two. I am just debt adverse...
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby Techbrau » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:11 pm

Brewpub systems are difficult to do low oxygen for the same reasons as homebrewing - Kunze even says in his chapter on brewpubs that it's so hard to keep the oxygen away at small scale that you shouldn't even bother trying, and instead make your vessels open so that customers can look inside them and admire them.

I think we're demonstrating that it is possible to brew low oxygen at home, and from my understanding there are a few newer systems out there that are capable of low oxygen brewing, perhaps even without a hot side antioxidant. Salm is a manufacturer out of Austria that I would look into if I were to start a brewpub. I've heard from multiple people who visited brewpubs that used Salm systems that their beers indeed had the unique low oxygen malt flavor.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
TheHairyHop
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby TheHairyHop » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:14 pm

It is good to hear that there are quality breweries in Austin looking out for DO. I will have to start a travel thread shortly, as I am going to Austin this Saturday
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Member Bios - tell us about yourself

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:09 pm

Greetings, all!
My name is John. I live south of Boston.

I started homebrewing back in the early nineties. I was becoming a beer geek while in college (the craft brewing revolution was really beginning to gain some traction back then), and one summer my brother and I found some of our grandfather’s old winemaking equipment (just a few carboys, some bottles, a corker, and the classic thin purple cover home winemaking book). So we spent the summer making mostly fruit wines (most of them terrible) and a few (terrible) attempts at mead. We were fermenting everything we could get our hands on, when one day my brother bought a pale ale extract kit from a homebrew store (wait, there is such a thing as homebrew STORES?!?!)
The pale ale wasn’t great, but by God we had made it! And I was hooked.

For years I brewed extract-and-grains, but only a few (2-4) batches a year. Then I started living in more urban apartments and really didn’t have the space to brew for a few years until I bought a house again a little over 3 years ago. My first order of business was to get a home brewery up and running. Since then I’ve been making 12-15 batches a year (hoping for 20 this year).
With my new home brewery I acquired dedicated lagering capability, and with my sig. other being German (Franconian), I started brewing German style lagers. My first was a lighter Oktoberfest for our annual Oktoberfest party, and while it made a decent beer, it was nowhere close to a true Bavarian Festbier. I realized I would need to go all-grain to do it justice, and haven’t looked back to extract since. All grain was a game-changer for me. I can’t believe I had been so content that I was putting out decent product and thinking that the improvement with going all grain would only be incremental and not worth the extra time and investment in equipment.

Anyway, I’ve been making some really good beer since then, a few of them even excellent, if I do say so myself. But, in the interest of improving my beer (inspired by several trips to visit her family in Germany), I’ve recently started factoring in water chemistry, pH adjustment, and (now) Low Oxygen brewing. I am two batches in (the first was kind of a disaster – details can be found on the Low O2 forum), and doing the best Low O2 processes that my current setup will allow. I look forward to getting my beers ever closer to my German ideal.
When in Germany I generally stay away from the big megabrews, because while they are excellent, I still prefer fresh and local (assuming it is good to begin with). My absolute favorite breweries there are Kloster Kreuzberg north of Wurzburg, Grosch outside of Coburg, and Weherer just west of Bamberg.

Right now I am on an obsessive quest to recreate the magic that is Kloster Kreuzberg’s flagship beer, which is technically a Dunkel, but not a very dark one. It is my Holy Grail of beer. If anyone has any insight, I’d be grateful.

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