I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

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caedus
Apprentice Brewer
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I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby caedus » Wed May 03, 2017 3:45 pm

After a year of perfecting my system (with a few months off for work), I finally developed a process that I could reliably produce lagers with the "it" factor. I am excited because I just started integrating my sauergut reactor into the mix, so hopefully that really pushes things over the top.

Now my next projects are schwarzbier and Festbier. I have been doing helles and pilsner on rotation for 6 months now and I am looking to perfect different Styles.

My current recipe I am going to try is:

66% Pilsner
30% Munich II
3% CaraMunich III

28 IBU of Tradition @ FWH (I like my beer with a touch more bitter backbone, living on the West Coast will fry your tastebuds).

Augustiner Lager Yeast

I am concerned about the Munich II being too aggresive, but this still puts me at 8 SRM, which is deep gold. I did an all Vienna malt beer a few weeks back and I don't feel like that was overly malty, but could have used a more aggressive hopping schedule.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Techbrau » Wed May 03, 2017 3:49 pm

Cool! What was the key to getting the process working the way you wanted it to?
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
caedus
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:27 pm

Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby caedus » Wed May 03, 2017 4:44 pm

Fucking time, man. It just takes time to nail down the processes and I learned the hard way that the flavor totally changes during lagering.

I have been trying to brew a lodo beer every other week for a few months now. The first 3-4 I was over/under oxygenating (November-January) or over sulfiting (brought it down from 100>75>50>40>35, I still have ~10ppm left after the boil).

January was when I was fucking around with fermentation schedules, finally got that squared away and was able to get a good yeast prop going. I brewed 3 times in Feb. and each time I brewed I broke a pump (I was using those little 12v solar pumps). Busted out my old chugger and retrofitted it to my system.

All the beers I brewed in March and April had yeast in suspension, which I made a post about. I jumped them over to new clean kegs and waited two weeks. Now they are coming into their own flavors. It's not 100% where I want it, but I would say 90% the way there, which is miles ahead of where I was a year ago.
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:04 pm

Kudos, man.
I just hit the perfect authentic Franconian Kellerbier flavor that spot-on reminds me of the better examples I've had there with my future father-in-law (a native Franconian).
He'll be here this week to visit and I can't wait to share it with him. Even my girlfriend, his daughter, who isn't a beer drinker (yes, even some germans aren't beer drinkers, but Franconia is a wine region too) tasted it at dinner and said "wow. That's good. Even I would drink that."
It's a hell of a feeling of accomplishment when you finally nail it.
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Crunk
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Crunk » Wed May 03, 2017 7:11 pm

This week is full of success congratulations to both of you. As you can see, my beer is coming along damn nicely. I feel like I created fire when these last 3 batches finally were what I would call beer.
Striving to brew better beer every time
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:28 pm

Crunk wrote:This week is full of success congratulations to both of you. As you can see, my beer is coming along damn nicely. I feel like I created fire when these last 3 batches finally were what I would call beer.

Yeah, it's like the new crop of low O2 brewers are finally hitting our stride and "getting it".

I'm amazed at your success with only brewing such a short time.
It's taken me three and a half years of fairly serious brewing to get here (the previous 12 years were really just dabbling). Kudos to you too.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Techbrau » Wed May 03, 2017 9:37 pm

LoDO is definitely not for the faint of heart. :D

Early on when we were trying to figure out how to get "it" (before we came up with LoDO), we reasoned that the key had to be a process issue and not some magic ingredient, because almost all of the commercial German stuff has "it" but no American stuff does, and it didn't make sense that every German brewery was sprinkling the same secret fairy dust into their beer. It had to be something fundamental that everybody in Germany does without even thinking about it, but nobody here does. And it had to be pretty hair-trigger, something sensitive that demanded flawless execution - otherwise, somebody in the USA surely would have nailed it simply by accident.

LoDO isn't a perfect process, it's a poor man's band-aid solution to problems that have much better solutions at a large scale. Being able to dough-in with effectively zero oxygen uptake into mechanically degassed water using a vormaischer, followed up by vessel volumes with a fraction of the surface area to volume ratio of a homebrew system is a real blessing. There were some reports in early 2016 from people who asked some pros about the LoDO process who said that it was overkill, especially the usage of SMB, but frankly I think those pros are so used to large scale commercial systems and are unaware of how a small homebrew system enormously exacerbates oxidation. The exception would be Kunze, who I think recognized the difference and outright states in his book that it is practically impossible to brew low oxygen on a pub brewing system so you shouldn't even try - I mean zero disrespect to him whatsoever, but I think that GBF proved him wrong there.

It's really great to see so many more people enjoying success - it definitely takes a hell of a lot of dedication and time to fine tune the process for each individual system - something that I hope the bloggers out there doing A/B testing can recognize and understand. Due to the nature of the "it" flavor being like an egg - once you drop it, you can't put it back together - we frankly would have never in a million years come up with the LoDO process if we methodically followed the mentality of "change only one variable at a time and only evaluate the finished, kegged beer". We knew subjectively from the moment we tasted preboiled + sulfited wort that we were on to something, but every batch we brewed would go downhill fast and at a different part of the process. So in the end, developing LoDO became a trial-and-error game of brewing a batch, tasting it at every step of the way, and subjectively identifying where flavor loss was taking place. I would like to think that the success of LoDO should be taken as proof positive that subjective tasting is indeed worth a lot after all and shouldn't be dismissed outright.

As far as a festbier recipe goes, I think 30% dark muma + 3% caramunich III is going to be darker than the big 6 commercial festbiers, but that shouldn't stop you from brewing it. You may find that you like it better. If you want something a bit closer to a commercial example, I think 5-10% light muma + 10-15% vienna + 5% or so carahell is a good starting point.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: I finally got "it". Now... on to Festbier

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Thu May 04, 2017 12:21 am

I'll second that about Festbier. Festbier nowadays is generally lighter than and NOT the same a Märzen as it was back in the day.
FWIW, I just took a second place in a decent sized competition with a Festbier consisting of only 16% Vienna and 16% Dark Munich. The rest was Pils malt and 4% wheat malt, actually - no cara at all.
That was before LODO though and now I would probably drop the wheat and replace it with 4% cara (take your pick which one, but I am totally hooked on Carahell right now).
It was a dark burnished gold color, pushing copper but not quite there. And again, that was pre-LODO. Festbiers are typically like darker versions of Helles now.

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