My experiences with LODO brewing

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Ancient Abbey
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My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Ancient Abbey » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:21 am

Where to begin....

I knew I had a problem with my German beers. They just weren't right. I switched to RO, limited myself to high beta acid noble hops, dropped my mash pH, added a small 15 min hop addition and played around with several yeast strains. It all helped, but it still wasn't right. As I started to extend my mash times to get that Bavarian helles mouthfell, the beers actually started to get worse. They got darker and the flavors become duller and duller, which put me on to oxidation. To me, it was the only variable that explained it all. At that point I started working with the Team here and everything just fell into place. I realized just fixing the "leaks" in the system wasn't going to be enough. We needed to remove all of the oxygem, prevent it from getting back in, and then have some insurance and protection to help us, bc, lets be honest, who can vacuum purge their system then wet mill and mash under nitrogen?!?!

Then it happened. I made my first batch using pre-boiled water and SMB. I took my first sip and just sad to myself, "what is this sorcery and magic?" Who put breakfast cereal in my wort? It was glorious. I couldn't stop drinking the wort. From that day forward, I was hooked. I immediately began upgrading every component, tri-clover fittings (most gasket surface area of any QD), center inlet pumps (less cavitation, reduced wort shear stress and easier priming) and of course a stainless steel immersion chiller. Over the next few weeks, I had half a dozen folks try my lodo wort (not knowing it was lodo, of course). Every time, without fail, people just stared at me at first sip. Then they would finally say, "how did you do that?". My response was always "do what?". Without fail they all said it was the most amazing wort they had ever tasted, and then they finished drinking the entire wort sample. At that point, I knew it wasn't conformational bias. We had something real.

I love brewing all the styles, so I brewed well over 20 different recipes and beers as fast as I could, dunkel, hefe, bock, blegian - everything. I soon discovered that there was no magical IT, but IT was just the fresh, unmolested, unadulterated, unoxidized, pure flavors of whatever malt you were using. (FWIW, the term IT has gone by the wayside long ago for us, and we mostly make references to the fresh lingering malt now.) Vienna tastes like croissants. Light munich reminds me of pretzel dough and dark munich the hard outert crust of a pretzel. Melanoidin malt, which I previously loathed bc it always made my beers taste muddy and dull, tastes like grape nuts cereal. Now, brewing is a game of guessing the breakfast cereal. Honey bunches of oats and maltomeal is the most common comparison, although I've had different recipes taste like Meusilix, grape nuts, raisin bran and golden grahms. And I don't mean they were close, it triggered an immediate flavor memory of being an kid and eating these cereals. I had to relearn all of the flavors of the crystal malts, bc they don't taste like old candy anymore. They are glorious as well, and I can now see why German brewers use them. And the hops...oh the hops. First wort hopping with lodo tastes exactly like the hop character of German beers. I mean, spot on. It isn't some magically timed late addition, rather lodo first wort hopping now presents with more flavor and aroma than I've ever experienced. The fresh flowers and noble spices...it is amazing. My favorite so far has been the rauchbiers. The smoked meat flavors are like nothing I've ever experienced, except when making real BBQ.

My goals are to continue to improve my system, develop lodo recipes (I love trappist beers, porters and stouts too), enter competitions for feedback, begin conducting triangle tests with local homebrew clubs and, in general, evaluate lodo brewing as objectively as possible. I hope to have that all play out through the German Brewing forum, though we have offered our assistance to other well know homebrew experimenters ;) Most times, you cannot get me to talk about my medals, but I will say, so far I have swept whole German lager categories in comps, taken BOS, and have entries moving on to both MCAB and NHC finals. To be fair, I was doing that before lodo brewing too, but both my scores and percentage of entries winning medals have definitely gone up. Take it with a grain of salt, I'm not telling you what to believe, just suggesting it is worth trying for yourself.

As a final thought, SMB isn't some magic pill. Several of the team members and I have messed up batches even when using SMB. You have to do it all. I truly believe what is in my signature. The best don't have any magic, exceptional skill or mysterious knowledge. This applies well beyond the scope of brewing too. They just focus on the fundamentals, master them and adhere to them without exception.
Last edited by Ancient Abbey on Thu May 12, 2016 10:03 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Brandon
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Brandon » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:04 pm

Folks need to get with it and pay attention. This is NO different than food quality and production process optimization in any other food manufacturing process. While it is rocket science, it's not OUR rocket science, just our adaptation. And this is the icing on the cake of brewing. You have to already have things together, then this is dialing it all in further.
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Ancient Abbey
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My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Ancient Abbey » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:07 pm

Exactly, anyone looked at their food labels? Sulfites are in a lot of the things you buy every day. However, manufacturers of all kinds of food products invest heavily in oxygen control upfront and sulfites are simply added for storage protection and extended shelf life.
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mpietropaoli
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Re: RE: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby mpietropaoli » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:12 pm

Ancient Abbey wrote:Where to begin....

I knew I had a problem with my German beers. They just weren't right. I switched to RO, limited myself to high beta acid noble hops, dropped my mash pH, added a small 15 min hop addition and played around with several yeast strains. It all helped, but it still wasn't right. As I started to extend my mash times to get that Bavarian helles mouthfell, the beers actually started to get worse. They got darker and the flavors become duller and duller, which put me on to oxidation. To me, it was the only variable that explained it all. At that point I started working with the Team here and everything just fell into place. I realized just fixing the "leaks" in the system wasn't going to be enough. We needed to remove all of the oxygem, prevent it from getting back in, and then have some insurance and protection to help us, bc, lets be honest, who can vacuum purge their system then wet mill and mash under nitrogen?!?!

Then it happened. I made my first batch using pre-boiled water and SMB. I took my first sip and just sad to myself, "what is this sorcery and magic?" Who put breakfast cereal in my wort? It was glorious. I couldn't stop drinking the wort. From that day forward, I was hooked. I immediately began upgrading every component, tri-clover fittings (most gasket surface area of any QD), center inlet pumps (less cavitation, reduced wort shear stress and easier priming) and of course a stainless steel immersion chiller. Over the next few weeks, I had half a dozen folks try my lodo wort (not knowing it was lodo, of course). Every time, without fail, people just stared at me at first sip. Then they would finally say, "how did you do that?". My response was always "do what?". Without fail they all said it was the most amazing wort they had ever tasted, and then they finished drinking the entire wort sample. At that point, I knew it wasn't conformational bias. We had something real.

I love brewing all the styles, so I brewed well over 20 different recipes and beers as fast as I could, dunkel, hefe, bock, blegian - everything. I soon discovered that there was no magical IT, but IT was just the fresh, unmolested, unadulterated, unoxidized, pure flavors of whatever malt you were using. (FWIW, the term IT has gone by the wayside long ago for us, and we mostly make references to the fresh lingering malt now.) Vienna tastes like croissants. Light munich reminds me of pretzel dough and dark munich the hard outert crust of a pretzel. Melanoidin malt, which I previously loathed bc it always made my beers taste muddy and dull, tastes like grape nuts cereal. Now, brewing is a game of guessing the breakfast cereal. Honey bunches of oats and maltomeal is the most common comparison, although I've had different recipes taste like Meusilix, grape nuts, raisin bran and golden grahms. And I don't mean they were close, it triggered an immediate flavor memory of being an kid and eating these cereals. I had to relearn all of the flavors of the crystal malts, bc they don't taste like old candy anymore. They are glorious as well, and I can now see why German brewers use them. And the hops...oh the hops. First wort hopping with lodo tastes exactly like the hop character of German beers. I mean, spot on. It isn't some magically timed late addition, rather lodo first wort hopping now presents with more flavor and aroma than I've ever experienced. The fresh flowers and noble spices...it is amazing. My favorite so far has been the rauchbiers. The smoked meat flavors are like nothing I've ever experienced, except when making real BBQ.

My goals are to continue to improve my system, develop lodo recipes (I love trappist beers, porters and stouts too), enter competitions for feedback, begin conducting triangle tests with local homebrew clubs and, in general, evaluate lodo brewing as objectively as possible. I hope to have that all play out through the German Brewing forum, though we have offered our assistance to other well know homebrew experimenters ;) Most times, you cannot get me to talk about my medals, but I will say, so far I have swept whole German lager categories in comps, taken BOS, and have entries moving on to both MCAB and NHC finals. To be fair, I was doing that before lodo brewing too, but both my scores and percentage of entries winning medals have definitely gone up. I have yet to have a German lager score that hasn't started with a 4... Take it with a grain of salt, I'm not telling you what to believe, just suggesting it is worth trying for yourself.

As a final thought, SMB isn't some magic pill. Several of the team members and I have messed up batches even when using SMB. You have to do it all. I truly believe what is in my signature. The best don't have any magic, exceptional skill or mysterious knowledge. This applies well beyond the scope of brewing too. They just focus on the fundamentals, master them and adhere to them without exception.

Is there a post on the best way to package?

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Kit_B
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Re: RE: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Kit_B » Tue May 03, 2016 8:53 am

mpietropaoli wrote:Is there a post on the best way to package?


There should be in the future, but we're still working out the kinks of that phase.
Kegging is easy, through spunding & active yeast...
Bottling?
Well...Bottling is a problem, without active yeast.
Since most of us hate/avoid bottling anyway, this part has been slow.

But...We really encourage folks to discuss & contribute bottling methods, as they try them & find things that work.
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Brandon
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Brandon » Tue May 03, 2016 9:07 am

We have tried a few things to optimize storage without active yeast. Ascorbic acid and SMB in low doses during transfers into the keg. Some folks couldn't taste it, others (like me) thought it tasted like cheap wine that has the sulfite bite and flavor. It does somewhat mellow over time, but the active yeast/spunden approach is preferred. Now...for bottling, bottle conditioning is probably the best route to go, but will still need oxygen control going into the bottle and assuring removal of all oxygen prior to capping. I've never been good at bottling, despite diligent attempts.
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mpietropaoli
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby mpietropaoli » Tue May 03, 2016 10:42 am

ok, will start a separate thread
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Bilsch
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Bilsch » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:08 pm

What is the effect on the beer flavor if too much Sulfites make it past the boil and into the finished beer? How to describe the sulfite bite as it were or other tastes from excessive amounts.
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Brandon » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:26 pm

Bilsch wrote:What is the effect on the beer flavor if too much Sulfites make it past the boil and into the finished beer? How to describe the sulfite bite as it were or other tastes from excessive amounts.


For a batch or two I thought sulfite was making it past the boil, but since changing to colder fermentation and spunden, and NO later sulfite additions, I am doubting that is what was going on. And I've done dumb things like dosing at 100mg/L, then crumbling a few campden tablets into the grain. I think I have experienced two scenarios:

1) adding SMB and ascorbic acid coming out of primary and going into the keg. Fermenting to FG in a carboy or 30L Spiedel fermenter, than racking into a semi-purged keg (CO2 purge only) that has a small dose of SMB (and a few times with ascorbic acid) added. I could totally tell these flavors a few weeks into the keg. Tasted like cheap wine (think Yellow Tail 2L bottles of shitty Chardonnay) but also with a nasty acid bite.

2) Bad fermentation (repitched yeast not at optimal health, not paying attention, inconsistent oxygenation, etc) and no oxygen absorption additions upon racking.

Most of these were with WLP802 and done a few months ago and the beers have ranged from high sulfur early into lagering to having it totally lager out after 4-6 weeks. One Pilsner had a sulfur flavor while I drank the keg but it actually kind of complemented the hopping and tasted like Radeberger's cousin.

With the past 3 cold ferment/spunden batches, by the time they have chilled to final lagering/storage temps I pick up no appreciable (out of norm) sulfur (ok, I need to pull some samples so I can better describe what that means).

I think the majority of my issues now are fermentation related, not mash nor mash O2 or sulfur. I can create fan-fukin-tastic tasting wort going into the fermenter.
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Bilsch
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Re: My experiences with LODO brewing

Postby Bilsch » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:43 pm

Brandon.. thanks for the info. I assume since everyone's mashing system is different, each brewer has had to tune the initial sulfite dose to suit his equipment. I'm trying to tune my SMB addition by taste of the finished beer but I should probably just get the sulfite strips and see what is actually going on.

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