denny's blog

Look Ma, I'm in the Library!

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A few months back, I was contacted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton of Oregon State University and the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives. In an interesting turn of events, they wanted to talk to me about Oregon, homebrewing and my part in the whole scene. They are even archiving all the work we've done and adding it to their collection which includes the pioneering and humbling work of Fred Eckhardt.

Oh Say Can You See (through your beer)

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In the last couple years, we've been seeing the growth of what I guess you could call a new style of beer....The NorthEast style, usually made as an IPA.  The common factors seems to be a "soft" bitterness (often brought about by adding large amounts of calcium chloride to the water, rather than calcium sulfate which is more usual), a massive hop flavor with a pretty forward aroma, and usually a hazy appearance.  And by "haze", I mean a lot of them look like gravy!  Proponents of the style say "who cares how it looks, it's about the taste".  Others, like myself, are mystified.  Why does a g

Confessions of a Yeast Abuser

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I have a confession to make...I am a yeast abuser. And I have been for years. Yes, I know all the "rules" and try to follow them, but sometimes I fail and resort to....yeast abuse. Recently I brewed a batch of my Rye IPA recipe on my Zymatic. Looking in the fridge, I saw some WY1450 with a date of June 26, 2015....10 months old. I thought "I could make a starter with that", but then I thought "Damn, that would take effort".

Progress

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The next time you have qualms about questioning the "conventional wisdom", remember the wise words of Frank Zappa...

Old Dog...New Tricks...The Followup

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Today I kegged the beer I wrote about in my previous blog post. It was a few hours short of 11 days from the time I brewed it. The gravity dropped from 1.063 to 1.013, which is consistent with how this beer usually performs. That's 78.5% AA (apparent attenuation) with a first generation pitch of WY1450. A 1 qt., non stirred starter. In spite of being skeptical, I pitched the whole thing, starter wort and all.

Old Dog...New Tricks

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Well, today I'm breaking out of my comfort zone and trying a new yeast starter method. For many years, my standard practice for a starter for an ale in the mid 60s gravity range has been to build a 2-3 qt. starter on a stir plate. I'd let the plate run 3-5 days, then put the starter in the fridge for 2-3 days to crash out the yeast. I'd decant, then pitch the slurry. It always seemed to work well, but.....

So, how's the beer? A followup to my post about brewing the Zymatic way

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Ever since I posted my review of the Picobrew Zymatic (http://www.experimentalbrew.com/blogs/denny/homebrewing-zymatic-way) the one question I've heard over and over again is "how's the beer?". Now that I've had a chance to ferment out 4-5 beers I made with the Zymatic, I'm prepared to answer that question. The answer is "It's as good as you make it!" What I mean by that is that the Zymatic is not in any way a limiting factor in beer quality...that's up to the brewer.

Homebrewing the Zymatic Way

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I've been homebrewing for 17 years and in that time have brewed about 475 batches of beer. Nearly every one of those batches has been on my "Cheap'n'Easy" cooler mash tun system, as I chanted the mantra "The brewer makes the beer, the equipment doesn't". While I still love my cooler system, I may have to rethink that mantra.

Cleaning gets better

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When I started homebrewing, the friend who introduced me to it said that 90% of homebrewing is cleaning. Now, I've never tried to measure the exact percentage, but I do know that if you don't do the work, the results will show up in your beer. Like most homebrewers, I'm cheap so for years I've used Oxiclean Versatile (without the TSP sub that many think is necessary) to do my cleaning. Once in a while I'd pick up some PBW which seemed to work even better, but the cost kept me from using it as often as I would have liked.

The Next Shroomy

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You may be aware that one of my favorite beers is a chanterelle mushroom infused wee heavy that I call "Wee Shroomy" (recipe in Experimental Homebrewing"). I'm extremely luck y to line in the Pacific Northwest for a number of reasons, but one of the biggies is the surfeit of wild mushrooms we have here. During mushroom season, I can walk out of my back door and usually find the several pounds of mushrooms I need to make a batch of it.

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