Experiments

The word Experiment is right there in the name of this whole website and everything else. We'll be posting experiments here to the site for you to try along with the IGORs. As results come in, we'll add them to the pages so everyone can see what's the "truth".

Want to join the IGOR corps? Check out the program details here

Does Underpitching Make More "Flavorful" Beer

drew's picture

In the never ending quest to find new ways to tinker with our beers and produce better flavors, it's been promoted that to produce more ester and phenol characters in a brew, one should pitch less yeast. 

The theory is pretty simple - esters and phenols can be by product of poor yeast health or a stressful fermentation. This gets pounded into your head during BJCP training and is one of the reasons brewers have been recommended to make starters to ensure they have plenty of healthy yeast at the ready to tackle the job.

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Does intentionally underpitching a beer cause a change in perceived esters/phenols?

Biotransformation - Dry Hop at Krausen vs. Dry Hop at Rest

drew's picture

Our brewing partner in "science", Marshall "Brulosophy" Schott released results of a biotransformation experiment here. In it he brewed a NE IPA recipe that was double dry hopped. Two batches brewed with the first fermenting out for a few days before the second was brewed. The second batch received the first dose of dry hops while the beer was at high krausen. The first batch received it's dry hops after the beer was done fermenting.

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Does Dry Hopping a Beer During High Krausen Produce a Organoleptic Difference?

Draft Carbonation - Modified Slam/Shake vs. Gradual Carbonation

drew's picture

It's happened to us all - too many kegs, not enough time left to "properly" carbonate your beer before it needs to be served. Who knows, maybe you have a party or club meeting. Maybe you just need a beer, damnit. 

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Does a modified slam and shake method result in a beer observably different than one done by the longer sit and wait methodology?

The Great Purge - Does a Full Liquid Purge of a Keg Protect Hop Aroma Better

drew's picture

It's time to test out the validity of another of Drew's favorite techniques - keg purging.

Breweries spend a lot of time worrying over removing as much oxygen possible from their packages (bottles/kegs). Why? It's pretty well established both in tradition and science that oxygen is destructive to beer flavor and aroma pretty quickly. So packaging brewers do everything they can to reduce O2 levels after their intial injection of oxygen post chilling. 

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Does purging a keg with CO2 protect hop aroma over time compared to an unpurged keg.

BrewTan - Or Do Oxygen Scavenging Chemicals Change the Beer Character

drew's picture

There's been a big kerfluffle in the online brewing world this year over "LoDO" brewing aka Low Dissolved Oxygen brewing. Proponents of the extremely complex methodology theorize that by reducing the amount of oxygen entrained at all times in the mash or the boil that you prevent oxidative reactions that damage the beer's flavor and reduces the overall malt character.

The reason they're obsessed is they're driven to recreate the "it" character they claim German beers have with their malts that they find lacking in many commercial and homebrews.

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Are beers brewed with BrewTan B, organoleptically different than beers brewed without

New England IPA Series - Is it the Yeast?

drew's picture

The IPA is the king of the current American craft beer scene and in recent years the new belle of the Hop Ball has hailed from New England. Heady Topper from Vermont's Alchemist was the first to catch beer lover's attention and since then many beers in the same vein have appeared. Skipping over a great many of the discussion of the style centering on the word "juicy" - a number of beer exhibit an intense hazy appearance. This murk is a controversial part of the equation (not every example has it for instance).

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Does the yeast choice generate the haze in a "New England Style IPA"

Saison Yeast - Airlock vs. Open Ferment - Does it prevent "stall"

drew's picture

These days it seems like if you want to open a craft brewery you need 3 different styles of IPA, a few DIPAs for people to pound, a couple of bourbon barrel something or others, some sour projects to charge ridiculous amounts of money for and then my favorite style - saison. But there's a problem - the two primary strains people use Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison and White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison I both suffer from quirky fermentations.

Subject: 

Does using an open fermentation technique avoid the fermentation stall and produce a noticeably different beer that typical closed fermentation techniques used by modern brewers.

Impact of Crushed Malt Age on Beer Quality

drew's picture

A number of homebrewers, even advanced all-grain veterans like Denny, don't own a mill at home. Many depend on the mill at their homebrew supplier. (Denny uses a friend's mill.) They buy their grains crushed courtesy of their store of choice. Naturally, life happens after we've crushed our malt and everyone is afraid of the ticking time bomb that is crushed malt. Naturally, since we're homebrewers we don't want to waste our money ingredients if we don't have to - so can we use that pre-crushed malt?

Subject: 

Does cracked malt that's been left to sit for a month produced a noticeably different beer than freshly cracked malt?

Olive Oil vs. No Aeration

drew's picture

In September 2005, Grady Hull of New Belgium, developed a new technique of strengthening yeast in storage by adding olive oil. The theory was that yeast use oxygen to synthesize sterols to build stronger, better cell walls so instead of introducing beer staling oxygen to the mix - why not add a tiny drop of cheap olive oil, a source of sterols, directly and let the yeast do it's thing. Cheap olive oil vs. expensive aeration equipment

Subject: 

Does the addition of olive oil to a fermenter replicate the organoleptic impact of aeration on a the beer versus doing no aeration at all?

Comparing First Wort Hopping to 60 minute Bittering Additions

drew's picture

Some studies have shown that First Wort Hopping (FWH) actually produces about 10 percent more measureable IBUs than a 60-minute addition, but it tastes less bitter. Is this true? Should we all be First Wort Hopping our beers. Wait a tick - what's First Wort Hopping? Simple - it's a process of adding a hop addition into the boil kettle immediately as you begin running off from the mash tun. The hops stay in and you boil them for the full time of the boil.

Subject: 

How does the bittering from FWH compare to the bittering from a 60-minute addition?

Hop Whirlpool - Does steeping at lower temperature improve final hop character?

drew's picture

If you're gunning for big hop aroma to your beer without the grassiness of dry hopping, traditional practice calls for a large dose of hops after the boil has concluded. These "whirlpool" hops, so called because properly the wort is cycled to create a whirlpool, are thought to give a big dose of aromatic hop oils that aren't volatilized by the high heat and action of a boil.

Subject: 

Does steeping at a reduced whirlpool temperature (~120F) provide more robust hop character from the same hop charge compared to more traditional brewing practices of adding whirlpool hops just post boil

Yeast Comparison of the "same" strain - Wyeast 1056 / WLP 001

drew's picture

We've all heard over the years - "oh yeah, Wyeast 1056 and White Labs WLP001 are exactly the same". Well, are they? Is it true that they're close enough that we can just freely substitute or do they bring something different to the party?

Subject: 

Experiment Status: 

Are there detectable differences between Wyeast 1056 and WLP001 when fermented in the same wort at the same temperature?