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paul o' vendange

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Everything posted by paul o' vendange

  1. JPW, the same material as is presented on their website. I don't see a "Star Chamber" conspiracy here, I'm sure it's true. If Bud uses rice, Miller uses corn as both are cheap. What I find when I have had Miller's product is a very evident taste of DMS - di-methyl sulfide, taste of creamed corn, not my bag. There are a few Miller drinkers out there, or so I've heard, so each to their own. By the way, a blurb on Miller's "hop engineering" (reduction of isohumulone via hydrogenation), from a beverage business journal: "But what about beers like Miller that come in clear glass without the benefit of German engineering? Why don't they skunk up something fierce? Miller comes at it from a different angle, making the hop compounds less susceptible to skunking. Darwin Davidson, the technical director for major hop broker S.S. Steiner, explained the process of making the hop extracts Miller uses. Darwin is the technical director, and this does indeed get a little technical, but bear with me. First, liquid carbon dioxide is run through a bed of pelletized hops. It absorbs the hops' oils and resins, the key flavor, aroma, and bittering components. Then the carbon dioxide is allowed to evaporate, leaving the extract. Some brewers use this extract, and Davidson said that it will give a very true hop character to the beer. Extracts can be split down further to pure alpha acids, hops oil, and beta acids, the real components of interest to brewers. The oils' flavor is changed somewhat by the process. The extracted alphas can be "isomerized" (This is what actually happens to alpha acids in the brewkettle, Darwin said), and added directly to the beer for hop character. Miller Brewing takes a further step. They take the iso-alpha acids and hydrogenate them, much like is done at refineries, by forcing hydrogen through the oils at extremely high pressures. This produces rho-iso-alpha acids, also known as tetralones. These tetralones have intensified bitterness, increase foam stability and retention, and offer a better resistance to sunlight. They would be ideal, only they do not maintain the precise flavor of fresh hops. Hopping rates in mainstream American beers being what they are, this isn't a serious problem as long as the bitterness is right." (emphasis mine). It ain't all "pure, natural ingredients," brewed by a couple of old timers and moved by horse and carriage, ladies and gentlemen. I could care less, as I said if science moves it ahead, great. Just that the big boys are about as far removed from "traditional methods" as Kraft Foods.
  2. I'd agree, CDH, malt extracts and candi sugar should give you an OG of about 1.046, if you go with 1#/1 gallon cast out wort, so your essential doubling will give you a big beer. Utilization percentage of the hops at 45 minutes will be fairly low, and the high OG will additionally reduce your utilization. Given your style, probably within range of bitterness. Paul
  3. At Goose Island, they run, if memory serves me well, 19 assays for every production batch. Critical points throughout the process - including the heat exchanger - are differentially cultured up and incubated, and a host of other assays are regularly run (vacuum filtration, CO2/Air content, ATP Bioluminescence, forced ferments); from cast out wort out through to finished product, including a rig to test beer coming out of our kegs and daily bottle lifts off the bottling line. The kegs weren't hoff-stephens, granted, but the filler did a good job - 4 stage, caustic/peracetic/scalding H20 before a drop of beer was racked. In the years I was there, I never saw a returned case or keg due to spoilage. 6 months shelf life on the bottle, 3 months on the keg. Not every micro has the $ to run such a regimen, but, at least in this example, we put the $ and effort in, and it showed. Paul
  4. Brooks, believe it or not, I think we are in agreement about many things here. The Bavarian law is a pile of marketing crap, I only use it to say that no brewery is "pure" if pureness means solely the reinhetsgebot ingredients, at any point in the process. I also agree that "additives," "natural" or not (Irish Moss or its refined cousins, anyone? PVCC?) are largely process in, and not product out. Maybe I wasn't clear, either - I agree that science has largely made beer better, not worse. Anyday, I'll take a consistently produced, child-of-science beer over a fouled "real ale." And a good part of what passes for "character" in "fully natural" real ale is in fact soup brimming with beasties I don't like seeing under the scope. But I don't think that was the point of argument here. It was said that beer contains little, if any, chemical additives. I agree in the main, but not wholly. As I said, I know otherwise, from brewing practice. I do agree with you re: shelf stability and distribution practice of the big boys. As National Distribution Manager, I saw what happens when distribution lines are intact, and what happens when they are not. The big boys don't have to worry about it. One more point: As to shelf stability, personally, I'd rather run dozens of checkpoint quality assays on any given batch run rather than pasteurize a beer for a millisecond. I think you can achieve shelf stable products every time, to the same rigor, without relying on pasteurization. But perhaps that is a topic for another thread. Paul
  5. By the way, the original source for this information on Miller's (apparently, erstwhile) practice of using additives is Roger Protz, who in a 1988 CAMRA "Real Ale Guide" names the offending compounds in Miller Beer: "He mentions in particular Miller Lite, "described as 'the nearest thing to an empty glass'", and discusses how American legislation (at one time) forced the makers to list their ingredients: "propylene glycol alginate, water, barley malt, corn syrup, chemically modified hop extracts (there ya go), yeast, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide (!), papain enzyme (clarifier, I believe), liquid sugar, potassium metabisulphite, and Emkamalt". Apparently, the publicity was quite effective in getting Miller to change their tune, and again, I can't say for certain what the big boys do now, but presume that at least these compounds are not likely found anymore in Miller products. I also don't dispute their skill. As someone on the Homebrew Digest once said, "While they may choose to brew swill for marketing reasons, the skills of the brewers at places like Miller and Anheuser Busch are actually quite good. It takes a lot of skill to create a product that while brewed at several different plants across the country, tastes the same everywhere, state to state, month to month, year to year. It's just so sad they choose to exercise this enviable skill in the pursuit of thoroughly lackluster beer." That about captures it for me. I also know from first hand experience that it is not uncommon for "even" craft breweries to use certain compounds to avoid harmful effects during shelf storage - e.g., the antioxidants named above. Paul
  6. An article by Fred Eckhardt on "Lite": Here
  7. Well, a quick search of the Malting and Brewing Society of America's (MBAA's) Technical Quarterly Journal quickly revealed: "In this study, a pilot test skid equipped with an adsorption column demonstrated the ability to selectively adsorb and concentrate flavor compounds from brewery fermentation byproduct carbon dioxide gas without adsorbing sulfides. Dosing brewed products with the recov-ered flavor concentrate further enhanced the flavor characteristics of those products. This paper provides a description of the pilot adsorp-tion equipment and the method for producing a flavor concentrate." By Gil Sanchez, of Miller Brewing Company. One could easily find the sources for other things. I, personally, don't have a problem with "additives" per se, and, granted, scrubbed and re-introduced "flavor concentrates" are not the same as exogenic materials, but they are there. I am under no illusion that the "Big Three" do not use additives in one form or another. Indeed, the "Big Three" brewers have largely led the way in a host of things not having anything to do with the renheitsegbot - the Bavarian purity law specifying that only yeast, water, malt go into beer. Paul
  8. Sam is right. In fact, as I posted elsewhere, Miller led the way in developing reduced isohumulone extracts and hydrogenated versions of these isohumulones, thereby ensuring they could package its, em, beer, in clear bottles. However, they are not alone. Many breweries, including craft breweries, use additives of one kind or another, including foam stabilizers and other compounds in modest amounts. Some of this is due to the potentially adverse effects on head retention of filtration and other processes. Additionally, post-fermentation, any addition of oxygen is considered more deleterious than the addition of anti-oxidants such as Sodium Erythorbate. Many breweries, such as the one where I worked, dry hop with agitation and during that process air is indeed introduced, so, to ensure shelf stability, some additive would be used. Hell, even on the packaging line, bottles are bathed in CL02 or peracetic acid and these are not rinsed away, but as they are below sensory thresholds no one worries about it. Paul
  9. That's so funny - just looked up on the dictionary, and indeed it is usually considered essentially the same as salt pork. Our local butcher carries it as pure fatback - sheets or cubes, off the pig, which is how I have always bought it. Unsalted. Never knew otherwise, interesting to find out. Paul
  10. I have not known fatback to be salted. Paul
  11. Count me in. Formerly of Goose Island Brewing Company. Moving out of Chicago to a rural area, where, finally, I can take "Ugly Betty" out of mothballs. She is called so as I am a lousy welder, but she is a workhorse. Two tiered, three converted kegs, 3 burners totalling 510K BTUS. Brew in 12 gallon lengths. Have my own micro lab as I enjoy running quality control on my beers, as well as capturing, storing and using many yeasts. Opening a restaurant, which is the reason why my course on homebrewing here has been put on hold, but looking forward to brewing again (and posting the Q/A on homebrewing). Cheers, all. Paul
  12. Two things: I love the lighting. In fact, if you extended it by hanging either a pheasant (plumage on) or rabbit, or a pig's head, for that matter, I may very well go over the deep end. Secondly, if Joel Robuchon can win his audience by mashed potatoes and green salad, then certainly, a humble bowl of your "just soup" may provide worthy testament! In fact, I am semi-ripping you off as we speak. Lunch will be a root vegetable soup, topped with leftover duck confit; salmon with a horseradish crust and avocado vinaigrette, and a just-finished pain de campagne. Cheers, Paul
  13. Wow. I have just spent the last 1/2 hour in delirium. My wife, son and 2 dogs are just looking at me with the utmost concern as dad mumbles "mon dieu, mon dieu - Nous sommes perdu ici..." as I cry into my morning mug. Absolutely stunning. Very generous of you, too, Lucy. Paul
  14. Sounds like you were using a magret, off the Moulard duck. Did you score it? Whatever type of duck breast I use (Muscovy, Pekin, Moulard), I score generously - about 20 each way, maybe 1/8" apart, in hatching 45 deg. Serves me well, watch my flame, try to get a nice brown skin in 10-12 minutes, then light "kiss" searing on the other side for a medium rare. Scoring like this should allow a more ready rendering...with the magret, fat comes pouring off in buckets, immediately. With the magret, I score like this first then cut the lobe in half, so each serving is roughly 8 oz. Then cook according to the above, tent and rest, and serve. Your port-currant sauce sounds great - tell me a bit about it? Paul
  15. Like I had it at Stuckey's, in L.A. A big ass single ball in the center of the bowl. Just matzo meal, good chicken broth. Working any number of bistros in the Valley, come home late at night, needing some serious comfort food - sitting alone at the lunch counter, ask for the same thing nightly - including a Kaiser roll. She's undoubtedly long gone now, god bless her, ancient then; called me darlin, asked how I was, told me the kaiser would be extra, 'that ok?' every single night...a mantra between us, a goy and my Jewish gramma. Thanks for the memory. It was heaven. Paul
  16. In a "healthfood/breakfast joint" ? Ditto. As an entrepreneur, I have a problem with "standard wisdom says..." anything. If you want something, you do it. If there's a roadblock, find a way around it. If you listened to the standard advice from anyone, you would likely not even start, much less succeed. Go in eyes open, but not so equivocating that the angst and decision making stymies action. At some point, simply take action and don't look back. Plenty of voices out there to say, "no, don't do it"; especially as regards the hackneyed wisdom contained in "don't - it WILL FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!," I find absolutely useless. And in light of this person's intended operation, let's get real and allow that it may succeed, despite the firestorm of negativity. However, trysts over tea may indeed pose an irreparable threat. Be afraid. be very afraid. Paul
  17. I used to make a cassoulet with a rich brown ale I brewed, and a mustard-herb-breadcrumb crust. Never tried the gingerbread but know, hearing it, it would be wonderful. Thanks. Paul
  18. You will find that brewers and beer drinkers are generally a friendly lot. The only numbskull is the one who puts on airs - By its very nature, beer is a convivial drink, so sidle up to the bar (or farmhouse, or monastery, or what have you) and join for a tipple or two! Paul
  19. I will go against the grain and say, if you've researched it, and want to do it, do it and don't look back. I am going to presume you're your own person, and you asked for some good literature on how to do it (can't help there), not the folksy-streetwise party line of how tough it is. It is tough, but if you want it, get it and make it your own. Paul
  20. Slightly off thread, but with Theakston on the Ommegang. Great company, great ale. I enjoy their Ommegang, which they list as a "burgundian" brew. Rich, off-red, wonderful. And, as Theakston says, cheap. Paul
  21. I would think the Porter would be great; as would Summit's Porter, or Bell's line of dark ales. I think that in addition to the lower bitterness, the roast notes from the roast barley and roast malt go well. I don't know about Sierra's Porter, but I know in my own brewing I am fond of using Northdown or Northern Brewer in my strong dark ales, as do many breweries I know of. By my taste, these hops have a wonderful roast fruit (think: baked plums) character, which I like in my big dark ales (i.e., "Black Stag Imperial Stout," a winter warmer, at 9.6% alcohol). Hadn't occurred to me, but this fruit character would be great with the flamande. Enjoying the discussion. Paul
  22. You beat my clicking, Carolyn. If this were poker, I'd say "Fold." I'm sorry for your loss, as well. Paul
  23. 13 years old. Catered party for 20. Multi-course meal. Fresh on the heels of Jacques Pepin's La Technique, a wunderkind in the making. Dessert: Crepes Suzette. Boil the butter/grand marnier, pour entirely too much in to the chafing dish. Light. Explode. Forelocks and eyebrows have that certain roast-flesh bouquet. Panic, and reassure at the same time, "everything's fine, everyone," while I drip flaming butter across the host's table and floor. Of course, this was preceded by, at 8, I think it was, a flaming broiler full of lamb chops, panic again, throw the flaming foil into the trash and splash it on the kitchen curtains...almost fry the kitchen, all before 10. Cheers!
  24. Mnebergall, you're fine, I'm the loser; I stand corrected. Stella Artois is indeed a lager, and the largest "Belgian" brewery. I guess I put it out of my radar. My mind was on carbonnade, and what I prefer to go with it, and I spaced. I must also admit my bias: to me, Stella Artois is to Belgian brewing what (sorry, fans) Budweiser is to American brewing. In my humble view, a non-distinct, characterless product, made by a behemoth (Interbrew, increasingly, the owner of the world's once-finest independent breweries). Apologies to all who may love it, I just see the once proud independent breweries going under to the "family" called Interbrew, and I don't like it. And with a country so populated by distinctive, smaller breweries (many of them in a 600 s.f. farmhouse or the like), I can't see using anything but craft Belgian ale in the food. My $0.02. Under any circumstance, Cheers. Paul
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