From the HBD Archive
Subject: re: What is your extract efficiency?
Date: 1989-02-13 16:59:01 GMT

Darryl Richman <> wrote:

> Yes, well, Noonan is not a complete handbook, but I do like the sharp
> focus he has....
> [Miller's] book is more frustrating than Noonan because you aren't as certain
> about his biases.

Well, my complaint about the formulas was a nit-pick. I like Noonan's
book a lot. His book would be troublesome for a beginning grain
brewer, though, because it lacks the low-level how-to information. That's
fine--it's not his focus, and I was happy not to have to wade through that.

I wish Noonan had given me some idea about what compromising certain
things would do to the result. My biggest compromise right now is
fermentation temperature: I trust to luck. But look at what he
suggests: gradually lower the temperature, then raise
it briefly to get the yeast to absorb diacitals (sp?), then lower it.
The lager at very low temperature. Then slighly higher after bottling.

To do this and overlap batches I'd need a row of refridgerators. How
much can I compromise this, and what effect will it have on the beer?
It's nice to know what a pro would do, but I'd like to know if corner-
cutting is going to have a marked or a minor effect.

Some of his recommendations seem like labor for no benefit. I've never
had a defective hot or cold break. I can't imagine withdrawing boiling
wort and force cooling it to 50 degF to check for the break. He doesn't
say that you might want to do this; he says you should do this. This
implies that failure to do this (or, say the iodine test) may ruin
the beer. Nonsense.

He also says you should dough in at 60 degF and then boost to 120. I
toss the grain into 135 degF water, which gives me 120. His method
seems like extra work. (Will it give a higher extract? If that's
*all* it will do the hell with it.)

" I (Len Reed == gatech!holos0!lbr) wrote that I do the iodine test, but
" consider it near-worthless.

> Then you and [Miller] will get along here well. I find that the iodine check is
> very interesting to watch as conversion nears completion. The time it takes
> for the iodine to produce a reaction indicates the starch level left and
> as it asymptotically approaches 0, I get an idea of how much further to go.

Do you then use the idoine test data to determine how much longer (past
100% conversion) to leave the mash to get the proper dextrin/maltose
balance? Or do you merely use the test to estimate how long until
the test will be negative? I get a negative reaction in 1-20 minutes,
but leave the mash 30-60 minutes total. Knowing after 5 minutes that the
test will be negative after 15 rather than 20 minutes seems of no real value;
knowing how long to leave the mash to get the balance by some means
other than the traditional one (wait until you measure the final gravity)
would be useful.

" [I said I get 65-70% extract.]

> You are looking at Noonan's decoction number, for infusion he quotes
> 70%. (Are you doing decoction?)

Yes. I haven't noted a great deal of difference in extract between infusion
mashing British pale malt and decoction mashing N. American malt. The latter
makes far more trub. I've not tried decoction vs. infusion for the same
malt. Infusion mashing lager malt is a poor idea, isn't it?

> Anyway, to get back to the original issue, getting 1.030 sg/lb./gal.
> seems to be above average in homebrewing circles and is nothing to
> be worried about.

Fine. It's fermentation temperatures that are bugging me now that I'm
trying to make lager beer. I've made satisfactory ales in the easily
attained range of high 50's to middle 70s. I'll probably spring
for a used fridge if I can't be assured that *one* will get me through
the summer months when light lagers (a la Carlsberg) are so nice.

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