Brewing Consistency

Whenever I ask my grandma how she makes her chicken soup, she replies “easy, just add water and boil”… haha, thanks.

Trying to get a recipe out of her is nearly impossible so a couple of my aunts and cousins conspired to get her recipe by video recording and measuring her additions as she made it…

Just when we thought we had “the recipe” we took on trying to clone her chicken soup… but none of us could… we were inconsistent cooks and she was consistent…

The lesson to be had here has everything to do with brewing consistency… brewing consistency is not about having a ‘recipe’ and brewing that recipe the same way every single time.

I used to measure everything with extreme accuracy… I would buy a whole ounce of pellet hops just to get the 1.1 oz of X hops and nail the bittering units I established using brewing software…

… but no matter how accurate I was, the beer would come out different every single time…

Every time you buy brewing ingredients, they will be different than the last time… Everything from yeast viability to hop alpha acids  changes…

Nana

That’s why brewing consistency is more about being fully involved and aware of what’s happening during the brew day…

Paying attention to the year to year changes in ingredients.

I didn’t fully understand this until I watched my grandma make her unique northwest style flour tortillas using ingredients bought in the US not Mexico…

First thing she noticed was the texture of the flour and the consistency the dough took on as she added water and the rest of the ‘secret ingredients’…

Even though the ingredients were different:

She didn’t measure the amount of flour she used.

She didn’t measure the amount of water she used.

She didn’t use the same ratio of ingredients as she normally does!

In a home brewing world where many are obsessed with Specific Gravity readings, ABV%, and other junk numbers, grandma possesses the skill Brew Beer and Drink It admires…

What do you learn from grandma?

Notice pro brewers, especially Belgian brewers whose beer characteristic relies on the increase in fermentation temperature. They know different temperatures create different flavors, but most importantly they know how to keep fermentation strength under control… If they see that fermentation is going too strong, they’ll slow down the temperature increase…

This kind of skill can only be done by learning how to mix the logical side of the brain with the emotional side of the brain…

That’s why home brewers who have gone through both better home brew formula and mash control don’t learn recipes. They learn what different ingredients and brewing methods DO for their beer and learn to focus on what’s most important… brewing consistency, making sure the beer turns out exactly as they planned.

Cheers!

2 Comments

  • Sam

    Reply Reply October 4, 2013

    Jorge, Thanks for your continuous and valuable tips. I save all your emails in a special folder and read them from time to time. Your articles sound simple but very valuable. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Thank you so much,
    Keep it flowing in.
    We do take our beer seriously.
    All the best to you.
    Cheers!
    Sam.

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply October 4, 2013

      That’s awesome! great to hear they have earned a spot in a special folder…

      Cheers!

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