Quantcast

Help Me Write A Thesis On Beer: Tell Me About Your Ingredients

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

fullbottle

Member
Joined
31/5/12
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Gday Brain trust.

A few months ago I came to you asking for help regarding a thesis I am writing. This thesis explores home brewing in terms of civic participation, and is looking at the way home brewers use time and space and participate in local / global communities and markets. I was hoping you could help again.

I want to know what decisions are involved in selecting the ingredients that you use in your brews. How much do you know about the ingredients that you use? What is it that makes them appealing?


I have to apologize to the collective cry of "use the search function": there are a few things I need to make sure everybody knows before responding. The information you guys provide me here is going to be compiled anonymously, and you can decide to withdraw anything you say at any time, just hit me a PM and I'll make sure to exclude your response from the data. This information will be used solely for the purpose of an honours thesis at the University of Western Australia. By contributing to this discussion I will assume you understand and consent to each of these conditions.

I've been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of each of the brewing communities I have contacted. It makes writing about something I am growing to love that little bit more rewarding. Please feel free to PM me any comments, queries or doubtful points.

Thanks in advance
Jim
 

bconnery

Share and Enjoy
Joined
16/2/06
Messages
3,506
Reaction score
46
I don't think the search function would really have given you the answer to this question(s), not directly anyways.
I'll jump in in any case...
Just how long is this thesis?
I ask because, at least in my case but I imagine in many, this is a bit of a how long is a piece of string answer...

So, decision making on ingredients. It really comes down to quite a few factors.
Here's a breakdown of some of them, in no particular order.

Suitability to style/recipe.
I will often, but not always, based on the style I am trying to make. English hops for english beers etc. That's if I have a recipe idea in mind first before I look at the ingredients.

I also often choose ingredients based on the fact that I haven't tried them. Especially as the range of ingredients has increased massively in the shortish time I've been homebrewing.
I am very guilty of starting the process by looking at the latest products section of my local homebrew store's website and impulse buying.

Then, after having selected these, I'll build recipes around the ingredients I have.

I sometimes use ingredients that I know about from experience, having used them before.
Otherwise there is a wealth of information out there. You can, and I do, read all about almost all ingredients, and ask if you can't find the exact answer you are looking for.

Sometimes I see a potential ingredient, especially in terms of things like fruits, spices etc. and then try and build a beer around that.
 

geneabovill

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/7/12
Messages
405
Reaction score
61
Amen. I'm into West Coast USA beers. Particularly IPAs and Pales. I select ingredients based on what I know/think is gonna work together.
.
I do, on occasion, experiment with different ingredients, with varying results. For instances I didn't know Fuggles and a C hop like Citra would work well together.
.
I'm lucky enough to work near a craft beer pub, with fairly knowledgeable bar staff who are happy to have a yarn about the combinations of yeast, hops and grain that are contained in the ever-changing selection try have on tap. Some times I go off their recommendations or what is contained in a particular beer I like.
.
Other sources are my local home brew shop and this forum. Both are an interactive source of fantastic information.
 

hsb

Worth waiting for
Joined
6/7/10
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
49
I try and buy the best quality available, since I only get to make each beer once, might as well shoot for the sky.
With the global supply chain that I can access through local web-based suppliers, the usually means floor malted UK malt or Belgian/German pilsner malts, depending on what's brewing. I'm confident I am buying the same malts used by the breweries I'm emulating but as to whether what ends up on my doorstep is 'quality', I know that's subjective. I'm pretty confident i know what I'm getting, where it came from and how it was made but that is solely based on Internet research and my opinion on whatendsup in the glass.
Hops are more tricky with import restrictions and proprietary brands. I still try and source the freshest but often compromise with bulk US sources.
Other factors are cost, cheaper is still better so long as I'm dealing with a trusted supplier, then finally shipping time is the lasting least influential consideration.

It's all about quality ingredients to me but very very subjective, given these products often travel huge distances. The appeal is the idea that if you cook with the best available ingredients, you get the best end product. 'best' seems to relate to the origin of the style being brewed, in my eyes at least. Cheers.
 

Nick JD

Blah Blah Blah
Joined
4/11/08
Messages
7,322
Reaction score
453
I want to know what decisions are involved in selecting the ingredients that you use in your brews.

How much do you know about the ingredients that you use?

What is it that makes them appealing?
I choose ingredients that commercial breweries use for the same style. I'd say most other do the same.

Not sure about the second question - pretty much up to the retailer to supply that info on request.

See answer number 1.
 

brettprevans

HB so good, it will raise the dead
Joined
14/4/07
Messages
8,267
Reaction score
136
If u read a few books you'd get ur answers. Im sorry but your a masters or PhD student and don't know how to conduct a lit review, quantitative and qualitative analysis? How do u intend on writing this up? U haven't asked specific structured questions or provided info privacy forms for signature. I can't see any academic supervisor signing this off.

If im wrong (almost 2 masters under the belt) then I stand corrected and will direct u in the right direction
 

Screwtop

Inspectors Pocket Brewery
Joined
8/9/05
Messages
7,523
Reaction score
264
Location
Gympie
Hi Jim,

This thesis explores home brewing in terms of:

civic participation

looking at the way home brewers use time and space and participate in local/global communities and markets
Through your research:

I want to know what decisions are involved in selecting the ingredients that you use in your brews.

How much do you know about the ingredients that you use?

What is it that makes them appealing?

So what is your present belief/position.

What is your Thesis? What do you believe, what are you setting out to prove by researching/questioning this forum?

Hope this works out for you, would imagine weighting of accuracy would be low for such research.

Cheers,

Screwy
 

fullbottle

Member
Joined
31/5/12
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the answers so far everyone.

Citymorgue, I'd love to hear your input, so let me clear up the nature of the research. Consider this question just one element of the 'fieldwork' I am conducting for a thesis in cultural anthropology. The data I'm collecting covers quite a number of areas, and is not strictly limited to the technical or gastronomic side of the brewing process which may be available in the range of 'how-to' literature. I've been careful in trying to avoid coaxing answers out of the community -hence the vagueness of the question and perhaps the confusion.

As for your question regarding the ethics of this research, there are no substantive ethical guidelines for online ethnographic research. The nature of many online communities -this forum in particular- is that information is knowingly made available to the public by its contributors, and that these contributors remain anonymous. It's a bit of an ethical grey patch that review panels have not yet been geared to deal with. Either way, my supervisor, the honours coordinator and myself are all comfortable that my involvement with the AHB community and others like it will be carried out in a responsible, ethical manner.

I hope that changes your mind. It would be great to hear from you :lol:
 

christmas

Active Member
Joined
5/10/10
Messages
37
Reaction score
3
If u read a few books you'd get ur answers. Im sorry but your a masters or PhD student and don't know how to conduct a lit review, quantitative and qualitative analysis? How do u intend on writing this up? U haven't asked specific structured questions or provided info privacy forms for signature. I can't see any academic supervisor signing this off.

If im wrong (almost 2 masters under the belt) then I stand corrected and will direct u in the right direction
Two Masters degrees and you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"?

Maybe you were just all stirred up because he preempted your search function spiel.

The guy is conducting research by seeking answers to specific questions for his thesis - can you point him to a book containing a broad range of personal opinions in regard to ingredient choices?

Do you really think this is for his lit review? That he's going to fill the first chapter of his thesis with references to AHB posts?

Maybe they should just disable the whole 'new topic' button so AHB just remains a historical archive that people can search for information, and never seek clarification or advice on something that has been previously touched on in the past 5 years.

Sorry for this outburst, but it is really starting to shit me seeing you jump in on everyone's posts and telling them not to start topics all the time. If it really pains you to see a new topic on something that's been raised before then just try to ignore it. Or just don't come on here.

Personally, I frequently see new information in threads about subjects that have been discussed before, which is not surprising given that everyone here is actively brewing and having new experiences with ingredients/procedures/equipment.

Okay, I'm done. Good luck with the thesis OP.
 

dougsbrew

Beer Sloth
Joined
14/1/11
Messages
711
Reaction score
67
Two Masters degrees and you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"?

Maybe you were just all stirred up because you he preempted your search function spiel.

The guy is conducting research by seeking answers to specific questions for his thesis - can you point him to a book containing a broad range of personal opinions in regard to ingredient choices?

Do you really think this is for his lit review? That he's going to fill the first chapter of his thesis with references to AHB posts?

Maybe they should just disable the whole 'new topic' button so AHB just remains a historical archive that people can search for information, and never seek clarification or advice on something that has been previously touched on in the past 5 years.

Sorry for this outburst, but it is really starting to shit me seeing you jump in on everyone's posts and telling them not to start topics all the time. If it really pains you to see a new topic on something that's been raised before then just try to ignore it. Or just don't come on here.

Personally, I frequently see new information in threads about subjects that have been discussed before, which is not surprising given that everyone here is actively brewing and having new experiences with ingredients/procedures/equipment.

Okay, I'm done. Good luck with the thesis OP.
do you need a hug? :p

edit - the questions in both of your studies jim seem to be of a market research nature.
 

christmas

Active Member
Joined
5/10/10
Messages
37
Reaction score
3
do you need a hug? :p

edit - the questions in both of your studies jim seem to be of a market research nature.
So, what, he's bullshitting and is actually some lacky from a malting company? I'll pop into UWA on Monday and let them know about the fraud issue.

Give him a break. Like he said, it's research for a cultural anthropology thesis - I don't see how that's too hard to swallow.
 

thedragon

Off topic...
Joined
25/9/10
Messages
798
Reaction score
139
I'm no conspiracy theorist.... So here's my view.

I've only recently moved over to AG brewing. It's been about 12 months now.

When K&K brewing I'd buy which ever coopers kit (thomas coopers amber, coopers lager, coopers aussie pale ale etc.) that took my fancy. I'd add specialty malt or hops in a haphazard way. Someone on ahb would write that a coopers amber lme kit with x grams of crystal malt steeped at y degrees for z minutes with Amarillo to x IBUs gave them a good outcome. I'd try and replicate their results.

As a relative newbie to AG I'm looking to try as many different recipes as I can, although to date it has been exclusivly ales. How do I choose my recipe? I look through the AHB recipe database and associated discussion threads to see what's been rated well. Based on what has been written and how I'm feeling, I'll choose a recipe. I'll then choose ingredients based on what has been recommended in the recipe and what is available at my LHBS G&G. The ingredients sold at G&G are fresh and I've never had any complaints. If the recipe calls for something that's not on the stocklist the staff recommend something similar.

Good luck with your paper.
 

fullbottle

Member
Joined
31/5/12
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
ha, NO! I certainly can't have you thinking that about me. I do my scheming for the other side (I'm a dirty lefty).

As I just sent to screwy, the thesis is intended to contribute to a growing range of literature focused on establishing ecologically and socially sustainable communities. I'm using home brewing as an example of a hedonistic pursuit where communities emerge around values that actually run counter to those promoted by commercial markets and the ruthless institutions that dominate it. I'm arguing that what you can see in home brewing is a form of logic that differs from the apathetic 'buy, use up and discard' form of logic that is being passed off as 'common sense' in affluent societies. In many ways (although not always conscious or obvious) home brewing involves a certain political element that challenges the shape and influence of institutions over the brewer.
 

Ducatiboy stu

Well-Known Member
Joined
2/4/05
Messages
14,269
Reaction score
3,831
the thesis is intended to contribute to a growing range of literature focused on establishing ecologically and socially sustainable communities. I'm using knitting as an example of a hedonistic pursuit where communities emerge around values that actually run counter to those promoted by commercial markets and the ruthless institutions that dominate it. I'm arguing that what you can see in knitting is a form of logic that differs from the apathetic 'buy, use up and discard' form of logic that is being passed off as 'common sense' in affluent societies. In many ways (although not always conscious or obvious) knitting involves a certain political element that challenges the shape and influence of institutions over the knitter

Seems a legit request to me when you think about it
 

bconnery

Share and Enjoy
Joined
16/2/06
Messages
3,506
Reaction score
46
ha, NO! I certainly can't have you thinking that about me. I do my scheming for the other side (I'm a dirty lefty).

As I just sent to screwy, the thesis is intended to contribute to a growing range of literature focused on establishing ecologically and socially sustainable communities. I'm using home brewing as an example of a hedonistic pursuit where communities emerge around values that actually run counter to those promoted by commercial markets and the ruthless institutions that dominate it. I'm arguing that what you can see in home brewing is a form of logic that differs from the apathetic 'buy, use up and discard' form of logic that is being passed off as 'common sense' in affluent societies. In many ways (although not always conscious or obvious) home brewing involves a certain political element that challenges the shape and influence of institutions over the brewer.
And there was me thinking most of them (not me of course :)...) were just tightarses...
 

adniels3n

Well-Known Member
Joined
15/2/11
Messages
134
Reaction score
0
I select my ingredients in ascending profit return to lamb farmers, thereby increasing my likelyhood of receiving a hug from Sam Kekovich.
 

fullbottle

Member
Joined
31/5/12
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Well.. that went somewhere unexpected.. it's all good.

So back on topic, would anybody be willing to discuss the way they choose their ingredients? Are there any considerations that go beyond how that ingredient is going to shape your brew?
 

Helles

Well-Known Member
Joined
29/3/11
Messages
696
Reaction score
108
ha, NO! I certainly can't have you thinking that about me. I do my scheming for the other side (I'm a dirty lefty).

As I just sent to screwy, the thesis is intended to contribute to a growing range of literature focused on establishing ecologically and socially sustainable communities. I'm using home brewing as an example of a hedonistic pursuit where communities emerge around values that actually run counter to those promoted by commercial markets and the ruthless institutions that dominate it. I'm arguing that what you can see in home brewing is a form of logic that differs from the apathetic 'buy, use up and discard' form of logic that is being passed off as 'common sense' in affluent societies. In many ways (although not always conscious or obvious) home brewing involves a certain political element that challenges the shape and influence of institutions over the brewer.

I think someone else wrote this for you or it came straight from a book or internet
 

bum

Not entitled to an opinion
Joined
19/2/09
Messages
11,585
Reaction score
909
What a ridiculous comment.

His post was phrased entirely in layman's terms. What is it you find so implausible?

Anyway...fullbottle, the more you dig around, the more you will discover that "serious" homebrewing is about conformity and that your position may not have legs.

I seriously hope you find otherwise. Best of luck with it.
 

Wolfy

Well-Known Member
Joined
18/12/08
Messages
3,872
Reaction score
64
Location
Melbourne
I want to know what decisions are involved in selecting the ingredients that you use in your brews. How much do you know about the ingredients that you use? What is it that makes them appealing?
As a general rule the type/style of beer that I am brewing provides the basis for the ingredients used.
European styles of beer (eg: lagers) are generally made with European (mostly German) malt and hops, English styles (eg: ales) generally with English malt and hops, Australian and American beer styles generally made with local (Australian) malts and a combination of local (Australian and/or New Zealand) and imported (American) hops. I grow a number of hop-varieties myself so these are sometimes/often used instead of imported products (however I acknowledge that the home-grown product is not identical to what is produced commercially).
Yeast I grow at home, from strains that were imported or swapped with others.
Local (Melbourne) tap water is used in all the beer I make and adjuncts/salts/chemicals come from wherever they are available (there is not usually much choice in these type of products).

Cost and availability are the next consideration.
If the imported ingredients are substantially more expensive then an 'equivalent' local product, I'll substitute that instead, however - for most things - the price difference is not that great when buying in bulk and brewing on a home-brew scale.
In addition, if the beer type/style/recipe calls for a small portion of an ingredient I do not have in stock, but do have something similar, I will often substitute that instead.

I know as much as I need to know about the ingredients - I don't know exactly where/how they were grown or made (the exact farm, or the specific farming, processing or packaging processes) - but I have a good overview of the processes and practices used to give the ingredients I use, and I have a fair idea of where the ingredients are grown/manufactured and how they are processed and packaged.
Detailed (commercial-type) scientific product analysis is available for most all the ingredients I use: Malt suppliers will (upon request) provide product-specification information for the grain (from the batch details printed the sacks of grain), Hop suppliers will provide analysis informaiton (like this), yeast suppliers publish detailed infromation on their websites and the water-company provides (a parts per million) breakdown of what I should expect to find in the water. The scientific-type information available to home-brewers (if they want it) is essentially the same as provided to commercial brewers.

(Hopefully) producing the 'best' beer that I can make is what makes the products appealing. Sometimes the 'best' is to produce a cheap and easy to drink beer from local ingredients, other times the 'best' is trying to emulate a specific beer made overseas and other times the 'best' is following the recipe (and Style Guidelines) suggestions as to what ingredients are 'best' for that beer.
 

Latest posts

Top