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> chat transcripts - Greg Noonan, author and pub brewer
post May 24 2004, 08:25 AM
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Joined: 16-March 02
From: Mooresville, NC
Member No.: 201

Mr. Noonan is the author of "Brewing Lager Beer", "The Seven Barrel Brewery Brewers' Handbook", and "Scotch Ale" from the Classic Beer Style Series. Greg is also the founder of The Vermont Pub and Brewery. I ripped off the following passage from their website;

The Vermont Pub and Brewery opened in November of 1988, but its' history did not begin on that day. For three years, Greg and Nancy Noonan petitioned the Vermont legislature to change the law to allow pub brewing in the the state. The legislation was passed in May of 1988. The Noonans began working to convert a space that has formerly been a prep kitchen, office, and a banquet room into a 14 barrel brewery to service the 175 seat restaurant.

The brewery equipment itself is a compilation of old-fasioned Yankee ingenuity. You see a lot of showpiece breweries nowadays, but a decade ago these off-the-shelf brewies didn't exist. Using a maple sap boiler, a stockyard feeder, and a former commercial ice cream manufacturing vessel, Greg Noonan designed a brewery that has become nationally and internationally known and respected for its' fine ales and lagers. Greg is a well known speaker at national beer conferences and has written numerous articles for various industry publications. He has also acted as a consultant for several brew-pubs and micro breweries regarding start-up and brewery design.

You can visit them at:


ale: OK, my clock now reads 8:00. The Chat's officially started.
BlueDevil0206: Thomas: loudmouth jackass
invalid: *pants back on*
Thomas: that's me!
BlueDevil0206: lol
ahunt: ?
invalid: ?
ale: Please keep things orderly for Greg by following the "?" protocol
MtnBrewer: ?
ale: Go ahunt
ale: go ahunt
ahunt: Greg, any suggestions on how to go about brewing lagers without temperature control for the
ahunt: move to lagering?
ahunt: Between Primary and secondary?
ahunt: (Can;t type too fast.....)
lakesidebrewer: ahunt, assuming you can't control lager temperature, lager for less time.
ahunt: I can control lafger temp, just not the transition so much....
BlueDevil0206: capital T ted, how ya doin
lakesidebrewer: I don't think that I would lose sleep over it, as long as the beer isn't get up above 70 or so.
Ted: Hey, what up!! Welcome backlakesidebrewer
ahunt: Cool. I was worried about 55 to 38...
ahunt: end.
BryanH: ?
Thomas: go invy
lakesidebrewer: not a problem that I could see. look at the many breweries brewing passable 'lagers' that never drop below 60 until they are done. end
ale: Go Invalid
invalid: Are there negative effects of moving a beer slowly to room temp after it's already fermented and spent 2 months lagering in its 2ndary for 2 months?
invalid: to age for a while while you wait for a keg to open up (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
invalid: *highfives himself*
BlueDevil0206: oh geeze
invalid: yea, no typos, bd
lakesidebrewer: invalid, I would say: No, if the beer isn't on top of appreciable trub, but yes, it will potentially cause flavor problems if there is trub. end,
cj_in_j: ?
invalid: thx
ale: Go MtnBrewer
MtnBrewer: George Fix recommended against decoction due to HSA/oxidation problems, can you comment on that and do you take any special steps to avoid HSA?
Ted: ?
ale: Excellant question.
lakesidebrewer: Every brewer needs to pay attention to HSA....
lakesidebrewer: Decoctions themselves do not appreciably contribute to HSA, given that there is not an increase in splashing/oxidizing...
BlueDevil0206: yeah, i don't see how decoctions could cause aeration
lakesidebrewer: the density of the mash 'wort' seems to protect it from HSA from boiling. Only George could have answered why... end.
MtnBrewer: With the extra handling of the wort, splashing, etc. is more likely
ale: Go BryanH
BryanH: Greg, the conventional homebrew wisdom is that due to the nature of modern well-modified malts protein rests are unnecessary. My minority opinion is that even highly modified malts with high protein content can benefit from the extra rest.
BryanH: What are your thoughts on the topic?
lakesidebrewer: Yes, Mtn, no doubt it increases the risk of oxidation, but not necessarily, if one is careful. end
MtnBrewer: thx
lakesidebrewer: Bryan - a couple of issues here...
lakesidebrewer: I agree that beers from well modified malts may not benefit by a protein rest - in fact, it can strip head-body proteins out of the wort...
lakesidebrewer: On the other hand, there are flavor developments in a decoction that are very positive...
lakesidebrewer: So, a rest that doesn't reduce proteins too far is ok, even with well modified malts, but it does require paying attention, and learning through experience how much is too much...
lakesidebrewer: I think that this chat room would be a good place for brewers to compare notes about how long a rest seems to produce the best result using different brands of malt. end.
ale: Go CJ
BryanH: thanks Greg, I like the decoction method and generally do singles with pils and Munich malt; BTW your book is an invaluable resource
cj_in_j: When I was working in the local brewpub, we pitched our yeast cold, directly out of the fridge. . . . .
cj_in_j: . . . . . Since then, IÕve been reading that this is somewhat common for lagers, but havenÕt seen much written about ales. . . . .
cj_in_j: . . . . . What are your thoughts about pitching cold yeast slurry (32-40F) into fermentation-temp (or slightly lower) wort, especially for ales?
lakesidebrewer: Again, I think it is somewhat strain dependent, but a versatile yeast is going to handle the higher temp with no problem...
lakesidebrewer: There are strains that it would shock, but most of those strains have been weeded out of commercial use, So, some homebrew strains might not handle it, but if they can, it is a safe way of preserving the yeast and discouraging contaminant growth. end.
cj_in_j: Do you handle your lager yeasts that way (or similarly)?
ale: Go Ted
Ted: When is the best time to perform a diacetyl rest? At the end of primary fermentation, or about 2/3 through primary fermentation?
ale: BTW, Greg. CJ is Chatting with us from Japan.
ale: Another excellant question, Ted.
lakesidebrewer: Yes, although with any brew we always 'feed' and aerate the yeast before pitching time, letting the temp rise up near pitching temp. by the way, it is old time brewers advice to always pitch yeast at a colder temp than the wort itself. end,
cj_in_j: Thanks.
Jimvy: ?
MtnBrewer: ?
lakesidebrewer: Ted, I believe it does not matter - for time efficiency, go for 2/3 through. end
Ted: thanks Greg!! And your books have been invaluable to me
ale: Go Jimvy
Jimvy: What are your thoughts on the need for a diacetyl rest with today's malts....still necessary?
lakesidebrewer: Ted, thanks - nice to hear. Jimvy, there are yeast strains, such as ringwood which is very common in New England breweries that are huge diacetyl producers...
lakesidebrewer: almost irregardless of the wort quality. They need diacetyl control...
repairman: first time in chat room.
lakesidebrewer: So, although the malsters may say they have reduced the precursors, it is more dependent on the yeast strain than it is the malt brand. end.
Jimvy: thanks
ale: Go MtnBrewer
MtnBrewer: A followup to Bryan's protein rest question...I've seen sources that claim a protein rest can actually *improve* head retention rather than degrade it, your thoughts?
Kent: ?
lakesidebrewer: I agree. It depends on 1. the malt itself - over or under modiified, and 2. the efficiency of the rest. With undermodified malt...
ale: ...
lakesidebrewer: it is always going to improve the head retention, with overmodified malt, it may actually make it worse. end.
MtnBrewer: thx, Greg
lakesidebrewer: My pleasure.
ale: Go Kent
Kent: Speaking of maltsters control over diacetyl, I have also noticed that some malts produce far more sulpher production that others and take longer to disappate
lakesidebrewer: Oh yeah...
lakesidebrewer: And some of those are otherwise very good malts for other reasons...
Kent: Not that I have had a problem with them it is just something i noticed
lakesidebrewer: One way to overcome this is to increase your fermentation temp - generally, yeast only produce sulfur problems when the temp is retarded...
Kent: At what degree lager? Ale?
lakesidebrewer: so, you can somewhat control problems from malts in the fermenter. Kent, as far as temps...
Kent: Yes I agree
Kent: TLC
lakesidebrewer: generic temperature guidelines are great, but they are relatively meaningless, because what one lager yeast strain will do at 48 another one will do at 55...
ale: ?
Kent: My thoughts as well ,thanks
Thomas: go ale
Ted: go Ale
Ted: *slap*
Thomas: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/tongue.gif)
cj_in_j: I don't think it's ale's turn yet!
cj_in_j: HA
twocents: ouch
lakesidebrewer: that said, generally speaking MODERN, US lab-grown lager yeasts commonly produce sulfur flavors anywhere be,low 50 - with ale yeasts, that number is about 60 for some strains, and not at all for other strains. end.
ale: Greg, several German brewers have told be in the past that they no longer do decoctions at all...
Ted: ?
ale: because the maltsters are doing all of the work for them...
lakesidebrewer: Ale, Very true, especially the big brewers. And yes, German malsters have almost entirely switched over to American methods/goals...
Thomas: ale: I just attended a presentation by Roger Drescher yesterday (alt bier presentation) and he said it's more the government
ale: do you still do decoctions in your brewery and do you seek out undermodified malt?
Thomas: the government is pressing for them to give up decoctions because of the energy consumption
lakesidebrewer: We always ask for a batch analysis when we buy malt, and look at the soluble protein percentage to decide how to mash it....
twocents: with all the hot air govt produces, that should make up for energy loss
lakesidebrewer: We don't have decoction capability at VPB, but at my ex-wife's brewpub the brewer Paul White decocts every lager, and yes, we intentionally seek undermodified malt...
Kent: ?
JDonovan: ?
lakesidebrewer: Surprisingly, one of the best is Munton's lager malt - a very versatile malt. Weissheimer is good too. end/
ale: Go Ted
Ted: there has been discussion of fully modified malt converting in a 15 min mash, what are your thoughts?
lakesidebrewer: I totally agree, given temp and pH are on the money...
lakesidebrewer: However, no harm is done by extending the mash time! end.
Ted: would you be missing any possible flavor contributions with a short mash?
cj_in_j: Is there any benefit?
cj_in_j: Of extending?
lakesidebrewer: No, but you may getting less reduction of dextrins to fermentable sugars...
Ted: thanks again
lakesidebrewer: I don't think there is any benefit to a short mash time, and the benefit of extending is knowing that you may be finishing an unfinished job. Iodine test shows all... end.
ale: Go Kent
Kent: What percentage of soluble protien in a malt determines your mashing procedure ?IE single infusion or a decoction?
lakesidebrewer: This is a little complex - a low % soluble nitrogen malt (by low, I would say below 42%) might convert to sugars incompletely, because the starch-protein matrixes are too complex for the enzymes to reuce...
lakesidebrewer: and this does happen with beers - very sweet, very mouthfilling beers that weren't meant to be that way...
lakesidebrewer: However, we for instance brew a beer we want to be very syrupy, so we use relatively undermodified malt in a single step infusion...
Kent: So it is a property of the particular malt
lakesidebrewer: generally speaking, we don't use any malt with a % soluble over 48%, and expect to do at least a rest for any malt under 42%.
lakesidebrewer: end.
Kent: So that one Pale ale malt my not produce the same results given the same mashing procedures?
lakesidebrewer: Kent, yes it is entirely malt dependent. One British maltster, Paul's, makes a pale malt that I defy any brewer to get a beer with any mouthfeel...
Kent: I concur,Thanks!
ale: Go JDonovan
JDonovan: Greg......are you provided with what you considere an accurate lot analysis with every grain delivery? If so, and on the same note, are any of your malt choices based on the accuracy (repeatability)of their analysis as opposed to the reputation of the malt?
lakesidebrewer: on the other hand, Munton's and especially Fawcetts produce relatively undermodified ale malts that give big body and head and residual sweetness. end.
lakesidebrewer: Donovan - Yes...
JDonovan: end. thanks!
lakesidebrewer: we do get a batch analysis, and years ago we did leave using Canada Malt over a bad analysis - actually over the bad lot itself, which they tacked erronious numbers to...
ale: Any more questions for Greg?
JDonovan: so the *software* wasn't to blame? jajaja....thanks muchly Greg!!
lakesidebrewer: but generally we have no problems with the analysis provided. just that one time. end.
Thomas: ?
Ted: Greg, what's your favorite lager malt, and favorite ale malt
cj_in_j: ?
Ted: oops, sorry, I went out of turn!!
ale: Go Thomas
Thomas: I have read in a newsgroup that there's one of the recipes in the scotch ale book that is missing cara-pils. Was that a misprint or intentional?
Thomas: mishap whatever
Thomas: the book is good!
lakesidebrewer: Ted, my favorite lager malt is one that we can't use in our infusion-only brewery - the Czech Pils from St, Pats of Texas, really undermodified, great lager malt. My favorite ale malt is Fawcett's floor-malted MAris Otter, for the complexity of flavor. Thom
lakesidebrewer: end. Thomas:
Ted: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)
ale: Go CJ
lakesidebrewer: It was entirely intentional. The only two Scots brewers that use any caramel malts to any extent are Caledonian and Scottish/Newcastle...
Kent: ?
cj_in_j: Already answered in ted's question.
Thomas: thanks greg, people need to try it themselves anyway
lakesidebrewer: I don't think that any scottish ale needs any caramel malts - and the proof is that they don't use them. end.
Ted: ?
Thomas: but I've had trouble getting much sweetness with just plain malt and mashing at 158F
Thomas: especially with simpsons golden promise
lakesidebrewer: Thomas, what malt brand do you usually use?
lakesidebrewer: Woops, you answered that...
Thomas: (I didn't have the lot analysis, so I can't figure out what the problem is)
lakesidebrewer: I have never used simpsons, but I would bet its SNR% is over 48%...
Thomas: damn
Thomas: thanks, I will have to look for that
lakesidebrewer: if you are getting "thin" flavors at 158 degrees. wow. Try another malt.
Thomas: so to clarify, you need a low SNR% to do a real scotch ale
Thomas: yeah, I was surprised at how little sweetness was there too
Thomas: oh well, it answers my question, thanks
Thomas: sorry Ted lol
Ted: What's your thoughts on the use of Peat malt in Scottish ales?
lakesidebrewer: Thomas, not a low SNR, but at least what would have been considered normal up until the last decade or so - below 48 is a good rule. By the way, homebrew shops can get this information from their wholesaler. all they have to do is ask. end. Ted:
ale: Go Kent
Kent: Not a question just that I really like Fawcetts Maris Otter as well a fantastic tasting malt.
lakesidebrewer: I love peat malt in Scots ales, especially if it is subtle. By the way, the artisinal brewers in Scotland heavily favor Fawcett's malt - that is where I first learned of them. end
ale: Brewers, my clock now says 8:56...
Ted: wow, not what I expected!! lol
Thomas: peat is good
ale: ...in 4 minutes Mr. Noonan is officially 'off the hook.
llama_boy: ?
lakesidebrewer: Going back to Thomas question, I think I might be misleading when I quote 48 - I would prefer always using malts 42-45 if possible. Ted, you don't like peat?
lakesidebrewer: end.
ale: ...any more questions?
Ted: not that I don't like peat, just not what I expected
ale: Go Llama
MtnBrewer: ?
llama_boy: Based on a previous question/answer; Which lager malt do you prefer for an infusion mash?
lakesidebrewer: Well, I like a scottish ale just plain, but a little peat can be nice, and in a big Scotch ale it can be really nice. llama boy:
lakesidebrewer: Weissheimer or Munton's lager in an infusion. Many others also are fine...
llama_boy: thanks.
lakesidebrewer: and Weissheimer definitely increases sulfur potential, but it is a very pale lager, so it is versatile.
lakesidebrewer: end.
cj_in_j: ?
ale: Go MtnBrewer
MtnBrewer: 1 more protein rest question...would a higher temp. rest (favoring protease) potentially be better for head retention since it would degrade the big proteins into medium-sized ones?
lakesidebrewer: ah, a great question...
lakesidebrewer: I am totally in agreement - the problem is that the high end of the protein rest is the low end of beta amylase activity...
lakesidebrewer: which introduces the problem of wearing out the beta amylase before the alpha has cracked the complex dextrins...
lakesidebrewer: but that said, I think that using any malt with a SNR of 42 or above, it is the only rational choice...
lakesidebrewer: And in my own experience, boy does it produce head and lace and head retention. A good temp? 128-131 or so. end.
ale: Go CJ
cj_in_j: I can get Crisp Maris Otter and Optic here (Japan) easily and relatively cheaply. Any opinions/experiences using Crisp malts?
MtnBrewer: great.... thanks again
JDonovan: ?
lakesidebrewer: cj I haven't used Crisp in years...
lakesidebrewer: but it has always been a great malt...
cj_in_j: Any reason you stopped using it?
lakesidebrewer: and brewers I know who use it swear by it for the same reason I swear by Fawcetts. The reason we don't use it is that...
lakesidebrewer: Fawcetts is the smallest malster in England, and we want to help keep them in business. end.
cj_in_j: Thanks! For the answer and for the whole chat!@!!!!
ale: Go JDonovan
JDonovan: Hey I have to leave. This was not actually a question but Greg I want to say thanks, this was the BEST chat yet, with more usable information than we have yet seen. Thanks! Night gents, catch ya next week....
lakesidebrewer: Merci. cj, It has been my pleasure. Donovan good night.
cj_in_j: Greg, next time you're in Japan, I'll buy you a pint -- just let me know.
Thomas: lol
cj_in_j: (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
lakesidebrewer: I guess I am heading for a pint. We have a lager on that I really like, and I think that I would like one now!. end]
cj_in_j: Thomas, you too.
twocents: good info = good questions
twocents: btw, that ginger ale is finally carbonating
lakesidebrewer: cj would love to get to Japan - what is brewing there like?
Ted: Greg, thanks, JDon wasn't kidding, this is the best chat we've had!!!
ale: Greg, JDon is a regular on our Chat's and has been a past guest.....
lakesidebrewer: I am very complimented!
cj_in_j: Still behind the times, lots of poorly made German style ales and lagers. But, it's gettting better.
Kent: Thanks Greg Cheers!
ahunt: Great chat and Info, Greg. Now, all I have to do is wait for fall to take a shot a lagers....
ale: ...he PM'd me during the Chat expressing these same feelings...
cj_in_j: The local brewpub in my town does some great ales!
cj_in_j: Brewer is American.
ale: ...I have to say, I agree...
lakesidebrewer: OK, time for beer! See you all, and Ale, I am happy to come back anytime.
twocents: wouldn't mind going to japan, as long as I can take a boat
cj_in_j: Thanks again.
Thomas: later Greg
BryanH: thanks very much, Greg; great info tonight
ale: ...a lot of good questions and a LOT of good replies.
Kent: Clapping
ahunt: Enjoy that well deserved beer!
MtnBrewer: I assume there will be a transcript posted? I'm going to print it and tape it to my brewery wall! Great chat, no kidding!
cj_in_j: 2cents -- A boat will take you a while, but it's possible.
lakesidebrewer: Thanks to you all. Keep brewing great beer.
cj_in_j: You too!!!!
TexanBrewer: well, that exculdes me! (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)
cj_in_j: WOW!
Thomas: Texan lol
twocents: it is possible, I just don't wanna fly
twocents: a ffreighter would be reasonable most likely
twocents: but perhaps unpredictable
cj_in_j: Probably, but if you have time, should be fun.
llama_boy: Great chat.. I can't wait to read the transcript to see what I missed.
twocents: yep
MtnBrewer: Ale, thanks for getting Greg. This really has been the best chat yet.
cj_in_j: Ale -- great guest. Who's next, who's next!!??!!
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