30 October 2005

Bottling Hookarm's Xmas Ale

A bottle of Hookarm's Xmas Ale

I just got back from the Honey Creek Brewery, or the garage at my brewing partner's house. We bottled the Holiday beer. It was dark brown, almost mahogany colored, and had an aroma of bananas. That's probably a result of the ale yeast and fermenting at 70°. It tasted mild, though there was a bit of coffee flavor, a result of the black patent malt. The original recipe called for chocolate malt, but I didn't have the recipe with me when I was at Austin Homebrew Supply, so I punted.

The cardamom added a nice flavor, but it was in the background. The vanilla flavor I had hoped for wasn't there. Does anyone have any idea how to get a vanilla flavor in the finish?

We bottled about five gallons, and kegged the other half. I believe Xmas beer should come from a bottle. The final gravity was 1009. That makes the alcohol content 3.7% by weight, and 4/7% by volume.

One hitch in our getalong, however. When we got ready to bottle, we discovered we had no corn sugar. Crap!

Okay, don't panic. We consulted the texts. We used 1 teaspoon of corn syrup dissolved in a cup of water to prime the beer.

So here's the question, has anyone used table sugar to prime, and at what amount? And how much corn syrup should we have used to adequately prime the beer? Any thoughts?


posted by Jeff Holt at 19:14 1 comments links to this post

28 October 2005

World's top 100 beers - with reveiws

The Beer Advocate has released their list of the world's top 100 beers. How many have you heard of?


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:16 3 comments links to this post

26 October 2005

Holiday Beer - The Photo

Here's a picture of I took of my brewing partner stirring the Holiday beer we brewed Sunday.

We transferred the beer to secondary, and the gravity was 1011. The Original gravity was 1045. Here's the formula to calculate the percentage of alcohol by weight:

ABW = 76.08(OG-FG)/(1.775-OG)

So: ABW = 76.08 (1.045-1.011)/(1.775-1.045).
= 76.08 (.034)/(.071)
= 36.4 ?

I know the beer isn't 36% alcohol. So I headed over the The Beer Math Calculator and entered my figures. According to their math, the ABW is 3.4%. It also said my beer had 202 calories per pint.

I use ProMash to record my beers. It says my ABW is 3.49%.

I still don't know why my figure using the math came out 36.4. Anyone have an idea where I went wrong?


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:16 0 comments links to this post

24 October 2005

Capt. Charles Nimitz - Pioneer Brewer

The first brewery in Fredericksburg was located under the saloon at the Nimitz Hotel.

Charles Nimitz was a former merchant seaman from Bremen, Germany who was among the first colonists to arrive in town. Nimitz opened the hotel in 1852, and it quickly became the social center of the town, and was, before the rise of El Paso, the last real hotel between San Antonio and San Diego.

The German colonists brought their singing and debating societies, and the hotel was the perfect gathering place. By 1860, Nimitz was brewing beer under the saloon. Some sources report the beer was shipped as far as "Forts Mason, McKavett, Concho and Martin Scott," but since Fort Martin Scott had ceased to exist, and Fort Concho hadn't been established yet, the claim is unlikely. Local historian Elise Kowart speculated that an early photo of the hotel shows hop vines on several trellises along the side of the two-story hotel.

The Civil War brought shortages to the area, and the cellar brewery was converted into a cistern. The copper brewing kettles stayed in the basement until 1911, when Charles died. No one knows what happened to them after that.

The list of famous persons who stayed at the hotel is impressive: Robert E. Lee, O. Henry, Rutherford B. Hayes, Phil Sheridan, Ulysses S. Grant, Johnny Ringo and Jesse James. Charles' grandson, Chester W. Nimitz was born down the street. Chester would become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Forces during World War II.

The hotel is now home to The Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War, run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

I have written a book about Texas breweries. You can buy it here.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:34 0 comments links to this post

22 October 2005

Boston Brewing Company announces Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest

Nature's Perfect Beer!

Every year, Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch travels to Europe to purchase hops for his beer. This year, to celebrate the 2005 harvest, his company is brewing a special Pilsener using Hallertauer Mittelfruh hops.

With the first sip, beer enthusiasts will experience an explosion of the Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops. This rare hops variety, considered to be one of the best in the world, is prized for its quality and aromatic characteristics. The intensity of deep citrus, spicy Noble hops flavor, is balanced with the slight sweetness from the malt. Due to the quality of the hops, this beer remains balanced and smoothly drinkable. The lingering "hops signature" is an amazing treat for hops lovers. The beer, which has a deep golden color and a rich, creamy head, gives off an intense and complex Noble hops aroma, very similar to what Jim experiences when he rubs the hops together in his hands during hops selection, to release the essence of the hops flowers.

A limited edition brew, Imperial Pilsner will only be available in select beer outlets.


posted by Jeff Holt at 14:35 0 comments links to this post

20 October 2005

The peltier Beer personal beverage cooler

Here are the instructions for building a personal beverage cooler. According to the story, it will keep your Guinness cold even in the sun! I hope the Nobel committee is keeping an eye on this.


posted by Jeff Holt at 06:55 1 comments links to this post

16 October 2005

Hookarm's Dark Holiday Ale - Again

Our Christmas Beer is ready to measure.

This afternoon, we brewed our Christmas beer. Or, in our more politically correct times, our December beer.

It had a nice dark color, and a wonderful aroma. The Original Gravity is 1044. I expect the final gravity to be around 1010, and the alcohol content to be about 3.5 - 4% alcohol.


posted by Jeff Holt at 21:05 1 comments links to this post

14 October 2005

Hookarm's Dark Holiday Ale

This recipe is a result of having dead yeast at brew time. Then I broke my leg. Now that I'm able to get around, we're going to try to squeeze in a Christmas or, more politically correct, Holiday beer. I think we'll start with the base recipe and add the spices from the Jul Øl. So, without further ado:

  • 5 lb dark DME
  • 60L Crystal Malt 1/3 pound
  • chocolatee Malt 2.5 oz
  • Perle Hops 6% AA 3/4 oz 60 minutes
  • Mt. Hood Hops 6% AA 3/4 oz 30 minutes
  • Tettnanger Hops 5% AA 2/3 oz 10 minutes
  • 3 vanilla beans chopped
  • 1 tsp crushedcardamomm
  • lager yeast

Steep grains in 1 gallon of water at 150F for 30 minutes. Strain. (Optional:You can bring a quart of water to 170F while the grains are steeping. After straining, slowly pour the water over the grains to sparge.) Add DME and bring to a boil. Add the hops as described above. At the end of the boil, add the vanilla bean andcardamomm. Cool to 80 degrees and pitch yeast. Ferment for one week. Bottle with 3/4 cup corn sugar.

OG = 1040

Normally, I would bottle this in a amber, 2 liter growler or bottle. You want to share a holiday beer.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:06 0 comments links to this post

12 October 2005

Is Beer Losing its Fizz?

Here's an interesting article about the loss of market share the brewing industry has suffered as a whole. Beer is perceived to be a poor man's drink; not as varied as cocktails and wine. "Beer is suffering from a bit of an image problem. The core consumer of a cold brew is widely thought to be either the football-loving couch potato or anyone with a household income below $45,000 a year. But in today's Internet-savvy, consumer-driven culture, those are not exactly the beacons of a populace that increasingly buys well-designed home products at Target and flips longingly through the Pottery Barn catalogue."

This is a perfect example of what I call the "Snob Factor." Basically, the more expensive the activity (doesn't matter what it is), the more people want to participate to distance themselves from "the unwashed masses." Hence, beer snobs prefer Heineken over Bud. Wine snobs prefer wine over Heineken. And alcohol snobs prefer single malt scotch over wine.

I say, let 'em have their fun. Remember, beer is the civilized drink. Wine was made with wild fruits and honeys, no agriculture needed. But beer, well, you need agriculture to produce the grain, and you need civilization to support the agriculture. The next time a wine snob sniffs disdainfully in your direction as you quaff a brew, feel satisfied that you are continuing to support civilization.


posted by Jeff Holt at 06:16 1 comments links to this post

10 October 2005

I made it to Oktoberfest

Jessica, Gary, and me (Hint: I'm the fat guy)

I did make Oktoberfest this year, but only for one day. Normally, I help run the beer bars (think fox in the hen house) and am there all three days. This year, with a broken leg, I decided to work Sunday only. Here's the proof.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:01 0 comments links to this post

08 October 2005

World's Largest Beer Can Pyramid!

If you live in Australia, you can bid on the largest beer can pyramid in the world! Assembled by the Melbourne University Activities Department, it consisits of 10,660 cleaned, empty beer cans, stands over 16 1/2 feet tall with 39 levels.

There is no indication that the build team is responsible for the onsumption of the beer, but the pyramid is conctructed of several pre-glued blocks.

Should you be the winner, the build team will reconstruct the pyramid at your place.


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:20 0 comments links to this post

04 October 2005

Those clever Germans!

German inventors have come up with a beer mat that will let the bartender know when the glass is empty.


posted by Jeff Holt at 18:05 0 comments links to this post

02 October 2005

Anheuser-Busch rolls out First Seasonal Ale

Anheuser-Busch unveiled Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, under the Michelob imprint, as their first seasonal ale. This first offering will be bottled but future beers will only be kegged.


posted by Jeff Holt at 06:00 1 comments links to this post