30 November 2007

Conical Woes

Satan sent me an email about our conical woes: ". . .read below….does that sound familiar?
"Acetobacter: Oxidizes ethyl alcohol to acetic acid, creating vinegar. Aerobic or micro-aerobic-must have some air. Tolerant of hop resins and low pH. Forms tough pellicle. Most common in lightly carbonated draft beers.
"Causes acidity, turbidity, ropiness. Forms a greasy looking pellicle on the surface of infected beer. Easily prevented by excluding air-keep carboys full, or flush with CO2!
"Too much head space perhaps?"

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:58 0 comments links to this post

28 November 2007

World Champion Beer Carrier

A Bavarian-born Australian restaurant manager, Reinhard Wurtz carried 20 one liter beer steins 40 metres last night, breaking the previous record of 16, held by German barmaid Anita Schwartz.

Oh, waiter!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:31 0 comments links to this post

26 November 2007

Peppercorn Rye Bock

The last time I went to Austin Homebrew, I succumbed to temptation and bought Extreme Brewing by Sam Caligione, and found this recipe. I modified it based on available hops, and I had a half pound of Crystal 40L malt. Although the recipe called for lager yeast, I thought I would try it with a Kolsch yeast, since it's pretty clean.

ProMash Brewing Session Printout
--------------------------------

Brewing Date: Friday November 16, 2007
Head Brewer: Jeff
Asst Brewer:
Recipe: Peppercorn Rye Bock

ProMash Brewing Session - Recipe Details Printout
-------------------------------------------------

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
-------------------------------

14-A Bock, Traditional Bock

Min OG: 1.064 Max OG: 1.072
Min IBU: 20 Max IBU: 35
Min Clr: 14 Max Clr: 30 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
----------------

Batch Size (GAL): 5.00 Wort Size (GAL): 5.00
Total Extract (LBS): 9.50
Anticipated OG: 1.065 Plato: 15.80
Anticipated SRM: 9.5
Anticipated IBU: 31.8
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Actual OG: 1.055 Plato: 13.50
Actual FG: 1.012 Plato: 3.07

Alcohol, Est.: 6.77 By Weight 8.53 By Volume - Full Attenuation.
Alcohol, Actual: 4.42 By Weight 5.64 By Volume - Measured Actuals.


Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Gravity SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.3 0.50 lbs. Crystal 40L America 1.034 40
10.5 1.00 lbs. Flaked Rye America 1.034 2
5.3 0.50 lbs. Munich Malt(2-row) America 1.035 6
68.4 6.50 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract 1.035 7
10.5 1.00 lbs. Light Dry Malt Extract 1.046 7


Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.00 oz. Chinook Pellet 12.20 11.2 10 min.
1.00 oz. Willamette Pellet 4.50 20.6 60 min.


Extras

Amount Name Type Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.00 Tsp Peppercorn Melange Spice 2 Min.(boil)
1.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 10 Min.(boil)


Yeast
-----

White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kolsch



Notes
-----

Bring grains in 2 gal water to 170. remove grains. Add extract. boil 5 m
inutes. Add hops and start 60 minute timer.

I missed my OG by 100th of a point. I got 1054 instead of the estimated 1064. So we'll see what happens. When I told Satan, he said, "Maybe if you boil longer it will raise the OG? 15 minutes at a rolling boil may make all the difference in the world!!!!"

So that's for next time!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:39 2 comments links to this post

24 November 2007

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

Someone should let anonymous know he's gonna be crying again! I have just tasted the best beer ever to come out of the Little Brewery in Shiner!

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager
Appearance (0-3): Pours up dark brown to black with a thin off-white head. 2 Points.
Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Slightly sweet, roasted malts are faint. 3 points.
Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): Very little hop flavor. Malt dominates. 4 points.
Aftertaste (0-3): Starts of maly sweet and finishes roasty on the back of the tongue, but very subtle. Not overpowering at all. 3 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Full-bodied. Very nice. 3 points
Overall Impression (0-3): This is officially My Beer. It is very drinkable, and the roast flavor doesn't build up too much over time. This is very much like a German Schwarzbier I had a few years ago. Very smooth. 3 Points
Total: 18 Points

The only reason that this doesn't rate a 20 is that the head is a bit thin, and the aroma is a bit faint. But I ain't complaining!

Sorry, Anonymous!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 20:28 3 comments links to this post

22 November 2007

Wassup?


posted by Jeff Holt at 19:41 0 comments links to this post

20 November 2007

The Carbon Footprint of Wine

Dr. Vino's Wine Blog recently finished a study on the sustainability of wine. Here are some of his findings:

* Organic farming has lower greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity than conventional farming but I was surprised that the difference wasn’t greater. Clearly there may be other differences in a local ecosystem but the GHG difference was surprisingly small. But on the whole, it was the transportation that played a more significant role from a GHG perspective.
* Regarding the “food miles” debate, we find that distance does matter.
* But not all miles that a bottle travels are the same. Efficiencies in transportation make container ships better than trucks, which in turn are better than planes.
* Shipping premium wine, bottled at the winery, around the world mostly involves shipping glass with some wine in it. In this regard, drinking wine from a magnum is the more carbon-friendly choice since the glass-to-wine ratio is less. Half-bottles, by contrast, worsen the ratio.
* Shipping wine in bulk from the source and bottling closer to the point of consumption lowers carbon intensity.
* Light packaging material such as Tetra-Pak or bag-in-a-box has much less carbon intensity.
* Using oak chips is a more carbon friendly alternative than oak barrels, particularly those that are shipped assembled and empty around the world
* There’s a “green line” that runs down the middle of Ohio. For points to the West of that line, it is more carbon efficient to consume wine trucked from California. To the East of that line, it’s more efficient to consume the same sized bottle of wine from Bordeaux, which has had benefited from the efficiencies of container shipping, followed by a shorter truck trip. In the event that a carbon tax were ever imposed, it would thus have a decidedly un-nationalistic impact.

I know, this is a beer blog, but all this means is that you should support your local brewery--or, whoever's the closest to you. And you should buy kegs.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:37 0 comments links to this post

18 November 2007

TABC Lunacy

Before I get too far into this, I should point out that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission enforces the laws passed by the State Legislature.

I recently received an email from Rahr & Sons Brewing and something in the newsletter sparked a rant. Here's the text:

PUB CRAWL
Remember - we can't tell you where we will be as the TABC will not allow that... But we give you really "HARD" clues to figure out where we will be from one point to the next......... I think you can figure it out for a RAHR BEER!!!!!! At the end of the evening we will be giving out great Rahr items and remember - DESIGNATED DRIVERS are welcome and always needed.
The next pub crawl will be next Friday, November 16th.
We are hitting the Stockyards and we're hitting them hard!
HERE is the SCHEDULE:
1) 6-7:00 PM We will start at this great little Wine and Beer Boutique. It's our LONESTAR's best and one of the first to sell Rahr beer in the Stockyards!!!!
2) 7-8:00 PM Walk across the TRAIL with your BOSS to have a burger and a Rahr Beer
3) I heard an ALBINO ELEPHANT does not like beer - well maybe he hasn't had a RAHR BEER Before. Maybe tonight we can give him one. From 8-9:00 PM we can test this theory at this Fort Worth Institution
4) From 9-10:00 PM we will walk over to a great STEAKHOUSE where the CATTLE run scared and the MEN are hungry !!!!!
5) From 10-11:00 pm we will go next door to a place that has welcomed RAHR beer and where the Buffalo Butt's roam. This Hotel/Bar/Restaurant has always been a huge RAHR SUPPORTER - So lets finish up strong at this welcoming water hole It's not at G2 - but you might find it one more down the list - G2's Neighbor! A, B, C, D, E, F, G, _, I, J.......... and 1, 2, _, 4, 5,
HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE - Regards and remember to DRINK RESPONSIBLY
The RAHR BEER GANG !!!!!!!

Notice that the brewery can't tell you where to buy their beer. No other industry in the state of Texas is prohibited from telling you where to purchase their product. Wineries, I am reasonably sure, can tell you what stores and bars sell their product. But breweries can't. That's something that needs to be changed.

I am thinking about a couple of other things that the Legislature needs to address: sales on microbrewery grounds and brewpubs packaging and selling their beers through wholesalers.

If you live in Texas, contact your legislator. Tell them about this email. Tell them you think it's stupid.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 20:59 1 comments links to this post

16 November 2007

Swear Jar


posted by Jeff Holt at 19:37 0 comments links to this post

14 November 2007

Hookarm's Golden Ale - Tasting notes

On the verge of slipping into depression over the loss of the vanilla porter, I decided to finally tap the Hookarm's Golden Ale.

While I can't pump my fists and shout "I'm da man!" I can say it's not bad. But compared to the porter that's not saying much.

Hookarm's Golden Ale


Appearance (0-3): brownish amber, cloudy with floaties--looks like hops flakes, and a moderatly thick head. 1 point
Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Malt sweetness with no hop aroma. 1 point
Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): Malt sweetness replaced with bitter hops on back of tongue. Slightly sweet. 2 points
Aftertaste (0-3): hops linger lightly on the tongue. 2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Nice mouthfeel. Light but not wimpy. 3 points
Overall Impression (0-3): Again, this is an old recipe. Looking through my hindsight glasses, I thought this was a much better beer. But, and this is a big but, my technique has slipped a bit. There are floaties in the beer. But it tastes good. So I will drink it. I will enjoy it, and I will contemplate improvements. 2 Points
Total: 11 points

Depression still looms, but has receded on the horizon.

Actually, the reason this isn't hoppy is that I left out an ounce of hops. I found it in my pantry. Ooops.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:21 0 comments links to this post

12 November 2007

Vanilla Porter R. I. P.

My first mistake was buying a stainless steel conical. Second mistake: Making a sour beer in it. Third mistake: Fermenting a porter in the conical. Fourth mistake: Keeping the sour porter to "see what would happen."

I made a Vanilla Porter, and when I kegged,I put the vanilla into the keg. I should have known, or at least anticipated, that whatever bugs soured the porter would consume the vanilla.

This stuff smells of rubbing alcohol. Very Astringent smell. The beer is cloudy, or muddy as Satan called it, and tastes sour. Not a bad taste, but I'm not sure I want to drink more of this.

I may have to get a real beer to cry into.

A quote leaps to mind: "I could have mixed it with chocolate and vagina and it still wouldn't have helped." -- Justin Crossley, the Brewcaster.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:12 0 comments links to this post

11 November 2007

Scottish Surprise Scottish Ale - Kegging notes

I sampled this the other day, and found it had no aroma and no flavor.

I kegged it tonight. My OG was 1.030. My FG was 1.008. I poured up a cup of the beer to measure, and noticed it was pretty clear. It smelled of yeast, mainly because I shook it up when I moved it into the kitchen to keg. There is a hint of maltiness and some hops, but it is surprisingly tasteless.

When I opened the conical to clean it, I discovered white flakes that looked wax- or plastic-like had adhered to the sides. Anyone have a clue?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:47 3 comments links to this post

10 November 2007

Major Brewers and Craft Beer

Coors makes Blue Moon. Anheuser Busch makes Wild Hop Lager. And Miller makes Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. Not that you would know it from the labels.

In an effort to retain market share, the big brewers are making their own craft beers without letting us know. And sales of their craft beers are up 45% over last year. Sales of independent craft beers are up 16%.

"We see Blue Moon as being a special brand," says Andy England, chief marketing officer of Coors Brewing Co., the U.S. unit of Molson Coors. It's "no more relevant than Kashi [cereal] being owned by Kellogg or Lexus being owned by Toyota," he says.

Big brewers also are attracted to craft beers because they are priced higher, improving their bottom lines.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:17 0 comments links to this post

08 November 2007

Profit and Hypocrisy Collide in Mesquite

Rickey D. Sawyer, who owns a beer store in Balch Springs and is planning others in Sherman and in East Texas, lives in Mesquite, Texas. Mesquite is dry. No alcohol, beer or wine is sold in the town. Sawyer also opposes alcohol sales in the town where he lives. "This is a hugely family-oriented city. This is what attracts people to Mesquite," he said. He also said he said allowing retail alcohol sales in the city where he raises his own children would "open up a Pandora's box."

"There's just so much that comes along with it," said Sawyer. "Sometimes it's not about the money; it's about what is right."

Is this really a case of NIMBY, or is Mr. Sawyer operating from less noble motives--Keeping his cash flow? His Balch Springs store is two minutes from Mesquite's city limits. Either way, he's a hypocrite. He's a greedy bastard or he's a heartless bastard intent on ruining the lives of everyone else's children while his are protected.

Mr. Sawyer, if it's about what is right, then sell your stores. If you're so concerned about the health and safety of children, close your stores. Put your money where your mouth is.

I don't give a rat's rear end whether or not a community stays dry or goes wet. That's up to the community. But I despise hypocrisy in politics.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:59 0 comments links to this post

06 November 2007

Hookarm's Yule Ale

I've been brewing this recipe for several years. Except for adding more vanilla beans, I haven't made too many changes. Althought, I did change the name. I brewed this on 10/29.

Hookarm's Yule Ale

Recipe Hookarm's Yule Ale Style Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer
Brewer Jeff Batch 5.00 gal

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Gravity 1.055 OG Estimated FG 1.014 FG
Recipe Bitterness 46 IBU Alcohol by Volume 5.5%
Recipe Color 20° SRM Alcohol by Weight 4.3%

Ingredients
Quantity Grain Use
7.00 lb Amber malt extract extract
1.00 lb Crystal 20L steeped
1.00 lb Crystal 90L steeped
0.25 lb Roasted barley steeped
Quantity Hop Form Time
1.00 oz Chinook Pellet 45 minutes
Quantity Misc Notes
1.00 unit American Ale yeast package
1.00 tbs Cardemom
2.00 unit Vanilla Bean

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:40 0 comments links to this post

04 November 2007

Betty Faulker Bock - R. I. P.

Satan emailed me the other day: "Betty Faulker is about to be buried at sea! It is absolutely awful! No carbonation, muddy, and awful! I think not cleaning the oil out of the conical was my death nail! It was super astringent as well. Mediciny tasting, a dry pucker aftertaste but not sour! Hell, maybe I screwed up the yeast starter! That's boiled so it shouldn't have been that. I'm doing that one again but will use the bock yeast next time. I'm kind of stumped on this one."

I suggested that since the conical's now been cleaned, perhaps trying it with two vials of the alt yeast is the way to go. Why toss out all the variables when we can change one thing at a time?

I'm heading out to Midland the weekend before Thanksgiving to brew with Satan, so we'll probably do Betty again.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:32 0 comments links to this post

02 November 2007

Raider of the Lost Keg

The other day, I was organizing the kegs in my fridge. I thought there were three kegs. Imagine my surprise when I found four! One is the Northern Brewer Mild Ale, one is my sour Vanilla Porter (that was an accident), and the Hookarm's Golden Ale. But there was another keg of beer! It is dark and malty, with quite a hop note. I think it's a More Beer mild kit.

So if you were wondering why I haven't mentioned tasting the porter or the golden ale, that's why. I am attempting to empty a couple of kegs.

Of course, it's a good problem to have.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:17 0 comments links to this post