28 February 2008

The perils of nostalgia

In 1984, I went to Japan as an exchange student.

I was 24, and open to all new experiences. The school put we three Americans in a house about a mile from the school. Across the street was Barber-san. Barber-san's name was Kazumasa Oshima, and he had a beauty parlor. He got me drunk many times over the course of the year. Mostly we drank beer. I am an Asahi man to this day.

Often, while drinking, Barber-san would bring ika--dried squid--which we would munch on while we drank.

The other day, I went to Austin and I stopped by Central Market to buy some beer. I stopped by the Asian aisle to get some panko breadcrumbs and I spotted some ika. So I bought it.

I don't remember so much of a fish taste. I remember that I liked it, but maybe it was I was eating so much fish then. But now? Well, it borders on the nasty.

Remember: hindsight is 20/20. Things you didn't like tasted much worse than you remember, and the things you kind of liked tasted like ambrosia.


posted by Jeff Holt at 20:33 2 comments links to this post

26 February 2008

"There be wheat beers here!"

Wolters' West Texas Wheat -I fined it with some gelatin a couple of days ago. It was cloudy and smelled good. I used Sorachi Ace which is supposed to have some lemon aroma, and I did detect some citrus in the aroma. But it was flat, and I have had a cold. . . Tasted fine. I used American Hefe yeast which brought the banana flavor down. There is some fruit flavors, but the three little sips I had weren't enough to let me identify it. OG was 1.054, FG was 1.010 which is about 5.8% abv. If we ever open a brewery, this might be a beer to make. It had been kegged and is in the fridge.

Skirt Lifter Imperial Hefe Weiss - Or, as I have thought about calling it: Banana beer! It fermented a bit hot, and so there was some very strong banana esters. So strong that it disguised the fact that it is about 8.3% abv. (OG 1088, FG 1026). It's muddy, though. I have racked it to secondary and will keg it this weekend. But when I racked it, I discovered the source of the muddiness: the spigot was an inch below the surface of the yeast cake!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:40 0 comments links to this post

24 February 2008

Hubert Wolters' West Texas Wheat - Brew day

Hubert Wolters c. 1879

While browsing my LHBS' website for hops to brew with, I noticed one called Sorachi Ace, a hop from Sapporo Breweries in Japan that has a lemon aroma.

In a marvelous example of serendipity, I was listening to Graham Sanders' last CraftBrewer Radio podcast for 2007 a day or so later, and someone had sent him an email asking how to use Sorachi Ace. Grahams reply was, in a wheat beer. On The Session, the brewmaster of Lodi Brewing said he made an IPA with Sorachi Ace that people confused with a hefe.

And so, Hubert Wolters' West Texas Wheat was born.

Recipe: Hubert Wolter's West Texas Wheat
Brewing Date: Saturday February 09, 2008
Head Brewer: Jeff

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

Batch Size (GAL): 5.00 Wort Size (GAL): 5.00
Total Grain (LBS): 7.25
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated SRM: 3.9
Anticipated IBU: 27.5
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Actual OG: 1.054

Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Gravity SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
96.6 7.00 lbs. AHS Wheat Malt 1.035 2
3.4 0.25 lbs. Crystal 40L America 1.034 40

Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
0.25 oz. Sorachi Ace Pellet 14.00 17.2 60 min.
0.25 oz. Sorachi Ace Pellet 14.00 4.6 15 min.
0.50 oz. Sorachi Ace Pellet 14.00 5.7 5 min.

Yeast
-----
White Labs WLP320 American Hefeweizen Ale

Fermentation Specifics
----------------------

Pitched From: Pitchable Flask
Lag Time: 19.00 hours

Primary Fermenter: Stainless Steel
Primary Type: Closed
Primary Temperature: 68 degrees F

Hubert Wolters, you will recall, brewed wheat beer in San Angelo, Texas, from about 1878 to 1888. While I have no clue how he brewed it, I wanted to have a wheat beer in the Macht's Nicht Brewing Company portfolio.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:32 0 comments links to this post

22 February 2008

German Beer Sales at 15-year Low

For the last few weeks, my inbox has been filling up with news clippings about the looming beer crisis in Germany. Germans are becoming more health concious, and switching from beer to juices.

"Our regular customers are getting older and don't drink as much any more, and generally, Germans prefer milder tastes today and are more health-conscious," German Brewers' Association spokesman Marc-Oliver Huhnholz said.

Combine that with a rainy summer and no big sporting event, like the last World Cup, and beer sales are down 2.7%. Meanwhile, soda and juice sales have risen 18%.

Deutsche Welle, Germany's news organization, does report that local specialties are still selling well.

Surely this is a sign of the coming Apocolypse.

Sources: BBC, Associated Press, Canadian Press, Forbes, Deutsche Welle, and a hundred others.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:32 0 comments links to this post

20 February 2008

Brew Dudes Keg Cleaning Rig

Back on February 2, the Brew Dudes described how to clean several kegs in series. An absolutely brilliant idea. Read about it here!

It looks like someone's going to have to come up with the homebrewing equivalent of the Nobel prize, cause Mike and John would win it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:54 1 comments links to this post

18 February 2008

Tardy Bell Brown Ale

Waaay back in October, Satan came to town for Oktoberfest, and he stopped at the Eola Brewery and Lodge and brought me a growler of the then unnamed brown ale.

On my way to Midland to help Satan brew Brother Spuds Oatmeal Stout, I stopped for a beer or two, and learned that the beer had been named: Tardy Bell Brown Ale.

That's a great name for a beer brewed in an old school house.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:59 0 comments links to this post

16 February 2008

Oak Barrel Stout

I tested the Bourbon Stout. The whiskey is still a bit harsh, I guess. I can't taste it, but it does leave that straight whiskey flavor in my mouth. It's also a bit more roasty than I wanted. And the carbonation isn't there.

Sigh.

One step forward, two steps back.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:48 0 comments links to this post

14 February 2008

Peppercorn Rye-Bock

I kegged the second batch of Peppercorn Rye-Bock two weeks ago. Checks in at about 6% abv, and is really good. Almost crystal clear gold color, with nice pepper notes. I may only make this from now on.

Update: Last night, I thought, "Let's see what this tastes like." It had a strong haze to it (almost opaque), and it tasted a bit off. Not sure if it's just young, or if I have an infection.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:45 0 comments links to this post

12 February 2008

Skirt Lifter Imperial Hefeweiss

I brewed Bub's Skirt Lifter Imperial Hefeweiss. But I anticipated an OG of 1072, and got 1088! What??

ProMash Brewing Session Printout
--------------------------------
Brewing Date: Sunday February 03, 2008
Head Brewer: Jeff
Recipe: Skirt lifter Imperial Hefeweiss extract
Recipe Specifics
----------------
Batch Size (GAL): 5.00 Wort Size (GAL): 5.00
Total Extract (LBS): 12.00
Anticipated OG: 1.072
Anticipated SRM: 3.6
Anticipated IBU: 17.9
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Actual OG: 1.086
Grain/Extract/Sugar
% Amount Name Origin Gravity SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
100.0 12.00 lbs. Wheat Malt Extract North America 1.030 2*

Hops
Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
0.33 oz. Horizon Pellet 10.90 16.0 60 min.
0.80 oz. Argentine Cascade Pellet 3.20 1.9 5 min.
0.20 oz. Argentine Cascade Pellet 3.20 0.0 0 min.
Yeast
-----
2 White Labs WLP300 Hefewizen Ale
Mash Notes
----------
Brought 1.5 gallons water to the boil. Add 12 lbs (1 gal) extract, and filled kettle to 3 gallons before bringing to a boil. I boiled 5 minutes before "starting" the boil. Put 1/2 bag of ice in sink and set kettle in it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:33 0 comments links to this post

10 February 2008

I Don't Care What John Palmer Does

Well, most of the time anyway.

A few months ago, August or September, I read that John Palmer and Jamil Zainashef do not transfer their beers to secondary. The risk of oxidation, they say, is too great. And they say they don't have a problem with clear beer.

So I stopped racking to secondary. Here's the problem I keep having:

I have been drinking on this keg for a week. Except for the first few glasses, the beers were relatively clear. I increased the CO2 by 2 pounds to carbonated a stout off the same tank. And I poured the above beer. Full of floaties. I'm going to have to wait a couple more days for this thing to settle down again.

You would think that after six or seven glasses like this, there wouldn't be any more floaties. You would be wrong.

So from now on, I'm racking to secondary.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:18 8 comments links to this post

08 February 2008

(512) Brewing Company -Austin

While surfing Beer Advocate, I ran across a link to (512) Brewing Company, a new micro in Austin. In the planning stages since last summer, at the latest, they are close to starting things up.

With Southern Star starting up in Conroe, it looks like Texas is experiencing a brewing boom!

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

06 February 2008

Blue Bonnet Brew Off

The Bluebonnet Brew-off is the first leg in the Lone Star Circuit.

Entries will be accepted from 2/18 to 2/29, and the brew-off will be held on 3/28-29.

I will be entering the Excelsior Marzen in the contest. Wish me luck!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:24 0 comments links to this post

04 February 2008

Kentucky Common Rant

I have been exploring The Kentucky Common style of beer for several years. My starting point was The Master's description, in his second edition of The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing. He suggested mashing the grains and then letting it sit for 24-48 hours and sour.

My next source was The Essentials of Beer Style by Fred Eckhard. He described the style as being very dark, almost a dark as Guinness stout. It had an original gravity of 1040-1050, and an average bitterness of 27 IBUs and brewed with 2% lactobacillum in the yeast. He also listed a Pennsyvania Swankey, which I assumed was a variation of Kentucky common, that was brewed with anise seed boiled for 30 minutes.

However, Wahl & Henius' Handy Book of Brewing describes Kentucky Common as:

Like California steam beer, Kentucky Common beer is mainly consumed by the laboring classes, and is chiefly brewed in Louisville, Ky. It is marketed while still in an early stage of fermentation.

Materials employed are: Barley malt and about 25-30% corn, with some sugar color, caramel or roasted malt to give a dark color.

Balling of wort about 10 to 11 percent. [1.040 - 1.044]

Mashing temeratures vary greatly, both low and high initial temperatures being taken. In the latter case the corn mash is cooled with water before being run into the mash tun.

Boiling.-- The wort is boiled with about one-half pound of hops per barrel, [based on 1/2 lb. hops per 31 gallon barrel, and assuming ~4.5% alpha acid (probably Cluster hops) would give a bitterness of low to mid 20's IBU's, or similar to modern British mild according to Jeff Renner] and cooled to 60 F.

Fermentation.--The wort is pitched with one-third of a pound of top-fermentation yeast per barrel, allowed to come full in Krausen, and then is transferred from the fermenter directly into the trade packages, which are placed on troughs, into which the yeast is allowed to work out. The barrels are kept full continually by topping up every few hours. After 48 hours in the barrels the fermentation is over and the barrels are bunged; when very much gas is required they may be closed in 24 hours.

The beers are not as a rule Krausened, nor fined, and consequently have a "muddy" appearance, but a moderatley clear article can be obtained if the saloonkeeper lays in a supply so that it can settle a few days before tapping. (Page 818)

Did you notice that Wahl & Henus didn't mention anise? Or Pennsyvania Swankey? That's because they had mentioned it on page 779, where they described it is a low alcohol (1% abv) beer brewed by the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Finally, in Radical Brewing, by Randy Mosher, a clear distinction is drawn between Kentucky Common and Pennsylvania Swankey.

BUT, when I entered the Dixie Cup, one of the judges said I needed anise.

Kentucky Common beer DIDN'T have anise.

Hey! My beer was probably infected. But I liked it.

If anyone knows of any modern examples, please drop me a line.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:15 0 comments links to this post

02 February 2008

I Don't Know If I Would Drink It

I found this while catching up on the Brewing Network Forums. And like everything else on the Internet, when I went to look up who posted it, I can't find it!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:22 1 comments links to this post