30 September 2008

Oktoberfest!

Beer and boobs.  Life is good at Oktoberfest!

Back in the day, one of my dreams was to visit Munich during Oktoberfest. This year, Oktoberfest runs September 20 until October 5. I still want to attend, but now I just want to check out the German girls in dirndls.

Prost!


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:47 0 comments links to this post

28 September 2008

Flying Saucer Hosts Annual Fall Brew Fest s in Austin and Fort Worth

The Flying Saucer in Austin will host its first annual Fall Brew Fest on Saturday, Oct. 4 from noon to 10 p.m. at Triangle Park in Austin and its third annual Fall Brew Fest in Fort Worth on Saturday, Oct. 11 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Saucer’s parking lot in Sundance Square.

The Fall Brew Fest will feature five beer tents, each with crafted brews chosen by The Flying Saucer’s own resident beer guru, Keith Schlabs. Featured beers will include rare special releases and cask-conditioned ales. The Austin event also will feature a Frisbee® Golf tournament and live music. For $15, event goers will receive a commemorative glass and tasting card that can be redeemed for a sampling of 10 of the 20 featured beers. Admission to the event is free.

The event will have beers to satisfy everyone, from the casual drinker to the hard-core beer enthusiast, including some that aren’t often available in the Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex areas. Some of the notable beers that will be at both events are the St. Arnold Devine #7, Ayinger Oktoberfest, Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, Avery Brewing Company’s The Kaiser, Sierra Nevada Harvest Northern Hemisphere fresh hop ale, Live Oak Dry-Hopped Cask-Conditioned IPA, Stone Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter and the Victory Brewing Company’s Storm King Imperial Stout draught. The Fort Worth fest also will feature the Rahr & Sons Blind Salamander Pale and the Real Ale Shade Grown Coffee Porter, which is cask-conditioned, and at 1 p.m., the Fort Worth event will have a ceremonial tapping of the Real Ale Cask-Conditioned Dunkel Roggenbier.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:31 2 comments links to this post

26 September 2008

National Brewery Museum opens

For several years, the American Breweriana Association has been working on opening a National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisconsin, in the former home of the Potosi Brewing Company (1852-1972). The museum features a collection of beer bottles and cans, glasses, trays, coasters, advertising materials, other breweriana collectibles, and its own brewpub!

The National Brewery Museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:18 0 comments links to this post

25 September 2008

Cactus Challenge 2008 Results

Here are the results.

Satan told me the good news: two members of the Basin Brewers, Aaron Pachlhofer and Manny Ortiz won prizes in the cactus challenge. He also called me Sunday night and asked "Who's your Daddy?" He got first place for his Wit Willy. He's been a bit insufferable, but his witbier is pretty darn good.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:52 0 comments links to this post

24 September 2008

Peppercorn Amber Ale tasting Notes

Well, I cracked the Peppercorn Amber Ale. I had expected a big pepper flavor, but was pleasantly surprised. It pours up a clear amber with a dense creamy head and smells of sweet caramel malt. Starts off with a peppery bitterness, and finishes with hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. It is very dry, without much malt sweetness. Fortunately the pepper and hops are very mild and complement each other well. I really like it and hop I can repeat this recipe.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:00 0 comments links to this post

22 September 2008

Interrupting your Regularly Scheduled Blog!

I've mentioned before that the fine folks in Alabama live in a state that has not made home brewing legal. I don't think I mentioned that winner of this years' Home Brew Club of the year at NHC was from Alabama. Gary Glass commented that illegal beer is the best beer!

Well, here's your chance to aid the folks who live under the benighted government of the state of Alabama: Flying Monktoberfest! Flying Monktoberfest raises funds to help bring legal homebrewing to Alabama, and will be October 4 in Huntsville. The are having a raffle this year, with some serious schwag. A lot of Sam Adams stuff. Not the glass that my benighted state refuses to allow me to receive, but still lots of cool stuff. Grand prize is an autographed bottle of Utopias!

Head on over and buy some raffle tickets so the folks in Alabama can legally homebrew.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:22 0 comments links to this post

Wheat Porter 2

On September 14, I brewed Dick's Elixir Wheat Porter again. This time, I intend to add some coffee at kegging.

The last time I made this was also my second all-grain batch in five years or so. I made some mistakes, but still wound up with a pretty good beer. I used a bit less water in my mash. I added about a third of the water, mixed in a third of the grains, added another third of the water, stirred in another third of the grains. I came close to my mash temperature, only five degrees low. I heated up another 6 gallons of water to sparge with. When it came time to sparge, the plug on one end of my sparge arm was missing, and so I had to batch sparge. For the first time.

I mash in a 5 gallon mash tun from Williams brewing. I have had it for nine years or so. While it's served me well, I haven't had too much luck this go round. Basically it is, when full, a three foot column of grain and water that is impossible to stir! So with my problems, my FG was 1048, about 30 points low, but close to what I got last time.

So now I have to find a bigger mash tun, and am leaning towards a rectangular cooler. Thanks to Hurrican Ike evacuees, our Wal-Mart only has the 40 quart cubes. I'm afraid the cube shaped ones will have the same problem as my mash tun. I want a rectangular 48 quart, so I can get the grain spread out rather than in a 3 foot high column.

If that doesn't help, I may be selling off my brewing equipment!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:11 0 comments links to this post

20 September 2008

Wheat Experiment Update

As of last weekend, Satan says everything looked good with our wheat experiment. He planned to bottle the American wheat and add some raspberry extract to a few bottles to see how things went. But on Monday he told me things were still percolating.

Today Satan wrote about the American Wheat: "Sweet, crisp, slight tartness. Nice wheat background, quite hazy though. Final corrected gravity 10104. Alc%/vol. = 4.31."

As far as the hefe goes: "The hefe ain’t half bad. Predominantly clovey. Final gravity 1011. Nice pale hazy yellow color.

"...mmmmmmmm I may Peachy Madre a half case of these!!!!"

More to come.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:12 0 comments links to this post

18 September 2008

Shipping to a Competition

The local shipping store picked up my package to the Dixie Cup. This year, for the first time, instead of "Yeast samples for evaluation," I put "kitchen supplies and bottles." Apparently, the "bottles" thing caused the folks at the store to open the box, then call me to tell me that it is illegal to ship beer. So I picked up the box, drove across town to another shipper and put "Yeast Samples for Evaluation" on the label, and off it went.

The manager of the first shipper told me they could only ship wine from a winery. And I thought, the vintners have a good lobbyist. According to the manager it is illegal to ship alcohol, except wine, via UPS and FedEx. So none of the hundreds of thousands of breweries and distillers in the US can ship their product, but every single one of the wineries in the country can get around the no shipping of alcohol ban?

Maybe it's time the homebrewers of this country get together and let their elected officials know we would like to ship our beer to contests without having to use euphemisms on the label.

Or, maybe I should just have a beer and get over it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:43 0 comments links to this post

16 September 2008

The Wheat Experiment

I met Satan in Midland to brew a 10 gallon batch of wheat beer. We fermented five gallons with a German Hefeweizen yeast, and five gallons with an American hefeweizen yeast. I posted the recipe earlier, and want to give our results.

We intended to brew on Saturday, but things were to hectic at Satan's place of employment. We returned to his house at 4 and drank far too much. The next morning, I was horribly sick. (Mental note: Beer and Makers' Mark don't mix!) Satan was also hungover, so we got a late start. We had hoped to be doughing in by 8:30 am. Instead, we were rolling out of bed at 8:30 am. I managed to force down, and keep down, a breakfast sandwich from a convenience store (with the aid of at least two Dr. Peppers). Have you ever brewed when you find the entire concept of beer nauseating?

That may explain a couple of errors. We didn't measure the water in the mash tun, just did it by eye. We collected almost 14 gallons of liquor, and boiled it down to 11 gallons. Our original gravity was 1.043, almost 9 thousands of a point lower than predicted. It barely falls outside the low end of the hefeweizen range, and a few points above the low end of the American wheat range.

By the time this posts, we will have the results. I will post them shortly.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:58 0 comments links to this post

14 September 2008

Furthermore Knot Stock Clone Sorta - Kegging Day

8/31-I kegged the peppercorn Amber ale today. It was quite clear, and had a nice aroma. There was some pepper in the front, not too much, and is cut by the caramel sweetness. The hops are subtle and linger on the back of the tongue.

I have scheduled the first tasting for this weekend. This may be a keeper!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:25 0 comments links to this post

12 September 2008

Kiwit Scores from Lunar Rendezbrew

The Kiwit turned out better than I thought. It scored 25.5 at the Lunar Rendezbrew. That was the only entry I sent in. Both judges agreed the beer was probably old. Can't argue with that. I brewed it in May. Both said they could taste the orange, though.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:49 0 comments links to this post

10 September 2008

Say it Ain't So!

From Osama bin Laden Owes Me $400

By this time it was shortly after noon, and we decided to find the Old Dominion Brew pub. I had read a review in the local paper of their stout, aged in bourbon barrels. We drove across town, past Dulles, where my family had flown in 1975 or so. Then, Dulles was in the country. Today, strip centers, malls, and apartment complexes surround it. Now the Redskins have a practice complex in the area, and AOL is headquartered nearby. Had I known where I would have gladly thrown a rock through Steve Case's window.

We found the brewpub after a couple of wrong turns, and went inside for lunch. I had a great chicken sandwich, and three glasses of the bourbon flavored stout. When the waitress asked if we wanted dessert I toyed with the idea of asking for another beer, but a sudden belch prevented me from speaking clearly.

And now, according to the Old Dominion Web site, "Coastal Brewing Company has decided to close the Old Dominion Brewpub in Ashburn, VA, which the company acquired in 2007 with the acquisition of Virginia-based craft brewer Old Dominion Brewing Company. The brewpub closing is effective August 25, 2008."

One of my last, pre-9/11 memories is just that: a memory. But, Ahhh! the beer!

My cousin, Steve, has a friend in the area, and is a lot more familiar with the pub than I, and he is a little upset, too: "What a friggin' bummmer, that was such a cool place, literally best AC unit around!"

According to the announcement, Coastal Brewing will continue to brew Old Dominion beers (including the Best Beer on the Planet: Oak Barrel Stout), thankfully, but will only sell them at retail.

Bastards.

I was thinking that next time I head that way, I would fly into Dulles and stop by for a pint or three. Now, I might as well fly into Richmond.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:50 0 comments links to this post

08 September 2008

An Open Letter to Craft Brewers

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I really enjoy the fruits of your labors. I don't buy BMC any more. Thanks for you hard work, and excellent product.

But. . .

I am a home brewer. I normally just keg my beer, but when I need to enter contests, I need bottles. And since most of you use the kind of bottles I need, I usually wash them, and remove the labels. Unfortunately for me, I don't do that as I drink the beer. I usually let the bottles pile up and clean what I have to have when I bottle.

However, a few weeks ago, Satan (my brewing partner) asked me to bring any clean bottles I have for our joint brew that happened the other day. We wanted to bottle the beer so we could each have a case of each beer. So I spent almost 4 hours, including soaking time, cleaning two cases of bottles. And some of you guys have hacked me off.

Why slather so much glue across the bottle to attach your label?

First, props to a couple of brewers who are frugal in their glue use: Real Ale Brewing Company and Great Lakes Brewing Company. The Great Lakes labels slide off after a thirty minute soak in hot water. Real Ale applies a thick strip of glue on each side of the label, but doesn't use any glue anywhere else. Thanks, guys!

The rest of you guys spread glue on your bottles like you're Bob Ross painting a happy mountain! C'mon, guys!

All right. I will appeal to your bottom line. Imagine how much money you would save if you cut your glue use in half!

Thanks for you time. I still like your beer. I just hate to clean your bottles.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:01 5 comments links to this post

06 September 2008

Aud's No Scufflin' Ale Update

I just racked the barley wine into a carboy for extended aging in the closet. It's at 1044, down from 1046 a couple of weeks ago. At this rate, It will hit the target gravity sometime in February. I am not going to look at it until December 28, when I will go ahead a bottle, no matter the gravity!

It's an amber brown, with some ruby highlights. You can sorta smell the alcohol, but there is a nice hop aroma that evens it out. still a bit sweet, but good. This might be perfect for the First round of Nationals. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:04 0 comments links to this post

04 September 2008

Lone Star Collectibles Wanted

I recently received an email from a representative of BRZoom, a promotional agency that does work for Lone Star beer. Lone Star is looking to build up their collection of pieces, especially some big pieces for their offices. They want items before 1980.

If you have anything you would like to offer, call Chantel at (225) 755-5788.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:49 0 comments links to this post

02 September 2008

The Great Wheat Experiment

I did a bit of research, and boy, is my brain tired! The base recipe for hefeweiss and American wheat are the same. American wheat OG is 1040-1055, and hefe is 1044-1052. Both beers use 50% wheat and 50% malt. The only difference is the yeast. Hefeweiss IBUs are 8-15. American wheats are 15-30. I asked Satan if we could mash a 10 gallon batch of wheat beer, and split into two boils. Satan suggested that instead we boil in one kettle, hop to 15 IBUs then split it into two fermenters and pitch a different yeast in each? "You're a hop head. Try the mild side of life!" he said. "I believe the key word was 'experiment!' Let's give it a shot and see."

We've set aside the weekend of 9/5 to brew. And I began working on the recipe.

The last time I brewed with Satan's setup, we got 90% efficiency. So I initially calculated the recipe with that figure in mind. However, upon consultation, we decided to go with 80% efficiency because of all the grain:

Hefeweiss
American Wheat

9 lbs German wheat malt
9 lbs German Pale malt
1 lb Rice hulls
2.25 oz Hallertauer Mittlefruh ~3%/60 Min

WLP380 Hefeweizen Yeast
WLP320 American Hefeweiss

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:38 0 comments links to this post