30 October 2008

Coffee Wheat Porter

I cannot sing enough praises for Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing. I have brewed the wheat porter a few times, and it is everything I look for in a stout! And it is now in my rotation: to be brewed 4 or 5 times a year.

This time, inspired by the Brewing Network's interview with Terrapin Brewery's Brian "Spike" Bukowski, I decided to add some coffee to my wheat porter. I followed Spike's advice and bought his blend of coffee from Jittery Joe's. I soaked an ounce and a half of ground coffee in water, in the fridge, three days before kegging, then added it just before I sealed the keg.

This is why people should homebrew. This beer rocks. Sure, the porter is a bit thin, but it is a great beer. I'm definitely doing this again!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:23 0 comments links to this post

28 October 2008

Randy Mosher's Abbey Wiezen

Our company's home owner Christmas party is December 7 and my boss always buys the ingredients for a Christmas beer for me to brew. For the last couple of years I did Charlie's Holiday Cheer. This year, I am using a Randy Mosher recipe called Abbey Weisen.

4 lb flaked wheat
4 lb Belgian pilsner
1 lb Crystal 40
2 oz Hallertau 1.5%/60 min (~18 IBUs)
White Labs Abbey Ale yeast
1/2 ounce sweet dried orange peel
White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale yeast

Estimated OG = 1.046. Actual OG = 1.036.

Basically it's a Bavarian hefe with Abbey yeast. I chose that because it didn't need to age 6 months. So in the spring, I will brew for the next Christmas party. Something big, alcoholy and Christmasy!

While I was brewing, my father suggested that I add some cinnamon. I had already been thinking about a few peppercorns for some spice, so I said, "Why not?" I added 1 stick of cinnamon and 1 tsp of green peppercorns in the last 5 minutes, along with the orange peel. It smelled delicious. We'll see how it turns out!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:49 0 comments links to this post

26 October 2008

Wheat Experiment Update

Satan brought the results of our wheat experiment. A couple of days ago, I decided to see how things went.

The American Wheat is good, but bland. It's got a wheaty flavor, but nothing else. It needs a bit of flavor. Feels a bit watery, too. For the next American wheat, we should add a pound of crystal 20 for some flavor and some body. And hops. Something in the last 10 minutes or so. Something to punch through the malt.

Having said that, If we opened a brewery tomorrow, I would almost say this should be the flagship beer to wean people away from BudMillerCoors. It just needs something. Yeah, I think this one is close. Just needs a bit of dialing in. Next time, we should cut back on the barley and add the Crystal 40. Keep the wheat/malt ratio at 60/40. Same hop schedule.

The hefeweiss has a dense, creamy head. The color is almost wit-like. Very pale yellow. Smells of banana and a hint of clove, I think. I might have to buy some cloves to be sure. I'm in love and haven't tasted it yet.

[Sip]

Wow. The banana flavor is very subtle at first and becomes more apparent as it warms. Excellent beer. We plan to rebrew this for next year's Nationals.

For kicks, Satan added some peach flavoring to the hefeweiss, hoping for a spiced peach flavor. It's a bit subtle. Which is what I expect in a commercial beer. But as it warms, the peach comes through. It's also on the back of my tongue, which is nice. I didn't pick up much clove, so I can't say it was spiced peach. It's good, though. He also spiked one with raspberry flavor, but I haven't tried that yet.

Satan commented:

Hmmmmmm, not bad! Next time I’ll ferment at cooler temps to get more of the clove going. Nice peach aroma, we might need to experiment with another flavoring agent or possibly frozen peaches this next time. Color may be a little dark, but I think within spec. It may need to age a bit longer though. Tastes just a tad husky, similar to an American Wheat. Overall….me likey…. The warmer it gets, the less husky it is and you can begin to pick up on the clove note, maybe a tad tart, but not bad. Medium light mouth feel….yeah…let age a couple of more weeks and then give it another shot. I wish it was a bit thicker…..needs work, but not bad.

He also mentioned that he picked up some diacetyl. I only had one, but I didn't taste it.

He added some peach to the American hefe, but I thought the beer was too bland to stand up to the peach. He added strawberry to it, and I thought that the more subtle and ephemeral strawberry flavor went well with the beer. I think it should be added to the hefeweiss, for that classic strawberry-banana flavor. Or am I insane?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:56 0 comments links to this post

24 October 2008

Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey

Each time Satan and I have gone on our Missions from God (or gone to NHC), we have tried to stop at a brew pub in each town we pass through. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail, but we always find some good beer. But we seldom stay long enough to visit with the brewer and learn their stories.

Brian Yaeger, though, did exactly that. He stopped at 26 breweries, 17 brewpubs and talked to the brewers, and got enough stories to fill a book he called Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey.

Check out his website, and follow along with Brian as he crosses the country. He's given me something to think about while Satan and I are en route to Oakland next year.

And if your going to be in Austin on 10/27, Brian will be signing his book at Opal Divine's Freehouse, 700 West 6th Street, from 6-9 pm. I think I might try to make that. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:32 0 comments links to this post

22 October 2008

New Mash Tun

Over the weekend, I went out to Wallyworld to see if they had an appropriately sized cooler to make into a new mash tun. I have been experiencing hit or miss, and more miss than hit, efficiency problems. My last batch of Wheat Porter came up several points short of hitting the projected OG. I theorized that I had one major problem: too short a spoon to stir my mash.

After listening to The Brewing Network's show with Denny Conn, I decided to build a cooler mash tun.

Now, I am not mechanically inclined. But I managed to get the thing built. Now to try it out!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:25 2 comments links to this post

20 October 2008

The Draught House 40th Anniversary - 10/25

The Draught House Pub and Brewery in Austin is turning 40! While their selection has grown to 69 faucets and they added a brewing system in 1995, their goal has remained the same; to provide a wide array of fresh draught beers with an emphasis on supplying a variety of styles and flavors.

Head on out to 4112 Medical Pkwy and celebrate on a cool (hopefully) October 25th afternoon and evening. Enjoy cask ales and BBQ under the tent. The bartender, Jubal, will be spinning vintage soul which should compliment the smooth cask ales and Argentina influenced BBQ. Besides the numerous casks, they will have several special beers from local breweries and their own brewing system. The party starts at 1 pm and winds up at 10 pm. Call (512)452-6258 for more information.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:35 0 comments links to this post

18 October 2008

Christmas Stout

Last year, while perusing The Master's Microbrewed Adventures, I ran across a chapter describing Christmas stout. Created in the 80s, the final digits of the Christmas Stouts ended in the last two digits of the year. Hence, in 1985, the OG was 1.085, in 1996, it was 1.096, etc.

Naturally, I discovered the book in 2007.

But I won't make a beer with an OG of 1.008. No! I shall make a 1970 version of Christmas Stout.

  • 9 lbs Dark LME
  • 1 lb Crystal 40
  • 8 ounces roasted Barley
  • 36 IBUs of Hallertauer and Cascade for 60 minutes
  • 3.5 IBUs of the same for 5 minutes
  • British ale yeast

Sorry I can't be more specific on the hops, but in the hop shortage, I have started doing more math.

This recipe makes an acceptable Imperial Stout, with an OG of 1070, about 40 IBUs. I had thought about adding some spices, but I think I might just make this without any spices. Maybe next year, when I may even move into the 1980s!

Anyway, I brewed this a couple of weeks ago, and got close to my numbers. The OG was 1.064, a bit shy of 1.071. But I liked the way the beer looked and the way it smelled. I have high hopes for this one!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:48 0 comments links to this post

16 October 2008

Frankenbrew Video

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:52 0 comments links to this post

14 October 2008

Sean's Saison

My nephew, Sean, is interested in brewing beer, and helped me brew my peppercorn amber ale. This time, though, I thought we would brew an extract beer. Mainly because I have not been very lucky with my all-grain batches.

The recipe is based on a recipe in Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainashef and John Palmer. I made a couple of changes based on hop availability, which brings up a rant.

Look, Local Home Brew Shop (LHBS) owner: I get it. It's hard to get hops, and you can't guarantee the alpha acids in them when you advertise them on your website. But puh-lease, don't put something like this on your website:

The shortage of hops will require us to buy hops from a variety of sources. This fact combined with the adverse weather conditions in hop growing regions means that the alpha acid percentage will vary so much that we can no longer post exact alpha acid percentages on our website. If you need to know the alpha acid of a particular hop, email us.

Especially if the AA will fluctuate dramatically. If I get hops from you that are 4% one time, I would very much like to know if they are 1.5% the next time. If you can't specify the exact percentage, give me a range, like 1-4%. I will figure 2% and formulate my recipe accordingly. And, I will buy a couple extra ounces of hops. If you make me ask the alpha acids, I will ask you, and buy what I need to get close to, but not above, my target. Which means I might buy more from you.

So here's the recipe:

Sean's Saison

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
-------------------------------
19-D Belgian & French Ale, Saison
Min OG: 1.055 Max OG: 1.080
Min IBU: 20 Max IBU: 45
Min Clr: 6 Max Clr: 12 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
----------------
Batch Size (GAL): 5.00
Total Extract (LBS): 10.13
Anticipated OG: 1.072
Anticipated SRM: 8.1
Anticipated IBU: 31.5
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain/Extract/Sugar
% Amount Name Origin Gravity SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
74.1 7.50 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract 1.035 7
9.9 1.00 lbs. AHS Wheat Liquid Malt Extract 1.030 2
4.9 0.50 lbs. AHS Munich Malt Extract America 1.034 8
1.2 0.13 lbs. CaraMunich 40 France 1.034 40
9.9 1.00 lbs. Corn Sugar 1.047 0

Hops
Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.00 oz. Hallertau Pellet 1.50 13.3 60 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade Pellet 4.10 18.2 60 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau Pellet 1.50 0.0 0 min.

Yeast
-----
White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison I

Steep the CaraMunich until the water comes to 155 F. Remove and add all extracts (except the sugar). Stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil for 60 minutes. At 10 minutes, add corn sugar. Cool and pitch yeast.

I got an OG of 1.062. I didn't take the gallon of extract into consideration when filling my kettle, so I collected a bit too much wort.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:05 0 comments links to this post

12 October 2008

Peppercorn Rye-Bock

I was cleaning out the beer fridge, pouring out the nasty brown ale, and found two bottles of peppercorn rye-bock. Both were brewed in November of 2007. The first bottle had a little green apple flavor. But the second bottle was real good. I was eating dinner with a lot of spice, so I can't tell if there is any pepper still in the flavor. There is something a bit dusty-tasting. Maybe it's oxidation. Still good though.

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

11 October 2008

2008 Texas GABF winners

St. Arnolds Brewing Company and Fredericksburg Brewing Company won more medals at the Great American Beer Festival this afternoon. Here are all three Texas winners.

Fredericksburg Brewing Co.Helles KellerTXGold Kellerbier/Zwickelbier
Saint Arnold Brewing Co.Saint Arnold Summer PilsTXSilver Munich-Style Helles
Uncle Billy's Brew & QueHell In KellerTXSilver Kellerbier/Zwickelbier

But did you notice that the place in Austin, Billy's Brew and Cue, had a kellerbier, too. AND I was reading the brew blog of Travis Poling of the SA Express-News, and he was in Denver covering the GABF and had a Zwickelbier at a press briefing. I have never heard of the beer before, and here are three examples in the news.

So I dug up the style sheet for the GABF and found this:

20. Kellerbier/Zwickelbier A. Subcategory: Unfiltered German-Style Lager Traditional kellerbier examples are typically unfiltered and often young, not fully lagered versions of Germanic lager styles of beer such as Münchner-Style Helles and Dunkel, Dortmunder/European-Style Export, Bohemian-style Pilsener and German-style Pilsener. Kellerbier is noticeably less carbonated. Subtle or low levels of esters may be apparent. This is an unfiltered beer but it may be naturally clear due to settling of yeast during aging. They may or may not be clear. Exhibiting a small amount of yeast haze in the appearance is acceptable. Low to moderately low levels of yeast-generated sulfur compounds in aroma and flavor should be apparent, and low levels of acetaldehyde or other volatiles normally scrubbed during fermentation may or may not be apparent. The sulfur and acetaldehyde characters should contribute positively to the beer drinking experience. Dry hopping is acceptable. Head retention may not be optimal. Contemporary Version of Kellerbier are typically beers that are packaged or on draft which are simply unfiltered versions of a style of lager - fully carbonated, fully lagered, full head retention, absent of acetaldehyde. For the purposes of this competition,darker lager styles such as Märzen, Dunkel or Schwarzbier that contain yeast could also be appropriately entered into this subcategory. Brewer may indicate on the bottle whether the yeast should be intentionally roused or if they prefer that the entry be poured as quietly as possible. The brewer must provide the classic style on which the entry is based to allow for accurate judging. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during judging. Original Gravity (ºPlato): Varies with style Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): Varies with style Alcohol by Weight (Volume): Varies with style Bitterness (IBU): Varies with style Color SRM (EBC): Varies with style

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:31 0 comments links to this post

10 October 2008

Fossil Fuels Brewing Company

Raul Cano extracted DNA from an ancient Lebanese weevil entombed in amber shortly before the movie "Jurassic Park" was released. A few years ago, Cano became a partner in Fossil Fuels Brewing Company, donating a yeast strain he had found in a piece of Burmese amber. Fossil Fuels brews a pale ale and German wheat beer using the ancient yeast. According to William Brand, the Oakland Tribune beer critic, says the ancient yeast provides the wheat beer with a distinctively "clove-y" taste and a "weird spiciness at the finish."

Currently the beers are on tap at Stumptown in Guerneville, California.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:29 0 comments links to this post

08 October 2008

Guinness Commercial


posted by Jeff Holt at 02:37 0 comments links to this post

06 October 2008

Shiner Holiday Cheer

Lee, over at I Love Beer, announced that Shiner Dunkelweizen will not be released this year. Instead, a new winter seasonal called Holiday Cheer, a dunkelweizen flavored with Texas Pecans and Stonewall peaches.

Click here if you want to read more.

I could have broken this a couple of days sooner, if only I had read my Oktoberfest emails a little more closely.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:37 2 comments links to this post

04 October 2008

Austin Beer Festival

Far be it from me to spread speculation and rumor, but Craft Austin posted a link to this site with the comment: "Hmmmmm..."

Note to self: Keep May 9, 2009 open.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:31 0 comments links to this post

02 October 2008

Miller's Brew Blog Calls it Quits

You’re reading the last post from brewblog.com. If you’ve come to rely on this blog to contribute to your perspective on the beer industry, rest assured that MillerCoors will still do that. But we are a new company, and it’s time to move on to new and different ways of communicating.

That's how Miller's Brew Blog signed off on September 19. I always enjoyed reading the blog, even if they had an unnerving obsession with what A-B was doing. Much like a jilted lover continued to catalog the faults of their ex.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:31 0 comments links to this post