28 February 2009

Write your Legislator Now!

Current Texas law prohibits brewers from selling their product directly to consumers on the brewery premises. Wine makers are allowed to sell their product at the winery, and no wholesaler, distributor or retailer has gone out of business.

Today, assurbanipaul posted on the Texas Beer blog that Rep. Lon Burnam of Tarrant County introduced HB1062 and Sen. Wendy Davis, also from Fort Worth introduced SB754. At worst, if this bill passes, a couple of jobs might be created. And in these difficult times, that's important.

These bills will face strong opposition by the state's wholesalers and distributors, who contribute to almost all political campaigns.

Write your state representative and your state senator today. And a letter to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor couldn't hurt. . .


posted by hiikeeba at 06:38 0 comments

26 February 2009

Bill Brand - RIP

On February 8, while returning home from the 21st Amendment Brewery and Restaurant in San Francisco, Bay Area beer writer William Brand was struck by a train. He spent two weeks in critical conditions before passing away on February 20.

Bill Brand was among the first to chronicle the rise of West Coast craft brewing, inspiring the generation coming up behind him.

I never read Bill Brand's columns until he appeared on The Brewing Newtork. His humor and good cheer were infectious, and I became a faithful reader.

When you read an author for a long time, you begin to believe that you know that author, and believe that you have become friends. While I know it's not true, that Bill Brand had absolutely no clue I existed, and ours was an entirely one way relationship, I was saddened by his passing. To his friends and family, my condolences. I am going to miss him.


posted by hiikeeba at 06:04 0 comments

24 February 2009

Rye Cream Ale Kegging Day

I kegged Bugeater's rye cream ale last weekend, and got an OG of 1.006. I was concerned that since I didn't sanitize the counterflow chiller, I might have a bad batch of beer, but I think Ninkasi protected me.

The beer does have a pronounced corn aroma, though. And I did use flaked corn in the mash, so that may be the source. The beer is almost opaque--I would even say "muddy", but I can't tell if that's from the rye. Wheat beers I have made come out that way, and wheat and rye are similar. . .

The taste was pretty clean. I couldn't pick out any corn or rye flavor, which forces me to wonder why I used the rye at all. Oh well, I'll know in a couple more weeks.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:35 1 comments

22 February 2009

Attack on Breweries in Oregon

Four Democrat state legislators in Oregon have proposed a bill to raise taxes a whopping 1900%, to $50 a barrel. The money they raise will help the state's budget, cover treatment costs for those addicted to alcohol and "other substances."

What the. . .? Why should the brewing industry pay for drug addicts?

This will, the lawmakers contend, also reduce drunk driving and alcoholism.

I call "Bullshit!" on this one. People who live close to the borders will drive to other states or Canada to buy their beer, drink it and drive home.

This is typical Democratic politics: raise taxes on businesses no matter the cost. These Democrats seem to think business is on top of a huge pile of cash, and don't realize that business will divert money from their payroll to pay the tax, and people will lose their jobs.

If you are in Oregon, here's who you need to write to express your opinion:
sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us sen.dianerosenbaum@state.or.us sen.billmorrisette@state.or.us


posted by hiikeeba at 08:21 0 comments

20 February 2009

Donn's Famous Horse Cram It In v2.0 kegging day

It's a little too roasty for my taste. A few weeks in the keg will smooth it out. If you remember, the OG was 1.048 and the final gravity was 1.008 It is about 5.2% alcohol by volume.

Even though it's roasty, I can tell say it tastes a hell of a lot better than that swill I tried to pass off at the family reunion in July!

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posted by hiikeeba at 05:59 0 comments

18 February 2009

Old Colonial Porter Tasting Notes

Satan was going over an old issue of Zymurgy and became fascinated by an old colonial porter recipe that included licorice root and molasses boiled together. He brewed it one day in November, with the warning that the root boiling should be done outside.

Old Colonial Porter

Appearance (0-3): Pours up an inky blank with a tan head that dissipates quickly. 2 points

Aroma (0-4): Some anise like aromas, with the hint of oak. 3 points

Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): Sweet malt starts off, licorice notes slide across the tongue reminding me of Dr Pepper, leaving an oaky finish. Some age might take the edge of the oak. It's a little too strong. 3 points
Aftertaste (0-3): A little vanilla and caramel in the finish, like a cross between Dr. Pepper and a root beer. 2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Medium full body with a little carbonation tingle. 1.5 points

Overall Impression (0-3): Surprisingly drinkable beer, though I am almost always saying "That taste like Dr. Pepper!" There is some alcohol in the beer, but it is not readily apparent. 3 points

Total: 14.5 Points

This scored lower than I thought it would because I do like this beer. Maybe it reflects my soda impressions. With some age, though, this should be really nice.


posted by hiikeeba at 03:48 1 comments

16 February 2009

Brother Spuds Oatmeal Stout Tasting Notes

Back in November, Satan and I made Brother Spuds and Peppercorn Rye Bock. In January, I returned to Midland and brought home 8 bottles of Brother Spuds and almost a case of Peppercorn Rye Bock.

Brother Spuds Oatmeal Stout

Appearance (0-3): Pours up inky black with a thick brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving no lace behind. 2 points

Aroma (0-4): Slightly sweet oat aroma, some bitter roast aroma. 3 points

Taste: Hop/malt balance (0-4): Starts off with a slightly sweet malt flavor, hint of oatmeal cookie about midway through and a bit of roast in the finish. I did not detect hops. This reminds me of Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, which was Satan's target beer. 4 points
Aftertaste (0-3): Hop bitterness and roast bitterness mingle subtly in the finish at the back of the throat. Leaves a sugary coating on my lips.3 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Silky and creamy mouthfeel with a slight carbonation tingle. Very nice! 3 points

Overall Impression (0-3): This is very close to Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. Low carbonation and all. Naturally, the judges will hate the low carbonation. But this is an excellent beer. And I got to stir the mash! 3 points

Total: 18 points.

You can be sure this is going to Nationals again!

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posted by hiikeeba at 03:11 0 comments

14 February 2009

Tasty APA Brew Day

I am a huge fan of The Brewing Network, and one of the brewcasters, Mike "Tasty" McDole won the 2007 Samual Adams Longshot with this Pliny the Elder clone. I modified the recipe to 5 gallons and my efficiency.

Tasty APA

Estimated OG - 1.056

Estimated IBUs - 42

8# 2 row
3# pilsner
1# Cara-Pils
1/2# Crystal 40L
1/2# flaked wheat
.25 oz Chinook 13%/mash
.25 oz Warrior 19%/60
.25 oz Simcoe 12%/10
.25 oz Northern Brewer 9%/10
.25 oz Centennial 10.5%/1
.25 oz Simcoe 12%/1
2 oz Cascade 5.75/0
1 oz Columbus 15%/dry
.5 oz Centennial 10.5%/dry
.5 oz Simcoe 12%/dry
Irish moss
WLP 001

Now, when I ordered the ingredients, I knew I couldn't get the same alpha acids as the recipe called for. Except for the Cascade and the Centennial, since the amounts were so small, I figured I could adjust the weight as needed.

The water here in Paradise is a bit on the hard side, so I will blend that water with distilled water to get something a bit softer, and hopefully, the beer won't be so bitter.


posted by hiikeeba at 01:05 0 comments

12 February 2009

Trappist Ale Tasting at San Antonio Flying Saucer 2/17

The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, 11255 Huebner Road, #212, in San Antonio, will present a Trappist Ale Tasting on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. The event will be hosted by Luc “Bobo” Van Mechelen, regional sales manager at Manneken-Brussel Imports, Inc.

Five Trappist ales will be paired with four selected courses. Featured pairings include Chimay Triple paired with Waterzooi soup; Orval as a stand-alone feature; Chimay Red with a pheasant and poblano quesadilla; Chimay Blue paired with Chimay Blue cupcakes with vanilla ice cream and raspberry drizzle; and Koningshoeven Quadrupel paired with rum balls made with Koningshoeven Quadrupel. An appetizer of venison salami and Chimay cheeses will be available before the tasting begins.

Authentic Trappist beer is brewed within a Trappist monastery, under the control and responsibility of the monastic community. Only seven breweries carry the Trappist distinction – Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel in Belgium and Koningshoeven in The Netherlands.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at The Flying Saucer and are $35 for U.F.O. Club members and $40 for non-members. Reservations are required as tickets are limited. For more information about the event, please call (210) 696-5080.


posted by hiikeeba at 18:23 0 comments

10 February 2009

Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale

Despite Satan's distaste for rye beers, I decided to brew a cream ale with rye on January 31. I got the recipe from Bugeater on the BN Forums.

Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale

Estimated OG - 1.056
Actual OG - 1.051
Estimated IBUS -

5.5# two row malt
5# Pilsener malt
1# flaked rye
1# flaked corn
1/2# Cara-Pils
1 oz Norther Brewer 5.7%/mash hop
1 oz Saaz 5.8%/60 min.
1/4 oz Saaz 5.8/5 min.
WLP 001

Everything went well. It was only when I had hooked the fermenter to the counterflow chiller that I realized that I had forgotten to sanitize the chiller when I emptied the sanitizing solution out of the fermenter. I cracked the valve on the kettle with a prayer to Ninkasi, and continued.

I will keep you posted.


posted by hiikeeba at 12:35 0 comments

08 February 2009

Mixed Messages

Someone in a Jacksonville, Illinois area sign company wasn't thinking when they put up these billboards. Image is Copyrighted 2009 by the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.


posted by hiikeeba at 07:30 0 comments

06 February 2009


posted by hiikeeba at 16:44 0 comments

04 February 2009

The End of 3.2 Beer?

As much as I complain about Texas' arcane and mystifying beer laws, there are some things we can take for granted: like full strength beer in the grocery stores. Some states, notably Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah and Kansas only allow grocery stores to sell 3.2% alcohol beer. Liquor stores may sell full strength beer, which creates some interesting sights. When in Denver a couple of years ago, Satan and I stopped at a Whole Foods to stock up on beer from Colorado, we noticed that the beer portion of the store had a separate entrance, and was called Whole Food Liquors. In Tennessee, liquor stores have to have a physical barrier between regular strength beer and high alcohol beer, wine and liquor. Two separate stores under one roof, essentially.

Well, it seems the battle is on in Kansas and Colorado.

In both states, grocery stores have noticed the rise in craft beer sales, and want their piece of the action. Liquor store owners want to protect their sales, and oppose the measure. Kansas link. Colorado link.

All this proves that money is at the root of all legislation. I predict that whoever contributes the most to their legislators will win. And that's the same in all 50 states.

Now that Texas' legislature is in session, it's time to write your representatives and ask them to allow microbrewers to sell their product on their premises.


posted by hiikeeba at 06:52 0 comments

02 February 2009

All-Grain Peppercorn Rye Bock - Tasting Notes

Before I left Midland, Satan gave me a case of our Peppercorn Rye Bock that we brewed back in November. Tonight I sampled it. It poured up a hazy brown with a dense off white head, and some ruby highlights. The aroma is malty with some spice aromas. Starts off with a sweet malt flavor that finishes with pepper in the back of the throat and a strong carbonation tingle on my tongue.

It's over-carbonated, but good. I put the bottles in the fridge at lunch. When I came home from work, two bottles had exploded.

We're entering this in the Bluebonnet Brewoff and in Nationals. We'll get dinged for the carbonation, but it tastes really good.

I also got some of Satan's Old Colonial Porter and Brother Spuds Oatmeal Stout. More on those later.

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posted by hiikeeba at 19:15 0 comments