30 April 2009

Midland Brew Day

In anticipation of advancing to the second round of Nationals, and because we needed more Wit Willy and hefeweiss, I headed out to Midland over the past weekend to brew with Satan.

Before I left, I quickly bottled some Kölsch I Said So and some Abbey Wiezen 2. I also took some Dirktastic, but it wasn't quite ready. Since Satan had to work till 5 or 6, I stopped by Eola brewpub for a beer.

Mark had what he called a light lager on tap that was pretty good, and his Irish Red Ale was drinkable, but not too cloying.

After a quick lunch, I headed off to Midland. The Wit Willy brew day went stunningly well. That's two stress free brew days in a row. Something has to be on the horizon! That evening, we sampled my beers. Satan liked them all, even the uncarbonated Dirktastic. But we were both astounded by the Abbey Wiezen. Since kegging it had deepened in flavor. It was a big malty brew, with tropical fruit and raisin notes. Satan made me swear to bottle some of this stuff and save it. And I will. As soon as I do a proper review here!

posted by hiikeeba at 07:13 0 comments

28 April 2009

Kölsch I Said So

A couple of weeks ago, I kegged my Kölsch. When I sampled it, I thought it smelled and tasted a bit "corny." I put it on CO2 to force carbonate. I tried it last night. It was a bit over carbonated, but otherwise, very nice. The corn aroma still lingers, but the beer tastes more grainy than anything else. It's not very clear, even with gelatin finings, but it tastes good, and I suppose that is all that really matters.


posted by hiikeeba at 06:48 0 comments

26 April 2009

"100" Belgian Ale - The Covey Restaurant and Brewery

I stopped in at The Covey Restaurant and Brewery in Fort Worth, and had their special brew "100," a Belgian style ale brewed in celebration of their one hundred brew. It was very complex with plum, raisin and banana notes. It was awesome. I wish I could brew something like this.

posted by hiikeeba at 06:19 2 comments

24 April 2009

Rahr Brewery Tour

I would have spent a lot of Money in State Representative Charlie Geren's district, but he hates good beer.

posted by hiikeeba at 06:16 0 comments

22 April 2009

Circle Brewing Company - Austin

Ben Sabel and Judson Mulherin, childhood friends, moved to Austin in 2008 to make beer and formed Circle Brewing Company. They have some beers planned that sound interesting. Currently they are in the equity financing stage, so if you have some cash floating around. . .


posted by hiikeeba at 08:28 0 comments

20 April 2009

Corona Sales Slipping?

While Corona remains the US's best selling imported beer, there are signs of trouble, according to a Chicago Tribune story:

Craft beers are stealing business from major imports, while Corona also is under pressure from Anheuser-Busch's successful new Bud Light Lime, analysts say.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:08 0 comments

18 April 2009

Champagne Velvet

While I journey to tropical, Frisco, Texas for a Jimmy Buffett concert (after lunch at The Covey Restaurant, and a tour of Rahr & Sons), here's something for you to enjoy.

Another picture of Jessica, holding vintage cans of Champagne Velvet from Ken Knisley's collection. Ken is the Grand Prize Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America (BCCA). Champagne Velvet has been revived by Terra Haute Brewing Company.

More to come!


posted by hiikeeba at 13:45 0 comments

16 April 2009

Heroin Cheaper than Beer

Are you one of those neo-Prohibitionists? Do you lay awake at night worrying that someone, somewhere is having a good time? Do you believe that the beer companies are trying to get your children to drink? Well, now you can relax. Beer is too expensive. Can you say Heroin Pong?

CNN is reporting that, thanks to the ongoing Mexican Gang war going on, heroin is cheaper than a 6-pack of beer.


posted by hiikeeba at 13:38 0 comments

14 April 2009

Brew B Que Festival - 5/9

Listen to live music, sample beers from Austin and Regional brewers, eat Bar-B-Que from Central Texas' great restaurants, Compete in games of skill. Watch the lumberjack show consisting of chainsaw racing, obstacle pole racing, world champion cross-cut sawing, log rolling, spring board chopping, standing block chopping, underhand chopping and more. Catch Austin's first ever chihuahua races, or be a part of the backyard BBQ challenge by bringing out your pit and team to show off your grilling skills and be a part of a documentary film on BBQ and brewing techniques.

Austin's Independence Brewing, Live Oak Brewing, and (512) Brewing will all be there. Why not you. Advance tickets are on sale now.


posted by hiikeeba at 07:27 0 comments

12 April 2009


I've just made a horrible discovery: I am down to a quarter keg of Wheat Porter! I have a few bottles of barley wine set aside, a few Brother Spuds, and some nasty ass Colonial Small Ale (too much butterscotch, otherwise it's okay). I need to brew!

So I ramped up and rebrewed Dirktastic and I brewed Abbey Wiezen 2 on the same weekend. I ordered ingredients for two more recipes to brew: Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale and Kinda Bruery Saison, which I will brew on May 3 and 4. I'd brew next weekend but I got a Jimmy Buffett concert to attend!

That should get me--by the end of the month: a Kölsch, and Dirktastic in kegs and almost ready to drink; with a barley wine in secondary, a black barley wine in bottles for a year long aging in the cooler, Abbey Wiezen aging for next month.

I'm still not out of the woods, though. I might have to by commercial beer to get me through!

posted by hiikeeba at 10:41 0 comments

10 April 2009

China's Snow brand Beer world's #1 beer

According to this Reuters story, China's Snow, which is brewed by SABMiller and its Chinese partner China Resources Enterprises, leap frogged over Budweiser and Bud Light to become the world's best selling beer, growing 19.1%. Skol, Corona and Heineken round out the top six best selling beers.


posted by hiikeeba at 05:04 0 comments

08 April 2009

Rebrewed Dirktastic

After the horrible Abbey Wiezen brew day, I was hoping for smooth sailing. Despite a chilly start, it was very smooth. I rebrewed Dirktastic, because I drank it really fast. This may be a regular beer.

The day went well. I started at about 8:30 am, and had wrapped everything up by 1 pm, and had everything put away by 3 pm. I was shooting for 1.057 and got 1.050. I didn't get as much evaporation as I was hoping I would get. But Macht's Nicht, baby!


posted by hiikeeba at 14:20 0 comments

06 April 2009

Budvar Imports to US up 7%

Anheuser-Busch's long-time lawsuit target, State-owned Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar, seems to be benefiting from the recent acquistion of A-B by InBev. Budvar imported 311,494 gallons of beer into the United States, up from 290,598 gallons, largely as a result of A-B agreeing to distribute Budvar in the US. In the United States Budweiser Budvar is known as Budvar Czechvar as a result of the ongoing legal battle over the Budweiser name.


posted by hiikeeba at 04:34 1 comments

04 April 2009

The Return of Abbey Wiezen

Last year, for my company Christmas Party, I brewed Randy Mosher's Abbey Wiezen (recipe here). It was a good beer, but seemed a bit. . .small.

So I tweaked the recipe. I bumped the OG up to around 1.070, and, since I haven't tasted the latest barley wine to see how it worked, I added a pound and a half of flaked rice to add fermentables but not too much flavor. This may be an experiment that is doomed to never be repeated, but macht's nicht™, baby!

Abbey Wiezen 2
Belgian Specialty Ale


Type: All Grain

Date: 4/4/2009

Batch Size: 4.00 gal

Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 7.00 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
1.00 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 4.88 %
9.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 43.90 %
8.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 39.02 %
1.50 lb Rice, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 7.32 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 4.88 %
2.50 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [2.40 %] (60 min) Hops 20.4 IBU
0.50 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [2.40 %] (15 min) Hops 2.0 IBU
1 Pkgs Abbey Ale (White Labs #WLP530) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.106 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.068 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.024 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 10.81 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.23 %
Bitterness: 22.5 IBU Calories: 301 cal/pint
Est Color: 9.1 SRM Color:

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 20.50 lb
Sparge Water: 3.85 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 25.63 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Kegged (Forced CO2) Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 21.6 PSI Carbonation Used: -
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 28.0 days
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F  


Last week, I emptied my last keg, except for an aging barleywine. Ever run out of beer when you know you are too drunk to drive? I am surprised you didn't hear the heart-rending scream where you live.

The next day I ordered ingredients for Randy Mosher's Abbey Wiezen (from Radical Brewing), and ingredients for a second batch of Tasty APA. The ingredients arrived on Friday, and I looked forward to a rare double header brew weekend.

Being a firm believer in the Six P's (Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance - I may call my next Tasty clone "P to the Sixth Pale Ale"), I sorted the ingredients and made a yeast starter for the Abbey Wiezen, ground the coriander, and gathered an ounce of Tropical Green Tea (the last two are my contributions to the recipe), put them in little clear bowls with lids, and put a slip of paper inside with the addition times (60, 15, and 0). I filled my kettle from the tap so the chlorine the city adds could waft away into the atmosphere, and I brought my Denny Conn-style mash tun inside to fill with grains so I wouldn't have to do those complicated strike water calculations in the morning. Then I planned for after the brew day: clean some kegs, keg a kolsch and sort the Tasty Hops for the Sunday brew day. I went to bed and slept the sleep of the well prepared.

I woke up at seven this morning, made Jittery Joe's Wake and Bake coffee, made sure the iPod was charged and took the Denny Conn-like mash tun out and set it on a knee-high plastic table that I have been using for about a year. Then I tried to start the fire.

Ninkasi began to shit upon me.

The stick lighter I bought last month started to go out, with a full resevoir of fluid. As propane spewed into the atmosphere I clicked and clicked and clicked and clicked to no avail. So I shut off the propane, went inside to grab some kitchen matches ran back outside to start again. The first few matches wouldn't strike, and the one that did burned my fingers.

I must pause here to say that I have worked in retail sales most of my life, and I can deal with an irate customer without swearing. But I do frustrate easily and can become furious over the littlest thing that doesn't go the way I expect.

As I hurled the box of matches across the back yard with George Carlin's famous Seven Words flying from my lips, with an additional "rat fuck bastard," I thought about giving up brewing and taking up knitting.

I got the fire going, and doughed in. I got within two degrees of my mash temperature, and I was happy. Fifteen minutes before the end of the mash, I fired up burner again to heat my sparge water to 168 F. As I began transferring the sparge water into a bucket to free up the kettle for the wort, I noticed that the birds were singing, and a cool breeze was blowing. Life was good. In my head, I was running through the next steps: "Drain the mash tun, add four more gallons of sparge water and let it sit ten minutes. . ."

That was when Ninkasi unleashed her full fury on me.

I heard a crash. I turned around. My mash tun lay on the patio, with an ankle high pile of grains before it, and a pool of precious wort puddling around both items. One of the legs of the plastic table had buckled.

I didn't swear.

I couldn't. There was no word that could describe the way I was feeling. I began to wonder what time the yarn store closed. I grabbed a shovel and scooped up the grains and flung them over my shoulder onto the lawn. Then I hosed off the patio.

At that point I could have asked myself, "Just how hard is it to make a Jayne hat?" But I remembered the starter perking away on the fridge, and knew that I had to brew. So I filled up the kettle for the chlorine thing, and jumped in the car and headed for Austin Homebrew Supply--83 miles away. It was 11 am.

The traffic in Austin was horrible, even for a Saturday. I get to the shop and there are no parking spaces out front, but there is one at the back of the building. The place is packed. I have never seen that many people in the store buying ingredients. Nice to know the economy isn't hurting my soon-to-be former hobby. I get to the front of the line eventually, and my order is filled.

I race back home, and by 3 pm, I am heating my strike water. At 6 I have sparged and have the kettle on the burner to start the boil. Ninkasi wasn't done with me. It took almost an hour before I could get a boil. By the time I cool and pitch the yeast it's 8:30 pm, and I am beat. I clean my tubing, and the counterflow chiller, and fill the kettle with water. I decide that brewing the Tasty clone can wait til Monday. On Sunday I will clean the kegs I emptied, the kettle and keg the Kolsch. Then, and only then, will I prep for the Monday brew day.

Ninkasi willing.

Created with BeerSmith


posted by hiikeeba at 20:32 2 comments

02 April 2009

Bottling Day!

I generally keg my beer. But it makes it hard to share. And hard to save. Since you can't see the level of the beer inside the keg, I never know when I will run out until the tap spits at me.

I promised some Donn's Famous Horse Cram It In Brown Ale to my Uncle Donn and Cousin Steve. So I bottled a case. A sixer for them, a sixer for Satan, and 12 for the competitions this summer.

The Dirktastic is so awesome that I am in danger of running out, and Satan has asked for a six pack. But I ran out because I have been hitting it pretty hard.

I also have the black barley wine in a keg at the back of the fridge. I need to bottle all of that and take a case to Satan for long term storage. He doesn't drink quite as much as I do, so keeping a case in Midland will give the beer time to age. I already have a case of Aud's No Scufflin' Ale 1 in his pantry under the stairs. Unfortunately, the black barley wine hadn't carbonated, so back into the cooler it went with a CO2 line attached.

That will leave me with a partial keg of the last wheat porter that is a bit too bitter. And the Kölsch I Said So needs to age a few weeks before serving. THe only other homebrew is a few bottles of Brother Spuds that Satan and I put down. Ten bottles of Aud's No Scufflin' Ale, and a couple dozen bombers of the butterscotch flavored Colonial Small Ale. More on that later.

posted by hiikeeba at 08:27 0 comments

01 April 2009

Fort Worth Weekly article on Rahr Brewing and Parity Bill

Here is the article from Fort Worth Weekly about Rahr & Sons and the parity bill working through the legislature. They even quoted me!

In related news, I got this email from Tony Formby of Rahr & Sons:

We have another project for you, equally as dangerous, should you decide to accept its time to call Fort Worth Rep. Charlie Geren. Mr. Geren sits on two critical committees in the legislature that a bill important to Texas brewers is currently in front of. We very much need his vote on both committees for the bill to advance.

The bill is HB 2094. If passed, it will allow Texas breweries to sell tours at their breweries that include packaged beer to take home. The extra revenue this measure will produce for local brewers will help Texas brewers compete and market their products here at home.

We aren’t asking for special treatment, just parity with other brewers in the US who can sell their beer at their breweries in their home states and who ship their beer into our Texas market. See this week’s edition of the Fort Worth weekly for more information on the issue www.fwweekly.com

To our knowledge Rep. Geren of Fort Worth is uncommitted. This is because there are powerful forces lined up on the opposing side of this bill.

Please call Mr. Geren’s office in Austin and voice your support for HB 2094. I am told if enough of you phone it will have an impact. His phone number is (512) 463-0610. If you are from Fort Worth please mention that as well.

Many thanks for all your support!

PS We just kegged a Victory lap batch of IRON THISTLE Scotch Ale - it will be at pubs, bars and restaurants this weekend and next week!

Tony Formby

If you love beer, call Representative Geren, and your own representative to let them know you support HB 2049.

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posted by hiikeeba at 19:34 0 comments