30 May 2009

Never Trust the Weatherman

On Friday night last weekend, I checked the weather. Rain was forecast for our area Saturday night and Sunday morning, clearing off by Sunday at noon. I tentatively scheduled my brew day for Monday. The rains would come in the afternoon, the guy in the suit said, so I made a starter for my DeStruisse/Paxton Old Archaic beer. (I made a couple of changes in the recipe. First, I added a pound of flaked rice to make up for my brewhouse efficiency. Second, I can't get Pannepot around here, so I used the dregs of an Ommegang Abbey Ale. I also made it a single infusion mash, because I can't do math, and I wanted to be finished at noon.)

Saturday morning dawned cloudy, and I checked the forecast. Rains would start at 6 pm. Sweet! I lit the fire on the kettle and doughed in by 9 am. I spotted a dark cloud to the north of town, and kept an eye on it. I finished my mash and started my first batch sparge when it began to drizzle. I finished the second batch sparge as it started to pour. So I moved the essentials up to the porch for the boil.

So I boiled for 90 minutes, while I sat inside and watched TV. I got everything cooled off, and the beer in the fermenter just as the sun broke through the clouds. We didn't get any more rain.

The predicted gravity was 1.074, and I recorded a 1.060. Oh well, Macht's Nicht, I suppose. It should still be good.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:10 0 comments links to this post

28 May 2009

Old MILFwaukee NHC Scores

I had four bottles left, and said to myself, "What the heck!" and sent one in. Prolly shoulda just drank it. It scored a 13. Both judges called infected, and one suggested it was a Belgian style beer. I think it was the Sorachi Ace hops.

But it looked "Fabulous!" as Billy Crystal used to say.

Let this be a lesson to you. Whenever you say "What the Heck!" you probably shouldn't do something.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:43 0 comments links to this post

27 May 2009

Charlie Papazian's Call to Action

Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association, recently warned of pending beer tax increases to pay for universal health care. Our Congress is contemplating tripling the beer tax, which would raise the price of a case $2 to the brewer. By the time the distributors and the retailers have added their markups, you and I will pay about $4 a case more. They are also proposing raising the taxes 20% on liquor and 233% on wine.

Papazian writes: "If you spend $3.38 on anything these days you need to actually earn about $5.40 (assuming 25% income tax bracket +4% state income tax rate). The bottom line is that a beer drinker will need to earn $5.40 (before income related taxes) in order to pay for that mythical $2 a case excise tax increase."

The main problem with raising excise, or sin, taxes is that the tax increase reduces sales, and ultimately revenue. The tax will also force those microbreweries on the edge to fail, increasing unemployment. These taxes are also a bigger burden for the poor, since a larger percentage of their income will go to taxes.

So, guess what this all means? That's right! It's time to contact your Congresscritters and let them know how you feel. Don't know who to talk to? Here's a website that can help you out.

Be polite, but be firm. Your salary isn't going up as fast as your taxes are.


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

Basin Brewers Big Brew Day


posted by Jeff Holt at 09:44 0 comments links to this post

26 May 2009

Saison Ete

Satan came for a visit, so we brewed a Saison from last June's Zymurgy.

Saison Ete

Brew Type: All Grain Date: 5/24/2009
Style: Saison Brewer: Jeff Holt
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Assistant Brewer:
Boil Volume: 7.00 gal Boil Time: 60 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 % Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Actual Efficiency: 3.63 %
Taste Rating (50 possible points): 35.0

Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
11.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 57.89 %
5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 26.32 %
1.50 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 7.89 %
0.50 lb Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 2.63 %
1.75 oz Styrian Goldings [5.20 %] (60 min) Hops 21.4 IBU
2.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] (5 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
0.75 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
0.75 oz Orange Peel, Sweet (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.50 oz Black Pepper, cracked (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 lb Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM) Sugar 5.26 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.072 SG (1.048-1.065 SG) Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.021 SG (1.002-1.012 SG) Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Color: 5.4 SRM (5.0-14.0 SRM) Color [Color]
Bitterness: 24.2 IBU (20.0-35.0 IBU) Alpha Acid Units: 9.1 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 6.73 % (5.00-7.00 %) Actual Alcohol by Volume: 0.65 %
Actual Calories: 43 cal/pint


Mash Profile
Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge Mash Tun Weight: 9.00 lb
Mash Grain Weight: 18.00 lb Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Sparge Water: 4.34 gal Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 22.50 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 75 min


Mash Notes
Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
.

My actual OG was 1.066. Close enough for me!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 03:49 0 comments links to this post

24 May 2009

Paint Rock Bock NHC Score

Paint Rock Bock was the last beer in the flight, so I'm sure it suffered as a result of that. But it did score a 31!

Two of the judges said it had metallic flavors, and I noticed that when I reviewed it after getting my Bluebonnet scores. One judge didn't mention the metallic flavor. One of the metallic judges called it soapy. Soapy?

But all agreed, as I did, that this was out of style. One judge said, too complex for the style. And as is typical, one said more complexity would be appreciated.

So all in all, this one turned out to be a decent beer. I don't know that I would necessarily change anything, except the black patent.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:30 0 comments links to this post

22 May 2009

Smoked Wheat Kegging Day

A few days ago, I kegged the smoke wheat experiment.

Well, there is a mesquite smoke taste to it. I'm not sure what I think of it since it isn't carbonated. Maybe it a couple of days, when it is cold and carbonated, this will have a bit of taste. This may the last attempt at a mesquite smoked beer.


posted by Jeff Holt at 03:39 0 comments links to this post

21 May 2009

Getting impatient


posted by Jeff Holt at 16:14 0 comments links to this post

20 May 2009

Paint Rock (formerly Flatonia) Bock Bluebonnet Scores

The Bluebonnet Brew-off judges pretty much agreed with me that I blew this beer. I scored a 28.5. That's not a bad beer. Just not very good.

And for the record, BJCP judge "Just Dave" has the best score sheet! In the non-subjective areas, he broke the score down point by point. What a great idea! Thanks, Just Dave!

Both judges noted the roastiness, and graded it as a flaw. Bot agreed it was a nice beer, but out of style. The other judge scored it a bit lower, saying it was too bitter. I expect that was the roast, but don't know for sure. The second judge also noted a metallic aftertaste.

I don't disagree. I was hoping for a clone of Shiner Bock. But, if I were making this as a pro, I'd probably be happy with it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 03:31 1 comments links to this post

18 May 2009

Buddy's Amber - Bluebonnet Brew-Off Scores

Well, there's good news and there's bad news.

In the first round, Buddy's Amber scored 39 out of 50! If you will recall, this scored a 35 at the New England Regional homebrewing competition last year, saying it was too hoppy. I got a 28 at Dixie Cup because they wanted more malt. So I cut back the hops and brewed Buddy's Amber again. I just got the scores back from Bluebonnet, and thought I would share them.

In the first round, the judges (no rank indicated) noted spicy, piney hop aroma with some caramel malt in the background with some pepper notes. (One judge wanted more caramel). They both thought it was a little too light colored, not too hazy, and had good carbonation.As far as the flavor goes, they both thought it had a little clove phenol in it. Neither disliked it, but noted it as being out of style. They thought it could use a bit more carbonation. They both liked it, except for the clove, and one suggested I use a starter. They both gave me a 39 out of 40, which advanced the beer to the second round. And that's when the wheels fell off.

In the second round, the judges, both recognized, had issues with the metallic phenols. They scored the beer 24.5.

It is possible that they got a bad bottle. I do not discount that possibility, but I think they got a good one. I can taste that metallic flavor in the background of the beer, and thought it was typical of the ambers I have had in the past.

So, no medal for me.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 01:48 0 comments links to this post

16 May 2009

Flatonia Bock Tasting Notes

Once more, in anticipation of getting my Bluebonnet and NHC scores, I resampled Flatonia Bock.

A few months ago, I brewed Flatonia Bock. Flatonia is close to Shiner, so I was hoping for something close to Shiner Bock. After sampling, I dubbed it Paint Rock Bock, because it wasn't very close.

I have touched on this before, but the following score is to style, with Shiner Bock as a "perfect" beer.

Paint Rock Bock Tasting Notes

Appearance (0-3): Dark, dark, dark! Almost black with ruby highlights and a thin off-white head that dissipates quickly. It's pretty, but a bit dark. 1 point
Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Some sweet malt, overpowered by a roast flavor. No hops detected. Not bad, but not Shiner. 2 points
Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): No hops detected. Malt flavor is a bit low, except for the roast flavor. 2 points
Aftertaste (0-3): The roast just lingers and lingers, without at malt background to hang it on. 2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): A little thin. Just like Shiner Bock. 3 points
Overall Impression (0-3): A nice beer. No Shiner Bock, but nice. 2 points

Total: 12 points

In retrospect, next time I brew this I will not use roasted barley. Maybe some pale chocolate, instead.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 03:09 2 comments links to this post

14 May 2009

Buddy's Amber Tasting Notes

In anticipation of scores from Bluebonnet and NHC.

Buddy's Amber - Version 2

Appearance (0-3): Cloudy amber with a dense off-white head. 2 points.
Aroma (0-4): Spicy and hint of pine. Caramel notes with a slight metallic aroma. 3 points.
Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): Caramel and toffee notes cut by hops. 3 points
Aftertaste (0-3): Sweet malt with some pepper notes in the finish. Still some metallic flavors. 2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Good mouthfeel with a nice CO2 tingle. 3 points
Overall Impression (0-3): I'm not an amber fan, and this tastes like an amber. A little phenolic, but not bad. 2 points
15 points.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 01:29 0 comments links to this post

12 May 2009

Rye Cream Ale 2

Saturday I rebrewed Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale. It was a remarkably smooth brew day. I started at 8 am and was finished by 1 pm. I missed my OG again. I was aiming for 1.056 but got 1.048. I think that's close. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 00:43 0 comments links to this post

10 May 2009

Abbey Wiezen 2 Tasting Notes

I promised Satan I would bottle this, and hide it. So this is the last glass or two for a while.

Abbey Wiezen
Appearance (0-3): Pours up a brown/orange with red highlights, a thin off white head that disspates rapidly leaving wisps of white foam across the top of the beer. 2 Points
Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Fruity aroma, hints of banana, plums, and citrus. Some caramel notes in the background. 3 points
Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): Low hop flavor. Good for style. Sweet malt flavor but dominated by tropical fruits. 3 points
Aftertaste (0-3): Tropical fruits live a slight bitternes, accented by hot alcohol at the end. 3 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Full body with medium carbonation. 3 points
Overall Impression (0-3): My third Belgian, and the best. Full of those fruit flavors I like in some Belgian beers. 3 point
Total: 17 points

Well, this goes in the rotation with Buddy's Amber and Dirktastic.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 03:33 0 comments links to this post

08 May 2009

German Beer Sales Down in First Quarter

"German beer sales were down 6.8 percent on the year in the first quarter, with exports to other European countries showing a particularly sharp decline, according to official figures released Thursday," says an AP story in the LA Times.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:33 0 comments links to this post

07 May 2009

Whew!

I just spent an hour emailing all the members of the House calendar committee and my state rep about the direct sales bill. Here's what I wrote:

I am writing you to ask you to support HB 2094, which would allow a microbrewer to charge an admission fee for a brewery tour and give me up to 48 bottles of their product at the end of the tour.

Two weeks ago, I was in Fort Worth and visited the Rahr & Sons Brewery. I had heard good things about their product. Let me tell you, it's true. The beer I sampled at the brewery was outstanding! Next time you are in Fort Worth on a Saturday, I encourage you to stop by. I wanted to take some Rahr beer home. However, the brewery staff were not able to tell me where I could purchase the beer. They are prohibited by law from doing so. Nor could I purchase any at the brewery. I tried a few convenience stores in the area, but couldn't find any to buy. I could find Bud, Miller, Coors, and a handful of Colorado craft beers, but nothing from Fort Worth!

Rahr beer is not distributed in my area. However, I can get Saint Arnold, Real Ale (from Blanco) and microbrews from California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Colorado. But not Rahr beer. I'm sure there's a reason the distributors in my area choose to carry Colorado beers over Texas beers. I suppose they think Colorado, Oregon and California deserve their beer taxes, and the employment, more than Texas does. I don't know, you'd have to ask them.

A few years ago, the State of Texas allowed wineries to sell their product direct to the consumer, and today the Texas wine industry is huge. And no distributor closed their doors as a result. I believe that if the State allows brewers to sell their product, Texas could have a beer industry that rivals Colorado's as one of the biggest in the country.

Please vote to send HB 2094 to the House floor.

Thank you.

Your turn!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:13 0 comments links to this post

AHA results?

Maybe they will post the results today. I think the AHA Web Team must be sick, evil, sadistic bastards, who learned their torture techniques at the feet of either Sadam Hussein or the Bluebonnet Brew-off organizers.

I kid because I love.


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:17 0 comments links to this post

06 May 2009

Drink Beer Live Longer

If you drink 2 ounces of alcohol a day, you can add 2.5 years to your life span, reports a study by Dutch researchers.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:07 1 comments links to this post

05 May 2009

It's Still Not too Late

Thanks, everyone, for contacting your representative. Now you have to do it again! The Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee Voted 5-2, with 2 absent, to send HB 2094 to the Calendar committee. It should be noted that Rep. Charlie Geren, who said he didn't know anything about the bill, why it was being blocked, and that he would "probably" vote for it, voted against it.

The bill now moves to the House Committee on Calendars who will schedule the vote. If they don't schedule it, we lose. Please contact your state representative and let them know you support this bill. If your representative is on this committee, let them know you want this bill to go to the House floor.


posted by Jeff Holt at 20:32 0 comments links to this post

04 May 2009

West Texas Wheat Version 2.0

After last year's Band-Aid-y tasting Mesquite smoked Pale Ale, and sampling Stone's smoked porter, I thought I would try to make another smoked beer. I just finished reading Ray Daniels and Geoffry Larson's Smoked Beers: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Style Series, 18.), I thought I would revise the West Texas Wheat, and use more traditional hops. I would also use one ounce of mesquite smoked malt.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:22 3 comments links to this post

02 May 2009

Dirktastic 2

I got into Dirktastic 2 the other day. A little hazy, with a nice orange/amber color with an off-white head that takes a while to dissipate. The aroma hops are beginning to fade, but that's to be expected. The longer it lasts, the more the aroma will disappear. Good mouthfeel, with a nice malt flavor to support the grapefruit-like hop flavor.

I may have to brew this every other batch!

Thanks, Tasty!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:07 0 comments links to this post