30 October 2009

Basin Brewers Garage Crawl

As you read this, I will be on my way to Midland to visit Satan and participate in the Basin Brewers' Kegerator Crawl. I will make my usual stop in Eola for lunch. Pictures and details to follow. Depending on my hangover.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:54 0 comments links to this post

28 October 2009

Dixie Cup Scores - And an Important Announcement!

I searched the envelope my Dixie Cup scores came in high and low, but no $50 bill attached to a note asking me to stop brewing. There was a nice letter that closed with the line "it was a pleasure to drink and judge your beer."

I have a score sheet that suggests otherwise.

Old Archaic - The judges agreed that it was mediocre. It's infected, they said, lacked a malt component, and fermented too warm. Average score: 25.

Aud's No Scufflin' Ale - Fucked by the lack of hops! Both said it was a very good English barley wine, but a pretty crappy American Barley wine. Average score: 26.

H2DC (Imperial Mild) - Too hoppy. One judge called it Hop Juice (nice name!) and it would take a better man than him to drink it. The other called it an American Brown Ale. Average score: 22.5.

Saison Été - Peppery citrus notes, and not carbonated enough. One judge said the citrus and pepper were added (yep! According to the recipe, sir), not yeast driven, and should have been fermented warmer. Other said it lacked complexity. Average score: 34. And, according to the cover sheet, it made it to the second round. There is no score sheet to prove it, however.

So, with great reluctance, I am announcing my retirement from competition. That's right, you're gonna have to beat up on someone else from now on. And, since each comp cost about $60 for shipping and entry fees, I will have enough money to brew 5 more batches of beer next year! Win-win for me!

So, with tongue firmly planted in my cheek:


posted by Jeff Holt at 17:19 10 comments links to this post

Freetail Brewing Company

Satan came for a visit and we went to San Antonio to hoist a few at Freetail Brewing Company. We had several beers, and finally settled on the wits, with me favoring the Morning Wit, and Satan prefering the Rye Wit.

It was a beautiful day and we sat on the patio. I wish this was closer to my house.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:19 0 comments links to this post

26 October 2009

Dirktastic Light - AKA Tasty APA Light

I decided that while it has cooled off, it's time to rebrew some old favorites. This time, it was Dirktastic, my version of Tasty APA.

Dirktastic APA

Adapted by Jeff Holt

Mike "Tasty" McDole brewed this Pliny Light recipe. I modified the recipe to 5 gallons and my efficiency (60%).

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 Fredericksburg is a bit on the hard side, so I blended that water with distilled water to get something a bit softer. The recipe in the newsletter is Tasty's original recipe, with his brewing notes. Mash at 154°, then ferment around 68°. Add the dry hops when the ferment is about 90% finished. I fermented 14 days and dry hopped for 8 days.

This has a huge hop nose, like opening a fresh pack of hops. The combination of hops give the beer a grapefruit taste that is suprisingly smooth. You might want to make the 12 gallon version. It goes fast!

The name comes from my Forum name on the Brewing Network, Dirk McLargeHuge, and is a riff on Chad's version called Shatastic.

This time around, however, I used on 7 pounds of 2-row, and I couldn't source the Columbus hops, so I replaced them Cascade, which kept my BU:GU ratio in balance with the stronger version. I got an OG of 1.046. I let it ferment one week, then added the dry hops. When I kegged a week later, my gravity was 1.006.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:51 2 comments links to this post

24 October 2009

Ninkasi Smiled On Me - Kinda

I decided to rebrew Dirktastic. Looking back on my notes, I see that my efficiency has fallen dramatically. Anyway, I used the original grain bill, and estimated an OG of 1.046, and got 1.047. I couldn't get Centennial hops, so I replaced them with Cascade. That reduced my IBUs to about 30. Which is good. Because by BU:GU ratio stayed about the same between the last batch at 1.056 and this batch at 1.046.

I pitched a 1.5L starter of Wyeast 1056. I also ordered a new fermentation bucket from Williams Brewing. I never saw airlock activity. So two days later, I checked the gravity. It was 1.039.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:41 0 comments links to this post

22 October 2009

Donn's Famous Horse Cram It In Brown Ale - Kegging Day

After Ninkasi frowned on my Black Orchard Wit, she smiled rather broadly on my brown ale, even though I forgot to include Crystal malt.

This beer is brilliantly clear. It's a dark brown with ruby highlights. It has chocolate and roasted malt notes, with a bit of hop bite in the finish. The original gravity was 1.048, and it finished at 1.011, making this about 4.5% ABV.

I think my Uncle Donn would be happy with this one.


posted by Jeff Holt at 03:08 0 comments links to this post

20 October 2009

Independence Brewing Oatmeal Stout

After Oktoberfest, Amy and Rob Cartwright of Independence Brewing gave me a bottle of the Oatmeal Stout they brewed for GABF. I saved it for a while before sampling. I had a lot of different beer during Oktoberfest, and my palate was blown.

So I sat down the other night to try it.

It's awesome. Just like Anderson Valley Barney Flats, the inspiration for Satan's Brother Spuds. Jet black with low carbonation. Oatmeal flavor with hints of roast in the background and a subtle hop bitterness. Really nice. I should have asked for a six pack.

Let's hope they get this on the market soon!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:22 0 comments links to this post

18 October 2009

Beer-Bottle Baby Billboard

This picture appeared on a billboard in Deep River, CN. Disguised as an attempt to get parents to stop their children from drinking, the real reason behind the billboard is revealed in the article: "'Letting kids drink young is not a good idea at all. But telling your children not to drink, while you're drinking isn't ever going to work. What we need is leadership by example,' said [Wayne] Martin." In other words, parents should stop drinking.

The neo-Prohibitionists are on the move, folks.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:30 2 comments links to this post

17 October 2009

Boycot Monster Energy Drinks

Are you ready for a little "David v. Goliath" windmill tilting, if I may permitted to mix my metaphors?

Rock Art Brewing Company, maker of "Vermonster" Barley Wine has been served a cease and desist by Hansen Beverage Co., maker of Monster Energy drink, because they believe that you and I are not smart enough to know the difference between energy drinks and barley wine. Actually, Hanson is moving into the alcoholic beverage market and needs the claims on the name "Monster" eliminated. Much like how scummy software companies will sit on a patent until it spreads across the industry and then sue the bejebus out of everyone, Hanson needs to clear the field of this usurper, who has been producing the barley wine since 2007.

If you feel the need to contact Hanson Beverage company: http://www.hansens.com/contact/ or nick.gagliardi@hansens.com or sign an online petition. Be polite.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:21 0 comments links to this post

16 October 2009

"Three Days of Unfortunate Beer"

Patrick Beach wrote about the dismal beer selection at this year's Austin City Limits Festival held October 2-4:

The only thing out of tune at ACL Fest is the lousy beer selection. When the best you can do is a lager you can see through something’s just wrong. I understand the rationale: Big brewers are the ones that can pony up the dough to promoter C3 Presents for the privilege of pouring beer. They have infrastructure. They have experience supplying such events. They know where to find an endless supply of servers who look good in bikini tops.[Emphasis mine.]

I guess I should check out the next festival!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:02 0 comments links to this post

14 October 2009

Re-evaluating Rice in Beer

Greg Koch's video, "I am a Craft Brewer" contains the line "I don't use rice in my beer." But don't assume that all craft brewers do the same.

For many years, the use of rice has been reviled as an evil attempt by the MegaBrewers to reduce the flavor in beer. But rice has been making a comeback. Patrick Rue, owner of The Bruery uses rice in his beers instead of sugar to boost the alcohol content of his Belgian-inspired beers, according to an interview on The Brewing Network. I borrowed that idea when I did Old Archaic.

Here's an article about rice's new popularity.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:44 3 comments links to this post

12 October 2009

Greg Noonan - 1951-2009

A post on the BeerAdvocate.com forums heralded the bad news.

I hate to be the first to post this. I went to the Vermont Brew Pub for lunch today, and the pub was closed with a lone sign standing out front:

Greg Noonan
March --- 1951 - Oct. 11th 2009.
I was told he had passed during the night.

Todd Alström, one of the founders of BeerAdvocate.com, posted that he called the brewpub and they confirmed it. The Houston Examiner posted a story based on the BeerAdvocate post. Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton posted a link to another Examiner story about Greg Noonan.

I hate to post this without additional confirmation. The only proof I have is a BeerAdvocate forum post, a couple of Houston Examiner stories, and a tweet from Charlie Papazian to substantiate the reports.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 21:03 0 comments links to this post

Brewdog's Nanny State Mild Imperial Ale

I became aware of BrewDog Brewing Company after an interview with their brewer on The Brewing Network, and have even brewed How to Disappear Completely--or as I call it, H2DC. (Satan sampled H2DC the other day and wrote, "Mmmmmmmmm, nice! A light pipe tobacco odor. I get more of a blend of hops rather than just a single one. It smells Christmasy if there is such a word. Force carbed? Nice long lasring head with a clasically beautiful lacing on the glass. Nice flavor too. It has a nice English flavor to it!")

Recently, BrewDog came under fire from the moral watch dogs (no pun intended) of Scotland, who said their 18% Oak Aged Stout Tokyo because they were contributing to binge drinking. No, really. In response, they have created a new beer called Nanny State, a 1.1% Mild Imperial Ale with "more hops per barrel than any other beer ever brewed in the UK."

Predictably, the Protectors of Public Safety are not amused, saying that while the alcohol content is acceptable, the name indicates a failure to acknowledge the binge drinking problem.

For the record, the solution to binge drinking doesn't lie in making the behavior "bad" and hiding alcohol consumption away from children. That's only going to exacerbate the problem by making them believe it is something that is done in the dark and alone. The solution is to bring responsible alcohol consumption out into the light, where children can be exposed to positive role models: people who drink moderately. Until we let children see that drinking alcohol isn't necessarily evil can we make them behave responsibly. Stop the whiners from complaining that seeing a beer ads on TV makes children want to binge drink. If we follow that logic, seeing prescription drug ads make them want to see a doctor, and seeing Swiffer ads make them want to clean.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:21 0 comments links to this post

10 October 2009

Is Food Writing Biased Towards Wine? Duh!

Orr Shtuhl poses this question on his Washington City Paper blog. In the post, he notices that even food writers trying to be positive about beer and food use negative terms like "wrestling", "trying to push deeper", and "wine territory". But he fails to ask the following question: Why is he surprised?

It's a good article, and I have added him to my Google Reader. You should too.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:45 0 comments links to this post

08 October 2009

Black Orchard Wit - FUBAR!

Ninkasi decided that I was getting too cocky in my abilities, and while brewing Black Orchard Wit I was plagued by problems. Well, Ninkasi wasn't through with me when I pitched the yeast. I let the beer stay in the fermenter for three weeks. When I kegged it, I noticed that none of the spice flavor came through, nor did any orange flavor. (I didn't really expect the orange flavor to come through since I forgot to add it to the boil, and put it in at flameout.) After I finished kegging, (I got 1.024 as a final gravity, by the way.) I disassembled the fermenter to clean it, and discovered that the beer had formed a pellicle.

I'll go ahead a carbonate it and see how it turns out. But once again, I am contemplating putting my equipment up for sale. . .


posted by Jeff Holt at 09:42 0 comments links to this post

07 October 2009

Oktoberfest Texas Beer Area Results

I am not permitted to divulge exactly how many kegs we sold at this year's Oktoberfest. But, I can tell you that I was pleased to see how well the Austin and Blanco craft brewers did.

Independence Brewing Company brought their Austin Amber and their Inpendence Pale Ale. Real Ale Brewing Company brought Fireman's #4, and their new Oktoberfest.

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. It had been ten years since we'd had Real Ale on tap at Okotberfest, and they did okay: I think about five kegs. This time, thanks to rain, things started off a bit slow. Early Saturday afternoon, Real Ale replaced their first two kegs. Later that night, I assumed sales would be slow, and when those replacement kegs ran out a little before 10 pm, we didn't tap new ones, so they left for the night. Shortly after they left, our distributors ran out of all the domestic Oktoberfest they had. On Sunday, we put fresh kegs up, and Real Ale had the only Domestic Oktoberfest beer on the grounds. Eventually, they sold eight kegs. And if I had been on top of my game, we might have had ten!

Independence had a slower weekend. They put a second keg of Amber on the line at 9 pm on Saturday night. We blew both the Pale Ale and the Amber Sunday afternoon--too late to tap another keg--but still selling completely out. They sold three kegs, in total. Though I have to say, the Pale Ale was, for my money, the best beer on the grounds. Amy Cartwright confided that they had only kegged it the week before, and I could tell. It had a nice citrus and pine hop nose, with a strong hoppy finish that I never experienced in the bottled product.

Once the Pale Ale ran out, I switched over to the Oktoberfest. That was my second favorite beer.

We're bringing the Texas beer area back next year, and we hope to entice some more Texas microbrewers to join the party. We are considering a "Meet the Brewers" session on Friday night. We haven't figured out how it would work, but I have a few ideas to present to the committee.

And if you didn't make it this year, pencil Oktoberfest in for 10/1-2/2010. I will make sure to have more Texas craft beer on hand.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:33 1 comments links to this post

06 October 2009

Lubbock Goes Wet

On May 9 the citizens of Lubbock voted to make Lubbock a wet city, meaning allowing alcohol sales inside the city limits. Eighty-three permits were issued by TABC and the first trucks rolled through the city Wednesday, September 23.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:54 3 comments links to this post

04 October 2009

Hopnoxious IPA at Fredericksburg Brewing Company

I stopped by Fredericksburg Brewery the Monday before GABF and spotted a new beer on the menu: Hopnoxious IPA, about 7.4% ABV and 110 IBUs. It is their 15th anniversary beer. The bartender told me it is dry hopped with Amarillo hops. After coming back from California addicted to Pliny the Elder, this was a nice, surprising find. I hope Rick keeps it in their rotation. It was a darn nice beer!


posted by Jeff Holt at 09:36 1 comments links to this post

02 October 2009

The Subtle Art of Beer Snobbery

In previous posts I have mentioned Beer X is okay, or Beer Y isn't any good. Both types of posts get a lot of comments. The second type of post generates comments written by people angry that I dislike their favorite beer who question my sexuality but who are also to timid to leave their name. A perfect example is Anonymous' comments about my opinion of Shiner 98 Amber Ale. The first type of post generates comments from people wager to show their education and experience. A perfect example is my post about beer reviews. That generated 13 reviews, some from people whose general tone made made it clear they thought I was ignorant of real beer.

So it is with great delight I refer you to The Subtle Art of Beer Snobbery in the latest Modern Drunkard.

The Four Types of Beer Snobs
The Beer Fuehrer
This curmudgeonly gentlemen will declare he would rather guzzle urine than drink what he considers “bad beer.” And by bad he means any beer that comes in a can, has commercials on television, or has been heard of by more than fifty people. He can only pity the poor fools who sit in bars drinking the swill disgorged by the vast corporate vats, when they could be drinking swill produced in much smaller ones.
The Hops Head
The power-crazed Dr. Frankenstein of beer snobs, this wretched soul has descended so deeply into the pit of snobbery he has convinced himself that the vile liquid (he will call it something akin to Super Duper Black Cherry Berry Power Porter) he concocted in his basement is not only non-poisoness [sic], but superior to the stuff it took monks 50 generations to perfect. One caveat: the longer and more grandiose the title of his obscene creation, the more likely it will be good for poisoning the rats in your cellar.
The Beer Geek
The beer world equivalent of a Trekkie, this fan is forever making pilgrimages to far flung festivals and conventions, will belong to any number of beer associations (and wears the T-shirts to prove it) and has never had sex with a woman where there wasn’t money involved. Beards are common and they have a powerful fetish for steins.
The Beer Lover
These are the Rex Reeds of the beer snob community. They have never met a beer that was not “gorgeously fabulous” or “fabulously gorgeous.” The closest they ever come to a bad review is when they mistake the glass of water used to clear the palate for beer, and even then they’ll give it three stars and declare it “a promising new light lager worth keeping your eye on.”

Unfortunately, I fall into the Beer Geek Category.


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:53 1 comments links to this post