28 February 2010

Buddy's Amber

With NHC approaching, it's time to brew my best scoring beer ever: BUDDY'S AMBER!

Buddy Harry is the reason I brew today. He taught my cousin and my cousin taught me. Harry passed away a few years ago. His widow passed away last year. Now they're together again.

Buddy's Amber
6 gal batch | 60% efficiency* | OG 1060 | 36 IBUs | 13.7 SRM | 60 min boil
13# US 2 row malt
1.5# Crystal 40
1# Munich
1# Victory
.5# flaked wheat
1/2 oz Northern Brewer/60 min (9.4 IBUs)
.75 oz Cascade / 30 min (7.3 IBUs)
.5 oz Northern Brewer/ 15 min (4.y IBUs)
1.5 oz cracked black pepper/ 5 min
WLP007 Dry English Ale
Mash at 154°F for 60 minutes.

I brewed this this morning and got 1.050.

*I know what needs to be done to fix my efficiency, just don't know how to do it. I'm not too mechanically inclined. I need a manifold.

posted by hiikeeba at 15:00 2 comments

26 February 2010


posted by hiikeeba at 11:07 0 comments

Saint Arnold Winter Stout - Sorry, no review

The other night I picked up a six-pack of Saint Arnold Winter Stout. I opened the first beer as I began to prepare dinner. As I sat down to eat my culinary masterpeice, I realized my glass was empty. I opened to fridge to find, horror of horrors, that I had consumed the entire six pack! So no review.

I can tell you that it was chocolatey and malty with just a hint of roast malt. Silky creamy body. Possibly the best stout I have had in a while. Don't worry, though, I will get more. I'll do the review before I start cooking!

posted by hiikeeba at 08:42 1 comments

24 February 2010

Rahr and Sons Brewery Damaged

The week before St. Valentine's Day, Fort Worth received a 12 inch snow. The Rahr and Sons Brewery roof, unused to such a snow load, collapsed. Their Fort Worth Distributor, Coors, was able to get all the undamaged beer out of the brewery but the damage is so great, that they will not be producing beer for three months.

So savor your Rahr & Sons beer, especially that Spring Bucking Bock. Even though Rahr does have a distributor in Paradise, I doubt we'll see any of it.

Photo: Jamie Brunner / Rahr


posted by hiikeeba at 08:29 0 comments

22 February 2010

New Brewery Round up

In the last few weeks, there have been a plethora of brewing announcements centering on Austin and the Hill Country. Already announced new breweries include Jester King, Circle Brewing, Pedernales Brewing in Spicewood (who have changed their site a bit), and Black Star Co-Op. Some in the planning stages include Hops and Grain Brewing, Moonlight Tower Brewing, South Austin Brewing, and Thirsty Planet Brewing. Also in the news is Pecan Street Brew Pub in Johnson City, and Brewsters Pizzeria in Wimberley. Oh, and there's Root Cellar Cafe in San Marcos producing small batch Belgian style beers.

And Beorne Brewery was announced just last Saturday.


posted by hiikeeba at 09:32 0 comments

20 February 2010

A Saturday Night E-Mail Conversation

Satan: What did you think about shiner 101?

Me: It's not in Fredericksburg yet. Still have Frost. I may have to go to Albuquerque to get it, like I did the smokehaus.

Satan: It's kind of corny tasting to me! Almost kolsch like!

Me: I might never know.

posted by hiikeeba at 17:34 0 comments

Twisted Pine Billy's Chilies Beer Review

Twisted Pine Billy's Chilies

"Our Chili beer is made with five different kinds of chili peppers. Rich pepper aroma greets you when the bottle is opened, followed by its satisfying beer taste and then subtle spiciness." -- From the label.

Appearance (0-4): Pours up a crystal clear golden yellow with a dense white head. 4 points

Aroma (0-3): Dear Lord, forgive me for what I am about to drink. Strong pepper aroma. Smells appetizing, like a can of diced green chilies. To hell with style, it smells awesome! 3 points

Taste: Hop/malt Balance (0-4): Hops? In this beer, the chilies are the bitterness and the balance is very good. It has a fresh, green chili taste from the Anaheim chili. Maybe the Fresno chili. I don't know. Never had one. Starts with slightly sweet malt, replaced with green chili flavor. The heat comes in in the finish. Despite the label's warning of serrano, jalapeno and habanero chilies, it's not too overpowering. At first. 3 points
Aftertaste (0-3): This beer leaves a subtle tingling heat that builds with each sip. 2 points
Mouthfeel (0-3): Thin and watery. But mouthfeel isn't what you're looking for with this beer. 1 point

Overall Impression (0-3): This is a dare beer. While I admire the balance and flavor, I can't imagine drinking more than one at a time. 1 point

Total: 14 points


posted by hiikeeba at 07:33 0 comments

18 February 2010

SABMiller Sales Flat

Stock market analysts were expecting SABMiller to post a 1% sales increase. But SABMiller fooled them. Sales in the third quarter were flat, but not unexpected by the company.

I've been in and out of retail for almost 30 years, and have seen these companies do some weird things. Here's an interesting point made in the article:

Declining interest in Miller Lite, and to a lesser extent Coors Light, was only partly offset by continued growth of MGD 64.

I've seen other companies introduce products that compete directly with the main profit maker: cigarette companies in the late 90s had Premium cigarettes, sub-premium, generics, sub-generic and sub-sub-generic price tiers. I once worked for a cigarette company and at one meeting, our regional supervisor became angry when he noticed one of my co-workers smoked our sub-premium brand, because the company made the most money from premium brands. Ironically, the meeting was about the introduction of a new sub-generic brand by the company.

Food manufacturers cut their own throats by producing store brands items for supermarkets that compete with their premium line. Now SABMiller is hurting their Miller Lite and Coors Light sales with MGD 64, much like AB hurt Bud Light sales with Michelob Ultra a few years ago.

Again, nothing new, but interesting.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:45 0 comments

17 February 2010

Real Ale Beer Dinner in Brownwood - March 11

The Turtle Restaurant and Enoteca, 514 Center Avemue, Brownwood, Texas (325-646-8200), recently received an Award from Wine Enthusiast Magazine for it's wine list. However few people know that they serve great craft beers as well. The Turtle Restaurant invites everyone to discover the joys of of understanding how Real Ale Beer is made and who makes it at our first paired beer dinner with Real Ale Brewing Company from Blanco, Texas.

Cost $35.00 per person. Reservations can be made online or by phone . The Date is Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm.


  • First course: Turtle made chubby pretzels with Fireman's #4 beer mustard paired with Fireman's #4 Beer
  • Second Course: Choice of Shrimp Beignet with hop pesto, fried lemon garnish OR Leeks and Spinach Fritatta Wedge with fried lemon garnish paired with Rio Blanco Pale Ale
  • Third Course: Choice of Lamb Provencal Terrine, Smoked Raisin Mustard, Hearth-baked Crackers, Fried Pickle OR Rice and Eggplant Timbale paired with Full Moon Rye Pale Ale
  • Fourth Course: Choice of Shepherd's Pie - tender chunks of steak, with celery and onion in a hearty Brewhouse Brown ale gravy, topped with pepperjack and sour cream mashed potatoes and Veldhuisen Redneck Cheddar OR Shepherd's Pie with chunks of portabella mushrooms and onions in Brewhouse Brown Ale gravy, topped with the same decadent potato topping as the meat version paired with Brewhouse Brown Ale (but of course!)
  • Fifth Course: Coffee Porter gelato topped with crushed malted milk balls.

You will be quite full and warm and happy all over by the end of the evening.

Trust me on this: If you live anywhere near Brownwood, GO TO THIS DINNER! The folks at Real Ale make amazing beer. If I can get Satan to go with me, I'll take a couple of vacation days to check this out.

posted by hiikeeba at 20:59 2 comments

16 February 2010

"The Giant" at Fredericksburg Brewing Company

I stopped by Fredericksburg Brewing Company this afternoon to find that "The Giant" was out. Every February, they release a monster stout upon the world. This one clocks in at 8.2%. I like stouts, but this wasn't quite dry enough. Still a great beer, but it left a ring of sugar on my lips.

While I was drink my second of three pints, Rick Green, the brewmaster, got a call from Garrison Brothers Distillery. He is getting five 10 gallon whiskey barrels from the distillery in Hye. Rick wants to put The Giant into the barrels. That would put this beer through the roof!

He will be picking up the barrels on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to see what happens.


posted by hiikeeba at 17:24 0 comments

Bugeaters Rye Cream Ale 3

Figuring it was time to get back on the horse, I decided to try Bugeater's Rye Cream Ale again. I so badly fouled up the second attempt I have been reluctant to try it again. But the first attempt was such a good beer, I had to do it again.

Once again I collected too much liquid. I expected a pre-boil gravity of 1.049, and I got 1.039, so I decided on a two hour boil. After the two hour boil, my gravity was 1.034. ??? Obviously I didn't get a good sample. So I will assume a post-boil gravity of 1.049, about .007 short of my target.

Mahct's Nicht. I'll drink it anyway.

posted by hiikeeba at 08:20 0 comments

14 February 2010

Southern Star's 2nd Annual Best of Show (Without the Show) Competition

Southern Star Brewing is having a best of show competition (without the actual show). The winning recipe will be brewed released as the 2010 Addition to the Southern Star Pro-Am line. The beer will also be entered into the 2010 GABF Pro-Am competition. You MUST be an American Home brewer Association member, both at the time the beer is judged by us, and at the time it is judged at the GABF. Entries Must be greater than 5% ABV. Their license does not allow them to make weak beer. (In Texas, there is are two licenses that brewers can have: one for beers under 4% and one for beers above 4%.), entries cannot be blended and must be ready to drink within 2 months , single step infusion preferred. There is no entry fee, and you can enter as many beers as you like. Send at least 4 bottles of each entry along with the recipe by April 17th. But they are asking that you keep their current line up in mind, they would like to diversify their lineup. Good luck!

If I win, I wonder if they will finally sell there stuff here in Paradise?


posted by hiikeeba at 06:19 0 comments

12 February 2010

Decisions, Decisions

In December of 2008, I brewed Buddy's Amber for Nationals. It turned out really well, and even scored a 39 in the first round of The Bluebonnet Brew Off in March of 2009. However, the beer only lasted for about three months before it went south. Hell! It turned between the first and second round! At Nationals, my once 39-point beer became acidic and nasty, and only scored 17 points. I sampled each of the bottles I was holding for the second round, and sure enough, it was bad. So I assumed the beer had a shelf life of three months.

I haven't rebrewed the beer for a number of reasons, not the least of which are: my tendancy to get easily distracted (Ooo! Look! A new shiny thing!); a desire to brew different things; and a fundamental dislike of American Amber Ales. I find them to have a prickly, spicey, brushy flavor, with metallic notes. I've read the BJCP guidelines for American Amber Ales and haven't found those descripters being used, but almost every amber I have had tastes like that. So, as a general rule, I don't drink Ambers.

But the highest score in a competition I've ever gotten was for the Amber. Go figure.

The reason I bring it up, it's time to think about Nationals again. If I brew Buddy's Amber, I need to brew it as close to the entry deadline as possible to give it 2-4 weeks to age. Since the deadline is April 1, I need to brew around March 1. And if the shelf life is three months, I might have to brew it again should it advance to the second round.

Then I have to drink the rest of the keg. . .


posted by hiikeeba at 06:37 1 comments

10 February 2010

Grape Juice in Kerrville

Half the selection of Grape Juice's draft beers

A friend and I stopped in at Grape Juice, 623 Water Street in Kerrville, a couple of weeks ago to have some Sierra Nevada Bigfoot on tap. It has a smallish bar, a couple of tables, and some comfortable seating areas with sofas and armchairs. Those were reserved. We could have sat outside, but a gale was blowing, so we sat at the bar.

Very good selection, a couple of Texas craft beers, some imports not often seen in this far from Austin or San Antonio. Even had Kwak on tap. Biggest surprise? Old Rasputin Imperial Stout!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine.  On tap!

The staff behind the bar was friendly and knowledgeable. Only odd thing, the tapping of Bigfoot was scheduled at 5 pm. The owner tried to empty the keg of Real Ale Sisyphus by pouring 2 pitchers and putting them in another cooler. I don't know why he didn't just uncouple one keg, replace it with the other.

The menu looked good, and we shared a nice appetizer before we headed home.

Great place to sit down with friends. I can't wait for Spring, and a less windy day, to use the deck.

posted by hiikeeba at 06:37 0 comments

08 February 2010

It's Official! Mission From God 2010 is on!

I have reserved a room at the Sheraton in St. Paul. I have registered for the conference. I guess I'll see everyone in June at the National Homebrewers Conference.

I am working on a new tag line. So far I have "Mission From God IV: A New Hope." Suggestions?

posted by hiikeeba at 04:53 1 comments

06 February 2010

Real Ale Phoenixx Double ESB Review

Real Ale Phoenixx double ESB

Appearance (0-4): Pours up a slightly hasy dark amber with orange highlights and a tan head that lingers a while. 3 points

Aroma (0-3): Aroma of caramel, some chocolate, and a bit of roast. 3 points

Taste: Hop/Malt Balance (0-4): subdued malt background , some dark malt flavors, but accented with dank piney hops that brighten in the finish. Interesting but balanced blend of hops. 4 points

Aftertaste (0-3): Hop bitternes lingers, but isn't overpowering. 3 points

Mouthfeel (0-3): Light to medium bodied with strong carbonation. 2 points

Overall Impression (0-3): Extremely drinkable, with a nice hoppy kick. This could replace their Rye Pale Ale or the Coffee Porter as my favorite beer. 3 points

Total: 18 points


posted by hiikeeba at 07:09 0 comments

04 February 2010


Anthony Robbins, Stephen R. Covey, and other self-help authors always advise people to do what they love for a living. Not necessarily to get rich, but to at least enjoy and be passionate about your work. Then there are people who have done things like that, and say they have turned a hobby they enjoyed into a full time job, with all the soul sucking drudgery that implies.

I've written about this before. It seems like an elusive dream: a job you enjoy that still puts food on the plate. Maybe not so elusive. Enter the Nanobrewery.

There's no concrete definition of a nanobrewery, except that the annual production is small. BeerUniverse.com suggests a range from 30 barrels to 1/3 barrel, or 10-900 gallons per year. Trillium Brewing, which hosts a list of nanobreweries, defines a nanobrewery as under 3 barrels, or 90 gallons. So I will arbitrarily set the upper limit at 30 barrels a year, until someone comes up with a better number.

A nano brewery would likely start with a 7bbl system, or like Sam Calagione, a 20 gallon system. Add one or two 60 gallon fermenters. Calagione brewed the same recipe three times a day, and put the output in one fermenter. Fifteen triple brew days would make 900 gallons. That's brewing every 3.5 weeks. The rest of the time would be filled with cleaning, marketing, deliveries, and governmental paperwork. Now I see why Drew Carey brewed Buzz Beer in his garage while keeping his day job.

But is it practical? That's another question which I will talk about later.


posted by hiikeeba at 05:34 2 comments

02 February 2010

Belgian Beer Shortage in Belgium Averted

InBev, known for it brutal cost cutting style, tried to cut 2,700 brewery jobs in Belgium as a result of lagging sales. Brewery workers protested, blocked brewery gates, and caused a beer shortage in Belgium. One store chain predicted that stocks of InBev beers would be gone within the week.

Fortunately, there were lots of people suggested alternatives to InBev beers.

Well, now, Brookston Beer Bulletin is reporting that a settlement has been reached, and there will only be 263 jobs lost in Belgium.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:35 0 comments