30 August 2010

H2DC v. 3 - Tasting notes

Once, I was an exchange student in Japan, and had a Japanese girlfriend--or ikijibiki ("walking dictionary"). She was smart, funny, artistic, and beautiful; I was in love. Unfortunately, she lived in Japan, and at the end of the year, I didn't. So with much sturm und drang--if I may be permitted to mix my linguistic metaphors a bit--the relationship ended.

Twenty-five years later, I'm having similar feelings about my three year relationship with How To Disappear Completely, or H2DC.

The beer pours up a hazy brownish amber with a tan head that dissipates quickly. The aroma on this particular batch is not quite as I remember the others. It's a bit more subdued, and the tobacco aroma that I remember are not present. The carbonation is good, and it is as dankly hoppy as I remember, but for some reason, it's not as satisfying this time around.

I've been trying to figure out exactly why, maybe it's because I've been here and done this. Much as with my Japanese girlfriend, part of the excitement of brewing this the first time was the novelty. I had never heard of BrewDog Brewing, never heard of How To Disappear Completely, and certainly never thought I would taste such a hoppy 3% alcohol beer.

I like it, but I find myself dreading pouring a pint, and struggling to finish a third pint--not because I'm hammered, but because I just don't want any more. Is the dark, dank hop flavor? Maybe. I just don't know.

I don't think I will brew this again.

If this is the last time I brew this beer, then I need to enjoy it. Although, I expect that in February, I may be craving it again, and find myself spending far too long looking at Northern Brewer's English malts, and gazing longingly at their hop list. Like that old girlfriend, I will be thinking about this beer a long time.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:47 0 comments links to this post

28 August 2010

Cooking with Shiner Bock

On my trip to Minneapolis, we stopped a Kramarczuk's Meat Market and pick up some fresh brats for a friend who was raised there. I picked up a link of linguisa, or Spanish chorizo. I had seen Emeril Legasse use it, and thought I would give it a try. Here's how I used it.

Shiner Bock Black Beans

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound dried Spanish chorizo sausage, quartered and sliced
2 cups chopped onions
1 small chili pepper, finely minced
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 pound dried black beans
8 cups chicken stock
2 bottles Shiner Bock

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the sausage and brown for 2 minutes. Add the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until the vegetables are wilted. Stir in the garlic and black beans. Saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and beer. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are creamy and tender, about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Reseason with salt and pepper and serve.

I served this with cornbread muffins, and it was a good meal. I have to admit that the linguisa was a bit disappointing. It was bland. I should have used the local smoked sausage, which I grew up on.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:23 0 comments links to this post

26 August 2010

Bend Brewing Axial Red

I got this recipe from Tonya Cornett at Bend Brewing. Well, not from her directly. But she did give the recipe on the Brewing Network on May 4, 2008. I haven't had a chance to brew it until last Sunday.

Axial Red

5 Gallons | 1.054 OG | 37.4 IBUs

9 lbs 4 oz 2 row
1 lb aromatic malt
1 lb Crystal 80L
12 oz Crystal 120L
12 oz Honey malt
2 oz Carafa III
.15 oz Northern Brewer 8.5%/First Wort Hop
.45 oz Centennial 10%/90 minutes
.2 oz Chinook 13%/30 minutes
1 oz Cascade 5.5%/30 minutes
.13 oz Centennial 10%/0
Wyeast 1968 London ESB

Mash at 155° F for 60 minutes.

Can be hopped with Amarillo, Chinook and Centennial

That's the recipe Tonya gave on the show. I had to tweak it to conform to my crappy efficiency, but I won't bore you with the details.

So, while Satan was recovering from the Basin Brewers annual Lobster Boil, I arose early and brewed. My predicted OG was 1.054. I got .

Details to follow.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:59 0 comments links to this post

24 August 2010

More Beer Clothing

Ready to party!

Way back in 2005, I outfitted this guy in is several beer accessories that I had found. I haven't been doing those kind of posts lately. But I have a few piled up.

First, here's a pair of sandals with a built in bottle opener.

Second, here's a pair of shorts from Australia with a twist-off bottle opener and a insulated cooler velcroed to the leg. Oddly, they don't make the short in beer drinker sizes.

Third, a Pull Tab Beer Bottle Opener Pewter Belt Bucklefrom Amazon.com.

Fourth, a t-shirt with a bottle opener.

Fifth, a Beer Pong Bottle Opener Baseball Capfrom Amazon.com

And sixth, and I am repeating here, The Ring Thing.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:29 0 comments links to this post

22 August 2010

Shadow Warrior Update!

On moment, everything was fine, the next, high krausen came out through the airlock! After a quick clean up I emailed Satan, "Shadow warrior tried to escape. Filled the airlock up with krausen. I cleaned up and added three drops of anti-foam. Currently Shadow Warrior is contained. Repeat, Shadow Warrior is contained. Threat level Orange. Repeat, Threat level Orange."

To which Satan responded, "The carpet is stained dark brown, I say again, the carpet is stained dark brown."

"Containment procedures were successful. Deployment of absorbant materials prevented disasterous overflow situation," I sent back.

Yes, we have too much time on our hands.

Update Update!

Original Gravity was 1.124, and I took a gravity today of 1.049, which gives an alcohol content of 10.07% ABV. And it's still kicking. I can feel the hangover already!


posted by Jeff Holt at 15:24 0 comments links to this post

20 August 2010

Shadow Warrior!

In November 2008, I brewed a beer called Black Wine from Zymurgy. Here's the recipe I brewed.

The first few months, I was unimpressed, and when I bottled it, I thought it was far too sweet, and even jokingly referred to it as breakfast beer--something you could pour over pancakes.

Early this year, I stumbled across the last twelve bottles in my beer fridge, and Satan found a couple of bottles I had given him in his fridge. Color us impressed! The beer had changed into something resembling an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. Satan drank one, and suggested I change the name to Shadow Warrior, 'cause it'll kick your ass! I agreed. My 12 bottle stash has quickly dwindled to three bottles, and I knew it was time to rebrew a beer I swore I would never brew again.

I made a couple of modifications to the recipe. I increased the grain bill and reduced the amount of DME. Before, I had avoided roast barley, afraid it would be too roasty. But the roast would have helped cut the sweetness, so this time I am adding roast barley.

Here's the new recipe:

Shadow Warrior
6 gallons | 60% efficiency | 1.118 OG | 80.8 IBUs

7# Extra Light DME
10# US 2-row pale malt
1.5# Carafa III
1# flaked barley
1# flaked oats
.75# chocolate malt
.5# black patent
.25# flaked wheat
.25 oz Northern Brewer 8.5%/FWH
1 oz Chinook 13%/90
2 oz Northern Brewer 8.5%/90
.75 oz Northern Brewer 8.5%/30
.5 oz Mt. Hood 6%/30
1 oz Northern Brewer 8.5%/5
1.5 oz Mt. Hood 6%/0
1.5# corn sugar/secondary .5# Turbinado sugar/secodary
WLP002

Mash at 148°F for 75 minutes. I brewed an oatmeal stout as a starter for this beer. And I plan to also pitch the yeast from the recently brewed Dirktastic to try and get this thing down.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:56 0 comments links to this post

18 August 2010

Brewing Dirktastic

With a high pressure system sitting squarely above Ohio, the weather here in Paradise has been just below the Blast Furnace level. So I though I would have an early brew day, starting at 6 am, and brew when it was cool. Unfortunately, it was 79°F with 85% humidity.

So I loaded up the mash tun to brew Dirktastic again. My last couple of batches, the OG has been predicted to be 1.049, instead of the recipe's 1.056. But Macht's Nicht, right?And when I got 1.046 instead, that sweat on my upper lip wasn't from nerves, it was bumping 95°. When I got everything put up, I was covered in sweat, and smelled as bad as my neighbor's sheep pen.

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

17 August 2010

Ken Grossman and Jack McAuliffe at SA Flying Saucer

Ken Grossman & Jack McAuliffe will be at the Flying Saucer in San Antonio at 5 pm this Wednesday - to launch their new collaboration beer commemorating 30 year anniversary for Sierra Nevada. Their beer is the 3rd in a series of collaborations and is called Ken and Jack - a barelywine. The Saucer is hosting a Sierra Nevada Brewery night featuring Tumbler, a nice brown ale just released by the brewery as well. Ken and Jack will be on hand to speak to beerknurds and to launch this special beer. Jack opened the first microbrewery after prohibition - New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, CA.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:18 0 comments links to this post

16 August 2010

Wine Drinkers Accepting Beer Pairings

I ran across a couple of articles of how wine lovers are beginning to embrace beer and food.

Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post has decided that beer does a good job, but he still prefers wine.

The San Clemente Wine Company has started doing beer tastings to their scheduled events.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:28 0 comments links to this post

14 August 2010

Beer Calorie Calculator

Ever wonder how much exercise it takes to burn off a beer? Or, maybe even more importantly, how much beer you can have after exercising? Well, wonder no more!

Draft Magazine has published a "Beer Allowance Calculator." I learned that if it takes me four hours to play a round of golf riding in a cart, I can have 32 Bud Select 55s. And I used to feel guilty about having four. . .

Post your results in the comments!


posted by Jeff Holt at 08:39 0 comments links to this post

12 August 2010

UPS' Idea of "Fragile" is Not the Same as Mine

I sent Satan some, ah, souvenirs. (Yeah! That's the ticket.) His home brew club is having a, ah, souvenir competition and the entry deadline is Saturday. So I entrusted "Brown" with 7 bottles of, ah, souvenirs. When the gal at the shipping office slapped the stickers on, I sort of expected this. UPS takes them as a challenge. If you leave them off, the box arrives in pristine condition.

Maybe it wasn't souvenirs. Maybe it was yeast samples in nutrient. Or kitchen supplies. Or sauces and marinades.

Please, AHA! Help me stop lying to UPS.


posted by Jeff Holt at 14:50 0 comments links to this post

Goose Island Brewing Sales Growing at 18% -Thanks, Obama

Reagan had jelly beans, Bush the First had pork rinds, Clinton had Interns. Obama has Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:28 0 comments links to this post

10 August 2010

Republic of Texas Brewery

John McKissack and his wife Tammy, Johnny MAX and the Queen of the Beer podcasts “BrewCrAzY” and “BEER Talk Radio,” plan to open a debt free and environmentally responsible brewery that will begin production in 2011.

Thanks to BeerNew.org for the information.


posted by Jeff Holt at 11:37 0 comments links to this post

JP's Bourbon Oak-Aged Oat Stout - Brew Report

Did you ever wake up at three am and say, "Crap! I forgot to make a starter!"?

I did that a few days ago when I brewed up JP's Bourbon Oak-Aged Oat Stout. (Third post down. I changed the recipe to fit my efficiency and left out the cocoa nibs.)

As soon as I woke up, I made a 500ml starter and pitched my yeast. I figured that a smaller starter, while not the best option, might, just might get me enough yeast to ferment this beer. Then I started the brewing process.

My brewing software predicted a pre-boil gravity of 1.048, and I got 1.039. I figured I would boil an extra fifteen minutes and things should be okay.

Things went well until 7 minutes from the end of the boil. Then the propane ran out.

So I tossed in my 5 minute hops and said "Macht's Nicht, baby,", and whirlpooled. Instead of 1.054, I got 1.044. Since my hop utilization was reduced, I should be okay. I'll let you know.

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

08 August 2010

World's Strongest Beer Sold In Stuffed Squirrels

Shark, this is BrewDog Brewing. They will be jumping you today.

BrewDog Brewing recently announced that they are, once again, releasing the World's Strongest Beer©™: the 55% ABV "The End of History." The beer bottles will be inside dead squirrels. That's right. Inside dead squirrels. And it will cost about $775.

Naturally, this packaging stunt is drawing fire. Animal rights activists are incensed, and frankly, I can't blame them. If your focus in on beer, packaging it in dead animals is superfluous at best.

BeerNews.org reported that James Watt answered critics by saying, "How many of the haters are stuck in a job they hate, working for a company that sucks, sitting on their ale soaked arses with nothing better to do than to become uber self righteous in a bid to justify their own existence?"

Well, how many brewers are constantly trying to out offend people with every release? Jeebus, James, just make good beer! You don't need to stoop to this sort of hucksterism.

Fortunately, The End of History is sold out.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:05 0 comments links to this post

06 August 2010

Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels

I'm fascinated by the combination of beer and food. And I'm not alone. On the Basin Brewers website, which I run for the club in exchange for beer*, the single most popular page is the Beer and Food Pairings page.

I am also interested in recipes that use beer as an ingredient. So when I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I would have to repost it here.

Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels
Yield: 75+ caramels

1 12 oz. bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 8 oz. package pretzel rods (can use pretzel sticks too)

1 roll of wax paper
Scissors

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of ale to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy. This will take about 20 minutes and yield about 1 tsp. of concentrated ale flavoring. Set aside.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or 2 -9x9 inch pans and set aside. Combine remaining beer and all other ingredients except ale reduction in a heavy 4-5 quart pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Butter will melt and mixture will begin to boil.

Continue to cook until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees, this will take about 30 minutes. You can test your caramel in a bowl of ice water to check the consistency. It should form a firm ball.

When the correct temperature has been reached, stir in the ale reduction and remove from heat. Pour into prepared pan(s) and top with pretzel rods. Let cool for several hours or place in fridge until firm. Remove from pan and turn pretzel-side up on a cutting board (if refrigerated, let caramel block warm up a little for easier cutting). Cut between pretzels and then into 1" pieces. Cut wax paper into approx. 5 x 5 inch squares and wrap caramels.

NOTES: Caramels must be wrapped or they will lose their shape over time. Use silicone pans for easy removal.


So what beer recipes do you have? Post 'em in the comments, please.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:01 0 comments links to this post

04 August 2010

Dry America is Getting Smaller

Faced with budget shortfalls, many small American towns are looking to alcohol sales to bring in more revenue. Here's a story from USA Today about it. My favorite part of the article?

[Winona, Texas, Mayor Rusty Smith says the city used to get $1,800 to $2,200 monthly in sales tax revenue; in May, it collected $11,000. The city is putting the money into a road repair fund.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:06 0 comments links to this post

02 August 2010

ANA to Serve Draft Beer In Flight

I have some good news and I have some bad news.

Good News: All Nippon Airways has started serving draft beer in flight.

Bad News: Only on its domestic flights.

Good News: They will use new keg technology that compensates for air pressure in the cabin.

Bad News: Only 20 cups available for the whole flight! (Forty if you fly from Tokyo to Okinawa.) Could be a lot of thirsty fliers.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:56 0 comments links to this post