30 January 2014

OPA Dry Hop Day

On Sunday I transferred the OPA to secondary and added the dry hops. It's very clear, orange colored, and smells good. It tastes kinda like OPA should, but there's something off, maybe because I forgot to connect the manifold in the mash tun, and had to spoon the grain out to sparge it. I was really afraid it would come out bad. But I am pleasantly surprised.

I will keg it tonight when I get home from work.

Then two weeks in the cooler, then a taste test.


posted by hiikeeba at 14:10 0 comments

28 January 2014

MillerCoors Bets on Bourbon-Like Beer

According to Time article, MillerCoors appears to be looking for more flavorful beers. So they want to make a bourbon flavored beer. (We won't mention that they are way behind the curve. Homebrewers have been doing barrel aged beers for years!)

They have a secret weapon: hops.  According to the article, "Miller Fortune is brewed with Cascade hops to give it its bourbon-like flavor."

Um, no. Cascade does not taste like bourbon. It tastes like citrus. Bourbon tastes like bourbon. Here's how you get bourbon flavor into beer. Here's a hint: YOU USE BOURBON!

Maybe Time could find more beer savvy writers than Alexandra Sifferlin.  I'm willing to step up. Shoot me an email.

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posted by hiikeeba at 20:29 0 comments

26 January 2014

Karbach Brewing Expands Distribution to Austin

Folks in Austin have begun seeing beer from Karbach Brewing Company pop up in places like Draught House Pub and Brewery, Opal Divine’s, and the Dig Pub in Cedar Park. At first, only aHopadillo and Sympathy for the Lager will be on sale, but soon everything else will arrive, thanks to the purchase and installation of 23 140 barrel fermenters, and a planned expansion that will see Karbach's output at 60,000 barrels a year.

Already in San Antonio, the next step will be distribution in Dallas and Fort Worth. But not west of I-35. As Captain Picard once said, "The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"

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24 January 2014

Saint Arnold Production Up 19% in 2013

Saint Arnold Brewing Company recently announced that their production was up 19% in 2013 to 5,397,000 barrels, even if most of that stopps its westward movement at I-35. Fancy Lawnmower Beer, Amber Ale, and Santo were the top three sellers. It is unknown if Endeavour still ranks #1 among Wagyū cows, because Heaven forbid we get any here in Paradise.

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22 January 2014

Humulus Lupulus Neomexicanus

Later this year, I will be attending the RDP Customer Conference in Vail, Colorado. I'm sure you don't recall the last time I attended the Conference in September, but I visited a lot of breweries along I-70. (Follow along in  the September 2007 archives.)

I went back to Vail in February 2012 ostensibly for business, but still had some good beers. I even sampled Crazy Mountain Brewing's Amber at a restaurant in Edwards, but never made the brewery tour (which was just around the corner from our hotel!!).

This year, though, I will make the brewery tour, come hell or high water. And hopefully they will still have Neomexicanus Native Pale Ale  in the tasting room.

Neomexicanus Native Pale Ale is made with a new, American hop cultivar, Humulus Lupulus Neomexicanus, created in cooperation with CLS Farms in Yakima, Washington. This experimental hop  "offers a citrusy aroma with a distinct lemon lime and guava character while maintaining a moderate acidity" to help balance the malt flavor in the beer.

Crazy Mountain does distribute to Texas, but it does not appear in the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert™, hence my excitement at going to Vail in Septermber.  Right now, the beer is draught only.

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posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

20 January 2014

Rabbit Hole Brewing opens in Justin, Texas

Bitch Beer travelled to Justin, Texas, for Rabbit Hole Brewing's open house. They sampled, and reviewed Rapture brown ale, and Mike Modano’s 561 kolsch-style beer. Their third beer, 10/6 IPA, has not been released, much to Wendy's frustration.

Satan's brother, Sam, lives near Justin, so I foresee several trips in my futures. Meanwhile, check out Wendy's account of her trip!


posted by hiikeeba at 08:34 0 comments

18 January 2014

Save the World Brewing Petition Drive Successful

You may remember a story I posted about Save the World Brewing Company in Marble Falls had to circulate a petition to change the ordinance that prevented them from selling pints of beer on premises. On January 16, they posted on Facebook, "We got the signatures! Thank you Marble Falls! Now to make some great beer for great causes!"


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16 January 2014

Off Topic - I HATE Google+

Early last year, somehow Blogger sent all my comments to Google+.


I was wondering why I wasn't getting comments. I haven't had one since 1/17/13. It was enough to give me a complex. No one reads me. No one loves me. No one comments on my witty word play.

I would see that someone commented, but never was able to see who and where. And since my blog posts are scheduled a few days in advance, they were almost never posted to Google+. Blogger only posts real time posts to Google+, not scheduled posts.

So I switched back to regular comments, and people love me again!

Thanks, Google, for giving what I should have, instead of what I want.

Post all the comments you want, now. I'll be able to respond.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

14 January 2014

"German Brewers Hop Onto the Flavor Bandwagon"

It seems I am not alone in my love for dry hopped beer. German brewers are beginning to come up with their own hop varieties. Here's my favorite quote from the article:
Sebastian Hiersick, 35, a cook in Berlin, generally does not like “normal German beer.” “It’s either too hoppy, too malty, or too carbonated,” Hiersick said.
Turns out, German brewers are experimenting with dry hopping, and the different fruity flavors they can impart.
“I like them because they don’t taste like beer,” [Magdalen Reskin] said.
One new German hop called "Mandarina Bavaria" has honeydew melon,  tangerine, and citrus notes.

The article mentions that many Germans can't believe those flavors aren't additives, and a violation of the Reinheitsgebot.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

12 January 2014

Sam Adams Puts a Tap Bounty on Lagunitas?

Up until now, craft brewers have been pretty chummy. They've collaborated on beers, shared ingredients, and sold equipment they've outgrown to smaller breweries. That's because, Chris Morris writes, "Craft brewers haven't yet reached the point where they're really competing against each other, they're too busy competing against the macro brewers (AB InBev, SABMiller, etc.)."

It seems things are beginning to change.

A string a tweets from Lagunitas owner Tony Magee alleges that Sam Adams' new IPA, Rebel IPA, is being marketed to gain market share in the popular IPA category. Magee tweeted that common distributors were told by Boston Brewing that they were going to replace every Lagunitas IPA tap handle in the world.

Tap wars are not uncommon in the beer business. Distributors will put bounties on competitors taps. I doubt Jim Koch issued an order from his perch atop Mount Olympus. If it is coming from Boston Brewing I'm sure it's coming from lower in the command chain, probably from the region managers. Most of the times I've seen it happen, or heard about it, tap wars are initiated at the distributor level as a way to fire up the sales reps.

On the other hand, Magee's reaction to someone trying to come into his market is a little contradictory. He says he welcomes competition, but doesn't like being a targeted by competitor.

I do understand Magee's reaction: the definition of Craft Beer changes every time Sam Adams has a sales increase. When the biggest craft brewer decides he wants in your niche, you have to worry a little bit.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

10 January 2014

IPA Experiments

I've been brewing a lot of IPAs and APAs in the last few months. In fact, every other batch has been an pale ale of some sort. I love the bright citrus flavors of West Coast IPAs, but have been having trouble replicating that flavor.

When I inquired about the local water, they gave me these values:
Calcium 83 ppm
Magnesium 39 ppm
Sodium 41 ppm
Sulfate 35 ppm
Chloride 81 ppm
CaCO3 364 ppm

I've been trying to wade through Colin Kaminsky and John Palmer's Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, but it's been such a long time since I took chemistry! I've only gotten halfway through. And I was flipping through Mitch Steele's IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale, looking at the recipe for  Stone IPA. Their CaCO3 is 100 ppm. (While looking at the recipe for Union Jack, I noticed Firestone Walker was 100 ppb. I wonder if that is a typo?)

Way back when I first brewed Dirktastic, I used 5 gallons of distilled water, and got a really nice grapefruit flavor.

Why not do this with my upcoming OPA? I thought.  BeerSmith tells me I need 9 gallons and some change for brewing. I bought six gallons of distilled water to get my CaCO3 down from 364 ppm to closer to the 100 ppm range.

As long as another arctic front doesn't blow through, I will brew tomorrow. I will keep you posted.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 2 comments

08 January 2014

Um, Nope! Too Cold!

I did not brew OPA on Sunday. When I woke up it was 33 degrees.

I thought I would start at 10, when it was warmer. At 10 am, it was 38 degrees. We topped out at 44 degrees at 5 pm. So there was no brew day.

Now this means that I will have two brew days (or brew twice) next weekend.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

06 January 2014

Ranger Creek OPA Clone Attempt

For my last first brew of the year, I brewed Ranger Creek OPA. I've been a fan of this beer since we took the tour of the brewery in 2010. Whenever I stop at the Flying Saucer in San Antonio, I always ask if there is OPA on tap. If there is, I just order three pints, served back to back, and add, "You had me at OPA." Now that it's in bottles, I can make my nephew mule some here every time he comes to visit.

I sent a bottle to a BNArmy brother in the 2013 Secret Santa, and he loved it!

I got the basic recipe from the Ranger Creek website and adjusted it for my system and process. The hop schedule was a little vague, so I used what meager knowledge I have about IPAs and came up with this recipe.

American Pale Ale


Type: All Grain Date: 12/29/2013
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 7.97 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Jeff's Equipment
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00
Taste Notes:
Amount Item Type % or IBU
12.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 77.54 %
2.50 lb Oats, Malted (1.0 SRM) Grain 15.51 %
1.12 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 6.95 %
0.50 oz Citra [13.00 %] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (60 min) Hops 14.2 IBU
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
0.50 oz Citra [13.00 %] (15 min) Hops 9.1 IBU
0.50 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (15 min) Hops 7.0 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (1 min) Hops 1.2 IBU
1.00 oz Citra [13.00 %] (1 min) Hops 1.6 IBU
1 Pkgs English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.058 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.019 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.17 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 %
Bitterness: 33.2 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint
Est Color: 9.9 SRM Color:
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 16.12 lb
Sparge Water: 4.87 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 20.15 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
Created with BeerSmith


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

04 January 2014

Save the World Brewing Company, New Braunfels, Texas

Just found out about another brewery flying under my radar: Save the World Brewing Company.

Founded in Marble Falls, Texas, by David Rathkamp, a retired pediatrician. Rathkamp is building his brewery in the Marble Falls Business and Technology Park. Originally he planned to sell his product off premise, and donate the profits from the brewery to various charities, once the laws changed that would allow breweries to open tap rooms to sell on premise, he decided to build a tap room.

One small hitch: Selling beer to the public in that part of town is illegal.

Now Rathkamp needs a third of Marble Falls' citizens to sign a petition to put the issue on the May ballot, about 430 signatures.

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posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

02 January 2014

Welcome to 2014! Let's Learn About Hangovers, Shall We?

Smithsonian.com published a fairly timely story about the science of hangovers, scientifically called veisalgia.

Hangovers are a result of a number of factors:

1. Dehydration
2. Alcohol messes up your electrolytes
3. Your body converts alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is more toxic than alcohol
4. Alcohol messes with your immune system

Then it lists some traditional hangover cures (migas are strangely absent):
. . .you can cure a hangover by eating shrimp (Mexico), pickled herring (Germany), pickled plums (Japan) or drinking coffee (U.S.), strong green tea (China) or tripe soup (Romania). A number of popular foods and beverages—like the Bloody Mary, Eggs Benedict and even Coca-Cola—were even developed specifically to “cure” hangovers.
But do NOT take acetaminophen (Tylenol). It is toxic, and when the liver is hard at work breaking your alcohol into  acetaldehyde, it becomes susceptible to acetaminophen.

Apparently, synthehol is on the horizon.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments