Saturday, June 2, 2012

Catching the Rye

For far too long I have been absent from this blog. Today is the next step in a new era of my beer making. Today, if it has indeed survived secondary, will be the first time I've bottle a pale ale that contains rye malt. As I did not have the time for a full grain recipe, this one is made from extract with the rye steeped as a specialty grain.

When brewing, the spice of the rye was very noticeable. I also used whole hops exclusively during brewing and in the secondary. This too is a new first for me.

It is now time to start the sanitizing process and get to racking. I will post the recipe and thoughts later.

Brew on.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recipe, day two

Looking over yesterday's recipe, I see the chocolate malt was forgotten. So, to the grain bill will be added 1 pound of 350 SRM malt. Due to time constraints on Saturday, the all grain has been moved to an extract. The bill changes to 7 lbs of pale extract.

I downloaded the Mac version of BeerSmith 2.0. The interface has improved quite a bit, but it does still feel klunky. No matter, into all the ingredients go. This recipe could get to 6% ABV. I'm not sure I like the low value, but I'll live with it. At least through this version.

Finalize tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Starting to formulate new recipe

A have a request from a friend of mine for a mild dark beer. Something like a porter, but different. She likes chocolate and coffee flavors. A black ale sounds interesting as well. Not a fan of stouts and not too sure about the dark fruit flavors imparted by a Belgian yeast.

The wheels started turning a bit. How about borrowing several things. The idea being started is a mild porter using debittered dark malts, dark crystal and some chocolate. Wanting some malt over hops, adding some aroma malt sounds good. Hop profile should be clean as well: Cascade and Northern Brewer.

Here's a more fleshed out bill:

8 lbs pale malt
2.5 lbs debittered malt 300-320L
1 lbs Crystal malt 70L
1 lbs aroma malt
1 oz Norther Brewer (70 min)
1 oz Cascade (20 min)
1 oz Cascade (heat off)
2 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)
1 oz Cascade in secondary (may 2 oz if aroma not good enough)
WLP 001

Mashing at 160 F for 40 min. Mash out at 170. Sparge with 160 F to 6 gallons. Boiling for 70 min. Cool and pitch. 7-10 days in primary. 7 days in secondary.

Yes, this is just a rough outline. Haven't done the math yet. It will be interesting to see where my head has taken me so far.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is craft?

What exactly is craft beer? Why is it if AB makes good beer through some other name, it is automatically bad? Is craft beer a result or an intent? Are all small brewers craft?

Back in the 90's, what are now called craft brewers were called micro. Sam Adams was the largest of the micros, but they were nowhere near the magical amount cut-off. Fritz Maytag was seen as the father of micros and most of them were regional.

Now-a-days, the word craft brewery is used for basically this same group. Capacities have grown by leaps and bounds, styles have been created, morphed and redefine and lines have been fully blurred. Coors bought/created/whatever Blue Moon. AB has created several small brewery labels. Both of which are snubbed by the craft beer drinker. Why?

As the craft beer drinker has become more educated, it is no longer enough to just be small. It is not enough to adhere, or at least pretend, to standards and guidelines for style. What is becoming more important is the intent of the brewery. Is it run by marketing or do they let the brewers make what they want? The latter is better to the discriminating consumer.

When the intent is to make great beer, customers will respond in kind. They will realize your mission and purchase. And what of the macros who create micros? They are just looking for market share, not produce good beer. Blue Moon is ok, but it is a pale version of the Belgian beers it tries to represent. AB's has hinted they are capable of making good beer with some of their Michelob offerings, but again they fail because the marketing department will not allow any brand erosion of their major titles.

The result? Macros have been losing sales over the last few years while craft beer has enjoyed double digit growth. Integrity goes a very long way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AB buys GI

Much has been made about the buyout of Goose Island by AB/Inbev. The fallout has yet to be totally determined, but many in the craft beer world are outraged. Some have tweeted they will never buy a Goose Island beer again. Some have lamented Goose Island’s choices to raise capital to expand. Others just seemed to have shrugged.

In perspective, the Goose Island brewery is a business and like all businesses, choices have to be made to go in a certain direction. Several years ago, the choice was made to partner with A-B to get exposed to a wider distribution chain. RedHook did something similar. Though they claimed there would be no changes, fans of the ESB took note of some. The same wonders were present among some fans of Goose Island, but given their beer line additions of the last few years, it looked as though A-B was more hands-off. It was good that their beers garnered a wider audience, even if the evil A-B was helping.

On the latest news, I’ve decided to wait and see. Will this end up being like Rolling Rock where the brewery was eventually closed and the beer suffered greatly? Will it be more like RedHook where changes were minor (and perhaps only in the heads of the drinker)? If it is the latter and Goose Island beers are to be had unmolested, it really doesn’t bother me that A-B gets a cut. I still shop at Wal-Mart. Not because I like the store brands, but I can get the brands I like. My eyes will be warily watching though, as should A-B interfere, then it will be time to cut the cord.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hop, hop, hop

The "Hops on the Ohio" fest has come and gone. It was quite an interesting fest too! Not only was being on the bridge unique, the warm temperatures and the direct sunlight played havoc on trying to get the beer (and cider) cool. Ice became a commodity, but those who attended enjoyed themselves.

Though I came being assigned to hand out beer, I did have my camera with me. I was first assigned to the Stone booth, but was soon switched to the cider booth next to the Hoperatives. I was able to sneak off from time to time to take some pictures. My brother also volunteered with me and after our shift was over, we walked the bridge and enjoyed some more samples. This also meant more pictures.

Due to my brother's surprise birthday party (yes, I was, in part, the much needed diversion), we had to leave at 7pm. At that point, the turnout had been light, too light. This also means we missed the tapping of Stone's 10-10-10 vertical keg at midnight. Oh how much fun that would have been.

All in all it was an enjoyable time. Perhaps had it been a little cooler the crowd would have been better. It was also a college football Saturday, so the crowd was getting larger once OSU's game was over. I've not yet heard on final figures, but I am hopeful for a good outcome.

Also see my Examiner articles.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bad Penny

When I started this blog I had all manner of crazy ideas running through my head. Surely this would lead to great glory and homebrew Nirvana. Over the first few months, my postings were timely and regular, but over time, that grew away. Not too long ago I started writing for as the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner. There too I started with abandon, but eventually events in real life caught up.

One of these events was a virus that took out my Windows machine. It now runs Ubuntu 64 Linux and I've switched to Mac, but for whatever reason I did not get my recipes from BeerSmith recovered. I have spent a few weeks wallowing in sorrow when I remembered I may have shared these recipes with the masses via my blog. Sure enough, the earlier ones are here. I don't recall if I made any changes off-line, but at least I have the starting recipes. Now it is time to brew Cluster-Fuggles Ale again.

So thanks, kind reader. You are the reason I shared some of my recipes and you are the reason I can get some of them back. I should endeavor to share more often should I need to call of this blog as a backup again.