Archive for May, 2007

Beer in the News (1 Comment)

I came across a couple of articles in the news today that I thought I would share. The first is about a man suffocated by beer grain. While sad, I can’t think of a better way to go except drowning in the beer itself.

Apparently, the combination of a poor barley crop last year and farmers switching to government subsidized ethanol crops is causing beer prices to rise in Germany. My favorite part of the article is this quote:

“It’s absolutely outrageous that beer is getting even more expensive,” Glutsch said, gulping down the last swig of his half-liter dark beer at lunch. “But there’s nothing we can do about it — except drinking less and that’s not going to happen.”

– Chris

 My favorite quote was

“Beer prices are a very emotional issue in Germany — people expect it to be as inexpensive as other basic staples like eggs, bread and milk,” said Erdmann, director of the family-owned Ayinger brewery”

Did I mention I miss Germany?


Principles for a Beer Menu (2 Comments)

Beers, like children, need names. Sometimes the name is merely a reflection of the style (for example ‘IPA’ or ‘Irish Stout’). Sometimes it is a reflection that the brewer (or their partner in crime) has too much time on their hands (‘Bock me Amedeus’, “May the schwartzbier with you’, ‘Grrrl beer’, etc.) With the name beers also need a description. You dont want someone to dive into your latest hopped masterpiece only to find that they hate bitter beer (it would be a waste of a bottle and wasting beer is a sin (unless it is coors, bud, etc.). So we often write little descriptions of the beer. Often times we try in our own beer-geek way to make these descriptions informative and funny. Sadly, I am not sure everyone gets our jokes.

I was equally unsure if I had interpreted a serious description on a beer menu I saw over the weekend. We were at the Hofbrauhaus in Newport and saw the following beer description

Hofbräu Light
…. Less alcohol but full in taste.

The Premium Lager has been brewed lighter in body and flavor to respond to the American taste. Similar to American light lagers, but much fresher and more flavorful.”

Now, if you are reading this and thinking ‘this must be one of those beer geek comments she was talking about..’ let me explain. To us, light beer is to beer like skim milk is to milk– watered down and flavorless. So, while to some I am sure this is an accurate beer description, others are laughing because it basically means they are mixing the beer half and half with water.


Experimental Beerios (No Comments)

We were busy brewing this weekend. We bottled the Raspberry Wheat and the Strong IPA and brewed a new batch of Beerios.

The sourness of the Raspberry has mellowed considerably and it should turn out to be an excellent fruit beer. The raspberry flavor is present, but not overpowering. I’m not sure if we would add more raspberries in the future or not, but if we do we would certainly add some apricot or peach as well to help with the tart and sour aspects of the raspberry. We opened a bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise to compare, and I had forgotten that it is more of a alcoholic raspberry drink that it is a beer. Ours is definitely a beer with raspberry flavors.

The Strong IPA had a wonderful aroma, although not quite as strong as it was when we transferred it. It had fermented a bit more and was not as sweet as it was at the last transfer. That’s a good thing and even though it isn’t quite as bitter as I had hoped, it will be a wonderful beer for the summer once it is fully carbonated.

As many of you know, the Beerios is our flagship beer. It was created shortly after our first beer party. I made an offhanded comment that anything with sugar could be fermented and one of my friends dared me to make Honey Nut Cheerios beer. Of course it was a joke, but I knew of the infamous beerios breakfast (Beer + Cheerios) and started thinking about it. Honey Nut Cheerios are basically an oat cereal with Honey and Almonds. I haven’t added almond to the Beer, but I think making a nut brown (which contains no nuts) with honey and oats is good enough for now.

The brewing of the new Beerios went well, although I am a little concerned by the new recipe. We have started ordering supplies from Northern Brewer instead of William’s Brewing, so I had to change my extract malt. I had previously used William’s Nut Brown Extract, and have switched to Northern Amber Malt Extract. To make up for it, I have steeped some victory malt and breiss special malt. I also decided to try Simpson’s Golden Naked Oats in addition to the oat malt to see if they would have a good effect on the beer. I’m certain the beer will be good, I just hope that it will be as good as the previous batch.

– Chris

Unexpected results (1 Comment)

I had expected something entirely different from the raspberry beer. Silly me, I forgot that raspberries are not the saccharine sweet thing you find in pastry or ice cream topping unless a large amount of sugar is added to them, something which would surely ferment out of the beer. So what we have ended up with (pre-carbonation) is a wheat beer that has a wonderful raspberry aroma and is a bit sour. However, as it is a common practice to serve wheat beer with a sour accompaniment such as a lemon or orange wedge, this is not unpleasant.

As happens often, you taste the beer and think, ‘this could be better’. I am thinking that next time I might add an additional sweet fruit such as peaches, but doing so this time could have led the beer to disaster. So it is getting bottled as is. Honestly, it is still better than most of the commercial raspberry beers I have had due to a few key factors: 1) we used raspberry puree *not* extract, extract is evil and tastes nothing like fresh raspberries. 2) the yeast strain we chose is perfect. 3) the belgian wit provided a fantastic background for a raspberry beer. So I am trying to be more proud of the things that were well chosen than I am upset about forgetting that raspberries are sour. But this may take a few beers…..

Mead and Hops (No Comments)

Another weekend of brewing. I transferred the IPA, which isn’t nearly as bitter as I had hoped. My calculations suggested 50 IBU’s but it tastes more like 35. The hop aroma from dry hopping was great, hopefully it remains now that I have moved the beer off the hops. After week or two of settling I’ll bottle it. We’re a bit busy this weekend, so it will probably happen next weekend.

I also started another batch of Agave Mead this weekend. My last batch turned out really well, so I decided to try it again. This time I’m going to make it sparkling on purpose, which should lend a dry character to it. I made a 2 liter starter for it and I was hoping to titrate all the water off and just pitch the yeast slurry, but I guess I should have started it earlier because not much of the yeast had settled out. I removed about a liter and pitched the rest. We’ll see how it goes. Oh, and I used my wort aerator for the first time, hopefully that will help.

– Chris