Beer Quotes & Wisdom

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline-it

helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear

weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -- Frank Zappa

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alpha Acid Test - A Hoppy Event

My Daughter, her husband (coolcliff), and I attended a beer tasting event at Lafayette Brewing Company yesterday. The format was an interesting one. Ten beers were on hand, all identical with one small exception. All ten beers used in the tasting event were brewed in a single batch using a single 60 minute addition of Chinook hops. The resulting beer had 60 IBU's, and I would have classified it as an IPA. That single batch was then split into ten separate batches. All ten batches were fermented under the same conditions using the same yeast, same temperatures, same time. Every effort was made to make all ten batches of beer identical. Sound like an interesting tasting event? Ah, but it was!

The only difference between the 10 batches of beer was what hops were used in a dry hop. The amount (by weight) of hops used in the dry hop was equal in all cases (3 oz. per firkin or if the beer would be served from a half keg, 4 oz. - roughly equivalent.) One of the beers had no dry hop at all, but instead served as the "control". Six of the ten beers were served from firkins, the remaining four from kegs. The hops used in the dry hopping which were served from kegs included Centennial, Chinook, Warrior, and Amarillo. The "base" beer was also served from keg. Served from firkins were a couple of hops I wasn't at all familiar with, along with a few old favorites. The unfamiliar hops in the firkins included Saphir, First Gold, and Ceria. The more familiar hops included Czech Saaz, Styrian Golding, and U.S. Fuggle.

Now for the tasting. The beers were set up so samples would be drawn first from the base beer, and then progressing toward beer with more intense hop notes. The last three beers in the sampling line were in order Warrior, Chinook, and finally Centennial. As I am a fan of citrusy, intense hop flavors I preferred the "end of the line" hops. The Chinook hopped beer was my favorites. The hops used in the firkins imparted much more subtle aromas, good, just not what I expect in an IPA. I have to admit I was unimpressed with the First Gold, Ceria, and Saphir hopped beers, perhaps because I was expecting, or perhaps hoping for, more intense citrusy notes.

I was somewhat surprised the event was not more well attended. Perhaps 40 beer fans participated, and I suspect most of those were THC members. The event might have been better suited to homebrewers hoping to gain an appreciation for the subtleties of various hop varieties rather than those who are simply beer consumers. That might have limited the participation somewhat. The servers were absolutely awesome, knowledgeable and friendly. Serving was quick with only short waits. Pizza and a couple of other snacks were served and were tasty as well. The room was spacious and comfortable with LBC's typically worn decor.

The bottom line was that the event was educational for me and I drank a lot of good beer. If another event like this were held I would be likely to attend.

Beer Tasting at Soupleys

What an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. Friday afternoon Soupleys on Dixon had a FREE beer & wine tasting. Susie and I went immediately to the beer section and were met by Blake Montgomery who said we needed to start with the 4 beers from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City. Starting with their IPA (which is wonderful), then moving through the Saison, Belgian Triple and Quad. All are excellent, Blake knows beer.
While working through this flight, Eric T. showed up and got involved. Matt D. and Shannon both were seen there as well. Matt, being there to apparently start at the bottom and work his way to the top, was actually spotted trying a Bud Select 55. I guess he was just thirsty.
I talked to two new prospective club members. Alan Girton does actually brew now and he put the next meeting date in his phone. Soupleys beer man, Jimmy Land, also expressed interest in giving brewing a try at some point. He's got an open invitation to my next brew day.
But I digress. New Belgium Brewery and Goose Island had some very fine beers to offer as well. 2 Below and Mothership Wit from New Belgium and a very nice IPA from Goose Island were a couple of personal favorites.
On a completely different note, the biggest surprise of the event for me was in the wine department. A chocolate wine, served warm was outstanding! On the other hand, the bubblegum gin should be left alone.
A very enjoyable event all in all, and its good to know that some very fine beers are now available in Kokomo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Technical Enough For Yha!

I know we have some members that like to get very technical in their brewing process.
Recent shows include a talk on beer clarity and beer color. If you like geeking out on beer you will get your fill here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Theoretical Malt Yields

Here is some information on typical barley malt theoretical yields that I found at John Palmer's web site. He had listed these as maximum yields. In this case maximum = theoretical.

Typical Malt Yields in Points/Pound/Gallon

Malt Type Theoretical Yield

2 Row Lager Malt 37
6 Row Base Malt 35
2 Row Pale Ale Malt 38
Biscuit/Victory Malt 35
Vienna Malt 35
Munich Malt 35
Brown Malt 32
Dextrin Malt 32
Light Crystal (10 - 15L)35
Pale Crystal (25 - 40L) 34
Medium Crystal (60 - 75L)34
Dark Crystal (120L) 33
Special B 31
Chocolate Malt 28
Roast Barley 25
Black Patent Malt 25
Wheat Malt 37
Rye Malt 29


Mashing and Sparging Techniques

At our upcoming December club meeting we will be discussing mashing and sparging techniques and how they might affect yield or brewhouse efficiency. As part of this discussion for the all grain brewers please come prepared to report on the following for your brewhouse:

1.) For a "normal" gravity beer (let's say less than 1.070 or so) what is your typical efficiency? See my earlier post for information on how to calculate this.

2.) What mashing method do you use? Single infusion, multi-step, decoction, more than one method, none of these (describe)?

3.) What method do you use for mashout? Add heat, add hot water, recirculate wort through a heat exchanger, other (describe), don't do a mash out?

4.) What is your sparge method? Batch (how many rinses, do you stir?), fly, other(describe)?

5.) How deep is your typical grain bed during sparge? 5", 10", 20", etc.?

6.) Do you acid treat your sparge water or moitor runoff ph?

7.) What sparge water temperature do you use?

8.) How do you decide when to stop sparging? Run out of sparge water, collected enough wort, Runoff gravity, Runoff ph, other (describe)?

9.) How long does a typical 5 gal sparge take in your brewhouse? 10 gal?


Mash Efficiency Calculation

So how is mash efficiency calculated? Well, each grain has a theoretical yield that is specified by the malt house. Actually there are more than one yield specified and these yields differ by the coarseness of the grind and moisture content. But the one most often used by homebrewers is the fine crush dry yield. This yield is specified in gravity points per lb per gallon of wort. If you have purchased malt in 50 or 55# bags you will find this yield on a label usually attached to the bag. If you don't have the specific theoretical yield for the grains in your brewhouse you can just use the typical values that are widely published for each type of brewing grain. Your brewhouse efficiency is then calculated as a percent of the theoretical yield. Most brewing software can do this calculation for you. Following is an example of how this calculation is done.

The following grains were mashed:

* 4 lbs. Pilsner malt, theoretical yield 37 points/lb-gal
* 2.5 lbs. Munich malt, theoretical yield 33 points/lb-gal
* 14 oz (0.86 lb) Cara-Vienne, theoretical yield 34 points/lb-gal
* 2 oz (0.13 lb) Cara-Munich, theoretical yield 34 points/lb-gal

The final volume was 3.5 gallons, at a specific gravity was 1.058. So what was our efficiency?

Well, if we had perfect (100%) extraction, our total gravity points would have been:

( 4 x 37 ) + ( 2.5 x 33 ) + ( 0.86 x 34 ) + ( 0.13 x 34 ) = 264 points

Dividing by the volume of wort gives us 264 / 3.5 = 75 points; this means that -- in a perfect world -- we would have expected to get a specific gravity of 1.075. But our actual gravity was 1.058, so our efficiency is 58 / 75 = 0.77, or 77%.


November Meeting

The project for this month was spiced beer. Several examples were brought in, but before they were tapped, a little business was done.
This year's Indiana Brewer's cup winners (Matt, Jeff, Larry & Jon were all present) got a bit of an ego boost when it was pointed out that this year's competition was one of the largest in the country!
Next year's meeting formats will be divided up into 3 types of meetings.
  1. Informative - a set topic for discussion
  2. Competition - everyone brew a specific style, i.e. porter, pale ale, IPA
  3. Homebrew Evaluation - Detailed scoring & organized tastings of what we've brewed.

Jason & Mike were given the task to create a glossary of brewing terms in response to bringing up that they were a bit confused by the terminology when they got started brewing. At the December 21st meeting, they will have some info on sparging methods for a "How do you sparge" discussion. Tom will use some of the club's funds to get a bargain beer kit to use as a prize for a later club competition.

Probably in March as it was decided to be an IPA project meeting. Jon Templet gave us an interesting discourse on the history of and the brewing of IPA's. Adding gypsum to the water, using any high alpha hop early in the boil to get the IBU's up and choosing a good aromatic hop for the end boil were the high points of his talk. Tom then passed around an easier to use rating sheet for the spiced beer tasting.

Larry started off with the absolutely wrong beer he brought from home. Instead of the Possibly Putrid Pumpkin Ale, he pulled the wrong tap handle and had a bottle of Susie's Sweet Stout. It was considered a "good" mistake.

Tom then opened up a proper entry with a vanilla oatmeal stout. He added a vanilla syrup to the already conditioned stout after experimenting with an eye dropper and measured samples of beer to get the proper concentration. Very sweet, it would make a good apertif, and suggeted using vanilla extract instead of syrup to cut down the sweetness.

Jeff then passed his Holiday ale that he also had taken to the Halloween party. One month was not very kind to the beer. The spiciness had been replaced by an unidentifiable aroma and had quite a tart finish. The question of whether it was time or the bottles that brought about the change was discussed.

Jason & Mike then opened their cloved-up beer that was definitely quite clovey, but very drinkable. When it was brought up that the clove might mellow out a bit over time and it would be interesting to taste it again at a later date, we were told that it probably won't last that long.

Then came the moment we were all masochistically waiting for, the opening of Eric's uber-clove pumpkin ale. Ever since we heard about it at the Halloween party, there has been a curious sense of dread to see how this would turn out.
After hearing how Tom used a scientific method to determine the amount of concentration of syrup to add. Jeff & Larry use measured amounts of spices in their brews. Even Jason & Mike carefully measured their heavily cloved beer. It was a bit of a shock to hear how Eric just kind of started dumping whole cans of clove & cinnamon into the boil.
If anyone needs any clove extract, I know where you can get about 5 gallons of it.

We had a bit more of Jason & Mike's clove beer as a way to come down smoothly from the clove overload. Something like the decompression needed to prevent the bends in deep sea divers.

Matt then ended the meeting with his hard cider that he will be entering in the State Fair next year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

AHA New Website

The American Homebrewers Association has launched their new website. The link is listed to the right. It is designed to be more interactive and very educational for all levels of homebrewers. How to's, Pimp my system, recipes, Homebrewopedia, competitions & results (including Best of Show for the 2009 IN. Brewer's Cup) and much more.
Well worth a look and adding to your favorites.

Warm Beer, Cold Women

Beer Is Good