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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Meeting

The December meeting this year was quite the event.  Once again meeting at the Barnhart's house instead of our Half Moon home.  Taking advantage of being "away from home", we explored the world of commercially produced porters & stouts with a few homebrews thrown in for good mesure.  After all, it is a homebrew club meeeting.

20 people in total were in attendance.  15 took part in the brew club meeting, 4 were taking part in the "Occupy the Homebrew Club" drinking wine & 1 was  a double agent.  It was a good thing the garage had been prepared for the event by turning it into a Christmas themed room complete with faux brick walls, massive picture window and festive skull chandelier, a holdover from the Halloween room, but one of the skulls did have a Santa hat on.

The beers outnumbered the people.  A total of 21 different beers were in attendance.  They were;
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
Utenos Premium Porter
Aldaris Porteris
Zywiec Porter
Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Porter
Bumble Bee Porter (Gary E.)
Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter
       Oatmeal Stouts
Oatmeal Stout (Jeff G.)
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
La Corinveau Oatmeal Stout
        Coffee Stouts
Founders Breakfast Stout
Clay County Coffee Stout
    Russian Imperial Stouts
Grunt Stout Extra (Cary K.)
Boulevard Dark Truth Stout
RIP Stout (Larry B.)
Bells Expedition Stout
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Shoreline Lost Sailor Imperial Stout 2008
      Misc. Homebrews
Dodo Bird (Cary K.)
English Barleywine (Jeff G.)
Spiced Ale 2009 (Jeff G.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

King Krausen

Thought I would share a picture of my carboy busy fermenting a Winter Ale. The jug to the left is my blow off tube which I had put on the night before. A bit too much pressure built up and blew the bung, airlock and blow off tube off the carboy. This is what I found when I came home, krausen was climbing pretty slow so maybe 90 minutes after it happened. The life of a homebrewer is never boring. Another way to look at is... open fermentation is pretty popular in Europe.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Breckenridge Brewery Ads

Found these great Breckenridge Brewery Ads, because of a link at These were made for $10,000 supposedly as opposed to the millions the BMC's spend on advertising. Here are a few of the ones I found funny.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evolution of the Beer Geek

Found this chart on Facebook, a post from Road Trips For Beer, that originally came from This is meant as a joke, except Beerdouchicus actually does exist. 

Cary Kirkmeyer and I met him at the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup dinner this past July. Beerdouchicus' come in many forms, that's probably why we didn't recognize him. We barely managed to get away with our lives from him. Scary stuff. :-)

Study the chart and avoid the pitfalls. Your taste buds, having friends who don't want to kick your butt and enjoying good beer may depend on it.

Source - Beer & Whiskey Brothers

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Craft Brew IS Affecting the Big Guys

Interesting article on what is happening to some mass market American brews.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

KokoPalooza 2011

The 2nd event in two weeks for the Howard County Homebrew Club, this year's KokoPalooza went off very well.  Much better attended by club members & their beers than the Taste of Kokomo the week before.

Rosie was on Pipeline Dr. when the truck arrived with the club bar.  We had the same spot as last year in the first tent and set up next to the Lafayette brewpub.  The beauty of our bar is the ease of set-up.  Rosie & Larry had beer ready to pour within 5 minutes of arrival.
With the advances added to the bar in the form of Tinman's elaborate manifold, we are now able to serve up to 6 beers at once.  And with the ability to quickly change from pin-lock to ball-lock connectors, changing kegs is a snap.

Through the tower taps for the evening, we had 3 variations on the ESB theme.  Cary had the basic ESB, Tom had hopped one up to an APA, and the 3rd was Mike & Jason's soured Big Brew ESB.  Through picnic taps we had, Larry's Southern English Brown, Tom's Hefeweizen and Jeff's American Amber Celebration clone.  Waiting in the cooler was Tom's American Brown ale.  Tom also opened up a bomber of the now rare Bourbon Barrel Stout later into the evening for the lucky few that would get to taste it.

Tom had a very interesting cooler converted to a two keg cooler.  A basic picnic cooler with a couple of holes cut in the top for the kegs to fit through.  It beats the open lid & cover with a blanket approach that we've been using in the past.  Cary is wanting to build a cooler the length of the bar to hold all the kegs for future events.  There is also talk of figuring out a way to add more taps to eliminate the need for the picnic lines.  Another good idea that was spotted at the Lafayette Brewpub tower was having a tap just for water to rinse glasses.  (We just borrowed a pitcher from the Half Moon.)

Just as at this year's Ales for Tails, Indiana Brewers Cup and the Taste of Kokomo, the hit if the evening was  the sour ale. This was the beer that people would come up and ask for because they had heard others talking about it all around the event.

One of the most frequently asked questions heard at the bar was "where can I buy these beers?"  We try to get the point across that you can't buy them, but you can make them yourself.  A point that seems to be lost on many.  A few do get it though and begin to ask questions about homebrewing.  It will be interesting to see if we begin to see any new faces at the meetings.

I don't know exactly how much beer we poured.  We did finish off the English Brown, ESB & soured ESB (much to Mike & Jason's delight, now they only have 1 keg of it).  All 3 were partial kegs.  The brown had been on tap at the Tin Whisker and the other two were at the Taste of Kokomo.  I'd be willing to say that we poured at least 7 gallons of beer 4oz at a time.

Once again, we were very well received and are getting the reputation for always having top notch beers.  We saw a lot of faces that kept returning many times over throughout the evening.  Even the guys from the Lafayette Brewpub were glad to be next to us.  But it looks as though someone is going to have to figure out how to make soured ales on purpose for future events.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taste of Kokomo 2011

Our first invite to the annual Taste of Kokomo went very well.  Riding along on the coattails of the Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery, we set up the bar right next to their table in the demonstration tent.  We had 3 beers on tap.  Mike & Jason's "soured" ESB from the big brew, Cary's ESB & Rosie's APA.  We gave out 4oz glasses for 1 ticket and 100% the proceeds were donated to the United Way.
There was a bit of excitement early in the afternoon as a small storm blew through downtown Kokomo.  The winds were pretty intense, but the rain wasn't too bad and didn't last very long.  Soon everything calmed down and things got back to normal.
The highlight of our evening was the demonstration on home brewing done by Cary & Rosie with an assist from Brian, John's assistant at the Half Moon.  Cary was the narrator while Rosie did the brewing of an extract beer.  Cary had many visual aids in the form of grains, hops (both pellets and a section of bine) and equipment.  About a dozen interested on-lookers stayed in their seats to learn about the process of brewing along with a bit of history of beer and brewing from Cary.
Several local home brewers who have never been to a meeting came up to talk to us at the bar.
Before the end of the evening, we had already been invited back to the Taste of Kokomo 2012.  Maybe next year we could do a full all-grain brew, with a schedule board listing the "show times" of each step.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From the Kokomo Humane Society web site advertising Ales for Tails. Our club bar tower tap is featured.

This years cascade hop crop is looking good.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Big Brew

This year's collaborative Big Brew with the Half Moon got off to the usual false start.  The initial day set to be on National Homebrew Day was called on account of rain and was pushed back a week.  The weather forecast leading up to the big day was less than favorable.  But Tom made a gutsy call to give John at the Half Moon the go ahead on Friday to whip up a batch of wort for us to brew on Saturday.
This year's project was an English ESB.  John's grain bill was;
75.0% Rahr Pale Ale Malt 
12.5% Briess Carapils 
12.5% Briess Caramel 40L 
 We got to do what we wanted with the hops & yeast.

The morning was grey & foggy when we set up, but the rain looked like it was going to hold off for the brew.  9 brewmeisters set up 7 rigs to brew.  Its always interesting to see the variations in every brewer's rig.  There seems to be an near infinite number of ways to do the same thing.

Some are elegantly simple.

Some are quite elaborate

Some setups were an impromptu collaboration of what was available.  This particular combo of Tom's keg boil pot and Jon's "beginner's" cooker was not the best pairing.  It merely maintained the mash out temp until a real burner was freed up.

There were a couple of homebrews brought out.  Jon hadt his "Here, taste this" beer for a critical evaluation of what went wrong.  Brent had his diacetyl beer for recommendations as well.
 Interestingly enough, it appears as though the problem with both of these beers could be yeast related.
Jon's was a re-pitch on top of the yeast cake and then sat in the primary for about a month so there was probably a lot of old dead yeast addding to the funk, while Brent's was racked to the secondary in just a few days not giving the yeast time to reabsorb the diacetyl.
We had several club members stop by to see the goings on.  We even had Andrew, one of the club's founding members make the drive north to visit.

Once again, many thanks to John & Chris of the Half Moon for the generous donation of the wort for this club project.  The growlers John brought out were much appreciated as well.

I saw several people taking pictures, feel free to add them to this blog or create a new one with your own story on the day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Rocky" Brew Day

Cary Kirkmeyer's Stein Beer from Howard County Homebrew Club on Vimeo.

Cary Kirkmeyer invited me over to his house to watch as he brewed his first stein beer a couple weeks ago. 70 pounds of rocks heated up in the stove over night, thrown into a boil pot. Watch the goofiness ensue.

For the first time it really went very smooth and was a fun experiment to watch. Is your fermenter ready for some rocks?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why does the Indiana Statehouse hate beer?

For every step forward Indiana takes when it comes to developing craft brewing, it seems like we end up taking two steps backward. The past couple years have seen an explosion in craft brewing operations in the state.

I just saw this article at The Full Pint about two of the most popular breweries in Indiana, Three Floyds and Sun King.

There is state law that says brewer cannot operate a tasting room, brew pub, or self-distribute its product if it produces more than 20,000 barrels (approximately 40,000 kegs) a year.

Three Floyds is on pace to hit that number this year. Sun King is on pace to hit that number in 2013. To inform the public about the issue, the breweries are collaborating on a a pale ale to be debuted in April.

The complete article at The Full Pint.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Water conservation is good for beer

Saw this interesting TED conference talk on Rob Harmon explains the importance of conserving water, and how it can be connected to brewing beer. He talks about brewing on a bigger commercial scale, but still something that relates to us. Not really something I imagine a lot of us think about, but very important.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bye Bye Dogfish

Just saw this online tonite. Dogfish Head is pulling distribution of all their beers from Tennessee, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and wait for it..... Indiana. Becoming one of if not the most popular micro brewery in the country has proven problematic for supplying said beer. 

Any beer currently on the shelves around Indiana probably won't be there much longer, and I would imagine any you find a few months from now will be a serious special order.

You can read Sam Calagione's blog post over at the website. 

I guess maybe being on cable has a ripple effect. Couldn't have been a result of the South American "Chicha" episode tho. Yeach!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ignorance IS Bliss

Over a long, boring winter with a lot of time on my hands, and boldly leaping into the advancements of 20th century technology, I have begun to listen to some homebrewing podcasts on i-Tunes.  Specifically the podcasts from Beer Smith, the Brewing Network and Jamil Zainasheff.  I've discovered a wealth of information that I am now beginning to regret.
Up until this year, brewing has been a pleasureable experience.  I would create my brewsheets with Beer Smith and follow the instructions. 
So far I think I can safely say, I've made some pretty good beers.  I've won a ribbon in every competition I have entered. 
A 3rd in my first Indiana Brewer's Cup for a porter that I had never brewed before. The next year I not only got a blue ribbon for my sweet stout that I had never brewed before, it won Best of Show!  The following year I got another blue ribbon for my Oktoberfest Marzen, another first time beer, as well as a blue ribbon in the first round of the National Homebrew Competition for a doppelbock that too was a first time attempt.
Figuring I can't always rely on "beginner's luck" (although its worked so far), I began to listen to these podcasts.  The detail & attention to the fine points of brewing are very up front in these shows.  What's the mash temp, not just approximate temp, but exactly the temperature.  How much yeast do you pitch, how much oxygen do you aereate with, at what temperature do you pitch the yeast at & ferment at?
Well, I don't know!  I heat up the water my brewsheet says to heat it up to and throw it into the mash & let it rest.  I cool it down & throw in a package of yeast, or put the wort right onto the yeast cake af the previous beer and let it sit on the counter or in the garage.
So this past weekend, I tried to pay closer attention to the fine points of my brewing technique.  What was once a pleasurable, carefree event has become a tense, "why can't I get the mash temp to stay at 154 degrees?" and a "is this a thick yeast slurry & how do I find out what percentage is non-yeast?" kind of day.
I've always kind of joked in telling people that if you want to see how primatively you can brew award winning beer, come & watch me.  Now I'm afraid that I'm going to have to invest a small fortune in some high tech system to ease my nerves. 
Or maybe I should just stop listening to these podcasts.  After all, as the old saying goes, It's better to be lucky than good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Adventures in Lager Brewing

The lager season is once again in full swing at the Tin Whisker brewhouse.  The yeast starter that will become Susie's experimental flavored beers did its job and created a nice batch of yeast for the first "real" lager of the year, Dr. Pavlov's Salivator.
This year the 3gal. American Light starter is being divided into 4 - 3qt mini-batches to be dosed with flavorings to make them interesting.
As in last year's experiment, one will have olive juice added.  Another will have lime juice, and this year the zest of 1 lime.  New for this year is dill pickle and a jalapeƱo spiced beer.
I made some mini-fermentors from the suggestion of Cary at the Tinman's brewery.  The local GFS has 6 & 8qt, food grade plastic buckets that have very tight sealing lids.  Just drill a hole & insert a gasket for the airlock in the lid, and they are perfect for small, experimental batches.

This year's doppelbock was once again an adventure in brewing.  I've learned it is good to be flexible on brewday.  Last year's inaugural attempt went on to win a blue ribbon in the 1st round of the NHC.  It was basically a kit beer from Northern Brewer and this year I decided to convert it to an all grain recipe.
Using Beer Smith to do the conversion for me, I really didn't pay much attention to the numbers that were generated until I started to measure out the grain.
14lbs of Munich, 4lbs Pilsner, 12oz of Vienna & 6oz of Crystal 60 made this the largest grain bill I've ever used.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good News For Beer Drinkers

New study says moderate beer drinkers are less prone to have high blood pressure and excess weight.
It has been found that people who drink ale and lager in moderate levels are less prone to have high blood pressure and diabetes. Also, those who drink beer in controlled manner are less likely to get fat, Topnews reported on January, 18.
Dr. Ramon Estruch, a Spanish researcher led the study, which revealed that beer has folic acid, vitamins, calcium and iron, which are beneficial for cardiovascular system.
The researchers are of the view that beer doesn't always make one plump as there are low fat and kilojoule levels in the drink. One becomes pot-bellied due to binge drinking, taking high-fat content food and less physical activity.
The study suggests that along with taking healthy diet and following regular exercise regime, men should take three small glasses of beer a day and for women, this amount should be two glasses per day.

Reprinted from

Warm Beer, Cold Women

Beer Is Good