Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Fermentation Friday - Starting your Beer - Yeast!!

Hi all,

Sorry I missed last month but I am not really a picture taker. I am sure that will change next month with my first child but probably not. The wife will take care of that except for the ones with her in the picture. Well I am back and this months topic of starting your beer specifically dealing with our favorite microorganism yeast is a good one. I am always trying to decide what yeast I want to use and how I want to introduce it to my properly cooled wort. Before I start i would like to thank the guys at Rooftop Brew for hosting this months Fermentation Friday.

Well lets start out by saying what I have done. I have used dry, activator packs,propigator packs and white lab pitchable. For the last few batches I have been using all liquid yeasts. I am not really loyal to my yeast manufacturer so I just pick and choose depending on the day. I have brewed using a starter and not using a starter and since I am lazy it usually leans towards no starter. The starter starts the fermentation a few hours early but not that much faster. Also I usually forget to make a starter and then brew day arrives so I just pitch. So far so good.

I know its probably wrong and all you brewers out there might want to kick me out of the club but I think I like using dry yeast the best. I am a big pale ale (APA,IPA,DIPA,IIPA)guy and have made about 1/2 my beers in this style and I honestly can't really tell the effect of the yeast on an IPA between an american Ale yeast (WY1056,WLP060) and Safale 05 or Muntons. The biggest thing about it is the dry always start quicker wether I use a starter or not and its way easier and cheaper.

My next brew is going to be an ESB using the a liquid british ale yeast with a starter and then I am planning on throwing a really big IIPA (SG 1.095) on top of that yeast cake and wait for the explosion to happen in my dining room fermenation area. After that I think I am going to go back to dry yeast for my normal everyday ales like ambers, APA's, IPA's, etc and only use liquid yeasts when I want to so something very specific like a Belgian or a Hefeweizen. Other then that I feel I can get a great beer with dry yeast which in my honest opinion is just as good and saves me 5 bucks per batch. Lazy and cheap can you think of a better combination for a brewer!!!

Thanks again Rooftop Brew for hosting this months event and I am looking forward to reading about all the yeast adventures out there. See you next month!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Its Been A While

I admit it I have been slacking. I hope to have a few post for the rest of the year including Fermentation Friday but I do have a plan for next year. I am going to attempt to review 104 beers. That will be 2 a week so that means atleast 2 posts a week. I also plan to write and post pics about my new baby that is due the 2nd week in Jan. I think I am going to post it in my other blog but I may create an all pink page for my little girl. Lots of pics!! So please don't forget about me. I'll be back!!!


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Session # 21 Wrapup

Wow I don’t know whether to apologize, cry or be psyched about this month’s topic. I feel that I just went 12 rounds with Tyson in his prime. There is definitely some strong opinions on this topic. Some have a favorite, some say they don’t and some say they don’t but played the game anyway. We got the whole gambit. I don’t think I will apologize because I love heated discussions but if you let me play with you all again (host) I will definitely narrow down the topic. I won’t cry because I am MAN and I don’t do that ;-). So I guess I will have to be psyched about this month’s topic even though all the jabs left a black-eye. I am really happy that this discussion was able to show the passion that everyone has about beer.

Without further a do here is the summary of the posts!!

Since I am hosting I will start off with mine. I do have a favorite beer, a favorite restaurant, a favorite wine, a favorite food and favorite everything else yet I am a taster. Give me samples of anything and I will try it and I have a goal to try as many things from as many places as I can but I still know old reliables.

Mario @ Brewed for Thought tried to show his favorite beer by the ingredients that make up beer at the end he almost picked one. Thanks for linking the reviews.

Rob @ Pfiff! played the game and chose his favorite beer the one in front of him at the time.

A Good Beer Blog has not time for stinking favorites.

Shaun @ 21st Amendment says Coors is his favorite when the time is right. He also listed some other pretty well known beers as favorites but Coors was obviously the best on the list!! ;-)

Jon @ The Brewsite
has favorites but not a favorite. He loves the quote "My favorite beer is the one in front of me"

Tom @ Yours for Good Fermentables has a great quote!

Lew @ Seen Through a Glass doesn't have a favorite anything but isn't afraid to repeat.

Sonnett Beer is a taster like me but was willing to play the game.

Chipper Dave @ Fermentedly Challenged almost said the quote but ended up listing beers that impress him. So you really couldn't pick the hottest chick. I think that's easier then picking beer but then again I can pick a favorite beer.

The Scribe @ Mixed Dram has a favorite brewery but no favorite beer. Thanks for the review I really like the way you describe the beer!

The Beer Haiku Daily is fighting the machine (me in this case) refusing to name a favorite but is looking forward to seeing how other answer the question.

Bottles of Barley is calling out my BS comment but played the game anyway. I really enjoyed his review of the lambic.

The Barley Blog sucks (his words not mine I actually like his blog) . I was very happy to hear my topic got inside his head and he wasn't able to think about anything else for 2 days.

Mark @ Pencil and Spoon
doesn't want to sound snobby when talking about beer and doesn't really have a favorite but he does have a desert island beer.

Barley Vine like other before him doesn't have a favorite but does have a go to beer. I think he likes to mow the lawn and pray to a saint while drinking it. I probably read that wrong but you can interpret for yourself.

The husband, father, craft beer drinker @ Musings Over A Pint looked back at 2008 and listed his favorite beers seasonally. I was glad to have made him thirsty.

The Beer Nut pretends not to have a favorite (or go to) beer but I think he does. You let me know based on his post. I also love his quote "it's always there and it's always good"

Steph @ sighed but in the end she picked one. I don't quite buy it. I think she is humoring me and playing along.

Peter @ A Better Beer Blog doesn't care he doesn't have a favorite but favorites. He will also always take something new over a favorite. As a real BJCP judge he listed the favs by style then gave a best of show. I am no pro but his quick review tells me he has done this before.

Velky Al @ Fuggled started out all philosophical and then picked his favorite beer or atleast the most nostalgic.

Leigh @ The Good Stuff was one of a few that picked a favorite not out of requirement but out of the label color and design and who would have thunk it a Brit choosing an American beer.

Keith @ Brainard Brewing has an ever changing favorite but his favorite of the day is also one of my favorites. Then again the the brewer of that beer makes many of my of the beers I enjoy.

J @ Brookstone Beer Bulletin feels the same way as most of you about not having a favorite and brings in some professional brewer proof but he does admit that there are some her prefers at certain times.

The Legal Beer blog post states that his favorite beer is one that he hasn't tried yet. He popped open a new one just for this occasion. Like me he also likes to troll the aisles of the liquor store hoping to find something new.

Thomas @ Geistbear
blog told me to ask his bartender if he has a favorite beer. Anything but light lager would be his favorite.

Troy @ Great Canadian Pubs and Beers has a beer that if he sees it he doesn't even look at the rest of the beer menu but also has a bunch of other beers that may be the favorite of the day.

I would like to thank you all for contributing to this months topic no matter how you feel about the topic and I hope you enjoyed racking your brain to even think there may have been a possible favorite. Now we have a good month with my personal favorite holiday Thanksgiving before the folks at 21st Amendment host next month’s session #22.

If I missed any one let me know and you are never to late to post in my book so keep em coming. See you all next month!!!

Matt C.

***Late Update from me***

I would like to thank Peter at a Better Beer Blog for giving me something to try the Firestone Walker Pale 31. I might just be my new favorite beer. It was amazing!!! Fine you all may be right (don't tell my wife she still thinks I am never wrong, ya right) you can't truly have a favorite beer but you can have a current favorite!!!!

Take a read about this topic from the out side at fishbeer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Session #21 - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Hi all,

Here is my post for the session I am hosting. I hope to have all the post compiled by late Saturday or early Sunday morning so check back. Lets get this party started!!

What is my favorite beer? How do I pick a favorite from so many great beers? Well it was easy because every time I want a beer I wish I had some of it in the fridge. This favorite beer of mine is Anderson Valley(Boonville Beer) Hop Ottin' IPA. I am a self proclaimed hop head. I can't get enough of them but I also like some good balance in my beer and this beer fits the bill. Like the site says its a "Hop lovers Dream".

I think my review will show why I love this beer. If not let me know and I can tell you more. But before I give my totally biased review I will tell you all "I LOVE THIS BEER"!!


Appearance - Golden to red color with a nice medium lasting head. After the head dissipates it leaves a lacing down the side of the glass

Smell - The citrusy/floral hop scent is balanced nicely with the scent of a sweet caramel malt.

Taste - The taste of this beer matches the smell perfectly. The citrusy/floral hop taste is slightly imbalanced towards bitter with enough of a malt background to keep it from being overpowering. I can't think of a taste I would rather have. Almost perfection!!

Mouth Feel - Good amount of carbonation and thickness but light in the mouth with a nice lasting finish.

Drinkability - This is why I love this beer. It is perfectly drinkable. I could never see myself turning one down. It may possibly be the perfect beer for every season. It is light enough to drink in the summer and big enough that you can drink one in front of a warm fire in the winter. If you like hops and get a chance to try this beer then I feel this is one of the few must try beers.

Well I hope you are all able to try this beer I have a feeling you won't be disappointed. Even my wife who normally prefers a non super hoppy beer really enjoyed this beer. Hope you all enjoyed reading about my favorite beer and I can't wait to read about yours and maybe even someday try them.

See you all next month!!

Matt C.

PS - Did I tell you all "I LOVE THIS BEER"!! If I didn't then you know now. ;-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Session # 21 Reminder - Favorite Beer and Why (Correction)

I copied the title from the last post. The session is this friday not Fermantation Friday. That was last week.

The Session # 21 Reminder - Favorite Beer and Why

Date - Nov 7th 2008

Topic - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Extra Requirement - Review your favorite beer!

Original Post

I am already looking forward to reading all your post and maybe even tasting your favorite beer. As usual to partake in the event you can email me at gisbrewmaster(at)gmail(.)com or post a comment. See you next month!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Session # 21 Reminder - Favorite Beer and Why

Date - Nov 7th 2008

Topic - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Extra Requirement - Review your favorite beer!

Original Post

I am already looking forward to reading all your post and maybe even tasting your favorite beer. As usual to partake in the event you can email me at gisbrewmaster(at)gmail(.)com or post a comment. See you next month!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fermentation Friday - Homebrewing Horror Stories

Hi All,

Welcome to the this months scary Fermentation Friday homebrewing horror stories. Thanks to Rob @ Pfiff! for hosting this months blogging day. I wish I could say I had a really scary story but I don't. Its rather lame this story wouldn't scare a 21 year old. So hear it goes. On my first try at homebrewing for the second time I was trying to be perfect on everything. I wanted everything clean, sanitized, and all my ingredients layed out and ready to go. I had read the instructions on the kit a hundred times. I was going to be a successful brewer. So I started the boil and added the the malt extract and watched it boil for about 40 minutes. Here is where it get semi-scary!! I go to the counter to grab the spoon to stir and guess what I see. A little bag of green pellates. You homebrewers call them hop pellates I think. I had forgot to add the hops at the beginning of the boil. I was cursing all over the house. I had planned everything perfectly. I was so ready and I do this. Well I added the hops and boiled them for about 45 minutes. The instructions said boil the whole batch for 45 minutes total and I went for an hour and a half. I had no idea what was going to happen. I finished the rest of the steps and just did the normal 3 week waiting thing(1 week fermentation/2 weeks bottle conditioning).

Do you know how scary and hard it is to wait 3 weeks to try something when you may have messed up a very important step. Well I can tell you!! It is terrifying. Just like the scary night of Halloween comes and goes so does the wait to try the first brew. I put one in the fridge 3 weeks later and wait the excruciating few hours for it to chill. I grab the bottle opener and hear the all important pfiff (Rob don't get me for copyright infringement please). Then I pour it into a glass and it looks like beer. Then I take a good sniff and it smells like beer. Then I taste it. It tastes like beer I am sucessful. I had gotten through my scariest moment in my non existence homebrewing career. Think of it as a girl in a really scary costume and when she takes it off she is beautiful. That is what it felt like. I hope I never have to relive a moment like that again.

Thanks again Rob for hosting this months event. I am looking forward to reading all the scary stories and hopefully using them as a learning experience. See you all next month!

Matt C.

GABF Days 3 & 4

Hi All,

Welcome back to part 2 of the 2 part GABF series. Lets go out running. Day 3 started a little later then the first 2. I got to sleep until 10am. It felt really good. So I get up and I have a few hours before the 12:30 members only session and the night before one of the guys I was with mentioned cheese steak sandwiches at Pats (Market & 16th) and I thought that sounded awesome. So I walked over to pats for lunch. I ended up getting a mini cheese steak and a mini sausage, pepper and onion sandwich also. They were both very good I can never turn down the sausage sandwich. After lunch I walked over to the convention center and got into the 10 or so mile (slightly being dramatic) line and waited for the doors to open.

I got it and started sampling beers agains but alot more slowly. Most of the session I just went back and forth to the award ceremony trying to find the winners so that I could try the winning beers. I also played alot of rockband. Somehow I ended up joining a band as the basist called "flaming vagina". Luckily there was a brewery table right next to us that kept refilling our samples while we rocked out. I also spent alot of time at the Brewers Guilds. It was really cool to be able to talk to the brewers and try some of the special regional brews that the guilds brougn. I had a blast at this session. The final session of the fest the Saturday Evening session I volunteered as a pourer. I was assigned to section P and did most of my pouring at Saint Arnolds and the Rock Bottoms of Arizona. Let me tell you I was impressed with both of these breweries. I would like to hight recommend that you volunteer to work at the GABF as a pourer. You get to sample some beers and get to talk with alot of patrons. I would estimate you will be in your section for about 3 hours of the 4 hour session pouring then you get about an hour of free time to try the other beers of the fest. It is a good free way to get to experience the GABF and support a great organization like the ABA/AHA. They couldn't put on the event without the voluneers. After a second full day in a row I was spent again. I walked home picked up some taco bell on the way home and crashed. I was so tired I didn't even finish my tacos. I was out like a light.

The next morning I got up and started to pack for my flight back home. Lets just say that didn't go so well the zipper on my suitcase broke. I was only 9:30am so i had some time before the stores would open. I wanted a good breakfast so I headed over to a local fixture called Sams #3. I highly recommend this place the food is awesome, the quanties large, and the price reasonable. I happened to get the kitchen sink scramble. I can eat and I couldn't finish it. While I was there I ended up sitting next to Brandon the head brewer from Silver Peak in Reno, NV. We talked a little homebrewing and commercial brewing. The more I learn about commercial brewing the more like work it sounds. I think it would take the fun out of brewing if you did it for a living. I'll stick with the homebrewing. I like the hours. If i do ever go pro in the beer industry I think a place like Falling Rock would be the way to go. After breakfast I found a Ross bought a new suitcase, packed and went to the airport. It was a pretty uneventful end of the trip. Which I was very glad for. It was a long, tiring, but amazingly fun trip. I hope to do it again next year.

Top 5 from each session.

Saturday Afternoon:
1. Black Chocolate Stout - Brooklyn Brewery
2. Watermellon Wheat - 21st Amendment
3. Brother David's Double - Anderson Valley
4. Organic IPA - Hopworks Urban Brewery
5. Redemption - Russian River Brewing Co

Saturday Evening:
1. Saint Arnold Summer Pils - Saint Arnold Brewing Co
2. Wee Heavy - Alesmith
3. Big Eye IPA - Ballast Point
4. Ruination - Stone
5. Dream Catcher - Rock Bottom, AZ locations

Friday, October 17, 2008

GABF Days 1 & 2

Hi all,

I am sure you all have read some GABF reviews so I am going to keep it short and sweet and give you some suggestions based on my first time experience. Let's start out by saying I had a blast. I can't wait to get back and I am already trying to get the family to meet up there for our weekly vacation. I got there on Thursday about 2 hours before the opening session. I was so psyched so I go there about 45 minutes early thinking the line would be starting but it was already real long. I just walked to the end and with in minutes I was talking with fellow beer drinks. Well we finally got in a then the "WOW!!!" it was beautiful a whole convention centerfull of beer. I didn't know where to start. So I just went to the closest station and grabbed a sample and started walking around to get the lay of the land. I didn't plan too much cause I was going for 3 out of the 4 sessions so i figured I would get what I missed the next day. I basically wandered around for 4 hours sampling with no plan in the world. The only place I made sure I hit was New Glarus becasue all the blogs said to go there quickly becasue they run out fast. There stuff was amazing. I highly recommend if you are ever in Wisconsin that you try to get to there brewery you won't be disappointed. While at one of the brewery's (I don't rembember which one) towards the end of the night I started talking to some people and the invited me to Falling Rock. So I went even though I had to get up early to volunteer with set up. It was a great decisions as I got to check out one of the coolest beer bars I had ever been to and sence it was GABF week they busted out some very unique beers. It was a blast. Next time you are in Denver hit the Falling Rock.

Lets just say the next morning came very quickly. I got to bed around 1am and got up at 7. It sounds like a good amout but when you have been brinking for the last 6 hours it comes quickly. I say you need 2 hours of sleep for every one of drinking. Well I got to the convention center thinking I had a 4 hour shift of setting up for the Friday night session. Well that 4 hours turned into 8.5. I didn't have anything to do and they need more help in the afternoon. I was thinking that set up would be easy but this was work. We did everything from cleaning to moving kegs and ice. I was exausted and I still had the session to attend. Don't get me wrong I would do it again in a heart beat it was actually kind of fun to see how everything runs. I met up with my friend who lives in Denver and we basically did the same thing as I did the day before wander around and sample. This was the day I got to try the famous Sam Adams "Utopias" I was really glad I got to try it and not buy it. I was pretty good but not worth $150 a bottle. I'll stick with the samples. By the end of the night I could barely standup I was so tired but my stomach always takes precident over sleep. I went with my friend, his wife, and friend to a bar/resteraunt called McCormicks. If you ever want a decent cheeseburger and fries for $2 bucks go here during happy hour. There is nothing like cheap greasy food after some good beers. After dinner about 1 again I got back to the hotel and just crashed. I couldn't wait to get my shoes off after 13 hours walking around the convention center. I hit the pillow and I was off to dream land.

I really have no clue all the beers I tried so i will just list my top 5 from each day.

1. Raspberry Tart - New Glarus
2. Vertical Epic 08-08-08 - Stone
3. Smoked Porter - Alaskan
4. Midas Touch - Dogfish Head
5. Hazelnut Brown Ale - Rogue

1. Utopias - Sam Adams
2. Belgian Red - New Glarus
3. 15th Aniversary Ale - Avery
4. Rare Vos - Brewery Ommegang
5. I can't remember the beer name but it was an IPA from Empire Brewing in Buffalo NY.

Stay tuned for days 3-4 of the trip,

Matt C.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Announcing Session #21: Favorite Beer and Beer Judge Wanna Be!

Hi all,

I will be hosting next months blogging event "The Session #21" on Friday, November 7, 2008. The Session is a monthly blogging event where beer fans from all over the world blog about a specific topic on the first Friday of the month. The Session was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. For a great overview of past topics please see the Brookston Beer Bulletin or Beer Haiku Daily.

When looking at the past topics I felt that they were all a little to easy. They weren't loaded enough for me. No one has asked the the one question that I am guessing all of you have heard. This question has probably come from friends, family, stangers from the bar, etc everytime you bring up you are really into beer.

That question is: What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Before you say I don't have a favorite beer or how do I pick just one. I say BS everyone has a favorite. There will always be a beer that you would grab above all others, your go to beer per say. The one beer you will almost always choose over the others. When I get asked that question I almost always say I don't have one but then when I came up with this topic I realized I did and I know you do too.

I would like to take this topic one step farther for purely selfish reasons. I am trying to do better reviews on beers that I drink and I would like to see how other rate and review their beers. So put on your BJCP hat and Review and Rate your Favorite Beer.

In Review:

Date - Nov 7th 2008

Topic - What is your favorite Beer and Why?

Extra Requirement - Review your favorite beer!

I am already looking forward to reading all your post and maybe even tasting your favorite beer. As usual to partake in the event you can email me at gisbrewmaster(at)gmail(.)com or post a comment. See you next month!!

Fermentation Friday - Complete Topic List

Hi All,

I really like what Captain Hops did over at Beer Haiku Daily for the The Session. So I am going to do my best to maintain a list of all the topics and final posts for Fermentation Friday.

2008 Fermentation Friday Post:

May 30 - Adam @ Beer Bits 2 (I Remember When I Started HomeBrewing!), Topic Announcement, Round Up

June 27 - Travis @ CNY Brew (What is the craziest concoction you ever came up with?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

July 25 - Brew Dudes (What one tip would you give a beginner homebrewer?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

August 29 - Bunz @ The Panhandle Beer Snob and Redneck Brewery (What is the best beer you ever made?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

September 26 - Marcus @ Final Gravity (What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with?), Topic Announcement, Round Up

October 31 - Rob @ Pfiff! (Homebrewing Horror Stories), Topic Announcement, Round Up

November 28 -Adam @ Beer Bits 2 (Brewing Photos), Topic Announcement, Round Up (Not sure if this is the right round up but it works. Let me know if it needs a change.)

December 26 - The Guys over at @ Rooftop Brew
(Yeast), Topic Announcement, Round Up (Can't seem to find)

2009 Fermentation Friday Post:

January 30 - Jim @ lootcorp
(Brew Year Resolutions), Topic Announcement, Round Up

February 27 - Matt @ World of Brews (Cleaning and Sanitization), Topic Announcement, Round Up

March 27 - Bryon @ (Embrace Your Spring), Topic Announcement, Round Up

April 24 - Jake @ Northerntable
(All About Liquor), Topic Announcement, Round Up

May 29 - Ted @ TedBrews
(Brewing Joys and Stresses), Topic Announcement, Round Up

June 26 - The Boy's @ Brew Dudes (Topic TBD), Topic Announcement, Round Up

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Session #20 - Beer and Memories

Hi All,

Welcome to my post for this months session. I would like to thank Ray and Melissa over at Bathtub Brewery for hosting this months event. I really like the topic Beer and Memories but I was having trouble deciding what beer memory to write about. So I decided to write a funny story from my younger days.

Picture this 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I know what your thinking this is going to be the typical get drunk and score for the first time story. Well you would be way off. When I first started school I hardly drank at all. I maybe had a little wine or champaign on Christmas I can't even remember if I had tried a beer. I was a good Boy ;-) Well my freshman year I played a lot of intramural sports: Flag Football, Soccer, Roller Hockey, Softball, Basketball, etc. I just did it for fun and to chill with my friends. My sophomore year I decided I wanted a little more competition so I say a signed for Club Rugby. Club sports are somewhere between intramurals and school sports. The biggest difference is you had to pay more to play to cover travel and expenses (mostly beer). So I went sighed up and we started practicing. Well our first few games were at home so we would play the game and most of the team would drink a keg of the fizzy yellow stuff before, during and after the game. I never thought that much about it because I didn't drink. I knew that Rugby players were drinkers, partiers, and all around crazy so it didn't shock me at all. I just played and did my thing.

Well the next game was out of town about 2 hours away and I was so excited. I hadn't been on a sports road trip in a few years. So we get the the game and everything goes smoothly. Everyone is drinking and playing away. After the game we all go to a party at the house of some of the other teams players. Rugby players hate each other during the game but after everyone is buddy buddy. I am just chilling talking to some people and some of our team captain said we need to talk to you. Well they handed me a bud light(I think) and told me to have a beer. I told them I no thanks I don't drink. Thats where it goes down hill. Well then they said you can't go home. That's not a big deal when your at a home game but it is when you are 2 hours away. So I just laughed at them an walked away. They set the beer down and said it would be waiting for me. I thought they were just joking. We all load up into the vans to head home and I go to get in and they block me. They said to me your beer is under that tree. One of the vans drives away and the driver gets into the other one and said drink the beer or have a good walk. Of course I drank the warm, flat nasty bud light and got in the van. That was the end of my rugby career.

Everytime I see or even sometime drink yellow fizzy stuff I think of that day and laugh. It is so ironic that I quit playing a sport that I rather enjoyed because they made me drink a beer. They made me drink a beer I am laughing now as I write. I never became a fan of the yellow fizzy stuff but I probably drank my share over the next few years. I never saw 50 cent pitchers of dogfish head, russian river, or sierra nevada. So you get the point. I know its not top of the line but even in college when I was drinking beer I would choose a Killians or Yuengling.

Thanks again to Bathtub Brewery for hosting this months session. I am looking forward to reading other peoples post. See you all next month.

I quit playing Rugby becasue they made me drink a beer!!!! LOL!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fermentation Friday - Indigenous Brewing Ingredient

Hi All,

Welcome to my post for this months fermentation Friday. This months topic is "What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with and what style would that beer be?" I would like to thank Marcus at Final Gravity for hosting this month.

Ok I am not going to lie. I have no idea what to write about so this is going to be a short and sweet post. I have have only lived in Bakersfield,CA for 2.5 years so I am not really up on local ingredients that are unique. I have always wanted to ferment a mead so a few months ago I bought some local orange blossom honey. I still haven't made mead but I will get to it. I am also contemplating going to the apple farms about 45 minutes away an making an apple cider beer or hard cider. This post has got me thinking about asking some locals if there is any special local fruit or spice that would be good in beer. I do live near the desert. Has anyone tried cactus beer?

Thanks again to Marcus for hosting this month. I am looking forward to reading all the replies for some new ideas.

Talk to you next month,

Matt C.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beer in Hawaii!!

Hi All,

A few weeks back I went to Hawaii with my wife. I know tough life!! She had to work a little I just had to chill and relax it was really nice. I bet no one can guess what I did while I was there. I'll wait a few why you think about it. ***************************************************** Ok give up!! I'll tell you!! I found some local breweries and a chain beer bar. The 2 local breweries were Sam Choy's and Brew Moon. I really liked Sam Choy's but I wasn't very impressed with Brewmoon. All of Sam Choy's brews (7 in all were very tasty). My personal favorite was the honey lager. It was nice and crisp and smooth. I am not a big fan of the yellow bubbly but this was some good stuff. Brewmoon was ok but nothing spectacular in my opinion. I don't like to really pick on brewers because I know they put alot of effort and work into there beers but I felt these beers tasted a little flat interms of flavor. I feel a lot of them were missing something a little more malt in this one and little more hops in that one. They were all very drinkable but I am always looking for the next great beer and I felt they fell a little short. So if you are ever in Honolulu then I say try both of these breweries. Always go local when its available.

The other place I hit was a chain called the Yardhouse. Let me tell you if you like beer on draft this is the place to go. They must have had a hundred beers on tap. My only complaint is that they have this thing called the 6 pack. It is a pre-picked taster of 6 of there on tap brews. I am a big fan of the taster. I want to taste as many brews as possible. My complaint is I can't pick 6 of my choice. There were numerous I wanted to try but I am not going to by pints of them all. Oh well what are you going to do. By the way the food was really good.

So next time you are in Hawaii try there beers you won't be disappointed.

Until next time,
Matt C.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Session #19 - German Beer

Hi All,

Welcome to my post for this months Session "German Beer". I would like to thank the Lootcorp 3.0 for hosting this months session. I love this topic. I am going to discuss how Germany and German beer in general got me back on the beer train.

I know I had discussed this before but I have to start out by telling how Germany and German beer got me back into beer. About 3 years ago my wife and I went on our first trip to Europe and we started out in Italy. As most people know Italy is known for there wines and that is what we were into at the time. So as you would expect we drank a lot of wine with dinner and even had a top end wine from Montalcino. It was awesome and it had confirmed that wine was my drink of choice. Then we left Italy and went to Munich and Berlin. I had always liked beer but it was boring compared to the world of wine. At the time I think my craziest beer was Killians. Well in Munich I had tried german beer for the fist time. There was Spaten, Hefeweizens, Bocks, ext. they were really good and very different then anything I had had before. They had flavor and they just weren't bubbley water. I had really like them but we also drank a lot of Rieslings and some gewurztraminer wines and wine still felt more complex and that there was more to them. Then I went to Berlin to this Beer Bar (sorry I don't remeber the the name my wife's friend who was living in Germany took us there) and my whole world opened up. They must have had hundreds of beers from different places in Europe. Some were dark, some were light, some high alcohol, some low alcohol, some fruity, some dry. There was some many different styles that I had never seen before. I had an epiphany beer was going to become my passion. I had to learn more about them and try as many as I could. I went to that beer bar 3 times in my 3 days in Berlin and tried at least 10 different beers. It was awesome!! I have no idea what my favorite was or even what a particualar one tasted like all I remember is that the world of breer was a lot more complex then I had thought. I was going to spend the rest of my life trying new beers from new places and every time I travel I try to hit the local brewery to see what they have to offer. So as you can see German beer has showed me the world in a sence.

In terms of an actually German beer I would say I really enjoy the Spaten Dark. It is a nice dark lager that has a very light smokey/chocolate taste. It is very smooth yet flavorful.

I don't know if German beer per say is may favorite but I can tell you it did open my eyes to "A world of Brews". Thanks again to Lootcorp for hosting this month. I am looking forward to reading how German beer has influenced others.

See you all next month!!

Matt C.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fermentation Friday - Best Beer and Why?

Hi all,

Welcome to this months fermentation friday. As usual I would like to thank The Redneck Brewer for hosting this months event. Now on to the post. When I saw this months topic “What, in the opinion of others, is the best beer you have ever made and why?" I wasn't sure what to write about. I don't really know the answer. Everyone who has ever tried my beer has liked them. At least that is what they tell me and I am inclined to believe them because I also feel it is my best beer to date. I must admit I am only on my 8th batch and I haven't been very creative so everything has gone pretty smoothly and turned out well. If I had to make a guess my Double IPA would probably go down as my best beer to date. Almost everyone that comes by asks me if I have any of that IPA stuff left. I am down to a bottle or 2 so I have to fib and say no. I would like to make it again someday but as a new brewer I am really enjoying making different recipes and different styles. It will be a while before I brew the same recipe again.

It was a really nice brownish orange in color. It had a really nice long lasting head. The nose was very floral with a hint of citrus, and the flavor was nice and hoppy but still smooth. It was tasty if I (and others) do say so ourselves.) I can't take all the credit though Midwest Supplies came up with a great recipe.

I am not sure how many of you home brewers out there brew alot of repeats but I don't feel I am ready for that. My goal is to make every beer the best beer so I don't have to answer this question. Thanks again to the redneck brewer for hosting and I will see you all next month!!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Sacramento Trip 8-14 to 8-17

Hi all,

I am sitting here on the train ride home from Sacramento so I thought I would write a little about my trip this weekend. A few months ago I wrote about my trip to Sacramento a conference and that I was able to hit 3 brewpubs in the area well this time I was able to hit 4 more Breweries/Brewpub. The 4 I hit were Beermann’s Beerwerks, Gold Hill Brewery and Winery, Auburn Alehouse Brewery and Restaurant, and River City Brewing and Restaurant. I will admit there wasn’t a beer that felt was out of this world but there were a few really nice beers and/or really interesting.

1. Beermann’s Beerworks Ginger Beer - This one was really interesting. It had a nice head when poored (even in a plastic cup). The nose as you would expect had a nice ginger and hoppy scent. The color was a golden yellow. Now on to what everyone cares about the taste. The beer had a very pronounced ginger flavor which kind of over powered the beer yet it was good. The best description I can give is it was like a mix of a light lager and a ginger ale. This might be a good hangover remedy.

2. Gold Hill Stout – I don’t have many notes on this one. The stout poured a dark brown and had a nose of coffee and chocolate. The reason why I liked it is it went down smooth and didn’t have as much of a burnt coffee taste that in my opinion most stouts have. The stout is my least favorite style of beer so when I like one I am guessing other who like stouts will too. Another really cool thing about this brewery is that they are also a winery. I have never been to a brewery and winery before. This place had a really nice tasting room for both beer and wine and the staff and owner were really nice and social able. So if you are in the Pacerville area swing by grab a beer or glass of wine and have a picnic overlooking the rolling hills of the area.

3. River City Vienna Lager – I really enjoyed this beer and I always find it a plus when a brewpub is in the middle of a mall/shopping center. Most breweries and brewpubs that I have visited are slightly off the main areas of town by having it in a highly accessed area more people will be able to see and try good flavorful craft/micro brews. I must admit I don’t know much about Vienna lagers but I was expecting it to be a light yellow color and it came out a light red color. It was more an amber lager then I was expecting. There was a nice head on the beer and it had a great aroma. There was a good hop note and a slight scent of darker roasted malt. The taste was really crisp and refreshing and whatever malt was used gave it a more complex flavor then the lagers I am used to. I say try this one of you are in downtown Sacramento.

4. Auburn Alehouse Cologne Kolsch – This was probably my favorite of the weekend. I am always on the lookout for light flavorful ale. The beer poured with a nice mid lasting head. It had a nice nose with a hint of citrus and flowery/grassiness. The color was a very light yellow. The taste was nice and light and crisp. It was a very refreshing brew and I actually would love to have had more but it was off to more brewpubs. I would say this would be a perfect session beer.

This was a good trip. I got to try some good beers and see some friends I only get to see a few times a year. Then for the most important part of the trip I made my wife happy by not making her come home for 2 days and have to travel back.

Since I am still learning and reading about how to describe and rate beers please feel free to give me some suggestions or good place to get info on rating beer.



Matt C.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

San Diego for a Conference

Hi All,

I was in San Diego, CA for the ESRI user conference. It was a great conference as usual my only complaint is I took a city car and wasn't able to get to any of the local breweries other then Rock Bottom. The always have some good beers but I prefer to hit the small guys rather then the chains. I did find a really cool bar called The Local (corner of 4th and C). Like the name states most of its beers come from local brewers like Aleworks, Stone and Karl Straus. I highly recommend that you hit this bar if you want good beer and are in the Gaslamp district. Other then I failed in my quest to find Stone Vertical Epic. I had read in a blog somewhere that it would start showing up on the 4th but all the plases I went to that are to have it hadn't recieved it yet. Hopefully i'll get to the actual Stone brewery before its all gone or find it online somewhere.

Talk to you all later!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Session 18 - Happy Anniversary

Hi All,

First off I would like to say thanks to the Barley Blog for hosting this month session. This month the topic is Happy Anniversary. I had a tough time with this because I don't have any special beers that I can open right now. I need them for certain occasions. So I am going to tell my Grand Cru (sorry I don't remember the name. My harddrive crashed and I lost some of my tasting notes) story instead. This was a special beer that I accidentally drank about a month ago.

It all started with a long day at work. I came home and I wanted a beer but I wanted something different then my normal every day beer but i didn't want to drink a bomber. So I see this nice 12oz bottle with a nice red foil wrapping (that should have gave it away that this wasn't a normal beer) and I grab it. I usually like to try my beers before I read the label so that I can taste the beer with out knowing the style. I feel this helps me learn about the beer and I try to guess what I am drinking. Well I opened the foil, popped the cap, and poored it into a pint glass. First I looked at the beer and it was a golden orange with a nice head. Then I took a sniff and a strong alcohol scent hit my nostrils. I just figured the beer was fermented at to high a temperature and that there were going to be alot of fussil alcohol. So I went into the living room sat on the couch and took a drink. It tasted nothing like it smelled and it went down smooth with a slight taste of hot alcohol. It was really good. It had a perfect balance of malt, hops, and warmth. So i sit there for about 15 minutes drinking and trying to decide what it was cause it wasn't a style I was familiar with. Durring this time I also start feeling a little warm inside and was starting to get a slight buzz from a half bottle of beer. So I get up and go get the bottle. It was a grand cru with 18+% ABV. I started to smile and thought about the foil wrapper. That was a good bottle of beer and I wouldn't have had it as an afterwork beer. That was a sipping beer that I probably would have split with someone. Who knows maybe at an anniversary somewhere!!

I hope you all enjoyed my slightly off topic story and thanks again to the Barley Blog for hosting. See you all next month for the session!!

Matt C.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Winter Warmer - Update

Hi All,

Here is a short update on the Winter Warmer. I went to transfer to secondary last Saturday and it was still bubbling away. So I took a gravity reading and it was still rather high. I put the cover back on, refilled the airlock and gave it a few more days. On Wednesday night I checked to see the bubbling has stopped and it had so I took another gravity reading and it was right at the top end of the range so I was ready to transfer to secondary. I did the normal clean and sanitize routine and the nice dark sweet liquid went to its resting place for about the next month. It tasted really nice flat and unaged. Its going to be a long 4 month wait. I probably won't wait that long so I can see how it progresses but it should be at its best in that time range. Talk to you after bottling!!

Matt C.

Fermentation Friday July 2008

Hi All,

This months Fermentation Friday is titled "What one tip would you give a beginner homebrewer before they brew their first batch and why?" I think this is a perfect topic for me as I am still an a newbee in the art of brewing. I wish I had known my tip before I brewed for the first time (actually the second time you'll see why later.) Before I get into my tip I would like to thank John and Mike at Brew-Dudes for hosting this months session. As a newbee I am looking forward to reading all the tips that will come from all you experienced brewers out there.

My tip to beginning brewers is don't stress its highly likely you won't have any issues with the brewing process. You may not make the best beer ever the first time but you will get something that looks tastes and smells like beer.

I first tried brewing a few years back with a Mr Beer kit I got a garage sale. The box had been in the guys garage for 2 years, the yeast was expired, and the light malt looked more like mud. Lets just say it didn't work out so well. So I basically figured that beer making was too hard and wasn't worth the effort.

Fast forward to Nov. 07. I had gotten out of beer for a while so I didn't think much about beer for about three years until I went on my trip to Germany. After that it was all beer all the time. It was all I could think about. What better way to get totally into beer but to make it yourself. I was really leary about trying it again due to my failure the first time but I decided to give it another go. I had my family get me a decent beer kit and a good fresh ingredient kit. I also read every article and website I could find to get tips and tricks to being successfull. For the first kit I followed the directions to the T. I was meticulus (if thats the spelling) with cleaning and sanitizing and everything went perfectly. I ended up with a good beer after a few weeks. My next few brews I started trying new ingredients and different processes. I even made a few dumb mistakes like forgeting to add the hops for the first 1/2 hour of the boil (I just boiled for an addition 30 minutes) and adding the yeast at close to 100 degress (i realized my thermometer was broke a few hours later). Guess what all the beers turned out great.

In other words beer isn't as fragile as some people make it out to be. You can make some significant errors and still turn out a good brew. It may not be world class, it may not be what you are expecting but it will probably be good and its yours. It doesn't get better then that. To quote the man Charlie Papazian "Relax have a home brew". I know you can't yet cause you haven't brewed any so just grab your favorite craft brew (or brew some good coffee) both are close enough for the first brew session.

Thanks again Brew-Dudes for hosting. Talk to you all next month!!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Brew Day - Winter Warmer

Hi All,

I just brewed a winter warmer this weekend. I know its not winter but this baby has to age for 4-6 months. In this time frame it will be ready by Thanksgiving. I tried the the pre-fermented wort and it tasted really good. I am looking forward to trying it after it ferments. The Basic recipe for the brew is as followed.

Winter Ale
6lbs Dark LME
3.3lbs Gold LME
4 oz. Carafa II specialty grains
8 oz. Munich specialty grains
8 oz. Cara Wheat specialty grains
4 oz. Chocolate Rye specialty grains
4 oz. Melanoidin specialty grains
½ tsp Caraway
1oz Northern Brewer Hops
1oz Hallertau Hops
Irish Moss
Wyeast German Ale #1007

30 Minute Specialty Grain Steep at 155

After first boil add 1/2 oz Northern Brewer hops for all 60 min
Add 1 oz Hallertau for last 30 min
Add 1/2 oz of Norther brewer for last 20 min
Add Irish Moss for last 15 min
Add 1/2 tsp Caraway for last 10 min

Strain Cooled Down Wort
Add Yeast

Ferment for 1 week
Secondary for 2-4 weeks
bottle or keg and let condition for 4-6 months

I will keep you updated on the Winter Warmer and if you are thinking about brewing a holiday beer you better start soon for proper conditioning.

Talk to you all later peace out!!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Session 17 - Drinking Anti-Seasonally

Hi all,

First I would like to thank Rob at Pfiff!! for hosting this months session. Second I am going to announce to the world (or atleast the beer community) my new blog "A World of Brews". What better way to kick off the first post on a new blog then a first friday event the session. I haven't finished the design yet but if I don't start sometime I probably will never be done. Without further ado her is this months thoughts on Drinking Anti-Seasonally!!

I never really thought about this topic before this year. Do I have a seasonal preferences in beer? I first had a discussion with a few people in my running club and they all said they loved IPA's in the summer and Imperial Stouts in the winter. I said I didn't really care I was more interested in trying different styles and brands of craft brews. So far this summer. I have had everything from Barleywines to Imperial Stouts. When I get done with the lawn or coming back from the store I look whats in my fridge and I think about what sounds good or looks interesting. I will say that most of the time summer or winter it is a hoppy IPA or DIPA. That is my favorite style and every season is IPA time. I also do enjoy other "summer time" beers all year around. This includes Kolsch, Hefeweizen, and Pilzners.

I guess I am a rebel doing my own thing. Kind of like a chunky James Dean. ;-) I guess after really thinking about it I do lean towards lighter beers in the summer but I am not sure its because of the heat but it may be who knows. I say don't think seasons think good beer and drink what sounds good to you.

Peace out until next month!!! Thanks again Rob!!

Matt C.

PS. I may someday get to moving over my beer posts from my first blog Matts Simple Life but until then if you are interested please go to the site and read them from there!

Here it the update at Rob's at Pfiff!! Enjoy!