The Amy Streeterweizen Unveiling

Amy Streeterweizen PNGYesterday, the 2/3s of the Brewsci team were in Auburn, CA to unveil two of our latest creations. The first of the beers was the Amy Streeterweizen; a hefeweizen designed to have a hint of sweet citrus. This batch was tailored to the likes of my sister, Amy, for her college graduation party. The beer was brewed in early July with Dean Eckles providing assistance and putting his photography skills to work. The beer was a great success in that we achieved the flavor profile we set out to create. In traditional hefeweizen style, the beer was bottled last weekend.  Since the beer was a custom brew for a special occasion, we decided that the bottles needed a special flair. Thus was born the idea of creating a label for the otherwise empty bottles.  You can see the label I designed. The color scheme matches the lighter, unfiltered look of a hef. In the middle is a great picture of Amy, the person the beer was customized for. The addition of the label on the beer, while requiring slightly more work, definitely completed the brew, adding a new level of sophistication to the batch.

The second beer we unveiled was another Cezanne. This particular brew could have benefited from some additional time in the fermentor, allowing the flavors to strengthen and develop a bit more. But despite our critque, the keg was tapped early in the evening; the people voted with their cups.

Happy Reinheitsgebot Anniversary

Happy Reinheitsgebot anniversary everybody! Unless, you speak German, you may be wondering what I may be talking about.  Literally, Reinheitsgebot means ‘purity order’ in German. And today is the anniversary of that law, also known as the Bavarian Purity Law.  On April 23, 1516, the city of Ingolstadt put forward a law regarding what could be put into beer during production. In the original text, the only ingredients that could be used (and still have the drink be considered “beer”) were: water, barley and hops.  The wise would note that rice is not on this list. Violators were subject to having their brews confiscated without compensation. Presumably, this made some health inspectors very happy, and very drunk.

The law has since been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law which now allows a few more ingredients, such as wheat malt and cane sugar, but disallows unmalted barley.  Back then, it wasn’t known that yeast played a role (and such a crucial role it is!) in the production of beer, so it was not originally included on the list.

Interestingly, the Reinheitsgebot was mostly an attempt to prevent price competition with bakers. It may also have been an attempt at trade protectionism; excluding foreign brews from being allowed into the country.

Check out the Wikipedia article for more information.

So glad I moved to California

Not only has it rained for like two weeks (don’t try and tell me that it’s better than snow, I was promised 365 days of sun), but when checking on my tax return status I get his message:

Your return has been received and processed, however, your refund cannot be issued at this time.

Due to the state’s persistent cash flow problems, the State Controller has directed FTB to stop sending refund requests to the State Controller’s Office for payment. Refund payments will resume when the State Controller indicates there is enough cash available to make refund payments.

Drink our way out of the Recession

Living in California now means dealing with 8.25% sales tax, but it could be worse.  In the great state of  Taxachussetts, they are looking to focus their solution to the economic downturn a bit more sharply.  For a state that is famous for fighting tariffs on Tea, you have to wonder how the locals are going to react to a tax on their beer.  I have a feeling that a certain special interest may have an issue this.

Massuchesetts isn’t the only state thinking they can tax this ‘recession proof’ product as part of a solution to their financial woes.  Similar ideas are being discussed in Oregon (where they might see an 1800% increase).  Another good story on the Oregon increase can be found here.

Oh and in completely unrelated news.  Kid Rock is getting his own beer.  I really have no words to describe what that means for the world.

Facebook Connect

Good news, everybody! New Features! New Features! When posting comments, you can now login with your Facebook account. Facebook Connect is a way to securely link your comments back to your Facebook account.  When you go to post comments, all you have to do is click the Facebook Connect login button. Then you’ll be logged in and you can comment!

So off you go! Comment away!

Brown is the new green when it comes to energy!

In a blog post directed to me by Brewsci.com’s invaluable CTO, Gizmodo reports that the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California is installing a system developed by EFuel that can turn sugar, water, and yeast into a high grade biofuel coined “ethanol”, through processes called fermentation and distilling (Is it just me or did this company sell something to Sierra Nevada that they already have?). This system, called the EFuel100 MicroFueler, will take the millions of gallons of discarded yeast from the brewery and use it in combination with sugar which is relatively cheap and produce a biofuel that will cost about $1 a gallon. The best part of the EFuel100 MicroFueler is that it can take the old unsold beer from the brewery and convert it to a usable energy source. Furthermore, considering that Sierra Nevada’s Brewery is found close to the campus of Chico State University a walk through a frat house following a thirsty Thursday house party should yield the end of global warming.

Hop of the Morning: Mt Hood

Today we continue our most popular weekly post series “Hop of the morning”.
mt-hoodHop of the Morning was created to help us as well as our loyal and adoring fan base better understand the ingredients that go into beer and the terminology used to distinguish one hop from another. Hop profiling, if you will.  Each week we give a detailed description of one variety of hops and highlight a small part of that description and explain what it tells us about the flavor effects of that hop.

This week we will be taking a closer look at Alpha Acids. Alpha Acids are the main bittering agent found in hops. These acids are released from the female portion of the hop vine (proving that all females are bitter … or that all males are useless). At the base of the flower are small yellow lupulin glands that contain the Alpha Resins. Alpha Acids are insoluble in water and not particularly bitter in their natural state on the hop cone. It is not until the Alpha Acids are boiled that the resin becomes bitter and water-soluble adding that distinct bitterness to the young beer (also called wort). This change in solubility and bitterness comes from a chemical rearrangement of the molecules in the Alpha Acid called an isomerization. Because the bitterness is achieved by a chemical reaction, you can increase the bitterness of your beer by increasing the overall isomerization of the Alpha Acids by boiling your wort for a long time.The alpha acid utilization in your boil starts off fast with 94% of Alpha Acids isomerized in the first 45 minutes of the boil.The rate slows in minutes 45 to 90 with about 5% of the total alpha acids being converted to a usable form.After 90 minutes there is less then 1% unused Alpha Acids in the boil.This is why most hops used for bittering beer are boiled for 60 minutes maximizing hop isomerization against the energy cost of propane to power your stove top.

Mount Hood Hops

Pedigree A triploid seedling of the German Hallertauer variety
Cone-Structure Medium-size and fairly compact
Lupulin Moderate amount, yellow in color
Aroma Mild, somewhat pungent
Alpha Acid 5.0 – 8.0% w/w
Beta Acid 5.0 – 7.5% w/w
Cohumulone 22 – 23% of alpha acids
Storageability 50 – 60% alpha acid remaining after 6 months storage at 20°C
Total Oil 1.0 – 1.3 mls/100 grams
Myrcene 55 – 65% of whole oil
Humulene 15 – 25% of whole oil
Carophyllene 7 – 10% of whole oil
Farnesene <1% of whole oil
General Trade Perception Perception Aroma variety with marked similarities to the German Hallertauer and Hersbrucker varieties. Most popular hop in the triploid Hallertau breeding program, partly due to the fact it was the first one released.
Possible Substitutions Crystal, French Strisselspalt, Hersbrucker
Typical Beer Styles Lager, Pilsner, Bock, US Wheat, Alt, Munich Helles
Typical Hop Use Aroma

Information taken from: brew-monkey.com

Yes we Can

This week marked the 50th anniversary of the aluminum beer can, as reported by packagingdigest.com.

The can has come a long way

Cans are not just the home of Bud, Coors, and PBR.  In fact, cans are seeing a renaissance in craft brewing with breweries like Maui Brewing and 21st Amendment choosing to can over bottling their product.  I poured for both of these breweries at the GABF.  They touted cans for their superiority in weight, light blocking, and cooling down once placed on ice or in a fridge.

-Matt

Hop of the Morning

This is the first installment of a series of blog posts that will help our readers get to know the ingredients found in beer.  According to the Classic German beer law 4 ingredients are found in beer: Grains, Hops, Yeast and Water.  The first ingredient we w
Kent Goldingsill share with you is Hops.  Hops are the natural preservative that is found in beer that also provides the bitter taste that, when properly balanced (sometimes not so balanced) with the the malted grains, produces an amazing craft beer.  In addition to giving the the beer its bitterness, hops do a lot more for the profile of a beer and hopefully this series of posts will showcase just that.  Each post will be structured with a short intro similar to this one outlining some sort of fun hops information and then a short description of a particular hop used in brewing.

Seasoned brewers may be able to understand all of the information in this hop description right from the start.  But for most of us this is not the case.  The goal of this series is turn each of us into a true scientifically informed hop head.

Kent Goldings

Pedigree The Goldings are the traditional Old English hop.
Cone-Structure Fairly loose and lax, medium to large in size.
Lupulin Quite small amounts, pale yellow in color.

Flavor profile:  spicy/ floral, earthy

Aroma Gentle, fragrant and pleasant

Alpha Acid 4 – 5.5% w/w
Beta Acid 2 – 3.5% w/w
Cohumulone 20 – 25% of alpha acids
Storageability 65 – 80% alpha acids remaining after 6 months storage at 20°C
Total Oil 0.6 – 1.0 mls/100 grams
Myrcene 20 – 26% of whole oil
Humulene 42 – 48% of whole oil
Carophyllene 12 – 16% of whole oil
Farnesene <1% of whole oil
Use: The classic English Ale hop which has been used extensively in kettle hopping and for dry hopping.
Possible Substitutions US Golding, Whitbread Golding, UK Progress
Typical Beer Styles All English style Ales, Belgian-Style Ales
Typical Hop Use Aroma

Information taken from brew-monkey.com