Monday, June 29, 2009

Wall 'o beer bottles

Snapped this at a tex-mex place outside of Dallas, TX during a business trip down there last week. Food was OK, the beer selection was what was to be expected. Shiner Bock, bud, bud light, etc. and the mexican standards: Corona, Modelo Negra, Sol, etc.

So, why am I posting about this. Well, in the front foyer, there was an 'art installation' of stacked backlit beer bottles.
standard 12oz beer bottles. Which got my beer brain working...

By my count:

44 across x
44 high =
1,936 x 12 oz. =
23,232 oz. / 128 =
181.5 gallons


1,936 x .05 cents per bottle (MA deposit) =


1,936/24 per case=
80.67 cases x $12.95 (for new bottles from homebrew shop, excluding shipping) =

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kevin's lemon

Kevin has been growing a lemon tree plant for a number of years. This lemon tree has produced one lone lemon. It has been maturing on the tree for quite some time. Kevin gave me this lemon. I told him I would use it someday (soon) in the making of some beer. Today was that day...

I had reserved some yeast from the wedding witbier, and had zested the lemon the day after I received it from Kevin, then stored the zest in the freezer until brewday. When I cut the lemon open to see how it did in the juice dept, it was actually not that juicy...but loaded with seeds. Two of these seeds has actually already germinated inside the lemon. I'd never seen that before, and I've cut in to my fair share of lemons. Thinking all circle of life and what not, I decided to plant the two germinated seeds, and see what would come of it. That was about two weeks ago. Today, one of those seeds had broken through the soil, and has two small glossy lemon tree leaves. Cool!
Back to the beer: Using ingredients and spices I had on hand, I decided to make a spiced Belgian ale, and ferment it around 65F to start, then let it ramp up the temp to allow the wit yeast to express phenols, and to ensure proper attenuation.

Kevin's Lemon
Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Type: All Grain
Date: 6/28/2009
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Brewer: JC
Boil Size: 5.72 gal

11 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 70.97 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 9.68 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 6.45 %
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 3.23 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer, New Zealand [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 19.5 IBU
0.60 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 oz Orange Peel, Bitter (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
2.00 gm Lemon zest (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
3.00 gm Cardamom (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
3.00 gm Cumin (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1 lbs 8.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 9.68 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Witbier (Wyeast Labs #3944) [Starter 255 ml] Yeast-Wheat

Est Original Gravity: 1.084 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.082
Est Final Gravity: 1.021 SG
Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.35 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 19.5 IBU
Est Color: 6.3 SRM

Hops growth update: Cell phone picture

First, for reference, here's a picture from 27May2009, just after I set up the trellis

And here's the picture from yesterday (26June2009), snapped by Esther on her cell phone.

Unreal. So, yeah, 10 feet isn't even close to be being tall enough. Its not even really mid-summer yet and the bines are about 4ft longer than the top of the trellis. The sterling is a bit behind the fuggles, for sure, but that reflects what I saw last year. Still no flowers on the Sterling, but there's still plenty of time. Either way, I'm not too concerned, as I really am just interested in continuing to build a healthy root system for many years of hops to come.

But the Fuggles...big thick, almost spikey bines: they are absolutely loaded with flowering spurs, and there are even a handful of few small near mature flowers:

Wedding Beer Poll-Winner Announced, and then brewed

By a razor-thin margin, the oatmeal stout edged the Belgian dubbel for the 3rd wedding beer style in the open poll that's been open for quite some time. I wanted to get this beer brewed and in the bottle to allow for conditioning to allow the beer to slowly improve.

There may have been some ballot box stuffing toward the end of the vote, but lets just say, the best man and bride-to-be had a vested interest in the outcome.

The oatmeal stout was another early favorite of Esther's, who's also a fan of Sam Smith's take on the style.

The 10 gallon batch that was brewed for the wedding was an expanded all grain version of the extract Midwest kit I brewed early in my brewing days.

Pot and Kettle Black (Oatmeal Stout)

Type: All Grain
Date: 6/21/2009
Batch Size: 10.00 gal
Brewer: JC
Ass't Brewer: Esther
Boil Size: 11.45 gal
Boil Time: 60 min

18 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 66.67 %
3 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 11.11 %
2 lbs Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 7.41 %
2 lbs Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 7.41 %
1 lbs Black (Debittered) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 3.70 %
1 lbs Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 3.70 %
1.50 oz Zeus [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 34.1 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (20 min) Hops 5.4 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (5 min) Hops 1.8 IBU
1 Pkgs Nottingham Yeast (Lallemand #-) Yeast-Ale

Est Original Gravity: 1.065 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.067 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.44 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 41.3 IBU
Calories: 303 cal/pint
Est Color: 56.9 SRM

Wedding Beers: Belgian Honey Wit - FirstTasting

Cracked the 6 oz. sample bottle of the Belgian Honey Wit last night.

I usually will save the dregs from the bottling bucket and fill up a 6 oz. old fashioned clear coke bottle. This last bit from the bucket always has a ton of sediment in it, that would otherwise just go down the drain. This small taste + clear glass can provide the early glimpse to satisfy the curiosity of how the batch turned out (taste, mouthfeel, carbonation levels, clarity/turbity, color, yeast sedimentation, etc.) , without needing to 'waste' a whole bottle. I cracked the test bottle after it spend 5 days in the fridge. I was prepping dinner for Esther and Jen, so you'll see some fresh garlic scapes and monkfish (I think monkfish will be our fish selection for the wedding) in the foreground.

Well, in this case, this 6 oz taste left me wanting...more. Poured in to the Hennepin glass I acquired in my trip to Ommegang this past spring. The orange zest and coriander are hiding in the aroma and flavor. The frothy tight head (which will likely only improve with a bit of aging) paired with the glowing hazy orange color is quite nice. Aside from the appearnace, its actually very reminscent of Allagash White. Subtle spicing, earthy/phenolic Belgian wit yeast, and wheaty/smooth mouthfeel. Honey dries the body out, but really adds another level of raw honey wildflower spice. Satisfying and thirst quenching. Will the 10 gallon batch last the night?

I have my doubts...maybe I should make more?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nanobrewery List

I call Uncle.

Ok guys, I can't keep up!

There are so many nano's spring in and out of existence, I'll leave it to the others to perform the maintenance. That's not to say I've become less interested...its just a testament to the fact that I've got my own operation occupying my limited daily hours, and others have done a bang up job. no need to duplicate the effort (there are certainly a whole bunch of sites aiming to do so, like this one, and more definitively, this one.)

But, in order to provide at least a little meat to my bowing out of the game update to this post, here are few nuggets for you, if you haven't come across them already.

A blog post from one of the models of nano-sucess, Lawson's Finest.
Here's a well written article on the subject over at top fermented (soon to be mystery brewing company. Yeah!)
Another recent blogpost on the topic from the fella at 'the new school',
and probably the best maintained list on the 'net these days is still Hess.

...and keep checking in here at the blog and for our own effort.

Cheers, JC


25Feb2010 update:
Here is an January 2010 write-up/pontification of the nanobrewery concept on a blog called topfermented, replete with followup comments from many involved/interested in it.

Also, I've learned about a beer festival in Oregon that features (exclusively) 11 nanobreweries Friday-Sunday this weekend (February 26-28). Some participating breweries wouldn't qualify for my definition of nano, but then again, I sorta just made it up (under 3bbl systems, and non-brewpub) so that's not entirely their fault. They probably just haven't checked in on my blog yet.
It is their first, but if this ultra small brewery trend continues, I suspect we will see more and more of these pop up around the States, and possibly world-wide. I'll be sure to update my list, to purge those who seem to be inactive since I original assembled this, as well as add new ones (quite a few to add to Oregon, given this new festival).

...and keep your suggestions coming.

I'm starting this post to keep track of some nanobreweries (ie. generally speaking, 3bbl and under non brewpub commercially operating breweries) to watch their progress over time, to better understand their path to commercialization as well as gleen info for my own (potential) setup in the future.

If you know of a notable brewery that you think should be included in my list, please drop me a line.

Chapell Brewery
Scott chronicled his nanobrewery build out on HomeBrewTalk forum HERE, and doesn't have a website up yet, but he shared the following with me:
"My Nano is called "Chappell Brewery". I don't have a website because I'm only selling local and until business warrants it, I'm keeping costs down as much as possible. Right now I only sell taster trays and bottles. The local businesses that have showed an interest in my beer also just want bottles. I do it all. I make my own labels, brew the beer, bottle it, cap it and label it. Someday I'll upgrade to a bottling machine but, again, I'm keeping the overhead as low as possible.
Thanks again for the interest.

Enegren Brewing Company

Healdsburg Brewing Company

Interview with

Hess Brewing Company


Great Crescent Brewery


Worth Brewing Company


Element Brewing Company

Lefty's Brewing Company

From the Facebook pictures, it looks like they're brewing on a 1bbl system, using Blichmann kettles, propane turkey frier burners and March pumps.

New Hampshire

Manchester Brewing

White Birch Brewing

New York
Barrier Brewing Company

Blind Bat Brewery


Breaker Brewing Company



Beetje Brewing
Mt. Tabor Brewing
The guys who shot over some trillium pictures.

BrewPublic's visit to Mt. Tabor:

Upright Brewing

Vertigo Brewing

BrewPublic's visit to Vertigo:


Epic Ales

Monday, June 8, 2009

ommegang man date-Updated w/ pictures

Just shot off this tardy thank you to Jacob at Duvel USA and the Inn at Cooperstown for the great time that we (me and my best man Jason) had on our man-date this Spring.

For anyone looking for a relaxing beer-centric weekend get-a-way, especially if you are burgeoning have found it. The bed and brew package that the Inn offers is a pretty great way to roll a weekend trip to upstate NY, a brewery tour, and a fun time meeting and talking with new like-minded beery people, who I've found to be a really good natured bunch, in to one weekend. I just suggest taking the following Monday off from work to ramp yourself back up for the 'normal' pace of daily life after your trip to Cooperstown.

We arrived Friday early evening to a quiet old-timey town, to a very well kept Inn. The room had the 2 twin beds I requested, so as to entirely avoid the uncomfortable middle of the night spooning, not to mention the probably unbearable and frequent dutch ovens. The gift pack of Ommegang beers, complete with a nice Belgian glass and a sample of some local fudge welcomed us to the room. We got in a 4 mile run, to shake out the cobwebs from the long drive, shoved some snacks down our gullets, then went to the 'craft beer night' which primarily was a bunch of homebrewers hawking their wares. There were a few examples that shined above the rest, and I'd like to think the beers J and I brought were among the elite examples. Most, of course, were higher abv examples, so slow sipping was necessary. There was constant chatter of favorite commercial styles as well as homebrewing techniques, recipes and ingredient sources.

The next day, we woke to a prototypical bed and breakfast meal, some great quiche, fresh breads, yogurt, cereal, muffins, coffee, tea, etc. Some nice discussions with some friendly folks.
Nice. Relaxing. Breakfast.

After breakfast, we took off to Howe Caverns to see where Ommegang cave ages some of their beers, only to find that these tours' primary intended audience is for family fun. There was a more athletically inclined splelunking version of the tour, but that needed to be scheduled far in advance and there was a substantially large difference in the price point. So we did the family tour, and lost 1.5 hours of our lives that could have been spent outside, or at the baseball hall of fame. Oops. Ah well, at least we got a nerve racking GPS in-and-out....ummmm....and IN!!! again NY farmland/countryside tour.

That night was what we ultimate went for... the VIP brewery tour (done by the passionate and informative brewmaster Wes) and the beer paired dinner. So, first the tour, then had a tasting at the bar, then the dinner. Wes was happy to answer all of my annoying (I'm sure) homebrewer-type questions throughout the night. A local caterer announced each of the dishes, giving tasting notes. The food had a Indian spiced theme, which matches up very nicely with the subtley spiced Belgian inspired beers.

An ale-fueled shopping spree capped the night, and some people walked away with several cases of the good stuff. When we returned to the Inn, after a safe transport by the Inn provided shuttle, many kept the festivites going by cracking in to their gift packs/cases of beer.

The same delicious and satisfying breakfast welcomes us again the next morning, which provided the needed fuel to get me through the long drive back to the city.

Maybe I could help with the effort to support a NY farm hop growing revival?
Related Posts with Thumbnails