Friday, March 31, 2006

Who is this quote talking about?

Where you are dealing with a stock that is already defective, as stock which is defective in itself, you can only produce defective stock from it and therefore it is better to destroy the stock entirely ... we must cut off the propagation of these defectives or they will overpower us. In order to do that, I suggest, not to kill the individual or anything of the kind, but humane method... the real solution to this problem would be to confine them to farms where they would be treated kindly and mercifully, in a sort of colony where they would be prevented from reproducing.

Who are they talking about? Yep, people. What kind of people? Alcoholics. Apparently, this was the suggestion by two doctors at the 15th International Congress Against Alcoholism in Washington way back in the 1920s. I pulled this from "A man walks into a pub" by Pete Prown (although he doesn't actually cite his reference for that quote as far as I looked).
Just goes to show that any social movement that gets out of control can become very dangerous. In this case, the temperance movement in the USA which eventually led to prohabition (which I must say is better than the concentration camp idea put fourth above!)

Anyway, fun stuff.

Scottish Ale First Taste

Well, I tried my Scottish 80 Shilling Ale that I made a week and a half ago (see here for details on that) while racking it from primary fermentation into a carboy for another couple of weeks. I really liked the malt flavour I found, however it was quite too weak and watery. I didn't have a hydrometer for the brew, so basically I had to guess. I suppose I guessed wrong. I'll make a similar recipe again, maybe a bit more hops, and make it stronger. I still have to actually obtain my hydrometer, but I froze some of the inital wort so that I can get an initial and final gravity.

I also pulled off about 1 L of yeast slurry & trub to culture yeast for my next batch. A friend of mine and I created a bunch of vails we can use for keeping yeast for a long time.

Anyway, cheers!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Old Deut

Well, our brewery's yearly barley wine offering will be out soon, Old Deuteronomy. I had a taste of the final product today, and my it was good. A very nice malty sweet smooth and full front inital flavour, followed by a loooong lingering aftertaste that reminds you that it is well balanced with lots of hop bitterness. I really like that the bitterness is very hidden in the initial taste, but then you can feel it in your mouth and are left with the lasting impression. I'm gonna pick up a nice stash for myself for sure :).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

100th Post!

This is my 100th post! I suppose you're expecting something spectacular, right?

I do have this link to drunk animals, I guess...
And with summer around the corner I was beginning to think about recipes for hefeweizens. I plan to make 2-3 batches over the summer.
I also have too much beer in my fridge, if you want some beer let me know.

Maybe my 101st post will be cool. I'm (slowly) finishing off a book called A Man Walks into a Pub by Pete Brown. Its basically the sociable history of beer (in England, mostly). Its a pretty good and funny read thus far.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Craft Beer Radio

Oh, by the way, one of the links on the left side of my blog is to the Craft Beer Radio podcast. Its a great little podcast about craft beer and the craft brewing industry (mostly in the US, but other countries come up too).

Just mentioning it because I had emailed them and they read my comments on their March 10th Witbeer show. And also their show is awesome, with some good news about the industry as well as (of course) beer reviews. For an "oddly interesting" experience, listen to the pre- and post-show podcast feeds, they're not often about beer and kinda funny.

Hops Play

I agreed to do some tests for different hop usages for a friend, who is working towards starting a beer company. I guess the idea would be that I brew up like 4-5 batches of beer with different hops used for flavour and aroma. I like the beer they have so far (which was contract brewed by the brewery I work at), so I'm not tooo sure where to start really. I'll have to set all the malt bills to be the exact same, and make certain that my boil times are similar (or boil up one big batch, then split 4 ways and continue the boil on each separately). Then I can either add either a set IBU worth of each hop verity or a set weight of each. I think the weight would be better (like 30 g of each) since I'm not really looking for the bittering component of the hops.

It would be nice to do them all at once. At the very least I should be able to do that mash in one go, that would be best.

Anyway, just a thought.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Almost there...

Well, I am only posting this blog entry so that I have one for today. I have to be at the brewery at 6:00 am tomorrow morning. We got a late start today bottling and we need to finish up before 9 am when a truck comes to take our stuff. Sooo... off to bed I go. But, at least its Friday and I'll be able to leave early if I come in early, and have a good weekend sleep.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Free Beer!

Shit, well if you actually noticed my post a couple of days ago saying that I would give anyone who noticed me missing a post in a day a six pack of beer, I missed "yesterdays" post by 8 minutes. My friend Greame noticed this. He actually cleverly got me to go to the store with him for food at 11:45 pm just so I would forget to post.
And for that, he wins a six pack of beer. I now declare the contest closed, although if you know me I'm likely to give you free beer anyway.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Goobad day

Today I had a Goobad day, which is a word I just made up that combines the words "good" and "bad" into one word, thus simplifying my sentence. Although I had to explain my word here, so I guess that doesn't really make it so simple.

My morning work at the brewery went off great. I finally have the feeling that I know what I'm doing. That will probably all shatter tomorrow when I have to filter beer on my own for the first time. I like the point in a new job where you start to know a little bit more than shit all.

The afternoon wasn't as good, I was delivering kegs o' beer to clients. The first place I went to I got mega lost downtown and it took me like 30 minutes longer than it should have. The next place I delivered to had a very snowy back lane (Edmonton got 22 cm of snow over the weekend). I got stuck. Then I dug myself out. Then I got suck again. Then I dug myself out and dug a clear path. Then I got stuck AGAIN because some jerk was going the wrong way down a one way alley. Anyway, it sucked more than your mom.

How to get unlocked out of your condo
Over the weekend I lost my keycard for my building, thus locking me outside in the cold and having to be the guy who follows somebody into the building. But I came up with what I think is a pretty good solution. My unit is pretty close to the front door. So I took the cordless landline phone with me every time I left. When I got to the front door on my return, I simply buzzed my own unit, answered the phone, and buzzed myself in.
Not bad, eh?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Scottish Ale

I brewed a Scottish Ale this weekend. Although it was supposed to be a Scottish ale anyway... but just after I activated the yeast pack and ground the grain I realized that I was missing two very important things... my thermometer and my hydrometer. I left them at a friend's place last brew day. And he was out of town. So... I had to use a meat thermometer but it did have 60, 70 and 77 C on it so hopefully it worked out. I messed up my water calculations too, so my mash was 2 C below what I wanted (69 C) and my mash out only made it to 75 C instead of 77 C. For those of you that don't know, that means that my wort would be slightly less dextrinous as I wanted (less body). Meh. Whatever. Anyway, here are the notes:

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
09-C Scottish and Irish Ale, Scottish Export 80

Min OG: 1.040 Max OG: 1.054
Min IBU: 15 Max IBU: 30
Min Clr: 9 Max Clr: 17 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (L): 22.00 Wort Size (L): 22.00
Total Grain (kg): 5.41

Anticipated OG: 1.056 Plato: 13.91
Anticipated SRM: 18.5

Anticipated IBU: 27.3

Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts
Evaporation Rate: 15.00 Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 27.08 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG 11.41 Plato

Formulas Used
Brewhouse Efficiency and Predicted Gravity based on Method #1, Potential Used.
Final Gravity Calculation Based on Points.
Hard Value of Sucrose applied. Value for recipe: 46.2100 ppppg
% Yield Type used in Gravity Prediction: Fine Grind Dry Basis.

Color Formula Used: Morey
Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager

Additional Utilization Used For Plug Hops: 2 %
Additional Utilization Used For Pellet Hops: 10 %

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
73.9 4.00 kg. _Pale Malt (2-row) Harrington Canada 1.037 2
9.2 0.50 kg. _Munich Malt - Dark Germany 1.037 9
5.5 0.30 kg. _Wheat Malt Germany 1.039 2
1.8 0.10 kg. Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
1.033 10
3.7 0.20 kg. _Melanoidin Malt Germany 1.037 32
2.8 0.15 kg. _Honey Malt Canada 1.030 25
1.5 0.08 kg. _Chocolate Malt unk 1.034 475
1.5 0.08 kg. _Black Malt unk 1.030 525

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
15.00 g. _First Gold Organic Pellet 9.35 21.7 75 min
20.00 g. _Goldings - E.K. Pellet 5.84 5.7 20 min

Amount Name Type Time
2.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)

WYeast 1728 Scotish Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Edinburgh
Profile known for: Malty Brown Ales
Calcium(Ca): 140.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 36.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 92.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 231.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 60.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 270.0 ppm
pH: 8.34

-Use water high in Ca, Na, Cl, but low in SO4 (add CaCl/NaCl). Add a wee bit CaCl2 & NaCl. or CaCO3.
-Caramelize some of the first runnings and add them back to the wort. Also, give a long boil (>=90 min) for a thick wort. This will darken the wort too.
-Ferment at low temp, 13<15>

Note the crazy malt bill. I started with something so simple too... Also, I took some of the first runnings and boiled them down to like 1/3 thier inital volume to caramelize the crap out of them. We'll see how that tastes. This is the very first time I haven't used crystal malt too.
Anyway... cheers!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shit, updates

Ok, I swear, this blog will not turn into a dead blog. Its just been a particularly busy week. I have many updates to add. I did a "vertical tasting" of several beers from Lagunitas brewery which I found here in Edmonton. Today I brewed what was meant to be a scottish export 80/-. But it didn't go well. It might be a scotch ale now :). I'll post its notes tomorrow. And I have many pictures to post too. This week. I'll be useful. I swear. Updates EVERY day. Or... I'll give anyone who busts me a free six pack of beer.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Email Broken

Just a quick note that if anybody out there in internet land has emailed me on my Shaw email address since Sunday I didn't get the email. My webspace is broken too so most of the pictures on my blog don't work either. So email me again at instead for now until fixed.

I cancelled my Shaw account in Calgary and moved the email address to my parent's account. Apparently cancelling an account is pretty quick, moving an email address isn't. Guh.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old Stock Ale Tasting

Here are my rather shorthand notes on my very first tasting of my Old Stock Ale I brewed back at the end of December. Its been in the bottle for about 3 weeks now, after about 2 months in various stages of brewing and aging...

"1st bottle, Mar 12/06:
Appearance: very dark, slightly yellow-orange. Cloudy. Was just transported. no head from pouring, but agitation creates fine small bubbled head that sticks to side of glass. Carbonation light to medium.
Nose: only slightly malty, with a hint of hop aroma. Lots of estery fruity notes, as well as lots of sweetness.
Flavour: initially quite sweet. Quite a bit of unfermented sugar left. Slight bitterness on finish to balance initial sweetness. Lots of estery flavours, several fruit flavours. I think I taste apricot! Initial taste not so good, but I like the aftertaste. Very slight alcohol warming, not much though. Feels like 7.8% beer however."

Well, those are my notes. Its an interesting beer.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Brown Porter"

Ah! I remembered the story I wanted to tell. Over the weekend I helped a friend brew a brown ale/brown porter thing he wanted to brew. The recipe seemed to change all the time, but below is the basics, with my comments following:

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
12-A Porter, Brown Porter

Min OG: 1.040 Max OG: 1.052
Min IBU: 18 Max IBU: 35
Min Clr: 20 Max Clr: 30 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (L): 19.50 Wort Size (L): 19.50
Total Grain (kg): 5.10
Anticipated OG: 1.052 Plato: 12.75
Anticipated SRM: 24.8
Anticipated IBU: 35.6 (BU:GU ratio = 0.68)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate: 5.00 Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 24.37 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.041 SG 10.29 Plato


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
60.8 3.10 kg. _Pale Malt (2-row) Harrington Canada 1.037 2
15.7 0.80 kg. _Munich Malt - Dark Germany 1.037 9
5.9 0.30 kg. _Crystal 40L unk 1.034 40
4.9 0.25 kg. Victory Malt America 1.034 25
2.9 0.15 kg. _Crystal 90L Great Britian 1.034 90
2.9 0.15 kg. Crystal 105L Great Britain 1.033 125
2.0 0.10 kg. _Chocolate Malt unk 1.034 475
2.0 0.10 kg. Melanoidin Malt
1.033 35
2.0 0.10 kg. White Wheat Belgium 1.040 3
1.0 0.05 kg. Black Malt Belgium 1.030 525

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
32.09 g. Sterling Pellet 5.30 28.5 60 min
15.00 g. Bramling Cross Pellet 5.50 4.6 20 min
15.00 g. Bramling Cross Pellet 6.00 2.5 1 min

Amount Name Type Time
1.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)

WYeast 1335 British Ale II

Well, as you can see the malt bill got a little crazy. That'll happen when you have lots of malts sitting around. At least there was ~77% malt with diastatic power and fermentable sugars. Most of the other malts only add colour and flavour, with little to no fermentable sugar.

The mash was just a one hour mash at 67 C with a water:grain ratio of 1.8 L/kg, which is fairly thick. We then did three batch sparges with 6 L of water at approx 77 C. We then boiled in three seperate pots for 60 minutes.

This whole method worked quite well apparently... we got 1.060 final gravity for the 19.5 L batch! That calculates to 76% efficiency rather than the 65% I predicted. Its possible that the thick mash I used this time around helped. But the three batch sparges worked pretty damn well.

Its pretty much not a brown porter anymore, but its something alright. It sure smells friggin malty though! The hopping rate dropped a bit too because of the raise in initial gravity. Now the BU:GU ratio is 0.59, so the balance will be even more towards the malt! It was never meant to be a hoppy beer though, of course.

We did all the work at a frat house, so there were plenty of interested helpers, too :)


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Brewing is hard work

Yep, it sure is.
Today I was working with the 58.8 L kegs. The 50 L kegs are just barely managable, but the 58.8 L kegs are just ... really heavy. Ug. I'll get used to it.

On Monday night was the Edmonton Homebrew Guild's monthly meeting. It was pretty good, I was expecting maybe 15-20 people, but there must have been 40 or so people there. It was interesting... about 20 minutes of official business, then a couple of hours of trying different beers. They were a good group of people to get to know. I'll have to get all of my homebrew stuff from Calgary and start making some stuff ASAP.

Back to the brewery, though, and to mention that our Smoked Porter will be out pretty soon. It should be in Edmonton stores sometime early next week and in Calgary stores ... well eventually, I'm not sure how long it takes. Also, the Hop n' Brew in Calgary will be serving it up too. Its smokier than last year apparently.

I think I had a story that I wanted to tell here. But I can't remember it now... oh well, I'll just blog later if I do.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

First Brew Day

Well, Friday was my first day helping out with a real batch of beer. some of the brewery systems make many things quite a bit easier for sure, there is a good amount of automation which is good for the size of what we are doing. We still don't have very much automation compared to other breweries, of course. I got quit of good workout stirring the mash!

Cleaning -- now thats crazy. You basically jump right into the vessel, be it fermenter or mash tun, and start cleaning. Mash tuns suck to clean. For those of you that don't know, a mash tun is a vessel used fo steep grains in to extract the sugars. A "false bottom" is used to separate the grains from the liquid, and is made up of tiny holes that the grain can't fit through. But of course, for cleaning, some of the grains get stuck in the holes, and they suck to clean out.

But its all part of the fun. I can't wait until I can do it on my own (which will take quite a bit of time, of course). At the end of the week, though, all my limbs and back are so tired I'm lazing around the house all day Saturday... and maybe all night too... :)

Speaking of brewing, I've got some scottish ale yeast, I really should put together something with that. Hm.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Battlestar Galacticaweome

Just finished watching Battlestar Galactica 2x18. Man, that was a good episode. It really hit home on th point that th Cylons and Humans are exactally the same, they just think of the other as evil. It was was very interesting that the Six that is among the Cylons sees Gaius in her mind too. I haven't comprehended the reason for that yet, but its very interesting.
The most interesting thing was that whole speal about the two "hero" cylons being "celebrities in a culture based on unification"... its an oxymoron. How can you have heros in a culture that is supposed to be truly one for all and all for one.

... Anyway it was the best episode in quite some time, and was very informative of the natutre of the Cylon condition... which turns out to be the same as the Human condition.

Yellow Beer

O'byrne's (or however its spelt) here in Edmonton seems to serve five of the same beer. I was there the other night and while they don't serve any Alley Kat beer (the brewery in Edmonton that I work for) they do (or used to) serve some beers I actually liked. One of those beers was Okanagan Spring Pale Ale. Its not my favorite beer ever, but its pretty good if you ask me. A standard american style pale ale, but better than many. Well I asked for one and they said they didn't serve it anymore. They still served their 1516 lager though.
That got me looking around the bar... On tap they had a Sleeman Draught (basically the same crappy north american style lager), Alexander Keith's "IPA" (not even close to an IPA, its just a slightly more bitter yellow beer... although I like it at times), Okanagan Spring 1516, Stella Artois, and then your standard Canadian and Kokanee. I don't recall seeing a tap for Bud, but I wasn't looking that hard. That means 6 beers that are of the "north american yellow lager" style of beer (although stella is imported... its still the same kindof style, even if it tastes better). They did have other darker beers to balance it out.

It just got me thinking though... why have 6 beers that are somewhat the same? If somebody wants a Canadian they'll probably be ok with a 1516 or Sleeman Draught or something. I bet the average Joe couldn't differentiate most of them in a blind tasting, really.

Anyway, meh.

Today at the Brewery
Today we bottled allll day. I'm pretty good at it now, so its a pretty easy job. Easier than other jobs. So I think I'll look forward to bottling days in the future.

I'm thinking I will be able to do some homebrewing in the brewery after hours or on weekends. It would be nice to do it there since you can make a huge mess and just wash stuff down the drain. Plus, we have a boiler and steam jacked heating vessles. Although starting up the boiler on the weekend just for a 20-30 L batch of beer isn't a good idea. Plus, the small batch equipment we have is pretty good. My biggest pot is 25 L. The brewery small batch pot is like 50 L. Plus there are some 60 L kegs that can be used for boiling.
Maybe next weekend... Yeah. I've really wanted to work on some english bitters. Maybe a London Pride clone.


Thursday, March 02, 2006


Well, this being the third day of my new job at a small craft brewery, I probably will stop with the day-by-day updates as to what I'm doing. Other than the following, of course.

Well, today started out by being shown the process of filtering a beer. This ain't no easy process, from what I could gather, and I could not do it on my own right now. Lets just say there are lots of valves, filters, mixing tanks, and so on. Seems like quite the process, and I'm sure I'll have to do it a lot.
Other than that I was taught a little more about the cellaring process, how to take readings, how to change the fermentation temperatures, and how to do some simple labwork to check pH, gravity, and plate count organisms. I've had experience will all of those before, so no biggie.
We also did a ~20 L test batch of a new beer for summer. But I'm not going to tell you about that yet.
I made my first somewhat significant error though... I added an ingredient 5 minutes after another ingredient rather 5 minutes before. Slight miscommunication that changes things a little bit.

I did manage to play Dungeons & Dragons for the first time in like 8 years this evening. It was pretty fun. I'm a halfling rogue. I almost died, but I managed to kill 2 hobgoblins. Sweet.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Second Day Working at a Brewery

Today, I filled kegs. Its a helluva lot better than bottling, although the lifting is much much heavier. My arms are sore. Its a bit more of your own time management trying to get the dirty kegs clean, filling the clean ones, labeling them, and moving them. Two to three things are happening at approximately the same time, so it keeps things interesting at least. Apparently I fill kegs a little slower, but when you fill a keg slow it foams less and wastes less beer. I'm all for that.

Tomorrow... small test batch brewing! Yay! (Small = 48 L or thereabouts).

Short update... cheers!