Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Just so nobody out there in internet land thinks I'm ignoring my blog (which I am), here is a post. I'm moving this next weekend into a condo I bought in central Edmonton and have lots of work to do. In addition, its one of the busiest weeks at the brewery ever and we have two new people to train.

I had my 27th birthday on Saturday and ended up not doing anything for it because I was too lazy to get a party together. I'll plan something after I move I suppose.

Anyway, back to work... no beer news this week sorry! Post a comment if you have anything interesting I guess....


Friday, May 26, 2006

Brian Sleep Now

So ... tired... can't ... post ... rational... thought...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Just a quick post about the "true" Munich helles style of beer, and an imported example I've just had of it (Eldelhell). Its not really my kind of beer I don't think. Its quite dry with a very slight odd sweetness that while I know is not rice, it seems similar. I kinda like the hop flavour and it finishes fairly clean for what I consider an oddly strong flavour at the forefront. Not bad, but maybe just not for me.

Of course, perhaps I should check the expiry date on the bottle...


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Moving Stress

So I'm supposed to move into my new condo in Edmonton on June 2nd, which is two weeks away. I think today I just started to get the "moving stress" that actually allows you to do real work like packing, getting internet and phone appointments, timing the move... etc. Anyway, so its unlikely that I'll have regular updates for the next couple o' weeks. BUT, there is some beer news I suppose...

The Edmonton Homebrewer's Guild is having their brewing compitition in the first week of June. I'm going to enter some of the Kolsch I made from the big brew day. I took one of those batches and added our brewery ale yeast. I took another batch and added hefeweizen yeast to make a "hefekolschen" as I call it. I took the last batch and boiled up a bunch more hops, cinnamon, cloves, uh... some other stuff probably (it wasn't well planned...), and threw it in. So I'll be entering those.

But I was up until 4:30 am this morning so now I sleep.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"A booth that knew what they were talking about"

Well, its been a tiresome few days, but I have returned from my first Beer Festival since starting to brew. It was a pretty big success. We (Alley Kat Brewery from Edmonton, Alberta) released our new summer beer, which is a saison-style ale with orange, grapefruit and black peppercorn. Its cleverly called... Summer Ale. Reguardless, I really like it and its the first beer I brewed on my own (the head brewer designed the recipe of course).

Anyway, we recieved really good feedback from the summer ale so hopefully sales pick up for the summer. We might actually be able to get a few draught accounts for patios. Its an awesome patio beer.

I was reading some reviews on BeerAdvocate, and one poster commented that we were "a booth that knew what they were talking about". Well, that just makes me feel awesome, since I'm pretty new at this... but I guess I just spew fourth my passion, and have learned a thing or three!

I took a few pictures:

Our table before the event.

The people.

The mess afterwards. The place will smell like stale beer for a week I bet.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Calgary Beer Fest

So this weekend I'll be representing my brewery, Alley Kat Brewing (well its not MY brewery but I brew the beer so I feel attached to it...) at the Calgary Beer Fest this weekend. If you're in Calgary check out the info here at Its my first time representing the brewery, and it will be fun.

I'll be sure to take some pictures.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Graphs don't correlate with getting dates

I was just thinking... I actually drew a graph once in an attempt to woo a woman. I couldn't tell if she just wasn't convinced by the graph's data (which was quite valid if you ask me) or if she was turned off by the graph itself. In any case... just though I'd share that. Carry on.


Well, I decided to splurge a little and buy some overalls. But it turns out it wasn't much of a splurge as a great purchase for my brewing career.
Duck Zip-to-Thigh Bib Overall / Unlined
They're thick, water-resistant, have lots of pockets, and I can get them really dirty. In the last two months I've ruined like three pairs of pants working at the brewery (well, they were pretty crappy pants to begin with... but by the end of the day they'd be soaked and covered with yeast / spent grains / spilt beer / wort / etc. And now they're full of holes). Plus with the open top I don't get horribly hot, and they're pretty baggy so the heat from below can rise... oh and the sides of the legs zip open so I can let heat out that way too :)

Anyway... yeah. Its not a very interesting blog, but I'm a brewery nerd now and I like them... I feel so blue collar now :)


Monday, May 08, 2006

Art Stuff

I'm not usually an art critic, but these paintings shown on Dan Crall's blog really interested me. It seemed to me like each one was a a snapshot of a single point of a funny anecdote. See for yourself... it interested me in any case.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Edmonton Big Brew Day

On Saturday the Edmonton Homebrewer's Guild held its version of the AHA's Big Brew Day. CLick on the link for more information, but basically the Big Brew Day is a day where homebrew clubs across North America brew one of two recipies all at the same time on the first Saturday in May. The EHG did their big brew at Alley Kat Brewing (where I am the brewer) this year, and we had quite a good turn out. Hopefully, we will have the largest output in Canada. After the boil, we ended up with about 18.4 hl of beer (1840 L). We used pretty much all of it. OH, sorry... we brewed the Summer Kolsch (links ro recipe) at the brewery. Well, we sortof did. We used pale malt (since thats what we have at the brewery) instead of pilsner malt, and there was one very big difference....
We were supposed to mash at 65 C. After the dough-in... well with all the stuff going on I guess somebody forgot to turn off the steam jacketing on the mash tun... by the time the error was noticed, the mash temperature had increased to 78 C!! For those of you who don't know, thats the usual temperature of a "mash-out", where you heat the mash hot enough to denature (deactivate) the enzymes converting starch into fermentable sugar.
To fix this, the temperature was lowered with cold water and more pale malt added to at least give the beta-amylase a fighting chance. I figure we'll get a fairly dextrinous wort still with a nice heavy body. The beer I got from the big brew is fermenting quite happily, so it must be ok. If this turns out to be a great beer, maybe I'll try a mash schedule that incudes a "mash-out" at the start of the mash more often!

I basically got about 90 L of beer, divided up as such:
  • ~46 L into a 58.8 L standard keg that I use as a primary fermenter. To this I added our Alley Kat Ale yeast slurry. Its a somewhat neutral yeast, more british in character, as that its not as "clean tasting" as american ale yeasts... possibly a little floral flavours and green apple.
  • A 23 L glass carboy that I pitched with ~1 L of beer from the bottom of our special hefeweizen batch (which was quite yeasty). This should taste WAY different from our regular ale yeast.... a lot more bannana and clove character. Usually this yeast is used for wheat beers... not this time.
  • A 23 L bucket that I pitched with our Alley Kat ale yeast again. I boiled up about 1.5 L of water with some fuggles hops, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. I added some hersbrucker hops after the boil was done, cooled the mixture, and added it to the bucket. I may have used too much cloves, but I guess we'll see how it turns out. My apartment smelt great afterwards, so lets hope the beer tastes good too!
Well... cheers!

No Idols

I was thinking today (it happens once and awhile), that I just don't seem to idolize people. I don't really have any heros, I'm not interested in any celebrities or politicians, I've never had an autograph to my knowledge (maybe a couple of signed books or something). I don't strive to be like anybody as far as I can tell. So either I'm "confident"... or I just don't care about people I don't know (or maybe even people I know), or I'm so self-centered I don't think about these great people I should be idolizing.
Meh... anyway, just a thought.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The battle of Alberta is no more

Just posting to show my disappointment that the Calgary Flames were defeated by the Anaheim ducks in a shutout in game seven of the first round.
They did good, just not in game 7. Fuck.

But what really sucks is that Calgary would play Edmonton in the 2nd round (as Edmonton won their series against Detroit). For those of you that don't know, Calgary and Edmonton are only about 300 km apart (a short distance for Canadian cities... in some places you drive 300 km and you have to learn a new language). Calgary and Edmonton have constant rivalries over various sporting events. A playoff hockey match would have been just awesome.

Oh well. At least I live in Edmonton now so I can chear for them when they win ;)


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bloody Filter, Bloody Kegs, Bloody blood.

Stupid beer filter... damn thing is clogged up with something that we just can't seem to get rid of. As a result, I stayed 3 hrs late to get a filter job done. Meh, just mild annoyance.

We shipped 100 corny kegs of beer off to Korea today for a very special and interesting contract. For those of you who don't know, a corny keg is one of those kegs Pepsi mostly uses to distribute some beverages. They are 18.9 L, there is an oval opening in the centre of the top of the keg, an inlet and an outlet quick disconnect. Including a pressure blow-off valve, there are basically 4 seals that can be broken when filled with a pressurized beverage. Most homebrewers who keg use corny kegs, and will also know the annoyance of a keg that does not seal properly. Multiply this annoyance by more than 100 kegs, and then have to clean and sanitize the buggers. Only to discover that several of them still have very small slow leaks after you have filled them with beer.
Goddammit I hate corny kegs now.

Also I cut my finger and it bled all day because it was in a place that I constantly use.

What a negative blog entry...
Tomorrow will be a good day :)