Hops & Barley: Remember When Beer was FUN?

Courtest livepointbottleshop.com
Courtesy livepointbottleshop.com
I walk into the liquor store with my sunglasses still on and my head down. Hopefully no one will recognize me as I slowly drift past all the glistening craft beer bottles, heading toward the macro-beer cooler. An employee asks me if I need help as I’m opening the cooler door. “All set, thanks.”

As I walk toward the register with my cans of Red Dog, a cheap adjunct lager I used to drink growing up, I start to feel guilty. I quickly add a six pack of a micro-brew that I’ve never seen before and plop them both down on the counter. I drive away wondering about this odd pang of guilt.

There’s been a weird movement in the craft beer world that’s polarizing the beer scene: If you like craft beer then you must hate macro-beer. If you like macro-beer then you’re not one of us; you’re just a poser or at best an ignorant neophyte.

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Removing Chloramines From Water

chlorine-DangerBrewers who use municipal water for their beers know that it is treated with chlorine for disinfection and that residual chlorine may react with phenols in malt to produce chlorophenols, which lend a plasticlike taste to beer at parts-per-billion levels. Most brewers also remember from their days of keeping pet goldfish that allowing water to stand, aerating it, or boiling it will allow chlorine to escape, thus rendering the water fit for Goldy and for brewing.

In recent years, more water authorities have started to treat water with ammonia in addition to chlorine. This treatment results in the formation of chemicals called chloramines, which are similar to chlorine in that they kill bacteria and aquarium fish and ruin beer.

Standing, aeration, and boiling will remove chloramines from water, but not very effectively. Water in my area (Fairfax County, Virginia) contains the equivalent of 3 mg/L of chlorine in chloramines, a fairly high level. Ten gallons of this water allowed to stand in a 25-gallon stock pot required weeks to lose chloramine down to the <0.1 mg/L level. Almost two hours of boiling is required to get the chloramine in Fairfax County water down to the hundredths of milligrams per liter.

This article explains how to measure chlorine and chloramines in your brew water and how to reduce or eliminate these beer-spoiling chemicals if they are causing you problems.

What Are Chloramines?

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From the Bottle Collection: Ludwig Hudepohl Bock

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

  This is a bottle from my collection I have used for this column before. I do have more information, though I really don’t remember much, except I think it was brewed, in this case, by a brewery just south of Cincinnati. I didn’t have a lot of respect for them because once touring it I was told when a customer: essentially someone who wanted them to brew their commercial beer, gave them a recipe for a beer they don’t brew, “We give them whatever we have that is closest.”
  No way to run a contract brewery, in my opinion. Best to just refuse the contract. I found it odd that their representative actual seemed proud of this “pawn whatever off on them.”
  But since I’m not sure, and can’t remember how it was, I’ll reserve the rest of my commentary.
  Here’s what Wiki says…

Hudepohl Brewing Company was a brewery established in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1885 by founder Ludwig Hudepohl II. Hudepohl was the son of Bavarian immigrants and had worked in the surgical tool business before starting his brewery. Hudepohl combined with Schoenling Brewing Company in 1986. Today, the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co..

  When Hudepohl went out Boston Brewing started selling the beer. Here’s something I do know: for a while that brewery: barely in Kentucky, was contract brewing for Boston, like Matt’s in Utica. Then the Hudepohl brand was bought out by Royal Brewing, whose main executive had been and exec at Heileman. The Kentucky brewery also vended out for Heilman for a while.
  Seems very likely somewhere in this 90s, early 70s, time frame this bottle was filled: most likely in kentucky. Why? Because this brand had been in flux for all that time and the execs who had anything to do with the Hudepohl name also had connections with this contract brewery. The original brewery shut down, production shifted elsewhere at time and the 90s and 2000s were pretty bad for them. At last report the recipes were sold, and the original brewery being deconstructed.IMAG0004

Brew Biz: Werts and All

DSCN0318

Review: Voodoo Brewery
215 Arch Street
Meadville, PA 16335
(814)337-3676
Brewer: Matt Allyn

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

vdlogo  Twisting…
 Turning…
 …up, down, swinging around woodlands, fast past farmland and open fields, meandering around meadows and swinging by swamps as the weird contraption two wheels its way through hair pin corners…
  Last time I interviewed Matt Allyn I rode my Honda Big Ruckus scooter to Titusville, PA. Matt used to be the brewer at 4 Sons Brewing in Titusville. 4 Sons is closed now: another brewery occupies the same building: called “Blue Canoe…” and that is a better name than “Blue Gnu” because I’ve been told gnu tastes terrible in beer.
 (Surprised? So was I. Who gnu?)
 But all that was a long time ago, in a different brew galaxy seemingly far away, when I was a less seasoned writer. (More Cajun spices, please!)
 More than two years ago I heard rumors Matt was planning on opening a brewpub: or perhaps, as accurate… a brewery with a tasting room and great food, in Meadville: I even swung by sometime between 2008 to 2012 to see where it would be, saying to myself, “There? Ewe.”
 Rumors I probably heard in 2008 at Sprague Brewery… then forgot. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

Beer 101, Session 2

Courtesy dreamstime.com
Courtesy dreamstime.com

Written by Tom Becham for Professor Goodales

TbechamAfter a long hiatus from writing for Professor Goodales (due to some personal circumstances I won’t recount here) I am back with my second installment in the Beer 101 series. I had promised to detail the different ingredients of beer, how they affect the final product, and even describe the tastes. I will start with the most basic and overlooked of all beer ingredients: water.

Water makes up 90% to 95% of the volume of most beers. Obviously it plays an important role. But what does a brewer want as far as the qualities of water for his beer? It isn’t necessarily all about purity. Sure, chemical contaminants are a huge no-no in brewing. In fact, chlorine – found in most tap water – will tend to kill yeast. And with dead yeast, you don’t get beer, but merely a strange barley tea. (It should be noted that some brewers – most notably Anchor in San Francisco – will take advantage of particularly good tap water.) Continue reading “Beer 101, Session 2”

Black Abbey Brewing: A Religious Experience

BlackAbbeyWalking into Black Abbey’s taproom feels a bit like walking into church. As you enter the door and pass through a Gothic arch, you’ll see hand-crafted wood tables and church pews. The eight taps on the far wall rest under a deep-red Gothic arch. The lights hanging from the ceiling used to illuminate a little church in East Tennessee. It feels like a sacred place. But as Martin Luther said, “It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church.”

DSC04691The taproom is open to the brew house, so you’ll see everything that goes into beer production. Congregants are separated from the brew house by rustic wooden beams and railings. The wood in the beams and tables was recovered from a storm-damaged tobacco barn. That wood spent a century working, now it gets to retire to a brewery. There are five eight-foot tables for beer lovers to gather around and discuss things like fermentation and sanctification.

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