An Introduction to Cask Conditioning Homebrew

Who says you can’t have your own “Firkin Friday” at your homebrewery? We took a look at what makes beer “real ale,” how to cask condition and serve your real ale and a heated debate that surrounds the real ale campaign.

What is Real Ale?

By definition, “real ale” is a name for draught (or bottled) beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide. To the homebrewer, this may sound like any bottle conditioned beer is technically real ale, but the British-based group Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) uses the term to specifically refer to traditional British beer styles (bitters, stouts, pale ales, etc.) that were served at cellar temperatures (52-57° F) and a specific low level of carbonation (<1 vol. of CO2).

The push for authentic real ale is much less of a matter in the United States compared to Great Britain, but the interest in serving cask-conditioned beer is becoming more and more prevalent at state-side watering holes and among homebrewers.

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Archaeologists Discovered a 5,000-Year-Old Beer Recipe in China

Step aside with your claims to long legacies, craft breweries! This reconstructed beer recipe is over 5,000 years old. It’s the earliest beer recipe—and the earliest known use of barley—in China.

Archaeologists at Stanford University, wile digging along China’s Wei River, made an intriguing discovery: A marvelously complete set of brewing equipment. And at the bottom of that equipment was something even more wonderful: Residue from the drink it once brew

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Tom Becham Reviews New Belgium’s Blackberry Barley Wine Ale

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Written by Tom Becham

Courtesy  roadtreking.com
Courtesy roadtreking.com
Southern California has odd weather patterns. October through December is generally marked by Santa Ana winds and heat. Rain – what little we get – is generally January through April. And local weather forecasters have coined terms for our weather in May and June; May Gray and June Gloom. In fact, due to the humidity on the coast, I’ve had in-laws, who lived through severe Utah winters, state that California is too cold for them.

So, seasonal beers do still mean something here. Just not in the sequence that they would in other parts of the country. Continue reading “Tom Becham Reviews New Belgium’s Blackberry Barley Wine Ale”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD

Our Winners
         1st – Keith Baker, Toledo, OH – Coffee Blonde
         2nd – Brent Fagan, Jeff Bellamy, Nowell Robbins, Murfreesboro, TN – Hint-O-Mint Chocolate Milk Stout
         3rd – Aaron McDonald, Nashville, TN – Pad ThaI.P.A.

Our Judges
         Bailey Spaulding
         Steve Wright
          Kat Schermerhorn
         Joe Kane
         Millie Carman
         Will Hadley
         George Talley
         Ken Carman
         Grant Ferris

Competition Organizer and Steward

       Kristen Westerbeck

Judge Coordinator

       Ken Carman

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 The members of Music City Brewers were contacted a few months ago by the fine folks at Jackalope Brewing here in Nashville about having our National Homebrew Day at their brewery. Here’s the problem: alcohol in the parking lot? Nicht. Music City Brewers putting up our tents on a slant; taking up their parking lot so many members can brew bjd-265x300on the premises? Non. Brewing inside wouldn’t have worked: we take up a lot of space and would have gotten in the way of production; especially on certain days when they package. We would have been in the way so much someone might have gotten…canned. On his busy way to brew Steve might have stumbled into a mash tun. Bailey might have been baffled when she felt even more roasty, toasty because so many pots were on boil.
 Oh, and then there’s the fact we delight in bringing in all kinds of beer to sample and make hot scotchies. Perhaps a metro policeman named Scotty might have put the kibosh on that as his kilt tilted in the wind as a few of us wished someone had beamed HIM up. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Jackalope’s Let’s Get WEIRD”

Beer Profile: Jack Horzempas’s Classic American Pilsner 2016

Profiled by Maria Devan

Beer-Profile3Jacks beer has what you might say is a soapy but authentic head for a pilsner and for a CAP and for an AAL. Slight haze, golden color. Pours uniform bubbles , a thick head that retains fantastically well. Then as it falls it becomes creamy . It clings and streaks the glass. Beautiful! The hops are fresh and vibrant on the nose. He is using Cluster and Hallertau Mittlefruh. Cluster is for bittering, the Hallertau for aroma and flavor. One of those hops is fruity and why do I think it’s the bittering hop?

The nose on this beer is floral and spicy with hops. No diacetyl, no fruity esters form yeast. The corn smells like earth, husky and a little bit golden. But corn smells like corn and so it’s not dms but there is a hint of it on the palate. Dms opens the finish of the pils with a few bubbles. This one has bright carbonation so I would say just a small bite.The six row malt gives breadiness to the nose but these hops are so forward! Hallertau are spicy and bold. They twinkle like their cousin Galena.

The taste is bold. The malt has a sharp definition because of the bittering hop. That’s even the fruity one. There is just a hint of that fruit on the nose and on the palate. It is a temptation that is not ever fully realized but does seem to captivate your attention. No diacetyl. Clean, crisp, dry finish with a strong and lingering bitterness. The six row malt gives firmness to the palate and the malt finishes creamy. That is why it is world class. Hops resonate in just the right place on the palate to tell you this beer is exciting. They twinkle with spice and dry herbal and linger in the finish as the malt is soft and round.

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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mdMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. That’s Maria in the middle. The other two are not, but they are lucky to have her as a friend.

Asheville Brewery Has A Profanity-Filled Message For The North Carolina Bathroom Law

iron rail ipaThe Wedge Brewing Company out of Asheville has a little message for North Carolina lawmakers in regard to its controversial anti-LGBT bathroom law that forbids public schools from allowing transgender students to use the correct bathroom, for which it is currently being sued by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the Civil Rights Act. And that message is currently printed on the bottom of its Iron Rail IPA cans.

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Enzymes in Beer: What’s Happening In the Mash

Enzymes in Beer

As homebrewers, we’re usually never satisfied until we know how things work. We constantly ask why and how something is done until we understand the basic concept. When you start brewing all-grain, you hit a certain temperature to hit a specific characteristic because you were told to do so. You start picking up on words like alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, mash out and protein rest, and now you’re more curious than ever about what’s going on in the mash.

Here we’ll discuss the enzymes in beer, which convert the starch in malt into soluble sugars. By understanding and making enzymes work for you, an all-grain brewer can control a multitude of components in their beer. Here is a list of the attributes of a beer that can be controlled during the mashing process:

  • Aroma
  • Flavor
  • Body
  • Overall mouthfeel
  • Attenuation
  • Color
  • Alcohol content

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