Episode 82 – Thinking and Drinking with John Holl

Just in time for Christmas and the new year, Drew sits down with John Holl of Craft Beer & Brewing to talk about his new book – Drink Beer, Think Beer. We talk where the industry is and why John’s hope for the future isn’t a very popular one.

But first we’ve got to take your feedback, cover the beer news – including a controversial take on IPA’s drinkers, and then cover Denny’s gluten free brewing antics, Drew’s rat attack and a new way to egg.

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Beer Profile: Live and Let Lager

Profiled by Maria Devan

One of the best beers I have ever had. The use of hops is stunning and perfect. They impart only their faintest musk and a hint of coolness at their bittering. The malts are smooth and creamy. Not too much chocolate although it is there. Drinks like silk on the tongue. It practically evaporates in softness.

No strong burnt malt flavors. No fruity esters. Rich firm malt and hints of peanut shells. Perfect color. Deep mahogany with copper fire and pristine clarity. Mocha head of creamy foam that lasts and hugs the glass. Sweet bubbles gently on the rise. Softer carbonation. So clean that you can taste the water and at 5.4% it drinks as easily.



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.”


___________________________________Beer HERE

Brew Files – Episode 51 – Real Time Recipe Challenge

The Brew is Out There!

We asked our listeners to challenge us – give us a beer idea you want us to design and prepare to make. Out of the pile of suggestions we each chose one recipe to challenge the other with. In this inaugural challenge, we only find out what recipe we’re supposed to formulate right then. Listen to us walk you through how we’d tackle these challenges.

And congrats to Aaron Kennison and Eric Pierce who’ll be receiving a half pound of Yakima Chief Hops’ Veteran’s Blend!

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Esters vs. Phenols in Beer

When perceiving certain aromas of beer, you may hear people refer to “esters” and “phenols.” These terms are often times used incorrectly or interchangeably. The fact of the matter is, esters and phenols are quite different, though they can be present at the same time. Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of esters and phenols in beer.


The fruity aromas perceivable in beer are typically generated by yeast esters, unless there’s actual fruit in the recipe. During fermentation, a reaction between organic acids present in the wort and the developing alcohol cause esters to form. Common aromatic ester characteristics include banana, pear drop, apple, honey, roses and even solvent-like in some instances.

While the reaction between the acids and alcohol actually form esters, three variables influence the amount of esters that can potentially develop. By understanding and managing these variables, homebrew…


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The Score: Von Trapp German Helles

Judges: Millie and Ken Carman/BJCP Certified

This brew never specified what version of Helles this was. The decision made: 5C German Helles

Judge 1: Millie (Used guidelines)
Judge 2: Ken (Did NOT use guidelines)

Both judges noted a low fill.

Judge 1 found a light floral aroma, judge 2 more herbal; as in oregano-like. Both found typical lager year sulfur notes. Judge 1 found a hint of sweet malt in the aroma. Judge 2 found a DMS/corn sense as might be expected with the malt and some lagers. Not overboard. He also found some diacetyl.

Judge 1 and 2 found a white head with a mix of big and small bubbles except judge 2 found foam instead of small bubbles. Judge 1 found the entry acceptably clear, judge 2 tad hazy. Judge 1 called it golden in color, judge 2 light gold to yellow. Judge 1 thought head was low, judge 2 didn’t, both thought it didn’t persist that long. Judge 2: glass cling to foam.

Both judges thought malty sweet dominated a little, judge 2 described it as “crackery.” Judge 2 found the bitter only expressed itself much when sample warmed. Judge 2 thought malt persisted, judge 1 thought bitter persisted in the finish. Judge 1 found a spicy hop sense, judge 2 thought it slight and more background except when it warmed. Judge 2 found some diacetyl, though not a lot, judge 1 found it after discussion and it warmed

Judge 1 thought carbonation a bit light for style, judge 2 thought it medium so not bad for style. No astringency/warmth/creaminess (both). Judge 2 thought the body low side of medium and thought malt persisted on top of palate at end. Judge 1 commented about water profile, judge 2 who wasn’t using guidelines did not.

Both found the sample to be representative of the style, judge 2 commented that even though he was no fan of the style he would have 2 but no more due to that stylistic reluctance. Judge 1 thought the entry should provide just a little more of the style-sense. Judge 2 thought more lagering would eliminate slight diacetyl.

JUDGE 1: 33 out of 50
JUDGE 2: 34 out of 50

Crux Fermentation Project: Tough Love, Lost Love, and The Snow Cave

Crux Fermentation Project is one of the three to five best breweries in the United States and they haven’t yet even hit their stride.

By Stephen Body
Big claim? Totally supported by all available evidence, including that last phrase.

When Larry Sidor left Deschutes Brewery, after an eight years that were arguably the greatest similar period of innovation by any brewer not named Steele or Calagione, Larry left to make his beers; no limits, maximum innovation, barrels, weird yeasts, even down to the water used. Larry had Something different in mind. Not that Deschutes maybe wouldn’t have let him try all that there but…Deschutes was already an economic machine; a virtual printing press for beer revenues and Larry knew that.


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Brew Files – Episode 49 – Starting Off Right

We know that we need good yeast to make great beer and we need to treat them right. Somehow we’ve managed to go through 48 episodes of this show without talking methods of treating your yeast right. On this show, we’ll walk through how we used to do things and why we changed and Denny will even challenge Drew to get uncomfortable!

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2018

Judging at Racing City Brewing, Saratoga, NY

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 We started judging Knickerbocker probably sometime in the early 2000s, maybe earlier. But only two of them. Then, many moons later, we came back.
 We really enjoy judging Knickerbocker but, for various reasons, we didn’t for many years. This year we normally wouldn’t have but the only way we could make Millie and my schedule work right was for me to stay up north from May to barely November.
 Aw, shucks, gee whiz, golly willikers, did I have to?
 No, just kidding, I really enjoy being where I partially grew up.
 While some judging took place at Artisanal Brew Works, we didn’t judge there. A lot of the judging was at Racing City Brewing; a new brewery in Saratoga Springs: just a little north east of the city and close to the Northway. Old friends were there, including Judy Pardee; one of the first Grand Masters in the BJCP. It’s amazing how you judge the same competitions and see people again and get that, “Oh, THIS is where I remember you from,” feeling.
 They had 213 entries, 33 judges and 18 stewards judge over two weekends, according to John Lee. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2018”