Hop Head Competition Alert!

The Professor likes to highlight competitions with a special twist. And he knows more than a few hopheads.


GEBL Hop Madness IPA Bracket Challenge, BJCP/WAHA Competition – This is a Head-to-Head competition with 4 brackets (English IPA14a, American IPA 14b Imperial IPA 14c and Experimental IPA 23a.). The winner of each bracket will advance to a final best of show round when the best of each IPA style will be going against the other styles. This is a BJCP/WAHA registered competition and also makes you eligible for Washington Homebrew of the Year points. Enter as many different IPA beers as you wish. Entries are due May 18, 2010, Judging May 22, 2010.

For entry instructions or more information, please click…


A personal note from one of the organizers was posted on Judge Net…

Coming up on May 22nd the Greater Everett Brewers League will be hosting the Hop Madness IPA Challenge. Beers will be placed in one of 4 brackets (American IPA14a, European IPA 14b Imperial IPA 14c and Experimental IPA 23a.) and will be evaluated in a head-to-head fashion. The winner of each bracket will advance to a final Best of Show round, and the best beer will be crowned the winner. This is a BJCP certified competition as well as Washington Homebrewer of the Year qualifier.
Participants will be allowed to enter as many different IPA beers as they wish. Please don’t enter the same beer twice. Entries will be accepted May 7th- May18th. For more information go to: www.gebl.org.

We are also looking to sign up judges. Please email me if you can join us on the 22nd at 9 am to judge.

“Will” <teamoly@yahoo.com : Greater Everett Brewers League, PO Box 13392. Everett, WA 98206. Phone: 425 385-2322.

$12,800 for a Bottle of Beer!?

Written by Jeff Bean

One great thing about beer is that it offers incredible value for money. Compared to wine or spirits, tasting the best the world has to offer beer-wise is pretty cheap. Retail prices of the most expensive beers seldom exceed $20, and beers in the $30-50 range are exceedingly rare. Some beers, however, have demand that far exceed their supply, and thus bring much higher prices at auction.

One such beer is Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, made in Chicago’s south suburbs. The beer is uniquely complex and viscous, even among imperial stouts, and its appeal has been greatly enhanced by its extremely limited availability. It is only sold one day each year at a special release party at the brewery.

Dark Lord Day, as it is known, has turned into a huge outdoor beer extravaganza and will be held this upcoming Saturday. Thousands attend to share beer, eat barbecue, and purchase coveted bottles of Dark Lord. Lines can be long, but spirits are high and beer talk and camaraderie abounds.

But you don’t have to stand in the long line at Dark Lord Day to witness the hype surrounding this beer – a visit to www.eBay.com is enough. Last week, one 2010 bottle apparently sold for $12,800. This event incited a significant amount of discussion and debate in beer forums, and the consensus seemed to be that it was a sham. The 2010 DL doesn’t go on sale until Saturday, and if it was in fact a leaked bottle, $12,785 is a high premium to pay for the chance to drink it a week early. More likely is that it was a bidding war in which the top bidders had no intention of paying. It may also be a complete sham item, with photoshopped wax. I guess we’ll have a better idea on Saturday, after we see the color of the wax. Real or not, it’s evidence of the tremendous hype surrounding this beer.
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Big Brew Day

Although this was written by the food forum staff dailygazette.com out of Schenectady, NY, Brew Day will be everywhere. In Nashville they will brew in the back parking lot of the Nashville Boscos. In Pensacola they will be brewing American Wheat Beer on The Weaver Brewing System, and another batch on the mini Weaver. We have yet to hear from Saratoga Thoroughbrews, but one can be sure they will be brewing. Update will be posted when it comes in. Want to learn more from the AHA? Click here– Prof. GA

Saturday, May 1, is National Homebrew Day when thousands of home brewers of beer and ale will join in making homebrew simultaneously.

This is the 13th year for the day, known as “Big Brew Day,” and it will be marked internationally. More than 3,000 homebrewers in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, South america and Australia are expected to participate.

In the Capital Region, Hennessy Homebrew Emporium at 470 N. Greenbush Road (Route 4) in North Greenbush will be observing the day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone interested in homebrew and homebrewing is invited to visit.

Friends and family will gather to brew a 1991 80 shilling Ale in memory of Greg Noonan, who was known as the Godfather of Vermont brewing and a pioneer in the craft brewing movement in the United States.

Hennessy will provide free grains to anyone who comes and joins in brewing the 1991 80 Shilling Ale on Big Brew Day. Hennessy also will provide food, including its version of the Bacon Explosion, and other freebies for all participants.

At 1 p.m., homebrewers around the globe will raise their glasses of homebrew ales and lagers for a simultaneous toast to homebrewing.

The event is sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association. Find out more about Big Brew Day by clicking HERE.

What Do Beer and Pot Have in Common? Everything on 4/20

Written by Jonathan Shikes for Denver Westword Blogs

What do beer and pot have in common? Not much. In fact, there are plenty of smokers who hate beer drinkers and plenty of imbibers who scorn pot heads.

But on 4/20, maybe we can all just get a long.

Craft breweries seem to think it can work, and a number of them are holding special events or offering beers on tap designed to celebrate along with marijuana advocates.

Vine Street Pub’s 4/20 birthday celebration and the Satchel’s Market event with California’s Stone Brewing Company.

But you’ll also find beer made with hemp seeds on tap.

Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder releases Hemp IPA today, a 9 percent abv beer made with roasted hemp seeds; even better, free beer shots at the tap house at 4:20 p.m.

​And in Colorado Springs, Trinity Brewing Company will tap The Emperor Wears No Clothes, also made with hemp seeds, a 5.5 percent abv Belgian saison. Meanwhile, back in Boulder, you can “get Hazed” with Boulder Beer Company at the Sink restaurant from 4:20 to 6:20 p.m. Beer from the first keg of the brewery’s Hazed & Infused is free. The brewpub itself will feature pot stickers, twice-baked potato skins and Boulder Beer brownies.

The Technical Edge: Estimating Hop Bitterness

The Professor found this rather odd and interesting method for estimating the bitterness of hops in an old edition of Zymurgy…

Written by Patrick D’Luzansky

The old standard method to estimate alpha-acid percentage is to make an educated guess and then modify the guess as you gain brewing experience with your hops. Because homegrown hops are fresher and have suffered less handling, they are more bitter than commercial hops. Estimating their alpha as 50 percent higher than the average alpha for the same commercial cultivar is a pretty good guess. Knowing the exact alpha of your hops is less critical if you use them only for flavor and aroma additions.
We can improve on this guess with a taste-testing technique I call “ratiometric titration.” The approach here is to compare a same-cultivar hop of known alpha content with our unknown alpha hop. We compare the ratio of quantities of sugar needed to overcome the bitterness and infer that this ratio will equal the ratio of alphas. Thus, if it takes five teaspoons of sugar to offset the bitterness of our homegrown hops and three teaspoons to null the commercial hops, then our hops are five-thirds as strong, and our alpha-acid content is five-thirds the commercial alpha. If the commercial alpha is 6 percent, then our alpha is 5/3 times 6, or 10 percent.

I make up two hop tea samples – one from our unknown alpha fresh hops, and the second from commercial whole leaf hops of the same cultivar with known alpha. Stir one-quarter ounce hops plus one teaspoon sugar into two cups of boiling water (the sugar is needed because the hop resins are nearly insoluble in plain water.) Next, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Now add enough boiled water to each sample to bring their volumes back to two cups. Let the teas settle and cool to room temperature. Next, decant and filter the teas through a coffee filter to remove sediment.

Now comes the tasting part. It’s best to do the tasting in the morning when your taste buds are freshest. Measure a quarter cup of each of the hops teas. Now taste a few drops of the unknown alpha tea and rinse off your tongue. The tea will taste bitter, of course. Next, add one-quarter teaspoon sugar and taste. It will taste a little less bitter. Continue titrating the tea with the sugar in quarter-teaspoon increments (and doing a tongue rinsing between each tasting) while tasting for the point when the predominantly bitter taste finally gives way to a sweet taste (with bitter overtones). This is when the bitter loses its bite. Record the amount of sugar it took to reach this turning point. Now repeat the titration with the known alpha tea. The ratio of the titrated sugar for the unknown hops to the sugar required for the known hops is our estimate of the ratio of the alphas of the respective hops.

If this method seems too imprecise for you, send a one-ounce sample of hops to Jim Murphey at Murphey Analytical Laboratories Inc., (509) 577-8969. He will do an alpha-acid and beta-acid spectrographic analysis for about $28 and a hop oil profile analysis for $80. He also will perform an IBU analysis of your beer for $25. (Send two bottles – one for testing and one for qualitative analysis while doing the write-up – to 7 W. Mead Ave., Yakima, WA 98902.)

This excerpt is from an article that also has some tips regarding cultivating hops, and hop interesting facts- Prof. GA

Box Your Beer, Save the Planet?

Written by Jason Gelt for thisisbrandx.com

Boxed alcoholic beverages tend to receive a gimlet eye from discerning drinkers. Wines purveyed from cardboard boxes go south quicker than their bottled brethren and often come from vintners with low marks from connoisseurs. But what about boxed beer? Why hasn’t the populist sudsy brew, already an everyman’s refreshment, entered the boxed beverage realm?
Because it’s simply more difficult to keep carbonated beer pressurized and oxygen free in large, four-liter containers, according to Thomas Hussey, a recently graduated industrial design student from Australia’s University of Technology Sydney. And since “Australians consume a lot of beer,” says Hussey, it was a problem he readily devoted his design skills to. He knew that costly pony kegs were a poor long-term answer in an environmentally conscious world. So he developed Kegless, a workable solution to the boxed beer dilemma.

With a two-pronged focus on cost and environmental impact, Hussey’s invention eschews pricier bottles, kegs and cans in favor of a revolutionary collapsible container that maintains the CO2 pressure while barring oxygen. And it’s turned heads. Hussey is one of 14 finalists in the student category of the 2010 Australian Design Award and the Australian component of the James Dyson Award who will advance to the global competition.

“I wanted to reduce the environmental effects, but also reduce cost and provide a marketing benefit,” says Hussey, who has already received interest from one of Australia’s major beer producers. “It’s all very well to come out with a product that has less environmental impact, but people need to want to buy it.”

Chances are that won’t be a problem. Who can argue with a well-balanced beer that maintains quality and freshness for up to a month, but is also easy on the planet?

Competition: Attention Florida Brewers!

The 6th annual Hogtown Brew-Off will be held at the Paramount Plaza in Gainesville, Florida on May 14th and 15th, with competition- related festivities taking place on the 16th as well.

After some judging on Friday the 14th there will be a reservation- only beer dinner even. This will be followed by a walking pub crawl, free to anyone who wishes to attend. You’ll get a chance to experience the Gainesville night life, led from watering-hole to watering-hole by Craig Birkmaier from Swamp Head Brewery, Gainesville’ s first microbrewery. Saturday morning the judging proper will begin followed by our now legendary Wild Boar Keg Competition with the awards dinner and raffle drawings following close behind.

The Hogtown Brewers hope you’ll make it up, down, or over to Gainesville-both for the competition festivities and to help with Judging or Stewarding. Hotel rooms at the venue have been made available at a special discounted price.

Visit www.hogtownbrewers.org for more information, updates, judge registration, and to register your entries when the time comes in late April!

James Schilling
Hogtown Brew-Off Dis-Organizer 2010

An Appeal for Beer, Obama has Brewers Hopping in Maine

Many of them are providing samples for a gift basket of craft brews that they hope end up in the presidential fridge.

Written by John Richardson For The Portland Press Herald and mainetoday.com

PORTLAND — President Obama had better make some room in the White House fridge. Maine brewers and beer merchant Bill Milliken plan to deliver a gift basket of Maine brews to Obama later this month. No one knows if Obama will like the sampling of ales and bitters, but he asked for it.

Obama referred to Milliken during his speech at the Portland Expo on April 1, citing Milliken as a small-business owner who will be able to provide health insurance to more of his workers because of tax credits in the new health care reform law. He also had an unscripted exchange with Milliken, one of about 2,000 people in the audience at the Expo.

“Bill, stand up. That’s Bill right there. Now, I want to give a little plug to Bill here,” Obama said as the crowd cheered. “Bill owns Market House Coffee and the Maine Beer and Beverage Corporation, both here, right here in Portland. … In exchange for this publicity, I hope that I’m going to get some samples of the beer. … OK, he nodded in the affirmative.”
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