The Technical Edge: A Complete Guide to Cleaning and Sanitation

Written by John Palmer

Beer has been brewed for thousands of years and the majority of this brewing was done before anyone knew about germs or sanitation. Sometimes the beer was good and sometimes it wasn’t. Over time, brewers learned which practices seemed to make good beer, and these practices became ritual. A case in point is the historic Norwegian beer totems r used in the Middle Ages. Michael Jackson reports that these sticks were passed down from generation to generation and used to stir the developing beer. The totems harbored yeast (and bacteria) of previous batches. Reusing the totems inoculated each new batch with these yeast and bacteria. Maintaining this “house yeast” was the basis for a family’s brewing success. The totems were very important and were treated carefully to preserve their power for turning wort into beer.

Late in the 1860s, Louis Pasteur discovered yeast as the cause of fermentation. At about the same time he discovered that bacteria and “wild” yeasts caused the spoilage of beer ( 1). From Pasteur’s work, it was recognized that using large amounts of healthy yeast could overcome any small amounts of bacteria present and help reduce the risk of spoilage of the final product. Once the effects of yeast and bacteria were identified. measures could be taken to control them in brewing. Unfortunately problems with beer infections persist today, particularly during the summer months when the air is teeming with bacteria and wild yeast. Only by maintaining vigilance over our sanitation techniques can we be assured of successful batches.
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House Passes Beer Resolution

Written by Patrick Gavin for

While most of Washington was focused on Tuesday’s election results, the House was busy doing something else: passing a resolution about beer.

House Resolution 1297, sponsored by Rep. Betsy Markey, supports “the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week.”

“We’ve got quite a number of microbreweries and entrepreneurs that are creating jobs, and we wanted to celebrate that this is a craft,” Markey told POLITICO. “I think beer has been a tradition since this country was founded,” said Markey. “We wanted to celebrate entrepreneurship — and good beer!”

Markey is obviously partial to brews from her home state of Colorado, but she won’t claim a favorite.

“You can’t just have one,” said Markey. “It really depends on what mood you’re in. Sometimes, I like a light beer — I might want a Skinny Dip — or otherwise prefer a heavier brew.”

The real question is: Why would anyone vote against this?

“It does seem like a no brainer,” said Markey.

Aromas? Yes. But Can the Willamette Valley Handle Dual Purpose Heavies Like Centennial, Horizon and Chinook?

Written by RGW of the Indie Hopsters at

If the Willamette Valley is renown for its aroma hops and Yakima Valley for it’s high alpha, where do “dual purpose” hops fit in? Since most mid to high alpha hops hail from Yakima, does that mean they don’t or wouldn’t thrive in Oregon?

First, a bit of background.

“Dual purpose” is a term of art that first emerged in the mid 1990s, about the time that our hopmeister Dr. Al was hanging up his cover-alls and putting away his clipboard. “We never used that term,” recalled Al.

All Purpose Cluster

“Actually, when I first came to the industry in 1965, brewers talked about three major categories of hops. Aromas, high alphas, and general kettle hops. The latter referred mostly to Cluster hops, such as Early Cluster, California Cluster, Yakima Cluster, and Late Cluster. All of these were virtually indistinguishable by quality characteristics. They differed only by their maturity and harvest dates. California Cluster seemed to rank above the others for reasons that I never quite understood.“
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From the Bottle Collection

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.

Since I first started writing for Professor Good Ales I have frequently provided one column called “From the Bottle Collection.” I thought I’d share some pictures of the collection I have: over 2,000 bottles. This is, by no means, the full collection…

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Vote now: BeerCity USA 2010 – What’s your pick?

Written by Charlie Papazian for The Examiner

It’s time to vote again for your favorite “BeerCity USA.”  Last year’s poll saw over 15,000 votes cast.  Portland, Oregon and Asheville, NC were announced as winners in a statistical tie for first place.

Since the winners were announced in May 2009, craft beer and American beer culture has skyrocketed.  Beer fests and city-wide beer weeks emerge throughout the country.  There’s pride existing in local communities for their breweries,  their beers and better beer bars, restaurants and pubs.  Even to my astonishment I’ve noticed an increase in beer culture in cities that were long beer “dead zones.”  America has awakened to better beer and their communities.

It matters in the USA unlike any other country in the world.  That’s why we have great beer here in the USA.  I think the whole idea of caring where your beer comes from, how and why it is made are not only good things, but essential for maintaining continued beer choice in the USA.  There are forces out there that want to limit your choice.  When we as beer drinkers stop recognizing and responsibly celebrating the beer choices we have, we may lose it.

The times are changing and beer drinkers have ramped up their responsible celebrations and their access to choice and diversity.

Once again the unscientific online poll for 2010 BeerCity USA can’t really measure the value of beer culture in America.  But it’s fun to applause.

BeerCity USA 2010 is a chance for local beer communities to express their enthusiasm and support for their local breweries and local better beer bars, restaurants, stores and distributors.  Let’s have some fun. Continue reading “Vote now: BeerCity USA 2010 – What’s your pick?”

Louisiana Homebrewers Work for Legalization


Written by Stan Hieronymus for

Now that Oklahoma has legalized homebrewing the attention turns to Louisiana. The American Homebrewers Association is working with a group of homebrewers in Louisiana to legalize the serving of home brew in licensed establishments for homebrew events.

Here’s the call to action:

House Bill 1484, which is an improved substitute for a previously filed homebrew bill, if passed would create a free three-day permit, allowing the possession, serving and consumption of homemade beer, mead and other fermented beverages at businesses licensed for on premises consumption of alcohol. This will allow homebrew clubs to legally have club meetings, competitions and other organized events at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments.

HB1484 was passed favorably from the House Judiciary Committee on May 13th and will be debated on the House floor soon. We request that you contact your Representative’s office today to ensure that HB1484 is passed by the House and is sent to the Senate for consideration.

Call Your Representative Today!
Click here to find contact information for your Representative.

During business hours, calls to the Representative’s receptionist are the most productive means of communication. The calls will be quick and easy. Your message should at least relate these points, phrased in your own words:

* Please pass HB1484 through the House when it comes up for debate.

* Louisiana homebrewers are solely seeking to gain legalization of serving homebrewed beer in licensed establishments for homebrew club meetings, competitions and events, which will help us share and improve our craft, so please help us in this effort.

It is up to Louisiana’s beer and brewing community to help the homebrew bill move through the legislative process. Please commit to making these communications, and forward this message on to anyone you think would be interested in supporting this cause. Without paid lobbyists, showing strong popular support is the only mechanism that will move this bill forward.

Thank you for your support of Louisiana’s homebrewers!

Six Myths About Hops

Written by Martyn Cornell for

“Jewish exiles in captivity in Babylon (in 597 BC) drank hopped ale as a defence against leprosy”

They did not. The original Hebrew description (from the fourth century AD) of the herb used in the anti-leprosy drink was “cuscuta of the hizmé shrub”, that is, a Middle Eastern climbing plant of the dodder family. By the 11th century, rabbinical commentary on the Talmud was talking about hops, probably because these were more familiar to European Jews than cuscuta. In any case what was drunk to guard against leprosy was shekar flavoured with cuscuta, shekar being a Hebrew word which meant any strong drink, not beer specifically (although in Akkadian, a related Semitic language spoken by the conquerors of Sumer, the word sikar translated Sumerian kash, beer). Shekar became, via the Bible and its Greek and Latin translations, and then French, the source of the English word cider.

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