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.


Want to read more? Please click… HERE!

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!

Want to hear more about this? Please click… HERE!

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”

Beer Profile: Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break

Profiled by Ken Carman

Right off the bat I took a sip to assess what ended up being low carbonation and I got high alcohols. This seems to be a consistent Evil Twin problem.

Brown foam head that’s big, luscious and fades fairly quickly into a small bubble and glass edge only “head.” Black as all hell: no light shines through. Slight glass coat when tipped.

Deep malt complexity to malt in aroma. I get a hint of vanilla and almonds. No doughnuts, but unless I knew what the nature of the doughnuts were I have no idea what to look for. No hops in aroma. Deep dark chocolate sense dominates with a slight sweetness like a hint of brown sugar. If coffee is there it’s so slight hard to discern. There is a cappuccino sense: a hint at best, in taste.

Here’s the problem: there’s a strong higher alcohol sense that dominates the flavor making it a tad astringent and harsh. Behind that is the vanilla. Behind that is the slight sense of almonds. I don ‘t get the doughnuts but, again, what kind of doughnuts am I looking for? This quaff is harsh due to alcohol and it has SO much promise! Aftertaste in vanilla and alcohol. Finshes just a tad sweet AND dry! Dries the tongue, coats the roof of the mouth with a brown sugar like sensation.

I think the doughnuts may have simply added a viscosity to the point of thick. Almost chewy. Carbonation low, which I would expect. Coats roof of mouth AND the tongue.

I really, really wanted to like this. The higher alcohols are a major defect. I would check fermentation temp and find a better yeast: seems something this higher alcohol would be a problematic yeast, and the fact I’ve had problems with Evil Twin before and higher alcohols suggests to me a house yeast situation. Of course it could just be fermentation problems too.

I have saved some of this brewery’s brews for my tastings and have found out it smoothes out a tad. But it’s still not right.

4.2 BA
4.1 untappd
4 RB

Sorry guys, can’t do any better than…



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

New Brewery: Various Artists, Nashville, TN

Two Nashville entrepreneurs plan to open a brewery on Elm Hill Pike not far from Fesslers Lane, my Nashville Post colleague William Williams reports. The brewery and pub will offer a menu featuring Argentine-style grilled meats.

Pat Isbey and Jeff Bergman will co-own and operate Various Artists Brewing Co., to be located at 1011 Elm Hill Pike in a building that Bergman owns. Longtime followers of Nashville’s restaurant scene may recall Isbey from the excellent barbecue spot Jimmy Carl’s Lunch Box, which he owned and operated from 2009 to 2010 in the Station Inn building in the Gulch. Isbey and Bergman are targeting a late-December opening for Various Artists Brewing.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!