Monday, December 31, 2007

Boulder Beer Planet Porter review

Boulder Beer Planet PorterColder months are Porter and Stout months, at least they are for me. The darker, roastier brews are just the thing for the cooler weather and so I opted to pick up a 6-pack of Boulder Beer Planet Porter from the Boulder Beer Company of Colorado. The Boulder Beer Company touts itself as Colorado's first microbrewery and has been brewing beer since 1979 which was right about the time I was old enough to drink beer (legally that is).

Planet Porter is a dark, malty beer made with a combination of medium and dark caramel and black malts and is bittered with a mix of Cascade, Chinook, and Hallertau hops. The dark malt gives it a hint of coffee flavor but not overly so. It's ABV is 5.5%. This beer has won a few medals including a Gold medal in 1992 from the GABF and a silver from the World Beer Championships in 1997. Plus it just earned a bronze medal at the 2007 GABF in October!

I opened the beer cold from the fridge and poured it into my favorite beer glass. There was very little head to this beer although it was not flat beer by any means. It has a very dark color and has a rich dark malty aroma to it. At first sip I could taste the rich dark malts. It had a smooth clean feel on my tongue with no after-taste. Some porters and darker beers feel chalky in your mouth and end up with a lingering bitterness, but not this one.

While I was pleased with the taste and the aroma, I felt that something else was missing with this porter. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the vanilla porter I recently tried. Boulder Beer's Planet Porter is a good beer and I'd probably drink it again, but it was not as flavorful as I would have liked. Perhaps I'll change my mind after a 2nd one, but 1st impressions are important when choosing a beer to drink again.

On my beer rating scale, I'll give this beer a rating of 3.3 out of 5.

Love the label graphic - very classy. A dark starry night along the front range with a telescope and a big bucket of beer. What could be better? Well, cheaper price would be nice. I noticed that the hop and malt shortage is now driving up prices. I paid about 30 cents more per six pack than I used to today. I expect that higher prices will be the norm in 2008.

Follow-up post: I had a 2nd beer later that evening. That time, the brew was a bit warmer and when poured had a huge head. Temperature has a way of altering the consistency of the head. The 2nd brew was much the same although it went down better while I was eating popcorn and watching a good movie on DVD.

While the 2nd pour was slightly better than the first, I think I'll stick with my original rating. Planet Porter was good enough for a 2nd helping, but for me, I'll keep looking for an even better beer.

Update December 2013: Boulder Beer has decided to retire Planet Porter as of the end of 2013. Taking its place is the new Shake Chocolate Porter.

Related articles:
- Boulder Mojo IPA review.
- Boulder Cold Hop review.
- Boulder Beer opens tap house at Denver International Airport.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Samuel Adams Winter Classics review

Samuel Adams Winter ClassicsSometimes the best things come in bunches. In this case, it came in a 12-pack. This article is a continuation of a review of the Sam Adam's Winter Classics. This 12-pack had six different brews, and 2 of each style. While I won't give a full review to each brew, I'll give a short summary of 5 of the 6 different brews that were included. The 6th brew, Samuel Adam's Cream Stout, was reviewed earlier and a link to that review can be found at the end of this post.

Sam Adam's Winter Classics

Samuel Adams Holiday PorterThe second beer in the sampler was the Samuel Adams Holiday Porter. This is a rich, malty brew with a fair amount of hoppiness to it. I love porters and this one is on my personal buy again list. As you can see from the pic, the beer pours dark with a nice rich foam that stuck around for quite a while. It had the aroma of light roast and chocolate malts. The hop aroma had a slightly floral character. This brew was made with some flaked oats and that gave it an extra smooth taste. I'm already a fan of dark beer and I enjoyed drinking both of these bottles from the 12-pack. I'll give it a 3.8 out of 5 rating. I almost need to go back and drink more of this beer again to give it a detailed review, but if you love porters like I do, you'll want to get some of this.

The next brew I sampled was a lambic. A lambic is a fruity beer and originally got it's origins in Belgium. It's a beer that was exposed to wild yeasts and had a unique flavor as a result. This particular beer, the Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, was flavored with cranberries and had a hint of bananas, cloves and nutmeg in both the taste and aroma. I've tried other lambics, but this one left me wondering if I'll want to ever repeat this style again.

I love to drink cranberry juice and know that cranberries are somewhat tart and somewhat unsweet to begin with, so I at least knew what to expect. This beer started out with a great taste, but seconds after swallowing the beer I found it to have a "nasty" after taste come through that really ruined the whole experience. If it wasn't for the after taste of this beer I would have endorsed it more highly, but I could not even finish this beer. Even food did not help this one. Sorry Sam Adams, but you can't make all beers taste good. This one I'll give a rating of 2.3 out of 5. I won't be drinking this one again soon.

Samuel Adams Boston LagerThe next beer in the sampler was an old staple, the Sam Adam's Boston Lager. This brew was more of a classic style of American Lager and poured with a nice big head which complimented it's dark golden (near amber) color. Not sure why this was necessary to include with a Winter seasonal pack, but I suppose they wanted to put in at least one standard brew in the mix. Boston Lager is a good session beer that would go well with just about any food. I loved the aroma from the German Noble hops in this beer. It's a beer that Boston Beer Company is known for and I tip my hat to them for it. As a Rockies fan, it's hard to love anything with the word "Boston" in it due to their World Series meeting, but I admit I like it and would drink it again. I'll give it a 3.2 out of 5 on my ratings chart. It's a lower rating for a good beer, mostly because I tend to favor the maltier beers.

The fifth beer in the series is the Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale. This beer is clearly a classic winter spice beer. The brew has hints of orange, cinnamon and ginger in it. It's a nice brew to curl up to on a cold day with. I drink my beer at "basement room temperature", not cold enough to send shivers down your spine and not warm enough to want it chilled more, but at around 55 degrees. This is a fine sipping beer. I wouldn't want to drink a lot of it, but would welcome it at parties or special occasions when I want to drink something different. It didn't pour with much of a head to it but that didn't matter much. I drank 2 of these over the course of a week and enjoyed it with a nice light snack. I'll give it a 3.3 out of 5 rating just for it's uniqueness.

The last beer in the winter classic sampler was the Samuel Adams Winter Lager. This one reminded me a lot of the Old Fezziwig, but with a slightly less dark color. It too had the scent of cinnamon and ginger but with a richer, maltier taste. It poured with a much better head to it and was very smooth tasting. It's definitely a beer for cold winter days, not a light summery drink by any means. It's one that I'd enjoy again as I quickly finished this one off. Sam Adams proved once again that they know how to make good holiday brews. I'll give this a 3.4 out of 5 rating.

So that's my review of the Sam Adam's Winter Classics. I'd recommend all but the Cranberry beer unless lambics are your thing. Perhaps in their next mix of Winter brews they can substitute the cranberries with another sweeter fruit with a better finish to it, but otherwise, the 12-pack was well worth the purchase.

Read on: The sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review. (6th brew in the Winter 12 Pack)
- Samuel Adams Honey Porter review.
- Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock review.
- Samuel Admas Imperial Stout review (Imperial Series).
- Samuel Adams Imperial White review (Imperial Series).

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter review

Breckenridge Vanilla PorterWow. I think I've found another great porter. I heard about this beer on a recent beer podcast and thought I'd try it out. It's another local Colorado product from the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado - their tasty Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. As you can see from the beer image, this dark beer is full of rich dark malts and has a smooth, and I mean smooth, vanilla finish to it. I've become a BIG fan of porters these days and this one is now on my list for repeat buys.

In my continuing lifelong beer tour, I bought a six pack of this stuff over the holiday weekend as my stock of other beer had already been finished off. This beer had gotten great reviews on the beercasts and I was anxious to try another porter. This is classified as an Herb and Spice beer only because it is brewed with vanilla beans in it. Don't worry, this is not a soda-pop beer by any means. It's a smooth dark porter with a wonderful vanilla aroma and finish to it.

Vanilla Porter weighs in at only 4.7% ABV, but that's ok. It still has one nice kick to it. The Vanilla Porter has a low bitterness factor (16 IBU) and a rich malt taste. Breck Brew put in a nice combo of Two Row Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, Black, and Roasted Barley malts into this fine brew along with a light mix of Chinook, Tettinang, Perle, and Goulding hops.

I've already had 3 beers from this six pack and look forward to finishing them off. I'm going to give this a nice rating of 3.6 out of 5. Ever since I've started trying out as many new beers as possible, I've really become a fan of porters and stouts. I'm turning to the "dark" side of beer and am loving it. You simply don't get that rich malt taste in lighter beers.

Related articles:
- Breckenridge Small Batch 471 IPA.
- Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale.
- Boulder Beer Planet Porter review.
- Breckenridge Pandora's Bock review.
- Breckenridge Mighty Brown review.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Samuel Adams Cream Stout review

Samuel Adams Cream StoutI recently picked up a 12 bottle variety pack of beer from the Samuel Adams line last night. This pack was dubbed the Samuel Adams Winter Classics and came with six different varieties that I'll be sampling over the next week or so. I chose to try out the Samuel Adams Cream Stout first. The picture at the right shows just how dark this beer is, but if you've never tried a dark stout beer before, don't let the dark color intimidate you. This is one fine smooth beer. I have a preference for darker beers of late and this one was right up my alley.

As I poured this beer into my favorite beer glass (pictured above), there rose a big brown foamy head in the glass that surprisingly went over the top before I could finish pouring the entire bottle into the glass. The foam was even tasty as well. The beer was dark enough that I couldn't see through it. I let the beer warm up a bit before tasting it as that helps to ensure the full flavor of a stout comes out.

Realize that I am NOT a coffee drinker and this beer definitely had aromas of coffee and chocolate malts in it, but this stuff made me want to go to a Starbucks and demand they add this to their line. This Cream Stout had a fairly low ABV% (4.9%) and was deemed a seasonal beer, although I could probably drink this beer at any time of the year.

I knew after my first sip that this beer was one that I'd drink again. I decided to pair this beer with one of my favorite snacks - pistachio nuts. I must admit, that this cream stout covered up much of the taste and saltiness of the nuts but still went well together.

This beer does not taste as heavy as it looks. It is smooth and has a "creamy" finish to it. There is not a big hop taste to this beer (which I was thankful for) and is not bitter in the least. It's not a beer that you want to drink fast, but rather enjoy slowly over time. It's very malty and has a wonderful aroma.

I'm going to give this beer a decent rating of (3.7 out of 5). I'd definitely buy this beer again, although in my experience I have tasted some similar beers that were better.

Read on: The sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Honey Porter review.
- Samuel Adams beer dinner recap.
- Samuel Adams Winter Classics review.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Colorado Beer News 111407

Here are some breaking news regarding Colorado and Beer from today, November 14th, 2007:

Boulder Beer announces Obovoid

The Latest From Boulder Beer, Obovoid Empirical Stout - Beer Advocate. Excerpt: Obovoid Empirical Stout is the 8th Release in Boulder Beer's Looking Glass Series of specialty beers. This series also includes favorites with similarly fun, whimsical names such as Hazed & Infused, MoJo IPA, Killer Penguin Barleywine, Sweaty Betty Blonde, Cold Hop British-Style Ale, Never Summer Ale and MoJo Risin' Double IPA.

These innovative, full-flavored brews all began as unique creations on Boulder Beer's 55 gallon pilot-brew system and were served on tap as "Brewer's Choice" beers in their onsite pub. The recipe for Obovoid was brewed multiple times as a Brewer's Choice beer, and because of the enthusiasm surrounding it, claimed its spot as the next Looking Glass limited-edition brew.

Obovoid Empirical Stout will be available starting November 15th while supplies last in 22 oz. bottles and 15.5 gallon kegs.

Hop Shortage is Coming

Shortage of beer ingredient could tap your wallet - 9 News Denver - Excerpt: If you love beer, especially big, hoppy craft beer, prepare to dig deeper to afford your liquid enjoyment in the near future.

Brewers are finding it tougher to get a key ingredient in their brew: hops. Beer without hops, the bittering agent, just wouldn't taste like beer. The Boulder-based Brewers Association says the worldwide supply of hops has been cut in half over the last decade.

The oversupply of hops that had forced farmers to abandon the crop is finally gone and harvests were down this year. In the United States, where one-fourth of the world's hops are grown, acreage fell 30 percent between 1995 and 2006.

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Colorado - The Napa Valley of Beer

ColoradoI'm lucky enough to live in the heart of the American Beer culture: Colorado, a state with over 150 breweries. Here is a story that Fox News from Colorado Springs put out in 2007 about how Colorado had become the biggest producer of beer in the USA and how that affects the Colorado economy.

State economy taps into beer

Colorado Ales

By Mike Conneen
Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

California might take top prize for its vineyards, but when it comes to beer, Colorado is king of the hill.

Our state recently became the number one beer producer in the country, churning up more than 23 million barrels in 2006.

All of that beer pours big bucks into the state's economy.

According to new research from the Beer Institute, Colorado breweries provide about 68,000 jobs, $3 Billion in wages and $1.6 Billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Governor Bill Ritter called Colorado "the beer brewing capitol of the United States". In 2006, the state outproduced California, Texas and New York.

Mike Bristol, owner of Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs said, "Colorado is starting to be known as the Napa Valley for beer."

At Bristol, production is up 15% this year, on top of 13% last year.

Of course, Anheuser Busch in Fort Collins or Coors in Golden make up an enormous portion of the state's beer production. According to Bristol, "A little growth for them makes a huge difference."

He said, "Certainly you don't need a calculator to figure out Anheuser Busch and Coors are a good portion of that. Certainly [Bristol's] 7,000 barrels didn't put us over the top. But collectively, it's a huge volume and wide volume of beers."

According to the Beer Institute, the state's beer industry puts $12.4 Billion into the state economy each year.

Bristol hopes that figure will help the industry's image. He said, "There's 100 small breweries throughout the state and much like us they're in communities. They're actively involved in their communities."

Here is a link to the original story: LINK

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beer Prices Going Up - Signs of the Apocalypse?

What's happening to our malt and hops? It's late 2007 and reports of shortages of barley and hops are popping up all over the world. Beer prices are going to go way in 2008. Say it ain't so!! If there was ever a time to get concerned it's now.

For the first time in years, there is a worldwide shortage of hops and barley - two of the key ingredients for making our favorite beverage - BEER! And while the big macro beer companies aren't as worried, the smaller craft breweries will soon be forced to jack up their prices in light of harder to get ingredients.

I found this article from WCCO TV in Minnesota about why you should expect to be paying 10% or more higher for your beer soon.

Brewing Problem: Hops And Barley Prices Rise

Jason DeRusha - Reporting

(WCCO) A worldwide shortage of hops and rising prices for barley are proving to be a one-two punch for the micro brewing industry. And many brewers expect the price for a six-pack to go up.

"It's gonna go up. We have to pass along some of those costs," said Surly Brewing Co. President Omar Ansari.

According to Ansari, Surly will produce approximately 62,000 gallons of beer this year. His small brewery has just five employees. The hops shortage has resulted in his price rising nearly ten times.

"I literally, my jaw hit the table," said Ansari.

Hops is one of four ingredients for beer. Water, yeast and barley are the others. Hops is a type of flower. For brewing, the flower is turned into little pellets. The pellets provide the aroma for the beer, and the bitter flavor that is beer's hallmark.

"If you can't get hops you can't make beer," Ansari explained.

Industry observers city several reasons for the hops shortage. Bad weather in Europe has increased demand for U.S. hope. However, low-profit margins in past years has forced many American farmers into planting other crops.

"Two years ago a pound of hops was $2. Now a pound of hops is $20, if you can find them," said Brian MacKenzie, owner of MacKenzie's Pub in downtown Minneapolis.

He said he's already raised prices on some of his beers by a quarter. He expects prices to rise again in the new year.

"We haven't seen increases in beer prices like this in the 13 plus years that we've been here," he said.

At Midwest Homebrewing in St. Louis Park, owner Dave Turbenson said he can't get nearly a dozen hops varieties. He expects he'll have to raise prices on his beer kits by about 10 percent, or $2 dollars a kit.

Hops aren't the only problem. Ansari said his barley bill is also frothing him.

"It up to 45 cents a pound. Last year it was 28 cents a pound," he said.

# # #

Do you think farmers are growing too much corn to make money off the new bio-fuel craze? It's starting to hurt us people. Stop growing corn and get back to growing more hops and barley! Heck, this shortage should be driving up prices enough for them to want to return to growing that stuff. I might even start growing hops in my back yard and do more homebrew. It's about to get ridiculous to buy a six pack of beer.

Related articles:
- Higher beer prices - How will it affect you?
- Hop shortages cause rising beer prices.
- How much are you paying for beer these days?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Pug Ryan's Steak House Brewery Has Success

Pug Ryan's BreweryAnother Colorado brewery makes good at the recent 2007 Great American Beer Festival. I found this article out on the newswires about Pug Ryan's Steak House Brewery out of Dillon, Colorado. This one came from the Summit Daily News from Summit County, Colorado. Grats to Pug Ryan’s Brewery on the success at this year's GABF to this Colorado brewer.

Pug’s Pallavicini Prevails

For the sixth consecutive year, Pug Ryan’s has brewed up a winning beer for the Great American Beer Festival.

By Jason Smith - Summit Daily News - Summit County, CO
November 11, 2007

SUMMIT COUNTY — Dave Simmons, brewmaster at Pug Ryan’s Brewery and Restaurant in Dillon, wants you to know that the life of brewer is not as laid back as you may think. Only after you’ve put your heart and soul into crafting a beer that wins at the largest beer festival in the country can you then lay back and relax with a refreshing beverage in a tube on Lake Powell, and bask in the sun.

But that’s only for a moment; soon it’s back to the brewery and the business of making a beer that Summit County enjoys.

Thanks to that kind of hard work and dedication, Pug Ryan’s has won three medals this year, including the latest for their Pallavicini Pilsner, taking second place in the Bohemian Style Pilsener category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last month. More than 40,000 people sampled almost 2,000 kinds of beer in 75 categories. Judges picked the Pallavicini brew from 33 breweries that entered the category. The Brewers Association, who puts on the beer festival, notes that the craft beers, like those from Pug’s, have been a fast-growing segment of the overall beer industry, though it is still a small segment relatively speaking. The small Pug’s brewery has also won medals this year at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo and the North American Beer Awards held in Idaho.

Simmons never expected to win any medals when he started brewing about seven years ago at Pug’s. “I started brewing to make good beer for my friends and I to drink,” Simmons said.

From a quick glance at the wall full of medals near the entrance to the restaurant, it’s obvious that brewing good beer at Pug’s has become almost commonplace. However the effort needed to win those awards and brew good beer is becoming greater and greater for Simmons and his assistant, Kerry Hose; the two make up the full team creating what’s on tap at Pug’s.

Not only do they have to deal with the usual headaches of any business — equipment breaking and shipments coming in late, thus slowing the brewing process and pushing deadlines — but they also have a shortage of hops to deal with. That’s affecting brewers across the country.

“Daily, I have to deal with the inhospitable world of hops,” Simmons said, explaining that he tries to plan what hops he needs nearly three years out. Between recent bad crops, an oversupply in the past decade that saw farmers abandon crops, a fire that destroyed more than 60 tons of hops at a major distribution warehouse, and farmers slashing their crops to make room to grow corn for ethanol production, hops are getting harder and harder to find. Not to mention the increases in gas prices that will have an impact on any business. Simmons says he spends hours each day just trying to contract out enough hops to keep up with his brewing demands. Because of the high demand and the drop in producers of hops, brewmansters may need to start rethinking what brews they offer and how they make each recipe in the upcoming months.

Simmons calls his most recent prize-winning brew a classic Bohemian Pilsner, flavored with noble hops and finished with a cool, crisp, malty taste. You can find the Pallavicini Pilsner, along with Pug’s Pale Ale, Stout, Scottish and Wheat beers, on tap at Pug Ryan’s Brewery and Restaurant in Dillon and their sister restaurant, the Blue Spruce Inn in Frisco.

Original story can be found here.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

All Colorado Beer Festival 2007 announced

All Colorado Beer Festival 2007There's a new beer festival in Colorado this year, the All Colorado Beer Festival will take place in Colorado Springs this Saturday, November 10th, 2007. Here's an article from KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs on the fest:

Beer festival spotlights local brewers

At Bristol Brewery, beer is a way of life. From the hops to the tap, the beer life cycle is lived out on a daily basis. The Colorado Springs micro-brew is one of nearly 120 different brewers in our state. In fact, Colorado is home to more commercial breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country. We also top the list when it comes to the number of gallons of beer produced.

All that beer got local connoisseur Randy Dipner thinking, "that's enough to make a festival and we ought to really focus on those folks and give them a chance to show off the quality product that they have."

So, Dipner has put together the first ever All Colorado Beer Festival to celebrate our state's brewing heritage. On tap are over fifty different beers all made by local brewers. "Durango, Keystone, Fort Collins, Pueblo...we have brewers from all over the state coming to Colorado Springs this Saturday," said Dipner.

The beer they are serving is nothing to sneeze at either. One in 10 medals awarded at the Great American Beer Festival last month went to Colorado brewers. Nine of those brewers will be at Saturday's festival including Bristol.

The All Colorado Beer Festival is this Saturday at Mr. Biggs, 5828 Mark Dabling Boulevard. The first session is from Noon to 4:30 p.m. The second is from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Tickets cost $25 at the door, $20 if purchased in advance from either the Theatreworks box office or the All Colorado Beer Festival web site. Proceeds will benefit Theatreworks and the U.S.O.

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College Credit for Studying Beer

College and BeerThis article came out of the Fort Collins Coloradoan on Monday, November 5th, 2007. Apparently there IS a way to get college credit for drinking and studying beer, at least at Colorado State University there is. Almost makes me want to go back to college. Read on...

CSU class serves up the science of beer

Brewing Science & Technology professor selective

Ali Hamm is a molecular biologist who wanted to explore the idea of organic gardening and plants containing cancer-blocking antioxidants.

Her path led her to beer.

And ale. And lagers. India pale ales. Extra special bitters. Brown ales, porters and stouts.

"If I had an office, it would be here," said Hamm, a Colorado State University graduate student, sitting in the tasting room at Odell Brewing Co. on East Lincoln Avenue last week.

Hamm is studying both hops and brewing science at CSU. As a graduate student, she's conducting research into the kinds of hops that grow best under organic conditions in Colorado.

And she's one of 19 students in Professor Jack Avens' much-sought-after Brewing Science & Technology class.

It's the sole brewing-related class currently offered at CSU in Fort Collins, one of the hottest spots for craft brewing in a state that is now the No. 1 beer producer in the country.

Fort Collins ranks third in the number of breweries and brewpubs per capita - behind Durango and Boulder - boasting at least seven breweries and brewpubs in a city of 130,000 people.

Avens personally interviews each prospective student and sets the bar high for admission. Organic chemistry is just one of the prerequisites to get in to the class that is offered once a year. This is Avens' third class.

Students are currently brewing a beer at Odell, which will be offered on tap there and at the CSU bar Ramskellar. It's got an alcohol content somewhere north of 7 percent, making it stronger than most commonly available beers.

The class is officially titled "Brewing Science & Technology," and Avens said he deliberately focuses the lessons on the process by which beer and ales get from farm fields to the table, as befitting a class offered by the Department of Food Science & Nutrition.

"It's very, very scientific and not at all easy to do," Avens said of the brewing process.

Students in the class have discovered that one of their homebrews was basically undrinkable, they said.

That's not uncommon, said Brendan McGivney, production manager at Odell Brewing. He said home brewers often fail to properly clean their equipment, something commercial brewers work hard on.

"It's all about using stainless and cleaning," he told Hamm and fellow CSU students and homebrew enthusiasts Jill Cadmus and Jake Crawford as they stood in the Odell brewery. "Really cleaning, over cleaning."

McGivney started out making beer at home, and while he was a CSU student, he met up with fellow homebrew enthusiast Doug Odell. When Odell founded his brewery, McGivney came along with him.

Last week, McGivney offered Hamm, Cadmus and Crawford a sneak peek at his new brew, Big Bad Brown Ale, a rich, dark beer with an 8 percent alcohol content.

"The recipe was in my head, now it's in a glass," McGivney said. "That's awesome."

For Hamm and Cadmus, who are taking Avens' brewing science class, the opportunity to learn more about the best ways to make beer was too exciting to pass up.

"Enjoy every sip in one glass," Hamm said.

That's the same kind of advice Kirk Lombardi, regional brewer for the CB & Potts-affiliated Big Horn Brewing Co., offered recently.

Avens' class visited Big Horn, on West Elizabeth Street, on Thursday. After a tour of the brewery, and a discussion of the merits of whole-flower hops vs. palletized hops, Lombardi said it was time to start tasting the beer.

"That's what we've been waiting for you to say all day, Kirk," laughed graduate student Brian Heiwold.

Lombardi then walked the students through what he called a "sensory analysis," a process similar to the one used by oenophiles when tasting wine. Craft brewers are trying to create the same kind of appreciation for beer that wine drinkers have.

That sentiment is echoed repeatedly by Hamm, Cadmus and Crawford, who are trying to create a brewing club affiliated with CSU. While the effort is just getting under way, they're having a hard time wading through the university and government processes necessary to win recognition and approval.

"We have to get the technology and science into it, so people don't think it's just a beer-drinking club," Crawford said. "We want to have a beer-making club, not a beer-drinking club."

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Free Beer For Share Buyers

I love this concept that a brewery in New Zealand came up with. Now if only we could get American breweries to do the same thing - I think I'd invest heavily! Wonder if they'll ship internationally. Read on from this story out of the New Zealand Herald...

Buy shares and get free beers, says brewery
Wednesday November 07, 2007
By John Drinnan - New Zealand Herald

Paddy Sweeney has come up with a not-so-subtle way to coax investors into the venture he hopes will be worth $100 million in six years.

He is offering them free beer.

The West Coast Brewery founder yesterday laid out the company's welcome beer-mat for its New Zealand initial public offering.

You get two dozen bottles of selected brews with every $8500 investment. The amount of beer increases as the investment gets bigger.

And whenever there is a new beer, West Coast Brewery will deliver a six-pack to all investors.

"If someone puts in $85,000 I'd happily welcome them in with 20 dozen," says Sweeney, a fourth-generation Coaster.

"The free beer is just a gesture, but it shows what we are about - we want investors to have a bit of fun," Sweeney said.

The offer at 34c a share for West Coast Brewery has so far raised nearly $1 million. It is aiming for $2 million and can go as high as $3 million.

Sweeney said he would consider a sharemarket listing and franchising in the future.

West Coast Brewery took over Westport's Miners Brewery in March.

The company is also seeking to raise up to $5 million in Australia.

Read the full article here...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gadget Marries Video Games with Beer Tap

Now I've seen just about everything. Someone with a lot of time on their hands has come up with a product that joins together two of my favorite things - video games and beer. Take a look at this picture (click to enlarge) and start coveting. You can get this thing customized with any game console you wish and have a working beer tap and keg fridge combined into it. With a device like this, who needs to ever leave your man cave? For more info, check out the Gizmodo article here. Now that's my idea of a joystick!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who Let the Dogs Out - Flying Dog Brewery

Today's blog entry is going to review some of the beers from one Colorado brewery in particular and this time I choose to review the ales from Flying Dog Brewery (formerly) of Denver, Colorado. I've heard some good reviews on this brewery from listening to the beer podcasts covering the 2007 Great American Beer Festival that took place on October 11-13 in Denver. I went to my local beer store and found a Flying Dog Mixed Pack in the cooler and decided to try them out. The mixed pack had 12 beers in brown bottles with a random sampling from their many ales. In this particular box, there were 5 different beers featured so some of them had either 2 or 3 of the same brand included in the box.

I decided to taste test as many of Flying Dog's beers as possible while I ate dinner and watched the World Series last night. My Colorado Rockies were playing and this presented the perfect opportunity to try some of the local Colorado microbrews.

The first beer I opened up was Flying Dog Road Dog Porter, a Scottish Porter (5.5% ABV, IBU's 26). This was the darkest beer of the sampler pack and I'm becoming a lover of darker beers these days. I was eating some steak tacos from Qdoba Mexican Grill while I tasted this beer and I must say that the hot salsa on the tacos mixed perfectly with this Scottish ale. This is a decent tasting beer that goes down easy. I really enjoyed the aroma of this beer from the Yakima Golding and Cascade hops. It is lightly hopped and wasn't heavy at all. Very nice! I'd give this beer a 3.2 out of 5 on the personal rating scale.

Update: Had another of these on Feb. 7, 2009 and the recipe had changed. It's no longer labeled a Scottish porter but rather just a porter. The ABV was raised to 6.0% and the IBU's upped to 30. Tastes even better now!< After dinner, I sat down and opened up a Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale (ABV 5.1%, IBUs 17.5). This was a wonderful golden colored ale that was light and tasty. A bit more hoppier than the Road Dog but still an excellent ale. I ended up finishing this beer quickly. This was more of a summer-like ale and uses German Perle and Hallertau hops. I enjoyed this beer - smooth and would probably drink it again. I'd give this beer a 3.0 out of 5 rating.

Quickly, it was time for beer number three. This was the Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA (ABV 5.8%). Now let me say up front that I do not particularly enjoy IPA's. They are much hoppier and a lot more bitter than other beers. It takes an acquired tasted to enjoy an IPA and I knew the minute I smelled this beer that it was going to be a challenging experience. First off, this beer is rated an IBU 48 on the bitterness scale and uses a lot of Warrior, Columbus, and Golding hops.

Snake Dog IPA is dry hopped with the Columbus hops. When I tasted it, I got the feeling that I had a mouthful of bitter hops. I like a little bit of hop taste to my beer, but this one was nearly too powerful. The beer itself has an orange color with a slight citrusy aroma and the taste was what I expected from an IPA - bitter. I initially struggled to drink this beer as taste was not one that I was used to. I decided this beer needed something to counteract the bitterness. I had a couple wedges of Colby Jack cheese nearby and bit into that and chewed on the cheese after a mouthful of IPA. Wow, did that make a difference.

The cheese was the perfect antidote for the bitterness of the beer. I was able to finish the beer after struggling with it for several minutes thanks to the Colby Jack. Whenever I drink my next IPA, I'm going to be sure to have some cheese with me. This brew was one of my most challenging of the Flying Dog beers to review. I'm going to give it a 2.8 out of 5 and put it on my list to revisit again later once my taste for IPA's improve.

Update: 5/13/08 - I rated this beer prior to loving the IPA style. I plan to revisit this beer again. I'm now a fan of IPA's and I'll bet this beer stands up with the best of 'em.

The last beer I had during the evening was the Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale (ABV 4.7% and IBU's 36). The beer is described on the label as having "a shit load of Cascade hops" as well as some Northern Brewer hops added to boot. This beer definitely was a hoppy beer, buy not nearly as bitter as the IPA. This beer was more amber in color. I didn't need the cheese to finish this beer but was a borderline decision on having another one. Three of the Pale Ale bottles came in the 12 pack, so I'm going to re-try this beer again this week. The cascade hops are pleasant enough to smell while drinking it, but you have to wonder whether or not a "shit load" of them was warranted. It was 3rd on my list for enjoyability in this sampler pack primarily due to the bitterness factor. I'd give it a 2.9 out of 5 rating.

A day or so later, I finally got a chance to evaluate the 5th beer in this pack, the Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Ale (ABV 4.7%, IBU's 12). This beer poured out as a golden and hazy beer with a decent white foam head. The smell immediately told me it was definitely a wheat beer. The taste was not that intriguing to me as I'm not a big Hefeweizen drinker. The beer was not as hoppy as others and enjoyed the low sprinkling of German Perle hops. I imagine this would be a good summertime ale for a hot day, but on a cool fall evening, I'd prefer something a bit darker. I'd give this a 2.8 out of 5 rating.

So overall, Flying Dog has produced some uniquely different and tasty styles. I'd recommend the Road Dog and Tire Bite for you virgin microbrew drinkers, and if you like hoppier and bitter beers, you may wish to try the Snake Dog and Doggie Style for a change of pace.

Related articles:
- Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter review.
- Beer cellar aging - a short experiment.
- Flying Dog to throw Twitter party in Denver.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Aspen to open local brewery

Colorado is about to get another small craft brewery as plans have been announced to open a new brewery in Aspen in December. Three young entrepreneurs have gotten the support of local businesses and will open the "Aspen Brewery" in December of this year. They plan to produce eight different beers initially and sell to local restaurants, bars and liquor stores.

The owners are young but enthusiastic that feel that their craft beers will sell well in this upscale Colorado ski town. Duncan Clauss (22), Rory Douthit (22), and Brad Veltman (23) found a small 2,000 square foot site to produce their fermented beverages and have signed a three-year lease for the site. Brewmaster Jason Courtney (38) will oversee the creation of the initial brews.

Aspen Brewery also obtained a license to sell beer on their property and will offer up their wares in take-home growlers for the local patrons from their planned tasting room.

While the entrepreneurs are new to the business, they've consulted with one of the local Aspen businessmen, George Stranahan, who is one of the co-founders of Flying Dog Brewery in Denver and got his nod for starting up the business.

Colorado beer enthusiasts will no doubt look forward to sampling their first beers and gladly add them to the growing list of Colorado brewers.

Related articles:
- Longer wait for Aspen Brewery opening.
- Aspen Brewery opens.
- Aspen Brewery gets compromise from city.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Winners list from the 2007 GABF

2007 GABF WinnersIf you missed it this year, the 2007 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) was held once again in Denver for it's 26th yearly celebration. There were around 473 brewers and 2793 beers represented from around the country at this year's fest. Wow, talk about a wide variety! The GABF is sponsored by the Brewers Association and draws over 40,000 beer enthusiasts each year.

The Brewers Association announced their list of this year's winners. You can review all of the winners here in their handy PDF document. (103KB) You will need a copy of Adobe Reader to view.

With 75 different judging categories this year, it will be hard to be able to get samples of all these fine beers. Start with your favorite styles and work from there. I hope to personally review many of these beers over the course of the next year.

If you want a candid review of this year's festival from a panel of beer podcasters, head on over to Basic Brewing Radio and listen to their October 18th GABF Review Podcast or click on the link here.

For those of you Colorado beer lovers, I've taken a snapshot of all of the Colorado based brewers who won medals at this year's GABF below. Click on the image below for a larger view.

Related articles:
- 2008 Colorado GABF Winners.
- 2009 Colorado GABF Winners.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Restaurant Review: Garlic Mikes

Garlic MikesI had the opportunity to travel this last weekend out to Gunnison, Colorado to see my daughter who is currently attending Western State College. This was the college's annual Parent's Weekend and we made the 4.5 hour drive from Greeley to the quiet mountain town nestled in at 7700 feet elevation.

Normally when I travel I like to hit up the local brewery's whenever I can, but this time around I was not able to visit the Gunnison Brewery as I would have liked. I had my youngest son along this time around and my wife had other ideas about where she wanted to go for dinner while we were in town. So after much debate, we settled on one of the best restaurant's in Gunnison - Garlic Mike's.

Garlic Mike's is located a couple miles north of Gunnison along the banks of the Gunnison River. This restaurant is a small but popular Italian restaurant that has more than just your common Italian cuisine. I was after a nice steak and the NY Strip Steak Carbonara was just the thing I was looking for. And of course, what better drink to have with a steak dinner than a nice microbrew. Sadly, they didn't have any of the Gunnison Brewery beers featured on the menu, so I settled on an Odell's 90 Shilling as my 1st choice. They also offer Fat Tire and Samuel Adams beers as well as a few seasonal brews.

Word of warning, come hungry and bring a few extra bucks. While the food is great, so is the price of their meals. I believe between the four of us in our family, I spent about $100 including tip. My steak was about $25. I normally order all of my steaks cooked medium well. I'm not a fan of meat served red. I like mine cooked and with just a hint of pink in the middle. When they served my steak, it was black. I mean it looked like it had been way overcooked, but as the waiter reminded me, this was not burnt, but it was black due to the type of secret marinade they use that gives it that dark color. I carved into and found no char'ed crust but a very tender piece of meat what was just a bit pink on the inside. The taste was superb! My beer complimented the steak just perfectly too.

I was in the mood for a second beer and asked the waitress what other microbrews they had and if they had any IPA's available. She told me that had a local IPA called something like Red Car or Box Car IPA, I forget the name exactly. It was supposedly local, but I couldn't find that beer in The beer was a bit more hoppy than other beers and had a deep red color to it. The bouquet was not too strong but you could taste the extra hops that a regular IPA would offer. The beer was decent but was not one of the best I have had in recent memory. I'm generally not an IPA fan, but I was willing to try one again just to expand my repertoire.

As for the food, it was yummy. The steak came with green beans and a garlic mashed potato side that went well with it. I also just loved the sliced bread that came with the meal. I found myself eating about 3 of those and wanted some more. The rest of my family enjoyed their meals. My wife and daughter had some pasta dishes and my son had one of the individual pizzas.

So, if you're ever in Gunnison, Colorado and looking for a nice meal, I'd recommend Garlic Mikes. I'd suggest either going early or getting a reservation because they are quite popular and filled up their tables quickly.

Related articles:
- A taste of Rock Bottom Centerra - Loveland CO.
- Lunch at Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing - Ft. Collins CO.
- Restaurant review: Choice City Butcher & Deli - Ft. Collins CO.
- Restaurant review: The Tavern at St. Michael's Square - Greeley CO.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

When Work Throws You a Beer Bust

I love my job. At least I guess I must, I've been working for the same company for the last 24 years. And while I won't mention the name of my company, let's just say it's a large Fortune 500 company that makes PCs, printers and takes on the IT duties of other companies including it's own.

Back in the golden age of IT (mid 80's to late 90's), it was a common sight to see our company throw a celebration for it's employees on a regular basis. We called these celebrations Beer Busts. The company would spare no expense in providing a wealth of food and beer. It was a way to bond all the employees together and celebrate having a great financial quarter.

But then the dark times hit shortly after Y2K was over. The IT industry was employing too many workers. Many had already left and went bust trying to strike it rich when the Internet start-ups all began. Companies were tightening their belts, reducing benefits, laying off workers and hiring much cheaper offshore contract employees. There seemed to be no loyalty to the employee anymore. It was a dark time for the IT industry. Beer Busts became a thing of the past.

Then suddenly, a surprise came with the announcement that our beloved company was going to pull out all the stops and host a big Oktoberfest celebration for us. I was shocked! Not only were they providing beer, but plenty of it along with tons of food, deserts, raffle prizes and a live band. Holy cow! Was I dreaming? Nay, it was real.

Yesterday at 2pm, everyone headed out to the company cafeteria to witness not 1, not 2 but 7 different kegs of beer being served. The beer they were pouring included some of the traditional mass market swill (Coors, Bud, Michelob) but to my pleasure, they were also pouring New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale and Sunshine Wheat as well as Odell's 90 Shilling, classic Colorado microbrews. I was in beer heaven! There was also a long line to get some nice brats. I quickly opted to try the 90 Shilling and got in line for the brats and struck up a conversation with some of my co-workers. It was just like the old days.

Seeing how this is a beer blog, I'll give a quick review of the Odell's 90 Shilling. This beer has been around since 1989 as Odell Brewing Company's flagship beer. It's an offshoot of a classic Scottish Ale. Odell is based in Fort Collins Colorado which just happens to be where I work. It's billed as am amber beer and a Scottish ale, but is a bit darker than most ambers, certainly darker than New Belgium's Fat Tire. A friend of mine introduced it to me back in the late 90's, a time when I was drinking nothing but commercial swill. This was the beer that changed my mind about other styles of beer and got me to start trying other beers. In fact, shortly after tasting that for the first time, I started homebrewing. But I digress.

Odell's 90 Shilling is a refreshing dark amber with a rich smooth taste. It goes down clean with no aftertaste. A beer that certainly invites you to want a 2nd one. I wish I had brought a glass with me as the plastic cups that we were drinking out of certainly did nothing to enhance the experience, however, the quality of the beer shone through the container. At least this beer was flowing out of a keg and not a can. Plus it was free so I can't really complain.

I'd heartily recommend this beer to anyone. I may make this one of my staple beers alongside New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale. I'll give it a hefty Thumbs Up.

It was great of my employer to throw this Oktoberfest celebration for all of us. It's been way too long since we've had a nice celebration like this. It only helps to build morale and boost spirits. At least the person in charge of this event knew what kind of beer to order. Nothing beats good old local microbrew. Gotta support our local breweries, and in Colorado, we have a lot of them.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Virtual Oktoberfest Warcraft Style

Warcraft Brewfest
I'm a big fan of this time of year. The hot summer days are quickly fading from memory as the cool fall air settles in, the leaves start turning and a man's fancy turns towards his favorite subject. No it's not football or sex, it's BEER. And what better way to celebrate the most recent harvest with an annual Oktoberfest!

All across America, cities are celebrating the end of the growing season by tapping a few kegs from their local brewpubs and quaffing down some of that fine golden ale. While many people enjoy going to their local Oktoberfest, they might not realize that they can also celebrate Oktoberfest online as well.

One of the more recent places to celebrate Oktoberfest is in the online game World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft (or WoW) hosts many in-game festivals throughout the year and this year Brewfest is one of them.

Late September is the time of year that World of Warcraft celebrates Oktoberfest. Players can participate in the Brewfest by attending one of the many sites outside the virtual city gates where the Brewfest is being held. WoW's Brewfest lets you "sample" the lands finest beers and have some fun while you're at it.

At the Brewfest, you can capture strange creatures that can only be seen while "drunk". You can deliver kegs of beer to the Brewfest while riding a large speedy Ram. You can help defend the beer kegs against invading evil dark iron dwarves who try to steal the beer.

As a reward, the Brewfest awards prize tickets that can be redeemed in game for Brewfest costumes, mugs and stylish German hats. It's all good fun and if by chance you are of age, you can even pour yourself and enjoy a real beer while playing in the Brewfest.

Ya, call me a geek, but I've really enjoyed getting my virtual characters soused up by drinking a few dwarven ales while I actually sip on my New Belgium Brewery 1554 Black Ale while I play. At least you won't get pulled over for a DUI after the WoW Brewfest is over - you're already home.

I've long since quit playing WoW, but it's a pleasant enough game provided that you don't end up playing too much of it at once. Everything in moderation, that goes for beer as well.

Update: I no longer play WoW or online poker. I think beer and fantasy football remain my number 1 hobbies. Are you still playing World of Warcraft? Let me know what you think about WoW's Brewfest.

Related articles:
- Personal beer tour underway (featuring NBB 1554).
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Oskar Blues hosts annual Osktoberfest.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Commonly used brewing definitions

The following is a compilation of commonly used brewing terms and definitions - A to Z.

Acetaldehyde - Identified by the smell or taste of green apples
Adjunct - Any unmated, fermentable ingredient such as honey or Belgian candy sugar that you add to beer, often used to add flavor or alcohol
Aerate - To force air or oxygen into solution
Aerobic - A process requiring oxygen
Agar - A gelatinous culture medium for yeast culturing
Ale yeast - Top fermenting yeast with ideal fermentation temperature around 68F: Latin name Saccharomyces cerevisiae. See White Labs, Wyeast, DCL Dry Yeast, and Lallemand Dry Yeast for information on strains available. See also Lager yeast
All grain - Refers to beers brewed with barley, barley malt and specialty grains and without extracts also used in reference to home brewers who make their own beer by using nothing but grain
Alpha acid - One of two resins found in hop lupulin glands usually measured by percent by weight. Alpha acids convert to bitterness during the boil
Alpha acid units (AAU) - A measurement of hop bittering potential expressed in relation to acid percentage of total hop weight. See also Homebrew Bitterness Units (HBUs)
Alpha-amylase - One of the two principal diastatic enzymes that convert starches into fermentable sugars.
Alt - German for old
Anaerobic - A process that does not require oxygen
Astringency - A drying, puckering, harsh mouth coating huskiness or dryness from tannin in the grain husk
Attenuate - Refers to the yeast consumption of fermentable sugars transforming them into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas indicated by the difference between original gravity and final gravity
Autolysis - A disintegrating, self-digestion of a cells body by it's own enzymes; autolyzed yeast contributes nitrogen to the wort creating a rubbery stench

Balling - One of two basic scales found on hydrometers that is used to measure the density of beer, named for its inventor, Carl Joseph Balling
Barley wine - A strong ale
Barrel - A liquid measure equivalent to 31 US gallons
Base - grain The major source of fermentables
Beer engine - A device for dispensing draft beer using a pump operated by hand. The use of a hand pump allows cask-conditioned beer to be served without the use carbon dioxide.
Beer stone - The grayish white material that builds up on the inside of your brewing system. Organic compounds in the wort that bind with compounds in the brewing water and adhere to stainless steel
Beta acid - One of the two resins in hop lupulin glands. Beta acids contribute more to the preservation of the beer than to its bitterness because of its insolubility
Beta-amylase - One of the two principal diastatic enzymes that convert starches into fermentable sugars. Often referred to as the saccharifing enzyme
Beta-glucan - A gum derived mostly from grain husks
Beta-glucan rest - The standard rest to break down Beta Glucans is 100* F for 15 minutes. See also Beta-Glucan
Blow-off tube - An alternative to an air lock. The tube extends from the fermenter to a bucket of sanitizer
Body - The sensation of fullness or thickness of a beer on the palate, mouth-feel
Bottle conditioned - Aged and naturally carbonated in the bottle
Bottom fermenting - See lager yeast
Break - The phase during boiling or cooling of beer wort when proteins precipitate
Bright tank - A vessel or container that the beer is racked to once fermentation is or is almost complete. This vessel is usually pressurized to ease racking the finished beer off the precipitated trub. This vessel is usually chilled for three weeks at 32 degrees F

CAMRA - The CAMpaign for Real Ale. An organization in England that was founded in 1971 to preserve the production of cask-conditioned beers and ales.
Carboy - A large volume container of glass or plastic typically used by home brewers for fermentation or conditioning tanks
Chill haze - Small particles of protein and polyphenols
Closed fermentation - Fermentation takes place in a closed vessel
Cold break - Particles that begin to fall from suspension as the wort drops below 140 degrees F. See also break
Cold steeping - Specialty grains are steeped in water that is 40-55 degrees F for several hours to over night. Cold steeping is used on dark grains and supposedly results in less aggressive flavor
Conditioning - The final stage of fermentation in a bottle or keg whereby natural carbonation is produced
Conical fermenter - Usually either a plastic or stainless steel fermenting vessel. Simplifies the fermentation process in that dead yeast can simply be removed from the beer by way of a dump valve found on the bottom of the vessel
Conversion - Changing starches to sugars as in the mashing process
Cooper - An old term that refers to the brew pot
Counter-flow chiller - A wort chiller that has beer flowing one direction in a tube with an outer tube containing cold water flowing the opposite direction. See also Immersion chiller

Decoction - A highly involved process of mashing that requires the removal of portion of the mash to the boiler. It is then returned to the mash tun.
Dextrin - An unfermentable and almost tasteless carbohydrate derived from starches during the mashing process. Dextrins contribute body, head retention and mouth feel to the finished beer.
Dextrose - A synonym for corn sugar
Diacetyl - Buttery or butterscotch aromas and flavors. This occurs and dissipates naturally during fermentation cycle. Other sources of obvious diacetal character may indicate excessively warm fermentation temperatures, under oxygenated wort or contamination.
Diastase - The enzymes in malt that convert starch to sugar and dextrins
Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS) - Originates in malt and when the wort is boiled. Usually DMS is driven off during the course of the boil
Dry hopping - Hops added to fermenting or finished beer to impart fresh hop aroma, not bitterness
Dunkel - German for dark in color

Enteric - A bacterial contamination that makes beer smell like a soiled diaper
Esters - A class of compounds responsible for the fruity flavors and aromas in beer. Desired in ales, seen as a fault in lagers

Fermentation lock - A one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide gas to escape the fermenter while keeping oxygen and contaminants out
Fining agent - Helps precipitate protein into the hot break. See also Irish moss or isinglass
Fining - A procedure that can be used to aid in the clarification of beer. See also Irish moss or isinglass
Finishing hops - Hops that are added to the boil in the last 1-2 minutes
First Wort Hopping - Adding hops to the brewpot at the beginning of the lauter; hops steep in ~170F wort during the runoff before being brought to a boil. This is said to add a smooth hop flavor and aroma.
Flocculation - The tendency of yeast to clump together and fall out of suspension
Fusel alcohol - Described as a hot or solvently flavor. Usually occurs when beer is fermented above 75 degrees F

Gelatin - A colorless and tasteless protein used as a fining agent
Gelatinization - The transformation of starch from a solid, crystalline form to a liquid, soluble form
Grist - Crushed malt and/or adjuncts mixed with hot water for mashing
Growler - A container like a jug used to carry draft beer purchased at a local brewpub(s)
Gyle - A portion of unfermented wort that is added to finished beer for conditioning

HBU - (1) Hop bitterness unit: The value assigned to a hop for the purpose of identifying bitterness. (2) Homebrew bitterness Units: A measure of the total amount of bitterness potential in a given volume of beer.
Head - (No laughing!) The foam at the top of a poured beer
Heat exchanger - Equipment used to heat or cool the wort rapidly. See also wort chiller or counter flow chiller
Helles - German for light in color
High gravity - An original wort gravity of 1.06 or greater
Hop back - A piece of equipment, similar to a strainer, containing fresh hops that boiling hot wort passes through on it's way to a counter flow wort chiller. Used to impart fresh hop aroma to the unfermented wort while simultaneously filtering out trub
Hop extract - Resins and oils extracted from hops by using organic solvents or liquid carbon dioxide
Hop pellets - Finely powdered hop cones that are compressed into pellet form
Hops - The flower or cones of the female hop plant used in brewing to impart flavor and bitterness.
Hot break - (1) The participation of protein and tannic matter when hops are added to boiling wort. (2) Can be scrambled egg like in appearance. See also Cold break
Hot liquor tank - Tank containing hot water used during the sparage process
Hydrometer - A glass instrument used to measure the specific gravity of beer by comparing it to that of water. See also Refractometer

Immersion chiller - Usually a copper coil that is place in the boil kettle during the boil. See also Counter-flow chiller
Inoculating needle - A nickel chrome steel alloy or plastic apparatus used to inoculate a slant, plate or small sample of wort
International Bitterness Units (IBUs) - One IBU equals one milligram of isomerized alpha acid in 1 liter of wort or beer
Irish moss - A fining agent made from dried seaweed, also known as carragheen
Isinglass - A fining agent made from the swim bladders of the sturgeon. A positively charged substance that binds with negatively charged yeast cells, some proteins, lipids and antifoaming agents. Used to help settle the yeast out of suspension. See also flocculation

Kraeusen - The foamy head the develops on the surface of fermenting wort

Lager yeast - A bottom fermenting yeast with ideal fermentation temperature around 30-50* F: Latin name Saccharomyces uvarum. See White Labs, Wyeast, DCL Dry Yeast, and Lallemand Dry Yeast for information on strains available. See also Ale yeast
Lagering - Time which lager beer is aged subsequent to primary fermentation, to store
Lambic beer - Commonly in the form of a fruit beer where the fruit flavor balances the acidity. Typically made from 65 percent pale malt and 35 percent unmalted wheat. They are lightly hopped and fermented with a mix of yeasts and bacteria.
Lauter tun - The brewing vessel used to separate the grains from the sweet wort by a straining process
Lauter - The process of separating grain and hops from wort
Lovibond - A method to describe malt color, the figure is usually expressed in degrees. See also Standard Reference Method

Malt extract - A sugary syrup or powder that is produced by mashing malted barley and then has part or all of the water removed
Malted barley - Barley that has been partially germinated then dried
Mash - The process of soaking crushed grains in hot water for a specific time to activate the enzymes within
Mash out - Raising the temperature of the mash above the saccharification rest (around 168F) to make the wort in the mash less viscous which makes lautering easier
Mash tun - Container which holds the grain and liquid, generally at a specific temperature, during which the starch in the grain is converted to sugar
Mill - To crush grain or adjuncts, also called cracking

Open fermentation - As the words suggest the beer is fermented without a lid or covering. See closed fermenting
Oxidized - Occurs when beer is exposed to oxygen; a condition which leads to premature beer staling. Tastes or smells papery to like cardboard

Parti-gyle lautering - The practice of drawing off a portion of the mash liquid (first runnings) for a strong beer, then adding more hot liquor to the mash and drawing off a second weaker running
pH - A logarithmic measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution
Phenol - Aromas or flavors that seem medicinal or plastic, usually produced by wild yeast
Pipette - A glass or plastic tube inscribed with graduated marks, used for measuring small amounts of a liquid
Pitch - To add yeast to wort
Plato - A scale of measurement used by professional brewers to measure the density of solutions, expressed as the equivalent weight of cane sugar in solution, calibrated on grams of sucrose per 100 grams of solution
Polyclar AT (PVPP) - Fining agent used to absorb polyphenols
Primary fermentation - The process of initial fermentation
Primary fermenter - The container where primary fermentation happens
Priming - The process of adding sugar, wort or malt extract at bottling time
Protein rest - A portion of the mashing process. Typically, it is the first step in mashing. Hold the mash at 120 to 135°F for 20 to 30 minutes. Adding a protein rest will help to improve the clarity of your beer and especially helps in the prevention of chill haze
Protein - Can combine with phenols to cause haze in beer

Rack - To transfer the beer or wort from one vessel to another
Re-circulation - The act of returning wort to the mash tun in an effort to clear all particles of grain/adjuncts from the wort
Refractometer - An optical instrument that measures the sucrose concentration in a sucrose and water solution
Reinheitsgebot - (pronounced: Rine-Hites-gaBoat) The German "purity law" which originated in Bavaria in1516 states that only malt, hops, yeast and water can be used in the production of beer
Rest - (1) A span of time during which the mash sits at a relatively constant temperature. (2) What you do after you finish brewing while consuming one of your favorite malt beverages.
Rousing - To create turbulence by agitation

Secondary fermentation - Beer is racked to another vessel and allowed to age prior to bottling or kegging
Silica gel - A fining agent used to absorb haze forming proteins
Single infusion mash - A mash with only one rest, usually between 150-158 degrees F.
Slant - A test tube looking piece of glass partially filled with agar on a slant, also usually has a lid
Sparge - (1)Using hot water (170 degrees F) to rinse the converted sugars from the grain. (2) Drawing sweet wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle.
Standard Reference Method (SRM) - A method to describe beer color, the figure is expressed in whole numbers. See also Lovibond
Starch conversion - Alpha and beta amylase convert starch to sugar by holding the wort at 142 to 158 degrees F, usually accomplished in water heated to 130 – 170 degrees F
Starter - Generally a small batch of fermenting yeast added to the wort to quickly begin fermentation
Steeping - The process of soaking crushed grains in hot water to extract flavor and color components
Step mashing - Raising the temperature of the mash and resting at specific, pre-determined temperatures with the intent of activating different enzymes in the mash
Strike temperature - The target temperature of a mash rest
Stuck fermentation - A fermentation that doesn't start or stops before reaching a target final gravity
Sweet wort - The wort that is collected from the mash before it is boiled

Tannin - Astringent polyphenolic compounds capable of either precipitating or forming haze
Top cropping - The process of harvesting yeast from fermenting ale
Top fermenting - See ale yeast
Trub - (pronounced: troob) Coagulated haze forming protein compounds.

Vegetal aroma - Aromas and flavors that smell like cabbage or cauliflower. See also Dimethyl Sulfide

Wild yeast - Any yeast the brewer did not intend to pitch into the beer
Wort - (pronounced: wert) Liquid prepared that will ferment to beer

Zymurgy - The art/science of yeast fermentation. Also, the homebrew magazine published by the American Homebrewers Association

BYO Magazine
Zymurgy Magazine
Home Brewing, The CAMRA Guide -- Grahm Wheeler
First Steps in Yeast Culture -- Pierre Rajotte
Designing Great Beers -- Ray Daniels
A Text Book of Brewing -- Jean De Clerck
The Complete Joy of Home Brewing 3rd edition -- Charlie Papazian
Homebrewing for Dummies -- Marty Nachel
The Beer, Beer and More Beer catalog

Related articles:
- Commonly Used Brewing Acronyms.

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