Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery opens in Ridgway

The state of Colorado now has another brewery to add to it's growing list. On December 26, 2008 the Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery opened for business in Ridgway, Colorado. The new brewery has been in the works for quite some time now. Tom and Sandy Hennessy are the proud owners and have been in the brewery business since 1993. They were the former owners of the Palisade Brewery on the western slope of Colorado.

Colorado Boy is located in the heart of Ridgway in a renovated 1915 brick building. They are now open for business and are welcoming in new patrons.

For more information or to visit:


Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery is located at 602 Clinton Street, PO Box 877, Ridgway, CO 81432. Phone: (970) 626-5333.
Email the owners at: tomhen@mac.com

Web site: http://www.coloradoboy.com/


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Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout review

Nøgne Ø Imperial StoutOne of the many pleasures of trying different beers is the endless variety of breweries who put out an imperial stout. There is a brewery from Norway that's been getting a lot of media attention lately here in the states that goes by the name of Nøgne Ø. Nøgne Ø is located in Grimstad, Norway which is situated about 175 miles southwest of Oslo along the southeastern coastal tip of the country. One distinctive feature of all of their beers are their colorful labels with a big Ø. Today's brew review covers their Imperial Stout which happens to have a big purple Ø on the label.

This time of year is perfect for drinking rich dark brews. The Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout is a big beer weighing in at a respectable 9% ABV and bittered at 75 IBUs. Those numbers alone should tell you that you're in for quite an experience. Imperial stouts have nearly twice the grains and alcohol in them than regular stouts. Nøgne Ø created this brew with a mix of Maris Otter, Munich, and roasted barley, some oats, black and chocolate malts and hopped it with Columbus and Crystal hops. Then they top fermented it with an English Ale yeast.

Appearance: The beer poured dark as molasses and came with a generous thick dark brown head which stayed around for several minutes. This brew came in a big 500L bottle and had plenty for 2 good sized samplings. This brew will set you back $7.99 or so at your local beer store.

Aroma: Once poured, I let this brew sit out for a bit as I wanted to let it warm up to 50 to 55 degrees before tasting. Immediately as I poured it into my wide-mouthed glass, I could smell a rich bouquet of dark roasted malts with a hint of alcohol bite. There was more chocolate aroma than coffee aroma in this brew. I could see that this stout was decently carbonated as well.

Mouthfeel: Once warmed, I inhaled it's aroma deeply and took a sip. Oooo! This brew seemed to attack my taste buds with a sharpness and carbonation. The bubbles seemed to fizzle all around my tongue. Quite different than most dark stouts that seem not to have much carbonation at all. This brew made my tongue tingle as it journeyed down to my throat.

Taste: The Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout was very rich and full bodied. It had a wonderful dark malty taste with a nice bitterness. It is also a nice warmer as well going down. I could feel a nice glow after a few sips. This one is crisp enough that it doesn't leave an aftertaste. The malts and hops are very well balanced and the high alcohol content doesn't distract from the experience.

The alcohol on the nose became more apparent as this brew warmed. I found myself eager to get to my 2nd glass and finish this bottle. It's nice to have found another terrific example of an imperial stout that is available locally. This makes a delicious after dinner brew. I paired this beer with an Ice Cream Sandwich ice cream and poured little over the top. The brew made the ice cream fizzle as it seemed to attack the ice cream as it did my tongue. It tasted wonderful!

Overall: I'm an instant fan of Nøgne Ø now and am highly recommending their imperial stout to all dark brew lovers. It's worth the extra couple of bucks for this kind of drink. It gets a solid Thumbs Up from me. Anyone else who has tried this also get a tingle on the tongue from this? If so, let me know.

Related articles:
- HaandBryggeriet Haandbaak review.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout review.
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast review.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bottle washing day

Bottle washingOne of the "chores" of getting ready for homebrewing is the dreaded bottle washing day. I've been saving up all of my beer bottles for the last entire year and ended up with over 4 huge trash bags full of 12oz, 22oz, and the assorted odd size bottles. When I end up getting to the point where I'm ready to bottle I want to use as few bottles as possible to store my 5 gallon batch in. Hence, I first want to use my big 22oz bomber bottles.

I spent an hour sorting through my bottle collection. All of those big bombers and 16oz bottles that I found I put off to the side. I'd focus on these today. After sifting through a couple hundred bottles I managed to find 26 large bottles. All of these had labels, some had was coatings, and even others had foil wrappings. It wasn't going to be easy getting all that stuff off those bottles.

Ten years ago when I used to homebrew, I decided to just buy a couple cases of new brown bomber bottles. Well this time around, I wanted to save a few bucks and re-use bottles that I had already used.

I filled up my basement utility sink up with hot hot water and soaked all 26 bottles in there for about 3 hours or so. I figured that would help loosen up those labels and other items. I came back after several hours and tried peeling off a label. It seemed to work for the most part but managed to leave a lot of glue residue on the glass. I was going to need something to scrub off that pesky glue.

Soaking bottlesI found a hard bristled scrub brush on my workbench and tried out a bottle on it. Wow - that brush worked great! The glue residue came right off with very little effort. Some of the bottles gave up their adornments better than others. Some European bottles has a glue that was downright nasty to get off. On other bottles, the foil wrappers at the top of the bottle required a sharp knife to scrape off.

I was lucky enough to have the assistance of my lovely wife and daughter to help me peel labels and scrub bottles. Having a work crew of 3 helped get all of the labels off those bottles in about 45 minutes.

In hind sight, I realized there are probably better ways to remove labels. My friends on Twitter told me how they do it.

olllllo, Jeffporn and BigKahunaBrew say they throw all of their rinsed empties into a 35g garbage can and use oxyclean on them overnight. Any labels that don't fall off they pitch.

Discarded labelsFieldpointeBrew suggested trying some PBW brewery wash. This stuff is supposedly amazing at cleaning all sorts of brewing related items.

I'm heading to my local homebrew shop this week to pick up more supplies. I've definitely have PBW and Star-San on my list of items to stock for my home brewery.

Next step is to wash these bottle well in the dish washer and store them in a clean place. Then on bottling day I'll dip them in a no-rinse sanitizer and I'll be ready for the beer!

Continue reading: The trials and tribulations of bottling beer.

Related articles:
- Homebrew shopping list.
- Putting together the home brewery.
- My humble homebrew beginnings.
- Homebrew beer batch 001 tasting notes.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Testing the Blichmann Boilermaker kettle

Testing the Blichmann BoilermakerFor anyone still looking for a good brew kettle and are considering buying a Blichmann Boilermaker, this blog post and video will help demonstrate how well this kettle works out in the elements. On a cold windless December day in Northern Colorado I put the Blichmann Boilermaker to the test to see just how fast I could bring 10 gallons of 40°F cold water up to a boil. This was the first trial run using this new 15 gallon brew kettle and I wanted to see how well it would stand up to a high powered propane burner.

I placed the Blichmann Boilermaker on top of a Bayou Classic SP10 propane burner. The 2008 version of the burner unit supposedly puts out over 185,000 BTUs and from the estimates I had read, it will bring 10 gallons of water up to a rolling boil in about 40 minutes. Please note, newer models of the Bayou Classic SP10 may only put out 55,000 BTUs.

Setting up the burner and kettle takes very little time and filling the kettle using only a 2 gallon thermos took about 10 minutes including running back and forth into the kitchen to fill up the container. It was too cold to run a hose from the house as I feared the outside pipe might break if I tried using it in December.

My home brewery sits at about 4850 feet above sea level. At the start of the boil, the outside temperature was about 27°F. Another local brewer told me that the boiling point of water at high altitude was about 5-10 degrees lower than at sea level. I wanted to confirm that mark and today was the perfect day for it.

Watch the 5 minute video below and see how well the 15 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker stood up to the test. You can also view it on YouTube directly.



Test Results:

Time to reach steeping temp: 155°F, 30 min.

Time to bring to full boil: 43 min.

Temperature at full boil at 4850 altitude: 206°F

30 min. past full boil, amount of water boiled off: 0.5 gal.

The Blichmann held up very well. No leaks occurred from any of the 4 holes. There was very little heat marks at the bottom of the kettle after 75 minutes of constant flame. I was very pleased that I got 10 gallons to a full boil in just 43 minutes out in the cold Colorado weather.

Watch Fermentedly Challenged brew with the Blichmann Boilermaker.

Price a 15 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker.

Related articles:
- Bayou Classic SP10 propane burner test.
- Putting together the home brewery.
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.


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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breaking in the Bayou Classic SP10 gas burner

Bayou Classic SP10I've recently started acquiring some additional homebrewing equipment and decided to take my new propane gas burner for a test drive. The burner I purchased was a Bayou Classic SP10.

The Bayou Classic SP10 is a powerful little gas burner capable of putting out over 185,000 BTUs. That's enough heat to bring 10 gallons of 60 degree water up to a boil in 40 minutes or so. I found a great deal on one on Amazon.com for less than $45. The price there seems to vary between $39 and $52. Best of all, you can get one shipped out in less than 5 days and pay no shipping costs from there. Now that's a bargain!

I decided to take the Bayou Classic SP10 out for a test drive. I've read in a couple different homebrew forums that you should test burn this device before homebrewing with it as fumes from the paint tend to be strong upon the first use.

Bayou Classic paints this unit black and it looks great out of the box, but when you "flame on" for the first time, all that black paint around the rim is going to burn off and will give off some harsh odors and yield a bit of white ash. So it's best to fire it up and burn off that top paint first before using it with your homebrewing.

I made a short 3-minute video to demonstrate just exactly what happens to the paint the first time you try out this burner. You'll see why in no time why you should take this for a test drive prior to your first homebrew. Keep in mind that this unit started off all black. By the end of the video you'll see what the 1st 20 minutes will do to that paint job. You can also watch this on YouTube.



I let the unit burn for about 20 minutes. It started up just fine right out of the box. There is an adjustment you can make to change the mix of air with the propane to tweak the flame. I suggest playing with that a bit to get the flame to burn the way you want it.

Overall, I was very pleased with how this unit worked. I can't wait now to try some test boils on my new brew kettle. I should have some information on how long it takes to bring 10 gallons up to boil in a few days.

Update: Later on when I used it for a couple more hours, even more paint came off the top circular rim of the unit. Once most of that black paint is gone you shouldn't need to worry about the ash floating around and getting into your beer. It took adding a boiling pot with water on top for the heat to burn off more of the black paint around the rim.

Important News (9/10/2012) - Apparently, newer models (2012) of the Bayou Classic SP10 may no longer have the 185,000 BTU output, but are rather 55,000 BTUs. Be sure to read all of the specs on the new model before purchasing.

Related articles you might enjoy:
- Putting together the home brewery.
- Colorado Homebrew Supply Stores.
- Choosing a brew kettle.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Lost Abbey Lost and Found review

The Lost Abbey Lost and FoundI like to save certain beers for special occasions and Christmas was the perfect occasion to select one of the newer brews to appear here in Colorado. Just recently, the Port Brewing Company of California starting distributing their beers out here in Colorado. Not only do they offer their brews from Port Brewing but also from their line of The Lost Abbey beers. The first of this line to be reviewed here on Fermentedly Challenged is a Dubbel named Lost and Found.

The last dubbel I've tried was from Chimay and I was hoping that the Lost Abbey could put up a good showing here. Lost and Found came out of the cooler very cold. I let it warm up slightly before opening. Lost and Found comes in a huge 25.4 oz bottle with a cork and a wire cage. This brew weighs in at a hefty 8.0% ABV this year. Seeing how it was larger than your typical bomber bottle, I was worried that I might not be able to finish the entire bottle.

Appearance: I poured this beer into my favorite chalice glass. Lost and Found is a wonderful deep mahogany color. I fear that the beer was a bit too cold still as it poured with very little head. The off-white head quickly disappeared. The cork came off with just a slight pop but the beer was still decently carbonated and had been conditioned in the bottle. I had to be a bit careful pouring as there was a noticeable layer of sediment at the bottle of the bottle.

Aroma: The aroma of this beer was familiar, it sure smelled like a Chimay. The beer was brewed with raisins and those dark fruits were very distinctive within the aroma. Lost and Found smelled sweet, a bit floral, rich with dark fruit and of nice Belgian yeast. I also picked up a bit of an alcohol hit on it too. The fruity esters seemed to dominate here.

Taste: The first taste was also familiar. It was initially a tad funky and nearly tart. You could taste the fruit in this one. The brew seemed to spread out and cover your tongue with flavor and left a lingering taste on the back side of it. It's difficult to make out the full range of flavors with this beer at first. As I've stated about other beers, this one takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, it becomes a completely enjoyable experience.

By the time I needed to refill my glass, the middle of my tongue seemed to be a bit numb but in a good way. While this beer initially reminded me of a Chimay, it quickly takes on it's own unique characteristics. It's full bodied, very flavorful and the aroma is one that you could fall in love with easily.

I chose to eat a Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with Raspberry square with this beer. Oh what a fantastic pairing! The dark chocolate and fruity raspberry creme center blended well with the dark fruits of Lost and Found. Quite the nice mix. You can tell that I like pairing desserts with many of my darker beers.

Overall: To fully enjoy this beer, simply open it up and let this beer breathe a bit first. I highly recommend you get a chalice or a nice wide top glass to get the full appreciation of this beer. The aroma really makes this beer stand out. I ended up finishing the entire bottle with little difficulty. The last ounce or two in this bottle will be full of sediment so be careful pouring.

I fully enjoyed this beer and and pleased that the Lost Abbey line of beers are available here. I look forward to trying even more of this line of brew. I'm giving Lost and Found a strong Thumbs Up and a repeat buy recommendation. If you like Dubbels this beer will not disappoint you.

Related articles:
- Chimay Premiere Ale review.
- Port Brewing Old Viscosity review.
- The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout (2009) review.
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Snowman DaveFrom the Chipper Dave household in Greeley, Colorado - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season, and an even better New Year in 2009. Thanks to everyone for visiting and reading Fermentedly Challenged this year. Hope to do even more beery good stuff in 2009.

Cheers!

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

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Take note of your beer

Chris WrightEvery once in a while I come across a product that's related to my hobby that I like to pass along to my readers. I was fortunate to run into Chris Wright from Monument, Colorado at the Great American Beer Festival. I noticed that he was taking notes on the beers that he was tasting in a handy bound book. It turns out he created the book himself and is the author of a publication called "The Beer Journal".

Chris describes The Beer Journal as follows:

"It is a great time to enjoy or start enjoying fine beer. So why keep a journal of your experiences with beer? Because it can be a lot of fun. You can track changes in your tastes or powers of perception, changes in different beers, and share your thoughts with other beer enthusiasts. You can challenge yourself to try as many different types of beers as possible and keep track of how you are doing. You will also be able to remember a particular beer and why you liked it. In the other sections of this book you can also keep track of your visits to beer festivals, brewery tours, create your own beer cellar, and develop and track your own beer and food pairings."

The Beer Journal contentsI am a firm believer in keeping notes on all of the beers I try. You'll usually find me jotting down some scribbles at almost every brewery or beer fest I visit.

I picked up a copy of The Beer Journal and found it to be a wealth of information. The journal itself is not only an organized way to document everything about the beer you're sampling but it is also a handy reference guide to the many beer styles that exist out there.

Chris dedicates nearly the first 100 pages of his book to describing the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines. This way, you can understand what each style is supposed to be like before you taste it and then be able to judge for yourself whether or not the beer you're drinking meets up with that standard.

Fermentedly Challenged loves The Beer JournalThe rest of the book has well over 100 pages for beer tastings, beer festival records, tracking the beers you keep in your cellar, brewery tour notes and even food and beer pairings.

There are several versions of The Beer Journal. They come in hard cover, soft cover, spiral bound and even a handy pocket edition. I personally love the spiral edition because I can easily write in it and fold it over when taking notes.

Don't worry if you end up filling up the entire journal. That's fine because you can always pick up another one and continue where you left off.

Hats off to Chris Wright for coming up with a great way to document the beers that we love to drink. The Beer Journal is available from Amazon.com, or from Chris' web site at www.thebeerjournal.com.

Update: Chris Wright went on to become the owner and brewmaster of Pikes Peak Brewing Company in Monument, CO which opened in May 2011. The publication was last printed in 2010 and is still available on Amazon.com.


Related articles:
- 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals & Events.
- 2008 GABF Video tasting notes.
- 2008 Odell Small Batch Beer Festival.
- Caught in the act by the press.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Gulden Draak Ale review

Gulden Draak AleThis brew review came from a recommendation from an acquaintance, Shawn the Beer Philosopher. I found his recommendation on this Belgian Strong Ale and when I spotted it at my local beer store I couldn't resist picking one up. This brew is none other than Gulden Draak Ale from the Brouwerij Van Steenberge NV of Ertvelde, Belgium.

The first thing you notice about this beer is it's unique white 330ml bottle. This is actually a brown glass bottle that has been painted white and made to look like it is ceramic. On the label is an image of a Golden Dragon, hence the name of this brew. Gulden Draak is a Belgian Strong Ale and weighs in at a hefty 10.5% ABV.

This beer was decently carbonated as it gave off a nice "hiss" when I popped the cap. Gulden Draak supposedly is given a second fermentation in the bottle. It pours a dark dark crimson color. Lots of red overtones to a nearly brown beer. It left a nice bubbly 1 finger white head that lingered for just a minute or so.

Despite being having a slight bottle fermentation, I found no sediment in this small bottle. The brew appeared clear in my chalice glass. The beer was chilled considerably and I let this one breathe for several minutes before sampling as I wanted the full aroma to come out.

The first sniff I noticed a sweet malty aroma with a bit of the usual Belgian yeastiness. I could pick up a bit of the alcohol smell as well as I might expect form a strong ale. There was a fair amount of bubbles in this brew so I knew it was nicely carbonated.

The taste was a very pleasant first experience. I definitely picked out the sweet malts and detected a hint of dark fruits. This reminded me of a nice Barleywine but with a Belgian twist. Right from the start I knew this beer was going to be highly enjoyable. The 11.2 oz bottle is the perfect sampling size for this type of ale. I wish all strong brews came in a size like this.

While I was sipping this brew I was reading over the beer description on the brewer's web site (above). The brewer claims that you will pick up notes of chocolate and coffee in this beer, but I found none of that on my palate. This brew was rich and smooth and just slightly bitter. A very good mix of tastes here. I can see why BeerAdvocate readers gave this beer a solid review.

Gulden Draak is a great warming beer. The alcohol starts giving you a glow from the moment you swallow that first taste. It was perfect for sipping on a cold winter day. I highly recommend you let this beer warm up a bit and not to sample it too cold as it may mask all the flavors you'll find here.

This is a beer that could easily be aged, but the brewer warns that it is best consumed before 2 years of age. I think it was good immediately. Might be worth hiding one in the cellar for a year to see how it turns out.

After I was finished with the beer I felt that I could easily drink more of this. Perhaps next time I'll try to find a larger bottle of this brew. Gulden Draak is amazingly good. One of the better Belgians I've tried this year. I'm giving this a big Thumbs Up and a repeat buy recommendation. Go easy on this as the alcohol will sneak up on you. It's a beer that can be enjoyed any time of year.

Related articles:
- Return to Choice City (St Bernardus Abt 12).
- Chimay Grande Reserve review.
- Van Steenberge Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red Ale review.
- Orval Trappist Ale review.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brewers needed for Las Vegas beer fest

Local beer fests are great and I try to attend as many of them as I can possibly can. But now I hear there is an effort underway to draw dozens of breweries from around the west to attend a brand new beer fest being planned for 2009 in the Las Vegas area. Sound like a fun idea? Heck ya. That's what I thought too.

But if this new event is going to take off it's going to need the help of our local breweries to participate. So I'm asking all my loyal readers for your help. If you'd like to see a huge beer fest take place out near Las Vegas each year, stop by your local brewery and tell them about this planned upcoming event. Read below for the details on this Vegas event.

"Las Vegas deserves more beer festivals – doesn’t every town? Reno based Buckbean Brewing Company and MonteLago Village have teamed up to turn the village’s backdrop of Lake Las Vegas into the perfect setting for their first annual craft beer festival.

Buckbean Brewing Company is inviting craft brewers and breweries from the Las Vegas area as well as brewers from all over the US.

The festival is expected to draw large crowds in this first year, and will be held March 14, 2009 at MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas. Buckbean and MonteLago are expecting to have anywhere from 30 to 40 breweries/brewers participate. Tickets to the festival will sell for $20 for the day and a commemorative sampling glass will be provided with each ticket purchase.

Brewers are reminded Buckbean encourages them to bring their own pourers and equipment. Discounted rooms will be offered to brewers as well.

All profits from the event will be donated to a non profit organization which is still being decided. "

Interested brewers please contact Patti Dath at Buckbean Brewing Company at info@buckbeanbeer.com or at 775.857.4444


Let's make this event happen! I'd love to go to Vegas in 2009 and party with dozens of regional brewers. This event could easily draw thousands of beer fans and breweries from all over the country. All it takes is for us to help spread the word.

Related articles:
- Video tour of the 2008 All Colorado Beer Fest.
- Celebrating at the 2008 Great American Beer Fest.
- Rocky Mountain Brew Fest 2008.
- Odell Small Batch Beer Fest.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Belgium expands with new tanks

In these tough economic times you might think it rare for a business to be expanding. Think again. Even in a recession, the folks at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins are thinking about the future and the time to expand is now.

Earlier this month New Belgium welcomed in 8 new humongous brewing tanks from Germany to their facility. Seven of these tanks will act as maturation vessels (MV) and one will act a a bright beer tank.

Just how large are these tanks? Put it this way, the beer in just one of these tanks holds more beer than an entire football team could ever think to drink in their lifetime. That's about half a million 12oz bottles of beer in just one tank. Now multiply that by 8 and you've got the total for this entire expansion.

The New Belgium gang put together a great video showcasing the installation of these monster tanks. All you homebrewers who dream of becoming this big someday take note. You're going to need a lot of room to fit these babies in your basement.



More information on the recent expansion can be read on the official NBB blog.

Related articles:
- New Belgium revisited.
- New Belgium La Folie review.
- New Belgium Frambozen review.
- New Belgium creates a new beer glass.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fermentedly Challenged and Who is Chipper Dave?

Dave ButlerHello! Thanks for visiting my beer blog. Wondering what my story is? My real name is Dave Butler and I live and work in Greeley, Colorado. This LinkedIn page pretty much covers my professional background, but that doesn't cover the rest of my life.

I'm an IT techie by trade and work from home. I’m a big fan of social media tools. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have been a God-send to me for meeting other people with similar interests. I blog part-time and the revenues I make from this blog pay for my homebrewing and craft beer indulgences.

You’re now on the Fermentedly Challenged website. Here you’ll find the primary focus of my free time, namely – enjoying and making good craft beer. Fermentedly Challenged is all about expanding your tastes in craft beer by providing reviews of hundreds of craft beers, tips on homebrewing beer and reporting the beer news around Northern Colorado.

Seeing how I live and work in Colorado, you’ll probably see a local slant to my postings. I like to feature local breweries and post news articles about Colorado and regional events, but I also like exploring beers from all over the world.

I enjoy going to as many beer festivals and breweries that I can manage to and when I go I like to bring along my camera and Flip cam. I also homebrew my own beer on occasion and will post about what I'm brewing and what equipment I'm using.

I previously moonlighted as the Northern Colorado Beer Examiner for the Examiner.com Denver web site. I wrote there to expand upon my writing skills and to pick up some beer money on the side. I wrote about 100 articles between May 2008 and May 2009, some of which are still a good read today.

If you already follow me on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook, thanks a bunch! Please send me a message on Twitter or write on my Facebook wall and say hello so that I can get to know you. I try to follow as many of the beer loving faithful as I can.

Dave ButlerIf you’re trying to decide whether or not I’m safe to follow on Twitter or Facebook, relax. I won’t send out a bazillion tweets a day and I won’t spam you with offers of any kind. I use social media sites as my virtual pub and am typically sitting back enjoying a craft beer after work and sharing a few tweets and status updates with fellow beer fanatics at the same time.

If you are a lover of good beer like I am, you might be interested in checking out the rest of my beer blog. I’ve sampled hundreds of different craft beers in the last few years or so and have written about just about every one of them.

I’d love to hear about what you thought of some of those beers and if you’ve had a great beer I might not have tried yet. Please feel free to add a comment to any article on this blog.

Thanks for reading. Please look around my blog. If you like what you see please consider subscribing via RSS reader or by email with the links at the top of the page. Or add a comment to any of my hundreds of blog posts. Cheers!


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale review

Port Brewing Old ViscosityI was thrilled last month to hear that two new breweries from San Marcos, California would be distributing their beers out here to Colorado. The first was The Lost Abbey and the second was Port Brewing Company. These two breweries are joined at the hip you might say as they are managed by the same group of people. Today's review is the first brew from Port Brewing Company that I've had the pleasure of sampling and given the season, I went for a dark brew - Old Viscosity Ale.

Old Viscosity Ale is classified as both a Strong American Ale as it weighs in at 10.5% ABV and as a Stout. Old Viscosity's name is reminiscent of motor oil and it pours looking exactly the same as it. O.V. is made with 2-row, wheat, domestic and English crystal, Carafa III and chocolate malts. It's bittered with German Magnum hops. Once brewed, about 20% of it is aged in bourbon barrels and then blended back in with a new batch of the same ale.

Appearance: This beer is super dark with just a hint of mahogany on the edges if held to the light. It has a decent brown head which is darker than most foams I've seen. The beer seemed to be adequately carbonated based on the hiss while opening and the bubbles in the glass.

Aroma: The initial aroma I got after pouring was huge on the chocolate, caramel and coffee side. Rich roasted malts dominate this brew and gives a slight hint of bourbon.

Taste: Oh, the taste! It was velvety smooth. The malts were blended well with the right amount of bitterness. There was also a nice sweetness to this beer. The chocolate and cocoa really come out. This was easily drinkable right from the start. It doesn't take long to notice the alcohol warmth. Oh ya.

Some beers like this big you are better off aging for at least 6 months, however, I found that Old Viscosity needs no aging at all. It's real good now. On a recent beer podcast earlier this year, Old Viscosity was compared side by side with Victory Storm King Imperial Stout and the majority of the tasters preferred Old Viscosity. I have recently reviewed Victory Storm King and loved it, but now that I've had Port Brewing's ale I must say I liked this one better as well.

The full 22oz bomber bottle was plenty for me for one evening. It's a big beer that warrants respect, so please don't drive after having the whole bottle. Supposedly, Port Brewing has an imperial version of this (as if this wasn't already an imperial) called Older Viscosity. That one probably packs an even bigger punch to it.

Beer FloatFood pairing suggestion: I paired this beer with ice cream. In fact I took cookies -n- cream ice cream and made a beer float out of it. The dark beer poured on top of a cup of ice cream may not look appetizing but believe me it was one of the best tasting combos you can imagine. Most dark beers like stouts and porters will mix well with light, non-fruit ice cream. Give it a try!

I'm giving Old Viscosity a huge Thumbs Up! This is one of the tastier stout / Strong Ales I've had. Good thing this brew is made year round. I'd hate to have to wait until next season to be able to stock up on this.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.
- Fort Collins Brewery tasting room.
- Dark beer season returns!
- The Lost Abbey Judgment Day review.
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout review.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fort Collins Brewery Big Shot review

Fort Collins Brewery Big ShotTis the season for winter warmers and I just couldn't pass up a holiday bottle of Fort Collins Brewery's Big Shot Seasonal Ale. Big Shot falls under the American Brown Ale category but it is also considered a spiced ale as well. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and comes in a festive 22oz bomber with a holiday gift tag attached. It invites you to buy one for yourself and give one as a gift.

This beer went through a label re-branding in 2012. The snow surfing snow man has been replaced with a stationary snowman in a more classic look.

Appearance: FCB's Big Shot poured a medium brown color with reddish tones along the edge. It had a nice off-white and thick foamy head that stuck around for a while. This brew is clear filtered, not cloudy and has a mild carbonation to it. A nice lacing clung to the side of the glass.

Aroma: Big Shot reminded me immediately of a holiday beverage. The aroma is big on caramel malt, mild spices and citrusy hops. The scent is quite inviting and pleasing. Its unlike any other holiday brew I've had over the last 2 years.

Big Shot old label bottle: title=Taste and Feel: The brew has a medium body with a noticeable bitter finish. A nice hoppy brown and very mildly spiced. This spiced beer is not over done like other holiday brews can be. It's very easy drinking for a 6.5% brew. I'm pleased with this beer. It's a good brown yet different enough to warrant a special winter warmer distinction. I'm giving this brew a solid Thumbs Up. It's worth and just right for a cold winter day. Hop lovers will enjoy this one as well.

Overall: This would be a good brown ale to introduce a new craft beer drinker to. It's well balanced between the malts, bitterness, hops and spices. It's not as sweet as other browns can be yet it has a bit more substance than the rest.

The new look label (2012):
FCB Big Shot 2012

Related articles:
- Fort Collins Brewery Barrel Licked Bock review.
- Fort Collins Brewery pours new brews.
- Fort Collins Brewery tasting room notes. (2008 old location)
- A fresh look at the new Fort Collins Brewery. (2011)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Site back up after glitch

For those of you who may have wondered what happened to FermentedlyChallenged.com earlier today, I had a glitch with my domain registration that caused a "Server not found - 404 Error". The site was down for about 3 hours due to a bad Name Server reference in my domain registry. Once I dug through 100's of pages in the Google Help site and finally found the problem, I was able to resolve it with my registry provider and BING! Magic. My domain was restored and I'm back in business.

Glad none of you were around to hear me cursing and ranting about Google, Blogger and potential hackers. You'd figure Google would know better than to use bad Name Server references when signing up their customers on custom domains. Ah well.

Time to kick back and have a beer!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Deschutes The Abyss review

Deschutes The AbyssI was out holiday shopping after work and stopped by my local beer store to see what was new in the cooler. While looking through the single bottle section I happened to spy a new bottle from the Deschutes Brewery in Oregon that caught my eye. Knowing that I had the chance to try out a new imperial stout, I picked up a 22oz bottle of Deschutes The Abyss. This 2008 release had been talked about on other sites lately and I couldn't pass the chance to review it.

The Abyss is part of their Reserve series of beers and come in limited quantities. The bottle itself had the top sealed in black wax and makes it seem that much more mysterious. I believe Deschutes did the same thing with their Black Butte XX.

The Abyss is considered an imperial stout. This batch had about 33% of the contents aged in either French Oak barrels or Oak bourbon barrels to give it a bit more flavor and aroma. The beer is not to be taken lightly as it comes in at 11% ABV.

Appearance: After pealing off the wax from the cap, I opened it up and could immediately smell a distinctive stout aroma. The beer poured as black as I've seen any beer. You could not see anything through this beer. As the beer filled the glass an enormous brown head grew. For a few seconds I watched the foam give off a cascading effect where the bubbles seem to dance in waves. The foam seems to last a long time and the bubbles cling to the side of the pint glass to leave a nice brown lacing.

Aroma: This brew has a heavenly aroma! I can pick out sweet molasses, chocolate and caramel malts, some dark licorice and a slight whiff of alcohol. I can tell this brew was going to have a lot of flavor.

Taste: The taste was right on the money too. I picked up a lot of coffee and dark roasted malts. It was bitter and coated the tongue slightly and had just the right amount of sweetness from the molasses. The warming effect from this strong brew is almost immediate. Drink this one slowly and savor it.

Pairing Suggestion: I felt this brew could pair well with chocolate, so I went and grabbed a handful of holiday M&M's from the bowl in the living room and chewed a few with this stout. Wow! The chocolate complimented this beer perfectly. Try it next time you sample this beer.

Overall: The Abyss is worth every penny of the $11.99 per bottle. Some stores in my area are limiting customers to just 1 bottle of this and I can see why. It's available in Colorado in small quantities and you'd have to resist the temptation to stockpile this kind of beer. Being a high alcohol brew, this beer would age very well for several years.

This imperial stout ranks right up their with other imperials I've had during this last year. This one gets a big Thumbs Up from me and a grab it while you can recommendation.

Update (8/21/2009): I recently found another 2008 bottle of The Abyss at a local store and had to grab it. I'm currently cellaring this bottle for later review. This beer should age well. Looking forward to a holiday 2009 season opening. If any of you happen to spot one of these bottles still on the shelf - GRAB IT!

Related articles:
- Deschutes Black Butte XX review.
- Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale review.
- Left Hand Imperial Stout review.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Putting together the home brewery - Part II

Homebrewing setupThe new home brewery is coming along faster than I imagined! Just a mere 5 days after ordering some of my new beer making equipment the delivery man shows up with 3 huge boxes. I wasn't expecting these so soon as Williams Brewing told me it takes between 2 to 3 weeks to receive a drop shipment from Blichmann Engineering in Indiana. But look!

I unboxed a brand new 15 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker brew kettle complete with a 3-piece stainless ball valve, an adjustable BrewMometer for measuring wort temperature and an optional Boil Screen to filter hops and proteins out of the drain valve.

Williams Brewing and my Amazon.com shipment of a new Bayou Classic SP10 high pressure propane burner all were on my doorstep on the same delivery. Wow, talk about a coordinated delivery.

Inside the Blichmann BoilermakerIt was like Christmas had arrived two weeks early! I must have spent the next 2 hours going over the documentation, putting together the brew kettle parts and setting it up for a couple of photos. I was as excited as a kid in a candy store!

I've got to plan a series of test runs on this equipment later this week. I've heard that the Bayou Classic SP10 burner needs air-intake adjustment as well as a 30 minute test burn to get rid of the paint that will burn off during the first run and give off a nasty toxic smell. I don't want that happening around my wort on my first brew day.

Once the burner has been tested and configured, I'll then give the Blichmann Boilermaker a test boil. I want to see how long it will take with this 185,000 BTU burner to bring a full 8 gallons up to a boil. It's supposed to be fairly fast, under 35 minutes, but I want to see how it performs here at 4800 feet in elevation. (Please note: as of 2012, newer models of the SP10 now only put out 55,000 BTUs.)

Blichmann Boilermaker frontThe BrewMometer also needs calibration. I'm going to need another thermometer to tweak it a bit. Supposedly at altitude, water will boil at less than 212 degrees. I want to see exactly where that point is here in northern Colorado.

Next steps after this, make a stop at my nearest homebrew supply store. I'm going to get the rest of my equipment purchased (or ordered) and also plan out a few alternatives for my first extract batch.

I've done two 5-gallon extract batches before back in the late 1990s and want to brew up at least another 5-7 extract batches before taking the dive into all-grain brewing.

I'll probably make some smaller 2-3 gallon test batches of experimental beers just for the fun of it also. I'm really looking forward to getting back into home brewing again. Now I just have to hope that the weather outside cooperates on those weekends where I plan to brew.

Continue reading: "Putting together the home brewery - Part III"

Related articles:
- Putting together the home brewery - Part I.
- Breaking in the Bayou Classic SP-10.
- Homebrew shopping list ready.
- My humble homebrew beginnings.
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Orval Trappist Ale review

Orval Trappist AleTime once again to revisit one of the most popular craft beers of Belgium. I looked upon the Brasserie d'Orval S.A. to supply me with my next beer review target. Today's beer was the Orval Trappist Ale. Like its cousins over at the Chimay brewery, Orval is an ale made by Trappist monks. Only a handful of breweries in Belgium can wear the Trappist moniker, so you know this beer should be special.

This Orval brew had the honor of being the first beer in my reviews to be sampled from a brand new Left Hand 'Big Mo' goblet. It was the closest thing I had to being a chalice that I own.

Orval came in a unique shaped bottle and contained 11.2 ounces of the Belgian pale ale. A single bottle cost me $5.21 including a 10% discount.

Each bottle of Orval was printed with it's bottling date. In this case, my bottle was filled on February 20, 2008. The sampling date was November 29, 2008 so this brew had been in the bottle for at least 9 months. The label suggests that this beer is best consumed by 2013. But who can really wait that long? Let's open this brew!

This beer poured a cloudy copper color with slight red overtones and had a generous white head. Orval appeared well carbonated as many Belgians are.

The initial aroma reminded me of flowers and spice and a bit of funkiness that Belgian yeasts normally give off. The smell reminded me a bit of an Avery's Fifteen Anniversary ale.

As for the mouth feel and taste?

Orval Trappist Ale had a robust and rich mouth feel whereas it tasted a bit funky. Orval was creamy and full of flavor yet seemed to be very light and refreshing. I could taste a hint of caramel malt and a slight sweetness from the liquid sugar candy that the monks added after the wort was chilled. The taste and feel was rather unique.

Orval Trappist Ale was made with a lot of pale malt and a small amount of caramel malts and then bittered with Hallertau and Styrian Golding hops. It weighed in at 6.9% ABV so it packed a little punch. A full bottle gave me just enough OOMPF to notice.

One thing I noticed was that every time I swirled my glass, the beer created a nice little frothy head once again with a nice lacing. I love that type of effect. It even burped well too!

I wasn't sure what to expect of this brew. Surprisingly different at first. It took a good 1/3rd of a glass before I really started liking and appreciating it fully. As the beer warmed it became so much more flavorful and aromatic. Be sure to give this beer a fair chance before you decide.

Overall, Orval Trappist Ale was highly enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Belgian style brews and who wants something a bit different than your banana aroma brew. I'll give this beer a respectable Thumbs Up and hope to try some on tap in Belgium someday.

Related articles:
- Chimay Premiere (blue) review.
- Oud Beersel Kriek Ale review.
- Westmalle Trappist Tripel Ale review.
- Avery The Reverend review.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oskar Blues celebrate 6 years of canning

It's been six very fruitful years since the brewers up at Oskar Blues started micro-canning their beers and to celebrate the 6th anniversary they're throwing a party and we're all invited. Here's what Marty Jones had to say today:

Friday, 12-12-08 starting at 5 PM, we're having a little shindig to celebrate our sixth year of micro-canning.

We'll be tapping a brand new stout and serving up drafts of our new Smoke on the Water smoked beer, some dry hopped goodies and the usual house brews.

Live music from OBB staff and an AYCE crawfish boil, too.

Out back in the Banquet Barn, come see us.

MJ

The party runs from 5pm to 8pm and is going to be held inside their new Banquet Barn in Lyons. There they will also have available plenty of their new Oatmeal winter stout - Smoke on the Water. It's a brand new chocolately, smokey, full bodied brew (6.1% ABV).

Related articles:
- Oskar Blues taps Smoke on the Water.
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy review.
- Oskar Blues Gordon review.
- Video tour of Oskar Blues.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review

Avery The Czar Imperial StoutI tend to get a little excited every time I get to try an imperial stout and when I saw a bottle of Avery Brewing's The Czar Imperial Stout on my local store shelf I just grinned ear to ear. This time of year I'm very partial to the dark brew and I'll almost never say no to one, particularly from Avery.

The Czar is a strong brew indeed and is clocked at 10.77% ABV. It is also a brew bearing its vintage year. I've started to see more and more big beers marked with a "vintage" year as this may be one that you would consider putting an extra bottle away for a year or two. This review is for their 2008 batch of The Czar.

Appearance: The Czar poured extremely dark, yet there were some dark rusty red highlights on the edges of the glass. This brew was opened cold and poured with a modest tan head. Typically, dark stouts like this can be drank at most any temperature from 45 degrees up to about 60, but it's best to consume it around 55 degrees.

Aroma: Immediately upon pouring, there was a huge aroma of alcohol right up front. Along with the whiff of ABV, there were wonderful scents of chocolate, coffee, black licorice and hops. Let the brew sit in a wide mouth pint glass for several minutes before tasting. As this imperial stout warms, the flavors and aromas really start coming out big time.

Taste and Feel: Wow. There was a very noticeable hop hit in the middle of the taste. I had swirled the brew around in my mouth to get the full sensation. Hops everywhere! This was definitely a newly bottled batch that's for sure. Typically in a big brew like this the hop affect will mellow over time but since this bottle was just born a couple of weeks ago there was still an abundance of hoppiness there. Bitter brew but good. Update: In another bottle tasted a couple years later, the hop hit was not there, instead a huge roasty chocolate malt flavor dominated and the alcohol bit was lessened.

Along with the hops there was a taste of roasted coffee, caramel malts and a bit of sweet molasses. There was also a sense of dark fruits in this beer, perhaps of raisins or currants. This beer didn't give me an initial warming effect right away like other big beers of the style have. It took a good 1/3 of a glass before all of the rich tastes started coming out and numbing down the hop affect.

By the 2nd glass out of this 22oz bomber, the warming affect finally started kicking in. I could really start feeling it. Consuming the entire bottle was the equivalent of 3 regular beers. This brew packed a punch that hit with a delayed reaction. I suggest having this beer close to home or in smaller quantities.

Overall: I've got a soft spot for Imperial Stouts and Avery's The Czar is definitely classified as one of the best in it's class. I'm giving this beer a very big Thumbs Up and a recommendation to stock up a couple of bottles for your beer cellar.

Related articles:
- Avery Ellie's Brown Ale review.
- Avery White Rascal review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Hog Heaven review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Avery The Reverend review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Belgium creates a new beer glass

Move over Boston Beer Company, there's a new brewery glass in town that's moving in on the next big thing in beer drinking. New Belgium is offering their own special version of their Belgian globe glass that's new and improved. Check out the graphic below for the lowdown on this special beer glass. (click image for better image)



This improved beer glass is thicker than their last glass model and should hold up much better. I've broken one of my older model New Belgium glasses in the dishwasher so the thicker glass walls are a welcome change.

This glass is laser etched at the bottom similar to the Sam Adams glass and will cause a constant stream of bubbles to flow from the bottom of it.

I'm going to have to pick up a couple of these for my collection. These glasses cost $10.00 for a 2-glass set. A bit more expensive than a typical pint glass but well worth it. These are available on-inline at the brewery store or at the brewery tasting room or in selected retail stores where New Belgium is sold.

Related articles:
- New Belgium Frambozen review.
- New Belgium tap room revisited.
- New Belgium La Folie review.
- New Belgium Dark Kriek review.
- New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale review.

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Putting together the home brewery - Part I

Home Brewery ItemsIf you're new to homebrewing or even if you've got a few batches under your belt you'll probably be in need of a few items before you make your next batch. The following pages provide an insight to some of the most commonly used homebrew equipment items you'll need and some options to consider when gathering equipment for your own home brewery setup.

Plan for the Future Now

One thing to always keep in mind when making purchases for your home brewery is the future. Sure, you may only be making small 1 to 5 gallon batches now, but eventually you may wish to jump up to bigger batches. If you buy all of your equipment based on small 5 gallon or less sizes now you'll end up spending even more a little down the road to make larger batches. So you might want to consider buying bigger now and then grow into it when you're ready.

Blichmann BoilermakerIf you are anything like me, it can take a long time to decide on which equipment to buy. Doing a little shopping around won't hurt and buying quality now will save you a bit in the long run. With a bit of planning and research, you'll soon be ready to take the plunge and start buying. But which is the best item to get first? In most cases, you'll want a good quality container to brew your beer in.

The Brew Kettle

Getting a quality brew kettle, something that can stay with you for a long time, is key to getting you started. This will be the vessel that you'll boil my wort in, add in your hops and specialty additions, etc. If you're like me, you might want to go all out and spend some extra bucks up front on a decent sized kettle.

Might I suggest starting out with a quality stainless steel kettle like a 15 gallon Blichmann Engineering Boilermaker (pictured above). This size unit is big enough to handle just about anything and let you easily do up to 10 gallon batches of beer without worrying too much about boil-overs. This particular unit cost around $369 and can be purchased via your favorite homebrew retailer. Price a Blichmann brewpot.

Blichmann HopBlockerWhile some of you may not be able to splurge on a big brew kettle right away, I've compiled an article about how you can choose your own brew kettle that will fit your needs and pocket book. There are lower cost options for every situation.

Blichmann also sells a handy HopBlocker attachment for your Boilermaker (pictured above) that helps filter out hop pellets and other materials better without clogging for about $59.95. While not necessary, the more brewing you do the more you'll want to thoroughly filter before transferring your wort to the fermenter.

Outdoor Propane Burner

Bayou Classic SP10 Propane BurnerAnother important piece of homebrewing equipment you'll need is a reliable heat source for boiling your wort. Many beginners may opt for using their kitchen stove for boiling beer. This is fine for small batches, but using a common kitchen stove may result in long waits to get your wort up to a boil, particularly when you step up to larger batches. To remedy that, you might consider getting an outdoor propane burner, one that can grow with you as your batches get bigger.

I had a hard time deciding on which propane burner unit to buy but ultimately went with a Bayou Classic SP-10 high pressure burner. This little powerhouse puts out up to 185,000 BTUs and can quickly bring 10 gallons of water to boil in 30 minutes or less, even in cold temperatures. The Bayou Classic SP-10 has a built in wind screen and can hold the weight of a large brew kettle full of liquid.

I found this item on Amazon.com for $54.99 with no shipping costs and wrote up a review of it. Alert: the price seems to vary between $48 to $65 so be patient and you can find it at a good discount. I've personally used this for my last several batches and I'm quite pleased. Price a Propane Burner

Consider Using a Brewing Logbook

Basic Brewing Log BookEvery year, James Spenser of Basic Brewing publishes his annual Brewer's Logbook. It's a nice ring bound spiral notebook used for tracking details on all of your brewing sessions for the year. I've used this logbook to take a lot of notes on my brewing sessions to help me record my recipes and brewing steps. It helps to review your steps in order to make improvements in your next batch. The journal is well written and costs $12.95. It also makes a nice holiday gift.

Having a good kettle, a strong reliable heat source and an organized way of taking notes is a good first step in outfitting your home brewery.

In the next article, I'll give some insights into my own adventure on how I started building my own home brewery.

Continue reading "Putting together the home brewery - Part II"

Related articles:
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Breaking in the Bayou Classic SP-10.
- Colorado homebrew clubs listing.
- Colorado homebrew supply stores listing.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.
- My humble homebrew beginnings.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Love beer? Fight to protect it - Session #22

The SessionI write this entry today in honor of the 22nd installment of The Session. This month’s Session is being hosted by the 21st Amendment Brewery. This month’s topic is very relevant to the date upon which we beer bloggers are writing on, namely the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition in America. The 21st Amendment effectively canceled out the 18th Amendment which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the US.

Here, simply, is what the 21st Amendment Brewery asked us to write about this month:

What does the repeal of Prohibition mean to you? How will you celebrate your right to drink beer?

I've had a few weeks to think about this subject and did a bit of reading on how the whole Prohibition thing started in the first place. One thing remains clear in my mind. Prohibition happened once, it can happen again.

The real question is, will Prohibition ever be brought back?

In order to answer that question, we have to ask these further questions: Can our federal, state and local governments afford to do without the huge tax revenues that alcoholic beverages generate? Can insurance companies and lawyers, who make a lot of money off of car insurance premiums and prosecuting drunk drivers, deal with a world without alcohol consumption? If there is no alcohol to tax, how much will our taxes for other items have to go up in order to make up the huge shortfall in tax base?

Let’s face it America, our country has a lot riding on the common bottle of beer that we celebrate our right to drink today. Without it, millions of American’s livelihoods would be at stake. Prohibition may have been defeated 75 years ago but don’t ever think for a moment that the movement to take it away is gone forever.

Beware the Dark Side

Think Prohibition is dead? Think again. Just take a look at this article concerning the proceedings of a recent 2006 Southern Baptist convention. According to that report, a growing majority of Southern Baptist leaders are making it quite clear that they are doing everything they can to abolish the consumption of all alcohol in this country (and the world for that matter). The article goes on to say that even the group MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) has transformed into an activist group against all alcohol consumption.

I’m sure there are dozens of other factions out there that are thinking the same thing. There's still a Prohibition party existing today that supports a candidate in each Presidential election who’s political message is to abolish alcohol in this nation.

So what does all this tell us? We should all be thankful that we still have the right to not only drink beer but also to homebrew our own beer in this country. It took years to gain our freedoms here in America and we continue to fight for those freedoms.

The old saying goes: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905. Mark those words well.

The Plan

I personally plan to celebrate this Repeal day by doing several things:

1) Go out and buy a 6-pack of beer from my local liquor store.
2) Buy that beer from a brewery that is local to my area.
3) Go outside on my front porch, open and drink a beer out in the open.
4) Thank God for the gifts he has given us (which includes beer).

Remember my fellow beer drinkers. While that beer we hold close to our hearts and mouths is legal to drink today, tomorrow we may be fighting for that right once again. Celebrate what we have while we still have it. Don’t take your rights for granted. Go out and support your local pubs, bars, restaurants, liquor stores, breweries and brewpubs while you can. The beer that you save may well be your own.

Related articles:
- The Session #21 - Can we really choose a favorite beer?
- The Session #15 - How did you get into good beer?

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