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Poster:thaen
Date:2009-08-03 05:48
Subject:Sam Adams Imperial Series
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

Hey kids. Welcome back for another installment of “Tom doesn’t really fully understand the strange magics Ethan does to get the podcast up here”.

This weeks podcast was on the Sam Adams Imperial Series, which is made up of their Imperial White, Double Bock and Imperial Stout.

Also, we spent a lot of time making fun of the Sam Adams beer glass. The problem was, while we offered up a whole list of things that were wrong with it, we never bothered to come up with any solutions.

Thankfully, Ethan and I stepped up to the plate. I offer you, THE GEEK BEER GLASS.

Soon to be available where ever finer glassware/vases are sold.

Oh yes, and the podcast itself, for those of you who are so inclined, is available here.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-30 07:58
Subject:Go WAHA! WA homebrewers can transport beer now!
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

For those that don’t know, until recently, it was technically illegal to take homebrewed beer out of the residence where it was made. The only exception was if you were taking the beer to a competition, and then you could only take 1 gallon at a time and the only people that could taste the beer were the judges. Yeah. Go go civil liberties?

Thanks to the Washington Homebrewers’ Association, this has been changed. The new bill (along with strikeout text so you can see how idiotic the first bill was) went into effect 4 days ago.

WA homebrewers can now transport up to 20 gallons of beer outside their home for a variety of purposes. Thanks, WAHA!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-27 05:00
Subject:#23: Tripeled Up: Chimay White, Pike Place Monk’s Uncle, and Anderson Valley Brother David
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

Tripel’s aren’t our normal bag, but I had a few in the cellar. GeekBeer News makes an appearance, as does Abbot, the brew dog. Enjoy!

Tripels

This lacks vital stats because I’m lazy, but follows the usual format:
- intro (aka Tom and Ethan talking about nonsense)
- Stuff about Chimay White (yum)
- Stuff about Pike Place Monk’s Uncle (er…. ugh)
- GeekBeer News
- Stuff about Anderson Valley Brother David (yummier)

The direct link for those that like to listen in-browser is right here.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-27 05:00
Subject:#23: Tripeled Up: Chimay White, Pike Place Monk’s Uncle, and Anderson Valley Brother David
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

Tripel’s aren’t our normal bag, but I had a few in the cellar. GeekBeer News makes an appearance, as does Abbot, the brew dog. Enjoy!

Tripels

This lacks vital stats because I’m lazy, but follows the usual format:
- intro (aka Tom and Ethan talking about nonsense)
- Stuff about Chimay White (yum)
- Stuff about Pike Place Monk’s Uncle (er…. ugh)
- GeekBeer News
- Stuff about Anderson Valley Brother David (yummier)

The direct link for those that like to listen in-browser is right here.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-20 05:00
Subject:#22: Say John: Saison DuPont, Saison Great Divide, and Avery SIXTEEN
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week we sample 3 Saisons and talk a bit about ultralight beers. Enjoy!

0:00 intro
3:44 Saison DuPont (always awesome)
6:39 Great Divide Saison (off — maybe DMS?)
11:03 Avery SIXTEEN (Avery never lets us down)
13:58 Beer News

Direct link for those of you that fly that way is right here.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-20 05:00
Subject:#22: Say John: Saison DuPont, Saison Great Divide, and Avery SIXTEEN
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week we sample 3 Saisons and talk a bit about ultralight beers. Enjoy!

0:00 intro
3:44 Saison DuPont (always awesome)
6:39 Great Divide Saison (off — maybe DMS?)
11:03 Avery SIXTEEN (Avery never lets us down)
13:58 Beer News

Direct link for those of you that fly that way is right here.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-13 05:00
Subject:#21: Interview about the history of Redhook with Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Craft Bre
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week, I managed to get ahold of Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Redhook in Woodinville, WA. I’m posting this before I have transcribed the whole thing, but trust me that a transcription is coming later in the week.

Bryan and I talked about the history of Redhook and the Craft Brewer’s Alliance. We covered everything from the beer Redhook was brewing in those early Seattle days, to their modern series of Limited Edition brews.

This is the first interview of at least two with Redhook folk that I’ll be doing. The next will be coming in the next few weeks.

While you’re here, you might check out my writeup of Redhook’s brewing process.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-13 05:00
Subject:#21: Interview about the history of Redhook with Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Craft Bre
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week, I managed to get ahold of Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Redhook in Woodinville, WA. I’m posting this before I have transcribed the whole thing, but trust me that a transcription is coming later in the week.

Bryan and I talked about the history of Redhook and the Craft Brewer’s Alliance. We covered everything from the beer Redhook was brewing in those early Seattle days, to their modern series of Limited Edition brews.

This is the first interview of at least two with Redhook folk that I’ll be doing. The next will be coming in the next few weeks.

While you’re here, you might check out my writeup of Redhook’s brewing process.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-13 05:00
Subject:#21: Interview about the history of Redhook with Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Craft Bre
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week, I managed to get ahold of Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Redhook in Woodinville, WA. I’m posting this before I have transcribed the whole thing, but trust me that a transcription is coming later in the week.

Bryan and I talked about the history of Redhook and the Craft Brewer’s Alliance. We covered everything from the beer Redhook was brewing in those early Seattle days, to their modern series of Limited Edition brews.

This is the first interview of at least two with Redhook folk that I’ll be doing. The next will be coming in the next few weeks.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-13 05:00
Subject:#21: Interview about the history of Redhook with Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Craft Bre
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week, I managed to get ahold of Bryan Lee, Regional Marketing Manager for Redhook in Woodinville, WA. I’m posting this before I have transcribed the whole thing, but trust me that a transcription is coming later in the week.

Bryan and I talked about the history of Redhook and the Craft Brewer’s Alliance. We covered everything from the beer Redhook was brewing in those early Seattle days, to their modern series of Limited Edition brews.

This is the first interview of at least two with Redhook folk that I’ll be doing. The next will be coming in the next few weeks.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-11 14:20
Subject:New site, good brew
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

I think the transition to geekbeer.com rather than geek-beer.com is complete (in all honesty, I just changed a WordPress setting and pointed the nameservers at the right place). If you notice any glitches, please post on the blog or send me email (see the “contact” link, above).

Breakfast stout

I haven’t reported on a homebrew for a while because… well… I haven’t made anything really awesome. This Breakfast Stout, however, turned out bloody amazing as far as I’m concerned.

My 5-gallon recipe, from extract, adapted from a recipe sent to me by Dan the Brew Master, which he in turn adapted from BYO Magazine:

  • 1lb Chocolate malt (7.5%)
  • 12oz roasted barley (5.7%)
  • 9oz black malt (4.2%)
  • 7oz caramel 120L (3.3%)
  • 6.6lbs Muntons pale liquid malt extract
  • 2lb 8oz dry malt extract (golden)
  • .75oz of Alchemy hops (15.4%) for bittering
  • 0.5oz Chinook (8.1%) at 20 minutes left in boil, and another 0.5oz at 5 minutes left in the boil. Target IBU was somewhere around 50 if I recall, though I didn’t write it down.
  • I pitched 2 smack packs of Wyeast 1056, American Ale.
  • During the boil, I added 71g of bittersweet Godiva chocolate and 43g of unsweetened Baker’s (brand) chocolate. I also added 57g of dark roast coffee with 2 minutes left in the boil.
  • I “dry hopped” the secondary with another 57g of coffee.
The original gravity was 1.074. The final gravity after a week in the primary was 1.019 (AA 73%, ABV 7.2%).

The timeline is important here: This beer fermented in the primary for a week and sat in the secondary with more coffee for another 2 weeks. I primed and bottled (without extra yeast additions) with brewer’s sugar. I was going for a lighter carbonation, so I used only 3oz of sugar for 5 gallons of beer.

I started cracking open bottles after 2 weeks to see if they were carbonated. They weren’t. The third bottle I opened was finally carbonated. It was pretty green — the hop citrus was apparent and it had a sour flavor like stale coffee. I kept cracking bottles, though, because I wanted to see how it aged. The result? That one bottle was the only carbonated bottle that I found for another 4 weeks.

That’s right, this batch took nearly 6 weeks to fully carbonate, and now every bottle I open is perfect. The sour coffee flavor is gone, the hops are nice in the background, the chocolate and dark malts work well together, the mellanoiden (sp?) bitterness is subdued… it’s just delicious. But it took a long time to get here.

And I’d like to present this idea I’ve been working on, based on a thing I saw from Michelob on their line of pseudo-craft beers. I’m trying to improve on it. Let me know what you think:

breakfast_stout





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-07 09:57
Subject:Some Graphical Statistics About Beer
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve got lots of ideas about information presention. It was a major interest of mine in school and I continue to delve into it whenever I have the chance.

I came across Beeriety a bit ago and didn’t pay much attention (besides adding them to my growing list of beer blogs to watch), but their recent string of posts demonstrates an interest in information presentation as well. They’ve got these fantastic little graphical widgets of basic beer topics. Give them a look.

I’ve got no talent for Illustrator (which is odd since I am a bloody Photoshop master), but I’ve got all these ideas about presenting beer stuff in graphical form. Like a graphical “How To Brew” that includes more pictures than words and the like. But there are also lots of beer statistics out there, and I’m going to take a stab at putting them to pictures in the least artistic, most geeky way imaginable: with Google Charts.

Breweries per-capita has been tossed around a lot lately in graphical form. I was introduced to Google Charts the other day and figured I’d try my hand at making one based on the data from beertown.org:

Clearly Google Charts is no automated Adobe Illustrator, but given that I made that in all of 5 minutes, I’d say it’s got promise. Not bad for a first try. Let’s try something else, like the number of “traditional” breweries versus the number of “craft” breweries in the US from 1947 to 2006, according to the Beer Institute’s Brewing Almanac from last year:

Hey that’s pretty sweet!

Note that I can’t find any correlation between the increase of the Federal Excise Tax on beer and the number of breweries or consumption of beer. Note that there has only been a single increase in the excise tax — a doubling of $9 to $18 in 1991, marked by the vertical line above — and the tax is flat, not percent-based, so it actually decreases in relative terms as the price of beer goes up in actual dollars.

I’ll keep playing with this data. Good stuff.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-06 05:00
Subject:#20: A Couple of Fruits: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, Trade Route Mango Weizen, Buffalo B
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

In honor of the heat wave that grips our fair Seattle, we picked up some of the most drinkable kinds of brews: fruit beer. Not Lambics or other beer with heavy fruit flavors, but the pale ales with which light fruit flavors so happily meld.

Vital stats:
0:00 Intro
3:21 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
6:04 Trade Route Mango Weizen
9:37 GeekBeer News - Why Cans are Awesome
12:33 Buffalo Bill’s Orange Blossom Cream Ale

Direct link for those that listen in-browser is right here.

fruit beers





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-07-06 05:00
Subject:#20: A Couple of Fruits: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, Trade Route Mango Weizen, Buffalo B
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

In honor of the heat wave that grips our fair Seattle, we picked up some of the most drinkable kinds of brews: fruit beer. Not Lambics or other beer with heavy fruit flavors, but the pale ales with which light fruit flavors so happily meld.

Vital stats:
0:00 Intro
3:21 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
6:04 Trade Route Mango Weizen
9:37 GeekBeer News - Why Cans are Awesome
12:33 Buffalo Bill’s Orange Blossom Cream Ale

Direct link for those that listen in-browser is right here.

fruit beers





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-28 14:28
Subject:#19: Interview with Deschutes’ Head Brewer, Larry Sidor
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

We’ve got something very special this week: Ethan interviews Larry Sidor, head brewer of Deschutes Brewing in Bend, Oregon.

I think I’m allowed to call this a coup. A podcast like this one shouldn’t be able to score things like this, but hey, this is the Internet.

Direct link for those that want to listen in-browser is right here.

I’ve managed to transcribe the entire interview and have included the text below, both for our listening-challenged followers and for the benefit of the search engines. Please excuse the numerous typos — it takes a long time to transcribe this stuff by hand (I can type at about 1/2 speed, so with the help of Quicktime, I can transcribe at a little slower than 1/2 time), and I’m not really interested in perfecting all the mistakes I make along the way.

Enjoy!



Larry: This is Larry.

Ethan: Hi there Larry, this is Ethan John from GeekBeer. How’s it going?

Larry: It’s goin’ great.

Ethan: So you got a few minutes to talk with me about Deschutes?

Larry: Sure. Can you hear me?

Ethan: Yeah, can you hear me okay?

Larry: Yeah thats a little better yeah. I could just barely hear you when you first… when you first called in.

Ethan: All right, cool. So, I’m not sure how much, you were told, how much Jason told you, but I have, my friend and I have a small beer podcast, and we’re hoping to be able to do some interviews like this with various breweries and actually we’re just starting out with you.

Larry: Oh geez, I’m the guinea pig huh?

Ethan: That’s right, that’s right.

Larry: Just like some of my brews!

Ethan: Yeah, exactly. I was wondering if we could start things off and you could introduce yourself to our listeners.

Larry: Yeah ok yeah. My name is Larry Sidor and I’m the brewmaster at Deschutes brewery. I’ve been here for um going on 6 years now. I came in when Deschutes bought a larger brewhouse and they really needed somebody to run it, so… That’s more or less my background with Deschutes.

Ethan: Cool. I’m actually really excited about this interview. It turns out, at least from what I could tell, that Deschutes doesn’t do a whole lot of brewer interviews with the outside world, so I’m sort of excited to be able to talk to you today. I know that… is it Jimmy Seifrit? Is that his name?

Larry: Yeah.

Ethan: He did an interview a few weeks ago with the guys from the Brew Strong Network on Can You Brew It? about how to brew the Obsidion Stout.

Larry: Yeah ok.

Ethan: But I’m not actually at all familiar with like the normal division of labor in a brewhouse. Can you describe what you do that’s different from what like Jimmy or… or is it Mark does?

Larry: Yeah, I’ve got it. I would say that nothing at Deschutes is Normal. We tend to do things the hard way, and I think it’s really for the benefit of the of the beer. So as far as how Deschutes works is that uh… you know, I’m responsible for all of the beer that gets beered. Jimmy is one of our senior brewers. He’s spent a lot of time at our Bond Street pub. He also, I drug him up to Seattle when we opened up the Seattle pub. He had a lot of very positive influence on starting up that uh up that brewhouse.

So all the brewers all of them report to me, but you know, I’ve got three principle brewers which is uh Paul Arney who’s down at our Bend pub. I’ve got Cam o’Conner who is our principal brewer in Portland. I’ve got Brian Favor who is our principal brewer here at bend in the main production facility. And then we’ve got Brad Porter who is our head brewer that kind of keeps everything together when uh you know when they they need to be. So… the result is that we have a lot of creativity. And so for example, this week I’ve got Cam o’Conner who is normally in the Portland pub is down in Argentina and has been there on vacation doing some interesting stuff. And so Bruce McDee who is one of our brewers who has been around a long is up there running that.

So you know we just have a lot of creativity. It’s not me just absolutely saying, “You will do this,” it’s more, I make sure that we’ve got the highest quality, craziest materials available, and you know, give ‘em to the brewers and see what they come up with in some of these projects. It’s pretty hard for any brewer at Deschutes to say, you know, “I invented this, or I invented that.” It’s more that this is what, uh… here were the challenges and here’s what we came up with.

Ethan: Sure, it’s a real collaborative effort.

Larry: Yeah, yeah. And right now we’re working on a Black IPA, and for a couple different reasons, I started the Portland brewhouse out brewing more of a schwartzbier, and the Bend pub ended up starting out a little more in the what you want to call “left field” that’s what’s going on in Portland.

So through all this work, we’ve been brewing a black IPA every week: one one week Portland, one the next week in Bend. We’re kind of coming to a place where we’re thinking we’ve got it. We’ve started to hit some of the attributes that we want and uh, you know, a lot of the things we did in Portland were, you know, pretty interesting. We applied those to what we learned in Bend, and vica versa. So it’s pretty cool to be able to go in these different directions in a uniform method… if that’s a grammatically accurate, if that’s grammatically accurate (which I doubt if it is). Needless to say it’s a most interesting way to look at R&D and come up with some pretty interesting brews.

Ethan: Yeah that sounds pretty awesome! So you actually use the brewpubs as sort of pilot brewhouses?

Larry: Oh absolutely. They’re kind of the first place we go crazy. You know, I just went through the Abyss. Somebody asked me the other day how we created that, and we’d been trying to make a different stout… Within that style, we had an imperial stout that we’d been working with. We kind of came to the conclusion that this was the direction we really needed to go, and that an imperial stout was exactly the way we needed to go.

And so we brewed a couple brews at the Bend pub… one that was a very blackstrap molasses brew and another one that was a very brewers-licorice challenged brew. We took those beers that were made and we put some of them in Jack Daniels bourbon barrels, and you know, figured out what direction that was going to take us…

We even — one of the brewers — took a bourbon barrel and sanded down the staves. The outside of the staves, not the inside. Took the barrel apart. Sanded down the outside and put the staves actually in a conditioning tank. While the results were interesting, they were not the direction we wanted to go.

Ethan: Ha! Maybe in a future beer?

Larry: Yeah…. maybe not even there. But you know, we learned a lot. Previous to this, we had done a fair amount of work with bourbon barrels, a fair amount of work with oak… You probably haven’t heard about these projects, but we did a beer called Jubel 2000 and one called Double Bale Quail. Both of those beers were aged in midwest oak, and they had various levels of toastings. We discovered a lot.

So, you know, maybe not the direction we wanted to go, but needless to say, we discovered a lot. That kind of gives you an insight of how those things work.

The next step after we did the initial brewing at the pub… I should tell you we have four brew houses at Deschutes. We have a twelve and a half barrel, which is the Bend pub. We have a 21 and a half barrel which is the Portland pub. Then we have a 50 barrel here at the main production facility, and then we have a 150 barrel brewhouse.

So what we did after we brewed the 12 and a half barrel Abyss at the Bend pub, I brewed a 50 barrel brew here at the production facility. Here again, we learned a lot. Every brew was more of a learning exercise. The good news with that is that we either sold all of the beer that we made at the Bend pub, the Abyss, or it was blended in to the Abyss that we made here at this facility.

That doesn’t always happen. If we have a beer that doesn’t meet our expectations, we are using the local municipality’s waste water plant for ‘em.

Ethan: Oh really? You guys don’t try to sell them at all?

Larry: Oh right, yeah yeah. As a group if we get together and taste a beer and we deem that it is not to the level that a Deschutes beer should be, we dump.

Ethan: That’s good stuff. Actually, I was hoping to be able to talk a bit more about the speciality brews that you guys have. I personally enjoy all the Deschutes makes, the Bachelor ESB, the Cinder Cone, the Mirror Pond is always fantastic… but uh, lately, the brews that have really been catching I think everyone’s eye is the new Bond Street series and the more recent Reserve Series. Those are pretty fantastic.

The Hop Henge was probably one of the best imperial IPAs I’ve ever had, and certainly one of the best this last year. And the Red Chair IPA — I’m not even sure that beer has a peer in terms of style.

So you were talking a little about how you started in on the Abyss. When did you make the first batch of Abyss? The first one came out in 2007 is that right?

Larry: Uh… no, we started our first commercial bottling Abyss in 2006. So we would have starting brewing Abyss at the pub specifically for the Abyss project (not particularly an imperial stout) in 2004.

Ethan: Wow.

Larry: Yeah, it, you know, took a little while to get it to production. In fact, the label says 2006, but I don’t think we actually released it until January 2007. I could be incorrect on that, but I think that was the release date.

There’s a little bit of other knowledge on there that you need: That was our first project where we ever waxed the crown. We ran into quite a few difficulties in perfecting that?

Ethan: Oh really?

Larry: Oh sure. If you don’t know the story there, if you look around, at like Maker’s Mark, some of the wineries… different people use wax for different packaging methods.

Ethan: Well it looks gorgeous.

Larry: The wax in itself has different levels of softness… to being plastic… do you dip it once, do you dip it once, all those kinds of things. What temperature do you dip it at… so on and so forth. Some of that had a contribution to the delay of that beer. Nothing is ever simple as I said earlier! We thrive on making things difficult.

Ethan: Well the wax is a perfect example — you said you didn’t do anything easily. I suppose you could have just released it.

Larry: Yeah. Exactly.

Ethan: That’s pretty cool. Can you talk a little more about the other reserve series brews? Let’s stay away from Dissidant for now because I want to talk about that separately. But tell me about the Black Butte… do you guys call it the Black Butte double ex, or the Black Butte twenty?

Larry: We call in the double ex. This year we called it ex ex eye… or you know, obviously, we released it as an anniversary beer. So our anniversary is June 27th. The year Deschutes started was 1988… so obviously this last year was XX and this year will be XXI.

Boy that was a fun beer! Deschuts as I said always does things the hard way. When we started this company, we started with a dark beer. I just can’t think of another brewery in the world that didn’t really start out with a flagship beer that is dark.

We got thinking about it, and what is more fitting than to sell a double porter in the middle of the summer? We thought, what the heck, let’s go for it. So we did, and for us it was a real learning experience. It has quite a bit of chocolate in it and quite a bit of coffee also… and, you know, there’s been a lot of worrying for me.

I came from a more traditional brewery, and to take a fatty material like chocolate or cocoa and put it in the beer… we thought, oh boy, there’s gonna be no foam to this beer whatsoever. And not true! It’s got a pretty decent foam to it. And we put a fair amount of cocoa in it… So that was fun.

And putting the coffee in has been nothing but an adventure. Last year, what we were doing is we were more-or-less dry hopping the final beer with chocolate… excuse me, with coffee. And we’d been working with a local coffee roaster down here called Bellataza. We’d been tasting coffees at different roast levels, letting it mature from the time we roast to the time we extract it… we were working with that. We also worked with… is a water tincture the best way to go, or let’s just go for it, put it in the beer…

And after a whole bunch of testing, we decided — ok, here’s what we’ll do: we’re going to dry hop the beer with the coffee. We had a fairly course grind on the coffee, and just like dry hopping with hops, we put it in bags. And…. uh.. you know, not much weight in a bag, thinking the coffee was going to swell and such… And we put it in there and let it sit for about 6 days and then we pulled that out and mixed it with the rest of the beer.

Great taste, great aroma, pretty much what we wanted, but then when the guys were pulling the bags out of the tank after the beer was out, they said, “Larry, you gotta come see this!” I said, “Well, what is it?” So I headed down to the cellar. And you could literally take your hand and put it in the middle of the bag and pull out dry coffee!

Ethan: Oh wow, it didn’t soak up at all?

Larry: No! Obviously coffee is a lot more hydrophobic than we had anticipated! And the work we’d done with smaller bags and whatever wasn’t quite appropriate for our larger scale.

Ethan: Yeah that’s not something you’d guess making your morning coffee.

Larry: No! Not at all! It surprised us. So this year we tried another method and it was about equally as successful. So if we made XXII, we’ll be trying something a little different.

Ethan: Do you change most of the reserve series every year, just trying to incrementally improve them?

Larry: Oh, sure. You know, it’s one thing to brew a brew or two or three at our pubs, but when you start ramping them up to 50 barrel batches or 150 barrel batches, you start learning all sorts of things. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good… This year, for example, the XXI, I brewed in our 150 barrel brewhouse. The wort from it was just spectacular. The application of the larger brewhouse was a very positive thing. We got wort and the resulting beer was just magnificent. I’m really happy with this year’s double Black Butte Porter.

Ethan: I can’t wait to see those bottles. The XX, I managed to miss the bottling, but I had it on tap a couple times and it was pretty outstanding. So you’re saying we can also looking forward to a Black Butte 22? XXII?

Larry: I don’t know if I can commit for that yet. I would sure personally like to see it, because I want this thing to be exactly what I’m looking for. So yeah, I want to go in that direction. There’s always the, you know… we might find something more exciting to put on the market next year. So you know, you don’t always want to say, absolutely, that’s what it’s going to be.

Ethan: Can we also look forward to that black IPA that you were talking about?

Larry: Oh sure, sure. We’re brewing that at both of our pubs as I mentioned, and I believe we’re on number 8 right now. Number 8 came out of the Portland pub, and number 9 was brewed in Bend last week, and I think we’re really hitting it. The plan is once Jubel has finished up for the year, then we’re going to be coming out with a black IPA. So I’m expecting the release of the Black IPA will be first or second week of January.

Ethan: Sounds great, I can’t wait! If we could step back a little, five, six years ago, sounds like right around the time you went to Deschutes, Deschutes was a pretty standard craft brewery. You guys had four seasonals, six or seven standard round the clock brews, but it’s just in the last five or six years when we’ve started to see this reserve series, and the Bond Street series really take off and be more widely distributed than just in the brewpubs. Can you talk a little bit about that transition, and how that’s happened? Why that was interesting for you guys.

Larry: Oh sure. Boy there’s all sorts of reasons.. I’d like to take credit for all of it… but I won’t. You know, one of the things that happened is that we had a 50 barrel brewhouse and we had the 12.5 barrel brewhouse at the Bend pub, and literally it was all we could do to get out those brands that you mentioned. In the year 2003, we produced 118,000 barrels… from a 50 barrel brewhouse that is just absolutely amazing.

That means the brewers were going around the clock almost 365 days a year.

Ethan: You must have been fermenting in plastic buckets!

Larry: Literally we were. It was a very difficult time for Deschutes and the expansion with the 150 barrel brewhouse literally could just not have come soon enough. And so with the.. .bringing out the new brewhouse, it freed up a lot of cellar space, and our time to start making these brews. Plus, the creativity that was being gathered at the pubs was starting to catch the eye of the sales and marketing teams. You know, they were starting to embrace all of that creativity that the brewers were coming up with.

One of the first brews that I engaged in and pretty much had a hand in bringinng about was our fresh harvest ale. I’d been at the brewery maybe 6 months when it kind of, you know, “Let’s get this going, guys.” So 2004 was the first time we made a fresh harvest beer. The sales crew saw that beer and the reaction down at the pub, and it just kind of captivated everyone’s thought pattern.

Ethan: Yeah, I bet. Can you describe the fresh harvest ale for our listeners who might not know what it is?

Larry: Sure. What I describe it as is one of the best aromas in the world bar none is when you go to a hop kiln… Think of a hop kiln as a two, three foot bed of freshly harvested hops that are about 25, 30 feet off of the ground. What they’re doing is, the farm is blowing hot air up through these hops, and drying them. Obviously if you don’t dry em, they’re going to spoil rather quickly.

But heat is used to dry ‘em. And you’re losing a lot of the volatiles up through the kiln bed. And so the purpose of a fresh harvest beer is to take all those volatiles, all those essential oils that are being lost, and take those into your beer.

What Deschutes does with Fresh Harvest Ale is we make a medium-level maltiness beer, medium bitterness, but what we will do is our brewers - in fact you mentioned his name, Jimmy Seifrit and Paul Arney - will travel over to Willamette Valley, Sodbuster Farms. They will take the hops off of the picking machine, before the kiln, and when they get those hops in their possession, they’ll call back to the brewery and say, “Time to Mash In!” And so they’ll start the mash process here in Bend, and then just when the wort is in the kettle, Jimmy and Paul will show up with the hops, and we’ll put the hops in the kettle. So you literally can’t get any fresher than that. And you will capture those great aromas into the beer.

Ethan: Yeah. So this might be a good time to mentioned that Deschutes only uses whole hops. Is that still correct?

Larry: Absolutely. We are only a whole-hop user. Part of my background, is I worked 7 years in the hop industry. I really appreciate the attributes that whole hops bring to the brewing process.

Ethan: Absolutely, absolutely. No pellet hops at Deschutes.

Larry: Well, I have to admit, I have used some pelletized hops here and there on occasion. You brought up Hop Henge. I added some pelletized hops right after… on that project.

Ethan: Was that just a volume consideration? I saw the blog posts about the explosions that happened.

Larry: Yeah… that was a pretty good experiment! A lot of those hops ended up on the fermenting floor. But it gave us some aromatic contribution that we really wanted.

Ethan: It’s a fantastic beer. Actually, those posts gave us homebrewers a little bit of hope: Hey, this can happen to the big guys!

Larry: Oh boy, I got the phone call: Larry, come down to look at this! And at that point, I’m responsible for everything. “Larry, look what you did!” If it would have went right, the other brewers, that would have been their idea.

Ethan: Of course, of course! That’s great. So let’s finish up here. I just wanted to talk a little about the Dissident, just because it’s such a departure from Deschutes’ normal beers. Sour beers are pretty hot right now — seems like everyone and their brother is coming out with one. But clearly there was no craze when the Dissident came out given it came out last August. What can you tell us about how the Dissident was made, how you guys decided to make a sour beer, the sorts of considerations you had to go through to keep the yeast segregated, that sort of thing.

Larry: Oh wow. This is the beer that I really wanted to do, and obviously I was met with a lot of skepticism. And originally, not a lot of support, because as you say, it’s good brewing practice to segregate those bacteria, those different yeast cultures, from our main bread and butter — i.e., those beers that pay our way. So I found a part of our hop cooler that had pretty nicely insulated walls, and you know, the brewers came in on a weekend and helped move some of those walls around and such so that we could have a segregated area.

Boy, we have a group called the Product Development group. We meet every few weeks, and we kind of discuss what beers we have in progress, what state they are, when we’re going to release them, all that kind of normal stuff. Part of the group will taste the beer, and I specifically remember the Dissident discussions. “Well, it’s about time we dump that beer…”

I resisted, and you know, I took enough pressure that at times, I almost wanted to walk up the cellar dump it down the drain! I didn’t, and I persisted.

One of the neat things was, we added… when the beer was just roughly a year old, we added fresh cherries. We crushed the cherries somewhat, but stems, pits, a few leaves — everything else went into that brew. I think that was the turning point for everyone at Deschutes. When we’d done that, after that, those cherries had started a refermentation, and the Dissident started really forming up a flavor all unto itself. That’s when, within the brewery, we recognized that we really had something special there.

It’s been a long road, but it’s one of my favourite beers, and I’m very proud of it.

Ethan: Yeah it’s really outstanding. We tried it alongside a half dozen, dozen other sours at Sour Beer Night up here during Seattle Beer Week, and it uh, I think it blew the socks off just about everything else we had. If was pretty awesome — I was sad that I missed the bottles.

All right, so what else can we look forward to? Maybe we’ll see a black IPA, maybe we’ll see a Black Butte XXII, anything else we can look forward to?

Larry: Yeah, the, what we have coming up now… we were just talking about the Dissident. I’ve got a Dissident that is roughly, boy, 8 months old right now? We’re just getting ready to put the cherries in now.

Ethan: And how long did the first one monopolize a fermentation tank?

Larry: Uh… two years.

Ethan: Ok, so we can look forward to that in 2012?

Larry: Yep, pretty close. I might be able to, depending on what we learned at the first one… it might come out in ‘11. We’ll see how that goes. We’ve already spoke about the black IPA… we’re working really hard on a… I won’t call it a Weissbier, but it’s kind of a specialty hefeweizen-type beer. Not particularly a south German hefeweizen, but somewhat in that direction. I’m, actually, we’re going to be serving it at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival. If you’re down there, that would be a good place to get a preview of what that beer might be.

So that’s a few of the interesting things that we have coming along. I’ve already brewed Abyss for this year, and it got put in its oak barrels earlier in the year, so it’s scheduled for an end-of-November, 1st of December release.

Then coming up in 2010, probably February, I’ll have a Super Jubel release. I brewed that also the end of December ‘08 and put it into oak casks, so it’s aging as we speak, so that’s going to be an interesting release.

Ethan: Well great, that all sounds awesome. I can’t wait to pour a vertical of the Abyss. So, when you’re not drinking Deschutes, what are you drinking?

Larry: Oh boy… You know, whatever’s in my hand! There are so many great beers out there that it’s just hard for me to comment on. I love most everything that my friend down in Russian River produces… I love, love the beers out of Allagash. The Sierra Nevada folks, they’re just stellar, and so are my friends up at Alaskan. I’m always grabbing some Belgian beers. I spent some time in Germany this last fall, had some fantastic Frankonian beers… boy.

Ethan: That’s quite a selection!

Larry: You name it. I’m headed to Germany again this fall — gonna hit up Oktoberfest… gonna make it over to the Czech Republic for a couple beers, so, wow, you know?

Ethan: Sounds great.

Larry: I have a good time.

Ethan: Sounds great. I’ll give you a call if I want to get an interview with Russian River.

Larry: Yeah, I can line you up with Vinnie.

Ethan: It’s been a pleasure talking to you Larry.

Larry: You too! Keep your mug up.

Ethan: Thanks a lot.

Larry: Yep! Bye now.





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-22 06:00
Subject:#18: Longshotters: Sam Adams 2009 Longshot
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week we grab a six-pack of this year’s Long Shot and have at. The results are pretty fantastic!

Longshot

Not vitals stats because I’m lazy, but the general order of things is pretty normal: Intro -> Cranberry Wit -> Traditional Bock -> Beer News (or rather, this week, beer issues) -> Double IPA.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-22 06:00
Subject:#18: Longshotters: Sam Adams 2009 Longshot
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

This week we grab a six-pack of this year’s Long Shot and have at. The results are pretty fantastic!

Not vitals stats because I’m lazy, but the general order of things is pretty normal: Intro -> Cranberry Wit -> Traditional Bock -> Beer News (or rather, this week, beer issues) -> Double IPA.

Direct link for those of you that listen in-browser is right here.

Enjoy!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-18 20:27
Subject:Beer Style Guidelines: Teach the Controversy!
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

Beer Styles are intended as a way to respectfully segregate various beers. The intent, I suppose, is the same as the intent behind classification in any scientific endeavor: that is, it’s a combination of the geek’s desire to classify things and the connoisseur’s desire to avoid having to directly answer the question, “Is Stone’s IPA better than Avery’s Samael?”

The guidelines, though, have inherent shortcomings, and they seem to become more prevalent as I continue this Learning About Beer quest.

In typical Internet, bullet-point fashion, I’ll expand.

  • No two style guides quite agree
    Just like the Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style don’t always agree, the two major sources of beer style guides don’t either. Beertown’s guide, for instance, separates Wood and Barrel-aged Sour Beers into a category, while the BJCP style guide has only a few entries on sours, and no mention of wood-aged sours being worth a separate category.
  • There are dozens of different sets of guidelines
    Michael Jackson has one of the most extensive sets that doesn’t claim to be official, but nearly every beer author has a slightly different take on beer styles. This is particularly true for the “fringe” classifications, like wild ales.
  • Style guidelines my stifle brewer creativity
    The real enthusiasts will say that people who want to be creative will do so regardless of the existence of style guidelines, but it’s hard to deny that many brewers will start their careers trying to brew a book-perfect American Pale. Whether this stifles long-term creativity, I’m not going to speculate, but the argument is out there.
  • Style guidelines may complicate beer judging more than they simplify it
    Guidelines help codify styles, sure, but what do you do when Avery Brewing wants to submit their SIXTEEN to a competition? It fits the style guidelines for a Saison… almost. The alcohol content is too high to fit the BJCP style. Do they have to enter it into Belgian Special Dark Ales as the guidelines imply, to compete with the likes of completely different beers? Rigid guidelines make it easy to answer this question, but not easy for the creative brewer to get good feedback or categorization of their unique brew.

The core issue here are that guidelines can’t keep pace with brewer creativity.

I say this as someone seriously investigating the time it would take to become a beer judge, and as a scientist that respects the desire and purpose of classification. There are billions of beers waiting to be made out there — are we going to try to create guidelines for every one?





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-15 17:09
Subject:Thanks @StoneGreg! (aka The Magic Of Twitter)
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

Part of me doesn’t want to post this because I’m afraid that Greg and other brewers will be inundated with similar requests, but part of me just really wants to share this because it’s awesome, and I didn’t really ask for this, it was sheer generosity. That second part of me is winning, both because of the degree of awesome and the desire to share some of this guy’s fantastic awesomeness.

In my Real Life, I dog on Twitter a lot. Twitter is kind of like a blog and kind of a like a conversation… which sounds great. But in practice, there are far fewer consumers than producers on Twitter. Everyone uses Twitter as a way to be heard, not a way to hear. Lots of talking, not a lot of listening. Which makes it… kind of annoying a lot of the time. And I still think that. Hell, I’m guilty of it.

But there is another use of Twitter that I am just now understanding: Twitter facilitates egalitarian connections between people of all types.

For example, I saw Greg Koch of Stone Brewing give the CBC Keynote this year. It was a great speech about the American Dream, about how to Play Nice and still have a business, and about setting (or maintaining) the “spirit” that has pushed the craft brewing industry into a successful market.

I’m not quite as idealistic as Mr. Koch, and I’m pretty sure that craft brewing is still just a market like any other. (I might be guilty of listening to too much Planet Money lately.) But that doesn’t stop me from buying the beer that I love, appreciating the effort that craft brewers exercise in order to remain local, use organic ingredients, and brew what people want rather than what they will merely tolerate.

In any case, during that keynote, greg showed off a sticker that said, “Fizzie yellow beer is for wussies.” I immediately needed to have one for the back of my laptop.

I looked around online for about half an hour, including ebay.com and the Stone Brewing store, but couldn’t find this sticker for sale.

Hrm. Well, I thought, Greg’s on Twitter. Maybe he’ll tell me where to buy them.

So I asked.

He responded with his email address and a short statement: It’s no problem to send you a few. Just send me your address.

Today, this envelope arrived. I apologize for the blurriness of the photos, but I think they speak for themselves.

envelope please

holy shit

O.o

The astute observer will notice that I received much more than merely one “fizzie yellow beer” sticker. Yes, that’s a handwritten note from the man himself.

Thanks, Greg! I think I’ll go open a Stone IPA!





Poster:thaen
Date:2009-06-15 05:00
Subject:#17: A Geekbeer Soured: Allagash Confluence; New Belgium Bottleworks 10, La Folie, and Dark Kriek
Security:Public

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

It foiled us once, but episode 17 is finally here!

number 17

We jump on the Sour Beer Bandwagon (as heard on Twitter: Sour beer is the new Barrel Aged; Barrel Aged was the new Imperial Stout; Imperial Stout was the new Imperial IPA; and Imperial IPA was the new IPA).

I’m sorry for all the weird blips and bloops between some of the transitions. I can’t understand what was going on there — GarageBand was being stupid with caching some of the sounds and I couldn’t figure out how to avoid it. Very odd. I’ll explore more next time.

0:00 Intro
1:23 Allagash Confluence - in which we drink it too cold
3:55 On The Brettanomyces Flavor
6:44 New Belgium Bottleworks 10 - in which we enjoy this extremely sour beer (the best of the four according to Tom and Adam)
8:10 On Sours, their state in the current beer world, online beer ratings, and general tasting
12:00 On Beer Ratings
15:50 Lips of Faith La Folie (the best of the four according to Ethan)
18:03 GeekBeer News
21:16 Quick Hits
24:03 Lips of Faith Dark Kriek - in which this doesn’t do it for us

For those that listen in browser, the direct link is here.




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