Friday, November 18, 2016

Editorial | Why Fruit Juice-Accented IPA Is A BAD Idea

 Grapefruit Citradelic

Sam Adams: Rebel Grapefruit IPA
New Belgium: Citradelic Tangerine IPA
Stone: Enjoy By 10/31/2016 Tangerine IPA

The new fad this year in craft brewing is the fruit-accented beers.  Basically the breweries think that if the hop has a tangerine or grapefruit character, then, naturally, if you add those actual fruits to the beer, it is somehow supposed to accentuate and enhance those flavors produced from the hop.

I don't know where they got this idea. Whomever it was that told them was just plain WRONG! These beers taste like beer-flavored fruit juice.  In no way does adding the actual fruit and juice to these beers accentuate and enhance the hop character. If anything, it dampens the character of the hop and over-powers it with the taste of juice.

I feel like what they are trying to accomplish is completely overshadowing what is supposed to happen naturally. If I'm adding 4 different varieties of Hops to my IPA, it's because I want the subtleties of each to come across in the final beer.

Instead, what is happening is that all of those subtle flavors are being completely overpowered by one flavor; i.e. Tangerine or Grapefruit.

If you are an IPA lover, then this travesty will never be never be a beer you enjoy as an IPA.
Will people like this beer?  Yes.  Of course they will.
But is this an IPA? No.  This is beer-flavored fruit juice.  If you were to completely leave the hops out of the recipe (aside, possibly, from the bittering hops), there is a very strong probably that you would not be able to tell a difference.

My final question to you (and to the craft brewer out there thinking about undertaking this (I use this term loosely) "Style"…

Would you dump beer into your orange juice?
Then stop dumping orange juice into my beer!

Below are links to three different fruit-enhanced beers that I recently reviewed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stone: Enjoy By Tangerine 10/31/2016 | Fruit Beer | Beer Review

Stone released another Enjoy By Tangerine.  This on is 10/31/2016.  Let's see if this fruit-accented beer is another beer-flavored fruit juice drain pour, or if it's going to come out ahead of the pack.

Read my opinionated editorial (HERE) on Fruit-Accented Beers.
And see my reviews on a few other Fruit-Accented Beers.

*** I could not find any rating for this year on Beer Advocate or Rate Beer. So I posted the ratings from 2015 release.

Beer Name: Stone Enjoy By: 10/31/2016

Release Date: 9/26/2016

ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 90

Bottle Code:  - Best by date - Come on People!  It's right on the label!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sam Adams: Rebel Grapfruit IPA | Fruit Beer | Beer Review

I'm not going to reiterate my overall opinion (for which I have already written about in an accompanying editorial about Fruit-Enhanced Beers).  You can read that for yourself by clicking on the link HERE.

Today, I'm reviewing Sam Adams: Rebel Grapefruit IPA.  And once again, I am presented with "Beer-flavored Fruit Juice".  I think this one is actually worse than the New Belgium Citradelic.  The grapefruit flavor is much stronger. And even worse is that the bitterness in the beer is not a hop bitterness, but an overwhelming rind bitterness. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, peel a grapefruit and chew on the rind.  And… there you go.

Beer Name: Sam Adams Rebel Grapfruit IPA

STYLE: Grapefruit IPA
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: 52
Calories: 197

Bottle Code- Best by date - Printed on the bottom of the can

Monday, November 7, 2016

New Belgium: Citradelic Tangerine IPA | Fruit Beer | Beer Review

I'm not going to reiterate my overall opinion (for which I have already written about in an accompanying editorial about Fruit-Enhanced Beers).  You can read that for yourself by clicking on the link HERE.

But this particular beer is the epitome of beer-flavored fruit juice. It doesn't taste like an IPA.  It doesn't even taste like beer.
That's all I'm going to say about this beer.
Watch the video.

Beer Name: New Belgium | Citradelic Tangerine IPA

STYLE: Tangerine IPA
ABV: 6.0%
IBU: 50

Bottle Code- Best by date - Printed on the Label

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Home Brew Tutorial | How to Can & Preserve Starter Wort

This tutorial was conceived in 2 parts.
  1. Part one shows how to make a yeast starter.
  2. Part two shows how to can and preserve the yeast starter for later use.

There are a couple different ways to can and preserve your starter wort.

Method 1: ...Is to use a pressure cooker. The key is setting the pressure to 15 psi which causes the wort to boil at 250˚F (121˚C) instead of the 212˚F (100˚C) which is standard boiling temperatures. The higher temperature is hot enough to kill Clostridium Botulinum in a reasonable amount of time.

Method 2: ...Is what I detail in this video.  The boiling water method is presented here because it has been used successfully for many years, 
  • But be aware, this method does allow for the minute possibility of botulinum poisoning. Although the probability of this is extremely low, the consequences can be severe if it does occur.

In this tutorial, I will be walking you through the steps of canning/preserving a (yeast) starter wort.
"Why would I want to do this?" You may be asking yourself. The answer is simple.

Have you ever had a scheduled brew day, let's say tomorrow (or this weekend) but you still haven't gotten your yeast starter going? Then you say to yourself, "Ugh! Prepping a starter is going to take me 2 hours." Which is time most people don't have (or want to take) to produce such a small thing.

But what if you could get multiple batches worth of starter taken car of all at once; multiple brew-day's worth?

THAT is why you would want to can and preserve it.

Here are the simple steps to canning and preserving your starter wort.

  1. After making your starter wort, keep it hot.
  2. Take all of the mason jars that you need and boil them in a hard rolling boil for 10 minutes (at altitudes of less that 1,000ft). 
    • Boil an additional 1 min for each additional 1,000 ft of elevation.
    • NOTE Ball recommends NOT boiling the lids for any canning times of more than 10 minutes. Just make sure they are cleaned immediately prior to using.
      • If you choose, let them soak in StarSan after cleaning.
  3. Turn off the heat source and Remove the jars from the hot water.
    • TIP: Keep the jars full of the hot water until you are ready to fill with wort.
    • TIP: Retain the hot water for the next step but do not continue boiling the water.
  4. Fill each jar with wort and immediately apply the lid.
  5. Once all jars are full of wort, place them on the canning rack, and put them back in the pot of hot water. Then turn the heat source back on.
  6. Boil for at least 15 minutes. (Longer if you feel like it).
  7. After boiling remove from the hot water and let the jars stand where they are without bothering them.
    • After a while, you will begin hear "Dink!" "Dink!" This is the jar pressurizing (like jelly jars at the store). 
    • You'll notice the little button on the lid is now pressed down.  This is a good thing.

You can do as large a volume of Wort as you choose.  Just understand that you will have to repeat the steps above for each additional volume of wort.


I feel obligated to post the following warning, just as a precaution, even though, BALL says this is highly unlikely as long as you use common sense cleaning and sanitizing methods before hand.

BYO states…

Botulism Warning

In home food preservation, foods are divided into “high-acid” foods, with a pH below 4.6, and “low-acid” foods, with a pH above 4.6. High-acid foods can be safely canned using the boiling water method. It is recommended that low acid foods be canned in a pressure cooker, where the increased pressure means that water boils at 240 °F (116 °C) or higher. The pH of boiled, unfermented wort is around 5.0–5.2, making it a low-acid liquid. 

The reason for the high-acid/low-acid distinction is that spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum can survive in low-acid foods, even if they have been heated to 212 °F (100 °C). Clostridium botulinum produces 7 different classes of botulinum toxin, labeled A through G, and all are powerful neurotoxins. Botulinum type A, the most toxic, is 15,000 times more potent than VX nerve gas. 

Botulinum toxins stop impulses in the nervous system from triggering muscular contractions. Symptoms of botulism usually arise 24–36 hours after exposure to the toxin and include dry mouth, weakness, double vision, vomiting, depressed breathing and a progressively intensifying paralysis leading to death. 

The presence of Clostridium spores in raw honey is why doctors recommend not feeding it to infants or small children. 

Although spores of the bacteria are found almost everywhere, cases of botulism are actually relatively rare. Most years, around 110 cases are reported in the US, with most occurring in infants or small children that have eaten honey or other affected foods. On average, less than 30 cases per year result from improper home canning. 

In fermented wort (i.e. beer), the alcohol content, low pH (4.0–4.4) and anti-bacterial components in hops prevent C. botulinum from surviving. In preserved, unfermented, lightly-hopped wort, it is possible for the bacteria to grow. Although the bacteria will die if the wort is fermented, any toxins produced by the bacteria will not be neutralized. 

To minimize the possibility of botulinum poisoning, can your starter wort using a pressure cooker or add acid — such as phosphoric or lactic acid — to your starter wort such that its pH is 4.6 or below if you are using the boiling water method. (High hopping levels alone are likely not enough.) 

The boiling water method is presented here because it has been used successfully for many years, but it does allow for the possibility of botulinum poisoning. Although the probability of this is low, the consequences can be severe if it does occur.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Home Brew Tutorial | How to Make a Starter Wort (Yeast Starter)

This tutorial was conceived in 2 parts.
  1. Part one shows how to make a yeast starter.
  2. Part two shows how to can and preserve the yeast starter for later use.

In this tutorial, I will be making a 1 (one) gallon yeast starter.  While I only, technically, need a small amount as a starter, I want to can and preserve the remainder of the starter wort to use at a later date.
  1. In John Palmer's book "How to Brew", he states:
    1. Mix 1/2 cup of DME to 1 (one) pint of "finished" water.
      • This will give us a Gravity of 1.040.
        • Note: For higher gravity beers, you'll want to make higher gravity starter.
    2. For 1 (one) gallon of finished starter, mix 4 cups of DME.  Plus add an extra pint of water to compensate for boil off and boil over.
  2. Get water to boiling, then add DME.
  3. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. John Palmer says that during the boil, you can also add a small amount of Hops and Yeast nutrient to the starter.
    1. The hops are used keep the the unfermented wort sterile since it is a natural antimicrobial.
    2. Add the yeast nutrient to the starter to help get the yeast growing faster. And it also helps to rejuvenate old/expired yeast packs.
  5. Once your are finished boiling, cover and chill to pitching temperatures.
  • If you are planning to can the yeast starter, only remove what you plan to use now and chill separately.
  • Allow the remainder to stay hot until you are ready to can and preserve it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Home Brew Tutorial | How to Remove Labels from Beer Bottles with 3 Tools

In this tutorial I will show you the way that I de-label my used craft beer bottles so that they are clean a ready to use for my home brewed beer. I will use only three tools
  1. Hot Water
  2. Razor Blade (Brand new) (Do not use an old blade)
  3. Wet Rag

Yes.  De-labeling bottles sucks!  But, unless you want to pay ridiculous amounts of money for case of empty bottles, then this is a necessity for home brewers.  

I've tried this many different ways, but the procedure that I detail below (and in the video) is the best, most efficient way that I've found.

  1. Fill your sink with hot tap water (While at the same time filling your bottles).
    • This allows the hot water to make contact with both sides of the label as well as weighs down the bottle so it doesn't float.
  2. Once all of the bottles are filled, fill the remainder of the sink with hot water until all of the bottles are covered sufficiently.
    • I can usually fit about 12-16 bottles in my sink.
  3. Allow the bottles to soak for at least 10 minutes
    • Longer with yield better results.
  4. Peel the labels off then re-submerge for another 10 minutes (or so). 
    • Use this time to put the rag in the water. You want the rag nice and hot.
  5. Carefully, use the razor blade to scrape the glue off.
  6. Use the wet rag to wipe off any residual glue.
  7. Place the bottle upside down to drain and dry.

Be aware that some craft beer companies use different glue types.  And because of this, the difficulty of  removing the label and glue can range from super easy to nearly impossible.

For Example:

  • Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are super easy.
  • Thomas Creek is probably one of the most difficult.  It's almost like they use super glue to put the labels on. But if you have some patience and a sharp razor blade then you will get them clean.