Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - surfin.mikeg

Pages: [1] 2
Commercial Beer Reviews / Anchor Steam - Dry Hopped
« on: October 22, 2016, 05:18:32 PM »
When Fritz Maytag sold Anchor Steam in 2010, it was not clear what direction the brewery would go.  In hindsight, the there's been a substantial creative effort to keep the brand and beers relevant (distilling as well; their Junipero gin is a wonderful go-to), and this has included a seasonal update of the classic Anchor Steam Beer:

Anchor Steam has always been a classic local beer with a distinctive malty flavor and unique use of Northern Brewer Hops.  I have run into a few people who like this beer just the way it is and have no interest in trying the new recipe.  I like the traditional malty flavor as well and am I'm always looking for it on tap when dining out.  Although it dates to the the 1800's, I think the current recipe has been in place since 1971.  It's the most unique and most traditional beer as I can find in the SF Bay area.

The Dry-Hopped update is well thought-out, first by moving the ABV from 4.9% to 5.4% and then making it slightly more bitter.  It clear that Anchor Brewing is exploring how to keep relevant in a changing market, and that their Liberty Ale, which is a great dry-hopped beer, has really not taken off and is sometimes hard to find.  This update still has the familiar flavor of an Anchor Steam, but with the dry-hop addition of Cascade and "American Dwarf Hop Association No. 484", it is really a new beer.  The familiar flavor is there but more subdued as the hop additions stand out. No idea what that last hop is.

I like it quite a bit and find it well balanced. It's now more appropriate to serve in a glass than the bottle.  In looking for comparisons, it makes me think of some of the various seasonal pale ales put out by Green Flash.  If I could find this fresh and on tap somewhere, I'd not pass it up.


Classifieds / Job: American Craft Brewing Historian/Scholar
« on: July 25, 2016, 08:23:36 PM »
It reads like a dream job:  a historical and field research position of American brewing for the Smithsonian, with a focus towards craft beer.  Aug 10th deadline.

General Homebrew Discussion / Advice on FWH/Whirlpool hop additions?
« on: December 07, 2015, 09:42:31 PM »
I'm going to adjust the way I add hops and am looking for advice on the amount of hops to use.  Curious if anyone who actively does this could share insight.

The background:  depending on a given recipe, I typically target as appropriately 40, 60, or 80 IBUs.   I usually go with a 60 minute addition that's 1/2 to 2/3 my IBU, and then ramp out the remaining additions at 20/10/5/0 minutes to get the remainder.  I've always used whole hops and it's usually fine, except for when I dry hop with something like Centennial and get a grassy off-flavor that more or less kills the beer.  Trying to avoid that.

Things I'd like to try with a typical IPA recipe, say 1.060 OG:
1. use pellets instead of whole hops
2. move the 60 minute addition to a first wort hop addition (should be 150-160 degrees or so and then ramp up)
3. move the late boil additions to a whirlpool stand (30-45 minutes at ~170)
4. and dry hop, say 2 or 3 oz per 5 gallon

I'm trying to maximize the amount of hops added without getting into the grassy off-flavor.  Wondering if I should ramp up the FWH for the IBU's desired and then shift the amount of late-boil hops into the whirlpool stand, or perhaps there's some best-practice someone could share.  Thank you.

I'm planning on trying this with a blend of Apollo, Chinook, and Summit, and then with water and mineral adjustments appropriate for an PA/IPA. 

Homebrew Weddings / Wedding Brews
« on: October 21, 2015, 10:07:24 PM »
Sharing what I did for a wedding:

I brewed six different beers, shooting for a minimum of a case of 22oz bombers each, targeting enough beer for 40-60 people.  My goal was to brew either 3 gallon batches, or 6 gallons and split the batch to make two different beers, or brew 8 gallons and keg whatever was not bottled.  This is what I shared via the awesome Swap'toberfest.

It worked well to bottle in this case.  I know that I needed to focus on presentation, and so I passed up labeling in favor of a ribbon glued around the bottle's body and a ribbon tied on the neck.  Using sharpies and so on just wasn't going to work, and so I iron-on'd text onto all the ribbon.

It's all color coordianted.  Everything needed to be sailing themed for the wedding, hence the anchors tied onto the ribbons and the "Shipside homebrewery" name:

This was actually for a picnic the day before the wedding, and so I was just getting set up when a literal bus-load of family showed up.  It was great to look around and see 50 or so people all having a good time with beers in hand.

Lessons learned:

- get out of the way.  Get it all set-up and let'm figure it out
- lots of great tap-houses and Belgian beer exposure in America; people love to talk beer and want something interesting
- regardless of how creative the beers are, there's always contingents that want only a light Pilsner or a strong super hoppy IPA
- in this case the wedding couple asked that no one get smashed and so most everything was around 5% ABV.  But, there's always a few who really really really want that bold IPA
- for those who can't or don't like beer, having something Gin-based was important.  If I did it again, I'd make a pitcher of Zombie and have that available
- it was a special time of seeing all the family together for a very rare event. A number of people wanted ribbons untied to take with them afterwards, and it was also fun to hand-out the remaining bottles
- last but not least, having the wedding couple participate in the making and naming of the beers was important.  Everything beer-wise was sailing themed and the wedding itself was heavily Hawaiian themed.   Aloha!

- Mike

Equipment and Software / I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 02:30:53 PM »
I dropped a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. 

It's been 10+ years of usage and taking extra steps to be cautious with them.  I usually work with them on top of wood and carry/store in a clean plastic trash can, but looked past the wood part just this one time.  My hands were soapy as I was cleaning/moving it.  I simply lost friction while holding, like only glass can do, and it shattered something fierce with the 1.5 foot drop over textured cement.  No injuries, but two extra hours to clean up with so many tiny tiny chips and shards.

Now switching over to 100% plastic, picking up 5 22L food-grade buckets. Wow, these things are much more practical.

Why post this?  I'm sure there are others like me who are aware of the dangers but use them anyway.  Simply a data-point that continued use of them was more risk than I realized.


Events / NHC 2015: good eating nearby?
« on: June 04, 2015, 06:35:31 PM »
Curious if anyone would have recommendations for local fares that are non-chain and reachable by trolley from the convention center?   I'm hoping to find a spot for large Mexican meals like one can get for breakfast down in the beach areas, and also looking for BBQ.  Thanks.

Pimp My System / Mill Prototype
« on: May 21, 2015, 09:40:16 PM »
One of my goals is to DIY my homebrewery as much as practical; and in this case I put together this grain mill in a one step at a time "just get it done" mode.  That is to say, functional & good enough so I can get onto brewing.  The second goal is to recycle and spend as little as possible.  I'm in about $15 on this one for wingnuts, bolts, and an adapter to fasten a gear to the drill.

I need to finish the hopper, replace the drill/motor, and fine tune it a little bit, yet I'm good for somewhere around 70%-73% efficiency and no mash-tun clogging with two batches so far.  I really really really want to go with larger rollers and the 4" aluminum rollers was the best I could do.

Learned lessons:  the mill does best when going as slow as possible.  I tried a few different drills to power it, but fell back on the smallest drill I had and kept the feed light.  Using a voltage regulator to keep the speed as minimal as possible.  Cutting the gears out of plywood was easier than imagined and I'm surprised it runs as smooth as it does.  Gap setting is for a credit card to pass through but not where the numbers are printed, thinking this is slightly larger than 1/64".

The start of batch one of two for NHC Club Night.  Cheers Yo.

Yeast and Fermentation / lager starters?
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:18:38 PM »
How do you put together a strong stater for lager yeast?

The background to this question is that I recently did a 2L starter of Wyeast 2206, bavarian lager.  My first lager where I've had good temp control (6 gallons of doppelbock, ~1.080).  From what I'm reading, the starter should have been a yeast cake of 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness that corresponds to 5L of starter. 

That's a big starter for me.  If I understand correctly, the process for building that would be something like so:

2L starter:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
brew, pitch at 50+ degrees

Am I over thinking this? I'm at day 8 after pitching, 53 degrees, and the batch still has krausen with a full flocculation.  Not that there is a problem, just curious as to what people do for a stater in the context of colder fermentation.

All Grain Brewing / Decoction Tips?
« on: September 23, 2013, 10:21:04 PM »
I need to brew a DoppelBock (club competition), and decoction is not something I've done before and I'd like to give it a try. 

I'm reading through Kai's documentation on and am thinking about a double or enhanced double decoction.  Does anyone know if I will get more complexity if I take the time to do the longer decoction?

Other questions:

Is there a recommended way for accounting for volume loss of the heated decoction, i.e., how much will it affect the pre-boil gravity?  I can plan it out but typically I end up needing to adjust either temps and times at some point.  I don't have the best heat control when stepping up a mash on an outdoor burner.

Can someone get by with using a cooler as the primary mash tun, or do both tuns need burners?

Lastly, I've never done proper checking for starch conversion, and Kai mentions testing for this.  Given that I'm working with fully modified malt, is it preferred to do this vs simply tracking time?


The Pub / The Beer Hunter
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:50:13 PM »
"One weekend in Belgium changed my life"  Apparently, the last interview with Michael Jackson:

Finding out that a number of his shows are available online, these are great:

New for me, simply sharing.

(via metafilter)

Commercial Beer Reviews / The Trooper
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:43:07 PM »
Traditional cask ale, with nice color, 4.8%.  Bucket list?

Equipment and Software / hop rhizomes newbie
« on: March 05, 2013, 02:47:38 PM »
On a whim I ordered some rhizomes; planning to drop them on a hill that has vigorous plant growth without watering.  It's north facing, coastal, with some direct sunlight.

Asking for insight:

* what's a minimum depth for soil?  It's 1 to 4 inches of hard-pack on clay, all needing rework to make loamy.  Can I get by with 8 to 12 inches of depth?

* are hop vines trainable?  I can set them up to go 16' tall, but I'd rather have them run horizontally after a 3 to 6 foot rise.  Would it negatively affect the plant?


Ingredients / Maris Otter Floor Malted Malt?
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:57:50 PM »
Anyone used floor malted MO?  I have not heard of it before, looking to use it for an IPA to hopefully build a malty backbone.  The semi-LHBS said not to use more than 20% as compared to using regular MO for all the base malt.  I don't see many references to it on the web.

WAYRTTD: I figured on using roughly 20% of this, then 2.5% of British Crystal 70/80, 2.5% Carapil, with the remaining 75% being 2-row.  Apollo is the bittering hop.  On the aroma side, the plan is to blend ibu's of 50% Cascade with 50% Apollo and Chinook.

Happy brew-day to you all.

Beer Travel / Poland?
« on: November 03, 2012, 12:19:39 PM »
The latest issue of Zymurgy has a great, great article on Grodziskie.  On my last trip through Poland (mostly through rural areas), I didn't find this.  Anyone know where to expect to find it beyond where it is made or if it is imported?

I'm no expert, just a random traveler.  The best I could find was on tap, Okocim.  The Polish do meats and mushrooms very well, and pairing anything like that with Okocim was great (and notably inexpensive; $2 a liter).

A question is what are craft or BJCP beer judges looking for in good Pilsners.  Most of the pilsner beers there were advertised as award winning, but if it was good it was also quite green. This meant huge yeast aromas, much more than I've ever noticed before.  I'm wondering if that is desirable or simply different from the beers sent to contests.   

Would love to find something like either one of these in the US.

Yeast and Fermentation / Fusel alcohols revisited
« on: October 05, 2012, 07:51:00 PM »
I'm on the opposite side of andrew000141's "fuel alcohol" thread where I want a strong ester profile for saisons and am just learning about temp control.  I just brewed a honey-orange saison (mash at 150 deg, WLP566, 6%, 40 ibu), and I upgraded the fermentation heater from 50W to 200W without testing first.  The high temp setting says 89 degrees, so I went with it. 

The next day after pitching I checked, it was krausening at 97 degrees.  Tasted horridly awful with fusels, and it fermented out at 85 degrees.  6 weeks later (w/ rack & bottle at ~60 degrees), the majority of fusel notes are gone and should be quite fine in a month or so.  No headaches.

I'm not tasting a lot of esters yet - does it help if the beer is mashed at a lower temp?
How about fatty-acid content to promote esterification - does honey help in that regard?

Any other tidbits?


Pages: [1] 2