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Messages - narvin

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The Pub / Re: Beer: UK vs Belgium on TV
« on: December 27, 2012, 10:47:14 AM »
Is it Zane Lamprey?

They should have made the British judge Carl Pilkington.

St. Bernardus Prior 8, and as was previously mentioned, try a strong dark as well (St. Bernardus Abt 12).

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Tank #7
« on: December 25, 2012, 03:47:13 AM »
I tried it on tap in St Louis and really loved it.  In fact, it sort of inspired me to try using the American Farmhouse yeast blend in a few beers.  Not saying that's what they used but it seems similar.  But, I can't get it here so I can't say if I'm getting anything close to a clone. 
Very nice saison-esque beer.

Same here. I was really inspired by it as well. White Labs 670 yeast is simply amazing.

Although I celebrate the whole Boulevard collection, Tank 7 is hands down my favorite. The whole smokestack series is awesome but this one is very special. I love the American interpretation of the traditional Belgian/French farmhouse and this one is at the top of my list!

Boulevard Saison Brett is their Tank 7 with dry hopping and Brett at bottling (i.e. Orval style). Try it if you like 670.

Narvin - Marketing is more than just ads. Marketing involves any messages (intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit) between you and your customers. Descriptions of beers, and "about us" sections on breweries' websites is what I was mainly thinking of, but even the "buzz" around a brand is just as much a form of marketing as a super bowl ad.

Again, the "buzz" around craft beer is at least beer related.  There's no doubt that craft beer is a culture, identity, scene, or whatever you want to call it, but it didn't grow because of low budget web sites and labels.  A lot of people were involved, and this identity you see today was created by the brewers, bar owners, and patrons.  Saying that unintentional messages is the same as focus groups and tv spots is just silly.

Comparing small brewery marketing and branding with the constant tv spots from Bud shows a big difference.  There are degrees here;  it's not all the same just because it's "marketing".  The closest thing I see to exploitative marketing from craft beer comes from Sam Adams, but they're appealing to the macro drinkers with those ads.

I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

Wait, is your gum analogy talking about mass-market beer, or the kind of person who defines their life around their 'small-batch/authentic/artisanal/hand-made/craft' beer? Craft brewers use marketing too (except the monks at Westy).

I see most craft brewing advertisements as being about beer, not about making you a better skateboarder, manly man, or fantasy football player.  There is a culture of artisinal/trendy/extreme beer drinkers that is exploited by some craft beer ads, but most of this exists naturally and is driving the ads, not the other way around.  Whether you find these people annoying or pretentious is an unrelated factor.

Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.

I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

But, the other part of the equation is that most things which are intended for mass consumption are created through a finely tuned process involving research, focus groups, and making the most middle of the road, formulaic thing possible.  Which works great for making a useful widget to sell, but not so great when making art or craft.  Really, when in history did the world's best craftsmen ever send out a survey asking how people would like their products made?  The thing is, most people don't need craftsmanship for everything.  They're satisfied with a product if it isn't one of their main interests.

Now, judging whether a brewery is a "craft brewery" by number of barrels produced seems misguided, but there is a grain of truth here.  The more beer you brew, the more you have to appeal to people outside the enthusiast group to people who aren't necessarily interested in craftsmanship.  Luckily, the growing interest in beer and education about beer styles and history has increased the base of people looking for interesting and diverse beers, so it's definitely possible for craft breweries to be larger now.

Ingredients / Re: How to add salts to sparge water when fly sparging?
« on: December 10, 2012, 08:40:19 AM »
Except for chalk, I think the salts should be pretty soluble in water.  But, you shouldn't be adding chalk to your sparge water anyway.  I've never noticed a problem getting them to disolve in the hlt with just some gentle stirring.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I'm a rebel, Dotty, a loner...
« on: December 05, 2012, 08:42:25 AM »
Simone: Do you have any dreams?
Pee-wee: Yeah, I'm all alone. I'm rolling a big doughnut and this snake wearing a vest...

Going Pro / Re: getting 30 bbls on line
« on: November 30, 2012, 07:51:55 PM »
What a beautiful sight!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Out of ideas.
« on: November 24, 2012, 04:58:03 PM »
Letting beer sit in the fridge at 14psi...still plenty of c02 left so no leak. Let ya know in a few days how it tastes

The high pressure gauge isn't going to tell you if you have a leak.   It will read a constant pressure (determined by temperature) until there is no liquid CO2 left, at which point it will drop rapidly to zero as you vent the remaining gas.

All Things Food / Re: Thanksgiving!
« on: November 18, 2012, 10:38:28 AM »
I picked my turkey up from a local farm this morning. Family is gathering over at my parents house, and I'll be doing the classic alton brown brine and roasting it.  I'm also bringing an apple pie.  Pie is the best!

Predicting FG is a hard thing to do.  Wort fermentability varies, and some extract is less fermentable than others, so the beer could just be done.  Another factor that probably compounded the problem is the high OG.  Unless you made a really big starter (see and aerated well, the yeast may have pooped out.  I've never had much luck restarting a stuck fermentation, but others may have advice for that.

Your math may be right, but I don't think the science is correct  :).  Water chemistry, alkalinity, and pH are a complicated subject. 

The math you're using looks like Kolbach's equation which estimates the pH shift in the mash based on alkalinity in the water and the reactions from calcium and magnesium with phytin in the malt.  Obviously, this is not going to hold in plain water.  As Tom said, you can make a rough estimate of alkalinty based on your other ion counts and some assumptions, but a full water report is really the way to go.

What you care about as a brewer is the pH of the mash, which depends mostly on the alkalinity (buffering capacity) of the source water, the water mineral content, and your grains in the mash.  Start by getting a full water report.  Your city water lab can usually help, but remember that these numbers will be averages and may not actually represent your current water (or even a water that can physically exist).  Make sure your measurements are correct.  A pH of 6.3 for the mash sounds pretty high... if you're using those economy strips, at least buy the more expensive ColorPhast test strips.  And, download a spreadsheet likw Kaiser's water calculator or Bruin Water and start playing around with it.  If it interests you, you can start to look at the math once you understand how it is applied.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometers
« on: November 08, 2012, 08:58:37 AM »
Thermoworks also sells a type-k thermocouple version, which can accept various probes including a waterproof wire probe.  I use this and leave it in the mash tun and HLT for getting a constant read on temperature.

Wire probe (model 113-372):

Going Pro / Re: Some figures for opening a pub.
« on: November 07, 2012, 01:34:09 PM »
So, that's all well and good, but the assumptions you're making are pretty big ones for a a local brew pub.   For example, that there's demand for that much mild.  Or that IPA won't bring in a bigger crowd to eat your food.

This isn't budweiser level distribution where you can calculate their exact demand for each product reliably. You can play with the math all you want, but the result is only going to be as good as your model.

Yeah, but the math will always be better than your gut feeling.

And like I said, you can include hundreds of variables if you want to. If you think your IPA sales will increase your food volume, you can include your food demand and margin, and assign a coefficient to food volume that's a function of IPA sales. You need to make some educated guesses, but you should be able to get in the ballpark.

We're talking about a business, right? And we want to make a profit at that business, maybe even enough to pay ourselves well?

You can run a business from your gut. I've done it. It was already a successful, established business, so I've succeeded despite my ignorance, but if you want to build something from scratch, I wouldn't recommend being as stupid as I was.

Sure, "the math" is always better than your gut feeling at solving a specific problem, but what are you solving?  A problem that you set the parameters for based on your gut feeling.  I'd be much more inclined to look at sales data and use some simple math based on margins than to start from scratch by building a complex simulation of something as volatile as a small brewpub.  A tool is just a tool, and any tool can use the wrong tool for the job  :-*  I could tell you that you need differential equations and control theory to solve the true problem, which is creating demand, but that doesn't mean linear programming is "mathematically" incorrect.

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