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Messages - The Professor

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1
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: Today at 04:19:02 PM »
I have a feeling in the not so distant future craft beer is just going to be called "beer"

I certainly hope so.  I honestly do believe that is exactly where it is headed...it may take a while but I'd make book on it.

Craft beer sounds a lot better than microbrew. I think craft comes from craftsman which is similar to artisan.

Except that it's craftsman responsible for making the BMC stuff too (albeit as work for hire). 
Besides which, brewing in general is a craft in and of itself.
I really do think artisan says it better, and is more suggestive of smaller scale.

Of course, as I have said in the past, "...homebrew is the craftiest beer of all."

2
Pimp My System / Re: Mill Prototype
« on: Today at 07:57:31 AM »

Dude...WOW.
That's pretty damned impressive!   You've taken DIY homebrew kit to a whole new level.
Really, really nice.

3
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Old standards in cheap beer?
« on: Today at 07:54:18 AM »
I've always said how easy it would be to make a mass 'merican lager with a little bit of flavor that would appeal across the market.

I agree.
I agree as well.  Michelob has all along been a very good American lager for the price, and it got even better when they went back to 'all malt' 7 or 8 years ago.  To bad it's not more widely available on draft;  in my Dad's day, it was actually a draft only product and I remember him talking about he and his co-workers from Lockheed going to the Newark NJ AB brewery for lunch, with came with glasses of really fresh Michelob.
Interestingly, industry reports indicate that the production of Michelob in general is something like only  1/3 of it was just 20 years ago!

I still pick up a sixer of it every now and again, and still marvel at how well made it is considering it's BMC status. If it had just a touch more hop character (as I'm suspecting it may have had at one time), it would be pretty near perfect.

4
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: Today at 07:41:17 AM »
Alignment is probably a better word.
I agree...it's a much more positive descriptor, too.  There are undoubtedly scores of small brewers that will fall by the wayside and not be missed at all (except perhaps by the investors unfortunate enough to have sunk money into what was hyped to them as "a sure thing".  LOL). 

What's really sad is the demise of so many new brewers who began operations in the early years of the movement.  At the time, although there were fewer 'craft' brewers, the ratio of good ones to bad ones was considerably higher than it is now. I can think of quite a few defunct 'craft' brewers from the earlier days of the movement's last 35 years that didn't make it largely because they were probably just 'ahead of their time' (which can actually be worse than being behind the times).   
These days, it has become such a crapshoot that it seems better than 50% of the time the product is either sub par or downright amateurish (which prompted me years ago to never buy a full sixpackof a new 'craft' beer I haven't previously had).

In any case the realignment, which is inevitable, will be a very good thing for both the industry and the consumer (and probably for the retailers as well).
Now, if the industry would only come up with a more meaningful term than 'craft' to describe artisanal beer...

5
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 21, 2015, 04:10:30 PM »
As Paul Gatza has stated to his BA members: The biggest challenge facing the craft industry is poor quality beers.
There are a lot of crap craft beers out there. Finding that diamond in the rough is great, but you sure have to down a lot of coal dust to get there.

As you will notice with many of the European beers that we hold dear, they only make a few beer styles or maybe one, but they focus on honing and refining that limited slate to high quality. We need more of that focus here in the craft beer industry too.


Good point. I would say that 4/5 new breweries opening in my region are below average quality in my opinion.

That's pretty much the situation here in NJ as well.

6
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 20, 2015, 07:41:08 AM »
I haven't seen this one on the East Coast yet...I hope it makes an appearance.  Most of the reviews I've heard about it have expressed surprise at just how good it actually is.  If the quality is that good, there really should be no surprise about that...the real surprises will be
1) if AB-InBev actually puts some muscle behind it, and
2) if uber snobs actually can be objective enough about it to judge it fairly.

What I think is more likely to happen is that AB-I will drop it, like they did Budweiser American Ale (which was a perfectly respectable ale, especially the draft version).

Watching where the beer industry goes in the next 5-10 years will be interesting indeed.   
The sleeping giants (and their corporate tastebuds) are beginning to awaken.  And I still maintain that when the bigs start turning out more beers of true distinction, it will up everyone's game.


The BMC manufacturers can do a Lot to turn around their slipping numbers but local craft will still continue to grow. It's like guerrilla warfare. Local breweries are able to do a lot more a lot faster than the macros. People enjoy going to the breweries' tasting rooms and the small breweries are doing a lot to use that experience to market their beers. Don't get me wrong, I think there will be a bursting point here soon, but I do not think BMC will do much to recover the lost market share. They will be lucky if they can stabilize the decline. Remember, most kids under 30 years old have never tasted a Budweiser and that's not likely to suddenly change.

I pretty much agree with you Keith.  BMC has a tough fight ahead of it.  They can probably make any type of beer they want to make and probably do it better... but in those huge corporations (as we all know) the bean counters always rule and that fact is a big advantage for the smaller brewers.

I've been seriously interested in and observing the brewing industry for around 45 years and the change has been phenomenal. The way I see it right now, though,  is that the smaller brewers are not really in competition with BMC at all.  So many smaller brewers have set up shop and in many cases, going after something more than local distribution that they are more in competition amongst themselves as opposed to competing with the BMCs.   Both have their devoted audiences, but the advantage held by the little guys lies in the fact that while many drinkers make the switch from BMC to the usually more flavorful 'craft' beer, I think it safe to say that in general the 'craft' drinkers rarely make the switch to BMC...at least considering that BMC's main focus for the most part making these days (aside from a few notable and excellent exceptions) is still primarily bland malt pop .   
So while I do agree that recovering lost market share is really unlikely, it they are smart they will be able to maintain market share by making the products they are more than capable of making and competing on price.
But of course, the bean counters will still be there looking to keep production costs down.
It's going to be fascinating to watch.

7
All Grain Brewing / Re: Is a scratched cooler mash tun a problem?
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:15:24 PM »
Having used the same cooler for over 17 years and 480 batches, it,s scratched, stained, and everything but broken.  Still makes great beer.
I agree...I used mine for 25 years before I finally had to replace it.  It looked like hell, but made great brew.

8
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:11:58 PM »
I haven't seen this one on the East Coast yet...I hope it makes an appearance.  Most of the reviews I've heard about it have expressed surprise at just how good it actually is.  If the quality is that good, there really should be no surprise about that...the real surprises will be
1) if AB-InBev actually puts some muscle behind it, and
2) if uber snobs actually can be objective enough about it to judge it fairly.

What I think is more likely to happen is that AB-I will drop it, like they did Budweiser American Ale (which was a perfectly respectable ale, especially the draft version).

Watching where the beer industry goes in the next 5-10 years will be interesting indeed.   
The sleeping giants (and their corporate tastebuds) are beginning to awaken.  And I still maintain that when the bigs start turning out more beers of true distinction, it will up everyone's game.

9
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Controlling FG
« on: May 18, 2015, 08:58:40 PM »
Yes, do not rack to secondary at that time. It really can only cause problems racking that early
Not so sure about that...I routinely rack to a secondary carboy after five days or so (and if using my 'house' yeast, even less when making  standard or 'session'  strength beers) and I  then let things finish out for a long as it naturally takes.  That method still gives me better results than any of the the other procedures I've tried.  It sometimes takes a little longer (especially for the stronger brews) but I'm in no hurry if the end product turns out better.

It's just a matter of personal preference, of course, arrived at after trying different ways.  And there is no right or wrong way.

It's been said a thousand times, but bears repeating: it's best to experiment with different methods and decide which gives you the best result, rather than take anyone's word for it.t.

10
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anxiety of Kegging
« on: April 22, 2015, 07:56:02 AM »
Rule #1: The beer in the keg will always achieve the perfect balance of flavor, carbonation, and clarity about 2 or 3 pints before it blows.  ;)  RDWHAHB and build up an inventory.

I learned that very thing 25 years ago and ramped up my brewing so that I now always have a few cornies on hand that have had at least 8 to 10 weeks of quiet  rest (and a lot longer for my IPA and Burton). 
A little diligence and a lot of patience result in tasty rewards.

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 37 years
« on: March 21, 2015, 05:54:46 PM »
Happy Anniversary & congrats!
Time sure does fly when you're having fun!  ;)

12
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« on: March 17, 2015, 10:01:15 PM »
...I know some homebrewers are very paranoid about keeping sourdough starter and brewing beer in the same house.  Many people have warned me not to do it!... 

I can't imagine why!  I've been brewing for 44 years and maintaining a sourdough culture for 35 years...even occasionally brewing and baking the same day (while having kimchee for lunch.  LOL).  It has never caused a problem.
Whoever warned against it either had problems which arose from sloppy handling, or perhaps they were overly paranoid.

13
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Delaying pitching
« on: March 07, 2015, 08:39:40 AM »
About how long after I've put the beer in the fermentor can I wait to pitch my yeast?

Forgot to make a starter last night, but still need to get the brew done today.
Sooner is definitely better, but a few times (due to either bad planning or an impulsive need to brew)  I've waited as long as 18 hours, with no ill effects whatsoever.  Good sanitation is always key...but especially so in instances like this.

14
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada HopHunter
« on: March 07, 2015, 08:28:06 AM »
IMO, it's tough to find lower ABV IPA's that fit what I'm looking for.
Yes. I'm an All Day IPA hater because I think the high hops with absolutely no malt flavor is just awful. For me the name is ironic because despite wanting to like it I just didn't want a second.

So true.  A good IPA should have a solid (but not overdone)  malt backbone (actually, a proper IPA should also be aged for a good length of time, but that's for another thread...and besides, everyone is damned tired of my old rant on that issue   :P  ).

For freshness freaks (the ones who will look at the date and say "...yes, but what time was it brewed??"), I'd say that based on my experience with aromatic distilled hop-oil brews, this one should retain a very good hop profile over time.
I haven't seen Hop Hunter around NJ yet, but am quite anxious to give it a try.  I'll generally take anything Sierra Nevada makes over all of  the mostly lackluster beers brewed in my home state to begin with...but this one especially has good potential as a "winner".

15
Beer Travel / Re: Newport Hofbrauhaus
« on: March 02, 2015, 07:28:48 PM »
So I'm here. I missed the Braun beer as they tapped the doppelbock on Wednesday,  but I am stuck with tiny little half liter glasses as they won't serve the 8% doppelbock in full liters! I know I read in here somewhere that in Munich, the half litres are only for women and children. I guess they did not hear that here

Well, a half-liter is a bit more than a pint...so for an 8% brew, I'd say that's a fairly healthy serving.   It'll 'get you there'   ;)
Hell...my 'local' won't serve any hi-test brew in anything larger than an 8 oz serving in a wine glass.

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