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Messages - The Professor

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1
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Stone Pale Ale 2.0
« on: June 23, 2015, 03:32:52 PM »
It's puzzling to me.  Like skylar, I'm not a particularly big fan of Stone's brews (and speaking for myself, don't really understand the hype surrounding the brewery) but I will say that they had a reasonably decent product with their Pale Ale...so I do have to wonder what compelled them to change it.  Has an official explanation ever been offered?

When ever I see an established product touting the words "improved", the vast majority of the time it turns out to be anything but.  More often than not the words "new and improved" could more accurately be characterized as a consumer warning.
The old saying is, "if it ain't broke, don't fixit". 
I guess they thought that their Pale Ale was 'broke".   ::)

2
Events / Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« on: June 15, 2015, 11:23:57 AM »
I was there in spirit. I kept a watchful eye on the forums. Next year is east coast and I will have to make it.

Same here.  Next year's is a very do-able drive for me, so if I'm not on tour or working on the left coast, I fully expect to be able to make 2016 and meet a lot of the folks I've enjoyed reading, comparing notes with, and (open minded old dog that I am) learning from.
 ;D

3
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beers
« on: June 05, 2015, 05:57:24 PM »
Personally, I prefer taste over historical accuracy. So, I would take which ever route tastes best. Of course, if you are submitting to a contest or if you want to drink your beer as the bourgeoisie or proletariat did, you should age accordingly.
I also prefer taste over historical accuracy. My main goal for my question was that I have seen Mr. Professor post about currently aging his IPAS for extended period as in a year I believe he said. I was just curious how that turns out, or what he does differently than most to ensure that it turns out great. My real search is to brew an IPA that I like or love fresh that still tastes great or has great aroma for longer than say the first 2 months after bottling
You make a good point.  For me, the taste of an aged IPA is what I like, tradition totally aside...probably because the IPA I drank a lot of in the late '60s/early-mid '70s despite it's fairly high price  (Ballantine India Pale) was aged for a full year before packaging and the resulting 70+ IBU bitterness was intense, but very crisp and clean.  The aroma of that IPA was also intense, very probably more intense than the 'authentic'  IPAs of the 1800's  since near the end of the 1 year bulk maturation, Ballantine dry hopped the product and at bottling, very generously dosed it with house-made aromatic fraction distilled hop oil. My source for that info is a series of chats with former Ballantine employees in the early '80s (which was around ten years after the Ballantine plant closed for good),  If you have a bottle of the new Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA handy (or better still, poured on draft), take a whiff of it and the imagine that hop aroma times three...and that will give you some idea of what the aroma of the original Ballantine IPA was like (the recently released re-creation, while quite good, lacks both the intense aroma and the long aged character of the original).
In any case, that's what prompted me to age my own home brewed IPA for 6-12 months on average, and that's how I've done it since the early-mid 1980s.  The real trick (and not always an easy one) is brewing it often enough to allow that kind of aging.   ;D

(late edits to clarify and correct spelling & grammar)

4
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beers
« on: June 05, 2015, 05:41:56 PM »
The aging of traditional Brit IPAs was not to gain some benefit, it was the nature of transportation by ship.

^^This^^
True to some degree...but the fact is that in those days, many ales and most porters were intentionally and routinely long aged to benefit flavor, even for domestic use.

I'm curious enough about this to ask for your source.
I thought it was pretty well known that in the 18th & 19th centuries especially, well aged beers/ales/porters were generally considered to be superior and premium products (and priced accordingly).  Old Ale or Burton Ale (arguably essentially the same as what came to be called Barleywine when Bass coined the term at the turn of the 20th century)  and vatted Porter are prime examples.  The Porter brewers especially brewed and bulk aged their products in huge quantities and aged them in enormous vessels for a year or even  longer.

There has been quite a bit written about this, there are lots of sources to search but it has certainly been covered quite well (and probably best)  by both Martyn Cornell and Ron Pattinson (both very dedicated and gifted researchers in addition to being two of the  brewing world's best  "mythbusters"), as referenced by others who responded to your query.
Cornell's writings about India Pale Ale are particularly compelling reading (and rather surprising).



5
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beers
« on: June 05, 2015, 08:03:34 AM »
The aging of traditional Brit IPAs was not to gain some benefit, it was the nature of transportation by ship.

^^This^^
True to some degree...but the fact is that in those days, many ales and most porters were intentionally and routinely long aged to benefit flavor, even for domestic use.

6
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beers
« on: June 04, 2015, 06:48:44 PM »
It has been my understanding that IPAs should be drank fresh....

Not all IPAs.  Traditionally, IPA was a long aged style (even American ones well into the 1960s-70s). 

It's only in comparatively recent years that IPA has been commonly sold and consumed very young.  Drinkers these days do seem to enjoy the young, green hop flavors common to the current wave of American IPAs...and this is a fortunate thing for brewers that don't have the desire or available storage to facilitate the traditional aging that defines the original style.

7
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of home-brewing
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:31:41 AM »
When I recently told a friend of mine that I started homebrewing last year the first question he asked was how long it took to get to the final product. I told him, "It depends. For an entry level homebrewer who is still bottling (me) and maybe waiting a bit longer for their beer to clean up in a fermentor because they don't have the most excellent temperature control (also me, still) - you're probably looking at a month to six weeks before you crack open that beer. For a more advanced brewer, brewing beer that should be consumed 'young' and throwing it in a keg - you could probably go grain to glass in as little as two weeks." He told me that there's no way he has the patience for either of those scenarios. Clearly notthe hobby for everyone. Glad I didn't tell him about sours or brett beer.

I remember feeling that way when I first started. But now that I have a nice rotation going I always have a brew I am drinking while my new brew is fermenting.
I don't drink anything I've made  until it has had at least 6 to 8 weeks of aging on it (even my most 'standard' ales) and my IPA and Porter age for a full year before I tap them (in keeping with the tradition of those styles).  My Burton/Old Ale/Barleywine ages for even longer than that.
It's really not all that difficult, it just takes some planning.  But  I almost always have a good supply of properly aged beer on hand. 
Funny thing is, I'm probably more careful and diligent about proper aging than most craft breweries tend to be these days.

8
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 22, 2015, 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."

9
Pimp My System / Re: Mill Prototype
« on: May 22, 2015, 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.

10
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Old standards in cheap beer?
« on: May 22, 2015, 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.

11
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 22, 2015, 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...

12
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.

13
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.

14
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.

15
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.

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