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Messages - The Professor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 25, 2010, 07:53:46 PM »
I wondered if there was a difference.  Many times it has been said that the Chico yeast is from Ballantine.  Ken Grossman has stated that he really does not know the original brewery, as it came from Siebel.  It could have Ballantine as the origin, but has adapted to the SN brewery, and the large cylindrical tanks (does not take long from what was stated in "Yeast").

Thanks for the reply.

Yeah, I'd heard for years that the yeasts sold as "Chico" were the Ballantine strain, and the flavor and fermentation profiles seem similar based on my past experience...except that having worked before with what I knew with good certainty was the original Ballantine strain, I always thought it odd that the "Chico" didn't flocculate nearly the same way.

I haven't met Al B. (East Coast Yeast's 'ranch foreman') even though he lives probably no more than 5 miles from me,  but in conversations with Joe Bair (Princeton Homebrew), apparently Al B.  is of the opinion that the Old Newark is different enough that it likely isn't even related to the Chico  (maybe ninab can corroborate that?).

I've already done a couple of batches of my take on BIPA using the yeast,  and so far the beer is tasting mighty fine, but since the authentic BIPA recipe calls for 8-12 months of aging, I'll wait for pronouncement of my final result.  I feel good enough about it though that I have already planned for several more double batches in the coming month or two to ensure there is plenty to age properly, since I expect that some of what I've already made will be consumed a bit younger.   
I can sometimes be impatient as anyone.  ;D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 25, 2010, 03:27:22 PM »
How do you find if different from the Chico yeast? 

It seems to floc out much more thoroughly than the Chico yeast. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 25, 2010, 03:55:21 AM »
The beer I brewed with the Old Newark came out really well.
I hadn't brewed the recipe before so I can't really compare it
too well against other yeasts. I guess I would call it "clean
I don't know if the yeast had anything to do with it but I got a really
nice hop flavor. I have a batch of brown ale I pitched with the washed
yeast from the first batch fermenting away now. I am hoping to do a third batch
reusing the yeast from that batch.

I've had similar great results.  I'm already into my fifth repitch of the yeast (in beers of various stregths and colors) and I fully expect to do at least 5 more subsequent repitches.  I haven't even washed the yeast before re-using.

This product seems to behave exactly like the pure Newark strain I had many years ago.   
I am very happy indeed with this stuff.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
« on: October 25, 2010, 03:44:32 AM »
Unless you have a way to cool the keg, you probably won't be able to get a good pour out of it anyway. Some kind of refrigeration is pretty much mandatory.

Or  not... a couple of beers I regularly make never see the fridge, but are stored and poured at cellar temperature (for me, that's around 60°F pretty much year round, except maybe during August).  No problem force carbing them --either with high pressure and 45 minutes of shaking, or high pressure and left alone for a week--and the result has no problems pouring.   It's just a matter of a few brews to get the carb level right and to your liking.

Wood/Casks / Re: Ballantine IPA and oak
« on: October 23, 2010, 12:38:52 AM »
I was introduced to IPA with Ballantines IPA about 1974 or 75ish.  I don't think my palate was sophisticated enough to pick out the wood from the massive amount of hops (for those days), and strength of the beer (for those days).  I have also read that the tanks were lined with pitch.  What is the truth? 
From what I've gathered, the barrels were originally unlined.  After each successive move from brewing site to the next, they began lining with different agents to phase the wood character out, until the barrels were lined with wax and the beer had no oak prescence whatsoever.

My experience with the IPA began in 1969 (2 years before the Newark brewery closed).  Suffice it to say that despite the fact it was rather expensive compared to mainstream beers, I consumed quite a bit of the original brew and also the successor brew after its first move when Newark closed.  It was, hands down, my favorite beer.

The wood quality was unmistakeable in the beer, born out by the fact that surviving bottles tasted today (as well as the Burton ale they made) still carry a very distinct note of oak.  As far as the hop character, it was distinctly bitter not only by the standards of the day but also by present day standards and the aroma component of the beer far surpassed the hop aroma of any beer I've tasted in recent years.  That homemade aroma hop oil was heavy duty, and they definitely didn't scrimp on its use.

At Newark, from what I could gather from first and secondhand accounts, the massive aging tanks (not mere barrels)  dating from the 1800's were unlined, which makes sense given the definite oakiness in the beer after its year-long aging.  The long aging beers recieved regular lab testing to make sure they weren't undergoing any undesirable wild ferments during the long time in wood.  I don't think that the phasing out of the wood character in the beer was a conscious effort to do so;  when the brew moved from facility to facility after Newark closed, the aging tanks did NOT follow in the move.  The initial move to the Narragansett  plant in R.I. brought very little change to the beer;  they continued to distill hop oil for the Ballantine  products and already had wooden storage tanks in place for aging of the IPA (the Burton was never made outside of Newark).  After the brand moved out of the 'Gannnsett brewery on  to a Falstaff plant in Indiana, the brew started to become very 'dumbed down'...the ABV and IBUs were reduced, and the hop oil addition was eliminated, as was any trace of real wood character (even though the corny new packaging still touted it as being 'aged in wood').  The aging time was reduced to eight months, then six months, and I suspect finally for 3 or 4 months before the brand disappeared altogether. 

By that time, I had stopped buying the IPA since it had become completely unrecognizeable as a result of its reformulations and production shortcuts, and since there were now alternaives.  Their XXX ale however remained at least somewhat true to its original character until Pabst took over  the Ballantine brand.

It's still so ironic ...the original Ballantine IPA brew (and the XXX too, for that matter) would stand up quite well next to anything brewed today (and the IPA would  surpass a good many brews made today).    Too bad the old Newark plant couldn't hang in there a few years longer...I really believe that their products would have found a following with  the new, growing audience for top shelf old world quality specialty beers.

All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 19, 2010, 06:48:13 PM »
I just ordered a grinder/stuffer to start making sausage again.  Used to do it lots as a kid with my germanic russian family.  Got to get the family recipe from my 92 year old grandfather.

Another sausage we used to make, and I still do make every 1-2 years with my dad is what we call "mushy sausage."  I've only ever come across a similar commercial sausage once, and it was called "rice sausage, " although we use barley instead.  The key components are liver, barley and allspice.  Anyways, this is a loose sausage, I'm guessing the "mushy" term was just a poor translation.

Mushy Sausage
1 pork shoulder
1.5 lbs beef/pork liver
1 bag pearl barley cooked
3 onions
allspice (lots)
garlic (lots)

Grind the meat, mince the onion and garlic, season, and mix.  Bag and seal it up in 1lb packages.  Pan fry.

The liver and allspice give it a very unique flavour.  Even people that hate liver can't pick it out.  Absolutely delicious with eggs and toast.

Sound a lot like the "Hurka" my Hungarian grandmother made.  Rather like Polish "Kiska" sausage, actually.  Rice, a bit of meat, and the offals that are classic to some of these eastern European tubed meat masterpieces;  the classic Hungarian way is to add a good amount of marjoram.  Hers used only rice, no barley,, and in addition to the liver also included the lungs (which became illegal to sell in the US).  I've made it a few times leaving the lungs out (only because I couldn't  get them and don't raise pigs myself) and it came out great.  You're absolutely right about the adds an interesting, different, and not overpowering  dimension to the sausage  and even self proclaimed non-offal fans I've fed it to have found it very tasty.

I like the idea of the pearled barley in there...I may just have to try your recipe soon...thanks for posting it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 19, 2010, 02:42:52 AM »
In my tasting notes of both bottles off the Burton I drank indicate the color as "Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers". Anchor's Old Foghorn is pretty close to BBA
The comparison of Old Foghorn to BBA is probably a very good one and not just for the similarity in color you perceived, since if the folklore is to be believed  Mr. Maytag was evidently very inspired by a taste of the BBA.

Strange how I never considered it before, but as a result of  the BBA sample he tasted probably being only 5 or 10 years from the original bottling date, it could very well be that Foghorn represents at least some  approximation of what the BBA was when Fritz tasted it, except that Foghorn lacks the explosive hop aroma that the BBA certainly had (and is now lost to age in existing samples).  The intense aroma of Ballantine's ales was pretty unique back then and would still be quite unique today.

All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 17, 2010, 04:26:37 AM »
A big +1 on Halo Farm, and in nearby Lawrenceville check out Cherry Grove Farm.  They have great meat products (including grass fed beef, whey fed pork, and free true free range eggs)  as well as some great raw milk cheeses (they fall within the aging guidelines to keep them legal). 

While you're in the neighborhood, also check out Terhune Orchards for some great produce and right now, great apples in many varieties.

The Garden State still has some really great gardens, if you seek them out!

All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 16, 2010, 05:25:06 AM »
Dang, now I want to make sausage.

I hate you guys. First it's beer. Then cider. Then wine. Then bread, cheese, smoked meats, pepper sauce, sauerkraut, scrapple, soap, and now sausage? Sheesh, it's like I'm turning into my own little country store over here.

LOL!  I feel the same way sometimes.   Love it least I know what's going into it!!!
But really, making sausage is one of the easiest things in the world to make.  And like homebrew, once you get the hang of it it's far better than pretty much anything you can buy.

All Things Food / Re: Cheese and Cheese making
« on: October 16, 2010, 05:18:54 AM »
Very cool!
The only cheesemaking I've ever attempted is the simplest of simple  Indian (southeast Asian Indian, that is)  style  Paneer cheese:  heat, acidify, drain the curds,, and press.    That one is very much (to me anyway) like the Queso de Frier cheese in the hispanic supermarkets around here...which actually makes a good substitute for the Paneer when I'm too lazy to make it.

The idea of doing a nicely aged  blue-veined cheese is intriguing...other than some of the creamy raw milk cheeses like Morbier or Raclette   and very ripe cheeses like Limburger,  all of which I love,   I think that the Bleu, Stilton, Gorgonzola, and others of that type are my favorites (especially with a snifter of strong Porter or a truly old Old Ale). 
I forget where the quote comes from, but I've heard cheese referred to as "milk's great leap toward immortality".

I guess it will have to be my next science project...

The Pub / Re: Raise a Pint of Something
« on: October 14, 2010, 02:32:11 AM »
Cheers to them...and the rescue effort, which was done  in nearly half the predicted time frame.
Quite an effort, and I'm glad it had a happy ending.  Like 1vertical said, these things don't usually have a good outcome.

Equipment and Software / Re: kettle ball valve sanitization
« on: October 10, 2010, 10:55:41 PM »
In 20 years I don't think it ever even occurred to me that it was necessary to sanitize the ball valve...and I never have.  Seems to me that it gets plenty hot heating my mash liquor and boiling the wort.  It has never presented a problem.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 10, 2010, 10:53:21 PM »
Bob, I finally located my notes from the BBA tasting we did!  I WILL get them posted.

I'll be anxious to see that too, I recall,  I think you mentioned once that you tasted a sample from the 1934 brewing, right?
All of my bottles are from 1946 brewing, and bottled in 1960, 62, 63, 65, and 66 (x2).

Interesting stuff, it is...sure do wish I could have tasted it when it was first bottled or within a few years of that. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 09, 2010, 11:36:05 PM »
Not sure about that...the color that pours from surviving bottles of the Burton today is pretty much the same deep amber/copper hue that the IPA had when I drank it regularly in the late 60's and early 70's.  The aging may have darkened it somewhat, but I think most of the color just came from the malts used.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 08, 2010, 02:31:12 AM »
Jeff, I'd be interested in your rendition of the Burton Ale. After having drank them myself and others here on the forum(Denny et al) and along with my tasting notes reflecting what Brockington reported in the 90's of the apparent "apple and pear" aroma, I personally would surmise that they actually used the Bass strain for those two batches they brewed in '34 and '46. Getting back ot, it's funny how brewing myths can seem reality, when I lived in Chico and talked to Ken Grossman about the analogy that he got his yeast from the dying Ballantine brand back in the late 70's, he immediately chuckled and told me he got a strain that was banked at Siebel in Chicago and went on the performance specs.
The Newark Yeast intrigues me and is inspiring me to brew up some more Ballantine IPA project beers now that I have a source for "organic" Brewers Gold which I believe was a favorite at Ballantines. I've subbed Cluster on recommendations but, I'm ready to rework the recipe with BG. This is awesome! Let's keep the conversation going!

Some of this will likely repeat what I may have posted elsewhere, but since it's relevant to the discussion at hand, here goes:

From what I had been able to find out from a few former Ballantine employees a number of years ago (and I started inquiring  about it probably more than 30 years ago), their  XXX, IPA, Brown Stout,  Porter, and Burton ales ALL used the same Ballantine house ale yeast .  The strain originated in England, but nothing I was told firsthand or read elsewhere  ever led me to believe it was the Bass strain.  The Ballantine strain (whatever its UK origins) was certainly robust enough that there would have been no reason to substitute something else.

My ongoing experiments with reproducing the Bally IPA have settled in with Cluster and Bullion for the hops;  Brewers Gold was used by the brewery for a time, but is a bit more difficult to find nowadays and Bullion is a very good substitute as far as my palate can discern.  As pointed out many times, the real keys to their IPA were the long aging period (they aged it for 1 year, in wooden aging tanks) and the use of hop oil in addition to the dry hopping. 
I'm still working on the hop oil part of it, but aside from that issue, the only times I've ever come remotely close to reproducing the beer was when I could keep my mitts off of it and let it fully age for 8-12 months.

As far as the Burton beer, it's also interesting to note that (according to at least one firsthand account) other than the unbelievably long aging prior to bottling (up to 20 years), their Burton was essentially the same beer as their IPA- -perhaps ramped up a bit with a higher OG at the outset-- -- but topped up annually with select batches of the IPA once the yearly Xmas bottling was done.  That's evidently how they were able to keep up the tradition for 20+ years.

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