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Messages - The Professor

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616
Wood/Casks / Re: Ballantine IPA and oak
« on: October 22, 2010, 05:38:52 PM »
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? 
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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.

617
All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 19, 2010, 11:48:13 AM »
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
salt
pepper
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 liver...it 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.

618
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 18, 2010, 07:42:52 PM »
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.

619
All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 16, 2010, 09:26:37 PM »
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!

620
All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 15, 2010, 10:25:06 PM »
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 though...at 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.

621
All Things Food / Re: Cheese and Cheese making
« on: October 15, 2010, 10:18:54 PM »
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...

622
The Pub / Re: Raise a Pint of Something
« on: October 13, 2010, 07:32:11 PM »
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.

623
Equipment and Software / Re: kettle ball valve sanitization
« on: October 10, 2010, 03:55:41 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.

624
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 10, 2010, 03:53:21 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, Denny...as 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. 

625
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 09, 2010, 04:36:05 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.

626
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: October 07, 2010, 07:31:12 PM »
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.

627
All Things Food / Re: Sausage
« on: October 06, 2010, 09:04:08 AM »
I've been making various types of sausages at home for a number of years, having learned sausage making from the old men in the church I lived next door to.  They would convene once a month on a Saturday to drink a case beer, make a  hundred lbs of Hungarian kolbász,  and sell it to the congregation (and interested neighbors) as a fundraiser.  I always liked kolbász, so when they knocked on my door because they were short of help, I was more than happy to oblige.  When I walked into the kitchen, they immediately handed me a beer, and when I saw that the preferred beverage there was the green can of ale with the three rings,   I knew it was some kind of divine intervention that brought me there.  ;D   I wound up helping for the next five years.

I've been making various sausages at home ever since.  It's not difficult at all, and a KitchenAid stand mixer with a grinder and stuffer attachment makes it downright easy and quick.  If you cook and/or bake, a KitchenAid is a must have anyway, and well worth the investment.

Here's the recipe for Hungarian "házi kolbász", a very simple and tasty fresh 'farmer' style sausage that was my introduction to tubed meat:

Ingredients:
5lbs pork butt, untrimmed -you want anywhere from 20% to 30% fat content  (lean sausage=fail)
2 1/2 Tblsp Kosher salt or Sea salt
1 Tblsp freshly ground black pepper (more if you like it to have a sharper kick)
2 Tblsp Hungarian sweet paprika  (there is no substitute for this...spanish paprika isn't the same)
5 cloves of garlic, pureed with a bit of ice water
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water or very cold beer... as needed
Procedure:
Grind the meat coarsely (a 1/4" grinder plate is ideal); add the spices and mix well, keeping the mixture very cold.
Work enough of the ice water (or cold beer) into to the mix to make stuffing manageable, and stuff into hog casings (or if you want hot dog sized links, stuff into sheep casings). 

If you are cooking the kolbász without smoking,  it can be cooked immediately--although I think it's much better after being left uncovered in the fridge overnight;  if you plan to smoke the kolbász,  you really should add about 1/8 tsp of pink curing salt to play it safe.  I know people that don't use a cure when smoking sausage, but are taking what I feel is an unnecessary risk.

628
The Pub / Re: blatz
« on: October 05, 2010, 07:08:05 PM »
...is it just me, or does that baby look a little 'buzzed'?   :o


629
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: "lost beer"
« on: October 05, 2010, 08:54:45 AM »
It's fun and interesting to discover a beer you didn't know you had tucked away.  It's only happened to me twice...fortunately both times the beers were ones with a higher ABV:   a couple bottles of my Christmas ale that escaped my gift-list and got laid aside for 5 years, and a few bottles of a Scotch Ale I made in or around 1994.  I've sampled them with surprisingly good results...the last one I tasted was a bottle of the Scotch Ale, which I opened last year (and I still have 1 bottle left).  I was shocked at the depth of the malt character that still remained after all that time in the bottle (and it was bottled after spending 8 months in bulk in the Cornie)...perhaps thanks to the proportion of Munich I used, it was still a very rich tasting beer.  I'm sure the relatively  high OG (1.086) helped it to hang in there for so long.

Since discovering those bottles some years ago, I have now begun regularly laying aside a couple 22 ouncers of stronger brews that I thought came out particularly well,  just to see how they fare some years down the line.

630
All Things Food / Re: PA Dutch
« on: October 05, 2010, 08:36:12 AM »
You have to get a scrapple terrine to make scrapple right.

The Amish sell them up theres around Lancaster. I think they are about $100. It is porcelain iron rectangle with a really heavey lid that fits inside so to compress. I think you cook with that in a water bath in the oven.   

The special equipment is fine, but not really necessary.   I still use my late Dad's method....  a regular  loaf pan with a foil covered brick to compress my terrines, pates, and scrapple type stuff.  The brick just fits very nicely into the top of the loaf pan.     It works quite well and provides the required density to the finished product!

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