Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Öchslebräu Inaugural Brew: The Princess of Darkness

I brewed yesterday for the first time in well over a year; it was my first small-scale batch since 2005. The recipe was the Princess of Darkness Porter, a 13.5°P beauty of a black beer.

Nebraska Brewing Company kindly donated the ingredients and the use of their mill.



Milling the malt

Milling the malt

Mashing in

Strike water

Mashing in

Mashing in



Running off

Running off





The \

The "full" fermenter

Apparently, I underestimated the sparge water volume. Instead of a 13.5°P beauty of a black beer, we have a 21°P beauty of an intense black beer: The Empress of Darkness.

As soon as I can get my hands on another carboy, we'll give it another try.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More status

I forgot to mention the status of the Beer Me! smartphone app. The Palm version is still 1.0.3, and the Android version is still not ready for testing. To be honest, I haven't been able to work on either of them since April or May.

Interestingly, even though my app has been downloaded 929 times (including 184 paid), I haven't received any feedback at all. It's a bit difficult knowing what features to improve or develop if I don't know what's being used.

Anyway, I'll resume work on the Android version in the next week or three.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There's been a lot going on over the past few weeks, so I haven't been getting much done on any given project.

  • I started a new job as the "Staff Brewer" for a new Hy-Vee store in Millard in June. I pick the craft beers and imports that we carry, and I host the beer dinners and tasting events. You can find us on Facebook.

  • Paris and I judged at the Buffalo County Fair homebrew competition, and likewise at the Nebraska State Fair.

  • We wrapped up our nine-week BJCP Exam Preparation course last week. A handful of the attendees (including myself) will probably take the exam in Lincoln in November.

  • I've been building Öchslebräu, my new homebrew setup. It should be operational by Sunday or Monday.

  • I'm about three weeks behind on the Beer Me! updates, with more than 140 in the queue. I'll start hacking away at them this afternoon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1906 beer bottle found in Capitol

Nice find, but true beer geeks want to know: whose beer was in the bottle? There's no mention of the brewery in the article, and no picture of the label.

An empty beer bottle that is as old as the state Capitol has been found tucked inside a vent in the building in Pierre.

Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Saucerman, who works security in the building, spotted the Blatz beer bottle stuck in plaster inside the third-floor vent last month. He removed the vent, cleared away the plaster and pulled out the bottle dated June 30, 1906. The Capitol was built from 1905 to 1910.

"When they talk about people drinking in the Capitol at that point in time, that would not have been an unusual occurrence because the attitudes for alcohol consumption were a whole lot different before Prohibition," Kolbe said. "People would have brought a beer to the job and had it with lunch."

Read the whole article at the Mitchell Daily Republic.

Monday, August 2, 2010

MADD Charity Rating Downgraded To “D”

Thanks to Jay Brooks for posting this press release from the American Beverage Institute. It sounds like MADD is finally starting to get what they deserve, and the release itself is so full of MADD-bashing goodness that I'll post it in its entirety here.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Downgraded to a ‘D’ by Charity Rating Guide

Poor Fundraising Practices and Too Little Focus on Victim Services Earn MADD Low Grade

(July 26, 2010)

WASHINGTON – The American Institute of Philanthropy’s (AIP) Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report has downgraded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to a “D” rating on a A-F scale in its August 2010 report.

“Under the leadership of CEO Chuck Hurley, MADD further diminished its focus on victim services and educating Americans about the dangers of drunk driving, instead pushing anti-drinking, anti-alcohol public policies,” said American Beverage Institute (ABI) Managing Director Sarah Longwell. “The public needs to realize that MADD isn’t the same group it was 20 years ago.”

MADD has consistently received low ratings from the Charity Rating Guide due to its poor fundraising and spending practices.

According to the AIP, it should cost most charities $35 or less to raise $100. In some years, MADD has spent nearly double that amount. The AIP also says most highly efficient charities are able to spend 75 percent or more of total expenses on charitable programs. In some years, MADD has spent as little as 57 percent on programs. In 2008, MADD spent almost $30 million on salaries and fundraising, leaving just 1/3 of its budget available for charitable work and victim services.

Another charitable giving guide, Charity Navigator, gives MADD an overall rating of 1 out of 4 stars. Charity Navigator reserves this embarrassing basement-level for a charity that “fails to meet industry standards.”

During Hurley’s tenure at MADD, the organization’s revenue declined while Hurley and other officers and directors saw their salaries increase - a whopping 56 percent. In contrast, MADD’s revenue declined nearly one-quarter over the same period. And MADD’s spending on community programs—what a charity should be about—dropped by 17 percent. In 2009, MADD had to lay off 50 employees nationwide—15 percent of its workforce—a move that cut much of the organization’s victim advocacy work.

These financial changes reveal a shift in MADD’s mission. In the words of its own founder Candy Lightner: MADD “has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

Longwell continued: “MADD’s anti-alcohol agenda includes advocating for alcohol detectors in all cars, sobriety checkpoints and sky-high alcohol taxes. By spending on these new priorities, MADD has diverted money from programs created to help the victims of drunk driving and get dangerous drunk drivers off the roads.”

The American Beverage Institute (www.AmericanBeverageInstitute.com) is an association of
restaurants and on-premise retailers committed to the responsible serving of adult beverages.

Source: American Beverage Institute

Contact: The American Beverage Institute, 202-463-7110