Monday, January 31, 2011

Don Younger, 1941-2011

I've never had the opportunity to visit the Horse Brass Pub, but I did get to bend elbows with Don Younger during the CBC in Philadelphia a few years back. A real good guy who liked real good beer.

Öchslebräu Tripel followup

After greatly overshooting the OE for our first four Öchslebräu brews, I adjusted my recipe calculations for this one. I either overcompensated the BME parameter, or I got lousy extraction due to temperature losses; at 16.4°P, I was about 2°P short of my target. More research is clearly necessary.

Two squirrels eating the spent grain from yesterday's brew

Spent-grain scavengers

Yeast spews from the airlock, thanks to some very happy yeast

And I was worried about underpitching

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Öchslebräu Tripel

Öchslebräu Tripel wird heute gebraut!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Straight Dope: Are brown bottles better for beer?

Cecil Adams explores the issue of lightstruck beer. I disagree with some of his methodology — he sampled his beers at 35°F for starters — but his conclusions are on the mark:

(1) In this world of mendacity and fraud, at least one ad claim has a basis in fact — brown bottles do protect beer better than green or clear.

(2) Notwithstanding (1), in the war of beer versus sun, don’t bet against the sun.

Read the whole article at The Straight Dope.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Android App Ready For Testing

OK, there are still some touch-ups I need to do, but I'm ready to ask for volunteers to field-test the Beer Me!™ mobile App for Android.

If you're interested in helping with the testing, please contact me via the Contact link at Doing so will send me your email addresses automatically, so don't volunteer via Facebook, the forum, or this blog.

Before you contact me, please read "Installing Applications With Android SDK" at If you're not comfortable with following those instructions, please don't volunteer.*

Once I've signed you up, I'll send you a file that you'll need to install on your Android device using the instructions referenced above.

Inside the app, hit your Menu button and tap About, then tap Contact to send feedback to me.

Volunteers who send useful feedback during the testing period will receive the final release version for free, along with free updates. Volunteers who don't send useful** feedback will have to pay five bucks for the app like everybody else.

Thanks in advance!

*If you live in the Omaha area, we can meet up and I can install the file for you, if you prefer.

**I'll decide what's useful and what's not.

Monday, January 24, 2011

20,000 beers under their look-see

Although my notebooks contain more than 8,400 notes, I just recently logged my 7,000th unique beer after 18 years* of keeping track. Clearly, I am an amateur.

I don’t know for certain if it’s a world record, and there was nobody on hand from the Guinness book to record the momentous event. But on Monday, Jan. 17, Bob and Ellie Tupper sampled their 20,000th beer at a special tasting held in their honor at R.F.D. Washington.

To those scoring at home, that averages to nearly two beers a day (different ones, too; there are no repeats in the Tuppers’ log) spread out over more than three decades.

I raise my glass to them!

Read Greg Kitsock's article about the Tuppers at the Washington Post.

17 years, 9 months, 24 days, to be exact.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Czechs: A Nation of Beer Drinkers

The Czechs do like their beer, as demonstrated on this page I found via The Straight Dope this morning.

The uniqueness of the Czech Republic you probably do not need reminding. Not only do we have the best hockey players, but we also have one quality in which they stick into the pockets of everyone. As the name suggests, it is about our beer and beer drinkers. About our steroids, which have beautifully shaped our abdominal muscles. Awesome "document", nice background sound and great filmmaking.

(Translation via Google.)

Watch the very entertaining video at VideaČ

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

21 Years of Beer

Tomorrow, 19 January 2011, marks the 21st anniversary of my first batch of homebrew. It was an extract kit that my mother gave me, a barely drinkable, barely carbonated soup of syrup, hops, and yeast, brewed on an electric stove in the tiny kitchen of my San Leandro apartment.

I got better at the process, and by October I was ready for my first all-grain batch: gak & gerry's #23: Anteater Porter. I used the classic two-bucket mash tun; failing to own a drill, I used an awl to punch 1,200 holes in the bottom of the inner bucket. The awl had no handle; my hands still have the scars.

I eventually told Mom that she had created a monster, and I left my high-tech career in search of a brewing job. With stops in Hawaii, several Wisconsin cities, and back home to Nebraska, and after working in six small breweries, I find myself almost back where I started: in search of a brewing job.

But the upgraded Öchslebräu is operational, and I'm celebrating 21 years of brewing with a ten-gallon batch of Princess of Darkness Porter. This beer will be contributed to the South Omaha Brewers barrel project at the end of the month.

So here's to 21 years of beer!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reviving the taste of an Iron Age beer

Evidence of ancient brewing near Stuttgart:

Six specially constructed ditches previously excavated at Eberdingen-Hochdorf a 2,550-year-old Celtic settlement, were used to make high-quality barley malt, a key beer ingredient. Thousands of charred barley grains unearthed in the ditches about a decade ago came from a large malt-making enterprise.

The researchers also note that heated stones may have been used there, much like the modern(ish) Steinbier style.

Read the whole article at Science News.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Android app progress

Major progress this week on the "Beer Me!™ mobile" app for Android! There are still a couple of bugs that need debugging, and a few cosmetic user interfaces changes I want to make, but it's getting very close. I anticipate being able to ask for field testers by the end of next week.

(Note: Field testers are required to have sufficient technical know-how to follow the instructions under "Installing Applications With Android SDK" at