Monday, December 31, 2012


River North Hypothesis is in the book as tasting note number 9000!

(It's only beer #7550 due to duplication, but what the hell.)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two-Day Brew

Well, I haven't posted much here since I became an unemployed brewer, but yesterday's homebrewing fiasco deserves a mention.


Mike Roehrich and I brewed a Tripel for the upcoming Extreme Beerfest. Fourteen pounds of Weyermann Pilsner malt, a pound and a half of Weyermann Wienermalz, and a pound of Weyermann Carapils, along with a couple pounds of candi sugar in the boil. The local shop didn't have the Wyeast 3787 yeast that I usually use, so I picked up the 3864 instead.

The mill clogged once, then let the malt fall through uncrushed. Turns out the drill was running backwards. Forgot to set the gap back to its usual setting, so we ended up with a lot more fines than normal.

Mash-in went well, and the vorlauf started smoothly, but soon slowed. A lot. When we switched over to running off, we got just a trickle into the kettle. Poking at the mash suggested that it wasn't stuck, so we suspected clogged pipes. But disassembling the plumbing didn't turn up any leaks; the only thing left was that the screen must have clogged, so we dumped the mash into the kettle, cleaned out the screen, and reassembled everything. We heated up some more water to add to the mash to lower the viscosity.

Forty-five minutes later, when the water was hot, we poured the mash back into the mash tun and restarted the vorlauf, which ran for about a minute before the mash stuck for real this time. We figured out a way to float the mash (rigging a piece of copper pipe and blowing into the underlet) and decided to skip the vorlauf and start the runoff right away.

While the wort was running off, we decided to make sure we could get flow through the counterflow chiller. The temperature hadn't risen above 32°F for some weeks, and the inside pipe was blocked with ice. The kerosene heater helped some, and we took turns blowing through the outlet trying to dislodge any blockages, but no luck.

(By the way, I managed to put an extra half-gallon of warm water into the kettle while it was boiling, thereby adding fifteen minutes to the boil time.)

Near the end of the boil, we decided to throw a third pound of candi sugar in, because why not. Boiled a further fifteen minutes. Original Extract: 20°P.

Gave the chiller another fruitless try. So how should we cool the wort? We wrapped tinfoil around the top of the kettle, put the lid on top, and duct-taped two layers of blankets around the whole thing. With the temperature dropping to 7°F overnight, I knew the wort would cool down, but I didn't want it to freeze. That was at about 6:30 last night.

The kettle was surprisingly slightly warm to the touch at noon today. The chiller was still clogged, so I just drained the kettle into the carboy.

It's in the house now, and we're waiting for the fermentation to start. It's going to be an interesting glass of beer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beer Me! mobile for Android, version 1.6.0

I just uploaded the newest version of the Beer Me! mobile app, version 1.6.0. If you've already purchased the app, you should get an automatic update in the very near future. If you haven't already purchased the app, what are you waiting for? It's available at Google Play.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

App version 1.5.0...for Android tablets!

I uploaded version 1.5.0 of the Beer Me!™ mobile app this afternoon. Thanks to Asian Bill's generous loan of a Samsung Galaxy, I was able to figure out the settings that needed changing so that the app would be available for tablet devices in Google Play.

So if you use an Android tablet, buy the app and let me know how it works!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beer Me! mobile version 1.4.1

I just uploaded the newest version of the Beer Me! app for Android devices. If you already have the app, you should receive version 1.4.1 automatically sometime soon. If you haven't purchased it yet, you can get it at Google Play for less than you probably spend on one beer.

Here's the changelog for version 1.4.1:

Changes in 1.4.1
- AND0057: IllegalArgumentException in
- AND0064: ANR keyDispatchingTimedOut
- AND0058: Old location is used, even though GPS is working
- AND0074: android.os.NetworkOnMainThreadException
- AND0075: Fix BeerList layout

See,20.0.html for details.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Android app: Problem with location

Some Beer Me! app users have reported problems with the app losing track of where they are, or not finding their location in the first place.

I have fixed, broken, fixed, and broken the location-finding code, but I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track now. I'll have it fixed and published as soon as I can — as long as my so-called real job doesn't interfere.

The next time the app updates, the fix will be included. Look for version 1.4.x sometime soonish.

Watch this thread for news:,676.0.html

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Brewmaster Mark Carpenter Celebrates 40 Years at Anchor

Via the Brookston Beer Bulletin:

Last year, Brewmaster Mark Carpenter celebrated his 40th anniversary with Anchor Brewery. According to my notes, he started on September 30, 1971. During GABF, a film crew interviewed a number of us during some side events, and they put together this video that includes some luminaries from the craft beer industry. Congratulations Mark.

Congratulations indeed!

Click through to the Brookston Beer Bulletin for a video tribute.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Site updates

I've just found out about — and fixed — the problem with your updates not getting sent to me. It looks like anything sent after 9:30am CST on January 25 ended up in the bit bucket, so if you've tried to send anything in the past 3½ days, please send it again.

Thanks for all your help!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


If this site would make some money, I'd hire a data-entry staff...

Maybe I'll get caught up someday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Beer Me! 20th anniversary commemorative t-shirts are now available at

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of and the first-ever Omaha Beer Week at the same time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fifteen Million

Visitor number 15,000,000 stopped by Beer Me just now!

At 2:47:28 PM CST, someone hit the site through the Amazon EC2 portal. I don't know who it was or what they were looking for, but I appreciate the support.

And thanks to the other 14,999,999 of you, too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Twenty years

(I thought it was today, but it turns out it was yesterday.)

Twenty years ago, January 3, 1992, I started keeping notes on the beers I've tasted.

The first beer: Blitzen Barleywine, from the defunct La Jolla Brewing Company in California.

The notes in their entirety: "Light barleywine — good." OK, not the pinnacle of eloquence, but it was a start.

I remember this trip well; there was an annular solar eclipse at sunset on January 4, and I drove from San Leandro down to San Diego to see it.

(Click the picture to see the whole spectacular scene. Photo credit: biggestoffreds.)

I managed to visit a few more breweries along the way:

Twenty years. I think this calls for a beer.