Friday, February 25, 2005


Dubbelweizen Disaster Death

It is done. I sit here at 12:45am staring at the final pint of my Dubbelweizen Disaster.

It is a time of reflectance and remorse - thoughts of what this batch might have been had I pitched the correct yeast, and a twisted sense of loss for what was brought into this world and never should have been - yet now is gone.

One of my cats is now circling the pint and licking the exterior. Not sure if that is a good omen or bad. Its definitely amusing, considering that they have never taken ANY interest in my beer prior to this moment.

In its wake the Dubbelweizen leaves a dark legacy - the Olde Porter v2 has been put on tap. I have tasted the warm tap samplings of what this keg brings - and it is a welcome celebration of roastiness and revelry. Not quite opaque, but the darkest shade of brown, and very full bodied - this beer is what it was intended.

RIP banana and cloves in my Abbey Dubbel recipe. May you only haunt my memory and my recipe book. We shall not meet again lest I err twice.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Duty done and reflective musings

Website has been updated with the last Wort's Hoppening.

Today I also got confirmation that my grain mill has shipped and did a WLP002 English Ale Yeast starter for a batch I'm brewing tomorrow - My sister got me the Beer, Beer, and More Beer kit for Jim Rossi's Honey Pale Ale. Once this Amarillo Pale Ale keg kicks I'll be out of light stuff - Well, that's not completely true. I've got a keg of Abbey Tripel sitting down there, but I don't know that I want everything on tap to be >6% ABV. Well... there's also that berry beer sitting in the secondary, but I'm bottling that for my sister. I won't be kegging it.

The more time I spend thinking about this past meeting, the more I realize how eye opening it was. Found out how much everyone else sweats spending money on their homebrewing equipment and supplies. I guess I never even give it a second thought... I mean... aren't hobbies often expensive? Also, it seems that alot of people buy cheap where as I usually buy quality... Yeah, I bought a $180 grain mill, but I'll never ever need to replace it. I've got a $200 10 gallon brew pot - but it'll last me forever. If I move up to 10 gallon batches... its the ideal size for a mash tun. C'est la vie... Some folks just prioritize differently. Not that its bad, its just not how I do.

I got into homebrewing because it is something I've always wanted to do. I've been a beer snob since my freshman year in college (I mean since I was 21!!!) and have always dreamed of brewing great beer. Its never been about cheap for me - its about quality, creativity, and above all enjoyment. I LOVE BEER, and I make sure mine knows it as I bring it into this world and nurture it to its fullest (alcohol?) potential. ;-)

Perhaps some other blog entry I'll muse over why no one could ever pay me to brew... not tonight for sure. I'm cached.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Wednesday cometh...

Well, I kegged my Abbey Tripel tonight (3rd I've done, 1st of my own recipe). I'm so stoked. It was crystal clear even in the secondary... so of course the finish product will be crystal clear provided I don't have a nasty lurking in the keg. I cleaned for 1 hr with PBW and sanitized for about 30 minutes with Iodophor, so I gotta believe it'll be fine. I also have some 3 gallon cornies ready for the BEAST. That's right - my EVIL EVIL oak-aged vanilla imperial porter will be kegged within the next week. Weep and despair world! WEEP AND DESPAIR!! MWAA AHAA HAA HAA! Ahem.

HDYB is checking on the availability of Servomyces for me. I'm dying to use this white labs yeast superfood in my next big belgian - Alucard Strong Ale. I'm hoping it'll be black as midnight, smooth, and somewhere close to 9%ABV. That ought to be a good swift kick to the liver. Recipe submittal page works just fine. Oliver did submit his BeerSmith recipe in BeerXML format for his upcoming "On The Dole" Robust Porter. The gravities and %ABV are definitely wrong, but that was the output from BeerSmith, not our site.

My 3-roll grain mill from ships on Thursday. I can't wait to try that bad boy out. The Alucard Strong Ale will probably be its first victim.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Post meeting blues

Yeah, another month's meeting has come & gone. I always feel kind of bummed the next day since it takes another whole month before I get to taste more homebrew creations.

Oliver makes a mean beer. I like his stuff. Scott brought his tasty Dogbolter kit beer and the Amarillo English Amber from the last meeting as well as the Pilsner - which somehow managed to escape the meeting without my tasting it... Oh well. There's always next meeting. I brought growlers of my Dubbelweizen and Amarillo Pale Ale again (both were debuted last month).

Website recipe submittal form works. Oliver submitted a recipe for the Porter he's got on deck, and I grabbed it from the upload directory yesterday. I'll put it on the site soon.

I think both the Abbey Tripel and Oak-aged vanilla imperial porter are going to be kegged soon - maybe not consumed soon, but put into nice, safe, stainless steel canisters with CO2 padding so they are safe as they age. I think the imperial porter has about the right level of oakiness for this time around... and the tripel has been aging in glass for a month now - 6 weeks since I brewed it. I need the carboy space for my upcoming batches... I think they will be:

I'm not 100% on the english brown - I might have to do something else with it. I've also got a Hefeweizen kit to use up and a honey pale kit to brew.... All grain equipment is coming in May, so that should hopefully keep me busy until then.

Cheers... -VP


Herbs, Man

My new Herbal Tarot Deck arrived from today (it only took about six weeks :( ). Among the herbs it mentions are hops, juniper and marijuana. You can really mess up your mind and body if you don't know what you're doing with some of that stuff.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Musings from Lousiana

So here I sit, end of day 3 of training folks on SAP, and we've completed 95% of what we needed to. We had 5 days of training scheduled... and I only have a little more to talk about tomorrow with a much smaller group of people. I'll be trying to catch an earlier flight back on Friday - and maybe make the Friday night meeting - If my wife lets me walk out the door ;-)

I just ordered my 3-roll CrankandStein mill. I can't wait. Fresh-milled grainy goodness in my future batches of beer is a very very VERY good thing. Since I'm moving more and more towards mashing, this will definitely help me keep my freshness up and my costs down.

I was thinking - It might be cool to put together a page on the site that lists all of the brewing texts owned by club members for sharing purposes - for example, I'm looking for a recipe that I know is in "Beer Captured", but since I don't know anyone that has it I am buying it. With 3 recipe books, 4 books on brewing ranging from easy (Papazian) to advanced (Noonan), and now almost 15 Brew Your Own magazines - there might be other folks in the club that would want to borrow them. Just a thought - maybe it will take off, maybe not.

This past Saturday before I left I did brew that berry beer kit. Berry flavoring doesn't get added until bottling, so I haven't polluted the wort yet - I'm wondering what the kit will taste like without it. It had your standard 4 lbs of pale LME, 2 lbs of wheat DME, and some maltodextrin as well as 8 oz of Crystal 15L for steeping. I have to believe it tastes like your standard light ale at this point. I haven't checked on it since I walked out the door at 3:45pm on Sunday - hopefully it didn't blow out the airlock.

Oh well. Back to the hotel I go for another evening of sipping Abita Amber and Newcastle Brown Ale in the sports bar downstairs.

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Monster mill

Woooooooooooot!! Got my variable compensation for 2004 this week... and New Jersey finally tracked down my 2003 refund check and mailed me a replacement... so as soon as I get some money transferred into paypal, I'll be ordering the Crankandstein CGM-3D malt mill... I can't wait. I'm still wrestling with the decision around whether to get stainless steel rollers or not - I'm told they are mostly just for aesthetics or climates where moisture/humidity is an issue... but aesthetics sometimes appeal to me. I'll probably just go with the regular rollers.

Brewing a berry beer kit this weekend that my sister brought in. Made up the yeast starter last night and it is rocking at the moment - so I'll definitely be ready for this afternoon. I'll bottle the kit, probably save a 6 pack for myself, and give her the rest - berry beer isn't my thing, but I'll brew it :-D.

Finished up the last of the "I can't believe its not Irish" Scottish ale last night. Just put the first 3 gallon corny of Scotch ale on. Its got lots of malty sweetness (FG of 1.024), but my wife loves it. I've also got the second 5-gallon keg of Amarillo Pale Ale on tap and probably about 2.5 gallons of the Dubbelweizen... I wanted to put the Olde Porter on tap, but there just isn't room :-p... I'll have to wait until the Dubbelweizen disappears.

My latest Abbey-style Tripel is still in the basement conditioning, as is the Oak-Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter/Stout. Both are crystal clear - I can't wait to keg and try them. Waiting is the hardest part.

Friday, February 11, 2005


"Low Malt" Beer?

If you weren't already convinced that high taxation is evil, maybe this article will convince you!

Kirin set to dive into quasi-beer fray

That's right. In order to pay less taxes, the Kirin Brewery Co. in Japan is making low-malt and malt-free beverages. That is D I scusting!

Hat tip to JA Pundit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Recipes Redux

Well, the recipes section is done for now. Scott requested the ability for folks to upload their recipes directly to our site, and I have done that. You need to click on the "submit a recipe" link to go to the submission page.

Submissions are captured in a temporary directory (not immediately displayed) so we can get them converted into the right format and reviewed before becoming available content. Unfortunately I don't have automatic notification set up since our server doesn't have any mail transfer applications running on it - and our host (Dan Brzoska) isn't sure when he's going to have time to look into it. But hey... I can periodically go in there and look to see if anyone has submitted anything.

I built in some safeguards that will hopefully protect us from malicious attacks... I guess time will tell.

The index itself is pretty much bare bones at this point - if there is any interest in the section I may end up adding a place for folks to enter comments for the various recipes, maybe rate them, etc... but that can get rather ugly so perhaps its best not explored.

Once we actually get some folks adding recipes for All-Grain (I'm not that far off myself), I'll make sure that all the pertinent info for mashing is properly displayed as well. I know Oliver may be submitting his latest Porter if it turns out well.

That's all for now kids. I'm off to sit on the couch and love on the wifey.


Water Bottle Caddy

Here's something interesting sent to me by Jerry Carney.
Here is a link to the Homefocus web site. The carboy rack is a little expensive but it might give some of our more creative friends a starting place for their own designs.

Water Bottle Caddy


Gung Hee Fat Choy!

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Rooster. My best friend's wife, who is Chinese, says if you eat noodles for New Year it brings riches. Also, drink a Tsingtao with it.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Longer British Pub Hours

There was a small article in the News Journal today with the headlines, "England's pubs getting longer hours." I thougt that was interesting, since we will be spending a few days in York, England at the end of March. A quick search located the following article in the BBC News: Britons 'fear longer pub opening'. Now, I don't believe that for a second. I think that article is an invention of the British press trying to push an anti-drinking agenda, if you ask me.

They have these crazy laws over there that close all the pubs at 11:00 p.m. Supporters of the law change say that the early closing causes people to get trashed early and all pour into the streets at the same time. This, it's said, is causing rioting in the streets. Changing the law to allow pubs to be open 24 hours will eliminate the need to binge and eliminate the mass exodus at any particular time.

However, according to this article, Britons are scared that longer drinking hours will create MORE drunks. I kind of doubt that. Like I said, I doubt this article is accurate. I think most Britons welcome the longer drinking hours.

Unfortunately for us, this law won't go into affect until next November. I guess that means when we go, we will have to drink heavily before the pubs close!


Is Beer No Longer "Cool" in Germany?

John Biggins discovered this article in Spiegel Online.
With Brewery Closures, Germany Faces Brauereisterben
Germany and beer have long been synonymous. But that is changing. With Monday's closing of two large breweries, the crisis facing the industry appears to be deepening. An aging population is partly to blame. But beer, as it turns out, just isn't cool anymore.
Beer no longer "cool" in Germany? Well, they sometimes serve it warm, but I don't think that's what this article is talking about. I find this very hard to believe. Myself and a few other members of the First State Brewers went to Germany 2 years ago and we're going back again at the end of March. Beer seemed just fine with the folks we visited with 2 years ago. I'll let you know if beer is still cool after we go back!

Monday, February 07, 2005


Dream Job?

I saw this story on Newschannel 8 last night. Someone once said "WAVY" were terrible call letters for a TV station.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Sunday, February 06, 2005


FSB Recipes

Little by little I am getting the recipes page done for At the moment it only displays recipes (and even then not everything it will eventually), but I still need to work on the index page that will show them by brewer, style, etc. At least it is a start. I'm having to learn PHP as I code, so the going is a little slower than I'd like... but since I finally managed to get PHP installed on my home webserver, I don't have to upload to test anymore (I can actually test locally), so things are going a little faster.

I'm utilizing the BeerXML standard as the basis so our members will be able to output from whatever software they are using (BeerSmith, ProMash, etc) and post it on our site.

As a preview, check out THIS LINK to see recipes.

I also significantly reworked the sidebar div section based on some web design advice I got from my cousin, Drew. The design is actually alot more flexible and stable now and will be easier to maintain going forward.

EDIT: The link above has been updated with real recipes... more too come from the past few meetings.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Stupid Blogger

Hi, Scott, et al. Tried to post a response but stupid Blogger wouldn't let me. The answer is yeah, I still have my brewing equipment, but haven't brewed in a long time. Then again, I haven't microwaved a TV dinner or warmed up a piece of pizza in my kitchen in a long time, either.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Friday, February 04, 2005


The Beer Hunter Returns

The Book and the Cook

Saturday March 12, 2005
Michael Jackson - Michael Jackson's Great Beer Guide (Tutored Beer Tasting)
Penn Museum - (215) 898-3900
Museum Catering, 3260 South St. Philadelphia, PA

Come hear international beer expert Michael Jackson, and taste exciting pairings of contemporary microbrews with foods that complement them. This tutored section will be followed by a general tasting of additional microbrews from the US and around the world complemented with food from Museum Catering Company. Guests must be 21 years of age to attend. Three seatings. Advance reservations required.

Tickets at the Annenberg Center after February 1, 2005 $45


Here is some info for immediate release to the first State Brewers:

I just received my "Book & the Cook" flyer from U of Penn, announcing the annual beer tasting with Michael Jackson. The 15th annual--gee, we must've attended the first annual! Do you want me to scan it and send it to you? It is coming up on March 12. Cost is $45. Do I detect a club function coming up?



Dogfish Head to receive $1.85 million Loan

Walt B. sent me the link to this article in the Wilminton News Journal about a low-interest loan the Dogfish Head Brewery is receiving to upgrade it's facility.

Low-rate loan to help brewery expand

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Waxing Zymurgic

Well, my bastard child of an abbey dubbel and a hefeweizen (dubbelweizen) is mellowing out a little. I may even come to accept it without making funny faces as I drink it. I'm sitting here drinking my second pint as I type. And I sampled my Oak-aged vanilla porter last night - it is also coming along nicely. Its more oakey than vanilla at this point ... but I guess I shouldn't be suprised. I seriously overused the oak chips. I think I'm going to have to rack to a tertiary w/ no oak and another vanilla bean in a couple weeks here.

I finally got off my slack butt and posted the December meeting minutes and the January Wort's Hoppening on our site. I also am working on a recipes page.... It'll probably be a few weeks before the recipes section is up and running, however I am working on it.

I was going to work on a blog page, but Scott was so hot to get one he got this set up ;-) Just kidding. Blog wasn't next on the list... its always been a recipes section.

As Scott posted, the AHA homebrewers conference is in Baltimore this year. We royally suck if we can't get something together for it. Granted it apparently starts Thursday, June 18 and goes to Saturday... but that still leaves the Friday night and Saturday for us to haul our beer-swilling butts down there. I actually think there are a few other regional clubs we could hook up with and have a great time if we actually developed some... oh... what's the word I'm looking for... initiative?


alcoholic seltzer water

The Return of Chazz's Brew News

I read the other day that Anheuser-Busch was coming out with a new alcoholic seltzer water (their products do not deserve the honorific "beer") with caffeine in it. Not surprisingly, quoted authorities described it as miserable, but is that a surprise? As long as A-B, Miller, and other producers of alcoholic seltzer water (hereafter i will refer to this group as "Coorsweiser") are run by people more interested in cornering shelf space than in producing quality beer, we will continue to get concocted trash of this sort in never-ending attempts to corner shelf space. Ice beer crashed and burned, red beer crashed and burned, i hereby predict that caffeine beer will crash and burn. (I must admit that lite beer has been commercially successful, unfortunately this success just encouraged the jerks.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


B-day bliss

Crankandstein CGM-3D

I'm so stoked. My wife told me that for my b-day this year I could get a 10 gallon AG cooler setup. Its not a macked-out stainless RIMS / HERMS system or anything, but it will keep me very happy for a while until she takes her welding courses. In addition, I am going to get the Crankandstein CGM-3D Adjustable 3 roll malt mill - killer! I've looked at tons of other mills, and that crankandstein just looks like its top-notch.

Another funny thing is that my B-day this year falls dead-on our May meeting night - so I will definitely be spending my b-day doing something I love.



Hey, guys, I put the FSB link into my blog, right above the Paris Hilton item. Now the three people in the world who read my blog may or may not come to this site.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)


Thought of the Day

It's amazing how much more I drink when I have a tasty Amarillo-hopped brew on tap at home! :-)