Saturday, February 25, 2006


Brewing today

Brewing my bastardized steam beer today - stop by if you want.

Don't have any homebrew to share, but I've got some store-bought stuff in the fridge.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Michael Jackson beer tasting

University of Pennsylvania Museum is hosting a beer tasting with Michael Jackson on Saturday March 18th. There are three sittings - 1pm, 3:30pm, and 6pm. Tickets are $40 for museum members and $45 for guests. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery will be there with an ancient Chinese fermented rice beverage. I'm trying to make it to the 6pm tasting.

Thursday, February 23, 2006



Ok. So tonight I tasted the latest batch of Native Rage, or at least one carboy of it. While several months ago I found it to be extremely hoppy, this time around - Its very good, but not excessive.

I can, nay MUST, use more hops in the future.

There were a ridiculous amount in this beer, and yet I feel like it needs more. Next time I brew it, I am thinking mash hops, first wort hops, 1.5X the flavor and aroma hops and 2X the dry hops. This shtuff needs to be GREEN in the fermenter. It needs to look like I've got a hop cake, not a yeast cake, in the fermenter. Even I should be quaking with fear.

I think for good measure I will try dry-hopping in the keg using a tea ball for this batch - I picked one up at HDYB last week.

Next weekend (March 4), I will be brewing my Amarillo Pale Ale in the parking lot of How Do You Brew? as an all-grain demonstration. Whatever I have left in the keg in my kegerator, I intend on bringing it. Bring a thirst, if you plan on attending. This stuff is good. I will also be handing out recipe sheets.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Choking Sun

In honor of my cousin's new project, Choking Sun, and his love (and his band mates') love of stout, I am brewing a very robust stout for them. Choking Sun Stout has 8oz of Carafa II, 8oz of Chocolate, 8oz of Roasted Barley, 8oz of Crystal 120L, and a ton of base malt per 5 gallons. The grain bill was big enough I actually had to split it into two different mash tuns for 10 gallons. Thanks again for the loan, Jerry!

It weighed in at 1.0745 for the initial gravity, was fermenting like a bat out of hell within 12 hours, and is black as midnight. This is my first major endeavor with Carafa malt, and I expect it will be very good. Hopefully the roast won't be tooooooo overwhelming.

Bittering hops were magnums, flavor were cascades, and the aroma hops were centennials. I will have to keep you all posted on this one. I'll probably be brewing a less intense oatmeal stout in a month or two since this beast won't be ready until fall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The only brewery in the Palestinian territories

I have mixed emotions about this article!

Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' non-alcoholic beer

Like any good entrepreneur, Palestinian beermaker Nadim Khoury knew that adaptation would be key to his brewery's survival under a government led by the Islamists of Hamas.

So anticipating the hardliners' rise to power in January's general election, Khoury decided to develop a new product -- a non-alcoholic microbrew brandished with a label that coordinates perfectly with Hamas's trademark color.

"I figured why not have a green label so it will match?" said Khoury, who runs the Taybeh Brewing Company, the only brewery in the Palestinian territories. "All customers will notice the green for the Hamas flag."

The alcohol-free version of Taybeh beer, with a label inscribed only in Arabic and whose name means "delicious," is to be released this summer and will target the "local market," he said.

Non-alcoholic beer is already popular in a number of conservative Gulf Arab countries which officially ban booze sales.

The lucrative market potential was highlighted by a deal four years ago which saw Egypt's largest brewer of "near-beer," Al-Ahram Beverages, bought by Heineken for 280 million dollars.

Khoury says he will start small with his new beer, maybe only a few hundred bottles at first, but he has big dreams for his brewing factory in the hilltop village of Taybeh, a historically Christian town of about 1,300 people near Ramallah in the West Bank.

A sense of homeland pride and the family's ability to invest more than one million dollars spurred Nadim, who was born in Taybeh, to return after two decades in the United States in order to build the brewery shortly after the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993.

Now in its 11th year of business, Khoury said the brewery sells the equivalent of about 1.2 million pints per year, though its peak output was more than twice that in 2000 prior to the outbreak of the second intifada against Israeli occupation.

Violence was bad for business, and the intifada brought a wave of harsher regulations in many Palestinian cities.

Khoury hasn't been able to sell his beer in the Gaza Strip for years, since militants torched the home of one of his distribution outlets and radical Islamists effectively made selling alcohol impossible throughout the crowded territory.

But Khoury hopes attitudes will change with his new non-alcoholic beer.

"I don't want to smuggle my beer in Palestine. I believe I have a right to sell mine (in the Gaza Strip)," said Khoury, an unabashed nationalist who touts his beer factory as a boon to the Palestinian people and their economy.

"Every time we sell a bottle of beer it goes toward building the state of Palestine," said Khoury.

Khoury says his first name Nadim means "your friend who sits at the bar with you, your drinking buddy," and his chief product is Taybeh Golden beer, though he also makes a light version and a dark beer.

The Taybeh brews are concocted from four natural ingredients -- malted barley, hops, yeast and pure spring water. Each bottle sells for around one dollar.

The gentle, amber-colored Taybeh Golden is sold in parts of Israel, the West Bank, Britain and Germany.

However, among secular Muslims in the area who do drink alcohol, not all are devoted fans of its mellow taste.

"It's okay. It's good," shrugged one Arab-Israeli taxi driver in Jerusalem, who admitted he hadn't drunk any Taybeh in at least two years.

A waiter at a bar in occupied East Jerusalem said: "I prefer Irish whiskey. Jameson."

Hamas leaders, who now dominate parliament, have not made clear whether or not they will seek to impose conservative sharia law which would impose a wider ban on alcohol.

Khoury remains optimistic.

"I think they (Hamas) are very smart, very educated. I believe they will think twice before they do anything to hurt our business."

Monday, February 20, 2006


How Do You Brew? links

I hate typing, so I try to use links whenever I can. You may notice that some of the links on the blog and the page don't work for the How Do You Brew? LHBS. You can use the direct link "", or simply type "" in your browser.

I will use when creating links on my site, just in case the location is moved again in the future.

Sunday, February 19, 2006



One of the pig people is interested in brewing so I gave her our url. There are probably other people who brew and raise pigs.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)


Twin Lakes Tour a success

Our club tour to Twin Lakes was a success. I have posted pictures of our tour in the FSB Gallery along with some inane comments so you know what you are looking at. Mark (brewer) and Sam (owner) were extremely nice, and we wish them all the best. Hopefully they will start up their operations in the next two weeks, and see two years of planning and building come to fruition. Their enthusiasm will definitely take them far.

I hope that we do more activities with them in the future. They've got a great tasting room which would be perfect for a meeting or two, and their expansive farm would be fantastic for bigger events like a club picnic or a beer festival. It was fascinating seeing such a gorgeous farm setting in the middle of overdeveloped DE.

Thanks again Mark and Sam!

Friday, February 17, 2006


Heavyweight Brewing News

Just got this email from the Heavyweight Brewing Company!
From: Heavyweight Brewing Company
To: Beer Lovers
Subject: Heavyweight Brewing News
Date: Feb 17, 2006 10:50 AM


We've been criticized for not sending out enough emails to tell you what we're up to. We don't know about you, but with all the unsolicited mail we receive, that seems like asking for trouble. The truth, is that we've simply been equal parts busy and lazy. We do try to answer all the email that we receive at this account (not always as promptly as we would like), so if you have a question or suggestion, send it along. Thanks.

We have been busy making and selling a lot of our regular offerings. But we have not given up on the OTOP beers. That's the One Time beers that are brewed in a single batch. We have decided, for the next go around, to enlist the assistance and enthusiasm of our homebrewer friends. We plan to make 3-4 beers with some of the area homebrew clubs. The first one is finished and will be packaged this evening (in 750ml glass). It was made with the able bodies from the PALE ALES (that's the Princeton And Local Environs Ale & Lager Enjoyment Society). Together, we brewed an assertive Pilsner-style lager made with a goodly amount of rye malt. It's called Ivy League Pils, it's 7.3% ABV and 56 IBU's. The next brew will be made with the Woodbridge-based WHALES club (talk is that it may be an oft-kilter Scotch Ale). Stay tuned.

For those of you in driving distance of the brewery, the next Open House/Tour and Tasting will be Saturday, March 11th from 1-4pm. We will feature the new Pils on draft and you can buy bottles to go. We'll also have another one or two drafts for sampling. If you've never been to an open house, here's the skinny: we don't give tours unless you're really insistent, we put out some simple grub and you're welcome to bring something if you like (we have no oven/microwave), we have a ping-pong table but it's always covered with beer bottles, you may bring beer (homebrew or otherwise) to share (everyone else does) and you may bring your friends and family. These gatherings are a wonderful way to meet fellow beer lovers. This time, we have one more reason for coming out. Our friend and fellow brewer Al Duvall has agreed to perform for us. If you haven't heard this Brooklyn singer and songwriter yet, you're in for a treat. His sound has been described as a Mummer's Parade marching through a methadone clinic. Al plays the banjo, guitar and mouth harp and sings songs that are sharp enough to kill you. Personally, we're just thrilled that he's playing here and when he gets real famous, you can tell people that you saw him play at Heavyweight. Hope you can make it.

We'll be out and about or have our beers at the following events:
Feb. 18th - Beats, Brews and BBQ @ World Cafe Live in Philly.
Feb 25-26th - Brazen Head Cask Head Fest in Brooklyn
Feb 26th - Slow Food Event @ Triumph Brewery in New Hope, PA
Mar 4-5th - Split thy Skull (Big Beer Fest) @ Mugs Alehouse in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn
Mar 18-19 Celebration of the Suds @ Atlantic City Convention Center

Hope to see you soon and thanks for supporting small breweries and advocating better beer.
Peace and love,
Tom and Peggy


Week in Review

I didn't brew last weekend b/c of the snow. It is all melted now (or at least what was on my back porch), so I will brew my stout tomorrow after our FSB field trip to Twin Lakes Brewery.

Got my taxes done and filed on Tuesday night. Good return this year - but none of it is going into buying new brew gear. Even though I could get a fully loaded B3-1550 stainless steel brewing sculpture or a cooled conical fermenter, we are socking it away for our 10th Anniversary trip to Belgium or Scotland or wherever it is that we decide we wish to go. I e-filed through TurboTax, and I gotta say - ROCKS. Completely rocks. I will never file without TurboTax again.

Wednesday night my wife and I counter pressure filled the rest of my Imperial Stout into bottles (about 16) and put my latest batch of Black Honey Ale on tap. It was eventful - I over-rotated the fill valve back after filling a bottle, not realizing it was in the purge-with-CO2-position again (just by a hair). When I removed the bottling wand.... SPLOOOSH!!! The CO2 rushed in to the bottom of the bottle, sending Imperial Stout all over me, Donna, my kitchen, and ceiling. Lesson learned...

Last night I went to pour the remaining Homegrown Ale into growlers to take to the meeting tonight at HDYB and found only 1 pint remaining. My friend put a hurting on that keg this weekend!!! So I dragged a keg of Amarillo Pale Ale up and got it chilling for tonight. Pity that no one really got to try the Homegrown Ale but me and few others... but the Amarillo is always good.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


White weekend...

... and while I had originally thought I was brewing 10 gallons of strong stout this weekend, plans certainly change. Its still coming down out there, and I've got over 12" of snow on my back porch. Looks like stuff is here to stay for a while.

Despite that, I did some beer stuff this weekend - I have a 4 quart starter of WLP004 Irish Ale ready to pitch into that stout (whenever I can get around to brewing it). I kegged the maibock, which begins its lagering today. I also have 10 gallons of Native Rage moved to the secondaries and dry-hopping. Maybe today if I get ambitious I'll do some counter-pressure filling... but since my son has been running a 101+ fever for 2 days now and hasn't gotten much rest (either has me or my wife)... I should probably just take it easy.

My canned starter wort was amazing - I put some Servomyces in it during the boil, and that yeast really seemed to like it. My 1 gallon starter was done fermenting within a day... I have a feeling that yeast propogation with this starter wort is going to be something new for me to get used to.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Dispatches from DC

California Tortilla is opening a new restaurant in Newark on Wednesday the 8th. I think they serve beer there, they do in DC. Also, there is another "Save the Brewmaster's Castle" event in DC Friday.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Monday, February 06, 2006



So, its 11:30 and I'm currently processing the second batch of 7 quarts of starter wort. My stove sucks... What I originally estimated would take 35 minutes a batch in fact takes like 90 to 105... so I'm only going to get to about 2/3 of the jars tonight. And then I get to start the fun all over again tomorrow. I should be able to do it before the kids go to sleep though, so it won't be a really late night. And next time I'll know to plan on using my Camp Chef burner if I want it to take less time.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Canning Starter Wort...

... or at least today, brewing it. I didn't actually bother doing the canning today... I figure that can wait until tomorrow. I was impeccable (as always) with my sanitation, so I am not overly concerned that something unpleasant got into the starter wort. It should keep just fine (out in the cold, cold garage) until tomorrow night. I've got 2 cases of quart jars (2x 3 gal) and 1 case of pint jars at the ready.

I brewed about 5.5 gallons, with absolutely no break in the carboy, at 1.040 gravity with a mere 9 pounds of grain. Not bad... Not fantastic efficiency, but for keeping all of the break out of the carboy, I couldn't be more pleased. Now I just need to learn to do that with my lagers. I did a little math, and with this starter wort I should be able to hold out until summer without having to do more canning. Very cool. I also have this sneaking suspicion that I've been seriously over-pitching my beers. I also did the math to see what the ingredient savings is over using DME - Its about 1/3 the price of using DME. Of course... it'll take me a few years to pay off the pressure-canner. GEAR RULES!!

I have some WLP004 Irish Ale on the stir plate trying to re-activate. Its "best used" date was October 30 of 2005, so I'm a few months overdue... but it should wake up sometime tomorrow night and start doing the deed. I'll then take the cake and pitch it into a 1 gallon starter in preparation for my brew next Sunday (timing permitting). It'll be a 10 gallon batch of a strong stout, 5 gallons of which will go to my cousin Mosquito of Choking Sun in Atlanta. I promised him sometime ago to brew a beer for him, and its well overdue. Its loosely based off of Flying Dog's Gonzo Porter... With enough differences thrown in to make it my own.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Field Trip!!

The First State Brewers are taking a field trip on Saturday, Feb 18th to the new Twin Lakes Brewery off Route 52 in Greenville, DE. Tour starts at noon, and all members are encouraged to bring questions, enthusiasm, and HOMEBREW to share! Mark Fesche, the head brewer, is excited and eager to meet us. See you all there!!!!


Saturday, February 18th
Noon to 2pm
4208 Kennett Pike, Greenville, DE 19807


If you all are familiar with the former location of Brandywine Brewing Co, Twin Lakes is just a mile or so up the road from 141 on the left, past the train tracks.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Tour the Brewmaster's Castle

If you're in DC you can tour the Brewmaster's Castle (the Heurich House) from 5:00 to 9:00 PM tomorrow (Friday) night. For more information click here.

Jane Hautanen (Jane Doe)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Reality Check

OK, so tonight I updated my inventory list so I know what I have on hand. Bottom line is:

That said, I had to revisit some of my upcoming recipes and make a few substitutions so I minimized the amount of ingredients I need to buy. With that kind of inventory on hand, its nuts to go out and buy more hops. I have just a few varieties I can't substitute for and don't want to (like Liberty hops and Victory / Amber malt)... so I do need to buy a couple things along with some yeast vials.

I have another joint brew coming up with my buddy Fool Circle. We haven't decided what to brew yet - but I expect it will be strong and/or hoppy. My personal hope is that he wants to do the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale clone from September 2005 Brew Your Own, but if not - I'll just have to brew 10 gallons of it for me :-D

I've currently got 37.5 gallons in kegs and about 3 cases of bottles... with 5 gallons of Maibock and 10 gallons of Native Rage to be kegged within the next 3 weeks.

Speaking of the Native Rage, even though it started at a gravity of 1.071, it was essentially done fermenting yesterday. Airlock activity has slowed to a crawl today, and I think this weekend I'll be throwing it in the secondary with its dose of dry hops. Big yeast starters + Servomyces = GOOD FERMENTATION. I've got a monster yeast cake of nearly pure yeast in one carboy - I stopped once the trub cleared in the first, switched to the second carboy, collected 5 gallons, then switched back. I gotta figure out what to use it in soon - And with 10 lbs of American Pale Ale malt left, my options are kinda limited. Anyone out there want a bunch of WLP001 California Ale yeast?