Thursday, June 29, 2006


Heavyweight News

From: Heavyweight Brewing Company
Sent: Jun 16, 2006 9:25 AM
To: Beer Lovers
Subject: Heavyweight News


I trust that everyone in the NYC, NJ and the Philly area is getting excited about the upcoming 2006 NJ Beer Fest. This year's fest will again be held on the pier of the NJ Battleship at the Camden waterfront on Saturday, June 24th from 1-5pm. All the brewers in NJ (those that care about good beer and good beer drinkers, anyhow) will be there pouring nearly 50 NJ-made beers. Your ticket also allows you to tour the historic ship. For more info, check out or The revenue from this fest supports the NJ Battleship Museum and the not-for-profit Garden State Craft Brewers Guild which promotes craft beer in NJ. Please come out and support the NJ brewers.

As for Heavyweight, many of you have no doubt heard that we are closing up shop at the end of June 2006. We sympathize with the faction out there that feel sorry for themselves about our closing; we will also miss many of our beers. But you should not feel sorry for us. Heavyweight was designed to essentially be a one-man operation. We know that in order to allow Heavyweight to grow (as it wants to) we would have to dramatically change that basic design and we're not willing to do that. Instead, we choose to stop Heavyweight, while (in our opinion) it's on top of it's game and redirect that momentum into another project. We don't have any details for you now, except to say that it will be a pub/restaurant with a small brewery. The wheres and whens are still to be sorted out. We'll keep you posted.

In order to have an opportunity to says thanks and goodbye for now, we are hosting one last wacky Heavyweight open house gathering. This time it will actually be two open house gatherings; Saturday, July 1st and Sunday the 2nd. Each day will run from 1-5 pm and we should have a bunch of beers on tap. We recently brewed a sour-mashed rye and a wild rice beer and both will be on tap. As always, bring whatever beers you'd like to share and please bring something non-perishable for our local foodbank. Hunger is something few of us truly experience and is a disgraceful thing in such a wealthy land.

If you can't make it to the open house, Andy's Corner Bar is throwing Heavyweight a Tribute night on Wed., June 28th starting at 6pm. George, Barb and Tom are giving us most of their tap space and we'll be there to show our love for one of NJ's best beer bars.

Thanks again to all of you who made these past seven years so enjoyable for us. Remember, you are the reason that craft brewers do what they do. Thanks for supporting small breweries everywhere.

Tom and Peggy

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


ENGLAND's massive army of World Cup fans is drinking Germany dry

I found this online today!

Germans fear weii going to drink them dry
By Jeremy Armstrong
28 June 2006

ENGLAND's massive army of World Cup fans is drinking Germany dry, it emerged yesterday.

Breweries warned beer could run out before the final because of huge demand from our supporters.

In Nuremberg, organisers revealed 70,000 England fans who flooded the city drank 1.2MILLION pints of beer - an average of 17 pints each.

Astonished bar keeper Herrmann Murr said: "Never have I seen so many drink so much in such little time."

His bar at a fans' tent in the city ran out after they drained all 32 of his 50-litre (11 gallon) barrels.

Herr Murr calculated Britons were shifting beer at a staggering rate of 200 pints per minute.

City official Peter Murrmann said: "The English proved themselves world champs. They practically drank us dry."

In Cologne, where England drew with Sweden, bottles and barrels of the local K?lsch beer ran out because so many English took them to campsites and parties.

Stuttgart bar chiefs said an extra 900,000 pints were sunk last weekend where 60,000 fans partied before and after our 1-0 win over Ecuador.

The Veltins brewery also revealed it has produced a record 418,000 gallons in a bid to keep up with demand.

A spokesman said: "It is incredible how much is being drunk but the hardest thing for the breweries is keeping up with the thirst of the English."

In Dortmund, where most fans for England's Gelsenkirchen clash against Portugal on Saturday are staying, the giant DAB brewery is bracing itself by ferrying in extra supplies to boost production.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Terminal Velocity.. er Gravity

Well, the Bastogne Tripel I brewed last weekend has finished fermenting... it was mostly done on Tuesday night, if you can believe that... in 48 hours. I checked the gravities this morning using Promash and got the following:

OG -> 23.4 Brix = 1.09425
FG -> 11.6 Brix = 1.01676 (as of today)

%ABV = 10.32

That is one serious Tripel. The unconditioned sample I took smelled incredible... yeast, bread, fruit... and while the taste was VERY yeasty (alot still in suspension), it was also very good... And STRONG. I'm actually a little scared of this beer.

Next weekend I'll probably be brewing 10 gallons of Oak Aged Vanilla Porter... My sister wanted a couple cases (and bought me ingredients for it), so I need to get to work... After that, I've got a couple of joint brews with folks planned, along with a whole battery of beers for me....

I'm going to have to start using my ice cooler and pump setup again. Our tap temperature is >75 degrees again, and it took nearly 45 minutes to chill this tripel down to 77 degrees. Thank goodness I have a solution to the problem, but it does add complexity and stress to the overall process. Blech.

The Wheatopia Raspberry Revolution (pink beer) is on tap now. Its pretty tasty, although more tart than I was expecting. I hope to put the Saison on tap today... the Native Rage is REALLY close to kicking.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006



As a disclaimer, I figured I would start this post by clearly stating that it is going to digress into realms of geekdom and nerdiness that few with our passion are willing to tread, yet I do it anyways... Programming.

As I said several posts back in my "Confessions of an uber-geek" post, I am slowly working on a graphical user interface and platform for developing a computer-controlled homebrew rig. Why you ask? Pomp, circumstance, and sheer vanity is my best and only defense... because I can. I can't think of anything cooler than having folks over, giving them a tour of the ghetto brewery in the basement (which WILL be upgraded as part of this project to an all-stainless, glorious marvel), and firing up the PC to give a demonstration. Have other people built computer-controlled homebrew rigs before? SURE. And many probably did a better job than me. But I am still resolved to do my best and do something truly ridiculous, unnecessary, and utterly cool.

My previous post gave a couple of screenshots of a pipe class I was building... well, it is now obsolete and must be completely rewritten. The reason is that I have finally decided to take the plunge and learn Microsoft's latest platform, .NET. I will be recoding anything developed thus far in VB.NET and will continue from here on out with that as the framework language of choice. It took a great deal of soul-searching and self masochism to ultimately decide, but it is the right decision. I have long avoided delving into this new language because of my inexperience and utter stranglehold on the previous iteration (VB6), but the time has come for me to learn something new once more.

I honestly wish I had time and interest to do it sooner. I actually had a very strong support structure several years ago that could have assisted me. One of my best online friends (and an absolutely brilliant resource) has since disapppeared from the face of the planet and isn't returning my e-mails. And everyone else has about a 4 year head start on me... BUT HEY! I've been busy. Kids. Moving from Mexico. Establishing myself in 3 jobs in 4 years. Learning to homebrew!!! (and investing ridiculous sums of money and time to do so). But I will make use of my demon-given aptitudes and meld my world of yesterday with that of today.

These screenshots are the re-write of my "tank" class in VB.NET. I have rewritten this class now 4 times - 2 times using VB6 and the Windows GDI API library, once using VB6 and a GDI+ wrapper, and finally (as shown) using VB.NET and pure .NET library code (No VisualBasic namespace for me, thank you very much).

In the long run I firmly believe the .NET platform will give my homebrewing control application flexibility, portability, and use that legacy VB6 never could. I must admit I have my reservations regarding many aspects of the undertaking (my own experience being one large factor), but quite honestly my tenacity and pure vanity WILL win out in the end. My arrogance and commitment knows no bounds.

This project will be open-source. Everyone who has the interest (and ability) will be able to download and start using it as the base for their creations, once completed. My intention is to build the following:

And many other things. Its a big laundry list to fill... I'll obviously focus first on items necessary for me to get my own brewery up and running, but the idea is that ultimately anyone could use it if they wanted to.

Enough for now... time for me to go drink some Nasty Habit Abbey Dubbel. Gotta make room for those summer saisons and wheats!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Big Bad Bastogne Belgian Brew...

Today I thoroughly enjoyed Father's Day by brewing a 5 gallon batch of Tripel. Things went really well, although I did end up second guessing myself and adding another 15 minutes to the boil... so it was a 135 minute boil instead of a 120. Totally unnecessary, and as a result I'm going to end up slightly short of the 5 gallon mark (like 4.8 or something near there).... although the other consequence is that the gravity is higher... 1.094, actually. I did some quick spot calculations, and this beer is going to come out somewhere near 9.5-10% minimum.

Thank god I had lots of yeast to pitch... actually, the Hell's Bells Pale Ale was a fantastic starter. I ended up pitching 750mL of thick, nearly pure WLP510 slurry. There is ALOT of yeast in this thing. Its apparently the Orval strain, so it may have a somewhat acidic finish, but having tried all the strains (Trappist, Abbey, and Belgian) I am excited to try something new. I also oxygenated it for like 3 minutes, so there should be PLENTY of O2 in there for them to do their job.

Needless to say, its fixed with a big bore blowoff tube, and I am expecting some major action when I wake up tomorrow. I'll have to post pictures if it is really crazy.

Another BIG brew coming up. I'm going to have to brew more Black Honey soon... it goes so quickly... I'll probably do either a 15 or 20 gallon batch again. I am also planning a split batch with another homebrewer using all Horizon hops, and a 10 gallon batch of Oak Aged Vanilla Porter (5 gallons of which is going to my sister).

Both Wheatopias are kegged and carbonating. The raspberry turned out pretty tart... and the apricot is more grainy than I expected. I'm hoping that they'll fall clearer in the kegs once they're chilled, but they both tasted pretty refreshing. Also looking forward to getting my Saison on tap sometime really soon - that may be another beer I have to brew again this summer (got plenty of strisselspalt hops left).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Delaware City Day- July 8th

Looks like I'll be supplying 10 gallons of hombrew (at least) for one house during this July 8th celebration down in Delaware City. On tap will be 5 gallons of saison, 5 gallons of Black honey ale (porter) and several "back up" kegs of mystery beer. I am going to see if Twin Lake has any interest in offering a 1/4 keg too.

Put it on your calendar! More details to come....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Beer may protect you from getting prostate cancer

Good news for us beer drinkers :-) It says, that Beer may protect you from getting prostate cancer :-)


Bier könnte laut neuer US-Studie vor Prostatakrebs schützen
Dienstag 13. Juni 2006, 11:52 Uhr

San Francisco (AFP) - Bier könnte laut einer neuen US-Studie vor Prostatakrebs schützen. Der Hopfen-Bestandteil Xanthohumol bremse die Krankheit, heißt es in einer am Montag veröffentlichten Studien der Universität Oregon. Allerdings müsste der gesundheitsbewusste Trinker rund 15 Halb-Liter-Gläser leeren, um den gewünschten Effekt zu erzielen, warnte Emily Ho, Leiterin des Forschungsprojekts: "Die negativen Auswirkungen des Alkohols könnten die gesundheitlichen Vorteile des Bierkonsums zunichte machen."

Der Studie zufolge wäre es aber möglich, Tabletten mit Xanthohumol-Konzentrat herzustellen. Auch könne der Xanthohumol-Gehalt in Hopfen gesteigert werden. Deutsche Wissenschaftler haben bereits ein Bier gebraut, in dem die zehnfache Menge des Wirkstoffs enthalten ist. Die Brauerei Weihenstephaner vertreibt ein derart hergestelltes Hefe-Weißbier und vermarktet es als Gesundheitsbier. Wissenschaftlich bewiesen sei der Effekt bisher allerdings noch nicht, sagte Fred Stevens, Co-Autor der US-Studie. Auch die nun vorgelegten Ergebnisse müssten noch durch weitere Tests erhärtet werden.

"Es ist der Traum jedes Mannes, dass Pizza und Bier Krebs verhindern können", fügte Stevens hinzu. Auch in Tomatensoße war kürzlich ein Stoff gefunden worden, der die Krankheit aufhalten könnte. Allerdings warnte Stevens, keine Ernährung könne ein sicherer Schutz gegen Prostata-Krebs sein. Notwendig sei vielmehr, dass Männer regelmäßig zu Vorsorgeuntersuchungen gingen

Monday, June 12, 2006


HopQuest (cont)

OK, so several posts ago I mentioned that I was going to try to brew some hoppier brews in the original HopQuest post. I also mentioned a couple posts back that I thought my hop scale was acting a little wonky. Well, turns out its true. For my birthday this year I ordered a replacement hopscale, the American Weigh Blade 250. A quick calibration showed that my scale was registering about 75% of true weight, so all of my recipes for the past few months have been light. Not a huge deal (and its good to know the calibration for future formulations), because all the beers turned out very good... but I am still on the cusp of not being hoppy enough to totally blow out my taste buds... so I am going to have to surpass even my recently brewed Hopocalypse I2PA.

Several people have taste tested the Hopocalypse I2PA recently (those die-hards that stayed for the last hour of the May meeting at my place, and some other close friends) and found it beguilingly drinkable for as strong and hoppy as it is... Which quite honestly is fantastic. Marty Drinan held a pint glass a foot from his nose and indicated he could still smell the hops, But its not enough... not enough hop flavor, not enough hop aroma... So I am endeavoring to formulate yet another super-hoppy recipe (name TBD)... Mash hops, first wort hops, and massive late additions and dry hopping will once again be the order of the day. Part of the formulation will include ordering in some 17%AA Summit hops, which were released in 2005 and supposedly have a pungent citrus flavor and aroma... like a turbocharged Amarillo. I'm totally in.

Friday, June 09, 2006


BUZZ OFF feedback - GDS

So I figured I would share the feedback I got from the 13th annual Buzz Off competition from last Saturday. Several folks from our club entered beers, and several of us walked away with ribbons... YAY! I figured I'd type up the feedback in its unedited and raw form for folks to see.

Queen's Darkness:

Entered as: Cat 13-F (Russian Imperial)

Judge #1:
Aroma: 8/12 (Malt, very little Roast)
Appearance: 2/3 (Opaque, head OK)
Flavor: 13/20 (Malty sweet with good roasty balance. Good recipe. Very smooth through finish.)
Mouthfeel: 4/5 (Medium body – could use a bit more)
Overall Impression: 8/10 (Raise Mash temp – good recipe. Very Drinkable).
Total: 35/50

Judge #2:
Aroma: 7/12 (high fruity esters – raisins, plums – sweet malt, low malt)
Appearance: 3/3 (fine tan head that persists, black and opaque)
Flavor: 13/20 (malt dominates the initial flavor, firm hop bitterness that persists through the finish, roasted flavor is moderate, slight sourness detected, could use more roasted character)
Mouthfeel: 3/5 (mod body, moderate carbonation, some apparent astringency from hops / dark grains)
Overall Impression: 7/10 (good beer. Could use a bit more body and increased malt bill. Balance between malt and hops is nice).
Total: 33/50

Judge #3:
Aroma: 7/12 (dark roasted malts, fruity esters, no hops)
Appearance: 2/3 (opaque , almost black. Thin head of fine moussy bubbles was long-lasting)
Flavor: 15/20 (very little malt up front but the finish is drying and the roasted barley comes out very string in the drying finish. No esters.)
Mouthfeel: 3/5 (medium body, medium carbonation, no astringency)
Overall Impression: 8/10 (good beer, but needs more malt & alcohol for a RIS. Up the malt and hops. Needs more body, malt & alcohol).
Total: 35/50

Overall: 34/50 (Took second place)

My Wife’s Nutty Brown Ale:

Entered as: Cat 11-C (Northern Brown)

Judge #1:
Aroma: 7/12 (mild malt aroma, no hops, no esters.)
Appearance: 3/3 (red-amber color, excellent clarity, good head retention)
Flavor: 12/20 (moderate malt flavor, no noticeable hop flavor, low-med hop bitterness, sweet finish)
Mouthfeel: 4/5 (med body, med carbonation)
Overall Impression: 6/10 (nice malt character but needs a little more hop balance for a Northern. Would score better as a Southern.).
Total: 32/50

Judge #2:
Aroma: 6/12 (Malty sweet, caramelly hints of raisins or plums, little to no hop aroma – malt definitely dominates)
Appearance: 3/3 (Med brown with ruby highlights. Great clarity, low tan head good retention.)
Flavor: 10/20 (Malty sweet caramel toffee flavors, low hop presence in bitterness and flavor. Some dark fruit flavors – raisins – nut in the background. Needs more hope presence to balance malty sweetness.)
Mouthfeel: 3/5 (Creamy medium bodied beer with a moderate to low carbonation for style)
Overall Impression: 8/10 (a really nice beer but not to style. Malty sweet caramel flavor needs more hops to balance, or enter as a southern brown. Complex malt profile is real nice and fruity esters as well – just not for a northern English brown.).
Total: 30/50

Overall: 31/50 (Didn’t place)

So I guess here are some of the things I take away from the experience:

In addition to these I am obviously walking away with a few other constructive criticisms that I’ll use to improve in the future, but all in all I think that I did pretty good. Not as good as Mike Castagno that walked away with FIRST for IPAs…. But there is always next year. Oh woe to ye who hath not anticipated the HOPOCALYPSE. Your time will come… Mwaaa haaa haaa.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Tapping Creativity

For a couple weeks I've been playing with some tap handle label designs for some upcoming brews. Obviously the finishing gravities and ABVs aren't necessarily final on all of them, but I wanted to get the artwork taken care of so I didn't have to scramble and do something lame... And apparently I've got a little bit of a dark streak in me. *snicker*. Yeah, I'm sure you never would have guessed. Two of them came out very cool - but a little disturbing at the same time.

I expect I will probably re-use a huge portion (if not all) of the Hell's Bells artwork for my "For Whom The Bell Tolls Tripel"... Those little dudes on pikes are just too cool not to re-use. I actually did all the artwork for that one from scratch, granted its mostly silhouettes... but just me, Photoshop, and some brush strokes. Not bad for a no-talent unartistic ChemE.

To counteract some of that bad juju, I've also done a somewhat innocuous and light label for the Saison... It feels pretty in-the-vein of most Saisons - I even frenched it up a little with the Fleur de Lys. I'm so excited to try this thing - I'm hoping to keg & carbonate 5 gallons this weekend and put it on tap within the next week.

Amazing how quick time flies - doesn't seem that long ago that ya'll were at my place, and here it is just a little over a week from the next meeting at Marty's. Very cool. I'll probably bring some Native Rage IRA to share.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Hell's Bells

So yesterday found me brewing another batch of beer on what started out as a pretty miserable day - raining, overcast... so I did it in the garage. This time around it was a new recipe - "Hell's Bells Belgian Pale", which quite honestly is really just a huge 4.5 gallon starter for the upcoming "For Whom the Bell Tolls Tripel".

It was an amazing brew session for many reasons... a couple I took pictures of. First, the sparge was pretty unique - The sparge water and wort did not mix in the mash tun, but maintained seperate layers due to density differences. If you look at the left pic, you'll see the crystal clear water with some grain matter floating in it, and then below you'll see another layer of a kind of ruddy red color with more - that's not the grain bed! At that point we were still an inch or so above the grain bed... so just like a black & tan, the liquid layers chose not to mix.

Second, I only had to vourlauf about 3 quarts before the wort was coming out crystal clear - most of my batches it has been a 8-9 quart affair. The wort going into the kettle was crystal clear, as shown by the right picture - even at 8 gallons I could see all the way to the bottom of the kettle.

The yeast (WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale) took off 5 hours later, and this morning we are fermenting full-tilt. I got a very minimal amount of break material in the fermenter which should leave me with a pretty pure yeast cake for the tripel in 2 weeks. This is apparently the a straing of the primary yeast Orval uses in their beers... and its primary fermentation looks VERY much like a Saison... kind of a fluffy, soapy kraeusen.

Yesterday was the 2006 Buzz-Off competition. I am still anxiously awaiting the results for the two beers I entered. Keeping my fingers crossed...

EDIT:Well, I got second place for my Queen's Darkness in the Imperial Stout category. My guess is they'll tell me it needed more hops and alcohol, but we will see. "My Wife's Nutty Brown Ale" didn't place in the top 4 - They must have shelled me for some flaw that I couldn't catch, or they just flat-out hated it. Again, I'll have to wait to get the judge's feedback on it. Not sure what category of brown ale it went in as... maybe that was the problem. But second place... that's not too bad for my first competition.

Friday, June 02, 2006



The Twin Lakes Brewing Company is having its Grand Opening on

Saturday, June 3, 2006 from 12pm-4pm

Park in the field & come celebrate with us...

Fresh: Live Music from Nine Eyes Band

Local: Deerhead Hotdogs

Delicious: Brewery Tours with Brewmaster Mark Fesche

Tickets are $10 each at the door

Thursday, June 01, 2006


The hammer falls...

I've had 3 beers over 7% ABV on tap for the past few days... ouch. I managed to kick the Oak Aged Vanilla Porter and replace it with my Black Honey Ale tonight, but that one's no slouch either (6-6.3%). Bottom line is I like to brew heavy hitters, and now it is 30 minutes to midnight and I can feel it. Go me. My keg line-up is completely different than 3 weeks ago for our meeting. I've now got on tap:
I addition to tying a good one on tonight, I also managed to:
  1. Rack my Wheatopia to secondaries
  2. Watch Tristan&Isolde
  3. Do some significant overhauls to the the Tank class for my GUI
The wheatopia probably won't live in a secondary for long - just long enough for some of the yeast to settle out, followed by kegging and carbonation, and will quickly be ushered on-tap. If necessary I plant to counter pressure fill the hell out of my remaining Dubbel, for competition submission and for enjoyment / dispersement. That stuff rocked... many people who have tried it have claimed it is their "new favorite".

My programming for the GUI is definitely progressing. Every lunch hour I seem to come up with ideas or think through problems that will ultimately benefit the application and components. Today I figured out how to simplify my Tank class greatly, did some quick test programs, and then brought them home for integration.

Tristan & Isolde was an OK movie, however I have to admit that I didn't find it nearly as "epic" as my favorites (Braveheart / LOTR) nor very romantic... something about infidelity rubs me the wrong way regardless of the "context" or the backstory. Be honest and open, do your friggin' duty and do it with honor... What's so hard about that? Yeah it sucks sometimes, but come on - walk away from something if it isn't right. < /rant >

Lots of stuff going on this weekend:The latter is actually my main source of concern this weekend, aside from brewing a batch of beer. I submitted two beers, "My Wife's Nutty Brown Ale" and "Queen's Darkness Strong Stout". I am extremely nervous how they will do and place in the competition, and I will probably be on pins & needles until I know. Not sure I can take the blow if one or the other gets totally panned, but at the same time I am not sure I really give a flip either - I brew for the enjoyment of friends & family, and they are ultimately the judges whos opinions really matter to me. We'll have to see what happens.