Thursday, May 14, 2015

Artistically Speaking: Home Brewing

Reporter Beau Waldrop, of Panhandle PBS "Live Here" joins us for a brewday, helps Stephen make a German Altbier and learns about the Craft of Home Brewing.

Artistically Speaking: Coffee Roasting

Go beyond the beans with Evocation Coffee Roasters. Way beyond fair trade, miles above excellent!

Friday, December 12, 2014

How Do I Know If My Beer Is Infected?

One of the most common questions we get at the shop is "How do I know if my beer is infected?"

Large viscous clear bubbles or large bubbles under a grey "baby powder like" film are a sure sign you may have an undesired bacteria or yeast inyour beer. Healthy beer should have no grey "skin" or film on top, and generally only small, compact bubbles or small "rafts" of small bubbles with some protein or hop matter on the surface.

Here are our two different brown ale batches from the same brew day: The darker beer is a sour brown ale, a beer intentionally inoculated with multiple "wild yeast" and bacteria strains. the lighter, brown creamy looking beer is a standard, healthy fermentation on the same wort with "regular yeast" only. both are the same age, and same base beer, just different yeasts, and in this case bacteria.

The sour brown ale will continue to form a large "pellicule" on the surface, which will become thicker and more prominent with time. Eventually, the pellicule may break apart and fall to the bottom.

A pellicule may form rapidly, or may take weeks or even months to show. not all infections will show such obvious signs. many infections go un-noticed until tasting or bottling. infected bottles may become over carbonated, or even explode! infected beer may have a number of odd flavors such as: tin, metallic, barn yard, green apples, sour cherries, wet leather, pineapple and horse sweat. There are many other flavors that may occur, as this is not an all-inclusive list.

Most brewers view wild yeast (such as brettanomyces) or ANY bacteria growth in their beer to be negative and unwanted. There are, however, many beers which are prized for their flavor profile which is driven by fermentation by organisims other than Sacchromyces yeast. Proper sanitation is the ONLY way to prevent an unwanted infection by competing organisms. ANYTHING that touches your un-fermented wort after the boil may carry unwanted "life" unless properly sanitized. Sanitation is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of quality craft brewing!

Hope this answers some burning questions!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

I know I haven't posted to my blog in a while, but here is something new! This video covers a very basic extract brew with steeping grains. If you are new to brewing this is a good way to start. I'll post a new video as often as I can to cover every step of the brewing process, as well and steps to partial mashes, all-grains, and so on. So watch out for our new videos so you can learn how to brew a five gallon batch of beer (or wine, mead, soda, and so on).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Health Benefits of Hops (Humulus Lupulus)

We all like the taste of beer. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog right now. But you might be surprised that beer has a lot more to offer than just flavor; A glass or two of beer every night might actually be good for you. More specifically, one of the key ingredients of beer provides an abundance of benefits. The hops that are used in your brew for flavor, aroma, and bittering are also high in vitamin B, antioxidants, and flavonoids. These superpowers provide cancer fighting benefits, cardiovascular support, as well as sedative effects, and even more beneficial “side effects”.
The most common health benefit that I have found of humulus lupulus (the Latin fancy-pants name for hops) is its cancer-fighting properties. Female hops contain xanthohumol, These prenylflavonoids may provide cancer preventing molecules. They also inhibit estrogen formation and regulate aromatase activity, which can prevent breast cancer.  (Stevens, Page) (Monteiro, Becker, Azevedo, & Calhau, 2006, p 2938-2943).
Hops also appear to be heart-healthy. According to Denke (2000, p320 to 326) moderate consumption of alcohol may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Wine and beer both have nutritional value, but beer contains more protein, vitamin B, and different antioxidants than wine does. Kondo agrees that beer is healthy for your heart, stating the “light-to-moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages [cause] significant reductions in all-cause and particularly cardiovascular mortality.” So drink up for your heart health, but not too much (for your liver’s health).
Have you ever wondered why a glass or two of beer makes you sleepy? Hops can be blamed for that as well, in addition to the alcohol, of course. Hops increase the activity of aminobutyric, a neurotransmitter, which in turn inhibits the central nervous system. To demonstrate this, quail, which have similar sleep rhythms to humans, were given hop extract capsules. Two groups of quail were given a minimal dosage (1 and 2 mgs), one was given a dose of 11 mg, a control group was given capsules with methylcellulose excipient, and another group was not given anything. The two mg group had less nocturnal activity than the one, eleven, and zero hop capsule groups. So a moderate amount of hops before bed will reduce nighttime activity, however, non-alcoholic beer is recommended (many of you just thought “screw that”) (Franco, Sanchez, Bravo, Rodriguez, Barriga, and Juanez, 2012, p 133-139).
Most researchers support that hops are healthy, and a limited amount of beer will provide the benefits hops provide. Like any alcohol, though, it is best enjoyed in moderation. Hops may be healthy, but too much alcohol can still have a negative effect on your organs. 

Denke, Margo A. "Nutritional and Health Benefits of Beer." The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 320.5 (2000): 320-26. Print.
Stevens, Jan F., and Jonathan E. Page. "Xanthohumol and Related Prenylflavonoids from Hops and Beer: To Your Good Health!" N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.
Monteiro, Rosario, Hans Becker, Isabel Azevedo, and Conceicau Calhau. "CAT.INIST."CAT.INIST. N.p., 22 Mar. 2006. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.
Kondo, Keiji. "Beer and Health: Preventive Effects of Beer Components on Lifestyle-related Diseases." BioFactors 22.1-4 (2004): 303-10. Print.
Franco, L., C. Sanchez, R. Bravo, A. Rodriquez, C. Barriga, and JC Juanez. "The Sedative Effects of Hops (humulus Lupulus), a Component of Beer, on the Activity/rest Rhythm." Acta Physiol Hung 99.2 (2012): 133-39. Print.