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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Amunichan Pale Ale

Recently I stumbled upon a recipe for American Pale Ale that uses munich 10L. I was curious what would happen if I used munich 10L exclusively for a base grain, and created this recipe using the  BeerSmith program. Unfortunately all of our fermentors are in use at the moment, so it will be a little while before we can test it out. If anyone else has the guts to try it, let me know how it turns out. Also, let me know your thoughts on the recipe. I call it Amunichan Pale Ale.

Amunichan Pale Ale

Type: All Grain
Date: 03/27/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.67 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Equipment: Pot ( 4 Gal/15.1 L)
End of Boil Volume 3.38 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal
Est Mash Efficiency 79.9 %
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage


9 lbs Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)
8.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
8.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM)
1.00 oz Green Bullet [13.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min
1.00 tsp lemongrass (Boil 15.0 mins)
0.25 oz Pacific Jade [13.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min
1.0 pkg American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 ml]

Original gravity: 1.053
Final gravity: 1.010
ABV: 5.4%

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stephen's Milk Mead (spin on Koumiss) recipe

Koumiss is a fermented dairy beverage made in central Asia. Its origins go back thousands of years. Normally a low alcohol drink, I have found and modified a recipe to boost the alcohol content while adding a twist to tradition. Normally made with mare's milk, we are instead using what is commercially available.

As we all know, cow's milk is largly unfermentable, therefore we start there.
You have two basic options:
1. Convert the lactose in organic milk to galactose & glucose

2. Use lacose free milk that has already been converted

For now we will be using the lactose free skim milk option. If anyone takes interest in this thread we will discuss the other in detail later. Skim milk is used for two reasons: it is closer to mare's milk in makeup and consistancy and it will reduce the ammount of fats and oils, thus reducing the size of the curd.

1 Gallon Recipe

What you will need:

2 quarts lactose free skim milk

1 Lb honey

2 Qts water

1 pkt champagne or dry mead yeast

1 pinch Yeast nutrient

Make a starter culture from your chosen yeast 24 hours in advance. You really only need 1/2 of what your dry yeast packet will produce, so I recommend brewing a small batch of grape or fruit wine the same day, so as to maximize the useage of your yeast.

Set the milk out, covered with foil or a paper towel and rubber band. Allow to come up to room temperature. This takes about 4 hours, so plan ahead.

So, we have available sugar alread in the lactose free milk. If we just fermented the milk by itself, we would end up with a very thin, fizzy yogurt-like drink with 2% alcohol or less. By adding the honey, we can boost our final alcohol percentage to five to seven percent ABV.

Boil 2 Qts water then pour off 1 Qt into a sterilized vessel and cool for use later to top off the primary fermentation vessel.

Dissolve 1 lb honey in the remaining quart of boiled water. (FYI, if you would like higher alcohol content, two lbs of honey can get near ten percent ABV.) If using unpasturized honey, boiling will kill any wild bugs you may have. However, don't worry if a few slip past, as this particular drink is quite forgiving and could possibly even benefit from many of them. Remove from heat and immersion chill down to 80 degrees F.

Pour your room temperature milk into the chilled container you boiled your honey and water in. Aerate the mixture vigorously for 60 seconds.

Pour your aerated must into the primary fermenter, pour in half of your 24 hour starter, then fill to the gallon mark with the boiled and chilled water that you set aside prior to making the honey must.

Due to the nature of our product it can handle some oddly high temperatures, as the galactose and remaining lactose prevents the formation of fusel alcohols.

7 day primary fermentation at 70-80 degrees F

Cap with foil for first 24 hours before fitting with an airlock and stopper. The forming of the curd (which is the first stage of fermentation) could plug up an airlock if it rises up on day one.

Agitate the vessel on day one and two.

Days 3-7 you will see the formation of the curd on top, your standard yeast sediment on the bottom, and a layer of golden "Milkmead" in the middle.

On the final day, carefully insert your racking device through the curd and siphon off the mead into a secondary vessel, leaving behind the curd cap and yeast sediment.

You can chill and eat the curd if you like. It is quite sweet and, as a bonus, is still loaded with alcohol!

Let set in secondary 5-7 more days, or until hydrometer readings are stable.

Despite what you started out with, you will now have a completely clear liquid!

You can bottle and degass as a normal mead, or you can carbonate it by adding 3 tablespoons of honey.

The end product is a semi-sweet to sweet mead that is quite different and very enjoyable. It will have the floral character and alcohol content of your standard mead, an extremely smooth sweetness from the unconverted lactose in the milk, and a distant nut character or whisp of fine cheese.

Serve it cold or warm, but be advised, it does need to be consumed within two years (I reccomend 6-18 months) and should likely be refrigerated after opening.

--recipe and information adapted from Lars D. H. Hedbor--

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why Does My Beer Taste Like @$$??

  My fiancĂ©, Stephen, introduced me to brewing a short while after we met. Before him, I never would have noticed how many different tastes a beer could have, good and bad. Our first batch of beer we brewed together had a really heavy metallic flavor (not including the explosive Mr. Beer incident, which is another story). It was much like sucking on a penny. I don't know, maybe there's someone out there who would love to drink liquid copper, but personally I like my beer to taste like the lightly hopped stout I tried to brew in the first place. Our metallic beer had us pouring over literature, the Internet, and brewing forums searching for the cause of this mystery taste. In the process, we learned about many other off-flavors, including green apple, astringent, nail polish, rotten egg, skunky and metallic. 
Green apple flavor sounds the most palatable of the five, but I've never had the opportunity to have green apple flavored beer. According to Parker in the article "Understanding Yeast Off-Flavors", a green apple taste results from too much of the compound acetaldehyde. Normally the yeast consumes acetaldehyde. However, if there is a problem with the quality of the yeast or if too much sugar is added to the wort, it might not do its job completely, leaving a cider taste to the finished product. An apple taste can also mean the beer is too young and the yeast has not had time to metabolize the acetaldehyde. (Zymergy, Nov/Dec 2012)(Palmer, 2006). 
Astringent taste brings to mind nail polish to me, but apparently there is a difference in astringent tastes and nail polish tastes. Astringent is described by Palmer as being like “sucking on a tea bag. It is dry, kind of powdery”. Extra tannins are the most likely culprits for causing astringent tastes. Excess tannins can be a result of: over-steeping grains, having a mash pH of more than 6, alkaline water (in cases with hoppy pale beers), using too-hot water, or over-sparging the mash (Palmer, 255-256).
Nail polish smell or taste is probably caused by ethyl acetate. Although ethyl acetate is a member of the sometimes-desired ester family, it is unpleasant in high quantities. Ethyl acetate can be a result of: excess wild yeasts, high temperature during fermentation, under-pitching, and unnecessary oxygenation (Parker, 26).
There is really nothing like popping open a cold beer (or warm, if you are like Stephen) and taking a deep, long whiff of rotten eggs. Really, it sounds awful. Luckily, I’ve never had the pleasure. If you are brewing a lager, don’t worry. Just let it sit for a couple of weeks and try it again. Many lager yeasts actually produce hydrogen sulfide, which is the culprit for the rotten egg smell, during fermentation. It should go away in time. If you are not brewing a lager, then you may have a bacterial infection (Palmer, 252). Go to the doctor and get a prescription…ba dum ching! But seriously, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!
Recently I had a craving for Newcastle. I bought a 6 pack, brought it home, popped it open, took a drink, and it was suddenly as if I’d been sprayed by a skunk. The suspect? Newcastle’s clear bottles. Brown bottles protect the contents from UV rays, but green and clear bottles leave the beer open to lighting. Sunlight and fluorescent lights cause a photochemical reaction in the hops, resulting in a skunky smell and taste (259). A little bit of skunky taste in a light beer is fine to me, especially a Mexican beer. It’s probably even intended to taste slightly skunky. But if your beer smells like road kill, you might think about switching to brown bottles or storing your clear ones in a dark place.
Finally, for our main problem: Metallic tastes. It turns out that there are many different causes of this problem. It could be because of the metal from the pot you were mashing in leaching into the mash. It could be from malts that weren’t stored correctly. It could be from high iron content in the water (258). I have also heard that it can be caused by high chlorine content, which would make sense considering we’d been cleaning all of our supplies with bleach.
Whatever the cause of our metallic flavors, it has persisted to a small degree. We’ve bought filtered water, stopped cleaning with bleach and switched solely to StarSan, and our malts our always stored in a safe place. We have not had any of the other tastes I’ve mentioned as of yet, although Stephen says our new Irish red has a very slight cidery taste. Hopefully our research will prevent any unpleasant surprises in the future.

Palmer, John J. How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time. Boulder, CO: Brewers Publications, 2006. Print.
Parker, Neva. Understanding Yeast Off Flavors. Boulder, CO: Zymurgy, Nov/Dec 2012. Pgs 25-27. Print.

Thank you for visiting our blog page. Be sure to come by the store!
2300 Bell Street Suite 16
Amarillo Texas


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coming Soon: Amarillo's Only One-Stop Brewing Supply Store!

We carry everything you need to brew your own beer, whether you're brewing all-grain mash, extract, or partial mash. 

We carry:
  • White Labs liquid yeast 
  • dry yeast
  • extract
  • all the hops you demand
  • the malts you need
  • a wide array of cleansers and sanitizers
  • clarifying agents
  • water treatment and brew chemicals
  • specialty grains to make your beer stand out above the rest. 

Whether you're brewing on a budget or semi-pro, we cater to you.We have fermentors, kits and ingredients to start out the beginners or for seasoned brewers to build their master home brew system. 

We also carry a wide assortment of wine supplies and wine kits. Special orders are always welcome.

Unsure how to get started? Just ask! And for the true beer nerds, we have literature to feed your brain and build your skills. 

We are passionate about what we do because we brew just like you. 

Come in and find out about our daily, weekly, and monthly specials.

During our grand opening, come in and sign up to win some of our merchandise. 

We will be located at 2300 Bell street, suite 16. Please check back for the date of our grand opening.