Sulfur and Rotten Egg Aromas in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Alcoholic drinksSulfur or Rotten Egg-Aromas in Beer

A sulfur or rotten-egg aroma is common for fermenting beer with many yeast strains, particularly lagers. The most significant source of rotten egg smells is hydrogen sulfide gas which is often produced during active fermentation as a byproduct of the yeast processing sulfur. Sulfur itself comes from several sources including kilned malts, as some sulfur is produced when the malts are kilned or roasted. Hops also often contains some sulfur compounds and aromatics, and certain water profiles are high in sulfur. Yeast itself may also contain some sulfur, and certain yeast strains such as many lagers produce higher levels of sulfur gas during fermentation.

Unfortunately humans are extremely sensitive to sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide gas. Because sulfur compounds plan an active role in many decay processes like stagnant water and rotting foods, humans have developed a very high sensitivity to them. Some sulfur based compounds can be detected at a parts per trillion threshold.

The two most common sulfur compounds found in beer are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur dioxide has the aroma of a early burning match or gunpowder, while hydrogen sulfide has the strong rotten egg or volcanic gas aroma to it. Fortunately these gases are also very volatile so they will evaporate out of the beer in a fairly short time period. It is very common to smell both of these during active fermentation and as I mentioned they are more frequently associated with certain yeast strains including many lagers.

Mitigating Sulfur Aromas

To reduce the sulfur aroma in your finished you first want to consider your yeast strain as certain strains are far more prone to sulfur production than others. Selecting the right strain, particularly for lagers, is important. Also avoid high sulfur content in your brewing water.

If you detect sulfur gas in your finished beer, the best thing to do is give it more time. Lagers, in particular, often require extended aging periods and the sulfur aromas and flavors will fade with time. It is important to age your beer in a fermenter, if possible, to allow the gas to dissipate, as prematurely bottling or kegging a sulfuric beer will often just trap the sulfur gas in the bottle or keg.

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Welke koers vaart farmacutische industrie 1

Welke koers vaart de farmaceutische industrie voor een betere samenwerking en positieve herwaardering?

De reputatie van de farmaceutische industrie (FI), vergelijkbaar met andere branches als olie en tabak, is er in de afgelopen 10 jaar niet echt beter op geworden. Daarentegen is de waardering en aandacht voor artsen en onderzoekers, die oplossingen bedenken voor chronische aandoeningen en de daarbij horende hogere gezonde levensverwachting, alleen maar positief gestegen.

Het vertrouwen van de gemeenschap in de FI is nog steeds niet echt gunstig te noemen. Historisch valt dit te herleiden tot de dominantie van het financiële businessmodel binnen de FI, een zeer sterk verkoop en marketing gedreven machine. Artsen werden gepusht en gepamperd om specifieke medicatie voor te schrijven aan patiënten. Er zijn genoeg schandalen geweest in het verleden die het negatieve imago hebben onderstreept. Het nalaten van voldoende medisch onderzoek of het niet volledig publiceren van drug-safety data schaadt uiteindelijk altijd en wordt als eerste gemeld door de Global Community. Het onttrekken aan de markt van speciale geneesmiddelen door de FI als de hoge(re) prijs niet wordt vergoed door overheid of zorgverzekeraars is ook al niet uit te leggen aan patiënten. Als uiteindelijk promotie van geneesmiddelen ook op onethische wijze gebeurt dan is echt de maat vol.

De FI is een commerciële bedrijfssector waarin door het management opdracht wordt gegeven om flinke winsten te behalen door geneesmiddelen zo breed en lang mogelijk te laten voorschrijven, er hoge bedragen worden betaald door overheid of ziekenhuizen en toegang van andere competitieve middelen zo lang mogelijk kan worden tegengehouden.

Deze strategie is ingebakken in de gedragsstructuur van FI werknemers, al zal de medische afdeling daar vaak anders over denken, want het hoger management geeft alle toestemming en ondersteuning om dit winstgevende model te optimaliseren. Geld en macht zijn nog steeds effectieve componenten die zorgen dat eventuele in-/externe weerstand als sneeuw voor de zon verdwijnt.

Wat is er dan verandert in de afgelopen 5 jaar door een strengere regelgeving van de beroepsgroep en overheid; allereerst is de centrale rol van de arts als beslisser, voorschrijver en adviseur afgelopen of veel minder geworden. Transparantie over een samenwerking of onderzoek met de FI is met een meldplicht door artsen een verplichting geworden.  Voor de FI blijft de deur van de arts steeds vaker gesloten vanwege het ontbreken van een significante meerwaarde die de FI nog niet kan of wil bieden.

Samenwerking tussen partners en de FI moet dus anders worden om een hogere waardering te verkrijgen in vertrouwen en innovatieve opbrengst.

  • De positie van de patiënt wordt centraal gesteld, de patiënten of de patiëntenvereniging zijn meer betrokken bij onderzoek en toegang krijgen tot de juiste behandeling.
  • Het geven van juiste en tijdige voorlichting over ontwikkeling van geneesmiddelen en services door de FI kan meer vertrouwen geven en participatie binnen het onderzoek door partners om het totale behandelresultaat te verbeteren.
  • Verplichting tot uitvoering van sociale activiteiten door de FI die impact hebben op de lokale of wereldgemeenschap zonder enige financiële winst.
  • Verplichting tot uitvoeren van onderzoek en hier regelmatig openbaar melding van doen bij de beroepsgroep en overheid ongeacht de uitkomst. (Bekijk bv. ClinicalTrials.gov).
  • Een betere presentatie naar de gemeenschap, men heeft nog steeds de indruk dat onderzoek en ontwikkeling van geneesmiddelen vnl. plaats vindt binnen ziekenhuizen en laboratoria. Er is veel geld nodig voor ontwikkeling van nieuwe en goede geneesmiddelen, dat moet ook verdiend worden. Vertel dit verhaal dan ook.
  • Samenwerking initiëren tussen alle belanghebbende groepen om vertrouwen en kennis breder te delen.
  • Minimaliseer de extreme uitgaven van marketing en investeer educatief budget in overleg met de beroepsgroep

Een tanker op koers is moeilijk bij te sturen maar toch zal de FI een begin moeten maken met transparantie in samenwerking en openheid geven van eigen activiteiten.

 

Uiltje Brewing Company

Uiltje Brewing Company

Als je het over een snelle evolutie hebt binnen een aantal jaren dan is dat van toepassing op de bieren van Robert Uyleman van brouwerij Het Uiltje. Eerst begonnen onder de vleugels van brouwerij Jopen heeft het Uiltje nu een eigen brouwerij in de Waarderpolder te Haarlem. Het brouw team is sterk gegroeid en er wordt stevig geexporteerd. Elk jaar zijn er weer nieuwe innovatiev bieren op de markt met grappige etiketten waarvan de barrel aged bieren wel heel populair zijn. Het uiltje heeft een eigen biercafe op de Zijlweg en een proeflokaal naast de brouwerij (niet altijd open)

Wat is goed

Goede kwaliteit aan bieren met innovatieve stijlvorm en presentatie. Er is een vast aantal bieren met seasonal uitbreiding en limited editions. Goede marketing  van bieren

Wat kan beter

Brouwerij is in ontwikkeling vanaf start eind 2016 en heeft een beperkte ruimte aan opslag waardoor een goede rondleiding niet mogelijk is maar hebben wel een proeflokaal. Door gewildheid is de prijs van de bieren  aan de hoge kant maar dit komt ook door de limited editions

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De Naeckte Brouwers

De Naeckte Brouwers

Na ruim 12 jaar thuis op kleine schaal ambachtelijk te hebben gebrouwen en 2 jaar als gastbrouwer bij verschillende brouwerijen te hebben gebrouwen, is er een eigen brouwerij vanaf november 2013 in Amstelveen. Het is op afspraak mogelijk om de brouwerij te bezoeken met aansluitend een proeverij. Als je hierin geïnteresseerd bent, dan kun je op de website alle informatie hierover vinden.

Het logo is gemaakt met een knipoog naar het wapen van Amstelveen, vier kruizen. De kruizen werden in Nederland ook als aanduiding gebruikt voor het type bier en ingekerfd in de houten vaten. Op de etiketten geven de kruizen ook de sterkte in alcohol of complexiteit van het desbetreffende bier aan.

Wat is goed

Ervaren brouwers die geschoold zijn in Belgie, die meerdere stijlen brouwen in eigen brouwerij. Daarbij maken ze gebruik van van kruiden en verschillende hopsoorten. Huurbrouwers kunnen gebruik maken van apparatuur 

Wat kan beter
Alle bieren zijn boven de 6% er is geen licht tafelbier verkrijgbaar.  Geen proeflokaal en rondleidingen, wel is a er op afspraak bezoek mogelijk.
Door kleine productie alleen in randstad verkrijgbaar.

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Hazy_Pale.jpg

Rethinking Bitterness In Dry-Hopped (Hazy) Beers

Dry hopping does weirder things to beer than we thought. While conventional logic—and all existing software models for calculating theoretical IBUs in beer—say that IBUs can only be generated on the hot side of brewing (since alpha acids can only be isomerized by heat), brewers have long suspected that dry hopping can, indeed, make an impact on the perception of bitterness.

Last year, Stan Hieronymus wrote in the August-September 2017 issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® about evolving research into IBUs and the strange way that extreme dry-hopping regimens can actually reduce iso-alpha acids in beers, ostensibly by causing more of those acids to precipitate out with the dry hops material.

In 2017, Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing presented at the Craft Brewers Conference on a study they conducted with Oregon State University to test the impact of dry hopping on beer attenuation and found that by adding dry hops to a fully attenuated beer (their sample was Coors Banquet), they could cause significant additional attenuation in the beer. Over 40 days, those dry hops were able to drop the finished Coors Banquet from about 1.014 SG to 1.007, taking the beer from 4.9 percentABV to 6.2 percent by creating enzymatic activity that broke down nonfermentable dextrins in the beer.

Applying that same question to dry hopping in hazy New England–style IPAs, New Belgium’s Ross Koenigs recently presented (at the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines festival in Breckenridge) the findings of a study he did with a test batch that used no kettle hops and four different levels of dry hopping. While he’s continuing to refine his results with further testing, the preliminary findings could be very useful for brewers whose perceptions of the beer they brew don’t always match the calculations produced by their brewing software.

One » Dry hopping definitely adds more actual IBUs than previously calculated. “We took an un-kettle-hopped base beer and split it out into four fermentations,” says Koenigs. “We did an entirely non-hopped control and did three different dry-hops iterations. We did 500 g/hl, 1 kg/hl, and 1.5 kg/hl.”

The IBUs, measured with New Belgium’s in-house spectrophotometer, were fascinating. The control batch tested for the expected marginal IBU level (2.3 IBU), but despite the complete lack of kettle hops, IBUs then increased dramatically and scaled consistently, with the 500 g/hl dry-hop batch testing at 44.9 IBU, the 1 kg/hl batch testing at 58.5 IBU, and so on.

Two » Higher dry hopping raises the pH of beer. The control batch in Koenigs’s test registered 4.46 pH, while the 1.5 kg/hl batch registered a 5.05. The pH moved on a relatively linear scale, increasing with the amount of dry hops.

“There’s definitely a pH rise as you increase hops material,” says Koenigs. “The cool part about that, too, is that as you alter your pH, it also alters your perception of bitterness. As you decrease pH, to a point, you’ll get a decreased perception of bitterness, and it’ll just feel more juicy until you get really low.”

While unrelated to New England–style IPAs, this is one reason more acidic dry-hopped beers, such as dry-hopped mixed-culture farmhouse ales or wild ales, present hops in such a fruit-forward juicy manner at those lower pH levels.

Three » Greater dry-hopping levels do increase attenuation of the beer. “ABV from the control batch to the highest is almost a full percentage point ABV off,” says Koenigs. “Hops material does have glycosidic enzymes—a combination of amyloglucosidase, beta-amylase, a little alpha-amylase—very, very small. If you look at it in terms of diastatic power, a base malt will be 150 DP, and this is a 0.2 DP, but it’s enough. Especially as you start going up in concentration of hops material, it will actually start to attenuate.”

For brewers, this is one of the larger take-aways. If your goal is bigger mouthfeel from a higher finishing gravity, heavy dry hopping will knock that down, so consider that when making decisions about elements such as mash temperature or dry-hops timing.

“The New England style is generally highly underattenuated,” says Koenigs. “When we ran lab tests of [fellow Colorado brewers and seminar participants] Outer Range Brewing and Cerebral Brewing, they had finishing gravities around 5.5 Plato (1.021 SG). The lowest we tested was Weldwerks Juicy Bits, around 3.8 Plato (1.015 SG). So brewers are gearing it toward full mouthfeel perception.”

Four » IBU is, still, an insufficient way to describe perceived bitterness in dry-hopped beers. Echoing the findings of others, Koenigs found that the trained sensory panel at New Belgium Brewing pegged the blind samples at much lower levels of bitterness than their measured IBUs would suggest. As we drank a sample of the 1.5 kg/hl beer together in the taproom one afternoon, Koenigs said, “The beer you’re tasting right there, analytically, that’s a 62 IBU beer. But it doesn’t taste like it. Not even close. With our sensory panel, we do hedonic scaling—one to ten in bitterness perception. This beer ranked about a three. So what we’re seeing analytically about what we should have isn’t backed up by sensory.”

Part of this, Koenigs suggests, is an indictment of how the measurement is done. A spectrophotometer aggregates the bittering compounds and applies a number to them, but it cannot account for other sensory inputs that brewers use to manipulate the perception of those compounds. A big step will be developing useful correction factors that software calculators can use to account for the impacts of dry hopping, but that’s still a ways off.

As with most research in brewing science, more work remains to be done to tease out the full impact of modern techniques and new hops varieties on dry-hopped beer, but if you found your beer dropped in gravity after dry hopping or that the bitterness didn’t correlate at all with the calculation of your software, there’s a good reason for that.

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2.3% ABV Session NEIPA


I received an email a couple month ago from a homebrewer looking for advice on a 1% ABV New England IPA. It got me thinking about how light I could push a beer that still scratched my hop-itch. All else equal, I prefer beers with less alcohol so I can drink more, especially when it is hot out. I’ve brewed a few low-alcohol hoppy beers over the years (Wheat-based at 2.1% and Vienna-based at 3.6%), but it seemed worth revisiting. Rather than make a 1% near-beer, I decided 2% ABV was a more plausible goal!

While dextrins aren’t a major mouthfeel driver (study, Brulosophy, Karnowski), lower attenuation allows more malt to be added for the same volume of wort. Below 3% ABV is where the simple lack of malt begins to really show, especially in a style like this that isn’t buttressed by specialty malts. Think of it as the opposite of a big DIPA where you might substitute sugar for base malt to prevent the beer from becoming too malty. To make an absurdly-unfermentable wort I opted for equal parts Maris Otter (for more malt flavor pound-for-pound than my usual Rahr Brewer’s 2-row) and dextrin malt (Weyermann Carafoam).

Dextrin malts vary substantially depending on the maltster. The two most common are from Briess and Weyermann:

Briess Carapils is a true glassy caramel/crystal malt, albeit one that isn’t roasted enough to develop the color or flavor associated with darker caramel malts. The problem is that the dextrins created during the stewing process are converted to fermentable sugars if mashed with enzymatic base malt (light crystal/caramel malts don’t substantially affect attenuation, further discussion). Although if they were steeped alone, that would be another story.

Weyermann Carafoam (Carapils outside the US) is akin to chit malt, high in protein and under-modified. It is mealy/starchy so it too is converted into fermentable sugars when mashed, but would be unsuitable for steeping. Weyermann suggests it can be used as up to 40% of the grist. I hoped the protein contribution would make up for the well-modified English base malt while preventing the beer from tasting too biscuity.

Omega British VI performed a brew-in-a-bag mash given the small quantity of grain. I mashed in at 165F to quickly denature the beta amylase responsible for creating most of the highly-fermentable maltose. Efficiency was a bit better than expected and it reached 1.030 instead of 1.028.

One of the takeaways from my recently submitted September BYO Advanced Brewing article (subscribe) comparing the mineral content of water to the beer brewed with it was that many of the flavor ions increase substantially. Much of that is from the grain, and using less grain suggests increasing the mineral additions. As a result, I increased my chloride target to boost mouthfeel.

I had some El Dorado in the freezer, and decided this was a good first batch to brew with them. I decided to pair with an equal amount of Simcoe to cut through the fruitier notes that El Dorado brings – often described as watermelon or strawberry. I used the new 400 micron hop filter I bought on a whim to hold the single flame-out addition, recirculating the wort through them.

For yeast I decided to try out Omega British V, which they compare to Wyeast 1318. I was hoping the grain and hot mash would result in ~50% apparent attenuation rather than the standard 71-75%. Despite all of my efforts the yeast still achieved a surprising 60% attenuation!

Session-Strength Session NEIPA

Smell – It smells like beer and not wort or hop tea! The hops provide an interesting mix of fruit (the power of suggestion says watermelon) and resin. Not much citrus or juice. Hop aroma would have been boosted by a keg hop. Not much else going on, but it doesn’t raise any flags given the style is all about hops.

Drinking Session IPA before mowing.
Appearance – Passes the eye test as well. Not too pale thanks to the Maris Otter. Appropriate haze. Head looks about right too, solid, white, with good-but-not-great retention.

Taste – The malt flavor is almost there, and then it isn’t, falling flat and fading too quickly. Doesn’t come off as excessively bready English-malty though. The bitterness was harsh when I tapped the keg, mostly because I was drinking it nine days after brewing! A week later, now that the hop matter has dropped out of suspension, it has mellowed to just a little sharp. No hint of alcohol…

Mouthfeel – Despite the chloride, Carafoam, and low attenuation the body isn’t fooling anyone. The mid-palate is more Bud Light than Julius, seltzery rather than pillowy. I remember the wheat-based batch having better body despite the same 1.030 original gravity.

Drinkability & Notes – Crisp, crushable, hoppy barley water. I like it, but it’ll need some tweaks to dupe anyone into thinking it is above 4%, let alone 6%!

Changes for Next Time – A small addition of honey malt would help the malt flavor and add sweetness to balance the hops. I’d probably swap half of the Carafoam for oats as well to bring the body up. Might chill to 200F before adding the hop-stand addition to reduce the bitterness.

Recipe

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 3.2
IBU: 48.6
OG: 1.030
FG: 1.012
ABV: 2.3%
Final pH: 4.89
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 30 Mins

Malt

50.0% – 3.5 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
50.0% – 3.5 lbs Crisp Floor-Malted Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter

Mash

Sacch Rest – 45 min @ 165F

Hops

2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3

Other

9.00 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
4.50 g Gypsum @ mash
1.00 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid @ mash
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 5 min
0.50 tsp Wyeast Nutrient @ 5 min

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate*
135
160
100
10
5
45

*Do not increase if your water is lower in carbonate.

Yeast
——-
Omega OYL-011 British Ale V

Notes
——-
Brewed 5/19/17

BIAB with all of the salts and the acid, 3 gal each distilled, and DC tap. 5 gallons of 1.035 after removing the bag. Diluted with 1 gal each distilled and DC tap. That knocked the temperature down to 140F, but the enzymes should have been mostly denatured.

Brought to a boil for 30 minutes. Turned off the heat and added the hops for a 30 min stand with the wort recirculating through the hop filter.

Chilled to 70F, added first dose of dry hops to fermentor during run-off, pitched the yeast directly from the package, left at 64F to ferment.

5/22/17 Added second dose of dry hops.

5/29/17 Kegged, no keg hops at this point.

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NYSE

Financial district & Memorial site

Financial District

This is a complex neighbourhood to walk through. So many conflicting items are pressed on two square miles; history and modern times – victory and loss. Remember Wallstreet crash and the attacks on the twin tower. You will see it all in a walking tour of 3 hours and the extra visit to the memorial center. There is an opportunity to organise a walking tour by agency like https://wallstreetwalks.com/. You will get a headset and your guide wil tell you all the details of this neighbourhood in 2 hours time. Highly recommendable if you visit for the first time. 

Let’s start at Wall street where NYSE is dominating the street.

What you will see is that all major buildings are owned by banks and investment companies. This is the place where the big money is floating around controlled by computers and backroom deals, Indeed the view of stockbrokers dealing with stocks and bonds is becoming  a rarity in Wall street region. Any visit to the NYSE is prohibited and only possible on special request. Look around this street and you will notice a history of old money lost by many investors, who jumped off the buildings during the Wall Street Crash, and picked up by the new wizz kids on the block.

Next stop is Trinity church, A dwarf surrounded by sky scrapers. One of the oldest churches (1700) and still used for religious events. Take time to sit inside looking at the interior and the entrance doors and do a walk around  the graveyard looking at the thombstones of famous citizens of New York.  If you go to direction North you will go to Ground Zero. Here the new One World Trade Center has been “rebuild”. Walk around the memorial site to get a good impression of the set-up and imagine what has happened here during the tragedy. 

The options are to visit the memorial site and museum (will take two hours minimum) or to get up rapidly fast and visit the One World Observatory. My recomendation for the observatory is to get up late before sunset to enjoy the view between day and night and seeing the lights of the skyline.

Tip: Memorial site is to visit for free with vouchers ordered online. Beware that you will await a long queue due to a lot af visitors and security measures.

Other places to browse are Century 21 special place for discounted cloths, shoes from premium brands and winter garden area opposite of Ground Zero to have a lunch or snack.

Walking back south by the Zucotti park and Broadway we will meet Charging Bull. The Bull is a positive statement for a rising stock market. Feel free to rub any place of the Bull if you think it will bring luck to you and your family. It is fun to watch tourists taking pictures from the front and from the back.

Walk to Beaver street for a quick lunch. Enough cheap choices, however if you have enough time and money: go to Delmonico’s. One of the classics with a great steak menu

We are entering the oldest Dutch streets of Manhattan, Pearl and Stone street, Dutch immigrants lived here around 1624 and builded a wall (Wall street) for protection. Look at the pavement and the buildings. Originally named as Brewer street and around 1900 renovated as historical center you can sit outside at long tables and drink beer. You can also drink a lot of different beers at Fraunces Tavern. The oldest house of New York and used as restaurant/taproom/whiskybar and museum dedicated to the first president Washington. All that historical stuff will give a need for a good beer so enjoy one of the list of 150. Cheers

Digital Thermometer Options for Beer Brewing

 

Types of Brewing Thermometers

Most brewers are familiar with the ubiquitous floating glass thermometer which comes with the vast majority of homebrew starter kits. These glass thermometers typically have a temperature range of 0-100 C (32-212 F) and can simply be dropped in the pot or mash tun and left to float. They are fairly reliable though some have questionable accuracy in some cases (usually within a few degrees) and also they are quite fragile. I’ve broken a bunch of these.

The next most common thermometer in brewing is the common kettle thermometer (brumometer, brew thermometer) which typically has a dial face that is adjustable so you can calibrate it. These are inserted in a hole drilled in the kettle, and if calibrated properly before use are typically accurate within perhaps two degrees. These are analog thermometers that are often sold with higher end brew kettles or systems, and are great for brewing.

More recent innovations include digital thermometers both of the cooking (metal tip) kind and the infrared kind. Finally, Blichmann has introduced a bluetooth kettle thermometer called the BrewVision thermometer that is also digital but communicates directly with your phone. I’m going to cover these three models in this article as each has its advantages over the two more common types.

The Infrared Digital Thermometer

First up is the infrared digital thermometer. I bought this model from TackLife (Amazon affiliate link) as it was inexpensive and had roughly a one percent +/-1F (0.5 C) accuracy.

An infrared thermometer shines a low power laser at an object and measures the temperature based on the infrared reflection. So basically to use it you just point and shoot it at the surface of the water and it will give you the surface temperature reading. I found it to be quick and accurate for measuring water, the temperature of the pot itself, and external temperatures of fermenters.

Unfortunately the laser fell short when working with an all grain mash tun. I believe the foaming and grain on top of the mash tun interfered with the laser and I found it often gave inaccurate results when compared to my kettle thermometer or other digital thermometers. So I could use this device while heating my water, but not when measuring the mash temperature after adding grains. So unfortunately this is not a great option for all grain brewers who require accurate mash step temperatures.

 

The Digital Cooking Thermometer

Next up, I tried a simple digital cooking thermometer. This is the inexpensive model I purchased – an RTS digital waterproof thermometer (Amazon affiliate link). Again the unit claimed a +/- 1 F (0.5 C) accuracy level.

To use this thermometer you simply dip it in the water, mash or beer, and it very rapidly will give you a temperature reading. At high temperature, I found it worked very quickly – usually settling on a temperature within a second or two. At room temperature it took a bit longer to reach a final temperature, but still gave accurate readings within a few seconds.

This unit also did not have any trouble reading mash temperatures or the temperature of any liquid – just dip it in the liquid and you get an accurate temperature reading. I also like the fact that it is waterproof and came with a nice cover and wrist strap so you can keep it handy while brewing.

 

Blichmann Brewvision Bluetooth Thermometer

The final digital thermometer I got to play with was the Blichmann Brewvision thermometer. While I don’t own one of these yet, I have been able to see them in action both at Homebrewcon and also another BYO event, as well as play with it as a standalone device. The Brewvision is a kettle thermometer intended to be mounted through a hole in your brew kettles as a direct replacement for the popular dial thermometers used on most kettles and mash tuns. The accuracy of the device is +/- 0.5F (0.25 C). The Brewvision does have a unique feature set in that its bluetooth transceiver connects directly to your iPhone or iPad which lets you monitor and record temperatures (within about 30 feet/10 m if no obstructions). While certainly more expensive (around $99) than a handheld thermometer, I like the flexibility it offers, particularly for monitoring and recording mash temperatures.

As every all grain brewer knows, there are considerable waiting periods when mashing – either waiting to achieve your strike temperature or waiting for the mash to complete. Being able to monitor the kettle from across the room on my phone frees me up for other tasks like cleaning, sanitizing or relaxing.

Since the Brewvision software also lets you import your BeerSmith recipes directly from the BeerSmith cloud, you can easily record and track progress of the mash or boil remotely. Overall a pretty neat solution to ease what could be a long all grain brew day.

Summary

So what do I recommend? Having broken more than my fair share of glass thermometers, I’ve basically given up on them. My current brewing setup has a set of conventional (analog) kettle thermometers on it which are accurate enough for basic brewing work, and I also have an electric controller (Tower of Power) that monitors temperature on my system when recirculating.

I supplement my analog thermometers with a digital cooking thermometer (Amazon link). The reason I do this is that the analog scale is only accurate to a degree or two F, and also you need a reference point to calibrate the kettle thermometers against. The digital thermometer provides that steady reference point so I can make sure the thermometers on the kettle are giving me the right answer. This style of thermometer would also be suitable for those brewing without kettle thermometers, as it is fast and accurate to use.

I am seriously considering a BrewVision thermometer for my mash kettle. That would let me monitor the temperatures on my iPhone from nearby work areas and give me more flexibility during brew day instead of worrying about watching the kettle thermometer while I brew.

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Beers-of-Mexico-Variety-Pack-Costco-3

Like Mexican-Style Lagers? Here are 11 Craft Beers You Should Try

Chances are, you’ve occasionally thrown back a few bottles of a popular Mexican amber lager. Maybe you drank them before you got into craft beer and now they make you nostalgic, or maybe you harbor dreams of being the Most Interesting Man  — or Woman — in the World. Whatever the reason, the popularity of Mexican-style lagers persists even among seasoned craft beer drinkers.

But what is a Mexican-style lager in the first place? The category does not explicitly appear in the Beer Judge Certification Program or Great American Beer Festival style guidelines. Tracking down the roots of this summer quencher requires a brief history lesson.

Roots of the Mexican-style Lager

Modern Mexican lagers find their origin in the late 19th century when German and Austrian immigrants began brewing the beers of their homeland in Mexico. When Austria’s Maximilian I declared himself emperor of Mexico in 1864, he brought his nation’s newly beloved Vienna lager with him. The beer proved more popular in Mexico than Maximilian, who was executed just a few years later. The Vienna lager became the dominant beer in Mexico entering the 20th century.

The Viennese lager is widely regarded as an original lager style. The beer shared its name with the Austrian city where brewer Anton Dreher first brewed it with an isolated lager yeast, revolutionary for its time. The combination of the new lager yeast and the invention of high-temperature-controlled malting yielded a reddish beer, from the Vienna malt that was clean tasting due to the yeast. As the taste for lighter-flavored beers spread throughout Mexico and the rest of the world in the 20th Century, the character and color of these traditional lagers changed with the times. Today, Vienna-style lagers vary quite widely in color and body, a development that can be seen in today’s import offerings.

Craft Brewers Put a Spin on Mexican-style Lagers

Both traditional and modern versions of Mexican-style lagers have been embraced by small and independent craft brewers here in the United States. If you’re planning a Cinco de Mayo party, check out one of these Mexican-style lagers brewed north of the border.

Ska Brewing | Mexican Logger

Ska’s cleverly named Mexican Logger was the first of the American craft Mexican-style lagers, launched in 1999. The Colorado brewery has made quite a success of this 5.2% ABV beer, winning a silver medal at GABF in 2015 in the American-Style or International-Style Pilsener category, and winning bronze in the same field in 2016. Co-founder Dave Thibodeau explains the founders used to be closeted Pacifico drinkers, which lead to their development of an American version of the classic summer style. “With Mexican Logger,” he explains, “we took a style we loved, one-upped it a bit, and threw a craft spin to make it our own.”

Oskar Blues Brewery | Beerito Mexican Lager

Just one year old, Beerito has already become a national favorite for those seeking an all-day summer beer with a Mexican flair. While it boasts the lowest alcohol level on this list at 4% ABV, it’s certainly not low in character. Oskar Blues, the brewery that created Ten Fidy, Old Chub and Dale’s Pale Ale, wasn’t going to skimp on flavor. Aiming for a light beer with deep complexity, the brewery achieved it with a carefully chosen grain bill comprised of German and Colorado-grown malts that produce toasty, nutty flavors complemented by plum and honey notes and crisp German hops.

Great Lakes Brewing Company | Grandes Lagos

Cleveland’s venerable Great Lakes Brewing Company is known for brewing classic European lager and ale styles. Its beers are characterized by refinement and quality rather than daring experimentation, so it was surprising to everyone when it announced in early 2016 a new year-round brew would be a Mexican-style lager brewed with hibiscus flowers. The new 5.4% ABV brew is the more extroverted cousin of its esteemed Eliot Ness Amber Lager, a classic Vienna lager. Where Eliot Ness showcases class, Grandes Lagos goes for charisma, offering lightly tart and sweet floral aromas and flavors from the hibiscus and a charming soft pink glow.

21st Amendment Brewery | El Sully

Named after 21st Amendment co-founder and brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan, El Sully was inspired by the popular Mexican beers O’Sullivan drank while growing up near the beach in Southern California. It started out as a draft-only brew at the San Francisco taproom before making the jump to cans in 2015. This 4.8% ABV quencher uses German Pilsener malt for a clean, refined base, with just a bit of flaked maize to lighten the body. A Mexican lager yeast strain produces subtle spicy, herbal notes. O’Sullivan said he likes to tell people, “El Sully is what Modelo dreams of when it goes to bed at night.”

Tractor Brewing Company | New Mexican Lager

Brand-spanking-new in 16-ounce cans for May 2017, New Mexican Lager pays tribute to Tractor Brewing’s border-state heritage. The artwork for the cans features a New Mexico landscape and was created by Albuquerque artist David Santiago, who has designed a number of the brewery’s labels. At 5.6% ABV, this lager is designed to be light enough for the dry weather of the Southwest, while having the body to stand up to hearty borderland cuisine. The brewery claims the golden brew is neither Mexican nor American, but an homage to both traditions that is distinctly New Mexican.

Anchor Brewing | Los Gigantes

Mexican beer and the great American pastime come together in the newest offering from the Bay Area’s esteemed Anchor Brewing. Los Gigantes Mexican-Style Lager is a collaboration between the brewery and Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants franchise and marks the second beer to come from the partnership. The first crack of the bat is the sound that signals summer’s arrival for baseball fans and Anchor hopes this 4.5% ABV refresher will taste just like that. Anchor’s first beer offered in 16-ounce. cans, this light lager is brewed with pale malt and flaked maize and seasoned with Cluster and Tettnang hops.

Flying Dog Brewery | Numero Uno Summer Cerveza

Edgy East Coast brewery Flying Dog got the idea for this lager brewed with agave nectar and lime peel from one of its employees, who suggested the brew at the company’s annual retreat. Originally released as Agave Cerveza in 2014, the beer was intended to be a limited seasonal offering but did so well it was added to the year-round portfolio the next year as Summer Cerveza. Brewmaster Ben Clark says more than one-third of the malt bill is comprised of flaked maize, leading to “a crisp, refreshing beer.”

Lone Tree Brewing | Summer Siesta

Colorado’s Lone Tree won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015 in the American-Style Lager or Light Lager category for Summer Siesta, and the first-ever cans of the beer should be rolling down the canning line as this article goes to publish. Head brewer Josh Wast says the beer is brewed with Pilsner and six-row malt and “a huge amount of flaked corn.” Sitting at a comfortable 5.3% ABV, Summer Siesta is fermented with a very clean lager yeast and finished with German hops for a crisp, refreshing take on this south-of-the-border style.

Lucky Star Brewery | Ojos Locos Mexican Lager

Travel to Miamisburg, Ohio, to try this draft-only lager (the brewery is planning to bottle it soon) and you just might get the most authentic Mexican drinking experience on this list, because Lucky Star’s taproom is modeled after a Mexican cantina. Authentic tacos, quesadillas and house-made salsas provide appropriate culinary pairings for this 4.8% ABV lager. Ojos Locos is brewed with a Mexican yeast that dries the beer out, leaving an easy gateway beverage for the macro beer drinkers who come in asking for their favorite national brands, says owner and brewmaster Glen Perrine. This clean fermentation profile is accentuated by Saaz hops for a crisp beer that is best enjoyed on Lucky Star’s “Pink Party Patio” when weather allows.

Epic Brewing | Los Locos Lager

Inspired by the audacious Mexican restaurant Los Chingones (Google it) not far from Epic’s Denver brewery, Los Locos Lager is truly unique. The sunny brew features sea salt and lime, making this beer perfect for a day at the beach. Los Locos was initially intended to be a limited collaboration with Los Chingones and was first only available at the restaurant, but Epic brewers soon realized they had a winner on their hands, canned it, and made it available across their distribution territory.

Indeed Brewing | Mexican Honey Imperial Lager

When this Minneapolis brewery first received a shipment of Mexican orange blossom honey, the sticky ingredient wasn’t intended to headline one of its beers. But according to Indeed’s head brewer Josh Bischoff, “We were so impressed with the characteristics of it, we decided to brew a beer to showcase it. Since the honey is from Mexico, the beer snowballed from there and created itself.” This beer clocks in at 8% ABV, and isn’t at all what you expect from a typical Mexican-style lager, providing what the brewery describes as “a citrus and floral fiesta,” one probably better suited to toasting the close of your Cinco de Mayo party than kicking it off.

The post Like Mexican-Style Lagers? Here are 11 Craft Beers You Should Try appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

 

Boise Beer Travel: The Quiet Ascent of a Rich Beer Culture

 

It’s been said that if Portland, Oregon, and Bend, Oregon, had a baby, it would be Boise, Idaho. There’s merit to this claim. Boise residents are an outdoor-loving lot. The area’s warm, dry climate is conducive to exploring nearly 200 miles of hiking and biking trails minutes from downtown. The Bogus Basin ski area is a short drive from the city. Trout fishing is as close as the Boise River, which runs through downtown. A 25-mile multi-use path meanders along the river’s edge.

 

Boise residents are enamored of all things local, especially beer. If the Boise beer scene has little visibility outside of Idaho, this is due more to the city’s geographic isolation than a lack of options. In recent years, the city has quietly amassed an impressive collection of breweries and brewpubs. New brewing businesses are in the works, and recent expansions are evidence of a thriving beer culture.

Boise Beer Travel: Exploring Downtown

A great way to begin exploring “The City of Trees” is with a stroll through Freak Alley. The back walls of a series of buildings along intersecting alleyways sport a sizable collection of murals in an attention-grabbing diversity of styles. In the heart of the downtown district, Boise Brewing opened in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign in which investors received stock in the brewery. Dividends are paid in beer. The interior of the blue and mustard-colored concrete block structure is dominated by the open brewhouse. Tall, stainless steel vessels loom over the bar and tables. The brewery’s rich and roasty Black Cliff’s American Stout has won back-to-back GABF gold medals. If you love talking beer, you’re in the right place. The four female beer servers are all homebrewers. Boise Brewing opened in 2014.

It’s a short walk to the Bittercreek Alehouse, Boise’s premier gastropub. The food is well-prepared and the 44 draught beers have a largely local focus. In fact, the beer menu lists the distance to each brewery from the restaurant. Also nearby is a great breakfast spot named BACON. The name says it all.

On the fringes of downtown, Payette Brewing resides in a handsome new facility along the Boise River Greenbelt. Since beginning operations in 2010, Payette has grown into one of Idaho’s largest and most respected brewing businesses. It’s hard to miss the expansive modern industrial building with a huge mountain mural painted on an exterior wall. The 60-barrel production brewhouse is visible through a glass wall at the far end of the airy tasting room. Nineteen house beers include three full-time IPAs, reflecting local beer enthusiasts’ obsession with hoppy ales.

Payette Brewing

Payette Brewing sits along the Boise River Greenbelt.

North of downtown, Boise’s historic North End is considered “Old Boise.” As you travel between the neighborhood’s two breweries, take some time to explore the leafy side streets lined with lovingly restored century-old homes. Tucked in the corner of a large shopping complex called the “Marketplace,” Cloud 9 Brewery offers a comfy retreat. A pleasant outdoor patio is warmed by space heaters for cool weather imbibing. The back half of the modestly-sized interior consists of the glassed-in four-barrel brewhouse. There’s an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients for both the made-from-scratch kitchen creations and the half-dozen rotating specialty beers that supplement six full-time offerings.

 

Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, the granddaddy of Boise breweries, has operated as a brewpub since 1992, but its restaurant roots date from the 1960s. Located at the base of the road to the Bogus Basin Ski Area, “The Hollow” has long been a popular refueling stop following a day of mountain recreation. The atmospheric brick and dark wood indoor space includes a circular fireplace in the middle of the dining room, a collection of vintage ski posters and a well-worn ambiance that can’t be reproduced. The house beers rotate regularly, but are largely styles of British origin.

Boise Breweries Outside the City Center

Boise’s energized beer scene has given rise to a growing number of brewing business scattered in outlying areas. Garden City, despite its bucolic moniker, is a mostly industrial enclave about five miles from downtown Boise. Cheap leases and free water have fueled the opening of a cluster of breweries in recent years. Biking the river trail to Garden City for a tasting session is a popular weekend activity.

Sockeye Brewing

Sockeye Brewing is about 10 miles outside of the Boise city center.

For a small mom-and-pop operation, Barbarian Brewing gets a disproportionate amount of attention among local craft beer devotees. Boise’s most talked-about brewery opened in 2015 with a unique focus on sour and barrel-aged creations. The brewery’s two-room tasting area is a small and inviting space to sample an assortment of 15 sour and “clean” house beers. The most popular is Beta Wolf 2.0, a sour IPA brewed with mango and passionfruit. Seven rotating taps feature experimental creations such as Folkvang, a tart Berliner Weisse made with strawberries, cardamom and rosewater. Barbarian is gearing up for the opening of a downtown Boise taproom in summer, 2017.

Just a mile down the road, two-year-old Bella Brewing occupies an unpretentious concrete block structure. A few tables and a bar populate the indoor space, with brewing vessels lined up along interior walls. As is the norm in hop-intensive Boise, the IPA is the most popular of the 13 house beers which run the gamut of pale, amber, dark, tart and fruited fermentations.

About 10 miles west of the city center, oft-decorated Sockeye Brewing has built an attractive restaurant and imposing production brewing facility. The vast mountain lodge-style dining room features log beams and columns and a spacious outdoor patio. A 15-beer draught collection includes six core beers of familiar styles augmented with seasonal, specialty, sour and barrel-aged offerings. The brewing operation, which is among the state’s largest, is housed in a separate structure behind the restaurant. Sockeye also operates a second, smaller-capacity brewpub closer to downtown.

Mad Swede

Jerry and Susie Larson are the owners of Mad Swede Brewing in Boise.

With a regional mall just a mile away, the dining room of Edge Brewing Company does a brisk business with shoppers and families. Surprisingly, the brewpub’s best-selling beer is the big, burly, 9% ABV Obligatory DIPA. That suits the Edge brew crew just fine. They make no apologies for their fondness for high-gravity, indulgently-hopped ales. At any given time, you’re likely to find three or four 9%-plus beers on tap. If imperial-strength ales aren’t your forte, you’ll find an assortment of more approachable offerings such as the clean and agreeable Vienna Lager.

It’s fitting to call the beers of Mad Swede Brewing Company “well-engineered.” Co-founder and brewer Jerry Larson was a long-time mechanical engineer before he and wife Susie opened what is currently Boise’s newest brewery in 2016. Larson gets the most out of his fine-tuned 15-barrel brewing system, producing bright, well-attenuated, satisfying ales. The eight house beers dispensed in the small cheery tasting room have a bias toward dark styles. As the closest brewery to the airport, Mad Swede is a great introduction to the Boise beer scene, or a final stop if you’re departing the city by plane.

The post Boise Beer Travel: The Quiet Ascent of a Rich Beer Culture appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

 

 Top 50 US Craft Breweries

The Brewers Association (BA) released its annual ranking of the Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies Wednesday, saying the breweries on the list are “providing optimism” in a “dynamic time for the brewing community.”

More than 5,200 breweries are operating in the U.S. right now, which is more than any other time in the nation’s history.

“With such a broad range of brewers in today’s beer landscape, the more advanced producers have helped build the industry to what it is today,” says the BA’s chief economist, Bart Watson.

The BA (publishers of CraftBeer.com) is the national organization that represents more than 70 percent of those 5,200 U.S. breweries. The BA board of directors is the body that sets the definition of a craft brewer.

  • Small – Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
  • Independent – Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • Traditional – A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

The Top 50 list ranks craft brewers based on beer sales volume in 2016.

Top 50 US Craft Breweries

 

What’s changed since the Top 50 list released in 2016? Here are a few things that jumped out at us:

  • Troegs Independent Brewing in Hershey, Pennsylvania, jumps from 45 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Twenty-two states are represented on the list.
  • Roughly 20 percent of the breweries in the Top 50 call California home.

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits and Lagunitas Brewing Company are absent from this year’s list after previously being included in the top 15 last year as they no longer fit the Brewers Association definition of a craft brewer due to the ownership of more than 25 percent by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Ballast Point is now owned by Constellation Brands, while Heineken owns 50 percent stake in Lagunitas.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Home Brew Beer Siphoning

 

Siphoning is one of the necessary evils for homebrewers. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a large RIMS/HERMS brewing system with wort pumps and conical fermenters, and pumps for transferring between fermenters, you have probably had to siphon your beer at some point. We siphon to move wort to the fermenter, we siphon to transfer beer to a secondary, we siphon finished beer to a bottling bucket or keg. This leaves the trub or sediment behind, but siphons can be a challenge to work with.

The big risk here is oxygen – which is an enemy of finished beer. Oxygen in large quantities will rapidly spoil your beer, but even in smaller quantities it will destroy long term flavor stability and also contribute to chill haze and clarity problems.

Siphoning the Old Fashioned Way

A siphon is an ancient device that uses gravity to transfer liquid from one vessel to another. As long as the liquid level in the destination is lower than the source, it will transfer the liquid until you run dry. The first challenge is that you have to “prime” the transfer tube with some water or wort in order to get the flow started. The second is that you need to prevent the siphon from getting plugged up with trub and sediment, which is an issue both after the boil and after fermentation.

When I started brewing, most of use primed a siphon by filling the hose with some sterile water, and clamping or plugging one end. The clamp was then released once we had both ends positioned, and it would siphon away. The problem with this approach was the difficulty of filling the siphon without contaminating it, and keeping it full while positioning the two vessels. It was not an ideal solution.

The Siphon Cap

In the early 1990’s several companies introduced a cap for carboys that sealed the top of the carboy off but had two holes. One hole was carefully sized to match an average siphoning wand, and you actually blew/sucked air through the other hole to create a vacuum (or overpressure) that would initiate the transfer.

This was a slight improvement over the old manual method of priming with water, but you ran the risk of introducing air (or germs) from your mouth into the beer. Again, not an ideal solution.

The Auto-Siphon

Many brewing stores now have a device commonly called the “auto siphon” for sale. These are made from two tubes. The outer tube has a one way valve on it near the bottom and sits in the wort you are moving, and an inner tube has a seal that lets it act as a piston. The hose is attached to the inner tube. To operate it you pump the inner tube slowly which brings wort into the tubes on the upstroke, and forces it into your siphon tube on the downstroke.

With just a few pumps you can get the siphon primed and the wort moving easily, so this seems to be the best of both worlds. However, I’ve had problems with the seal on several of these devices. If you have even a slightly poor seal between the inner and outer tube, that seal will let air in. Once the siphon gets going it can be even worse since the siphon acts under a vacuum – drawing in more air as it goes. This will show up as bubbling in the siphon – and can be a real problem as you certainly don’t want to contaminate your finished beer with air.

A workaround is to add some sterile water to the outer tube outside of the gap – so if your seal leaks it will draw in sterile water instead of air. However, this takes us almost full circle back to the “old fashioned” method since I now need to prime my siphon with sterile water before starting, and also you need to worry about the water in the auto siphon as you pump it for priming.

Minimizing Trub/Sediment Ingestion

The other problem with siphons is that it can be hard to separate the wort from the trub. Earlier in my brewing career I obsessed with minimizing the amount of trub from the boiler and sediment in the fermenter. I used to attach cloth to the bottom of the siphon wands to try to filter out the sediment.

Lately I’ve realized that if I’m careful with the wand when transferring, not that much really comes over. So I’ve given up my cheese-cloth filters and simply try to keep the siphon wand above the sediment as long as possible, and tip the vessel at the end to avoid sucking up too much trub. Also I try really hard not to disturb the sediment when transferring.

A Better Siphoning Option?

So I’ve come to the end of my rant on siphons. Moving to a conical fermenter has helped, at least with fermentation transfers because I can separate the wort from the sediment before transferring, and also don’t need to use a siphon to transfer the wort. Today I still use the auto siphon if needed, but do add some sterile water first as insurance against leaks. Its not ideal, but I like the ease of use of the auto-siphon, and I’ve found a few of them that seal pretty well and don’t leak much.

 


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Cornish Pasty: A Portable, Savory Hand Pie

 

Originating in Britain, the Cornish pasty is a hand pie, usually savory, with a sturdy dough enclosing a filling of steak, potatoes, carrots, onions, and seasonings. These pasties were designed to be a full meal that would hold up in a workman’s pocket until lunch without any protection other than the crust. Cornish pasties also differ from other hand pies like calzones or empanadas in the fact that the filling cooks while the pastry itself cooks, sealing all of the flavors and nutrients inside an edible wrapper.

Cornish Pasty Dough
This dough recipe creates a sturdy crust that will hold the filling together while baking and provide a flaky texture to the outside of the hand pie. Bread flour increases the gluten to create a more durable crust, while barley flour adds flavor. For a more tender chew, use a lower protein pastry flour.

Makes: 4 large or 8 small pies

2 cup bread flour
1 cup barley flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, European style, cold, cubed
1/2 cup rendered fat, such as duck or pork lard, cold
1 cup beer, such as Mild, ESB, or Bitter, ice cold

Egg Wash
2 large eggs
2 tbsp whole milk

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor, add the high gluten and barley flours, then the salt. Seal the bowl with its lid, and pulse to mix the ingredients together. Then cut the butter and fat into the flour mixture, pulsing the food processor until there are small pea-sized lumps. Over-mixing the butter and fat into the dough will make a less flaky crust. Next, add enough ice cold beer to form a ball of dough. Do not over mix or add too much beer or the pastry will be tough. Pour with a light hand.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a floured workspace. Lightly knead it into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest the gluten and hydrate the flour.

Rolling and Filling
After an hour or more, remove the dough from the cold box. Divide it into four equal-sized balls for large pasties or eight pieces for small pasties. Use a rolling pin on a floured surface to roll out each dough ball into a circle with a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For four pieces of dough, the rounds will measure 10 inches in diameter, or 7 inches with eight dough balls. Use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the surface of the rolling pin.

Next, brush the surface of the pastry with the egg wash. Add the filling of choice to half of the dough round, but don’t overstuff the pasty, leaving an edge for the opposite edge to stick to. Fold the opposite side of the dough over the filling and, making your hand into a cup, lightly press down to remove any air and create a half moon shape. To seal the pasty, start at one side of the crescent and fold the dough over, then onto itself, over and over, making a nice pattern around the edge. Or use the tines of a fork to press the two dough layers together. Be sure the dough is sealed, to prevent leaking during cooking. Use different crimping styles or patterns on the edges to help identify each filling. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Repeat the steps above until the dough is gone.

Refrigerate the pasties for 20–30 minutes to chill them, helping to prevent the dough from shrinking during the cooking process.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Make a few small cuts on top of the pasty to allow the steam to vent. Brush the surface and edges with an even layer of egg wash. Bake pasties for 45–60 minutes, looking for a nice golden brown crust, and a fully cooked, warm filling. (The internal temperature should be around 200°F). Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note: To make a vegetarian version of this crust, substitute vegetable shortening for the fat or lard.

Lamb Pasty Filling
Traditionally, the Cornish pasty is filled with chopped up steak, potatoes, carrots, onions, and a touch of seasoning. This version pays homage to the recipe’s British roots by using lamb instead.

Makes: 4 large or 8 small pasties

1 tbsp beer, such as Brown Ale, Stout, or Porter
2 tsp beer mustard, such as Sierra Nevada’s Stout & Stoneground
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black peppercorns

1 lb lamb, ground or cut into small cubes
8 oz Yukon or Russet potatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)

Directions
In a bowl, add the beer of choice, beer mustard, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and cracked pepper. Whisk the ingredients together. Add the lamb, (ground or cubed meat will change the final texture of the pasty), potato (peeled or unpeeled), onion, and carrot. Mix everything together well.

Follow the Rolling and Filling directions above. To increase the richness of the final pie, add 1/2–1 tablespoon of butter to each pasty’s filling.

Recipe Variations
• For a traditional Cornish pasty, substitute chopped skirt or flank steak for the lamb and omit the beer mustard.
• Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite curry spice blend to the beer mixture and omit the beer mustard to create a curried lamb pasty.
• To make the pasty more like a baked sandwich, spread 1 teaspoon of beer mustard on top of the egg wash.
• Serve with a side of beer gravy for dipping.

AleFrom the Garden Pasty Filling
This filling uses produce found in an English vegetable garden, providing flavor, texture, and nourishment.

Makes: 4 large or 8 small pasties

1 fennel bulb, core removed, diced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 leek (white and light green end), cut in half, washed and sliced
2 crimini mushrooms, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 eggplant, peeled and diced
8 oz Yukon or Russet potato, diced
3 oz Parmesan or English Cheddar cheese, grated fine
1 tbsp fennel fond, chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp rosemary leaves (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast seasoning
1/2 tsp four peppercorn blend, freshly cracked
1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
2 tbsp beer, such as Pilsner, Pale Ale, or Brown Ale
4 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)

Directions
Add all of the prepared ingredients to a bowl and toss them together well, making sure everything is thoroughly blended.

Follow the Rolling and Filling directions above. To increase the richness of the final pie, add 1/2–1 tablespoon of butter to each pasty’s filling. 

 

New to Craft Beer? These 7 Dark Lagers are Easy on the Palate

 

Bitter IPAs and boozy, barrel-aged beers might shock the palate if you’re trying to introduce a curious newcomer to craft beer. Instead, it’s generally better to hand them a beer style that simultaneously feels familiar and also enlightens — dark lagers embody those traits.

German-style Schwarzbiers, dunkels, bocks, and American dark lagers might seem intimidating, but appearances can be deceiving. Dark lagers drink like their golden counterparts but enjoy exquisite depths of flavor that demonstrate a brewer’s skill and imagination. So, if you are trying to get a friend to see the light, have them try something dark. Here are some craft beers that’ll help them get started.

(MORE: 2017’s Great American Beer Bars)

Magnetron Black Lager | Metropolitan Brewing | Chicago

Tracy Hurst, Metropolitan Co-founder and President, explained, “Magnetron is a gateway beer in the best way; because it pleasantly surprises people. And being pleasantly surprised is a memorable experience. For some pretty good reasons, here in the States, we have the impression that the blacker a beer is, the heavier, boozier, viscous, etc. Of course, we couldn’t be more wrong.“

The 2016 World Cup Silver Medal winning German-style Schwarzbier is roasty and rich, almost dark chocolatey, but super clean and dry on the finish. Hurst added, “The Germans drink Schwarzbier by the liter. There’s no way this beer can be heavy on the palate or high in ABV.”

dark lagers

Credit: New Belgium Brewing

1554 Black Lager | New Belgium Brewing | Fort Collins, CO & Asheville, NC

New Belgium 1554 pours a gorgeous mahogany with malt accompanied by subtle notes of fruit, herb, spice, and coffee. Bryan Simpson, New Belgium PR director notes, “1554 has this romantic origin story wherein the original research materials were lost to a flood, our brew team traveled to Belgium to learn more from a crumbling text in an old village archive, and it was only our second beer to embrace a lager yeast. The beer itself has the roasty, malty and chocolatey notes of a porter or stout, but the lighter lager yeast gives it a very approachable and satisfying drinkability. Creating balanced beers that are complex, interesting and approachable is a great challenge for any brewer, and one we embrace wholeheartedly as part of the portfolio at New Belgium.”

Baba Black Lager | Uinta Brewing | Salt Lake City, UT

Baba, a five-time medal-winning and certified organic black lager, includes a few attributes common to smoked porters. A pleasant malt aroma graces the drinker’s nose before the beauty of the caramel malt flavor is enjoyed. Baba’s smokey surprise lingering in the background provides depth. The beer feels like a standard lager, but it will certainly wake up a craft newcomer’s palate from its slumber.

(MORE: 12 Breweries In Historic Buildings)

Smoke & Dagger Black Lager | Jack’s Abby | Framingham, MA

dark lagers

Credit: Jack’s Abby

Arley Donovan, marketing coordinator for Jack’s Abby, described Smoke & Dagger as, “A black lager/smoked porter hybrid but the smokey campfire notes are not at all overpowering, and they really accompany the other flavors and aromas of chocolate and caramel. It has a great mouthfeel, not too heavy and not too light which makes it very drinkable and a good gateway to other beers of this variety.”  Of course, one need not be new to appreciate it. Indeed, Smoke & Dagger is a favorite of the brewery’s co-owner, Sam Hendler.

Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager | Spoetzl Brewery | Shiner, TX

Visually, Shiner 97 is a twin to stout beer with an opaque black color and tan head. However, the light-bodied dark lager can be consumed like cold water on a hot day.  The moderate carbonation also reminds one of a pilsner, albeit more subdued. Alongside the prevalent malt sweetness, flavors involve gentle toastiness up front, a hint of oat in the middle, and a slight hoppiness at the end.

dark lagers

Credit: Pollyanna Brewing Co.

Commentator Doppelbock | Pollyanna Brewing | Lemont, IL

Pollyanna Brewing has two brewers with resumes that include Doemens Academy in Munich; a Bock is in this brewery’s wheelhouse.  One of them, Brewer Chris Koentz, explained, “Commentator, our Doppelbock lager, is a big ole’ German lager that will invite the novice drinker as well as the seasoned beer geek.”  He added, “It’s slightly sweet, low in bitterness, and finishes with a pleasant, clean toasty caramel flavor that leaves you wanting more. Doppelbocks are not as roasty as an imperial stout, they don’t have as much bitterness as an American barleywine, but their rich malt character combined with the depth of flavor derived from Maillard reactions results in a complex, flavorful beer for those who delve beyond the easy drinking exterior.”

Munich Dunkel | Carver Brewing | Durango, CO

A German-style dunkel, sometimes referred to as a Munchner dunkel, offers beer fans a dark beer option that is known for a chocolate-like, roast malt, bread-like or biscuit-like aromas that come from the use of Munich dark malt. Despite the flavors, this beer does not offer an overly sweet impression, but rather a mild balance between malt sweetness and hop character. Expect roasty flavors up front, followed by a clean lager finish. So good, Carver Brewing‘s Dunkel won Gold at the 2013 GABF.  One of the beer’s most unique features is its exceptionally smooth texture — most enjoyable.

Brewing books advised by the Beeradvocate

True Beer: Inside the Small, Neighborhood Nanobreweries Changing the World of Craft Beer

Author Timothy Sprinkle takes readers behind the scenes of Colorado nanobreweries to reveal the realities, with a nuanced perspective on this narrow but growing segment.

Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Author Peter Kopp traces the hop’s history from its oldest ancestor, which grew in Asia, to the first hop arriving in America millions of years later, probably in a bottle of English ale.

My Beer Year: Adventures with Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Beer Sommeliers and Fanatical Drinkers as a Beer Master in Training

In this stellar example of what beer writing can be, working mother Lucy Burningham documents her experiential study plan to pass the Certified Cicerone exam within a year.

The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch

From caramelized tubers to fermented acorns, the authors reveal the possibilities hiding in plain sight in your backyard or at the farmers market.

Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer

In his fourth book, Stan Hieronymus writes for brewers who want to use locally grown ingredients but aren’t sure where to start.

Complete IPA: The Guide to Your Favorite Craft BeerShelf Talker by

Beyond the classic English and American styles, author Joshua M. Bernstein indexes standout IPAs by grain, color, and strength. Fringe categories like “yeast-driven” and wood-aged get a nod, too.

Craft: The California Beer Documentary

From household names like Vinnie Cilurzo and Greg Koch, to emerging stars like Monkish Brewing’s Henry Nguyen, this doc features 80 of California’s movers and shakers speaking their mind on some hot-button issues.

Off-Centered Leadership: The Dogfish Head Guide to Motivation, Collaboration and Smart Growth

For 20 years, Sam Calagione steered Dogfish Head according to his gut, addicted to the buzz that comes with risk and uncertainty. In this book, he explains why he’s changing his ways.

Homebrew All-Stars: Top Brewers Share Their Best Techniques and Recipes

If you’ve ever sifted through a homebrewers’ forum trying to separate the experts from the blowhards, this book is for you.

The Meanings of Craft Beer

In Evan Rail’s latest Kindle Single, he explores the linguistic and non-linguistic meanings of a phrase many Americans use without thinking: craft beer.

The Beer Geek Handbook

The snobs out there can make beer seem unapproachable for “noobs.” This book is author Patrick Dawson’s answer to the upturned noses among us; a dry, unapologetic survey of the craft beer lifestyle.

Food & Beer

In Food & Beer, we’re led through a day in chef Daniel Burns and Evil Twin founder/brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø’s Michelin-starred kitchen, Luksus.

Gardening for the Homebrewer

Gardening for the Homebrewer starts out with the basics, but what makes it great is chapters on growing other fermentables—from Gruit herbs, like yarrow and juniper, to cucurbits, the key to Cucumber Saisons and Pumpkin Ales.

Beer for All Seasons: A Through-the-Year Guide to What to Drink and When to Drink It

In Beer for All Seasons, Randy Mosher reminds us that March isn’t the only month connected to the cyclical rhythm of beer throughout the year.

Blood, Sweat & Beer

In Blood, Sweat & Beer, filmmakers Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin capture the nuances of the craft brewing community with honesty and humor.

The Hop Grower’s Handbook: The Essential Guide for Sustainable, Small-Scale Production for Home and Market

Despite the modest renaissance of hops production in eastern states, no step-by-step guide had emerged until The Hop Grower’s Handbook.

The Best Beer in the World: One Man’s Global Search for the Perfect Pint

Beer writer Mark Dredge kept getting asked, What’s the best beer in the world? Tired of stumbling through contrived answers, Dredge decided to figure it out for himself.

Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design

Why we’re reading Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design.

The Comic Book Story of Beer

Shelf Talker by

Why we’re reading The Comic Book Story of Beer.

Speed Brewing: Techniques and Recipes for Fast-Fermenting Beers, Ciders, Meads, and More

In Speed Brewing, author Mary Izett applies her chemistry background and BJCP expertise to designing original recipes that ferment in just days or weeks.

The Beer Bible

Why we’re reading The Beer Bible.

Uncle John’s Beer-Topia: A Heady Brew of Beer Miscellany

It’s clearly not for the geeks among us—the homebrew chapter is entitled “Make your own beer in two hours”—but buried in this novelty book are some legit factoids.

Mikkeller’s Book of Beer

Why we’re reading Mikkeller’s Book of Beer.

Oregon Breweries (Breweries Series)

Why we’re reading Oregon Breweries in the Breweries Series.

by

Build A DIY RIMS System

I recently had a chance to brew with the professionals at a local brewery. They were brewing on a SABCO Brew-Magic (15 gallon) system that they use for their weekly small batch releases. The brewer explained the components and how they all worked together. The wort would circulate throughout the mash process and that the temperature would be kept constant by an electric heater that was in the circulation loop. And, the re-circulation helped with the efficiency and the clarity of the wort. The price tag for a system like this is way out of my price range, so buying one was not an option. It didn’t take long for me to start putting ideas together to build my own RIMS. My quest began to put something together that I could build cheaply and maybe upgrade over time. So, a low cost system (that was modular) is what I set out to build.

Editor’s Note: Hello everyone, this article was previously released and the author had used PVC piping for some of the heated elements of the system. After a lot of feedback on the issue, I made the decision to take the article down after potential safety issues were raised. I spoke with the writer and he agreed to upgrade the system he had originally built to use SS parts and re-write the article for the new build. So thank you to you the readers who spotted an issue, and a big thank you to Ted for upgrading and re-writing which took a lot of work.

There is already a bunch of nice, well thought out, designs out on the web. But, many were not cheap to build. The biggest expense was going to be the pump. I lucked out, I already had a 1200 GPH pump that I bought for a Koi pond and it wasn’t being used anymore. Yes, I cleaned the crap out of it, literally. Next, all those stainless steel pipes and fittings were $10-15+ each, times 10 or more. It was adding up fast. I originally chose PVC for a bunch of the parts. It was cheap, but after a lot of push back from reviewers about PVC temperature ratings, I replaced the PVC parts for the heat chamber with stainless steel parts. This increased the cost about $65. So, if you had to buy everything and did your shopping around, everything should cost under $350.

To clean the RIMS, I get a few gallons of PBW solution in a bottling bucket and connect it to the pump input and just pump it through the system and back up to the bucket. I let it run for about 20 minutes to a half hour. I’ll switch out the PBW with some sanitized to get it squeaky clean. The system works great. Nice clean beer and my efficiency is up about 5%.

Safety First

YOU MUST USE GFCI OUTLETS AND ALL ELECTRIC CONNECTIONS MUST BE GROUNDED!

This system is being used around water and hot wort. Accidents can and will happen. Don’t shortcut the safety of the electrical. If you don’t know how to do this, let some who does take care of the electrical work or save up and buy one.

Modular design
I wanted to make my setup modular and compact. Something I could build into a portable carry case.

Temperature
Use the temperature controller for more than just controlling re-circulation temperatures.

Pumping
Use the pump for more than just re-circulation during mashing.

Power
Project and electrical boxes for containing, controlling and switching things.

I set up my temperature controller with multiple switches to turn on and off the pump and heater. The power outputs from the controller box are wired to a standard A/C outlet within the covered box. So, the pump goes into the pump outlet and the heater goes into a heater outlet. I accomplished by breaking the hot power contact on the outlet and wiring them separately from the project box. Then, the switches will control whatever is plugged in to the outlets. This helps to keep the equipment modular. Now, I can plug in a heat wrap and control the temperature in a fermenter or pump water and moving wort between pots and to the fermenter using the switches on the project box.

Connections
I went with hose clamp connections between the heating element and the pump (not in the pictures), so they can be disconnected fairly easily. These will eventually be upgraded with some quick disconnects to make it even faster.

Temperature
I did not want to hard connect the temperature sensor to the heating chamber or the load on the heating element. By setting it up this way, I am able to plug in whatever load I wanted and mover the temperature probe to wherever I needed it. For example, I can use the temperature controller for my heater wrap to control fermenter temperatures or just move the probe to measure temperature of grain, cooling wort, liquid in a hot liquor tank, etc.

The liquid from the mash tun will come down into the pump on the right. The flow can be controlled with the valve before it enters the heating chamber on the left, where it is heated and forced back up to the mash tun.

Parts List

  • 1   Hose Fitting, Adapter, 3/4″ NPT Male x 1/2″ Barbed
  • 1   Ball Valve Full Port 304 Stainless Steel w/Blue Vinyl Handle 2PC 2-PC
  • 3   AC 110-120V 3 Pin I/O Control SPST Rocker Switch
  • 2   Hose Fitting, Adapter, 1/2″ NPT Male x 3/8″ Barbed
  • 1   White Silicone Tubing, 3/8″ID, 1/2″OD, 1/16″ Wall, 10′ Length (I’d recommend using ½ inch ID to go back to the tun, it won’t kink as easily.)
  • 1   5500W 240V Screw-In Foldback Water Heater Element – High Watt Density
  • 1   2-1/2″ Thermowell Stainless Steel 304 – 1/2″ Male x 1/2″ Female
  • 1   Hammond 1591ESBK ABS Project Box Black
  • 1   Inkbird All-Purpose Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat w Sensor 2 Relays1 1/4″
  • 1    1 1/4″ X 8″ Stainless Steel Pipe
  • 2   1 1/4″  Stainless Steel T
  • 3   1 1/4″ X 1/2″ Stainless bushing
  • 1   1 1/4″ X 1″ Stainless bushing
  • 1   2 gang outdoor outlet box for GFI
  • 1   GFI outlet
  • 1  Standard Outlet
  • 2   Outdoor A/C extension cords

Basic Build Steps

1. Build a Base

I built a base out of some scrap wood. It is basically an “L” shape, with parts connected to it for stability and transport, and a box to hold pump. The dimensions will probably be different for yours, depending on size of the pump. My base dimensions: 18” long x 8” high x 7” deep

2. Build the Heat Chamber and Connect the Pump

2a. Upper Tee Assembly:
Assembled the following parts using Teflon tape to complete the upper tee assembly.

  • 1 1/4” Stainless Tee
  • 1 1/4”x 8” Pipe


2b.
Hose End Adapters:

  • 1 1/4″ Male X 1/2″ adapter
  • Hose Fitting Adapter, 1/2″ NPT – Male x 1/2″ Barbed

2c. Temp Sensor and Adapters:

  • 1 1/4″ Male X 1/2″ adapter
  • 2-1/2″ Thermowell SS – 1/2″ – Male x 1/2″ Female

2d. Lower Tee Assembly

The heating element will thread through the outlet cover and into the 1″ reducer in the Tee. Use Teflon tape or pipe joint compound to seal it! It is super important that this does not leak!!! You don’t want liquid getting into you electrical box.

Assembled the following parts using Teflon tape to complete the lower tee assembly:

2e. Hose End Adapters1

  • 1/4″ Male X 1/2″ adapter
  • Hose Fitting Adapter, 1/2″ NPT Male x 1/2″ Barbed

2f. Outlet Box and Adapters

  • Single gang plastic outlet box
  • Outlet cover with a 1.3” hole drilled in the center
  • 1 1/4″ Male X 1″ adaptor
  • 5500W 240V Screw-In Foldback Water Heater Element – High Watt Density

Wire one end of a section of electrical cord to the heating element terminals and the other end to outlet box that will connect to your heater switch.

3. Complete the Heating Chamber

3a. Screw the two tee assemblies together.

3b.  Screw the electric box to your base.

4. Attach the pump

I made a little housing for my pump. I will just pop out of its home for when I want to move it to another task.

4a. Attach valve and hose adapter to the pump output.

4b. Connect with a short hose to the heat chamber.

4c. Attach hose adapter and hose to pump input. This will connect to you mash tun.

5. Build the Heat Controller Box and Connect

5a. Make the Control Box and mount it to your base

5b. Cut holes for your switches and controller.

5c. Drill holes and insert rubber grommets to accept power cord input and output feeds.

5d. Install switches and controller into the case

6. Wire your RIMS up

6a. Black power lead and white neutral to pins 1 and 2 to power the controller.

6b. Black power lead to each switch inputs.

6c. Output of pump switch goes to the pump

6d. Output of heater switch to heat connect pin 5

6e. Output on pin 6 goes to the heater

6f. The neutral leads (white) get connected together and pair with the power lead outputs to go to the pump and heater outlets.

6g. Connect temperature sensor to pins 3 and 4.

I wired my heater and pump outputs to the electrical box. One socket for the heater. One socket for the pump. The pump and the heater can then plug into their proper outlet. I did this to make it more modular.

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Aging in a barrel

Aging of Craft Beers

Er is veel te doen over het conditioneren van craft beer. Elke brouwer heeft wel zijn geheime methode van opslaan om het bier optimaal van geur en smaak uit de fles te krijgen. Er wordt veel onzin verteld en geschreven over hoe bier rijpt en steeds beter wordt naarmate je het langer bewaart.

Wat is waar en wat is niet waar

Waar:

  • Lageren komt van lager, een ondergistend biersoort die inderdaad beter wordt van kwaliteit als deze wordt opgeslagen voor ongeveer 3 maanden.
  • De meeste bieren worden gemaakt om niet te lang te bewaren, ze moeten dus vers worden gedronken. Dit is helemaal waar voor de IPA’s waarvan met name het aroma maar ook de bitterheid alleen maar minder wordt na het bottelen.
  • Als een bier gefilterd wordt dan treedt er nagenoeg geen chemische verandering meer op na de botteling.
  • Als er te veel gist depot in de fles is dan kan dat een nadelige invloed hebben op de kwaliteit van het bier bij bewaren
  • Na de hoofdgisting van 1 week kan het bier geconditioneerd worden door de gist af te tappen en andere producten nog toe te voegen als hop, fruit of hout.
  • Bieren gemaakt met wilde gist moeten bewaard worden op houten vaten om  ze zachter te maken (lambiek stijl)

Niet Waar:

  • Bieren worden beter als je ze bewaart op fles.
  • Bieren worden beter bij bewaren op houten vaten. Nee: want er is risico van infectie, het afgeven van verkeerde of  teveel aan stoffen als tannine, wijn zuren of chemicalien.
  • Mijn zelfgebrouwen ale wordt een gerstewijn. Nee alle bieren onder de 9% worden niet beter en ontwikkelen zich niet tot een gerstewijn.
  • Het opleggen op whiskey vaten geeft een beter bier. Nee: de vaten die voornamelijk worden gebruikt door brouwers zijn uitgemergelde Schotse whiskey vaten waar met name de alcohol doorgedrongen in het hout een geur en smaak verandering geeft. Het hout zelf is uitgewerkt.
  • Rijping na hoofdgisting moet bij hooggistende bieren lang duren voor de botteling. Nee: afgezien van drooghopping, toevoeging van fruit of kruiden is de rijpingstijd maximaal 1-2 weken.

Samengevat:

Bieren worden in het algemeen na de hoofdgisting van 1 week nog 1-3 weken bewaard in een rijpings tank (voor toevoeging van producten en neerslaan van depot) voordat ze op fles worden gebotteld. Door gebruik te maken van de juiste grondstoffen, hop en gist is het bier al optimaal. Bewaren zorgt in de regel voor afbraak en vermindering van kwaliteit (denk hierbij aan temperatuur, licht en autolyse van gist depot).

Het enige bier wat beter wordt (lees hier minder zuur en zachter van smaak) zijn bieren gemaakt met een wilde gist (Brett), door deze te bewaren en goed te mengen kan er na jaren een mooi drinkbaar bier van worden gemaakt. Daarnaast zijn er donkere bieren die worden opgeslagen op whisky vaten zodat er een extractie kan plaatsvinden van opgeloste stoffen zoals tannines, vanille en whisky zodat je een mooie aromatisch bier krijgt.

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Better German Pilsner

 

This recipe from Josh Weikert, author of the Beer: Simple blog is for a bare-bones, but crisp and flavorful, German Pils. The grist is simplicity itself, all Pils with just a touch of Victory to bring out a rich grainy malt flavor, and it has plenty of IBUs and hops flavor to keep it firmly in the Pilsner family. He says that the key is fermentation: use any and all tricks in your arsenal to dry this one out, with effective temperature control during fermentation being key.

ALL-GRAIN
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 41
ABV: 4.9%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

9 lb (4.8 kg) German Pilsner malt
0.25 lb (113 g) Victory malt

HOPS SCHEDULE

0.5 oz (14 g) Warrior [15% AA] at
60 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) Hallertau [4% AA] at
10 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) Hallertau [4% AA] at
flame out

YEAST

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager

DIRECTIONS

Mill the grains and mix them with 3.2 gallons (12.1 liters) of 164°F (73°C) strike water to reach a mash temperature of 152°F (67°C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes; if your water is soft to slightly hard, you may consider adding 1/4 teaspoon of gypsum to the mash.

Vorlauf until your runnings are clear. Sparge the grains with 3.8 gallons (14.4 liters) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops schedule and adding Irish Moss as desired.

After the boil, chill the wort, aerate, and pitch the yeast.

Ferment at 50°F (10°C) until final gravity is reached; increase the temperature by a few degrees at the latter stages of fermentation to aid in diacetyl cleanup. Once the beer completes fermentation, but before packaging, you may want to cold crash it to 35°F (2°C) for 48 hours to improve clarity. Bottle or keg the beer and carbonate to approximately 2.5 volumes. Store carbonated beer at near-freezing temperatures for at least 4 weeks before drinking.

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Bewaren

950ff14320ff7d3cc18585bf566900f0b7629a43_pale-ale-recipe.png

Scratch Brewing’s Dead Leaves and Carrots Beer Recipe

 

Published: 2016-11-01

This is one of Scratch Brewing (Ava, Illinois) customers’ all-time favorites. It’s a lightly bready English bitter with a touch of smoke and a dry, crisp finish. It was inspired by the crisp crunch of fall leaves and that dry, almost toasted paper aroma. The oak leaves add extra bitterness and tannins, and the carrots add extra body and a little spice.

ALL-GRAIN

OG (est): 1.049
FG (est): 1.013
IBUs: 23
ABV: 4.7%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

  • 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) Maris Otter
  • 1 lb (454 g) Munich
  • 0.6 lb (272 g) Caramel 40
  • 2.8 oz (79 g) German Rauchmalt

HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

  • Carrot water and juice (see below) at 60 minutes
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) Columbus hops (15.6% AA) at 60 minutes
  • 2 lb (907 g) roasted carrots at 20 minutes
  • 2 qt (1.89 l) dead or dried oak leaves at 20 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Chop the carrots into chunks and roast with about a cup (237 ml) of water until the carrots are soft and starting to caramelize. Remove from oven. Add the water with carrot juice to the boil kettle at the beginning of the boil. Put the carrots in one fine mesh bag and the dried leaves in another fine mesh bag before adding them to the boil.

Mash at 154°F (68°C) for 60 minutes. Boil for 60 minutes following the schedule for hops and additions. Pitch the yeast at 64°F (18°C).

YEAST

Safale English Ale (S-04)

BREWER’S NOTES

If you don’t live near oak trees, maple and hickory will also work well. When gathering the leaves, try to find the driest, crispest leaves. Damp leaves may already be starting to mold.

Recipe is built to yield a batch size of 5 gallons (19 liters) and assumes 72 percent efficiency.

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oatmeal_cookies_oatmeal

Beer Adjuncts

Unmalted grains such as corn, rice, rye, oats, barley, and wheat are called adjuncts. They are used in brewing beer and produce beers with added body and a greater brilliancy. Adjuncts also contribute to the flavor of the beer, for example, rice has a very neutral aroma and taste, while corn results in a full flavored beer and wheat adds dryness to beer. Adjuncts also can result in a final product with higher alcohol content without altering the flavor.

Adjuncts can be used to adjust color, as in the case with dark sugars however rice, pure starches and sugars are used to lighten malt colors producing a lighter colored beer. Some adjuncts even aid in foam stability and dilute the amount of potential haze-forming proteins.

Belgian Candi Sugar imparts a smooth taste, good head retention, sweet aroma and high gravity without being apparent. Use in Belgian and holiday ales. Clear should be used for tripels, amber for dubbels, and dark for brown beer and strong golden ales. Brown Sugar imparts a rich, sweet flavor and is used in Scottish ales, old ales and holiday beers.

Corn Sugar is used in priming beer or in extract recipes where flaked maize would be used in a mash. Demerara Sugar leaves a mellow, sweet flavor and should be used in English ales. Dextrose (glucose) imparts a mild sweet taste and smoothness and is for English beers. Invert Sugar increases alcohol in some Belgian or English ales or is used as an adjunct for priming. Liquid Invert Sugar I used in English and Belgian (Chimay) ales.

Lactose adds sweetness and body in sweet or milk stouts. Licorice Stick adds a smooth flavor to stouts, porters, holiday ales and flavored beers. Lyle’s Golden Syrup increases alcohol without altering the flavor. Maple Syrup imparts a dry, woodsy flavor if used in the boil. If beer is bottled with it, it gives it a smooth sweet, maple taste. Use in maple ales, pale ales, brown ales and porters. Maple Sap result in a crisp dry, earthy flavor in pale ales, porters and maple ales. Molasses imparts a strong sweet flavor in stouts and porters. Rice Solids lightens color without changing the taste and is used in American and Asian lagers. Sucrose or white table sugar increases alcohol and is used in Australian lagers and English bitters.

The use of adjuncts must be done with caution as the gain from using them can provide benefits in one area they can also cause problems in another. The potential for wort with insufficient insoluble nitrogen for yeast growth is increased if the amount of adjuncts used is too high.

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How Long To Ferment When Learning How To Make Beer?

When you are first learning how to make beer, you will see information about primary fermentation and secondary fermentation. It is common for new brewers to wonder just how long it takes to ferment beer. The answer can vary, and there really isn’t one right answer. Many factors influence this, and it comes down to whether you will secondary ferment or not.

First of all, secondary fermentation is actually not fermentation. You do not rack your beer to secondary until after it has completed the fermentation process in the primary. The secondary fermentation is done to clarify and condition the beer, and no actual fermentation takes place. The clarification and conditioning can also be done in the primary fermenter as well. Sound a little confusing?

One reason those just starting to learn how to make beer get confused is because of experiences with kit brewing. Often, these instructions will tell you that your beer will be done fermenting in a week. Although this is possible, this isn’t always true. It is also possible that fermentation is not complete, which can lead to bottle bombs. Or worse, you can experience what is known as a stuck fermentation, in which fermentation stops mid way through and does not complete. This will lead to bad tasting beer.

The key to remember when learning how to make beer is that allowing your beer time to age makes for better beer. It is important to let your beer completely ferment before moving on to the next stage. The simple answer for how long fermentation takes is about 10 days. The time it takes depends on the lag time–how long it takes fermentation to start after the yeast has been pitched. This varies and depends on the type of yeast used, and the condition and age of the yeast. Lag times can be as short as an hour or two, and on up to 72 hours.

As you are learning how to make beer, you will likely read many varying opinions on how long to ferment in the primary. Just because fermentation completes in 7-10 days does not mean your beer is ready to drink. Chances are, it isn’t ready to do anything with just yet. Remember, beer likes time.

Another common mistake among new brewers is not allowing the beer enough time to age in the bottle. You don’t want to drink a beer right after bottling it, or within the first couple weeks of bottling because it is not yet carbonated. Some kits may tell you that your beer is ready to drink after a week in the bottle, but you are better off waiting a couple weeks, as your beer will taste much better.

Then there is the issue of whether or not to secondary ferment. Many home brewers skip this altogether, and instead keep the beer in the primary for a few additional weeks. The secondary clarifies and conditions the beer, but you can also accomplish this in the primary by leaving it in there for a couple additional weeks. This keeps you from having to rack the beer to the secondary and exposing it to the air, which increases the risk potential for contamination.

So why then would you secondary ferment? If you are brewing a lighter colored beer, then the secondary might be better to help with the clarity. If you were to add fruit to your beer, then you will want to do this in the secondary, not the primary. Also, if all you have is a bucket and a carboy, then racking to the second will free up the bucket to brew another batch. This way you will constantly have home brew on hand. On the flip side, you could just purchase an additional fermenter to make this happen.

As far as how long to leave the beer in the primary of you do not secondary, opinions differ. The easy answer is not to bottle right after 10 days. You could if you really wanted to, but the additional time in the fermenter will make your beer much better. In researching this on forums, you will see numbers like 1-2-3 or 3-2-3. These indicate the number of weeks in the primary, secondary and bottles.

If you bypass secondary, then look to leave your beer in the primary for 3 to 4 weeks, and an additional 2-3 weeks in the bottles. Sure, the kit instructions don’t tell you to wait that long, but it will be worth the wait. It’s tough, especially on your first batch, to wait that long to drink the beer, but it will greatly improve your beer.

To avoid the wait, make sure to have an additional fermenter handy so you can always have another batch of brew going, and that will keep you stocked with home brew while waiting on the next batch. Or, make the leap into kegging and cut down on the wait time.

Source

Blichmann BrewEasy RIMS Brewing System Review Part 2 – Brewing Beer

 

BrewEasy during Mash Recirculation

In Part 2 of my Blichmann BrewEasy detailed review I brew some beer, and record my experience and lessons learned with the new system. Last week in Part 1, I gave an overview of the system specs, setup and my first impressions.

[Note – this is a very long post – and full disclosure: Blichmann Engineering is a supporter of the BeerSmith podcast and websites, and affilitate links are used in this article]

The Recipe – A Simple Belgian Wit

I picked a staple beer of mine which I’ve brewed many times – my Belgian Wit. I posted the full recipe on the cloud as brewed here. Its a fairly low gravity 1.050 beer typically made with half barley and half flaked wheat. I switched to 60% barley and 40% wheat for this first brew to avoid a stuck sparge, though my fears turned out to be misplaced as the false bottom on the BrewEasy performed very well. Total grain was only 22.7 lbs (10.3 kg) for a 11 gal (41.6) liter volume into the fermenter.

Test Run and Calibration

I did a quick test run of the system with plain water before brewing on it. I wanted to understand how it worked and also to calibrate the thermometers for accuracy to avoid any surprises on brew day. I added water and started recirculating it with a 100 F set point. I then checked water temperatures on both kettles with both a conventional floating thermometer and digital thermometer and caibrated the Blichmann thermometers to them.

This also gave me a chance to experiment with the auto-sparge arm and correct flow rate for the March pump, which turned out to be about 1/3 open. That way I did not run the risk of running a pot dry or overflowing a pot during actual operation. They were not hard to dial in, but it did take a few minutes to get the right flow rates.

Auto-Sparge Arm

Heating the Mash Water with the BrewEasy

I’m going to go into some detail on operations here, but the operation of the system is relatively simple for a semi-automated system. If you recall from part 1, the BrewEasy is a two vessel system with a March pump that recirculates water from the lower boil kettle into the top of the mash tun, while gravity drains water from the mash tun to the boil kettle.

I filled the boil kettle first with just over 17 gallons of water and started heating the water in it while I assembled the adapter and mash tun. Once I had the pump set and primed I set my strike temperature of 157 F (70C) on the Tower of Power controller and set it to auto and started pumping.

While the mash tun was filling I set the level on the auto-sparge arm (shown in the picture). All you do is adjust the float to close the valve near your desired water volume. I set it to close at roughly an 8 gallon level, dividing the water between the mash and boil kettles. I also installed the drain tube on the bottom of the mash tun so I could recirculate the hot mash water.

Clothes Pin Marking Volumes

To monitor the volumes in both vessels I ended up attaching a clothes pin to the sight glass on each kettle. The etched volume markings are hard to see from a distance, but with the clothes pin I could easily see if the level had changed in either vessel. The boil coil requires a minimum of 5 gallons of water to remain submersed so I also marked that on the sight glass to make sure I did not go below that level.

As the mash tun reached the target volume I throttled down output on the march pump and opened up the drain valve on the mash tun to let the water begin to recirculate. The March 815 pump is capable of pumping around 8 gallons a minute so you don’t want to run it wide open during recirculation. I found a happy medium with the ball valve about 1/3 of the way open. Once you have this dialed in, the auto sparge arm does the rest of the work and maintains a constant volume in both the mash tun and boiler.

Temperature Control

Temperature Sensor on Pump Output

Because the Tower of Power LTE has its temperature sensor on the output of the pump and not on the mash tun itself there is a small difference between the temperature you set on the Tower of Power and the temperature of the mash tun. For most users this is 3-4 F (1-2 C), so I ended up dialing in a temperature of 161 F (71.7 C) to hit my desired 157 F (70 C) dough in for the mash tun.

I personally was well aware of this difference, and found it to be no big deal to add a few degrees when setting temperatures. You can monitor the actual mash temperature using the large thermometer on the mash tun at all times, and its not hard to understand that the boil kettle and pump are going to run a few degrees hotter to maintain the temperature of the mash tun which has no heating element itself.

The unit easily maintained that temperature within less than a degree once it reached steady state.

Doughing In

Doughing In the Grains

Once my strike temperature was reached, I turned off the pump for a minute, closed the valve on the mash tun and doughed in my grains. I was concerned that using so much flaked wheat might result in a stuck sparge, so I removed the drain tube from the mash tun and did a quick vourlauf into a small container. I was happy to see that almost no grain particles made it through the false bottom, so in the future I will likely skip the vourlauf.

Next I had to reset the level on the auto-sparge arm to account for the combined water/grain volume. I set it to be about 2″ above the grains so the grain bed would remain floating.

The drain tube from the mash tun comes with various size rubber grommets that have different size holes to manage the gravity flow into the boiler. I installed the recommended 1.25 gal/min size grommet which gave me a good strong flow without sucking too much water from under the false bottom. Once the tube was in place, I opened the valves and restarted the pump to recirculate.

As soon as I started recirculating again the temperature quickly came up to my target mash temperature of 152 F (67 C). I dialed that temperature into the tower of power controller (plus the 4 degree offset) and let it recirculate.

Spent Grain Bed

Finishing the Mash

The rest of the mash was pretty boring. I had time to clean and prepare some of my chilling/fermenting equipment. I occasionally stirred the top of the grain bed a bit to avoid hot spots, but I was getting very strong recirculation through the bed and no signs of a stuck sparge. The false bottom on the mash tun performed very well. Near the end of the mash I dialed in my mash-out temperature and waited for the system to heat up a bit.

When the mash was complete, all I had to do was turn off the tower of power and pump, and then let the wort drain from the mash tun into the boil kettle. When I had sufficient volume, I turned on the boil-coil heater to start pre-heating the wort for the boil. Once the mash tun was fully drained, I removed the drain tube, lifted off the mash kettle and removed the adapter.

Boiling the Wort

Achieving boiling wort with the 5,000 watt (240 volt) boil coil was not difficult at all. I started running it at 100% power but eventually dialed it down to 90% as the wort started to boil. The 20 gallon (75 l) kettle was more than sufficient for the boil, and I probably could even brew a lower gravity 15 gal (56 l) batch using this system.

This recipe required only a single hop addition. I decided to use a hop bag this time as I was not sure how well the Anvil kettle strainer might perform. However I tossed the coriander and bitter orange peel in with no bag. Again I think my fears were unfounded as the kettle strainer did a great job of separating the wort and trub after the boil.

Therminator Chiller and Thrumometer

Chilling with the Therminator and Thrumometer

The optional Therminator plate chiller chills your wort while you are transferring it to the fermenter. It is set up with cold water flowing in one direction through garden hose fittings, while wort flows in the opposite direction as it travels from the pump to the Therminator and into the fermenter.

I installed the Thrumometer (inline thermometer) on the output between the Therminator and fermenter so I could monitor the temperature of the transfer. Next I just turned on the garden hose cold water supply, and then slowly released the valve on the March pump. You do need to slowly adjust the output flow on the pump until you reach your target fermentation temperature – in my case 68 F (20 C) for the wort. The transfer can be done very quickly – I moved 11 gallons of wort and chilled it from near boiling to 68 F in less than 15 minutes.

The Anvil Kettle strainer actually exceeded my expectations. I had quite a bit of trub from the proteins of the unmalted wheat and also coriander and orange peel additions, and it did a great job of separating them. Even when I dumped the yeast plug in the conical after a few days of fermenting there was very little hop or external sediment in it.

Filling the Fermenter

I used a stainless conical fermenter from SS Brewtech (review coming on that soon), which fills from the bottom so it was not difficult to monitor the volume and temperature of the wort in the fermenter as well.

When I finished, I sealed up the fermenter, aerated with an Anvil Oxygen wand and pitched my yeast starter. The oxygen wand uses disposable oxygen bottles from the hardware store and is one of my new favorite pieces of equipment – pure oxygen can fully aerate a batch in 60-90 seconds. and I’ve also used it on mead and cider.

I did backflush the Therminator immediately using the optional backflush hose. This was the recommended procedure to avoid getting any bits of grain or hops stuck in the plate chiller, and it seemed to be effective.

Cleanup for the rest of the system was pretty straightforward. I rinsed out the mash tun and trub, then recirculated hot PBW through the system first followed by recirculation of clean water. The stainless steel was very easy to clean, and it was also very easy to remove the valves and drain tubes to clean and air those out after brewing.

Fermenting Beer!

Performance and Lessons Learned

My original gravity for the batch was 1.049 actual vs 1.050 planned, which was just fine with me for a first time run. My boil volumes came in a bit high so I did boil a bit longer than planned – I think I got a bit more water out of the grain bed than I might have with a conventional sparge.

One issue some have noted with this system is that the overall brewhouse efficiency runs a bit low – 65-67% in most cases. Again this is not a huge issue for me – brewing a typical 10 gallon (38l) batch I calculated you need roughly 2 lbs (2.2 kg) of extra grain versus a typical 71% efficient system. For the cost of 2 lbs of grain, I’ll probably not spend too much time trying to get an extra percent or two out of the system.

The trub loss, which I had estimated at 0.5 gal (2 l) was actually closer to a gallon (4 liters), probably due to volume lost to the chiller, pump and tubing and not actual trub left in the pot. Overall it turned out to be roughly a wash on volume into the fermenter. Likely the slighly low gravity was related to my volumes being a bit off.

A few lessons I learned along the way:

  • The test run to calibrate the thermometers was worthwhile as one thermometer was off a bit and it also taught me how to dial in the auto-sparge arm and manage the pump.
  • As mentioned, you need to set the mash temp on the controller a few degrees higher than your desired mash temperature (3-4 F or 1-2 C)
  • Throttle the output on the pump to 1/3 or less when recirculating the mash, as the March pump which moves 8 gal/min (24 l/min) will otherwise drain the boil kettle.
  • Use waterproof gloves when adjusting the sparge arm – I tried to adjust it by hand after doughing in with 156F water and found out quickly why that was a bad idea!
  • Twice I forgot to hit “enter” on the Tower of Power when adjusting temperatures. This is purely a user error as the darn thing flashes while you are setting it, but it did slow me down at one point as the system was still holding the “old” set temperature.
  • The false bottom on the mash tun and Anvil Kettle strainer performed better than I expected, so I would not hesitate to do a 50% wheat grist in the future or use unbagged hops.
  • After my first batch I did add an additional “purge valve” on the inlet of the pump only to make it much easier to prime the pump. This is not a problem with the BrewEasy, but with just about any brewing pump (which are not self-priming). Adding a small valve makes it easy to purge air from the inlet hose and prime the pump quickly.

Overall Impression

Though the Blichmann BrewEasy system has been out for several years now, I think the system is still a top performer and competitively priced when you compare it against other 10 gal (38 l) turnkey brewing systems. Currently single vessel (BAIB-style) systems are its only real competition near this price point and I believe the BrewEasy offers more flexibility for the brewer to reconfigure or expand their system later, reusing the BrewEasy kettles, pump and controller. Even low gravity 15 gal (56 l) batches are possible using this system. The quality is simply outstanding.

As far as negatives, I am considering changing out the plastic polysulfite head on the March pump for a Chugger stainless head, but that’s relatively inexpensive and requires removing only four screws. The polysulfite head performs well, but considering everything else is stainless, I might just spring for the replacement head. The only other negative for some may be the slightly low brewhouse efficiency (65-67% vs 70-72% for a typical system) but as I pointed out that’s only an extra 2 lbs (1 kg) or so of grain per batch to compensate, which is a small expense.

I did find it easy to manage the recirculating mash system. All I really had to do is set the auto-sparge arm level for my desired volume and dial back the output on the pump to about 1/3 to maintain a constant recirculation. The tower of power was simple to operate once you realized you need to add 3-4 degrees F to the set temperatures to achieve a given mash temperature. The kettles and false bottom performed flawlessly and were easy to clean up.

Boiling was simple thanks to the powerful 5,000 watt boil coil, and when I paired the BrewEasy March pump with the (optional) Blichmann’s Therminator chiller and his Anvil Kettle Strainer it took less than 15 minutes to take 10 gal (38 l) of wort from a boiling hot kettle to 68 F (20 C) in the fermenter.

Overall I’m very impressed with the Blichmann BrewEasy. As I mentioned in part 1 of the review the G2 kettles and stainless fittings are works of art, and I have little doubt that I could hand them down to my son when I’m too old to brew anymore. The boil-coil has plenty of power for the system and the Tower of Power controller is simple to use and flexible. The March 815 pump provides plenty of wort-moving capability and can be used in a variety of ways during brewing, transfer and cleanup.

How good is it? We’ll I’ve converted my old mash tun into a chill water source for my conical fermenter now, and I’m seriously considering giving away my old pots from the 1990’s which are now gathering dust in the garage. Even my old rusted propane burner may soon make its way to the dump.

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