American Craft Beer Prices – Again!

February 10th, 2018 by scot

American craft beer prices continue to climb. There seems to be no stop in site. It drives me to home brew more often in spite of a crazy busy day-to-day schedule.

This most recent rant on American craft beer prices was brought out by the purchases I recently made at the local box beer store. Severn different American craft beers were purchased with an overall cost of $96.93 (excluding tax). Side note: this was the first American craft beer purchase in several months. Below is a list of the purchases:

Only one beer under $10.00. And, that beer, when I originally had it was only $6.99. That is a $2.00 price hike or, more meaningful, a 28.6% price hike. Other beers, on the list above, that I have reviewed on Two Beer Dudes, have had similar price hikes (why logging this crap is so important).

According to the graphic ( some 52% of the cost of American craft beer comes from the distributor and retail markups. Never thought it was that much. Wait. Why does beer still cost so much when purchased directly from the brewery?

This isn’t my first rodeo discussing (complaining) about American craft beer prices…

Past articles on American craft cost:

Some of the articles above were speculative. Surprisingly, possibly not, but some of those have come true. Especially the post on American craft beer limited lease price increases.

What is next?

The only way that change will occur: people have to stop paying the rising prices for American craft beer. But, the fever is on, it is the in thing. This is scary similar to the wine industry some 15 – 20 years ago.

Prediction: I think that the American craft beer bubble is going to burst in the next three to five years.

In the meantime, make mine a home brew. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations of the first four moves in Chess.

Brewed: Why So Serious?

February 9th, 2018 by scot

Snowy day while brewing why so serious?

Why So Serious? American double India pale ale (DIPA) was brewed the morning that 12 inches of snow was finishing up. It made for a great outdoor photo, similar to the morning that I brewed with the Afro Six-Nine.

The evening of brew day, into the next morning, accounted for another six inches of snow. Nothing makes for a better day of brewing than the stealthy measures the snow uses to fall.

The name of the home brew is actually my feelings about the American craft beer industry; I recently wrote about American craft beer prices. The industry has warped into this ridiculously serious market as the number of breweries increase and competition for shelf space as well as customer dollars has increased pressure for the ever increasing cost of equipment.

I get it, but what ever happened to some of those fun American DIPA beers from the west coast that dominated up until a few years ago. I can’t find them. If I do, they typically aren’t fresh, therefore, if they don’t have date, I don’t touch them. This beer pays homage to those fun days of American craft beer gone forever.

Another movie quote name. Expect to see a few more. This one is from The Dark Knight, one of my favorite movies of all time.

Formulating the recipe for Why So Serious? American double IPA

Making an American DIPA was something that I really enjoyed: bitter, hoppy, and table sugar to dry. Forget about the malts…mostly. The malt was there to provide a malt backbone that was neutral, trying to balance, somewhat, without stepping anywhere near the path of the hops flavor, aroma, and bitterness. Oh, that beer needed some alcohol and needed to be have pristine clarity.

West coast hops: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus quickly come to mind. I didn’t have Chinook (really like that pine). I had to do my best with the other 3 Cs.

Vienna malt was added for a touch of malt character and complexity. Sublteness is the intent. It is also a malt I have been waiting/wanting to use from sometime.

The aroma on this beer while fermenting was enormous, it filled up the basement, greeting the senses half-way down the steps. Hopefully all of the goodness didn’t ferment out. Enjoy!

Recipe for Why So Serious? American double IPA

General Information:
Brew Date: Friday, February 09, 2018
Day: 25*F, cloudy, snowing (12″)
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04 (2), hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.081
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 127.5
Color: 5.0 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 66.93%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Calories per ounce: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 10 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
14.00 pounds American 2-Row
2.00 pounds Vienna
1.00 pound Table Sugar

Saccharification @150.7*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounce 2015 Cascade @first wort
1.00 ounce 2015 Centennial @first wort
2.00 ounces 2015 Centennial @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Columbus @5 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Centennial whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Columbus whirlpool, 20 minutes
4.00 ounces 2015 Cascade whirlpool, 10 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Cascade dry hop, 3 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Centennial dry hop, 3 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Columbus dry hop, 3 days

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls


  • 2018-02-10 (morning): @62.7*F, no/slow fermentation.
  • 2018-02-10 (evening): @61.3*F, slow fermentation. Put on heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-02-11 (evening): @66.7*F, great fermentation/aroma.
  • 2018-02-13 (morning): @67.6*F, great fermentation/aroma. Set heat at 70.0*F.
  • 2018-02-13 (evening): @69.4*F, good fermentation. Slowing.
  • 2017-02-16: @68.0*F, no visual fermentation. Took off heat blanket.

Useless Fact: 53% of women in America would dump their boyfriend if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day.

Trade, Oregon edition

January 31st, 2018 by Matt Schreiner

So I never got around to Ohio, Fresh Hop part 2, but I had a new one to me last night from a friend named Phil who is a recent transplant to Oregon. He sent me a Pelican Brewing’s Mother of All Storms (which will be shared with a certain beer dude at some point), a bottle of Hair of the Dog’s Matt (for obvious reasons, a beer I’ve always wanted to try), and two cans of STICKY HANDS, an IPA from Block 15 out of Corvallis Oregon.

The first thing I can say about it is it was brewed December 19th, 2017, and I had the first one between January 10th and 14th, and it was amazing. The second thing I can say about it is it is not a beer to let age more than three to four weeks, as while it was amazing, it definitely wasn’t as good as it was when fresher. I guess that’s why the can reads “best before yesterday”.

Any way, it’s a fun looking beer. It’s a very cloudy gold orange with slight foam and lacing, plenty of particulates and carbonation. The smell is straight up danky hops, with a slight mild citrus presence. Taste starts with a dank bitterness than opens up into hoppiness and citrus and pine flavors. It’s not as crisp and booming as it was when fresher, but it still has plenty of hop presence and flavor. It’s a dry beer, but very mouth filling with a strong alcohol presence. It’s an easy sipper and a very good beer, and I’d look forward to trying it again, only this time finishing them all off right off the bat instead of letting any age too long.

Brewed: Loblolly

January 27th, 2018 by scot

loblolly coffee oatmeal stout boil

Loblolly coffee oatmeal stout came about as I am constantly bombarded by the great aromas of specialty coffees at work. I am not a coffee drinker though, I am an appreciative stalker of the fantastic aromas that I waft each and every day.

It made me think back to my coffee experiment a couple of years ago. I found in that experiment that I appreciated the 1.0 ounce per gallon of coffee version the best. I knew that I had to add approximately this amount of coffee to the beer post fermentation.

Formulating the recipe for with the Loblolly Coffee Oatmeal Stout

I had to figure the best way to get coffee in the beer. Two processes crossed my mind:

  • Rack the beer on top of coffee juice into secondary.
  • Using a funnel, pour the coffee juice directly into primary, post fermentation.

The first option requires an extra step, racking to secondary, that I didn’t want to do. Lazy. I have grown accustom to making NEIPAs, dry hopping directly in primary, therefore secondary is no longer an option I prefer. Still, I know that pouring the coffee juice into primary, post fermentation, could and would introduce oxygen into the beer.

The aforementioned coffee juice was created via a simple process:

  • I had the coffee ground “normal”. Not fine and not coarse.
  • Place a coffee filter (large) into a bowl that was plenty big.
  • Put the coffee inside the filter.
  • Fill the bowl with enough vodka to cover the coffee grounds. Note: take into account that the filter will soak up liquid until is is saturated.
  • Place a plastic bag on top of the cold steeped coffee juice.
  • Steep for a few days.

This is the basic process that I use for most steeping. The vodka doesn’t add flavor or aroma but kills any microbes that may be hiding in the ingredients that are used to make the juice additive.

I hope this beer comes out well. Enjoy!

Recipe for Loblolly Coffee Oatmeal Stout

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, December 31, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.061
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 59.7
Color: 3.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61.55%
Alcohol by Volume: 5.12%
Calories per ounce: ~16.5
Primary Fermentation: start @62*F, slow rise for 3 days @70*F

Grain Bill:
8.00 pounds Maris Otter
2.00 pounds Flaked Oats
1.00 pounds Roasted Barley
10.0 ounces Chocolate Malt
0.50 pounds Caramel 80L
0.50 pounds Cara Malt

Saccharification @156.9*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Magnum @60 minutes

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls

loblolly oatmeal stout used big shoulders uganda coffee


  • 2018-01-27: @62.4*F, slow fermentation.
  • 2018-01-28 (morning): @60.9*F, faint fermentation.
  • 2018-01-28 (afternoon): @60.6*F, faint fermentation. Put on heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-01-29 (morning): @67.9*F, great fermentation.
  • 2018-01-29 (evening): @67.1*F, nary fermentation. Set heat at @70.0*F.
  • 2018-01-30 (evening): @70.1*F, fermentation finished.
  • 2018-02-04: took off heat.
  • 2018-02-07: @58.1*F, added juice from vodka and 4 ounces of coffee.
  • 2018-02-10: kegged.

Useless Fact: Standing anywhere in the state of Michigan a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.

Home Brewing Keg Beer Line Cleaner

January 22nd, 2018 by scot

Being new to kegging my home brewing endeavors, each and every process I partake is new. Since I am a logical person, processes are always met with a why and how may I do it easier and cheaper. Sometimes, I even wonder if the step is necessary.

Cleaning the tap lines after use seemed to be one of those perfect processes for questioning:

  • How often does this need to be done?
  • What is the process for cleaning?
  • Is there only one way to clean?
  • Why should it be done?
  • What supplies/equipment is/are needed to clean the lines.

Doing a search for tap lines cleaning quickly brought up the purchase our product and do it this way solution. In fact, the SEO for that process must be awesome as it was listed multiple times in the search engine results. I didn’t like the price tag. There had to be home made examples that would cost half as much or less.

Of course, finding them wasn’t hard. There were videos of the build and cleaning process. I liked the $20 for the solution. I decided to write about it to help get the word out, highlight the videos I used and give an actual part list.

Part list:

  1. Flo Master 56HD (~$6.99) – pick this up at home depot. It is in the lawn and garden section.
  2. 3/8″ brass flare tip connector (~$1.69) – pick this up at home depot as well.
  3. Firestone keg liquid post (~$14.99). There is a link in the first video to buy one on line but bring the brass flare time connector with you to the local home brew shop and you will have it immediately.
  4. Teflon tap. Come on, any DYI will have this laying around.

Three notes about the build:

  1. I had to use a wrench to fully get the flare tip connector into the Flo Master. Be careful as to not over tighten.
  2. The picture is a close up of how the pieces go together on the Flo Master. Somewhat hard to see in the videos.
  3. This should not leak!

Watch the videos on how to put it together: much easier than trying to explain. The two videos, that together combine to give the parts list, as well as how to assemble and use the beer line cleaner, are both included below.

Useless Fact: A giraffe can run faster then a horse, and can live without water longer than a camel.

Tasted: with the Afro Six-Nine

January 14th, 2018 by scot

It is snowing outside, the temperatures are in the teens, no better time than the present for a home brew. with the Afro Six-Nine seems to be the prefect beer for the present moment. Of course this fits the bill of a North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA).

Look: Pours golden yellow. Somewhat hazy, could possibly call it cloudy. Nice white foam covers, about an inch thick. Retention is above average. Lacing is thick, coating and throughout.

Aroma: The nose is big on the hops. Passion fruit, peach and some berry mingles. Ripe! Gentle sweetness. The aroma is huge!

Taste: Light sweetness balances a huge hop flavor. Ripe passion fruit and peach are prevalent. The hops linger into finish along with a sidecar of sweetness.

Body: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Crisp and dry. Bitterness is minimal.

Overall: There is huge aroma on this beer. Definitely the star. Taste is solid. Overall a good example of the style. The hops work well together.

My first kegged NEIPA. Being able to get a small snort is so much more enjoyable than having to finish a 22 ounce bomber all the time. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Most lipstick contains fish scales.

Brewed: Leaner Saison (d)

January 6th, 2018 by scot

Leaner saison has been a go home brew of mine for quite some time. Unfortunately I only blogged about in 2016, when I made a version of leaner saison with mosiac hops.

Blogging on version d of leaner saison is more of an exercise than it is to log the beer. Four iterations of the beer with minimal changes (yeast and hop), leave little to document.

Formulating the recipe for Leaner Saison (d)

The reason I decided to brew leaner saison: I had another satchel of Lallemand Belle Saison yeast that needed using before expiration. It had been sitting for at least four months, from the late summer, with thoughts that it would have been used rather quickly.

I could have decided on other saison recipe I have on hand or formulated a new one. I chose leaner saison as it’s versatility lends itself to small tweaks:

  1. rye, as I enjoy the profile in a beer.
  2. left over Azacca hops needed to be used.
  3. been wanting a home brewed saison since the summer.

Let’s hope the first beer of 2018 will be fantastic. Enjoy!

Recipe for with the Leaner Saison (d)

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, January 06, 2018
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lallemand Belle Saison, hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.062
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 40.6
Color: 4.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.41%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Calories per ounce: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 1/2 day @66*F, slow rise for 2 days to 78*F

Grain Bill:
10.00 pounds Pilsner
3.00 pounds Rye Malt
0.25 pounds Oats

Saccharification @149.2*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @20 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Azacca @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Azacca whirlpool, 20 minutes, started at flameout

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls


  • 2018-01-06 @6:00pm: @65.6*F, little fermentation. Added heat at 68.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @7:30am: @66.5*F. Moved heat up to 71.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @1:00pm: @70.2*F. Moved heat up to 73.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07 @6:00pm: @71.9*F. Moved heat up to 75.0*F.
  • 2018-01-08 @6:30am: @73.4*F. Moved heat up to 78.0*F.
  • 2018-01-08 @7:30pm: @77.8*F. Great fermentation.
  • 2018-01-10 @7:15pm: turned off heat.
  • 2018-01-20: kegged.

Useless Fact: In the movie “Ocean’s 11,” Brad Pitt’s character is eating something at the beginning of each scene.

Brewed: with the Afro Six-Nine

December 31st, 2017 by scot

Last day of 2017 creates a great backdrop for home brewing with the Afro Six-Nine

Home brewing provides the opportunity to pull inspiration from just about anywhere. with the Afro Six-Nine took that inspiration from the movie Fletch. The follow up beer to Fat Sam, with the Afro Six-Nine once again takes inspiration from Fletch; a movie that would be on my list of movies I would need to survive being stranded on an island.

Rather than taking a character, this beer takes a scene from the movie that just sticks with me; some may not even find it funny. It doesn’t really add to the overall movie but captures the main character day dreaming. It reminds me of the countless ridiculous circumstances my mind places me in.

And, yes, I like Fletch 2 as well and was hoping the rumors that came out a few years ago about a remake with Ed Helms were going to be true. Alas, my daydreaming can only hope.

Formulating the recipe for with the Afro Six-Nine NEIPA

I won’t bore you with that fact that this is yet another version of a NEIPA; I think I am getting close to twelve. This version is spurred on by two facts:

  • Lack of Focus NEIPA
  • Changing the timing of the dry hop addition.

Lack of Focus was a NEIPA that I home brewed back in October. Due to time constraints, and quite possibly laziness, I never cold crashed the beer. It had the largest dry hop by weight I had ever done in a NEIPA. I was trying to achieve muckiness, it was supreme muckiness.

In order to get said muckiness, I am changing the dry hop timing by placing it at high krausen. My thinking is this should bond the hops more as they seem to fall out a bit quickly.

Looking forward to this beer. I do have one hesitation: potentially the lack of tropical fruit in the hops. Enjoy!

Recipe for with the Afro Six-Nine Neipa

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, December 31, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.061
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 59.7
Color: 3.8 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.41%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.69%
Calories per ounce: ~16.6
Primary Fermentation: 2 days @64*F, slow rise for 5 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
10.00 pounds American 2-Row
2.50 pounds Flaked Oats
1.00 pounds Carafoam

Saccharification @155.0*F

Hop Bill:
3.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @10 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @10 minutes
3.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy whirlpool, 20 minutes
2.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo dry hop, 4 days
2.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe dry hop, 4 days
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy dry hop, 4 days

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls


  • 2018-01-01: @63.5*F, slow fermentation. Added blankets to trap fermentation heat.
  • 2018-01-02 (morning): @71.7*F, hard fermentation. Removed blanket.
  • 2018-01-02 (evening): @68.1*F, good fermentation. Added dry hops. Put on heat at 69.0*F.
  • 2018-01-05: cold crashed at 37.0*F.
  • 2018-01-07: kegged.

Useless Fact: A typical pencil can draw a line that is 35 miles long.

Tasted: Fat Sam NEIPA

December 3rd, 2017 by scot

Fat Sam – the inspiration for this beer.

Fat Sam NEIPA is yet another North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA). Are you tired of them yet? I am not. My senses love the hops.

I think I may have finally found a winner. The combination of Mosiac, Citra and Rakau hops are ridiculous. There is good sweetness to this beer that brings me into the NEIPA territory.

I have had multiple today and I looking for my third!

Look: Typical NEIPA that I have been brewing over the past year: brilliant, light gold color. Hazy. Big white foam. Slightly rocky as it begins to recede. Great retention and sticky lace.

Aroma: The hops are huge here! Ripe tropical fruits: mango, pineapple, and papaya as well as stone fruits: apricot and peach. Nice balancing sweetness.

Taste: The cornucopia of hops continues: mango, papaya and apricot are strongest, lingering. There is a bigger sweetness than I have had in more recent NEIPA attempts. Minimal to no bitterness.

Body: Medium body. Medium/light carbonation. Crisp but not overly dry.

Overall: This beer blows away She Doesn’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl in every sense. The best NEIPA I have brewed. No question! Easy to drink. Mild enough on the senses to have multiple. Alcohol starts to sneak.

I have been searching for that crazy hop profile for my person NEIPA on high. I have finally achieved it. I could have left it at Mosiac and Citra but I think the Rakau mingles and plays like a pro with those other two big boys. I have already looked into picking up more hops to allow further brew days but, unfortunately, it looks like Farmhouse Brew Supply is out of them. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: In 2007, the CIA released documents that revealed the agency’s collaboration with the italian mafia in a failed 1960 attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Trade, Ohio Fresh Hop Edition Part One

November 15th, 2017 by Matt Schreiner

So I think I had the next two beers I’m going to blog about last year, and I jotted notes on them and intended to include them in a big comparison of fresh hop beers, but I just never got around to it. So since they’re both beers I got in trades from a state I have yet to review, I figure I’ll do a blog about each of them. I could do a comparison tasting, but I’d rather let each be judged upon their own merits.

So, the first one is Hop Stalker by Fat Head’s Brewery out of Middleburg Heights, Ohio. I received it from a guy named David who I hadn’t traded with before. He actually sent me a couple of Ohio beers, but let’s just stay with the fresh hops. This one was bottled 10/4, so it’s about six weeks old.

The first thing about this beer that jumped out at me was the big smell of hops. Fresh, citrusy, and dank, yes, even at this age. It’s got a cloudy bronze tint to it that gets darker the higher in the glass, plus a creamy looking lacing and a constant carbonation stream. I think the taste has faded slightly, but it’s still got a healthy fresh citrus mixed with dankness and a bit of bitterness. I’m kind of surprised how not bitter it is for an 80 IBU beer, plus it’s rather crisp and clean with little evidence that it’s 7 percent ABV.

I think the thing I like best about it, other than the smell, is how balanced it is with citrusy hoppy flavor and the mild amount of bitterness.

A rather quite enjoyable beer.

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