Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

American Craft Beer Prices – Again!

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

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.

Trade, Oregon edition

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

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.

Tasted: with the Afro Six-Nine

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

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)

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

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.

Tasted: Fat Sam NEIPA

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

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

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

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.

Brewed: Lala American Barleywine

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Lala American Barleywine was originally brewed last year for my second annual family reunion held on New Year’s day at my house. I brewed it three months early, it was all set for gathering. Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience carbonating high gravity home brews, the beer didn’t carbonate completely, basically leaving it flat. Being the first time I had officially and specifically brewed a home brew for my extended family, I decided not server that beer. Furthermore, after almost a year in the bottle, I decided to pour it out.

It was time to brew this beer again, hopefully in time for the third annual New Year’s day reunion. Since last year, I had looked into how to get a high gravity beer carbonated in the bottle. My local home brew shop has some very useful information (yes, I still like brick and mortar). They told me to use CBC-1 – Danstar yeast that is made for cask and bottle conditioning. Due to the high level of alcohol hydrating the yeast will be a must as well.

Formulating the recipe for Lala American Barleywine

The recipe isn’t any different than last time, from a percentage of ingredient standpoint. I took the 5.5 gallon recipe and pared it down to 3.0 gallons. If I screwed something up this time around, I didn’t want to be “stuck” with throwing away so much time and effort.

I did brew this about a month later than last year. I am worried about how harsh this beer might be, especially after the high fermentation temperature. I thought it was cool enough that the temperature wouldn’t shoot up, plus, as mentioned, I don’t brew high gravity all that often. I wasn’t expecting such a big boost in temperature. It should have been placed on temperature control. Lesson for next time. Enjoy!

Recipe for Lala American Barleywine

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05 and S-04, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 3.0
Original Gravity: 1.077
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 92.5
Color: 9.3 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 120
Brewhouse Efficiency: N/A
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 30 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
7.50 pounds American 2-Row
6.00 pounds German Pilsner
0.50 pounds Carapils
0.50 pounds Caramel 60*L

Saccharification @152.3*F

Hop Bill:
2.00 ounces 2016 Magnum @90 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Cascade @5 minutes

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


  • 2017-10-22: @68.7*F, added S-05 and @-04 packet.
  • 2017-10-23: @74.3*F, great fermentation, just too hot.
  • 2017-10-24: @72.1*F, great fermentation, still a bit hot.
  • 2017-10-26: @66.9*F, slow, at best, fermentation, put on heat @70.0*F to finish out.

Useless Fact: When California joined the Union, the capital was San Jose, then they tried to move to Vallejo and finally settled on Sacramento in 1854.

Brewed: Lack of Focus

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Lack of Focus is a description of how I feel when it comes to home brewing. I go through periods of time where I am laser focused, not able to find enough time to brew all the ideas that are floating around in my head. These periods, with home brewing, typically last for months on end. Unfortunately, I recently have lost that focus. I no longer have an edge for home brewing. I need my mojo back!

I decided to spend some time cleaning my brewing kettle with steel wool. As you can see in the picture, it looks brand new. It sparkles. The trick is to clean it well after each use, rather than letting crap accumulate.

Formulating the recipe for Lack of Focus

Staying with Northeast India pale ales, I decided to try another first: oats and wheat. I am trying to get the hazy but glowing orange color that off the shelf NEIPAs display. Searching other recipes led me to the wheat and oat combo.

Over dry hopping could be a good cause for the lack of glow. I am begging to believe I have so much hop trub in suspension that it fights off the glow.

Bottling Day

Staying with my lack of focus theme, I forgot to cold crash this beer. I also added all ten ounces of dry hops at once. I was thinking of splitting them between primary and true dry hop but my schedule got the best of me. I threw them in together. Too much hop material without a cold crash. The beer was soupy, green. I should have paid more attention to the process. 24-48 hour at 37*F would have dropped it clean. Instead, I poured it out. My first drain pour of a non-sour beer in brewing career. So many first. Enjoy!

Recipe for Lack of Focus

General Information:
Brew Date: Sunday, October 01, 2017
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05, not hydrated
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.054
Finishing Gravity: N/A
IBU: 61.6
Color: 4.9 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.61%
Alcohol by Volume: N/A
Primary Fermentation: 8 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
5.50 pounds Maris Otter
3.00 pounds 2-row
1.50 pounds Oats
1.00 pounds Munich
1.00 pounds Red Wheat

Saccharification @152.3*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @ first wort
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @15 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Sincoe @10 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @5 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @0 minutes
1.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @0 minutes
4.00 ounces 2015 Amarillo @4 day dry hop
4.00 ounces 2015 Simcoe @4 day dry hop
2.00 ounces 2015 Galaxy @4 day dry hop

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
4.0 quarts of rice hulls
~5.25 gallons of reverse osmosis water used


  • 2017-10-02 (morning): @68.1*F, added S-05 packet.
  • 2017-10-03: @69.3*F, good fermentation.
  • 2017-10-05: @66.5*F, added dry hops, put on heat @70.0*F.
  • 2017-10-10: Attempted to bottle. Drain poured as I didn’t cold crash. Ten ounces of dry hops to much to handle – complete muck!

Useless Fact: Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

Trade, Georgia edition

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

In thoughts of the state that today’s beer came from, I am writing about Scofflaw Brewing Company’s Basement, an IPA from an Atlanta brewery. It was in the big box of much goodness from Ryan. a very generous chap. It was canned sometime in July, but I can’t quite make out the exact day since it was a bit blurry.

It pours a very cloudy tannish orange mix, a thick healthy creamy head and lacing. I poured it a while ago and there’s about a centimeter or two of foam still on it.

Smell is dank and lemony with a slight bitterness on the back end. Taste is interesting. It’s got a bitter tang up front, then follows that with a juicy citrusy hoppiness. I’ll be honest, it’s not the best tasting beer I’ve had. The description says it’s brewed with all citra hops, and it doesn’t remind me of any other citra hop beer I’ve ever had. It’s got a creamy and smooth feel that might be the best part of it.

Not a bad beer, but not great. I was curious about it, so I’m glad I at least got to try it.

Trade, Iowa Edition

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Time for another beer from a trade, time for another beer blog.

This one is Fire, Skulls, and Money from Toppling Goliath in Decorah Iowa. It was acquired from Ben in Wisconsin, who is my source for TG bottles.

It looks like the typical Northeast style IPA, very cloudy and orange juice tint with mild head and creamy lacing.

Smell is a blend of juicy citrus with a mild bitterness in the background.

Taste is also a blend of citrusy hops with a mild bitterness that’s a bit stronger than I usually expect from the style, but it’s pretty well balanced.

It’s a very clean, creamy, and full bodied beer with a gentle alcohol presence.

All in all, a rather straight forward Northeast Style IPA, but a rather tasty one.

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