Beer Review: Road Trip Snacks (Panther Island Brewing)

Road Trip Snacks by Panther Island Brewing

I’ m not sure what beaver nuggets are…. but I like them (at least in beer). Never heard of them, have no idea of them, but this was a damn tasty fine beer, so I’m all for them. This was in the beer mail package from Texas, and made for a great grilling beer. (Dinner for breakfast was made.)

So, did a quick search (Google search) for beaver nuggets. (Just typed in beaver nuggets). First thing up is an Amazon item, for Beaver Nuggets (r) by Buc-ee’s. The description for the item says: “Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets are the number one snack item in the Buc-ee’s store! These beaver nuggets are a delicious caramel coated corn pop snack. Great treat for Buc-ee’s fans.” (Amazon)

Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets (on sale on Amazon.com)

Not gonna lie, tempted to order a bag of these, just to see if their as good as the beer is. Tempted. (Read: not really gonna do it, but I am tempted / thinking about it).

Texas Beer Mail Package

One of the several beers I got from Texas; Road Trip Snacks is brewed by Panther Island Brewing. Panther Island Brewing is a microbrewery from Fort Worth Texas. Untappd lists them with 132 unique beers and a global average rating of 3.7 (as of 5.8.20). Their description reads: “We are local to Fort Worth. Born and raised. Texas through and through. We offer beer that is brewed by people that give a crap about what beer tastes like. We have 4 core beers available year round and brew specialty beer every season. We also have small batch unique beers that we pour in-house only. We open to the public on Thursday and Friday from 4pm – 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm – 10pm. We love live music and often have local artists play when we are open. The selection of food trucks we have on site for our tours is always different and unique. We are available for private bookings for corporate events, fundraisers, weddings, birthdays, receptions, etc. Contact us at amber@PantherIslandBrewing.com for more information.”.

Road Trip Snacks by Panther Island Brewing

Beer: Road Trip Snacks
Brewery: Panther Island Brewing
Style: Brown Ale – English
ABV: 6%
IBU: None
Untappd Description:

Brown Ale brewed with Buc-ee’s Famous Beaver Nuggets.

*Buc-ee’s, Ltd. is the owner of the Beaver Nuggets mark, and that Buc-ee’s, Ltd. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse or sponsor, the beer.

This lives up to its style’s namesake – it is a brown beauty. Very thin, (barely there) head. Few bubbles. But thick, pouring, heavy looking beer. Appearance there isn’t a whole lot to say about this beer, its unassuming.

Cracking the tab, you get super rich maple aroma right away. Some deep complex caramel malts get mixed in, but this is extremely maple, like maple bacon candy, like maple syrup, a very good, rich, dense maple flavor. It smells extremely delicious right from the opening of the can, especially if you love maple syrup (or at least the smell of it).

I found this very delicious. I could see it going the other way for people, but I personally really liked it. The reason is that it is like a maple syrup and caramel malt bomb exploding in your mouth. It has a very thick mouthfeel, almost a little cloying, but it is very rich (sets off ‘diabeeeeeetus’ alarm bells), very sweet, very maple, very caramel malt. There isn’t really a massive amount of other flavors or complexities, but there is a lot of maple, (a LOT), and an underbody to this of caramel malt that supports all that maple flavor. There is a slight ‘nut’ flavoring to this, either imparted from this being a brown ale or from the Beaver Nuggets; not sure. Like I said, these combinations either work for you, or they don’t. It did for me, it might not for others (or you).

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.84 (as of 5.8.20).

Cheers everyone. Remember two days til mother’s day. Get your mom something nice!

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Thursday (2016) (Cycle Brewing Company)

Thursday by Cycle Brewing Company (2016 vintage)

When in Rome… or when its Thursday and your beer is called Thursday, right? How can you not drink a beer called Thursday…. on any other day than Thursday? It’d be sacrilege otherwise! Heresy one might even say!

So here I am, late on a Thursday, enjoying a big, bold, deep, dark, delicious, four year aged stout. And this is a fine beer. And today was a day where I “earned” me this big bad stout. Early in the day, I stopped at the Central PA Blood Bank (by appointment, with my mask), and donated. I then braved humans and did my grocery shopping at Karn’s. Then home I did a lot of small chores about the house (mainly food prep.) So, like I said, I deserved this beer.

Blood Donation time

I cannot stress the importance of donating blood, especially at this crucial time. Blood is a premium right now, and unfortunately many who could donate before, no longer can (or are afraid to). Google or look up your local blood bank and contact them. It is safe, relatively pain free, and every donation can save up to three lives.

Ok, time for me to step down from my soap box, and move on.

Florida beer mail

In another local for local style trade, I sent two friends in Florida ten beers from local breweries – Pizza Boy, Tattered Flag, Boneshire Brew Works, Rubber Soul, and Ever Grain. In return, they sent me two Cycle Brewing bottles. Buddy Shots (2020) and Thursday (2016).

So I waited for a nice Thursday to drink the Thursday. Saving the Buddy Shots to drink with D. Scott or during one of our podcasts, so we can share it around. Once again, thats just obvious, it writes itself. As a famed director once said, “Its like poetry… it rhymes.” (Bonus points if you tell me in the comments section who said that!)

Alright, enough meandering talk, lets get to the beer review!

Thursday by Cycle Brewing

Beer: Thursday (2016)
Brewery: Cycle Brewing Company
Vintage: 2016
Style: Stout – American Imperial / Double
ABV: N/A
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (Maple DOS). We let the maple syrup barrels do their thing.

The 2016 version on Untappd doesn’t list an ABV. But the 2015 version does – 11%. The 2020 vintage lists it as 11.5%. So most likely the 2016 version is similar. (11-11.5%). Cycle Brewing Company is a micro brewery from St. Petersburg Florida. Untappd has them listed with 642 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.21. They have no description listed.

This pours out dark and heavy looking, foreboding one might say. Its black, and to pull out my trope one more time – Razor Ramon hair black. It has a nice brown creamy head. Interspersed and varied bubbles on the top, nice lacing on the glass as its drank. Quality stout all around.

Aroma is mostly bourbon. Thats forefront, center, left, and right of this beer. As soon as I popped the cap I was getting strong bourbon barrel notes. Theres not much else aroma-wise. Perhaps some hint of maple, but I’m not really getting it. The extra four years of cellaring might have worn the aroma thin on this.

Flavor is good, nice, tasty, heavy bourbon barrel, little notes of wood, but no real true taste of maple. The mouthfeel is a little bit thin, but it still has a strong presence. I think the maple and the thinness are probably a result of the four years of cellaring. The thinness isn’t too much of a problem. There is no off flavors, or cloying or sweetness; which I figured some sweetness due to the maple, but its not present. It still has a good boozy bite to it, but as it warms and as you sip it, the bite mellows and it just becomes pretty smooth. Full warmed up, this is just a nice sipping bourbon heavy stout. By this point you don’t taste the (presumably) 11%, but you certainly know its there.

I think maybe four years is a bit too long to sit on this and age. Two years is probably the sweet spot for it. Would be interesting to have tried this fresh, for comparison’s sake.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.27 (as of 5.7.20)

Sadly, I don’t have a Friday, so I can’t do that tomorrow. But make sure to check back in tomorrow for another post!

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Beer Education: Module Seven: Fermentation and Maturation

Up to module seven now, lucky number seven, and completing it on May sixth. I’m a little behind schedule (module nine just got released two days ago – Monday, the fourth), but lovely thing about this MOOC and doing online learning, I can play catch-up.

As per usual, the first page is an introduction video for the module. This one is a minute and twenty-eight seconds, and she discusses the module, fermentation, maturation, and that they have the head brewer of Orval as one of the guests for this module.

Our next page is a text overview page. It has a list of terms and definitions.

  • Fermentation – The process by which yeast cells convert sugars present in wort into ethanol, carbon dioxide and flavor compounds.
  • Green Beer – Immature beer. After fermentation but before maturation.
  • Maturation – Can also be called conditioning or secondary fermentation (most notably in the US). (There is also WARM CONDITIONING and COLD CONDITIONING.)
  • Bottle refermentation – Commonly called bottle conditioning. How most home brewers finish carbonation of their beers.

After the list of vocab words there’s a diagram explaining the steps. Starting with cooled wort and propagated yeast, to pitching, pitched wort, fermentation, green beer, maturation, beer, and finally ending at ‘possible bottle refermentation’.

Moving on, our next page is propagation. “To obtain good fermentation results, both quantity and quality of yeast cells is important. This can be achieved during propagation. To ensure a sufficient quantity of yeast cells for fermentation, all yeast propagation regimes consist of different steps where yeast cultures are grown in progressively increasing volumes.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

The steps of propagation are usually as follows: isolation of desired yeast cells, propagation in the lab, and propagation in the brewery.

The next page is a discussion page about yeast propagation. Their question: “Thinking back about what you have learned about yeast in Module 5 of this MOOC, why do you think these factors are important? You can discuss with your fellow students on the discussion forum!”

My post: Yeast is one of the biggest driving force behind flavor in a beer. You need the right requirements and factors to keep the yeast well and good for brewing. Sufficient temperature is always a big issue. Keeping the yeast right insures flocculation and FLO and makes sure you get no off flavors in your beer. (A common one being a ripe banana taste.)

Moving forward, we come to: “Dried Yeast – a Special Case”. Most home brewers (in the US especially) will be familiar with dry yeast. A lot of home brew shops sell dry and wet yeast packets from a variety of companies. This text page details how dry yeast is produced, and how you rehydrate it.

Clicking next, we have another text page about pitching yeast. This is when yeast is added to wort. The number of yeast cells added to a wort (at a specific volume) is called the pitch rate or pitching rate. The higher the pitching rate (the more yeast cells) the less fermentation time. The page then has a chart about different pitching methods. Such as: pitching freshly propagated yeast, pitching active dry yeast, re-pitching from a previous fermentation, and drauflassen.

The next page is about fermentation. “During fermentation, yeast converts fermentable sugars, present in wort, into CO2 and ethanol. At the same time, hundreds of secondary metabolites that influence the aroma and taste of beer are produced. Variation in these metabolites across different yeast strains is what allows yeast to so uniquely influence beer flavor.” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing). (See also: Module Five: Yeast.) This is then followed by a very large diagram.

Fermentation can be done in an open or closed vessel. Most home brewers and craft breweries in the US ferment with closed vessels. Throughout the fermentation process, brewers can keep track of the fermentation progress by taking samples, they then analyze its wort gravity. (Similar to that of original gravity and final gravity.)

Moving on, we get to conditioning. Not altogether unlike an athlete, conditioning is final fermentation (or secondary fermentation). Where fermentation is the heavy lifting, conditioning is the cardio and toning. This is when green beer matures (primarily in flavor) and can be carbonated more. Two (of several) types of conditioning are warm and cold conditioning.

“Warm conditioning is sometimes also called diacetyl rest or VDK stand. This is a period where the green beer is stored at warm temperatures for final flavor and colloidal stability. During warm conditioning, yeast cells can take up the diacetyl from the green beer and convert it into acetoin and subsequently 2,3-butanediol.” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

“Cold conditioning is sometimes also called lagering. When fermentation is finished, and often after a period of warm conditioning, the green beer is cooled (either in the fermentation tank or in a separate lagering tank) and stored at low temperatures (-1 to 5°C) for several days (ale beers) or up to several weeks (lager beers). These low temperatures cause yeast cells to further sediment and also cause precipitation of proteins (a so-called chill haze, due to the formation of protein-polyphenol complexes). Together, this results in clarification of the beer. Lagering also allows for flavor maturation of the green beer – acetaldehyde levels (green apple, solventy) and sulphur compound levels (rotten egg, garlic) drop, amongst others due to CO2 gas stripping. For lager beers, this ultimately results in their characteristic clean, crisp taste.” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

Conditioning of beers in wooden barrels deserves a special mentioning here. After fermentation, the beer is further matured in wooden barrels. These wooden barrels are often made of oak and are often re-purposed from bourbon, whisky, wine, brandy, sherry or port production. The toasting of the oak affects the type of flavors that are imparted by the wood to the beer. Toasting is a process whereby the wood is brought to a specific temperature (often between 150-240°C) for a certain time. This heat causes complex thermal degradation reactions of for example polysaccharides present in the wood to take place – resulting in the production of aroma-active volatile compounds. Lightly toasted oak will impart a spicy flavor, whereas more heavier toasted oak can result in smoky and coffee-like flavors (Doesn’t this remind you of what is happening during the kilning of malt? In fact, toasting also creates furfural and HMF!). Vanilla and caramel are two other wood-derived flavors. The beer will also absorb the flavors of whatever was stored in the barrel before, such as wine or bourbon. Additionally, the microbes present on the wood can also contribute additional flavor compounds to the beer. These barrels can be re-used for several maturation rounds. Conditioning in wooden barrels can take several months. To give these wood-derived flavors to their beers, some brewers work with wood chips instead of full wooden barrels.” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

Up next is a text page on bottle refermentation. Priming sugar and yeast cells are added to the bottle when the wort (now beer) – beer is transferred from the fermenting vessel to the bottle. (Home brewers will add just the priming sugar.)

Next is an expert clip from Anne-Francoise Pypaert, head brewmaster for Orval; it is a 7:14 minute video. In the clip, she talks about yeast, fermentation, conditioning, and how they do all of that at the Orval Brewery.

This is followed by a quick three-question quiz. (Drag and drop, and two multiple checkboxes.)

The next two pages are about fermentation vessels. The first page about what you can use. The second page about different types of vessels. Starting with open vessels and discussing coolships (used for lambics). Then discussing closed vessels. Fermentation vessels can be horizontal or cylindroconical. Cylindroconicals (or conicals) have a few advantages: easy to clean and sanitize, possibility to recover CO2 produced during fermentation, possibility to recover and easily remove (and thus reuse) [yeast] cells at end of fermentation, and possibility to install and use specific fermentation temperature devices and techniques.

After this is a three and a half minute video about the changes during the fermentation process. Notable changes in pH and Nitrogen. There is also changes in beer color, beer flavor, and acids. Due to the drop in pH the precipitation of polyhenols begins.

There is some factors affecting fermentation. They are:

  • Extract content
  • Ethanol levels
  • Trace elements and other nutrients
  • Oxygen
  • Temperature
  • Pressure

Moving on in the module, we come to a text page about the intro to yeast handling after fermentation. “In almost all breweries, yeast cells are used for a number of cycles, or in other words, a number of fermentations. Hence, yeast is collected at the end of a fermentation round so that it can be used in a subsequent fermentation. This process of inoculating a new batch of fermentations with yeast cells from the previous fermentation batch is also called repitching or backslopping and this practice has been used by brewers for centuries. ” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

Yeast recycling passes through two phases:

  • Yeast Cropping
  • Yeast Purification

First up is yeast cropping. This is when yeast cells are collected from the fermentation vessel. Most conicals allow for easy retrieval from the bottom of the vessel, before the beer is even removed. For top-fermentation systems, the yeast will be on the top and you just skim them off the surface / top.

You can also do yeast centrifugation. “At the end of primary fermentation, the entire yeast crop can also be removed by centrifugation. A second, more frequently used option, is to first remove the main yeast crop by skimming or plug removal and then centrifuge the green beer to remove any remaining yeast cells. ” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

After cropping the yeast cells (and prior to repitching) you must purify the yeast. This can be done either by sieving or acid wash.

Sieving – As you have seen in the previous part on yeast cropping, collecting yeast from the correct layer of your fermentation will already reduce contamination of the yeast crop with trub particles.

Acid Wash – This is done using phosphoric, sulphuric or citric acid. The yeast crop is chilled before washing and this yeast slurry is gently stirred while the acid is being added.

The next page is about yeast storage. The most common ways of storing yeast are ‘yeast cakes’ and ‘yeast slurry’. (Neither sounds too appetizing.) Kveik yeast strains get stored differently. (Kveik is Norwegian for yeast.) “Farmhouse brewers would only brew a couple of times a year, implying that the yeast they used needed to be stored in-between these brews. This was traditionally done using a so-called kveik ring or kveikstokker – a wooden structure in the shape of a ring or log. This structure was dragged through the fermentation, in this way collecting yeast cells from the fermentation. Next, the ring or log was put up to dry. When it was time to start the next brew, this ring was simply dipped in the wort (that was often still very warm: 30-40°C – this also explains perhaps why Kveik yeasts do so well at higher temperatures). In this way, Norwegian farmhouse brewers were backslopping their yeasts from one fermentation to the next!” (EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing. Module Seven.)

The following page is a ‘do it yourself’ about other food fermentations and page discussion. The next page is a verified track content page (practical tips for brewers). We’ve now come to the overview and end-of-module checklist, as well as the assessment for verified track learners. As usual, this is followed up with the feedback and questions page, and then the end of module page. So another module done! Clicking next will take you to the intro age for module eight, which is where we will pick up next time.

Another long module worked through and done. I hope you all are learning as much as I am and enjoying this as much as I am.

Cheers!

-B.Kline

The Beer Education Series:
** EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing
* Beer Education: Series
* Beer Education: Syllabus
* Beer Education: Introduction
* Beer Education: Module One: The History of Beer Brewing
* Beer Education: Module Two: Barley and Malting
* Beer Education: Module Three: Water
* Beer Education: Module Four: Hops and Spices
* Beer Education: Module Five: Yeast
* Beer Education: Module Six: The Steps of the Brewing Process
* Beer Education: Module Seven: Fermentation and Maturation
* Beer Education: Module Eight: Filtration and Packaging
* Beer Education: Module Nine: Beer Quality and Stability
* Beer Education: Module Ten: Beer Assessment and Tasting
* Beer Education: Series Overview

Cinco de Mayo and Beer Review: Islla En El Cielo (Celestial Beerworks)

Happy Revenge of the Fifth….. err…. Cinco de Mayo…..

Happy Revenge of the Fifth…. or Cinco de Mayo… or Taco Tuesday; whatever you’re celebrating. But either way, quarantine or no quarantine, its a day to celebrate, especially in the beer world, and current events be damned if we’re not going to have fun right?

This would have been the ultimate brewery night. Taco Tuesday. Cinco de Mayo. All the craft breweries with a restaurant would have been all over this event. Especially places with a Mexican theme or influence, like Mad Chef, Rotunda Brewing, etc. Or Tattered Flag with their excellent tacos that they serve. So many places to go to eat and or drink at. Along with St. Patty’s Day and yesterday with May the Fourth; bars and breweries are missing out on some specialty days and holidays that typically boost sales for them and help bartenders earn some extra tips.

I did my ‘celebrating’ at home. For lunch, I grilled the family tacos and made it all from scratch myself, while enjoying a delicious a Mexican chocolate (pastry) stout from Celestial Beerworks (collaborating with Islla St Brewing).

Is this the Twilight Zone?

So, despite the pandemic, murder hornets, incoming cold weather (with forecasted snow in MAY here in Central PA), released footage of UFOs, and whatever other nonsense is going on in the world, lets take a look at this delicious beer. But first, since I’m sure you want to see my tacos, here you go:

Don’t worry, more lettuce, onions, and shredded cheese was added. Not sure why I didn’t take a fully completed taco picture to be honest (probably because I was finishing that 10% pastry stout, haha).

So, the beer in question came from my Texas beer mail package and is brewed as a collaboration between Celestial Beerworks and Islla St Brewing.

Texas Beer Mail

Ok, time to jump into this beer review and deliver the goods to you fine readers.

Beer: Islla en el Cielo
Brewery: Celestial Beerworks
Collaborator: Islla St Brewing
Style: Stout – Pastry
ABV: 10%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: This 10% Imperial Stout is loaded up with Star Crunch and Mexican chocolate. It is smooth and balanced. It has cinnamon on the nose and deep flavors of caramel and milk chocolate. It has a little heat and is beautifully sweet.

For those not Spanish, quick thing: en el cielo means in the sky. Isla (according to Google) not Islla; means island. So roughly the beer means: Island in the Sky.

Star Crunch is a Little Debbie cookie, as their site describes it: “A chewy cookie topped with caramel and crisp rice then covered in a layer of fudge.”

So whoever said my blog wasn’t informative and that reading it you wouldn’t learn things right? I’m teaching you Spanish, about Little Debbie cookies, about tacos, about Star Wars, and now about Texas breweries!

Celestial Beerworks is a Micro Brewery in Dallas Texas. According to Untappd they have 137 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.14. Their Untappd description reads: “At Celestial Beerworks, we believe that beer should be consumed in its freshest state. Our core line-up will focus on hop-forward, approachable, complex brews… We think that visiting a taproom should be an experience. This experience will combine our three favorite things: art, science, and delicious, fresh beer. We are working hard each and every day to bring this vision to fruition.”

Islla St Brewing is a brew pub in San Antonio Texas. Untappd credits them with a 150 unique beers and a global average rating of 4.05. Their Untappd description reads: “Islla St. brewing creates innovative and culturally rich small batch craft beer. Drawing flavors and influence from unique fruits and spices tied to our culture, history and contemporary influences. It is our hope to impact the craft beer industry and bridge a cultural gap through a deeper and richer experience of flavor intended to inspire curiosity. We are looking to open doors for those wanting to explore their heritage and influences in unconventional ways.” (Both breweries global averages are as of 5.5.20.)

The beer is pure black. Pure dark stout, as per typical, it has that lovely dark coloring. Very thin head to this. No foamy mass of head, just a very thin small head with few bubbles. This isn’t really a problem, especially since this isn’t a creamy stout, but more of a dark, rich stout full of various flavors.

Aroma is a bit all over the place. There is an underlying (Mexican) chocolate note to this that is the heaviest nose on the beer. But there is also plenty of other aromas; heavy cinnamon right away but not long-term, some caramel from the malts, a bit of breadyness but not a whole lot. Perhaps drinking this while making the tacos wasn’t the best idea for smelling the nose, but I got some of the heat of the beer in the nose, a slight vanilla, but mostly cinnamon and chocolate.

There is a little bit of heat to this. Nothing like the heat to say Boneshire Brew Work’s Mexican LazaRIS stout, but there is an undercurrent of heat to this. (Which pairs perfectly with tacos by the way.) You definitely get the cinnamon, chocolate (Mexican and otherwise), some bready notes, the caramel malts, and a slight vanilla or milk taste. The biggest notes are the cinnamon and Mexican chocolate. These work very nicely in tandem. The milk chocolate, milk and vanilla notes, slight fudge, probably comes from the Little Debbie Star Crunches. The beer is bouncing back and forth between ‘heat’ and ‘sweet’, almost per sip. One sip you get the heat of the cinnamon and other notes and then the next you’re getting the sweet of the chocolate and Star Crunch. Makes for a interesting beer overall. I certainly digged it, and I think most will too. The heat might be a slight turn off to some, but its not really that prevalent in the beer, so its not bad. Its more of just a ‘bite’ to it than anything else. There is also a little bit of a boozyness to this, especially with it being a 10%, so load up on some tacos as you eat it to keep our belly nice and full and happy.

My Untappd rating: ****.25
Global Untappd rating: 4.09 (as of 5.5.20)

Well, this certainly wasn’t a typical Cinco de Mayo, just like we haven’t had ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ in a long time in general. But we will get there. I think we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully soon we’ll be back in the breweries enjoying a pint together.

Cheers! Salud! Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Mantente segura, quedate en casa, quedate feliz!

-B. Kline

Islla en el Cielo by Celestial Beerworks and Islla St Brewing, while I make tacos for Cinco de Mayo

May The Fourth Be With You

By now I’m sure you are all sick of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even by text or phone or SnapChat or WhatsApp or Zoom or Flim-Flam-Floom or Blue Milk or Bantha Fodder or whatever telling you “May the Fourth Be With You” or some such ‘garbage’ or nonsense right? Maybe you don’t know the difference between a Dianoga and a Ronto? Or remember that the green Nautalan Jedi Master that attacked Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was Kit Fisto (c’mon…. with a name like that how couldn’t you remember him?), or that the Prune Face guy from Return of the Jedi when they attack the Bunker on the Endor moon was Orriamarko…… Maybe sportsball is more your thing. Either way, pro-Star Wars or anti-Star Wars, or Luke-Warm (ah, see what I did there?) to Star Wars, there is still good beers to be had about Star Wars or similar nerdy things.

So as any reader here to the blog will know, I am a huge Star Wars nerd. Starting back to when I was in 6th grade. Over at a sleep over a friend had Star Wars cards (Decipher’s SW:CCG – Star Wars Customizable Card Game) and he taught me to play. This led me to fall in love with Star Wars by watching the movies, and got me going to a local card shop called Omnidon’s in Hummelstown. This is where I ended up meeting friends D. Scott and R. Dibeler and a whole host of other people too numerous to even begin to list.

As I grew older, I watched the Original Trilogy (OT), the Special Edition Original Trilogy (SE-OT), the Prequel Trilogy (PT) and reading a list of books longer than I have time to type out here. (Authors like Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, Matthew Woodring Stover, James Luceno, etc, etc, etc.). I even named my youngest daughter Mara (those who know – will know).

Flash forward to Disney buying the franchise, and at the time my oldest daughter was 7. I was ecstatic to get to watch new Star Wars movies with her in theater. In preparation we watched episodes 4 (A New Hope), 5 (Empire Strikes Back), and 6 (Return of the Jedi). We saw Episode 7 – The Force Awakens in IMAX at the Whitaker Center. She was hooked. She loved Rey, she loved BB-8 (she was already hooked by Star Wars, already loved R2-D2 and Chewbacca and Yoda). Over the years we saw Rogue One and The Last Jedi in theaters as well, and even Solo before it went to Netflix. (Last day possible in theater to see that one). Sadly, her love for the saga waned a bit after The Last Jedi (she’s not alone there), so we didn’t see Episode 9 – Rise of Skywalker in theater. But, that is part of our “May the Fourth” today – getting to watch it on Disney+ (uploaded to the streaming service today).

Fun trivia fact: my oldest daughter was featured on TV at a Phillies game (Star Wars night). She wore her Rey costume to the game and they had her dance with the Phillie Phanatic and some of the 501st Legion (cosplayers) who were there dressed as Rey, Stormtroopers, Kylo Ren, Vader, Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke.

…So…. whats all this got to do with beer right? Well, yesterday, me and my oldest two daughters made the trek down to Gettysburg to Fourscore Beer Co. For the weekend they were doing a Star Wars themed menu, including the release of ‘Wookie Monster’, a 9% oreo cookie stout; as well as food items – Sarlaac Fries (french fries, beercheese, and cole slaw on top), as well as Mynock Gravy and Biscuits (chipped cream rib-eye gravy and butter biscuits), as well as a cherry tomato and mozzarella salad. We stopped; and I got a food item of each (Lily got the Sarlaac fries and loved them, Olivia-Grace got the salad and ate it as we did the Auto-Tour, and I got the Mynock Gravy and Biscuits – fantastic). Unfortunately, the Wookie Monster was sold out. (As you can imagine, that was going to be a big feature of today’s blog post). [Sigh]. I did get a crowler of the Mango Marshmellow Jahmba. Can’t wait to crack that open and devour it. I’ve yet to have had a bad beer from them.

Here on the blog however, I have done several beer reviews of geeky, nerdy, Star Wars, and other similar movie franchises. Pop cultural references always plays a big role in a lot of breweries beer names and even branding.

My most recent Star Wars themed beer (and beer review) was the above mentioned ‘This is Nut the Fluff You’re Looking For‘.

This is Nut the Fluff You’re Looking For by Fourscore Beer Co.

This was an absolutely amazing 15% Imperial Double Stout by Fourscore Beer Co. Easily a contender for Top 10 (New) Beers I’ve had for this year (granted; this year will probably see me drink less NEW beers than previous years just due to everything going on). The Untappd Description reads: “Brewed with a British Maris Otter base, loads of malted oats and a variety of roasted and crystal malts with a touch of lactose. Heaps of peanut flour were used in the whirlpool and the wort was racked onto a ton of marshmallow fluff prior to fermentation. More marshmallow is added at the end of fermentation along with peanut butter powder. Huge aromas and flavors of fresh peanut butter and marshmallows straight from the bag. A rich malty base of caramel and chocolate tones carry the flavors to the finish. Brewed with Founders Club member Eric Acumen.” If you like peanut butter beers; this will definitely be right up your alley. There is still bottles for sale at Fourscore Beer Co (as of 5.4.20). To read my full review of it, click here: “Beer Review: This is Nut The Fluff You’re Looking For“.

This is the Way

Another fun beer I did a review of was “This is The Way” by Broken Goblet. Another Star Wars themed beer, though this time based off the hit Disney+ show ‘The Mandalorian’ rather than from the movies.

This is the Way by Broken Goblet

Jokingly calling it a ME-IPA (Mos Eisley IPA) rather than NE-IPA (New England IPA) Broken Goblet made one delicious IPA, be a ME-IPA or NE-IPA or whatever you want to call it. This is a juicy, tasty, easy drinking IPA. No bitter bite, slight creamyness to it, nice flowing beer. You can read my review of it here: “Beer Review: This is the Way“.

President Skroob says Good Day

And where would I be if I didn’t mention Equilibrium’s “Moon of Vega”. If we’re talking Star Wars, we have to talk Space Balls! If you only ever see two space or sci-fi parody movies (and so far, you only really need to see these two) it best be Space Balls and Galaxy Quest. Anything else is inferior.

Moon of Vega – a collaboration beer by Equilibrium Brewery and J. Wakefield Brewing

Moon of Vega is a collaboration NE-IPA by Equilibrium Brewery and J. Wakefield Brewing; and they absolutely nailed this out of the galaxy. This was a super tasty, delicious NE-IPA that was creamy, hoppy, juicy, dank, and all the things you look for in a NE IPA. A 4pk of this just wasn’t enough. As you can see, I had this during one of our podcasts for “So A Mexican and A Scott Walk Into a Bar…” a podcast ran by some of The Extended Beer Thrillers family – D. Scott and Esteban. To read my beer review of Moon of Vega click here: “Beer Review: Moon of Vega“.

So a Mexican and a Scott Walk Into a Bar….

Below is a list of the Star Wars related podcasts we did for So a Mexican and a Scott Walk Into a Bar… (I’m featured on all of these). (Warning, language is Rated R and might not be safe for work.)

Don’t worry, there will be plenty more Star Wars podcasts in the future, I guarantee that!

Star Wars Movie News

Star Wars announced some big movie and TV show news today too. Taika Waititi is to direct his own feature film for Star Wars. This is super big news. Click the following news article link from Star Wars (dot com) to read more: Taika Waititi to Direct, Co-Write new Star Wars Film.

Blue Hippo by Boneshire Brew Works

While not a Star Wars beer, I did enjoy reading a Star Wars book and drinking a wonderful beer in the nice sunny afternoon earlier. The beer was Blue Hippo by Boneshire Brew Works (look for a review of that soon) and the book is Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis.

Sorry I didn’t have a new Star Wars beer to review for this, I hope you all still enjoyed the article. Let me know in the comments what your favorite Star Wars themed beers are (or even ones you’ve seen, heard of, or drank). I’m off to watch Rise of Skywalker on Disney+ with my daughter. Cheers, and May the Fourth Be With You. Always.

-B. Kline

May The Fourth Be With You

Some Changes to The Beer Thrillers

This is going up kind of late, mainly because I only got home from Gettysburg after 9PM with my daughters, this was meant to go out earlier in the day, but so it goes. This is just a quick ‘informative’ blog posting, about the blog moreso than anything else.

As you might have noticed, there’s been a few changes and some new faces here at The Beer Thrillers. Don’t worry, I’m still here (B. Kline), and somewhere out there J. Doncevic is still lurking around. But as you saw yesterday, we have two other new writers.

Firstly, Karl Larson (ihackbeer) is going to be writing for us periodically, mostly about brewing, home brewing, commercial brewing, and various informative pieces about beer, history, brewing, etc. He comes with an extreme wealth of knowledge, and it is such a privilege to have him writing for us. He is an award winning home brewer (gold medal winner), he is also a BJCP judge, as well as having brewed commercially for both Boneshire Brew Works and (currently) for Newfangled Brew Works. You can follow him on Twitter at: @ihackbeer. You can view Karl’s first post here: Brewing a Traditional Lithuanian Farmhouse Beer – Keptinis.

Our other new writer is Andrew Parys (A. Parys) (aka thesugarfoot). A local to Central Pennsylvania like myself and Josh (J. Doncevic) and Karl, he is an avid craft beer enthusiast and brewery traveler as well. He has been part of the extended Beer Thrillers family doing a podcast here or there with D. Scott and Esteban and myself over at “So a Mexican and a Scott Walk Into a Bar…” Saturday featured his first article for us, a thought-piece about what makes a good “quarantine” brewery during these ‘crazy’ times: What Makes a Great Quarantine Brewery? I suggest you head over there, read it and leave a comment!

Also, speaking of podcasts (and the ilk), I’m looking at possibly trying to do beer specific podcasts in the near future for The Beer Thrillers, as well as possible YouTube videos and reviews done that way as well. So stay tuned for that. As always, I am still doing sporadic podcasts with D. Scott, Dan, A. Parys, Esteban, and a host of others through their pop-culture series – So a Mexican and a Scott Walk Into a Bar…

As for the blog itself, we are celebrating one year this month. And we are most likely going to be moving to a full page and new host and having things look a lot more formal, professional, and nicer by the end of the month (fingers crossed). With that, there might be a few moving parts and some construction, but it should be quick and minimal (hopefully). The site’s links might change too, but if they do, I will set-up redirects so it should be no trouble to find us.

I also have had two other people from our Facebook group – the Central PA Whalerz (that me and Josh are members of) express interest writing for us, so you might be getting some more new faces as well. Hopefully we can poke and prod and get Mr. J. Doncevic to write us something new as well. Also, Let Us Drink Beer Blog is still guest writing with us (as well as we are for them) giving us about a monthly article about the beer scene down in the Atlanta Georgia area.

As far as the coming days go, this month, since I am still furloughed, for the foreseeable future (who knows how slow / fast things will begin to open up), and since its our One-Year anniversary, I am looking to make sure we get a blog post (or two!) every day. Tomorrow, being May 4th, I’d like to do a Star Wars themed one. Went down to Gettysburg today with my girls, but unfortunately struck out at Fourscore Beer Co (their Star Wars themed beer – Wookie Monster; sold out Saturday night). (Hint hint if anyone has one their willing to part with, to message / comment / PM me / DM me / etc.)

Then following that up we have Cinco De Mayo or Revenge of the Fifth, which I will take a look at some Mexican Lagers or Cervezas . So stay tuned for those articles.

If you are new to the blog, you can follow us on the various social media outlets. And I will take this opportunity to toot our own horn, and plug our statistics. I am amazed at how well, how fast, and how great the community has been in supporting us, in less than a full year. Thank you all so very much for your support! I will list our social media accounts next, as well as with the followers for each, just for people to get a scope of how far we’ve come and grown over this year!

As of May 3rd (10PM):

We are currently #9 on FeedSpot’s Top 100 Beer Blogs. (Where it lists our Domain Authority as 76 and our Alexa Rank as 4.3K.)

So again, I would just like to say thank you so much for supporting us, especially amidst these crazy and troubling and unprecedented times. We have a lot more in store for the future so be sure to stick around and check us out!

Thank you everyone! Cheers!

-B. Kline
The Beer Thrillers Staff: Ben, Josh, Karl, Andrew
The Extended Beer Thrillers Staff: Let Us Drink Beer, Drew, Dan, Esteban

What makes a great quarantine brewery?

The sole goal of this post is to start some discussion. As we enter our seventh week of state wide quarantine here in Pennsylvania, beer culture has been radically changed. The days of visiting and spending an afternoon at a local brewery with some friends are out the window for the time being. When was the last time you spent casually perusing the craft beer selection at your favorite bottle shop?

In this new reality, breweries have had to adapt fast. Take-out and curbside options are essential for those trying to get their goods into the hands of their local hop heads. So what makes for the peak quarantine beer experience? I can’t answer that as options are somewhat limited by necessity during this time. I can’t tell you if New Glarus is changing the game out in Wisconsin. What I can tell you is that Troeg’s is once again leading the pack in efficiency and experience here in Central PA.

Last week my fiance and I took the time out of our busy schedule (ha) to pay a visit to the brewery in Hershey. Ordering was super easy on their website, where in addition to beer, they also offer several dishes from their snack bar including the make at home pizza kits that we purchased. Be sure to give one of these a whirl as the sourdough crust tastes amazing and is hard to mess up for any pizza tossing neophyte. At any rate an hour after ordering we pulled into the usually crowded Troegs parking lot and saw the ten different stalls they have available. Picking up was simple. Back up into the stall of your choice, pop the trunk, then give them a call and a worker will run out and put the delivery directly in there. We were blown away by the execution. In a world where contact-less delivery has become the new norm, Troegs is diving in headfirst. I’m not sure if Chik Fil A could do it better.

As for the beer itself, I opted for a case of their 2020 Summer Anthology. During a time when the days can be monotonous, a variety pack can keep you sane. I am already familiar with the beers which include the newest Haze Charmer, a dry-hopped hazy pale ale that Troegs refuses to call a New England IPA, as well as older standbys Field Study IPA, Sunshine Pilsner, and their sales juggernaut Perpetual IPA. As the weather turns, these beers are all a perfect pairing for days mowing grass and grilling. Sunshine Pilsner in particular, a beer that I have at least overlooked as a “boring” choice, is much better than I remembered with a crisp and balanced flavor.

Have any of our friends and readers had great experiences with any of the other local or not so local breweries out there during this time? If so feel free to give a shout out in the comments!

Brewing a Traditional Lithuanian Farmhouse Beer – Keptinis

For National Homebrew Day today, I wanted to share with you my experience brewing a very unique beer. Yesterday I brewed a centuries old Lithuanian farmhouse beer recipe from the book “Historical Brewing Techniques – The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing” by Lars Marius Garshol.

What makes this beer so unique? It’s a baked, raw ale.

The brewing session took just over ten hours to complete. When finished, this beer will closely resemble a cross between a brown ale and a barley-wine, but with much less bitterness. The body will be huge, and the aroma and flavor will be filled with deep toffee, caramel, and dried fruit (raisin) notes, accompanied by spicy phenolics from the Hornindal Kveik yeast.

According to Lars Marius Garshol, “keptinis is an ultra-obscure style of beer, made only by a few farmhouse brewers in north-eastern Lithuania, and by three commercial breweries. One being Ramunas Čižas, the other two being Dundulis and Kupiškio.” Craft breweries will struggle to make this style because of the amount of oven space required to bake large pans of wet malted barley mash, which is the signature process that makes this beer so unique.

Remember that this is a farmhouse beer. For centuries, farmers would set aside a portion of their grain, whether it was barley, rye or even oats, to brew the family beer, both for nourishment and celebration. Most had a separate small building on premise for the malting process, and the farmers understood this process well. The issue was that they rarely had a kiln, which is where the complex flavors, color and mouthfeel would come from. Specialized malt was expensive and hard to find, and a far distance away. The solution? Make a mash, then bake it at high temperatures to allow the maillard reaction to caramelize the sugars in the malt.

So let’s get into how my ten hour brew day went…

Knowing that the goal was to caramelize as much of the malt as possible, I lowered my mash liquid to malt ratio from 1.420 quarts/pound to an even 1 to 1, which made a thick mash. I mashed in with 15 pound of Viking Pale Malt, and five pounds of Viking Rye Malt.

After an hour in the mash at 156 degrees Fahrenheit, I poured the mash into four aluminum pans, and placed them on my outdoor grill at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I was only able to fit half of my mash into the pans, so in the future I will need another baking solution to fit more volume. I highly recommend using the aluminum pans so you don’t ruin your good baking pans, and you can bend and peel the aluminum to get the bark-like malt out of the pans after the bake is complete.

The three pictures show my progress at one hour, two hours, and at the completion of three hours.The high temperatures boil the mash and release steam, reducing the liquid and therefore thickening the mash. Eventually, when most of the liquid boils off, the malt begins caramelizing.

After three hours, I pulled the pans from the heat, and added the now carmelized malt back to the mash, and recirculated the mash for another thirty minutes. Note in the picture you can see the varying degrees of carmelization, all which will provide unique flavors to the finished beer.

During recirculating, I also brought three gallons of water to a boil, and added two ounces of Northern Brewer Hops, making a hop tea. After recirculating the mash, as the recipe suggests I added the hop tea to the mash during the sparging process, which would bring earthy, spicy hop flavor and bitterness to the beer.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a raw beer, so the wort was never actually brought to a boil, but the wort did get collected at around 180 degrees F so we can assume any bad bacteria has been killed off and won’t effect the finished product.

Another note worth mentioning is that this was an intensely sticky mash, both from the carmelization and from the heavy use of rye. This made lautering and the collection of wort very difficult. I ended up collecting a half gallon less than anticipated…even after using boiling hot hop tea to sparge.

In the end, I collected four gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.082. The color was a deep amber, with tons of toffee and caramel flavor. I pitched the Hornindal Kveik yeast at 80 degrees F, and commenced cleanup. When I woke up this morning, less than 12 hours later the kveik yeast was doing its job and bubbling away. A successful keptinis brew day complete. Stand by for tasting notes when the beer is finished in a few weeks.

Happy National Homebrew Day!

Relax, have a homebrew!

Cheers!

Karl D. Larson

Beer Review: Tattered Soul (Tattered Flag and Rubber Soul)

Tattered Soul – a collaboration between Tattered Flag and Rubber Soul Brewing. This marks the new Rubber Soul’s first beer.

This was meant to be enjoyed at one of the marquee Harrisburg Beer Week events – Tattered Flag’s collaboration event. This was meant to be drank on draft at Tattered Flag’s brewery, as well as the by-now opened Rubber Soul brewery in Hummelstown. Sadly, none of this happened, instead its May 1st, and Rubber Soul finally got the green-light to start back up on construction of their brewery as per Governor Wolfe’s newest rules / orders / laws / allowances / mandates / ordinances / whatever you wanna call it.

Coronavirus – the novel COVID-19 virus – has certainly thrown everything for a loop here in Central PA (as well as in the world). This was supposed to be the end of Harrisburg Beer Week, an annual event that celebrates all the great breweries and bars in the greater Harrisburg area (Harrisburg, Hummelstown, Hershey, Middletown, Elizabethtown, and surrounding areas). Every year there’s great events like Little Big Beer Fest, Little Little Beer Fest, Collaboration Week at Tattered Flag, Stouts Night, Stouts and Stilleto’s Lady Night, etc, etc, etc, (the list is extremely long lets just say), and a premier event for the Hummelstown area this year was going to be the opening of Rubber Soul’s new brewery in Hummelstown at the old borough building. (For more information on that, see my article: A Sneak Peak of Rubber Soul Brewery).

But at least one really good thing has come out of it all; and that’s this great beer. The first with the new Rubber Soul, and the first of the collaboration between Tattered Flag and Rubber Soul (I’m sure we’ll see plenty more down the road). Justin, the brewer lives in Hummelstown (and depending on the way he drives to get to Tattered Flag is going to have to drive right by the Rubber Soul Brewery), and the new head brewer for Rubber Soul comes directly from Levante Brewing – which has done a few collaborations with Justin at Tattered Flag. So I definitely don’t foresee this being the last time these two all-star breweries hook up.

Speaking of the coronavirus / COVID-19, you’ll notice a little nod to the troublesome meddler of 2020 on the can-art. (Which is beautiful can art by the way.) With the sneaker stepping down on the virus. Lovely can art that encapsulates both Tattered Flag and Rubber Soul.

Alright, enough yapping, lets get to discussing the beer!

Tattered Soul by Tattered Flag and Rubber Soul

Beer: Tattered Soul
Brewery: Tattered Flag
Collaboration: Rubber Soul Brewing Company
Style: IPA – Session / India Session Ale
ABV: 5%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: We teamed up with our buds from Rubber SOul brewing Co to bring you a full flavor, crushable Mid-west style IPA. Using a base of american 2-row, pilsner, and a bit of caramel pils we hopped this beer in the kettle with Cascade, citra, and amarillo in style with a traditional or west coast IPA, then hit it in the whirlpool with a matching hop addition much like a typical NEIPA hop schedule. Later, we dry hopped with a generous Citra dosing and followed up with a very cold amarillo and Cascade drop. We feel this is a fantastic representation of Rubber Souls roots with a Tattered Flag twist!

This was a wonderful beer to crush by the fireplace while social distancing. Only 5% so a four-pack was easily handled with just the slightest buzz. I’ll take that any night by the firepit!

It pours a beautiful golden yellow / orange. A sweet looking IPA coloring, it has a full body appearance, not super hazy or completely clear, but with a wonderful golden glow. Slight appearance of orange juice but still a complete IPA look. Somewhere in the middle of a West Coast IPA and a New England IPA look to it. You can tell its hoppy but no crazy amount of ‘floaters’ or ‘weird stuff’ floating about in this beautiful beer.

They called this a “Mid-West” IPA, because it takes characteristics of the typical West Coast style IPA and characteristics of the New England IPA. The aroma gets a big kick from the dry hopping. The citra and amarillo really pop and burst at you in this, as soon as you crack the can and the foam comes up over the lip you are hit hard by the citrusy nature of the citra hops, then mellows into a bit of piney, earthy, grassy, but still citrus, tropical notes of the cascade and amarillo. I’m really digging this combination of hops and I think it goes really well together, especially in this beer.

This is pretty much the definition of a session beer. Light, hop bursts with a citrusy taste and feel, slightly creamy so it goes down easily with no real discernible hop bite, only 5% so it won’t get you hammered, this is everything you are asking for in a crushable session IPA. Perfect for firepits, backyard BBQs and parties, and baseball games. Once (not *IF* – *WHEN*) baseball comes back, this would be the perfect stadium beer. (Hint, hint, for say… a Harrisburg Senators game…. hint…. hint). The pilsner malt and the caramel pils gives this a great body. The more golden hue is due to the combination of the two, and provide the backbone for this super tasty beer. The hops give it the burst and kick to provide the true entertainment to the beer. Citrus notes from the cascade and amarillo hops really provides a strong burst, you get orange peel, zest, hint of lime, and then you get some more mellow notes, slight pine, slight earthy grass, from the cascade. These three hops really work well in tandem here, playing off each other, and it tastes phenomenal (and smells amazing too) because of it. This was just a great, easy, sipping, tasty, beautiful brew.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 4 (right on the nose) (as of 5.1.20)

If this is what we have to look forward to from Rubber Soul Brewing, I cannot wait! And bonus points for only being a half mile walk from my house (and a mile back…. the difference is staggering) (….yes…. another dad joke….)

Thankfully as the restrictions begin lifting, Rubber Soul can get to finishing their brewery and soon be opened. I will keep you all updated on when that happens (hopefully soon, fingers crossed!)

To read more about Rubber Soul – check out my article on them here: A Sneak Peak at the New Rubber Soul Brewery in Hummelstown, PA.

Also, today is the grand opening of Hemauer Brewing in Mechanicsburg, check out my article on their grand opening here: Grand Opening of Hemauer Brewing.

Peace everyone, cheers everyone, stay safe, and take care of your loved ones everyone!

-B. Kline

Beer Education: Module Six: Steps In The Brewing Process

Where we left off last time was at the assessment. The assessment (or mid-term) was for verified track learners only; and since I’m not doing that, I’m skipping over that. So moving on, clicking the NEXT brings us to the intro video for Module Six: Steps in the Brewing Process.

The intro video is a short 3:57 long video describing what the module (the steps of beer brewing) is about. The six steps are: milling, mashing, filtration, boiling, whirlpool, and cooling and aeration. The video demonstrates (briefly and quickly) the six steps using their pilot batch brewing system, while giving little bits of information setting up the module.

Clicking next we come to a text introduction page. This page discusses the following six steps:

  • Malt milling
  • Mashing 
  • Lautering (wort filtration)
  • Wort boiling
  • Wort clarification
  • Wort cooling & aeration

There is a clickable diagram about the six processes and steps and clicking on them gives you a description, tells you what equipment is needed, how it is used, and how you proceed to the next step / process of the brewing. The diagram is full of information on the process, when hops are bittered, or grains added, when to cool the wort, etc.

Our next page is a terms and definitions page. Like the old vocabulary pages from when you were in elementary school (…hopefully you’re not still in elementary school and reading this). The terms are: attenuation, break, brewhouse efficiency, cast wort, extract, grain bill, gravity, and trub. On the course page, you click on the word and it drops down for the definition. Not going to steal the thunder of the course by providing them all here for you, but as an example – cast wort: The wort obtained after the boiling process including the hot trub.

Getting into the course module proper now, we start with MILLING. “The main objective of malt and cereal milling is to convert the kernels into finely ground and milled particles.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). This page gives you information on DRY and WET milling, with picture diagrams.

Moving on, the next page is MASHING. “Mashing is the most important step in the brewing process. During mashing, grist and water are mixed, leading to the solubilization of malt constituents and the action of malt-derived enzymes on the resulting mash, generating the extract. The term extract refers to the total amount of dissolved solids in the brewing water.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). Two main types of mashing are infusion and decoction mashing. Infusion is when the mash is kept together and heated in one (singular) vessel. This can also be called ‘step mashing’ due to the changes in temperatures. This is what most home brewers do. In decoction mashing, you withdraw some mash and boil it and then pump it back in. The decoction method is better for protein breakdown, increased formation of melanoidins, increased removal of DMS, and reduced active amount of enzymes.

There is then a pull-down chart of different reactions during mashing. They are: β-glucan degradation, protein breakdown, starch degradation, and lipid conversion. Clicking on each of these would pop up more information on the topics.

The next topic is LAUTERING. “Lautering is a filtration process where the soluble part of the mash (liquid, also called wort) is separated from the insoluble part (consisting of husks and other materials).” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). This is when it starts to become ‘wort’. The page then has a chart of factors, and what a lauter tun vs. a thinbed filter does with that factor. The page then discusses how temperature and milling also affect the filtration and lautering process.

Next up is WORT BOILING. “After lautering, the wort is boiled. Wort boiling was originally done in copper or steel vessels, now more modern equipment is being used, most often made from stainless steel. Steam heating is the most commonly used way to increase wort temperature.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). Its during the boiling process when you add the hops, spices, and similar ingredients. As we learned in the hops module, the hops and spices control the bitterness and aroma of the beer.

Once again there is a pull-tab / pull-down chart with different terms and their definitions. They are: wort sanitation, extraction and transformation of hop components, precipitation of protein-polyphenol complexes, enzyme inactivation, color increase, pH decrease, and evaporation of unwanted hop aroma compounds.

Scrolling down the page we come to the boiling equipment segment. “A boiling kettle needs to be equipped with a powerful heating system. In the past, direct heating by coal or gas was used but these types of kettles are now only rarely in use. Nowadays, steam is used for kettle heating. By boiling water, steam is produced at the same temperature as the boiling water.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). The page then ends with a diagram of a boiling kettle with internal boiler.

Clicking next we come to Whirlpool, cooling, and aeration which leads off with an experiment before getting into the information. The page has pull-down tabs for: whirlpool, stripping, cooling, and aeration.

Next up is an expert clip by Gert De Rouck. It is a seven and a half minute clip. He discusses the brewing process. The page following this is a discussion page. The discussion page is about the disadvantages of green malt. I wrote:

“The biggest problem for any brewery is shelf life when it comes to this. And this has a very limited shelf life which is unfortunate, especially for a craft brewery where all the issues are already compounded. Local sourcing is another issue. Cost and quality is the last issue as well, especially for smaller US craft breweries.”

The next page is titled: “A Special Case – High Gravity Brewing”. “High gravity brewing  (HGB) involves using wort at higher than normal gravity, usually 15-20°P original gravity. This wort is subsequently fermented by yeast. The resulting HGB beer is diluted to desired gravity by adding CO2 impregnated water (blend water); this process is referred to as blending. This water is added immediately before, or after filtration of the beer.” (Edx: The Science of Beer Brewing: Module Six). Some of the effects of high gravity brewing are: increased stress conditions of yeast cells, head retention in final beer, potential change in beer flavor, and pH change.

After this is a super easy quiz; just two drop-and-drag questions. The next page is a discussion page where they ask everyone to post pictures of their homebrew setups. Next up is a page for verified track learners only. The pages for verified track learners are grain bill calculations, homebrewing tips, and a few other things (three pages in all).

Looks like we’re at the end of the module. We got the overview page, and then an assessment. The assessment is for verified track learners. The next page is a feedback and questions discussion page. The following page is the end of the module and the congratulations page.

Whew another module done. Thanks for stopping out and going through the module with me.

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

The Beer Education Series:
** EdX: The Science of Beer Brewing
* Beer Education: Series
* Beer Education: Syllabus
* Beer Education: Introduction
* Beer Education: Module One: The History of Beer Brewing
* Beer Education: Module Two: Barley and Malting
* Beer Education: Module Three: Water
* Beer Education: Module Four: Hops and Spices
* Beer Education: Module Five: Yeast
* Beer Education: Module Six: The Steps of the Brewing Process
* Beer Education: Module Seven: Fermentation and Maturation
* Beer Education: Module Eight: Filtration and Packaging
* Beer Education: Module Nine: Beer Quality and Stability
* Beer Education: Module Ten: Beer Assessment and Tasting
* Beer Education: Series Overview

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started