Archive for the ‘Random Ideas’ Category


My friend Taylor (@tbeseda) and I started a new site called BrewAdvice.com.
BrewAdvice is a knowledge sharing experiment. The focus is definitely on brewing, but questions of all beer-related nature are welcome. For example, I asked about pairing beer with mussels.

Check out the site. Ask questions. Answer questions. Participate.

You can follow the site on Twitter at @brewadvice, where questions are posted every two hours.

Here are some example questions, and the selected answer. Each question can have many answers.

Alternatives for priming sugar

Q: If you happen to be out of priming sugar, but really want to bottle your beer, what are the alternatives? Let’s assume a 5 gallon batch that’s fully fermented – call it 1.010-1.014.


  • Corn syrup
  • Regular olde sucrose
  • Malt extract
  • Brown sugar if you’re desperate

See A Primer on Priming and How to Brew.

Pairing with mussels

Q: What’s a good style or specific beer that would pair with mussels?


First off, mussels steamed in beer is FREAKING amazing.

Second off, the perfect pairing for mussels depends on the sauce in which they are prepared.

Mussels in white wine or wit beer sauce — Flavor of mussels is light and delicate and need not be overpowered with extreme beer. This style goes best with a Wit Bier, Hefeweizen or a Saison.

Mussel marinara — Tomato sauce is highly acidic and needs a beer with a higher hop content. I would go with a Pale Ale. If the marinara is spicy, I would go with an IPA.

Mussels in curry sauce — Usually prepared with a cream (coconut) base. The heaviness of the cream and the spice of the curry makes this an excellent pairing with lighter styles — such as a Czech Pilsners — as well as maltier styles — such as a Belgian Dubbel or Dobbelbach.

When in doubt, the saison style is my favorite pair with mussels.

How do you choose a yeast?

Q: What characteristics do you look for in a yeast to pair with your recipe? Is there a common reference?


For me some styles showcase yeast like Belgians, Hefes, some English styles, etc. Others showcase malts or hops and yeast shouldn’t play much of a role. For me I generally stick with some clean ale yeast like 1056 or Pacman for IPA’s, Blondes, etc. And then obviously for something like a hefe I choose 3068.

As I reference, if you car about style guidelines, look at the BJCP style guidelines for whatever your making. They will usually mention what role yeast character should or should not play.

Why are you still here? Go to BrewAdvice.com and play!


Read Full Post »

One of my best friends, TheBeerWench (Ashley in her former life), is doing a series on beer bloggers, and I was her first victim. Take a look!


The Wench and I

The Wench and I

Read Full Post »

Let’s brew

Too many cooks in the kitchen

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Psh. Found this image at Ruthie Cherry Fine Art. Check them out, it's good stuff.

I have an idea.

Ok, I have a lot of ideas. How cool would it be if you could blink and be somewhere else in the world? See? Ideas.

Anyway, I have some ideas based in reality as well.

After some pretty intense discussions with my roommate Jim this weekend, I have an idea that I’m going to do right now. Do you have any idea how awesome it is to have good friends who push back on your ideas? Over good beer? It’s a great thing to have in life.

Right. My idea.

I’m going to make beer.

And you’re invited.

Starting in December, at least one Sunday a month, I’m going to do Breakfast and Brewing. Fancy title, I know.

Here’s the plan. Come over around 11am on a Sunday. We (we being the collective housemates of.. our house) will make breakfast. Bacon, eggs, coffee. There may or may not be awesome cartoon watching – narf! – and there may or may not be bloody mary components available.

Then around noon or 1, we’ll make beer. No matter your level of brewing experience, you can help. I, or someone else with some brewing knowledge will explain things in as little or much detail as you want. If you help, you get to take some beer home with you (a month later).

There are many more details, but that’s the gist of it.

What do you think? Want to come over and help me make some beer?

[edit] If you want to be alerted to these awesome Breakfast and Brew days, or to new posts in general, sign up for the mailing list.

Read Full Post »


Click for full size

Read Full Post »

Do I need to brew an amber? I am a fan of New Belgium – 1554 is a crazy good beer, Biere de Mars is awesome, and La Folie is a different experience altogether – but do I need to have a Mad Haven version of Fat Tire to please the masses?

Beer for the masses (aka a picture of a lot of people drinking beer at Oktoberfest)

Beer for the masses (aka a picture of a lot of people drinking beer at Oktoberfest)

There are a lot of beer styles. A lot. My last post was a quick rundown of BeerAdvocate’s styles, and how many beers are listed in each one. It wasn’t very scientific. There are a lot in there that aren’t made anymore. There might even be some that are in the wrong style. And honestly, we could probably narrow it down to 10 categories rather than 90.

I did narrow it down a little. I went into this thinking that ambers would be toward the top of the popularity list. I have no reason for this hypothesis, and I was apparently wrong. Here’s a quick breakdown. Be nice, I know my categories aren’t perfect.

Pale Ale 9064
Lager 6514
Other 4552
Wheat 3841
Stout 3033
Strong 2439
Amber 2140
Porter 1806
Pilsner 1712
Brown 1566
Bock 1457
Light 1418
Scottish 1010
Barleywine 632

It’s no surprise that Pale Ale is number one. For this count, Pale Ale includes all varieties of Pale Ales and IPAs, both American and English, Imperial and regular, double, etc. IPAs are all the rage these days, so obviously there are a lot of varieties. For Lagers, I just grouped all the lagers together. I don’t know much about lagers, so I’m ok with this grouping. Other includes things like sours (which I love!), Oktoberfests, Chile beers, Fruit / Veggie, Pumpkin, and the rest of things that fit in a category named “other”. And so on down the list. If you group Light with Amber, which one might be inclined to do,  the hybrid groupology pushes it to #5.

When I originally set out to grab these numbers, I had an unfounded hypothesis that ambers would be higher. So the premise of this post being somewhat shot, let’s move on.

My blonde is heavyset and a little dirty.

My blonde is heavyset and a little dirty.

I don’t tend to get too crazy with my recipes, at least not yet. They’re generally a little off to the side of their supposed style (the judges agree on that one too, at least), but I haven’t yet delved into the “extreme” side of things. My stout has caraway seeds. My blonde is more.. dirty blonde. My IPA is heavily hopped with hints of ambrosia (the food of the gods, not the weird fruit salad stuff).

I guess my long, drawn out question is this: Do I need to make beer for the masses? Or is the craft brewing world big enough now to support whatever style I make, assuming it’s amazingly delicious. I’m not getting into this industry to sell beer to every person who walks in off the street (though that would help sales quite a bit). I’m making beer because I love to make beer, and I love to share it. So what are your thoughts? Do I need to have the “entry-level” beer? Or can I stick with the bigger, stronger, hoppier, maltier, crazier, sourer, whateverer brews?

P.S. I realize this is was a complete ramble. Congrats on your persistence in getting this far into the post / my brain.

Read Full Post »

Beers by style

Earlier today, I asked people on Twitter for a count of commercially available beers by style. I received a lot of resources, but no exact counts. I haven’t contacted the Brewer’s Association yet for exact figures, but my friend Tyler wrote a script to help count the beers in each style on the Beer Advocate website, which I feel is a pretty good source for this information. I’m writing a post where this information is useful, but here is the raw data from the Beer Advocate site. Thanks Tyler!

These data are accurate as of around 5pm on August 18, 2009.

Style Total
American Amber / Red Ale 1621
American Barleywine 455
American Blonde Ale 801
American Brown Ale 590
American Dark Wheat Ale 64
American Double / Imperial IPA 668
American Double / Imperial Stout 303
American IPA 1814
American Pale Ale (APA) 1994
American Pale Wheat Ale 727
American Porter 1288
American Stout 806
American Strong Ale 339
American Wild Ale 148
Black & Tan 49
Chile Beer 64
Cream Ale 236
Pumpkin Ale 228
Rye Beer 262
Wheatwine 52
Belgian Dark Ale 293
Belgian IPA 88
Belgian Pale Ale 805
Belgian Strong Dark Ale 478
Belgian Strong Pale Ale 524
Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut 13
Bière de Garde 170
Dubbel 336
Faro 15
Flanders Oud Bruin 70
Flanders Red Ale 84
Gueuze 43
Lambic – Fruit 203
Lambic – Unblended 39
Quadrupel (Quad) 102
Saison / Farmhouse Ale 498
Tripel 489
Witbier 871
Baltic Porter 209
Braggot 37
English Barleywine 177
English Bitter 1148
English Brown Ale 674
English Dark Mild Ale 302
English India Pale Ale (IPA) 328
English Pale Ale 843
English Pale Mild Ale 107
English Porter 309
English Stout 239
English Strong Ale 202
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) 745
Foreign / Export Stout 128
Milk / Sweet Stout 253
Oatmeal Stout 458
Old Ale 200
Russian Imperial Stout 499
Winter Warmer 421
Sahti 20
Altbier 378
Berliner Weissbier 47
Dunkelweizen 355
Gose 13
Hefeweizen 1317
Kristalweizen 102
Kölsch 381
Roggenbier 40
Weizenbock 193
Irish Dry Stout 347
Irish Red Ale 294
Kvass 144
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy 403
Scottish Ale 415
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale 41
American Adjunct Lager 979
American Amber / Red Lager 254
American Double / Imperial Pilsner 60
American Malt Liquor 112
American Pale Lager 315
California Common / Steam Beer 141
Light Lager 571
Low Alcohol Beer 153
Czech Pilsener 586
Euro Dark Lager 265
Euro Pale Lager 1287
Euro Strong Lager 221
Bock 506
Doppelbock 478
Dortmunder / Export Lager 275
Eisbock 27
German Pilsener 1066
Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier 233
Maibock / Helles Bock 473
Munich Dunkel Lager 463
Munich Helles Lager 404
Märzen / Oktoberfest 839
Rauchbier 102
Schwarzbier 332
Vienna Lager 309
Happoshu 66
Japanese Rice Lager 41
Fruit / Vegetable Beer 1128
Herbed / Spiced Beer 434
Smoked Beer 90

Read Full Post »

Quick Update

This has no relation to anything. Except Id like one. Brewery Dog!

This has no relation to anything. Except I'd like one. Brewery Dog!

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know that I’m still here. Still planning a brewery. Still working hard at it. I just don’t have anything I feel is newsworthy right now. I might post on beards pretty soon.. Or commercial real estate. If there’s something you’d like me to write about, leave a comment. Otherwise, keep checking back. I’ll update soon, promise.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »