Friday, September 24, 2010

The more I brew...

So, the one thing about brewing that is fascinating to me is that the more I do it the less I truly know. Now I know that sounds weird but it's true. There are so many methods to brewing and so many styles, I have just barely scratched the surface. There are styles that are defunct and no one knows about anymore, or at least you have to really research to find them.

Now, every time I write a new recipe or even revisit an old one to see what I can do to improve it, I try to apply new techniques that I haven't used before. Some are met with success and others I could do without. That's half the fun though, I feel creative and adventurous yet secure in knowing I am doing something that I enjoy and seem to have aptitude towards. And, even though my knowledge of beer grows daily I am starting to understand I know next to nothing about it. THAT right there is why I truly love doing this, with such a rich history I look forward to learning something new everyday.

~Until next time, keep evolving.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Overworking and utilization...

So, I sit here after a very long weekend. I had a family member pass away suddenly Friday night. I had worked a double that night. I called the family all Saturday morning then went to work for the BSU game. Which even on a normal day is a butt kicker and about 12 hours. I closed and less than 8 hours later I was back to work. I sit here getting ready to work another double. I am worn out, mostly emotionally but somehow that always translates into physical fatigue also. Once again my thoughts turn to beer, yet again, yeast to be specific. It's weird I keep tying our lives to the lives of the micro fungus.

Yeast are funny creatures, you give them the right environment, give them some food, don't overwork them and they will work as long as you let them. You can reuse the same yeast for anywhere from 6-12 batches if they are treated right. (I have heard of brewers using them longer but about 8 times is the average.) Use them in a high alcohol beer and they become stressed, not only because they are over worked but also because the environment becomes toxic. They start dying at a faster rate and start having issues reproducing making weaker cells and having a high rate of mutations. This is why when you reuse yeast you start with a lower alcohol beer and do your higher alcohol at the end. This helps them stay strong and healthy as you keep the stress to a minimum.

Stressed yeast can create off flavors, making the beer taste funky. Basically they stop doing their job. Not cleaning up some of the chemicals left over from the fermentation process like they normally would. Once there, unfortunately, the yeast is done. You cannot reuse it from this point on. Luckily we as a species can "recharge out batteries" and fix this. I get to recharge mine here in a couple weeks as I am going to Oregon for my brothers wedding. It works out as the coast just so happens to be one of my favorite places to be and most of my family will be there.

So take a look around from time to time and see if your environment too has become toxic, take the time to fix it or even go recharge yourself. You'll be happier for it in the long run.

~Until next time, keep evolving.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cliff Clavin...

I had to share this. The gentlemen (I use this term very loosely) over at were talking about their favourite beer quotes and I came across this. I had read it before but had forgotten about it. It amuses me, so I am sharing it with you.

"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.

This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers." ~Cliff Clavin