Yeast Cultures are Like Nuclear Weapons

Back in the bad old days, a home brewer was happy just to have a reliable yeast culture to pitch into his/her wort. The average home brewer today is no longer content with having access to yeast cultures that get the job done without leaving a trail of metabolic trash that is a mile wide. He/she wants to be able to compute and hit the exact number of cells needed to ferment a given batch of wort. The cold hard truth is that this level of precision is neither obtainable, nor is it necessary in a home brewery.

Tour the Grainfather G70

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I've been fortunate to have a loaner Grainfather G70 to brew on the last couple months.Although I had some initial misgiving about using a system that can brew 15 gal. batches, I've found that the design and build quality make it so easy to use that it's been a joy to brew on.  Here's a look at the system and my thoughts on it.

Shaken, not Stirred: The Stir Plate Myth Buster

When I started to brew in early 1993, no one I knew used a stir plate. That count included all of the hardcore amateur brewers I knew at that point in time and throughout my first pass through the hobby.  I brewed all-grain beer and maintained a yeast bank on agar slants for over a decade before taking a hiatus to focus on my family.  When I came back to the hobby in 2013, everyone was using a stir plate and proclaiming that a stir plate was a “must have” if one was going to make starters.  My experience with yeast cultures did not align with this assertion.  However, being inquisitive, I played along and purchased a stir plate and bar.  The performance of my cultures did not match what was promised. The media was so foul smelling after turning off the stir plate that I ditched it and went back to my old way of making a starter. 

This blog entry covers yeast propagation in general, claims made by proponents of stir plates, and my method of making and handling a starter.  My method is not the do all, be all yeast starter method, but it provides a simpler, lower cost way of making a starter that performs just as well, if not better than one made using a stir plate.

On The Bond Between Brewer & Feline & Vermin

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Prepare yourself for a tale of waste... and cats.

Brewers love to talk about ancient history, mostly in the form of the classic anthropological debate - bread or brew. But what about brewers and their connections to the "domestication" of animals. Sure, I love my dogs and without oxen, plowing a field of size would be tough.

The Difficulty of Triangle Testings - A Practical Example

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Let's talk the triangle test. You know that simple thing we try and do to prove that changes in brewing do or don't make a difference. We put a lot of stock in the conclusions of that test. What does it really mean?

On the face of it, it's a simple prospect - "Dear Sir/Madam, I present you three glasses. Pick the one that's different." It feels so absurd, so childish, so easy that it's insulting that you'd be asked to choose. 

The Saison Files - Tasting Yeast Bay, Fermentis and the Loral Canyon "American Noble" Saison

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Time for another tasting! This time I'm going through two more Yeast Bay strains and Fermentis new dried Saison yeast - BE-134. And then, we get to taste the real humdinger - my Loral Canyon Saison using YCHops "American Noble" version of Loral. What happens when you use the less intense stuff? You get something I'm super jazzed about!


Drew's Favorite Gin Recipes

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Here you my fellow Gin heads! A few simple recipes to make the Gin flow...

The Martini

3 oz Gin (I like a 50/50 blend of Plymouth and Hendricks or 100% St. George's Terroir)

0.25 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

Chill a cocktail glass with ice water

Fill a mixing glass with crush ice. Add vermouth and gin, stir for 30 seconds, double strain into freshly dumped cocktail glass.

Add 2 olives or a lemon twist to the glass.

The Negroni

2 oz Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Denny's Seafood Recipes

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Beer Poached Salmon with Tarragon Mayo

4 salmon steaks, 1-inch thick

12 ounces beer (nothing too hoppy…I prefer Bitburger)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

3 or 4 peppercorns

Tarragon Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon minced chives

1 teaspoon chopped green onion

1/ 4 teaspoon Tabasco

1 teaspoon minced parsley

Pocket Randall Instructions - or How to Build Your Own Randall F*cker

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Drew, Marshall and Josh talk about the Randall F*cker

The Setup (aka Drew Talks)

If you listened to Episode 42 of the podcast, you know that Marhsall Schott (Brülosophy) and I wandered around the Southern California Homebrewers Festival interviewing various silly people and enjoying ourselves. We conducted our interview with Kevin Baranowski behind the Maltose Falcons' booth. We wandered out of the booth after the interview and were immediately confronted with a strange sight - a man funnelling beers into a metal gadget, closing valves, squeezing triggers and opening more valves to pour the beer.

What to See At HomeBrew Con - The Experimental Brewing Edition

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Come Join Us at the Party of the Year!

By this time next week, we'll be deep, deep in the midst of the AHA's annual homebrew party - HomebrewCon. This year's edition is a return to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for four (ok, three official, but c'mon!) days and nights of beery goodness. Here's our quick guide about what we're doing - what we want to check out and more!

Look Ma, I'm in the Library!

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A few months back, I was contacted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton of Oregon State University and the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives. In an interesting turn of events, they wanted to talk to me about Oregon, homebrewing and my part in the whole scene. They are even archiving all the work we've done and adding it to their collection which includes the pioneering and humbling work of Fred Eckhardt.

The Saison Files - Tasting the Saison Strains of the Yeast Bay

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Less Talk - More Yeast Writings

So you know I'm a Saison Nut, right? It's the style I'm known for more than anything else. It's the style I brew more than anything else. It's playful, expansive, complex and approachable. The style has allowed me lots of room to be creative. You've got my Year of Saisons, my "Your Farmhouse" Saisons, my hoppy Saisons, my Champagne Saisons, my Guacamole Saisons, my Chowdah Saison, etc, etc.


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