Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2nd to last bottle of my undead red that my friend James had stashed away. 3+ years old now and tasty!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brewday Where Are You?

I'm back in school and I am swamped with reading and my beer supply is dwindling away. I need to set up some sort of automated system to brew for me while I am in class. Hopefully I can find the time to sneak in a brewday soon. It seems every second of my day that I am not at work or asleep I am in a book. Oh well, it's only 2 years of school and then back to the old hobby (religion) we know as homebrewing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Am a Home Brewer

Can you spot the Yooper in this video?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I decided to try drinking the FOOP--(Formerly Once Only Protein) from a Hopped up Red Rye beer I did this morning. It was really interesting. It is going to be a brewday tradition from here on out I believe.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MBG Festival & UPtoberfest

The Michigan Brewers Guild is going to be hosting a festival Sept. 12 in Marquette! They need people to help out and pour beer for this event so if anyone is interested in pouring beer samples for a few hours let me know by emailing me your name and phone # and I will add you to a list that I am going to pass on to a friend at New Holland Brewery who will let you know when and where you can help out.

This should be a fun event and a great chance for us Yoopers to get our hands on many of the great offerings that are to be had right here in Michigan.

Also, October 10th in Escanaba, there will be another festival that has been growing in interest over the past few years. This will by-far be the best year yet for UPtoberfest. Head to the website and get your tickets now.

Sept. & Oct. are going to be a lot of long as you attend these two beer festivals.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christmas Beer in Bottles...Fa la la la la

I just bottled my Christmas Beer that I'm going to be handing out to some friends and family this Christmas season. It's basically the grain bill of a schwarzbier fermented with the Duvel strain of yeast and I blended in a tea I made with some mulling spices at bottling to give it a little bit of holiday kick. It tastes pretty good right now, hopefully it gets better with a little bit of age on it before the Holidays.

Other beers I have going right now:
Barley Wine (dry hopped with amarillo)

Back to Brewing & Blogging!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Got my computer back!!! Mancave Pics.

Alright, first off, sorry for not posting for a while. We are still getting situated in the new house and I've been without my computer until today. It took forever for this place to get it fixed for me. Anyway, I'm sitting down in the Man-cave now with 20 gallons of beer fermenting. It's like a symphony of airlocks and blow-off tubes down here. The thing I'm most excited about is the space I have to brew in now (new garage). Now that I am home by myself during the dayss I can get out of the kitchen use some of my bigger pots. 10 gallon batches from here on out. I just did a Schwarzbier (my first lager), a Belgian stout, & a barley wine that turned out more of an imperial IPA. My efficiency was way low so It came out at 1.085--was shooting for 1.100+. I solved the problem with my low efficiency now so I can quit wasting all that extra base malt now. Here are some pics of my littler corner of the basement...AKA Man-Cave. Sorry so messy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

All Moved In

Wow, my last entry was May 6th. It's been a very busy last couple of months for me. We just bought a house and are finally getting situated in the new place. I'm going to actually have a lot more free time to brew (in my new garage) now that my wife started her own daycare and will be taking the kids with her to work every day. I'm bummed out that I don't get to see my kids as much but the cellar will definitely benefit. I just did a barley wine this last weekend so I'll actually have one ready to drink during the colder months instead of brewing one during the colder months like I usually end up doing. Once my computer comes back from the doctor I'll post some pics of my new brewing area. I have a nice basement to store all of my fermentors and other equipment with an attached garage that I can brew in now. Livin' the dream man, livin' the dream. Buying a house instantly brang out the "king of the hill" in me. LOL.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Birdsfoot Trefoil Braggot

I just brewed one of the last beers ever to be brewed in this ol' kitchen of mine. I've been wanting to brew a braggot for some time now and I finally got around to it this morning. Damn it felt good to brew something. I've been so bloody busy lately and distracted with house hunting that I haven't even had time to think about brewing. I get crabby when my beer supply starts running anyone would, right?

I just bought a house yesterday in Ishpeming so it looks like I'm going to have to pack up my gear and head 15 min west of Marquette. The move is going to help my brewing situation greatly as I'll have a garage to brew in that happens to be attached to my basement where I plan to put in a little tasting/fermentation room. I'm pretty excited to get it all set up.

Anyway, back to my Braggot that I just brewed. Recipe goes like this:

13 lbs Castle Belg Pilsner
4 oz Crystal 12oL
4 oz Special Roast

1.5 oz Styrian Golding @ 60
.5 oz Styrian Golding @ 30
1 oz Lublin (polish) @ 30
.5 oz Lublin (polish) @ 15s

1 oz sweet orange peel @ 15
1 cinnamon stick @ 10 (to help prevent oxidation on the shelf)
1/8 tsp Grains of Paradise @ 10
1/2 tbsp Coriander @ 8
5lb of White Birch Apiary (Just the name of the Apiary--you can't make honey from Birch) Birdsfoot Trefoil Honey. From right here in da U.P. 'eh.

Pitched a slurry of WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast

I Am A Craft Brewer

I Am A Craft Brewer from I Am A Craft Brewer on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hey, I brewed something!

I thought I'd quit bitching about not having enough time to brew lately and just do it. So I did. I Here's how I do a cafe latte. Simple and tasty.

Whip up a little cream and put a splash of it in the bottom of your glass. Roll it until the entire glass is coated with a thin layer. Pour your coffee in slowly and add a tiny bit more of cream right on the top of that to give it a nice little peak. Oi la.


I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I have had absolutely no time to brew for a while now. I plan to get back in the swing of things soon. I have a lot of beers I want to do, the trick is finding the time to squeeze it in. Hopefully I can crank out a few batches in upcoming weeks.


I hope everyone is doing well and your cups are from empty.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cool Looking Pellicle

A few weeks ago I made a yeast starter from some oak cubes that I received from a fellow homebrewer. They were innoculated with a buffet of bugs from different lambics and such. I poured all of the liquid from the starter into my lambic and then poured the chips into a fresh erlinmyer with some fresh wort to make another starter and I am getting this really cool pellicle growth going on. It is like powdery little snowbanks scattered about on the surface of the wort. Pretty cool, at least if you are geeky like I am.

Friday, March 6, 2009

How's THIS for a beerlist?
I will hang my head for this weekend for I am not at the Zythos Beer Festival. I can dream can't I.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Belgian Beer Primer (Part 1)

Belgian Beer PrimerDecoding the world’s most acclaimed
(and confusing) brews
By Roxanne Webber
Belgian beer has mystique: Some of it’s made by monks. Some of it tastes really, really weird. Some of its labels show elves and devils. People who know beer are sometimes unable to resist blowing huge chunks of cash on it. How to Serve Belgian Beer
and Where to Try It
It is, said famed beer writer Michael Jackson, the “Disneyland of beer.”

But like Disneyland on a warm holiday weekend, Belgian beer can be intimidating. Walk into a specialty shop or bar that stocks it, and you’ll probably be confronted with an overwhelming list of things you’ve never heard of—with names in French, Dutch, or a combination of the two. The beers will often be more expensive than other imports, and in some cases will deliver flavors the average American palate is unprepared for. It’s enough to make most of us just order a Sierra.
Still, Belgian beer is wonderful, and it can take you places you never expected. The range of flavors and aromas, like with wine, can be surprisingly complex and mysterious. To dive in, all you need is a little background and the curiosity to begin tasting. Whether you’re a fan of rich, dark ales or light, effervescent quaffers, there are delightful examples to be found. We’ve put together this primer on the various styles and where to locate them stateside to get you started.

Not all Belgian beer is craft beer: Belgians drink crappy beer sometimes just like Americans do. And among the craft options there’s a fallacy, says Dan Shelton, owner of Shelton Brothers, one of the primary importers of small-batch Belgian beers for the U.S. market, which is that they’re all ultrasweet, strong, spicy, or fruity, rather than hoppy or light. Not true.

Historically, saisons were made on farms with whatever grains were on hand to supplement the malted barley, so there was a lot of variation. (“Malted” means the grain has been moistened, allowed to germinate—which makes its starches more readily available for the brewing process—and then heated to stop it from sprouting.) They are refreshing, light in body, dry, golden to orange in color, effervescent, relatively low in alcohol (around 5 percent), and moderately hoppy. They may or may not have spices added (some take on a spicy flavor naturally from phenols produced during fermentation), and can be citrusy and floral.

TRY: Saison Dupont; Fantôme

Witbier or Bier Blanche
These are Belgian-style wheat beers made with a relatively high percentage of unmalted (raw) wheat and some lightly malted barley. Witbiers are pale to golden in color but can be cloudy because they’re unfiltered. Most, like Hoegaarden, are flavored with coriander and orange peel, but they don’t have to be. Like German hefeweizens, witbiers are refreshing, citrusy, relatively low in alcohol (4 to 5 percent), and easy to drink.

TRY: Vuuve 5 (spiced); Saisis Blanche (unspiced)

Trappist beers are brewed by a Benedictine order of monks. The tradition of creating products like beer, cheese, and bread dates back to 1098, to fund social work and make the monasteries self-sufficient. There are Trappist monasteries all over the world, but only seven brew beer, six of them in Belgium: Achel, Orval, Scourmont Lez Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westvleteren. The seventh, Koningshoeven, is located in the Netherlands. You’ll often see Trappist beers labeled “double” or “triple,” and sometimes “single” or “quadruple.” The terms indicate alcohol content (double is stronger than single, etc.). Some Trappist breweries, like Rochefort and Westvleteren, skip this naming convention and use numbers; higher numbers indicate higher alcohol content (though they don’t directly correlate to the actual percentage).

“Abbey” is a term applied to beers made in the Trappist styles but not necessarily in an abbey. There are no regulations for what these styles should taste like, so they vary greatly. Here’s a rough generalization of what to expect:

SINGLE A.K.A. SINGEL: There aren’t very many singles, but the ones you can find are lighter, easier-drinking beers, almost like pale ales, with 4 to 5 percent alcohol.

TRY: Witkap-Pater Singel (not from a Trappist monastery)

DOUBLE A.K.A. DUBBEL: Between 5 and 8 percent alcohol, often amber to brown, with a malty aroma and flavors like raisin, fig, date, caramel, plum, and even toffee and chocolate. They can be on the sweet side.

TRY: Westmalle Dubbel

TRIPLE A.K.A. TRIPEL: Usually a strong golden ale, around 8 to 9 percent alcohol. Triples are fruitier and crisper than doubles, and often more refreshing.

TRY: Achel 8° Blonde; Orval (a unique Trappist brew similar to a triple but considered a Belgian pale ale by some)

QUADRUPLE: Very high in alcohol content (10 to 12 percent), sweet and raisiny, sometimes chocolaty. Kind of like a double on steroids.

TRY: Urthel Samaranth (not from a Trappist monastery)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just Bruit Gruit from Fighting Pike Homebrewery

I'm drinking the first beer out of a 6 pack from Edward Mathis' Fighting Pike Homebrewery. It is a Gruit that weighs in at 1.068 OG and an ABV of 6.4%.

The beer pours a tootsie roll brown with garnet highlights when held up to light. There is a light tan/mocha color head that settles down after a few minutes to a thin layer.

The aroma of this beer reminds me of a Chai tea that has a nice cardamom presence. Basically, Chai tea the way I make it. That aroma leads you into a mild spruciness or that smell you get when you are trying to twist a branch until it snaps offin a swamp somewhere in the U.P.

The flavor fallows the nose. There is a dark fruit flavor that perfectly offset by the spiciness of this beer. I can't help but think there might be some special B malt in this beer given the garnet highlights and that familiar flavor of dried plum. The spiciness is perfect in this beer. It is there from start to finish but it isn't too overwhelming.

I could drink a few of these in a row and that is not something I would have ever imagined myself saying about a gruit. I like the style but most of the Gruits I have tasted exhausted my palate soon after.

Nice job on this one Edward.
Czar's Blog

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big Ole Lumberjack Festival Homebrew Competition

Big Ole Lumberjack Festival Homebrew Competition
June 26-27

Here are the early details of the Big Ole Lumberjack Festival Homebrew Competition. I will be updating this as the rest of the details are worked out. Just thought I'd post this now to get the word out. This is going to be held mid to late June.

Who is eligible to participate

The competition is open to any homebrewer from within the United States. Affiliation of entrants with AHA is NOT a requirement. Contestants will be considered as an individual entrant on the basis of person's name appearing on the registration form. Combinations of brewers should appear in the same order on all entries. Applicable entry fees and entry limitations shall apply.

Homebrewers may not use homebrewing facilities other than their own, unless brewed with the help of the owner of other homebrewing facilities. Furthermore, in this case, the beer must be entered under the name of all brewers who helped. Beers brewed in commercially licensed facilities, brew on premise, whether for commercial research or production, or for any other purpose, are ineligible.

Beer entries will be judged in 5-7 different categories. Categories may be altered at the head judges discretion.

How and what to enter

Entry Fees: Entry fees for this competition are $5.00 per entry. The registration form can be accessed from this web page beginning 05/25/2009. All checks should be made payable to the Bay de Noc Brewers and sent with your entries and your registration form to Big Ole Festival Homebrewing Competition c/o Josh Marenger, 1430 Stephenson Ave #2, Escanaba, MI 49829. Judges and Stewards can volunteer by calling Jeremy Drury at 906-555-5555 or by sending an e-mail to

Entry Requirements: Bottles must be 10 to 16 ounce glass or plastic of ANY style and clean and free of any labels (inked, paper, or otherwise). Entrants are encouraged to use brown, long-neck bottles for maximum protection from light and breakage. Use a rubber band to attach bottle label form to each bottle. The use of tape or glue to attach forms is not acceptable. For the competition, homebrewing competitors must enter two bottles for each entry. Soft drink or other printed crowned caps are acceptable; however, they need to be blacked-out with a black marking pen to assure anonymity in all judging situations. There is no limit on how many beers you can submit per category.

All entry fees, names of competitor, address, phone number, Category entered must accompany entries when submitted. No entries will be returned whether received late or otherwise. All entries become property of the Bay de Noc Brewers Competition Committee.

Use official registration forms (or copies) that can be found here when possible though other registration forms such as ProMash will be accepted.

Beers will be disqualified for entry requirements infractions. These entries may still be judged (unless a shipping infraction has occured) but will be ineligible for awards or prizes. You will still receive your score sheets.

Where and when to enter

Drop your entries early to arrive between 06/??/2009 and 06/??/2009 at Hereford & Hops. Entries will be refrigerated upon receipt, thus helping to preserve the quality that we receive them in. No entries will be accepted after 06/??/2009. Sorry, we cannot make any exceptions.

Out-of-State Entries: Please send deliveries to Big Ole Festival Homebrew Competition, c/o Josh Marenger, 1430 Stephenson Ave #2, Escanaba, MI 49829. It is legal to ship your entries via UPS, FedEx Ground or air freight. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division of the Internal Revenue Service says it's legal. Usually you will be asked the contents of the package; your reply should be: "Bottles, but they are double-boxed and padded well." DO NOT send entries via US Postal Services. It is illegal to ship via USPS and your entry will not be judged.

PACK YOUR ENTRIES WELL: Line the inside of your carton with a plastic trash bag. Partition and pack each bottle with adequate packaging material. Clearly state "GLASS-FRAGILE. THIS SIDE UP" on the package. Your package of NON-PERISHABLE FOOD should weigh less than 40 pounds. It is not necessary to state specific contents of your package of non-perishable food. Send entries as soon as possible. No late entries will be accepted.

Drop-Off Points:
Hereford & Hops Restaurant and Brewery
Ludington St.
Escanaba, MI 49829


Judging will be done in open sessions from 06/DD though 06/DD, as needed. In the first round, the judges will judge each category, selecting the best three. The second round consists of all the 1st place beers selected in the first round. The winner will be named best of show. More than one judge will evaluate every first round entry. Entries will be chilled and stored properly and appropriately. All decisions of the judges and competition organizer are final. Winners will be announced at Big Ole Festival 06/26/2009. All winners will be notified and every reasonable effort will be made to return score sheets and judges' comments to all entrants. Results will also be found on this website.

If you would like to judge, you can register by clicking the "Volunteer, Judge or Steward" button on this page or may register by sending an e-mail to

Awards and Prizes

There will be ribbons awarded for first, second, and third place in all catagories. BOS will have their name added to the Big Ole Axe Trophy that will be displayed at Hereford and Hops. The winner will also receive (whatever prizes donated from sponsors). A minimum of 25 points must be obtained to receive a ribbon. Other prizes will be awarded, hopefully something in all categories for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, Best of Show. In case of a tie, tie breaks will be determined at the discretion of the competition coordinator.

Contest Sponsors:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finally corked the Flanders Red! Whoo Hoo!

Well, I finally got around to corking up this beer (or beers I should say since it is actually a blend of two different Flanders Reds). In short, I brewed Jamil's Flanders Red recipe a couple years ago and I also brewed a La Folie clone that I came across in a BYO 150 Clone recipes magazine. While pulling samples of these beers I like to blend some of the samples together just for the hell of it and I found that a 50/50 blend of these two beers benefited the flavor of both beers. They were both o.k. in their own right but I liked the blend a little better so I just decided I'd blend them and have 10 gallons of a nice beer. All of the corked bottles are the Belgian bottles with the big fat heads on them like the Chimay or Unibroue 750mL bottles. Both and carry the right sized corks and wire cages for these bottles now. He are some pics from the day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Teriyaki Steak with Onions, Green Pepper and Pineapple

I had a few NY Strip steaks sitting in a Teriyaki marinade for a few days and I decided to cook them up in my heavy ol' cast iron skillet for a harty lunch and leftovers for a few days. Almost every time I cook a steak there are onions, green peppers, & mushrooms cooked right along side of them to put on top of the steak. Since I had in a teriyaki marinade I decided to do onions, green pepper, and pineapple. But....I did the pineapple separately and I cooked them in some flanders red, my Undead Sour Red to be exact. After I cooked up the steak, onions and green pepper I deglazed the skillet with the beer and then added the pineapple and cooked it until the beer cooked down a bit and thickened up a bit. I then drizzled the sauce over the steak and added the pineapple to the veggies. Oi La.

Use your favorite Teriyaki marinade. Mine is just Orange Juice, Brown Sugar, Soy Sauce, Garlic & Ginger

Friday, January 16, 2009

De Proef, Bell's to collaborate!!!

De Proef, Bell’s to collaborate

A bit of American-Belgian brewing news from SBS Imports in Seattle:

“(SBS) is pleased to announce that Bell’s Brewery has agreed to be the 2009 partner for the latest brew in the De Proef Brewmaster’s Collaboration Series. The yet to be designed beer will be brewed in March at De Proef in Lochristi, Belgium and released to the USA market in September 2009.