These 2.5 gallon ball lock kegs have reinvigorated my homebrewing hobby. I now have 6 of them in rotation and bottling is no longer a giant, messy pain.
The upsides to kegging, for me, are myriad. No more clumsy bottle filler. No more sanitizing cases of empty glass bottles. No more stinky, sticky bug filled bottle collection waiting to be cleaned. At its simplest, you siphon your beer from your fermenter into the keg and seal it up.
The only nuance is carbonation. You can bottle/cask condition in the keg, but you need less sugar (about 1/2-1/3 of what you'd normally use.) If you'd rather, it is also very easy to force carbonate your beer with CO2 and skip the entire bottling sugar step.
I use this handy CO2 charger and this tap, force carbonation is harder with them but it can be done. If you buy a more complex CO2 filling system, it gets quite easy.
Refrigerate a keg for 24-36 hrs before serving. It takes a while to cool them down!
Kegging was a major step in simplifying my homebrew process. Without the mess of bottling this hobby became fun again.
2.5 Gallon Keg New w/ Ball Lock Connections Read the rest
I could (and probably will) write an essay about all the ways in which the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is amazing and totally different from the usual museum (shortlist: limited capacity managed through waiting lists instead of price-hikes; exhibits that are intended to be handled, even the fragile ones; no cult of personality for founders; emphasis on both wonder and production; modest and beautifully stocked shop; overall non-commercial emphasis; quirkiness that is commensurate with the actual films), but for now, I'll leave you with this: the beautiful Miyazaki-esque beer-labels from the hot-dog and ice-cream stand.
Miyazaki beer label, Ghibli Museum, Tokyo, Japan
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Joe sez, "There's a new FDA rule that will make it nearly make it financially impossible for small craft brewers to give their grain away to farmers for animal feed. I work for a small brewery and all of us there are very upset about this and the general disregard for sustainability. At the end if the article linked there's direct FDA links that cover their proposal."
Leftover brewing grains have been fed to livestock since the dawn of agriculture, so this is a pretty radical shift. The proposed new requirements for animal feed handling stipulate that the feed has to be dried, analyzed and packaged before being donated to farmers (the spent grains are generally given away at the end of the brewing process), at substantial expense.
It's clear that food safety is important, but I'm not convinced that the stringency of this rule is commensurate with the risk.
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Miami, Florida resident Fernando Caignet Aguilera, 64, was cited after he attempted to trade an alligator he found in a nearby park for a 12-pack of beer at a convenience store. According to CNN, he faces six months in jail and a $500 fine for "taking possession and selling an alligator, which is a second-degree misdemeanor." Read the rest
The Pumpkin Tap turns hollowed-out pumpkins and watermelons into drink dispensers! I think most any beer faucet and shank would work, but this is a fun idea. Read the rest
Advertised as "the most complete charting of beer ever," Pop Chart Lab's 60" x 40" wall chart
is printed on 100lb archival stock and is available for pre-order at $80. [via FastCo
] Read the rest
Jonny sez, "I'm Jonny, from Belfast in Ireland. I was just at XOXO and I've spent over a year working on a project to make brewing simple, accessible, and beautiful. The appliance can be monitored and controlled with your smartphone; it's called Brewbot."
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Sponsor message: This post is brought to you by Fat Tire. Pairs Well With People.
In two weeks, our own Rob Beschizza will be headed to the Fort Collins leg of the 14th annual Tour de Fat, the all-ages festival series put on by our sponsor New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale.
It begins on Saturday, August 31, with a bicycle parade through the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado—a ride that traditionally features all sorts of colorful costumes. Then everyone heads to Civic Center Park, where Reggie Watts, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Dragondeer and others will put on a show for 20,000 attendees.
The brewery's flagship Fat Tire will be at the show, along with summer seasonal Rolle Bolle and other selections. This doesn't just make the locals happy: the Tour raised $79,000 last year for local non-profits.
Admission to the park is free of charge, parade attendees can donate $5, if they please, and the beer is $5 a pint.
For more on the full 12-city tour, the Tour de Fat credo, and the chance to swap your car for a "fancy new bicycle," visit facebook.com/TourDeFat
TL;DR: Rob is paid to drink beer. Read the rest
Yesterday, guest blogger Madeleine Johnson had a story here about a piece of ancient Peruvian pottery — in the shape of a very grumpy little cat. If you haven't read her story, you really should. It's all about the great cat memes of ancient history and how archaeologists can use clues from an artwork to track down who made it, where, and when.
My friend Andrew was kind enough to adapt Ancient Grumpy Cat into the form of a modern cat meme. That's his picture above. Madeleine and I also put together another one, based on Ancient Grumpy Cat's probable history as a ceremonial mug for drinking a corn beer called chicha:
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(Click to embiggen)
Feòrag NicBhrìde has provided us with a vital cartographic reference: a map of Europe showing the word for "beer" in each country.
The Essential Map of Europe and Environs.
(Thanks, Charlie!) Read the rest
Over in the /r/homebrewing subreddit, user hatchetthrower has recreated one of my favorite fictional brews: Bendërbrāu, a homebrewed beer from Futurama made entirely inside Bender the robot's chassis. The recipe for the clone is pretty dead on: it's a steam beer as suggested by the label in the show, uses space-aged sounding Zythos hops (Galaxy was out of stock), and Rush 2112 yeast because Rush is one of Fry's favorite bands.
Check out the rest of the discussion on Reddit, as well as this Bender fermenter build for ultrafans. Read the rest
"How Beer Saved The World," "Why I Tease Those Wine Guys," and "How Bird Poop Makes A More Aromatic Belgian Beer" are but a few tidbits.
The science of skunked beer
— or why clear glass bottles are the bane of brew. Read the rest
I'm trying to decide which is more awesome: That a Danish beer company once had a laboratory that did research in protein chemistry and funded independent scientists ... or that said beer company gave Niels Bohr an unlimited, in-home beer supply
as a gift in honor of Bohr winning the Nobel Prize. (Via Charlie Papazian) Read the rest
Yes, it's $72. But this 3-D printed metal sculpture/bottle opener is fantastic. And so is its marketing copy.
The problem of beer That it is within a 'bottle', i.e. a boundaryless compact 2-manifold homeomorphic to the sphere. Since beer bottles are not (usually) pathological or "wild" spheres, but smooth manifolds, they separate 3-space into two non-communicating regions: inside, containing beer, and outside, containing you. This state must not remain.
Read the rest of the product description and, you know, maybe buy the bottle opener, too. If you're feeling spendy.
Via Cliff Pickover Read the rest
When scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany sequenced the genome of barley, they were thinking primarily about the impact on food. Understanding the genetics behind certain traits could help us breed barley varieties that have built-in resistance against disease, or that contain more fiber. (Contrary to popular understanding, there's actually a lot of overlap between what we might think of as genetic engineering and what we might think of as breeding. Crop researchers can use genome maps to select specific plants to cross pollinate, enabling them to reliably breed a trait into a new variety much faster than was previously possible.)
But, this is barley. And we don't just eat barley. With this plant, sequencing the genome also has implications for the way we brew beer. At Popular Science, Martha Harbison explains what we're learning about barley's genetic code and why it matters in beer making. In particular, she says it's significant that the researchers sequenced the genomes of more than one variety of barley.
Why should aspiring homebrewers care? Because two-row and six-row barley behave slightly differently in the mash, which can have profound effects on brewing efficiency and characteristics of the finished beer (a complex phenomenon I'll get into in a future column). I figured anyone nerdulent enough to want to know about genetic differences of cultivars would be curious as to which kind of barley was used in the single-nucleotide-variation study.
Read the rest of the story at Popular Science
You can read more about the surprisingly complex world of plant breeding in two articles I wrote — one for Popular Science, and one for Discover. Read the rest
Taisto Miettinen and Kristina Haapanen are once again wife-carrying world champions
, writes Scott Thistle at the Oxford Hills Sun-Journal: "The prize, besides a check for $530 ... is the winning woman's weight in beer." [The complete leaderboard
] Read the rest