In case you are wondering, I.M. Hammered Brewing is:
Mark -- Head brewer and drinker (brewer of over 65 batches of extract and all grain brews, drinker of many thousands of bottles and pints of beer), CEO and President of the finest Nano-brewery I know of, head bottle washer, and sanitation engineer
Liz -- Vice President in charge of bar decorating, keeping me from becoming too fanatical in my brewing habits, and is also known as "she who must be obeyed"
Michael -- Brewhouse assistant, equipment consultant, Chief IT Geek and self-appointed Official Beer Taster (great work if you can get it)
Schpankie -- Newest convert from fizzy yellow water to finely crafted beers and ales, adds little value to the brewhouse, but we like him anyway
Scooter -- The gas man (and I mean that in the kindest of ways) bringing propane and co2 when needed, also has keen interest in the brewing process
Knuckle Jefe -- Newest convert to brewing (has four batches under his belt), has began a start up nano-brewery in Kentucky known as "Double-Wide Brewing" with the catchy slogan of "double wide beers at single wide prices". Boy has a brilliant future in marketing. IMH is helping with equipment in the start up. We all work for beer, then again, why wouldn't we.
Parrot Pete, aka, Pappa Draft -- Bar designer, humidor raider, label celebrity, and Just because he should have been on the list the whole time.
We hope to make this site fun and informative and look for outside input, or inside output, whatever works.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Brewing Porter....Scottish Ale Thoughts....Brew Day Supplies
Since I am brewing my infamous Parrot Pete's Porter this weekend, I thought
it would be prudent to share some porter brewing tips with all of you out
there in homebrew land. Porter's origins are sketchy at best, but one thing
is certain, at one time it was the hottest selling beer in England and
Ireland. Some say that the tax man began the demise of porter but others
believe that the improvements in kilned malts leading to more pale malts
available played a big role. Even others believe the advent of glass
drinking containers that you could see the beer in started the demise.
Whatever the reason, this is a tried and true brew of distinction. It
should be a dark and substantial ale giving some level of roasted character,
but also having a nice medium body and also some level of residual
sweetness. It should be hopped in such a manner to balance and to let the
malt flavors shine through in the end. The beer should have lower levels of
esters and the yeast should be a relatively clean fermenter. A hint of
diacetyl is allowable and some believe adds to the richness of the brew.
The range is relatively broad for the style, from a brown porter that is
less roasted and has a mellow sweeter flavor, to a robust porter that has
more roasted grain character with more of a bite. I like to brew a porter
with character and that leans a bit more to the robust category. I start
with a good two row base malt. Maris Otter from England is the choice of
many, but I believe any good pale malt can make up the backbone of this
style. If you use a US two row, add some munich or vienna malt to the grist
at 5 to 10% to add some malt body. I think there should be several types of
malt in this brew to add complexity. I like to use a light crystal at about
10 lov coupled with some medium crystal at about 60 lov plus a small
addition of dark crystal at about 145 lov. I also like to add a nice dose
of chocolate malt at about 7.5% of the total grist. I top that off with a
hint of black patent malt to lend a slight roasted character to the beer.
Go easy on the black malt and the dark crystal. The chocolate addition is
quite large and you only need a few ounces of the other dark grains. Keep
all specialty grain additions at less than 15% of the total grist. For a
yeast I like to use Irish Ale yeast. It adds just a hint of diacetyl to the
beer but I am a believer that it adds character. Most English strains will
work just fine and even California Ale yeast will make a nice porter.
Extract brewers should use light or extra light dme or lme. Use the
specialty grains to add character and color. Feel free to use specialty
grains up to two pounds in the steep for a 1.050OG or higher wort. I would
suggest chocolate malt with a couple of crystal malts and hint of black
patent or roasted barley. Most of all, have fun brewing a porter. Its is a
forgiving and fun style of beer to make and drink.......
Here are some thoughts on Scottish Ale. The Nitro Rangers have me thinking
more about these English and Scottish styles that fit the nitro gas
presentation. Scottish Ale is a bit of an enigma. There is little written
on the origin of these styles and the current brewers ain't talking. It is
interesting how these beers may have evolved and there is a lot of
speculation that they might have been fashioned after the germanic peoples
old beer known today as Alt Bier. The beer is amber in color, but as a
brewer, it is a mistake to add crystal malt to this beer. The beer should
be mostly pale malt though many believe a light munich malt might make this
beer more authentic. The beer must have been originally cool fermented in
the 55 degree range as that is typically the ambient temperature in the
areas where it is brewed commercially today. Today's ale yeasts don't do
very well at these lower temps. Even the Scottish ale yeasts widely
available recommend a higher fermentation temperature. They don't attenuate
as well as most other ale yeasts and that leaves a residual sweetness in the
beer. That said, some believe that a fermentation with an Alt Bier yeast
will yield a decent Scottish Ale (though they tend to be good attenuators,
i.e., eat more sugar longer). The Scottish styles are hard to figure as
well, as there appears to be no real demarcation between a Scottish Ale and
a Wee Heavy. They can be from 3.2% ABV up into the 7%+ range and have
either name. Scottish ales also tend to have a smokey quality about them.
Some believe that this comes from malts kilned with peat fires lending a
smokey quality to the malt used in the grist. Others say the smokey quality
is a byproduct of a Scottish yeasts fermentation. The best way that I can
see to learn more about Scottish ales is to just go out and drink some of
them. Belhaven is one of the easiest to find in this country, though there
are others. Microbrewers tend to make them for release this time of year as
well, to help get the chill off, you understand. These tend to be on the
higher end of the ABV scale to achieve that purpose. At the end of the day,
it is a style that everybody into craft beer tends to try and like, but
making it or learning about it in detail is very difficult. Don't take my
word for it, go try some for yourself......
I'll be off tonight to get some brew day supplies. Cool beans!! I love to
go to the brewing store to get grain and other stuff. It is a whole lot of
fun!! I hope you get to have some beer fun (drinking counts) this weekend
Get ready for a big weekend. That means stock up on your fave brews and
watch football till your face turns blue!!!!!!!!
Mark, The brewer, and getting ready to immortalize Parrot Pete's
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Happy Anniversary....Brewing Sunday....In A World Of Wort
Yes ladies and gentleman (and in some cases I use those terms loosely), I
can't believe it either. It has been one year since the IMHBC Web Page has
been up and running and we're still going, just like that darn bunny on TV.
I have been causing you to think, get angry, chuckly, chortle, and try new
beers for a full year now. I also hope I have given you some insight to the
brewing process and helped many of you think about home brewing. I might
have even gotten a few people to actually give the homebrewing hobby a try.
We went from 25 hits in the first month of our site (thanks to family and
friends) to now having over 350 hits per month on average. One month we
nearly topped 500 total hits. That's quite a growth pattern for a little
informational site like this one. I can't believe that people actually read
what I write, many reading it daily. Amazing to me. I wouldn't do it if it
wasn't for all of you who visit regularly. This is work and takes a lot of
planning. On the other side of the coin, I have been brewing long enough
and enough batches of all types of beer, that I feel like I have a pretty
good idea of how to do this. One of the joys of the hobby is sharing your
beer, and getting others interested in not only the appreciation of great
real beer with real flavor, but to get people interested in becoming
homebrewers. The ease of making really great beer at home is simply mind
boggling. I can't believe more people don't do it!!! I guess going to the
store to get good beer is much easier, but there is something about the self
satisfaction of brewing and packaging your own beer that is hard to
describe. Anyway, thanks for all of your support over the past year, and we
hope to continue on our beer and brewing journey for many years to come.
Hey, this is cause to have a couple of beers to celebrate tonight!!!
Sunday, brewing Sunday.....Sunday, brewing Sunday....Sunday, brewing
Sunday......Ok, another lame music reference to the now infamous U2 song of
a similar name. Would you expect any less from me. No!!! I am guessing
that this is short notice for Jim at Country Wines (unadulterated, biased,
and free commercial plug number 412) to make the weizen bock so I will see
if he is available on October 10th for this chore. Since that is the case,
it's time to make that wonderful concoction known as Parrot Pete's One
Particular Porter. This beer is sooooo good that I have to have some ready
for the start of cold weather. Not to mention of course that it has made
Pappa Draft somewhat of a cult hero and celebrity among the beer drinking
cognocenti that frequent the establishment (see photo above). So look for
updates on a new fermentation that should be taking place next week. Is
this a great hobby or what??????....
I love it when someone says to me, "man, you brew so much that you're going
to be in a world of wort!". Let's face it, that's what brewing is all
about. You make a sugar laced mixture that is called wort. It is truely
the first phase of the brewing process. And it isn't an easy part of it
either. Making a fermentable wort takes some practice if from all grain
mashing. And just fermentability doesn't alway ensure success either. The
cooled wort must be properly aerated and have the sufficient levels of yeast
nutrients to promote a healthy and strong fermentation. You must pay close
attention to sanitation details and work hard to avoid infection and off
flavors. Those generally are caused by problems with the wort production
(mostly sanitation problems). It's not rocket science, but you can goof it
up pretty easily if you don't pay attention to detail. Even when you use
extracts, it is important to maintain that high level of sanitation. It is
the start of making a great beer. One of great German brewers once said,
"yeast make the beer not us, if we treat them well, they will make us a
great beer". This couldn't be further from the truth. The best way to
treat your yeast well is to give them a great environment of wort to
multiply and prosper in. So here's to the wonderful world of wort!!!!!!!!!!
Procure, chill, open carefully, pour into your favorite glass, smell, sip,
taste, smile, repeat often!!!!!
Mark, the Brewer, and making Parrot Pete's this weekend........
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Cream Ale Revisited....New Products From High Falls....Brew Day
Okay, maybe it's just me or something, but I have to tell you that aging
makes homebrew better. Follow the homebrewing aging guidelines for your
style. It really does make a difference. Forget about all of this "born
on" dating stuff, you have to age real beer for some period of time. Why do
I say this. Well, here is the big reason. These types of beers continue to
mature and mellow in flavor. Yes there is a limit when the brew isn't any
good any more, but there is also a peak period to drink home brew and
unfortunately, most of us can't wait til that time. To make a long story
shorter, the Steel City Cream Ale is one of those beers that though light,
is an ale, and needed more time to mature. This beer was lovingly matured
in secondary for about 4 weeks when brewed, but now has keg aged for another
20 weeks. Well, in that 20 weeks, this has become a very nice drinking
beer. It has finally developed that creamy body (hence the name cream ale)
that the style is known for. It has an almost effervescent carbonation, a
beautiful full creamy head of snow white foam on top, and a smooth mellow
creamy malt taste giving the beer a very refreshing quality. There is just
a hint of Saaz hop in the nose and in the flavor. I like it. On second
thought, this beer really isn't very good, so I'll just drink it all to save
the rest of you from misery..........
Our friends at High Falls Brewing in Rochester, NY, have moved into the
craft beer world. They have just released some new brews to compliment
their highly successful and tasty JW Dundee Honey Brown Lager that bear the
JW Dundee brand label. I was just recently privy to a tasting and got a
couple of samples of the new JWD Pale Ale and JWD Amber Lager. I haven't
tasted the Amber Lager yet, but had the pleasure of tasting the Pale Ale
last night. The Pale Ale is said on the label to be an American Style Pale
Ale. It is. I was impressed with the strong malt base and assertive resiny
hop flavor (centennial perhaps). This a good beer!! I don't have any take
on a retail price for this brew, but I would guess in the same range as
Honey Brown. I will try the lager and get back to you all on that one. I
will say I like the JWD Pale Ale and would buy it to have as a nice change
of pace in the fridge. Nice Job High Falls, of course they have always
brewed high quality beers.......
Well, She Who Must Be Obeyed is working this weekend and that usually means
it's a good day to brew. It's just easier when she isn't around. The kids
love to help and hang out and stuff, sooooo, that means this weekend could
see a brew day. In fact, I'm guessing that the next two weekends will be
brew days including a nice big batch of Weizen Bock if Jim from Country
Wines is available (unadulterated and biased free plug #412) to brew along
side of me. Jim, I'll email you this morning on that subject. Anyway, it
looks like this week could be Parrot Pete's and next week could be Jim's
Special Weizen Bock. That would make a great Christmas quaff too. It's
starting to look like brewing season again.........
Get some craft or home brew and drink it. I can't make it any simpler than
Mark, The Brewer, and getting the urge to make some more great beer......
Monday, September 27, 2004
Kegged....Steel City Cream Returns.....The Nitro Rangers
The good news from the weekend is really good news. The 10 Minute Addition
IPA is done fermenting. That's right, 14 days and done. Primary,
secondary, and a terminal gravity of 1.008. I must have gotten the wort a
little on the fermentable side. That makes this brew a whopping 6.88% ABV
with an attenuation rate of about 86%, high for even California Ale yeast
standards. It is an IPA for goodness sake. What's that you say?? Of
course I tasted the gravity samples. What do you think, I'm nuts. The
uncarbonated samples had a very floral East Kent Goldings signature aroma.
The beer had that orange-golden look in the glass with maybe a slight bit of
haze (which is allowable to this style). The taste was of clean but
assertive bitterness, a nice malt background with hop notes throughout.
This beer, if you remember was made with multiple hop additions to the
kettle with bittering left to English Challenger hops and all of the flavor
and aroma additions of East Kent Goldings. I liked the sample and believe
that this beer will be quite quaffable with gas on it. The name of course
comes from the fact that there was a hop addition every 10 minutes for an
hour during the boil with a big aroma addition at the end. This was not dry
hopped, but still seems to have, in the absence of carbonation, a very nice
aroma. Finally it appears that I have made an IPA that I will actually be
able to drink!!! We'll know how we did in about 3 weeks.....
Steel City Cream:
The first keg of the "Dog" bit the dust on Friday night opening a tap for
the Steel City Cream Ale. This beer is back for the first time since June
and is none the worse for wear for it. It is on line and is quite
drinkable. I am guessing it will disappear over the course of the next few
weeks. Not to fear for the "Dog" lovers out there as there is another aging
keg in the cellar waiting it's turn in the rotation. The "Dog" seems to
continue to attract new followers and I must admit, this batch was pretty
good. That said, the appreciation of an old school cream ale isn't an easy
sell to people who's only experience with the style is Gennessee Cream or
Shoenling Little Kings. Most people don't have any perception of how this
brew is supposed to taste. That's Okay, I still bet it all gets drank!!!!!
The self proclaimed Nitro Rangers were at it again. They keep telling their
distributors to get them beer that they've never heard of in search of the
all important nitro cans. The boys also seem to have gathered and afinity
for oatmeal stout. A request has been made for the IMHBC to produce an
oatmeal stout for their consumption pleasure. I am guessing that we can
probably accomodate that request and with the onset of cooler weather, why
not!!! I will be in search of the perfect yeast this week to accomodate the
request and I am guessing a group brew will probably be in order. I will
send out the date as soon as I research the perfect recipe and procure the
perfect yeast. The things I do in a quest for the perfect pint........
Have a great week, find some really tasty brew, and have a couple!!!!
Mark, The Brewer, and looking forward to challenging some oats in the
Friday, September 24, 2004
Parrot Pete Weighs In....That Widget-a-ma-call-it....Bellhaven Be st...
Well, the Old Pirate weighed anchor and decided to put in his two cents
worth. Check this out:
Memo from Pete: I am going to have to get a job to pay for my habit of craft
beer. It came on me suddenly to love the widget. Since me and the Fodge were
summoned up to Chilly Drafts to sample Bemish's Irish Stout and Young's
Oatmeal Stout, it was a cigar smoking, sloshing good time....
Chilly is thinking about giving up Sheet's coffee in the am to replace with
OATMEAL stout????????? What is the world coming tooooooo???????? It looks
like we are seeing a great conversion--thanks Chilly, it was great for the
taste buds. Papa Draft
PS: IMH should think about brewing some OATMEAL stout for all the other
drafts in the family???? It could be a big gathering on brew day.
There you have it. And for Papa Draft, I will gladly cook up some oatmeal
stout. I will be ordering yeast here in the next day or so and we'll make
sure to get a nice English strain to make some of this toothsome treat.
Hey, you guys better save me a couple of those......
The widget was one of the greatest packaging inventions ever. Those Brits
love their ale, and they like it authentic, conditioned and poured from a
traditional hand pump. The only way to get that is at the pub. Not now.
With the widget technology, the brewers can now get the brew to your glass
looking and tasting like it does in the pub. Instead of air from a hand
pump, the beer is packaged with the widget-a-ma-thingy. It actually holds
beer gas (25% nitrogen, 75% co2). When the pressure in the can is equalized
by opening the top, the widget-a-ma-thingy releases the beer gas into the
beer creating millions of tiny bubbles. Those bubbles "cream" the beer with
a big fluffy head of foam, but leave the beer only lightly carbonated
emulating a pint drawn from a cask by hand. The end result is a real
authentic pub type ale in your glass, which you quickly and quietly enjoy to
the very last drop. The brewers in England and Ireland are very protective
of this technology and you don't see it in the states at all. Of course,
the big brewers here only brew lagers and may not actually have any reason
to use the technology. That said, pouring brands like Guiness, Beamish,
Boddingtons, Tetleys, Wexford, Bellhaven, and Murphy's from these cans to
tulip glasses is like getting mana from heaven. It really gives you the
ability to drink these beers in their normal structured state just like you
would get them in the pub from the hand draw. Here's to technology, and
here's to the Widget-a-ma-thingy!!!!! I'm going to go home tonight and
raise a couple of these myself!!!!
This is one of the brands mentioned above that has the widget-a-ma-thingy in
it. I broke down (and now i'm pretty broke) and bought a case of this brew.
The brewery has only been making this beer since about 1719 or so. I'm
guessing they might have the brewing thing pretty well figured out. Anyway,
this is a very interesting beer. It is a Scottish 70 shillings pub ale that
weighs in at 3.9% ABV. IT has a dark smokey texture to it's slightly amber
color and with the billowing widget-a-ma-thingy head on it, looks very
pretty cascading in the glass to it's final presentation. It is light in
body (as most pub ales are) but is big on taste, including the signature
scottish touch of smokeyness provided no doubt by the yeast used for
fermentation. The beer has just a hint of hop bitterness and showcases the
malt flavor. This beer is quite a treat and it should be given the price of
a case. All that said, I recommend that if you decide to take the
widget-a-ma-thingy tour, include Bellhaven on the list. This brew is also
very cigar friendly!! I paired it with a Flor De Oliva Torpedo and the two
were a match made in heaven. I highly recommend this beer specifically out
of the nitro can!! Try it if you find it!!
It's another beautiful fall weekend, so go beer hunting early today and
stock up some good craft or homebrew and sip them often......
Mark, The Brewer, and blaming Chilly and Papa Draft for all of this
hullabaloo about the widget-a-ma-thingy (yea I went out and got Boddingtons
and Bellhaven because of them).............
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
A Chilly Review....Is There a Better Brew Than ESB???....Autumn C hill....
I couldn't have said any of this any better, so I won't. Here is Chilly's
take on the new Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout in nitro cans:
I have but a quick moment, for it is late.
The Beamish was, on my palate, just a click or two down from a Guinness. All
the same, just not at full power.
Oh! But I must tell you . . . tell you of a magic potion . . .
Yes! The Young's Oatmeal Stout, I thing God originally gave this recipe to
Moses on Mt Sinai!!
It is king, mastered only by, and just one click from Bourbon Daddy!!
Dark . . . smooth . . . . sweet . . it was the Beyonce . . . . NO, the Halle
. . . . but NO, it was the Naomi Campbell of beers!!!!
I've no more time now for I must sleep . . . . .
Sleep, perchance to dream . . .
A wonderful dream of a funny little man in a Lord Fauntleroy suit . . .
He chases me across the farm fields with his little container . . .
He wants me to drink, It's not breakfast cereal, Nooooooo, it's oatmeal
stout . . .
That's why the little man in the blue suit is smiling you see . . . .
Oatmeal . . . . . . it's not just for breakfast anymore!!!!!
Okay, there you have it.......
Is there a better brew than ESB? The one word answer is NO!!!!!!!!! But as
you all know by now, I'm not a one word kind of guy. No, there isn't a
better brew than a well made ESB. The balance between hop and malt in this
beer is world class and might be the best overall balanced beer brewed. If
you don't believe me, go find a pub dispensing Fullers ESB on nitro, then
let me know what you think. The reason I am on this diatribe is simple, I
was sipping a couple of pints of the Angry Dog Amber last night. And I'm a
little biased, but very proud of the effort I made on this brew. Good ESB
is very difficult to find in this country. Fullers is the classic English
ESB and probably the best example I have found. My next amber is going to
try to emulate that recipe. If anyone out there in beer land knows a clone
recipe for Fullers, please, and I mean please, e-mail it to me. That said,
if you can't find a good ESB to try, then make one. Go to the recipe page
and give the Angry Dog Amber a try. It is a clone recipe for what used to
be another very good ESB, Red Hook (the pre AB distribution and watered down
version of the beer recipe, what it used to be when it was a small craft
brewer in Seattle). It is hoppier than the classic Fullers, but still has a
stirring malt background. Go for it. Is there a better brew than a well
made ESB. Unequivically Not!!!!!!!!!!!
It is that time of the year again. The chill in the air the past few nights
has made me thirst for ale. Summer is nice and all and I like good lagers
like those made at the Penn Brewery (unbiased, unadulterated and free plug
number 410), but in these chilly evenings, I want ale. Porter, Pub, Stout,
ESB, Bitter, I don't care. I want ale. Oh boy, here we go again on another
excursion to the distributor to find as many nirto ales as I can fit into
the fridge. Chilly, its all your fault!!!!
Go on your own excursion, and remember to support your local craft, regional
craft, brew pub, and home brewers as much as you can.....
Mark, The Brewer, and looking for nitro........
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
That time of the year is now quickly upon us. The celebration in Munich
opened this week!!! And there were record crowds!!! Of course Rueters
news had to put the anti alcohol spin on it saying that it was a gathering
of "beer guzzlers". Geeezzzz, can't anybody have any fun any more??
Anyway, happy Oktoberfest to all!! The gathering at Penn Brewery was last
weekend and unfortunately we had a little bit of weather, but not to fear,
it will be going on again this weekend for your Oktoberfesting pleasure.
I also must again recommend the Penn Oktoberfest brew to anyone who wishes
to truely enjoy the season. It is a world class offering this year.
Kudo's to Tom Pastorius and his brewing staff!!!!
The IPA is working nicely and will soon be packaged. That leads me to a
question that is all too often asked by, well, me. Now what do I brew????
What is up next on the radar screen. I am leaning toward a little Parrot
Pete's to tell you the truth. We have had some nights down in the 40's
here the past few days and it has made me think about a nice robust
tasting porter or two in a pint glass. And I say, what's wrong with
that??? Absolutely nothing!! I am also really enjoying the latest batch
of the Angry Dog Amber as well and might brew that again. I have another full keg of that remaining though and I can always brew that next up
This is perplexing to say the least. I am kind of longing for a taste of
the porter though. What do you all think out there??? Hey, I've got to
get thinking about this years Christmas beer too. IT should be something
really different, but in a style that isn't so out there that no one but
me will drink it. On second thought......I'm only kidding of course.
Well, as of today, Parrot Pete's is the front runner for the next batch.
But as always, I am open to suggestions.......
Pappa Draft, Chilly Draft, and Uncle Draft have hit on a revelation of
sorts. Since I have hopelessly corrupted them into the world of good
craft beer (they only now buy craft type brews, lately all over Saranac,
Guiness, and various black and tan's), they have become adventurous. It
seams the triumverant have a facination with the "widget" cans that many
of the English imports come in. They first discovered this little device
in their foray into the wonderful world of Guiness. In case you have
lived in a cave for the past 10years, the widget can has the ability to
allow you to serve wonderful English ales nitrogenated like you get them
in the pub. A wonderful invention, it makes many of the brews very nice
to drink even after the long sea voyage to get here. Well, in their
facination of this device, they have stumbled onto Boddington's Pub Ale.
They like it so much that they have now instructed their local distributor
to be sure to get them cases each week. Boddingtons is a very nice easy
to drink ale too. Lower in alcohol but big on taste, it is a nice beer
that fits into the style of a bitter. When served on nitro, this beer is
a beauty in the glass and even better as it gets into your belly. It's no
wonder they like it. It is one of the biggest selling English beers in
the world. It is made in Manchester, England and it was originally made
with the working man in mind. So here's to Pappa, Chilly, and Uncle Draft
as they continue their journey into the wonderful world of beer. I wonder
what their next great discovery will be??????
Now go discover some craft or homebrew of your own will ya!!!!!!
Mark, The Brewer, and the one held responsible for the Draft Family's
craft beer habit........
Oktoberfest....Now What Do I Brew....Pub Ale
That time of the year is now quickly upon us. The celebration in Munich
opened this week!!! And there were record crowds!!! Of course Rueters news
had to put the anti alcohol spin on it saying that it was a gathering of
"beer guzzlers". Geeezzzz, can't anybody have any fun any more?? Anyway,
happy Oktoberfest to all!! The gathering at Penn Brewery was last weekend
and unfortunately we had a little bit of weather, but not to fear, it will
be going on again this weekend for your Oktoberfesting pleasure. I also
must again recommend the Penn Oktoberfest brew to anyone who wishes to
truely enjoy the season. It is a world class offering this year. Kudo's to
Tom Pastorius and his brewing staff!!!!
The IPA is working nicely and will soon be packaged. That leads me to a
question that is all too often asked by, well, me. Now what do I brew????
What is up next on the radar screen. I am leaning toward a little Parrot
Pete's to tell you the truth. We have had some nights down in the 40's here
the past few days and it has made me think about a nice robust tasting
porter or two in a pint glass. And I say, what's wrong with that???
Absolutely nothing!! I am also really enjoying the latest batch of the
Angry Dog Amber as well and might brew that again. I have another full keg
of that remaining though and I can always brew that next up. This is
perplexing to say the least. I am kind of longing for a taste of the porter
though. What do you all think out there??? Hey, I've got to get thinking
about this years Christmas beer too. IT should be something really
different, but in a style that isn't so out there that no one but me will
drink it. On second thought......I'm only kidding of course. Well, as of
today, Parrot Pete's is the front runner for the next batch. But as always,
I am open to suggestions.......
Pappa Draft, Chilly Draft, and Uncle Draft have hit on a revelation of
sorts. Since I have hopelessly corrupted them into the world of good craft
beer (they only now buy craft type brews, lately all over Saranac, Guiness,
and various black and tan's), they have become adventurous. It seams the
triumverant have a facination with the "widget" cans that many of the
English imports come in. They first discovered this little device in their
foray into the wonderful world of Guiness. In case you have lived in a cave
for the past 10years, the widget can has the ability to allow you to serve
wonderful English ales nitrogenated like you get them in the pub. A
wonderful invention, it makes many of the brews very nice to drink even
after the long sea voyage to get here. Well, in their facination of this
device, they have stumbled onto Boddington's Pub Ale. They like it so much
that they have now instructed their local distributor to be sure to get them
cases each week. Boddingtons is a very nice easy to drink ale too. Lower
in alcohol but big on taste, it is a nice beer that fits into the style of a
bitter. When served on nitro, this beer is a beauty in the glass and even
better as it gets into your belly. It's no wonder they like it. It is one
of the biggest selling English beers in the world. It is made in
Manchester, England and it was originally made with the working man in mind.
So here's to Pappa, Chilly, and Uncle Draft as they continue their journey
into the wonderful world of beer. I wonder what their next great discovery
Now go discover some craft or homebrew of your own will ya!!!!!!
Mark, The Brewer, and the one held responsible for the Draft Family's craft
Monday, September 20, 2004
Good Fermentation....Ivan In My House....High Water....
I'm going to talk about beer right out of the gate today. Here you go!! I
watched a fantastic fermentation of the IPA this week. Today is day 8 and I
will be transferring to secondary tonight. I will let this beer rest for 8
or 10 more days before packaging it. That means that it is just about time
to brew again. As always, life tends to put a little hitch in my get-along,
but I will be finding time to brew again here in the next week or so. Read
on and you will see why there is a little hitch in the plans. Anyway, the
bottom line today with the beer talk is that the IPA looks like it is well
on it's way to being a decent batch of beer. If you recall, I have had some
problems trying to create IPA in the past. The last time I attempted to
make IPA, I had a batch of bad yeast that didn't ferment, then I tried
adding more yeast, then the brew did ferment, but was so hopelessly infected
that one smell led me to believe that, "my horse must have had
diabetes"......So it will be good to finally get a batch of IPA to work and
to taste good.......
Yes, the proverbial hitch. Ivan came to visit us last Friday night. He
dumped the all time largest amount of rain in a 24 hour period that has ever
been seen in my area, seven inches. Needless to say, western Pennsylvania
is pretty much under water. That means that the pub once again had water in
it. Luckily due to unusual circumstances last Friday, I was home and had
the infamous Knuckle Jefe there to help as well. We were able to shop vac
up the water as it came into the bar area. Luckily for us, we were there
and could do that. We emptied 75 gallons of water that we vac'd up, and we
kept the water from creeping throughout the entire bar area. By doing what
we did, we were able to keep the water from coming in and standing in the
pub. Had we not been there to do what we did, water would easily have been
standing 4 inches deep in the bar area. We were able to keep water away
from both of the keg coolers and it had minimal contact with the bar
framing. A special thanks to Knuckle Jefe for his help, and to She Who Must
Be Obeyed for her continual "coaching". We're just glad Ivan is gone.....
Our hearts go out to all of those in the low lying areas. It is clear that
some of our neighbors in our township lost everything and that the clean up
will be slow and ugly. At least the weather for the week is supposed to be
very nice so people can at least work on what they need to. Sitting at the
Pitt vs Nebraska football game on Saturday, we were able to watch the
confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers rise up. Loose
boats, sometimes in groups of 10 to 20 still attached to the broken docks,
floated by, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in
total loss to their owners. We watched the river basically crest during the
afternoon, and it was scary to watch. A tug on the Ohio was running out and
pushing boats away from the bridge supports to try and minimize bridge
damage. It was a scary thing to watch the water rise up and somewhat
surreal to watch the boats empty of people float by on the raging river. I
hope we don't have to watch it like this ever again.....
Cheer Up Now. The worst is over and we can all have a beer and relax a
little bit. Okay, have two if you want.......
Mark, the Brewer, and hoping everyone can get dried out........
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Busier Than....Brew Day Complete....Football Musing
Yes, that has been my theme the past month or so. I don't remember running
around this much for a long time. And I'm still busy. I spent yesterday in
that city up north on Lake Erie that I would rather forget. Luckily, the
warden granted me clemency and I was able to escape!!! I have been
promising to be a better web host the past few weeks and that still goes.
Look for me to post more often and to post more often about beer instead of
my lack of time and ability to post regularly. I hope that cleared that up.
Because you see, there is really nothing more important than beer, at least
on this web site.....
Yes it's true. I know you don't or cannot believe that it is true, but I
had a brew day last Sunday. It's a miracle!! I got it done!! In
fermenters happily bubbling away is a 10gal batch of IPA. I believe the
name of the brew will be, The 15 Minute Addition. The reason for this you
ask?? Well, during the 75 minute boil, I added hops to the beer every 15
minutes. Now this isn't really a West Coast IPA but rather a cross between
a traditional English IPA and a West Coast. The hop additions were
decidedly British, but the way hops were added and the yeast used,
California Ale, were more in the vain of West Coast Craft IPA. Here's what
I did. I started with Challenger hops at the first boil with 2 oz's.
Fifteen minutes later, I added another oz of Challenger hops. Fifteen
minutes after that I added an oz of East Kent Goldings. East Kent Goldings
made up the next three additions as well with the last addition at knockout.
Brew day went without a hitch and I used two 1qt starters of California Ale
yeast to get fermentation going with co2 expulsion in 7 hours. By 24 hours
fermentation had erupted and this morning both fermenters were at high
kreusen. The opening gravity of the brew was 1.062, 2 gravity points from
target. Mash temp was 154 degrees and there were no unusual happenings
during any phase of the brew day. Not bad considering it has been 7 weeks
since I last brewed all grain. Knock on wood, there didn't seem to be any
worries. I will rack this beer probably on Sunday, and I will let it sit in
secondary for about 2 weeks given the starting gravity of the brew. Then it
will be into kegs and ready for the tasting.
There are still 4 kegs awaiting their turn in the rotation in the pub. I
have a Steel City Cream Ale, another Angry Dog Amber, Jefe's Wheezin', and
another keg of Phil's Pholly. Angry Dog Amber and Anchor's Away are the
current homebrew selections with Penn Gold on the guest tap. I love my job
(at the pub anyway)......
Here is just a sobering thought about the state of American Football today.
I'm watching the game Monday night and a player gets hurt from the defensive
line. John Madden starts talking about the young replacement player and
says, "He will have some big shoes to fill in the middle tonight because at
295 lbs he is fairly undersized". Let me get this straight, a 295 lb man
who is very athletic and a professional football player, is "undersized"
when he is on the field playing. Now you know where this game has gone.
It's a wonder there aren't more injuries than there are today given the
size, strength, and above all speed at which these giant men, freaks of
nature if you will, play this sport. That's why we watch in such huge
numbers I guess.....
Speaking of Football, get some good quality brew, snacks, and get ready for
another weekend of spectacular football action.....
Mark, the Brewer, and already planning the next brew day (between football
games of course)
Friday, September 10, 2004
Coors At It Again....Weekend Brew....NFL...
Well, our good friends in the Rocky Mountains are at it again. The latest
round of ads say it all as far as I'm concerned. As we all know, Coors
Light is about as bland and tasteless as water. In the latest add, Coors
all but admits that's true. The gist of the ad is that Coors is brewed and
shipped cold at 34 degrees. The reason given for this is that they want to
give you, the consumer, "The coldest tasting beer there is!". Now there is
a revelation to me. I didn't know that "cold" was actually a taste or
flavor. I can't even tell you what cold tastes like, or is supposed to
taste like. I know that cold is a sensation not a taste, and I hope the
average Joe Schmo knows that too. Oh, yea, sorry, Joe Schmo apparently only
knows what Pete Coors tells him. The truth is, all lagers of this type are
matured or lagered at about 34 degrees, so Coors isn't doing anything
different. Now most brewers pasteurize their product at packageing, I.E.,
heat the beer and package to about 150 degrees. This inhibits bacterial
growth and gives the beer shelf life stability. If Coors is saying they
don't pasteurize, then you should never buy warm cases of Coors (though I
see them at virtually every retailer I've ever been in). Warm Coors
products would spoil in this instance. I'm not surprised really by any of
this stuff. Since Coors Light has no other flavors, trying to bilk the beer
drinking public into believeing that cold is a taste would probably be the
next step. The other item in this ad is what beer are they pouring into the
glass. It's a very deep golden color. Anyone who has poured a Coors Light
into a glass lately knows that it is nearly see through like water with
almost no perceptable color. Not even the standard mono-chromatic yellow.
Sounds like lies and video manipulation to me. Again, I'm not surprised.
Hat's off to Coors as they have taken another new approach to manipulating
the beer drinking unwashed. It's a new low, and Pete Coors should be
Brew day looks like Sunday (as usual). Football and sparging usually make a
pretty good combination. IT is IPA for sure, I have scaled the recipe and
inventoried the equipment. All looks quite good to me and I am stoked. I
will make California Ale Yeast starters on Saturday morning for pitching
around 1:00 or so on Sunday. Here is the recipe:
1lb German Crystal 40
1lb Special Roast
3 oz Challenger hops, bittering
2 oz East Kent Goldings, Flavor
2oz East Kent Goldings, Aroma/Finishing
California Ale yeast, 2, 1 litre starters
Mash temp 154 degrees
est OG - 1.064
est FG - 1.014
est ABV - 6.38%
I love this job!!!!!
It's that time of the year again. Get the pads ready, have plenty of brew
and chips on hand, and watch the NFL on Sunday until your bleary eyed!!!!
Sounds like fun to me!!!!
Now get ready for some football will ya!!
Mark, the Brewer, and so happy I'm finally brewing some beer!!!
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Busy....Brewing This Week, Or Else....Back To Normal....
I am a busy guy this week. Sorry about the lack of posts. Holiday weekend
leads to ineffecient work week. Anyway, I will get this posting thing more
on track here real soon. I think by this time next week, I will have my
time management back to where I can, well, manage it. I hope none of you
out there are as crazy as I am this week.....
This includes brewing too. I hope to brew on Friday night. That is the
plan right now. If not, I will attempt to get it done on Saturday night.
Either way, I'm making IPA. Yes that same recipe that I posted about what
seems like a year ago, but is only a month or so. I have everything
ingredient wise and will be cleaning equipment tonight, and making starters
on Thursday night. I am so looking forward to brewing that I can't even
describe it to any of you. It's One Particular Harbor that I haven't been
too in way too long a time. I like the looks of this recipe too. I think
it will be a good one and I look forward to drinking some really good IPA
sometime in early October.
Speaking of October, it is only 8 days til the Penn Brewery Octoberfest
celebration. The beer is very good this year too. I can't wait to get a
taste of it on draft, maybe later this week.....
Now, the word normal and my name don't often appear in the same sentence.
That said, I think that now that the crazy multi-thousand mile travel month
that was August, is over, that things will be getting back to normal much
better. What does that mean for me!!! Well it means that I can get back to
the business of brewing high quality beer at the I.M. Hammered Brewing
Company. What's that mean for you??? More homebrewing tips and information
about your favorite subject (and mine), beer. So don't be discouraged by my
recent "vacations" away from the site. I hope to make that a better
situation and post much more often. I also hope to make some technical
progress as well so that my "tech" abilities get better served.
Speaking of served....be sure to get ready for Football with plenty of
snacks, and of course your favorite craft, regional, or homebrewed beer.
Are you ready for some football????
Mark, The Brewer, and kicking off what hopes to be a very fruitful brewing
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The Bitter End.....Margaritaville Revisited.....IPA is Coming.... .
What do I mean? I mean the batch of the Kaiser Pils at Penn Brewing is
gone, over, done, finished, empty, as in no more, none, out, see ya later,
get outta here, you gotta be kidding, Jose' has no green card, it's just
plain gone. The batch is gone. All kegs are finished, ka-put, well, empty.
It was a sad day, yet at the same time a great day, because the demise of
the Kaiser means the outstanding Octoberfest is back and with a vengence.
But before we get too exuberant, you should know that the Kaiser won't
return until 2005. The brewing schedule is for the beer to be brewed in
November and with fermentation and aging, the Kaiser won't return til the
end of January or early February. A sad state of affairs indeed. The
Octoberfest though is the best it's been in a while so enjoying it will be a
very nice treat indeed. Goodbye Kaiser Pils, we'll see ya next year......
It's not really a place you know. It's actually a state of mind and can be
at any lattitude that you are. You see that's the beauty of it!! Well,
here we go again, Margaritaville, part deux. Tomorrow night at the Starlake
in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pa, Jimmy Buffett will be performing with the Coral
Reefer Band and probably a couple of other guests. It is a rite of summer
that you go to a Jimmy Buffett concert. I know I waxed poetic earlier this
week about last weeks show in Chicago, and here we go again. I won't dwell
on it this round, but I am certainly looking forward to "going down to rock
bottom again, with just a few friends.....just a few friends". I mean
what's wrong with having a couple of "Boat Drinks" while you enjoy music
that employs strange metaphors?? Why nothing of course!! Since I can't be
"living by the ocean, staying contented most of the time", I have to find
other ways to amuse myself and keep that dream alive. We all need to visit
that "one particular harbor" at least once a year, and sometimes even more
often. Why, after I "paid the mini-mart back", I found it down right
relaxing to go to Margaritaville on occasion. What would a parrott heads
dream be without "a tin cup chalise" in one hand filled with the libation of
choice, and either some "habanas or banannas, or a daquiri" in the other
hand. It's hard being a "cowboy in the jungle, and look so out of place",
that Margaritaville is the only way to make a bad day turn into a good
night. I mean, I know I have to make some "coastal confessions, how about
you?". Anyway, we are on the bus trip tomorrow so look for us to have some
fun and we will definately be in Margaritaville by the time the show starts.
I mean, there's now way I'd miss the "jolly mon sing" if you know what I
mean. I've "got a carribean soul that I can barely control" and tomorrow
night, it gets to come out again. Wish us "a little love and luck" and I'll
be posting back in next week. I mean, it takes a while to get over such "a
lovely cruise" you know. Here's to Jimmy Buffett and especially the
wonderful tunes he brings us.........
I know, beer man, write about beer. IPA should be brewed sometime next
week. In fact, look for brewing activity about every week for the next 3 or
four weeks. I got kegs to fill and cravings to mute, like IPA, amber ale,
tripel, porter, etc, etc, etc, etc......
Have a big holiday weekend everyone, and I'll be checking back in after a
few days hiatus. Drink some good beer will ya!!!!!! (and I'll forgive you
if you happen to go to Margaritaville instead over the weekend. Hey, It's
five o'clock somewhere you know!!!!)
Mark, The Brewer, and about to enter into more Parrott Head Madness......