Happy National Pickle Day! Nope, nothing else nominally to do with beer or today’s news other than I am amused by it. Perhaps I’ll run across some Oregon beer and pickle news to share today; nothing on the immediate radar but I will be updating this post throughout the day with news as I find it so you never know—check back from time to time to see!
follow siteHopworks Urban Brewery (Portland): Today HUB is releasing the first of its Holiday Beer Series with release parties at all locations starting at 5pm: “On November 14th, we’re kicking off the Holiday season with our first beers of our Holiday Beer Series: Noggin Floggin and Kentucky Christmas. Starting at 5pm we will be tapping both beers at all 3 pubs. A limited batch of bottles will be available for sale at all pubs.” Noggin Floggin is a big, burly barleywine, and Kentucky Christmas is Abominable Winter Ale aged in bourbon barrels. And there will be more coming in the Holiday Beer Series in December.
McMenamins Thompson Brewery (Salem) has its monthly limited-edition beer tasting tonight from 5 to 7pm, with brewer Jen Kent on hand pouring a specialty beer: Shattered Pumpkin. Kent says: “We are doing the Shattered Pumpkin tonight! It’s a fun twist on an altbier that we brewed up. It’s got pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg blended with a classic altbier malt bill. On tap at 11 when we open and from 5 to 7 you can grab your limited edition beer stamp and grab a brewery tour to boot.” You will definitely want to stop by!
ABV Public House (Hillsboro) is a Speedway Stout night, featuring Alesmith Brewing’s eponymous stout, from 5 to 8pm: “Come celebrate Alesmith’s amazing Speedway Stout in many of its beautiful forms! Tap List:
2018 Celestial Dawn: Modern Times Cold Brew
2016 Hawaiian: Coconut, Vanilla, Ka’u Coffee
2016 Mokasida: Ethiopian Coffee
2017 Nibs ‘n’ Beans: Vanilla, Cocoa Nibs, & Colombian Coffee
2017 Thai: Coffee, Coconut, Ginger, Lime, Lemongrass, & Basil
2017 Vietnamese: Blend of four Vietnamese coffees, known in Vietnam as cà phê sa đá
2018 Barrel-Aged Mexican
And of course the OG Speedway Stout”
The Bier Stein (Eugene) is teaming up with Bend’s Worthy Brewing to give away a special snowboard, the drawing for which will take place on December 31; but the kick off party is tonight: “Worthy Brewing is giving away a Strata IPA branded snowboard from Sno Planks on New Years Eve! Starting on Thursday, November 14th you can enter to win every time you enjoy a pint of Worthy beer. Raffle tickets are also available for $1 each and all proceeds will benefit A Family for Every Child. The kick off party is from 5-7pm and the first 24 patrons to enjoy a Worthy brew, will get to take home a branded pint glass. The final drawing for the snowboard will take place on December 31st at 8pm and you must be present to win. Happy Holidays!” (It appears you can also stop at Worthy Brewing to enter.)
Belmont Station (Portland) is hosting AleSong Brewing this evening for a “Blender’s Circle” pickup and chance to meet owner and blender Matt Van Wyk: “If you are a Blenders Circle member this is your Portland opportunity to pick up your allocation of this quarter’s beers. If you are not a member but have questions or have been meaning to sign up, come down chat with Matt and do it!” There will be four AleSong beers on tap as well as two available in a limited number of bottles. The event runs from 5 to 8pm.
Stickmen Brewing (Lake Oswego) is expanding and installed new hardware: “Three new tanks! Recently we signed on with 2 more distributors, one in the Bay Area (@geyserbeverage) and another (@bigfootbeverages) to expand our reach in Oregon. We’re proud to grow into these new areas and thank all our great fans for continuing to drink our beer!”
MadCow Brewing (Portland) has its seasonal Nordic Highland Winter Saison on tap: “Inspired by the brisk winter nights on the farm, we created this dark saison with the many shades of winter in mind. It begins with aromas of roasted toffee, with a touch of espresso to back it up. Using a combination of light and dark wheats, in addition to Abbey-style malts you get a medium bodied dark farmhouse ale with roasted notes of dark stone fruit, coffee, molasses, and a hint of cocoa in the background. It has a dry finish and is warming to the palate. It will pair well with any holiday meal.”
Portland’s Ruse Brewing put a special beer on tap this afternoon: “Surprise! We just tapped our 2018 Foeder Aged Sour Blonde Ale with Peaches. This is the one and only keg of this beer that will available until 2019. When it’s gone it’s gone!”
De Garde Brewing (Tillamook) posted an update about new beers available: “We have an addition to our to-go list, with a new favorite… The Blackberry! Beautiful and spicily layered Oregon blackberry character lends some further nuance to the funky and nearly two year old spontaneous base. It is darn delightful. It is delicious. We are also adding a little brother to our Frederiksdal cherry wine demijon; Rancio will now be available by the glass! a multi year aged tart cherry wine that begins its life in glass jars in the Rancio tradition, and is then further aged in Cognac barrels after. Damn good. We are excited to share.”
Evasion Brewing (McMinnville) has a new specialty beer out this week: “We couldn’t be more excited to release YAMHILL PUNCH in 750mL cork and cage this week. An American Wild Ale over a year in the making. Starting as a Millet Saison with Mosaic hops, aged in red and white wine barrels from around the county, aged on Pinot grapes and Riesling juice. Yamhill Punch rested a year in barrels and was finished with foraged blackberries and plums.”
We’re kicking off the week before Thanksgiving today with the federally-observed Veterans Day (with the holiday proper taking place yesterday) and if you’re a veteran, thank you for your service! Here is the news in Oregon beer for this Monday, November 12; as usual I’ll be updating this post throughout the day with the latest news so check back often.
Belmont Station (Portland) welcomes Yachats Brewing for a beer tasting tonight from 5 to 8pm: “Yachats Brewery + Farmstore has been a center for craft, place and culture since it’s founding in 2013. Located on the Oregon coast they’re producing some of the most unique beverages in the area. Bottle pours will include:
Cetacea – Saison w/ Szechuan Peppercorns
Kreik – Flanders Style ale w/ Cherries
Salal – Sour Ale w/ Salal Berries
Peach – Oak Fermented Saison w/ Peaches
SeaBerry Sour (a lacto sour ale w/ Buckthorn berries) will be on draft.
So come taste the wide array of funky fresh beers, ask about their odd ingredients, and see for yourself why people are making the long trek to Yachats Oregon.”
Hair of the Dog Brewing (Portland) is celebrating 25 years this year, and this Friday the brewery’s 25th Anniversary Festival of Wood Aged Beers kicks off and runs all weekend. All weekend long there will be rotating taps of special wood-aged beers to enjoy—no tickets or anything special required. In particular, watch for “Don” — according to brewer/owner Alan Sprints: “Don is a special beer I made in memory of Don Younger, popular Portland publican. The beer, a Double Barleywine, has achieved a unique drinkability through aging and recipe design that will make a positive impression on the drinker, just like Don did.” (via the New School)
Pelican Brewing (Pacific City): Mother of All Storms drops this weekend! And you’ll want to get in on the guided flights: “Make preparations… the Mother of All Storms is making landfall on Saturday, November 17th! We are celebrating with two chances to join us for a Guided Flight in Cannon Beach or Pacific City. Our Pacific City and Cannon Beach locations will be offering up vintage years of Mother of All Storms and Stormwatcher’s Ale to purchase by the bottle or enjoy select years on draft! Space is limited. Purchase your tickets here.”
The new Beachcrest Brewing in Gleneden Beach announced an opening date today: December 22. “The whole team at Beachcrest Brewing Company is thrilled to announce our upcoming opening on Saturday December 22. The taproom will be open from noon-10pm. Cheers!”
Zupan’s Markets is releasing the latest in its Farm-to-Market series of beers, this time partnering with Portland’s Hopworks Urban Brewery to release a Hazy IPA. From the press release: “Zupan’s Markets has partnered with Portland’s Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) to release the seventh Farm-to-Market beer in its private label line. This Hazy style IPA is part of HUB’s rotating Hazy Series and highlights ingredients from Oregon-based farms. Featuring Strata hops, a new breed from Salmon-Safe certified Goschie Farms in Silverton, Oregon. This fruity tasting IPA has a citrus bouquet and is perfect to pair with your holiday dinners. This Hazy Style IPA is exclusively on shelves at all three Zupan’s Markets locations in 16oz can/4packs for $12.99. With only 140 cases produced, it will be available only for a limited time. Christian Ettinger, Hopworks owner & brewer and the Hopworks team will sample the new Farm-to-Market beer alongside other HUB favorites at each Zupan’s Markets location on Friday, November 16 from 4-7 p.m.”
This month’s late(r) edition of The Session is hosted by Jay Brooks, who has been helping to organize the monthly blogging project since the beginning, and he is asking us to consider The Future of Beer Blogging. And also, that this is apparently the second-to-last Session:
My topic is fairly broad and open-ended, but centered on what has happened to beer blogging over the almost eleven years since we started the monthly Session. Back in those dark ages of the mid-2000s, beer blogging was relatively new, and many people were jumping in, no doubt in part because of how easy and inexpensive it was to create a platform to say whatever you wanted to say. It was the Wild West, and very vibrant and engaging. You could write short or long, with or without pictures, and basically say whatever you wanted. People engaged in commenting, and whole threads of conversation ensued. It was great.
Fast forward a decade and there are many more ways that people interact online, and blogs, I think, lost their vaunted place in the discussion. Now there’s also Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other ways to communicate online. This has meant blogging, I believe, has lost its place at the top, or in the middle, or wherever it was. That’s how it feels to me, at least.
So where do you think the future of beer blogging is heading? What will it look like next year, or in ten years? Will it even still be around? If not, what will replace it? People won’t stop talking about beer, analyzing it and tasting it. But how we do all of those things certainly will. That’s what I’m interested in with this topic. What do you think the future will hold? What will we all be doing, beerwise?
As for this second-to-last Session?
Participation in The Session has been waning for quite some time now, and finding willing hosts has become harder and harder. I’ve had to cajole and beg for hosts many times, and I’m not sure why I’ve kept it up other than we’ve been doing it so long that I just kept going out of habit. But the reality is that if people don’t want to host and fewer and fewer people are actually participating I’d say that’s a pretty strong signal that the time has come to shut down the Session. So in consultation with Stan, we’ve decided that December 2018 will be the last Session. It’s been over ten years and by the time the smoke clears we’ll have done 142 Sessions, which is a pretty good run.
It’s a bit bittersweet, but I can’t argue the point; it’s been a long road and a great stretch, but it has been waning for awhile now. But who knows, perhaps I’ll continue to write de facto Session posts each first Friday(ish) of the month…
As to this month’s topic, The Future of Beer Blogging. I’ll start right off by unabashedly saying, I’m a blogger, and a beer blogger first and foremost; I’ve been blogging and proto-blogging since before I started The Brew Site and the web has been a natural medium for this writing. I’ll always be a (beer) blogger, even though I also introduce myself as a “beer writer” these days (made easier by the fact that I also write professionally these past few years).
Jay’s not wrong about the early years of blogging but I’m no so sure about the “place” of blogs in the online ecosystem; that implies that a “blog” (or web log, for the etymology buffs) was a discrete, standalone entity that was supplanted by other online entities such as the various social media platforms. In reality the blog was—is—just another form of social media and those early years simply mark its progress on the evolutionary scale of online interaction. Blogging today is simply another online social outlet (it always was, actually), but it’s lost any sexiness or cachet because it’s “old.” Even though the DNA of blogging is embedded in almost every other social media platform that is popular today.
Blogs aren’t going anywhere: 25% of all websites—that is, the entire world wide web—are powered by WordPress, a blogging platform. So I think where we get hung up on isn’t the blog itself—keep in mind, it’s simply a tool designed to facilitate writing and publishing online, allowing for discussion and generally displaying content in reverse chronological order (surprise surprise, just like Facebook)—but perhaps the terms “blog” and “blogging.” There is baggage that comes with those terms, hearkening back to those early “Wild West” days that Jay mentions, and possibly rightly so.
So “blog” by any other name, and as it relates to beer blogging, let’s turn this on its ear a bit, shall we?
Do you use Untappd to review beers instead of a beer blog? Check in and rate your beers, with pictures, and engage in “toasts” and comments with others on the beers you are drinking? Congratulations, you’re a beer blogger participating in a group beer blog cataloging beer consumption.
Do you follow your favorite breweries on Facebook to keep up to date with their latest beers, events, and news? Ask questions and interact with the breweries in the comments of posts? Yep, you guessed it, you’ve subscribed to their blogs.
(Frustratingly even more so when the brewery doesn’t even have its own website, and instead relies on Facebook for its online presence.)
I don’t think beer blogging is going anywhere, though it’s going to look… if not different, then varied. I suspect there will the mix of “traditional” blogs (like this one) where writing is the focus—be they long-form or snippets, reviews, news, or opinion—along with ones that look like Tumlbr or Pinterest or who knows, maybe even livestreams via YouTube or Instagram stories.
Here’s the thing. Beer blogging in the “traditional” sense is really a medium for beer writing. Consider the beer blogs that have been around a long time (like Jeff Alworth’s I linked to above, or Stan Hieronymus, or Alan McLeod, and so on—they are all very, very good. And I’ve just violated the habits of good writing by using “very”). Composing articles and essays, or maybe press release-style marketing, or beer reviews, it’s all about writing, and not everyone has the patience or inclination to express themselves in that way. That’s okay. They will express themselves in one of the many other forms (short for “platforms”?) and that will be just as valid.
Happy Friday! We’re rushing headlong into the second weekend of November with a number of new beer releases, pairing events, a beer festival, and more, so you won’t be lacking for things to do. Here’s the weekend roundup for this November 9th through 11th; I’ll be updating this post throughout the day on Friday so keep an eye on it.
Friday, Nov. 9
The McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival in Springfield kicks off Friday, and runs through Saturday. “This craft brewing festival is the premier fest in Lane County for craft beer & cider. Join us for live music, great food, brewing classes, family events, and more than 150 craft brewer tastings. The festival, now it it’s 7th year, is sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club. All proceeds go to local charity programs supporting youth in our community. Come show your support for a great cause and have a terrific time tasting the best the Northwest has to offer in craft beer & ciders!” Tickets are available online for $15 for one day, or $20 for two days. There are nearly 60 breweries and cideries listed, with a nice representation of ciders, with at least a dozen pouring.
Crux Fermentation Project (Bend) celebrates the annual release of Tough Lough Imperial Stout on Friday, all day at the brewery in Bend and at The BeerMongers in Portland from 5 to 8pm (with brewer/owner Larry Sidor on hand). In Bend: “Join us in our Tasting Room for a celebratory toast and annual release of our most highly anticipated beers. This marks the official release of our 2018 [BANISHED] Tough Love Imperial Stout on draft along with 375ml & 750ml bottles. To make the evening even more special, we will also have a nitro version of Tough Love on tap along with 2016 & 2017 vintages. And you won’t want to miss the toast at 6pm from our head brewer, Cam O’Connor.”
Worthy Brewing (Bend): The brewery is hosting another of its Craft Beer, Cheese & Charcuterie Pairing events starting at 5pm: “The holidays are approaching and you have no idea what to serve your guests. Or, you are an avid beer enthusiast and would love to experience different varities and what to pair them with. Either way, you’re invited to Worthy Brewing’s craft beer & artisan cheese pairing November 9, 5:00-6:30pm. Guests can expect to have their senses dazzled by a Certified Cicerone beer presentation that compliments various types of local, artisan cheeses and select meats. Come and try many different beer & cheese pairings & charcuterie plates as well. Dessert will be provided as well! You will leave with tools to impress your holiday guests as well as a Worthy 6-Pack.”
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Hillsboro) is hosting its Fall Brewers Dinner starting at 7pm Friday: “It’s a beer party in the Octagonal Barn–the quintessential fall gathering! Brewers will introduce their beers, which are paired with each course in this seasonal menu.” The menu is four courses plus an appetizer, though the beers to be paired aren’t listed. Price is $90 per person, and can be purchased here.
Caves Bier & Kitchen (Corvallis) is hosting a Deconstructed Prairie BOMB! Night starting at 4pm: “BOMB! is an imperial stout from Prairie Artisan Ales from Tulsa, Oklahoma that is aged on chilies, coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. We have kegs of the imperial stout which are solely aged on a single ingredient—only chili, only coffee, only chocolate, or only vanilla so you can taste the beer “deconstructed”. This unique tasting event is hosted in coordination with Shelton Brothers Oregon.”
Eugene’s Manifest Beer Company is releasing a new beer Friday at 5pm: “Join us Friday November 9th at 5:00pm as we release our next beer in our Single Day Series Havlova!!! Havlova is a fruited IIPAWe Drew inspiration for this beer from a favorite Dessert Pavlova!!! Brewed with coconut milk, vanilla, passion fruit, kaffir lime leaf, and raspberry. Hops used are are Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, Citra, Cluster, Polaris and Nelson.”
The Upper Lip at Bailey’s Taproom in Portland is hosting a beer release party for a collaboration brew between Logsdon Farmhouse Ales and Allegory Brewing: “Join us at The Upper Lip this Friday for the debut of Swordplay, a collaboration double IPA brewed by Allegory Brewing and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. We will also be featuring several beers from each brewery showcasing their diverse portfolios. We look forward to seeing you!” The event runs from 4 to 8pm.
10 Barrel Brewing (Bend): The latest version of Rose Bois Belgian-style sour ale drops: “Join us [Friday] at our Bend, Portland, Boise, and Denver pubs as we release the 2018 edition of Rose Bois. Inspired by old school Belgian Sours, this brew took Jimmy 3 years to age to perfection. Using two types of wild yeast this concoction will take your senses on a wild trip through earth and time. Each pub will be featuring Rose Bois in a special 2-course dinner special tomorrow only. Join us for this special release for this special beer!”
Portland’s Lombard House is hosting Allegory Brewing and Von Ebert Brewing for a “Harvest Project” beer release and tap takeover starting at 6pm: “We are proud to present the Harvest Project:Viognier, a collaboration between my old coworkers Sean and Sam, who now run the show over at Von Ebert, and Charlie from Allegory Brewing. Harvest Project: Viognier is a farmhouse ale that was generously hopped with NZ Nelson Sauvin and fermented on nearly a ton of 2017 Anne Amie Viogner grapes from Twelve Oaks Estate. It was then aged in neutral oak barrels with a blend of Brettanomyces for 10 months. Before kegging, it was dry-hopped with even more white wine heavy Nelson Sauvin.”
Cascade Brewing (Portland) releases Cuvée du Jongleur, or ‘Blend of the Juggler,” on Friday in 500ml bottles and on draft at the Cascade locations. “Cuvée du Jongleur consists of select red, triple and quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for up to three years. The 2017 project pays homage to the original blend, juggling a variety of base beers that offer clean and complex flavors through the lactic fermentation process that has come to define Cascade’s Northwest sour ales. The original label, which featured a whimsical juggler, has been updated but still maintains the red and black checker pattern that defined the original release. Cuvée du Jongleur is a Tier One release and is limited in quantities. Fans are encouraged to purchase early, because once this beer is gone, it may not return for another 10 years.” Get some!
Ochoco Brewing (Prineville) has a new beer release party Friday starting at 6pm: “This Friday we’ll be releasing Collaboration Coffee Stout! We’ve teamed up with Riff Cold Brewed Coffee to bring you all tasty infusion of their Off the Cuff cold brewed coffee and our Bandit Springs stout. Live music will start around 6pm with Kinzel and Hyde. Come on out!”
Claim 52 Brewing (Eugene) has its newest beer out Friday: “Celebrate Friday with the second iteration our Brut IPA, “Krispy”. This time we held out the Motueka and hopped it with Mosaic and Comet. It was just tapped at the Kitchen this morning, so come grab a pint, wind down and ease into the weekend.”
Saturday, Nov. 10
It’s The Abyss release at Deschutes Brewery! The 2018 edition of this barrel-aged imperial stout returns in time for winter, and all day Saturday the Bend and Portland pubs will be celebrating. Look for vintage vertical flights at the Bend Pub (and I’m sure Portland too) of years 2013 through 2018, as well as food specials; the Portland Pub will also be offering brunch. This is one of the best imperial stouts coming out of Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) so don’t miss out!
10 Barrel Brewing‘s Bend Pray For Snow release party takes place from 5 to 10pm Saturday at the east side pub: “This year we’re taking Pray For Snow to a whole new level. Join us for the Bend premiere of our very own ski and snowboard movie, Pray For Snow; featuring: Ben Ferguson, Curtis Ciszek, Eric Jackson, and Lucas Wachs. We’ll also have live music, prize giveaways, special beer tappings, and more! Proceeds from the event benefit Protect Our Winters!”
McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop (Portland) celebrates its 3rd birthday this weekend, taking place all day long on Saturday: “Wish us happy birthday, and we’ll share our cake! To celebrate we’ve also got a Bottle Shop Birthday Taster Tray, 20% off Bottle Shop logo merchandise and bottled Birthday Reserve No. 3, a sour ale with plums and ginger that was aged in McMenamins Quince Cider barrels. Passporters, take a selfie with Homer, show us, and claim a sweet prize.” There will be tasting throughout the day and a chance to chat with the brewers of the Reserve No. 3 beer. Congrats!
Eugene’s 16 Tons is hosting its annual Imperial Stout Fest on Saturday: “Dark & delicious beers from Great Notion, Fort George, Modern Times, Grimm, Perennial, Deschutes, Fremont & more! Free entry, pay for tasters, bring in your own food from neighboring restaurants.”
Ecliptic Brewing (Portland): Starting at 3pm, Ecliptic is holding a release celebration for its latest beer, Star Party Brut IPA: “We’re throwing a star party in the pub as we toast our newest Special Release beer with an evening of music, drinks, and food specials! About Star Party Brut IPA: Behold the Cosmos! Star Party explodes with primordial hop character set against a background as dry and clean as the void of space. Raise a glass this season and join the party. 8% ABV. Star Party Brut IPA will be available on draft, along with champagne cocktail specials and bites from the kitchen. Our regular pub menu will also be available.”
The Bend Ale Fest returns to Bend’s Northwest Crossing neighborhood on Saturday from 11am to 8pm, featuring 20 breweries pouring 40 beers, almost all from Central Oregon (oddly, Double Mountain Brewery is included as well). The Fest does double duty as the finish line for the Bend Ale Run which takes place earlier in the morning. Entry is free and the pint glass costs $10, or you can get the package (pint glass and 10 tokens for $20).
Cascade Brewing (Portland) is hosting a Meet the Brewer event at its Lodge from 6 to 8pm: “Meet the Brewer! Drop in and join us on Nov. 10 for a Q&A with Cascade’s head brewer, Mike Mathis. The event will take place in the Brewer’s Den on the lower level of the Lodge at Cascade Brewing. Enjoy vintage draft and bottle tastings, special sour and non-sour projects, and fun food pairings from the kitchen! No RSVP and no cover charge. 21 and over.”
AleSong Brewing (Eugene) is holding its Fall Release on Sunday from noon to 6pm: “Fall is on it’s way, and its going to start getting chilly out there! Luckily, we think that’s perfect beer drinking weather and we’ve got a great line up of barrel aged beers to keep you warm as the seasons change! On November 11th we will be releasing four new beers and hosting our fall release party for our membership! As always, these beers will be released in conjunction with a celebration for our members at our tasting room. From 12-6pm on 11/11 we will have tastings of each of the new beers paired with delicious small bites, and live music!” The beers being released are Rhino Suit 2018, Raspberry Parliament, Four Merchants, and Farm Fresh (a Member beer).
Climate City Brewing (Grants Pass) has a new beer on tap in time for the weekend: “Introducing Brown-Chika-Bow-Wow! Turn on the Barry White, light a fire and get cozy with this sexy American Strong Ale. It’s deliciously smooth and round, with just a hint of intriguing bitterness.”
Brewers often joke that they spend more time cleaning than on any other aspect of the job. That isn’t quite true at Sapwood Cellars, but the cleaning aspect has been the biggest change from homebrewing. By comparison, wort production hasn’t been that difficult or different. Sure it took a few batches to acclimate to the efficiency and losses on our 10 bbl Forgeworks brewhouse (as with any new brewing system), made more challenging by an unreliable flow meter. Even 15 batches in despite hitting our target mash temps, wort fermentability seems to be lower than expected. We’re also still dialing in hop utilization given the thermodynamics involved with large wort volumes. Still, the concepts, ingredients, and techniques are all pretty similar to homebrewing.
When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing though, we’ve had to relearn the entire process. You really can’t fill a fermentor with 360 gallon of Oxiclean Free and soak overnight or swirl and scrub… I miss those days. First, let’s talk about chemicals and what they do. Our main supplier is AFCO, but Berko, Five-Star, and Loeffler all have fans. Prices seemed similar, we just didn’t think about ordering until a couple weeks before we started brewing and picked the one with the quickest turnaround time. We buy most of the chemicals in 5 gallon jugs, and pump them into beakers to measure and dose.
Caustic (5229 Caustic) – Caustic is the primary cleaner used by most breweries. Usually sodium hydroxide based and heavily alkaline. It is ideal for breaking down and removing organic deposits (e.g., krausen rings). You can do a bit of trading-off between time, temperature, pressure, and concentration. That said, 2-3% caustic at ~150F (66C) for 20-30 minutes through the sprayball has been a pretty good place to start for us. Caustic is dangerous because it is capable of breaking down your skin (the lye used in soap making is similar). We started with a powdered caustic (Wash-It), but given the price and efficacy we transitioned to liquid.
Phosphoric-Nitric Acid Blend (5397 Microlex Special 30) – Acid helps to remove inorganic deposits, i.e., beerstone (calcium oxalate). It also helps to neutralize any residual caustic (not that there should be any with adequate rinsing) and to passivate stainless steel. Acid blend is used at similar temperatures and cycle lengths as caustic, although slightly cooler, ~130F (54C).
Five Star Peroxyacetic Acid (PAA) – While there are many sanitizers available, PAA is the most popular for breweries. At the right concentrations it is a robust sanitizer with high effectiveness. It breaks down to acetic acid, so it can be used no-rinse. It is a powerful oxidizer, which makes it important to drain any residual before fermented beer enters a tank or keg. Our bucket was leftover from the old brewery in our space, so we bought a pack of test strips and it still reads the expected concentration after dilution.
Five Star PBW – We have a bucket of this alkaline powered cleaner for soaking hot-side equipment and other gear where we don’t want to have to be as careful as we would with caustic. We both used it at home, so were more comfortable with it than the Chlorinated Manual Cleaner we started with.
Iodophor (4330 Spark I2) – Similar to the PBW, it is nice to have a less hazardous sanitizer for spraying ports or soaking fittings. It is only effective on clean surfaces, so it is important to remove of detritus before expecting it to work.
Grain Alcohol – Given its quick kill times and evaporation ethanol is the ideal sanitizer for spray bottles and any surfaces that are highly sensitive (e.g., yeast culturing). Isopropyl alcohol is another option.
Pre-Heating – At this scale a tank has so much thermal mass that you can’t simply put 15 gallons (57 L) of hot water to a tank and expect it to still be hot after circulating. As a result if you want the caustic or acid to stay hot, you need to pray hot water into the tank. A tank with an electric element (like our keg washer has) helps too.
Sprayball – Most tanks have a port that leads to a sprayball, a small metal orb that spins and sprays when liquid is forced through. These aren’t always perfect, and can have blind spots, especially in ports and above it. In addition, it isn’t effective at cleaning its own exterior.
Passivation – This is what makes stainless steel stainless, a thin layer of chromium atoms at the surface that prevents iron from rusting or leeching into the beer (which weakens the equipment and shortens its lifespan). With a pristinely clean surface, the oxygen in the atmosphere is enough to accomplish this, but acids (especially nitric) are more effective.
Safety These chemicals aren’t anything to joke about. Many brewers have scars gained from caustic or acid dripping onto their skin . Safety glasses, long gloves, chemical resistant boots and pants are a must when handling them. Read the safety data sheet for each chemical you are using and know what to do if some gets on your skin or in your eyes. I don’t get to drink as much beer as I used to because the end of the day is usually the most dangerous time.
Scott and I prefer to have all of the tank’s arms connected from the start, allowing us to use valves to direct the flow of the cleaning and sanitizing solutions. We started off using a manifold coming off the pump, but have changed to daisy-chained T’s between the arms. Many brewers prefer to simply move a single output line from the pump between the arms. This requires less setup time, but more active effort once cleaning begins (moving the hose from arm to arm ~10 times through the process). It also carries additional risks if you move the hose without closing a valve.
Our Fermentor CIP Process
1. Once the beer is out of a tank, we turn off the glycol jackets and open the dump valve. We then shoot high-pressure cold water through the sprayball to remove most of the hops/yeast struck to the sides and bottom.
2. We use our on-demand hot water heater to generate 130F (54C) water to spray through the sprayball and manually through a hose to dislodge the bulk of the crud stuck to the sides/top of the fermentor. We’ll run it through the pump to get good coverage.
3. We briefly remove the lower fittings on the tanks (including manway, racking arm, thermometer, sample port) to spray out the trub caught in them.
4. We blow compressed air through the sprayball at ~30 PSI with the bottom valve open for 30 minutes. CO2 neutralizes caustic, so best to remove as much as possible before proceeding. This long is likely overkill for a 10 bbl tank, but can’t hurt.
5. We assemble our cleaning rig, usually a pump running to the sprayball, with a T to connect it to the racking arm and another to the blow-off.
5. We preheat the tank for a couple minutes by spraying 160F (71C) water in and letting it drain. We hook the water line in right before the pump so we can immediately go to cleaning once it is preheated. Our goal is to get the tank to read ~130F (54C).
6. We then use the hot water heater’s built-in meter to send 10-15 gallons of 160F (71C) water into the tank. We dose in 3 oz of caustic per gallon (2.3%) using a stainless steel elbow on one of the ports (chasing the caustic with water to ensure it get in). We then turn the elbow down to allow that port to equalize the pressure inside the tank, while preventing caustic from spitting out.
7. I like to send a little flow through the blow-off and racking arm first to soak them during the 20-25 minutes sprayball at full pressure (60 hz on our pump – or a bit slower if it cavitates). Then five minutes through the other arms, before a final five through the sprayball.
6. Dump the caustic. Rinse each arm with hot water, then burst rinse 10 times for 10 seconds at 130F (54C) through the sprayball, allowing it to drain before each successive rinse. I’ll often put 10-15 gallons (38-57 L) into the tank once or twice and recirculate at the end to make sure there is enough pressure to spray all the surfaces. You can check the pH of the drained rinse water to ensure it has returned close normal before proceeding.
2. We then take off all of the fittings (including the sprayball itself), soak them in PBW or caustic. We inspect the fittings and gaskets, rinse and put into a bucket of iodophor. For the ports we spray, scrub and spritz with iodophor before reassembling. We also take the chance to inspect the interior with a flashlight to ensure there are no deposits.
7. We run acid blend at 2 oz per gallon (1.5% by volume) using roughly the same process and times as the caustic. Significantly higher concentrations should be used on new equipment and once a year to ensure adequate passivation.
8. Usually we’ll air-dry at this point unless we need the tank the following day. In that case we’ll rinse and then sanitize with peroxyacetic acid in cool water at 200 PPM using the same rig, and pressurize the tank to 4 PSI of CO2 to ensure it holds. The next morning we’ll dump any residual sanitizer from each port before running wort or beer in.
The whole process including sanitation takes three hours, but most of that time isn’t active (just waiting for a purge, or cycle). Going longer on any of the times isn’t a big deal, so it is easy to run while working on other things if you keep track of your progress and don’t miss a step.
We haven’t gotten a CIP cart with dedicated vessels and pump, so our biggest issue currently is that it is difficult for one of us to clean a tank while the other person brews because they require some of the same equipment. Luckily our current schedule of two batches a week doesn’t make that too much of an issue.
I am by no means holding this up as a perfect or ideal process. It’ll likely be viewed as overkill by some, and inadequate by others. But if you have constructive suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I’d rather err towards overkill because we’re dealing with several yeast strains (including killer wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus, not to mention Brettanomyces and Pediococcus in a dedicated tank), although we do have the advantage of only dealing with kegs stored cold.
We addition we’ll pump the same chemicals through our heat exchanger and carbonation stone. For the heat exchanger we also heat pasteurize by running 180F (82C) water for 20 minutes inline once we assemble our knock-out rig (we discard the water until we see wort before sending to the fermentor). Our keg cleaner automatically does the same process on our sanke kegs, including air and CO2 purges to recapture the caustic and sanitizer.
And also Anvil Brewing Equipment. Anvil is a new line of kettles, burners and accessories from John Blichmann at Blichmann Engineering. They make top quality brewing equipment built to last a lifetime.
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The New England IPA has become a really popular beer recently, so we decided to brew up a Juicy NEIPA that really shows off the best parts about this style of beer. Note, if we brewed this recipe again, we’d omit the lemon drop hops. Read the full recipe details on our website for more info.
Granted, this is posted by a homebrew supply business so there’s a little bit of selling, but overall I found it pretty interesting. And I hadn’t seen this type of brew system before—basically, Brew-in-a-Bag but with a metal basket. They also hit the marks for technique for brewing the style—high protein grains, all late-addition hopping (with a lot of hops), dry hopping while primary fermentation is still taking place, and plenty more dry hopping.
We took two all-grain homebrew systems and brewed the same batch of beer on both – a London Porter. See brew day and our blind taste test to identify which beer brewed which system.
$3000 system featured is the electric Blichmann BrewEasy.
This is fascinating from an experimental/scientific homebrewing standpoint. I’m a little concerned that their final gravities were so high, which means under attenuated and sweet final beers (as well as low alcohol), which makes me wonder about the yeast, but in general this is the kind of fun experiment idea that homebrew clubs can (and should!) undertake.
Here is the news in Oregon beer for this Wednesday, November 7—does anyone have a post-Election Day hangover? (Not necessarily alcohol related!) As usual I’ll be updating this post throughout the day so keep checking back. And if you have news to share, please contact me so I can get it posted.
The Bier Stein (Eugene) is welcoming Washington’s Finnriver Cider this evening for a Finnriver Speakeasy Soiree from 7 to 9pm: “You may already be familiar with our cider selection in the cooler, but on November 7th we will be stretching our definition of cider with Finnriver Farm & Cidery. Make your way to our back bar space to explore some of Finn River’s more unique products including their Cacao Brandywine and Apple Port Wine. We will also be pouring their Artisan Sparkling Cider, which drinks like a champagne! Throw on your fanciest outfit for a chance to win the prize for “best dressed” and relax over a cider cocktail from 7-9pm.”
The23rd annual Holiday Ale Festival is coming up on November 28 through December 2, taking place at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, and advance tickets are on sale now. “Advance General Admission Tickets include a festival glass, 15 beer tickets and expedited entry (if fest is not at legal capacity) all five days with wristband and current year’s glass.” These tickets cost $40, and if you want to splurge on VIP you can drop $100. To help wet your whistle, check out the 2018 standard beer lineup.
Roscoe’s (Portland) is hosting StormBreaker Brewing for a StormBreaker Pumpkin Night from 5 to 8pm: “Join StormBreaker Brewing at Roscoe’s to try three variations of their Pumpkin Pedaler beer. 2018 Pumpkin Pedaler, 2017 Rum Barrel Pumpkin Pedaler, and 2017 Single Cask Scotch Barrel Aged Pumpkin Pedaler. The Crew from Stormbreaker will be in the house to answer questions about the beer, and we will also be tapping a fresh keg of Nobody Puts Hazy in a Corner IPA. We hope to see you there.”
Deschutes Brewery (Bend): The Bend Tasting Room is introducing New Beer Wednesday starting today: “We will tap a NEW BEER, every WEDNESDAY. Walk, ride or crawl your way to us every Wednesday to grab a taste, sample or pint of our latest beer creation.” No mention (yet?) of what today’s new beer might be…
Some updates with Prineville’s Crooked River Brewing, which hasn’t actually been brewing beer yet: Bend’s local paper, The Bulletin, ran a story yesterday on the brewpub and its upcoming plans to brew beer on a six-barrel system as well as make cider. And today, the brewery posted a similar update: “Our new 6 barrel system is now being built for our on-site brewery! It took a long time but we are completely approved for our brewery and in the final stages of our winery approval process (to produce ciders and wines). We have a couple award winning brewers just waiting to jump in and some collaboration projects in the hopper with a couple great Oregon and Colorado breweries too, AND Amber has been perfecting the fine art of cidering. Great beers and ciders are on their way!”
Portland Cider Company announced today that it signed with three distributors in Northern California to start selling in our southern neighbor. From the press release: “The distributors include:
– Morris Distributing in Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and San Francisco counties
– Saccani Distributing Co. in counties ranging as far north as Siskiyou County and as far south as Solano County
– Bay Area Distributing in East and West Contra Costa, Alameda, and Marin counties
Portland Cider Co.’s year-round favorites, including Apple, Sangria, Hop’ Rageous, and its new imperial cider, The Perfect 10, will be available in cans, bottles and on draft. Seasonal favorites like Concord Grape, Pineapple, Pumpkin Spice, and Cranberry will be available in draft kegs.”
Happy Monday! Welcome to this first Monday of November, the 5th, I hope you had a great weekend! Let’s get back into the swing of things and kick off a new week with the news in beer from around Oregon. As usual I’ll be updating this post throughout the day so check back often.
The Oregon Historical Society in Portland is hosting a cool event this evening: Hoptopia: The History and Science Behind Pacific Northwest Beer. “In celebration of the OHS exhibit, Barley, Barrels, Bottles, & Brews: 200 Years of Oregon Beer (opening October 26), a historian and scientist will present together on the history and present condition of the state’s hop and beer industries. First, Peter A. Kopp, author of Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, will overview the global origins of the hop and beer industries that arrived in Oregon from European traditions in the nineteenth century. Second, Thomas Shellhamer, a world-renowned brewing scientist housed at Oregon State University, will dig deeper into the biology and chemistry of hops and their function in beer making.” This event takes place from 7 to 8:30pm.
Vertigo Brewing (Hillsboro) has a new beer release dropping today: “Starting today (11/5), you can come taste our collaboration beer with our neighbors at Big Bottom Distilling. Our Cascadian Dark Ale – Bob Barley is dark, dank and delicious. While the majority of this batch is aging in barrels, we kept a few kegs out to enjoy now. Taproom opens at 4:00. Hope to see you this afternoon.”
McMenamins Grand Lodge (Forest Grove) is hosting a Friends & Family Night fundraiser to benefit the Friends of Banks Public Library tonight starting at 5pm: “In addition to this emphasis on supporting local communities in which McMenamins has a presence, we focus contributions on three key areas: education, human support services and community development. So on Friends and Family Nights, bring everyone you know out for burgers, beers, wine, cocktails, salads, sandwiches, tater tots, the day’s specials and more – because at the end of the night, 50% of the evening’s total sales are donated to the beneficiary! The more you order, the more is earned for a good cause!” This is a good cause, and 50% of the night’s proceeds from the Ironwork Grill at the Lodge will be donated—that’s beer, food, everything.
Portland’s Belmont Station is celebrating The Dark Side of beer this week—actually, from November 2 through 7— “As we “fall back” to standard time, we are going to The Dark Side with special drafts of imperial stouts starting on Nov. 2 and running through Nov. 7 — the Days of Darkness! Along with the release of Founders CBS we will also be tapping special kegs from Prairie, AleSmith, Great Notion, Fremont, and others.”
This weekend, on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10, the McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival returns to Springfield, the seventh annual iteration of this event. “Springfield Rotary Club will present the 7th Annual McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival on November 9th & 10th at the Bob Keefer Center located at 250 S. 32nd Street in Springfield. This craft brewing festival is Lane County’s premier fest for craft beer & cider. Join us for live music, great food, brewing classes, family events, and more than 150 craft brewer tastings. All proceeds go to local charity programs supporting youth in the community. Come help out a great cause and have a terrific time tasting the best the Northwest has to offer in craft beer & ciders!” (From the Facebook event page.) Tickets are available here and cost $15 for one day, $20 for both days.
McMenamins celebrates five years of its passport program today: “Happy 5 years to our Passport Program! Five years ago we set out to connect with customers and show them the pubs, small bars, nooks and crannies and aspects of McMenamins that they had never known about. Thank you to all of our Tripsters new and old who have travelled near and far to be a part of this wild ride! Today only, get a special 5 year stamp at any location, and all day happy hour to our Cosmic Tripsters!”
Ascendant Beer Company (formerly Pints, of Portland) announced that it signed with Maletis Beverage for distribution: “We’re over the moon to announce that we have joined the Maletis Beverage portfolio!! That means more small batch ales and lagers are coming your way and will be available in all of your favorite pubs. Help us celebrate with launch parties at Bridgetown Beerhouse, Belmont Station, and Loyal Legion!”
Cascade Brewing (Portland) is releasing a fan favorite beer this Friday: “Back in 2008, we released a beer that was only to be sold in our own brewpub, but since then has become one of the biggest “white whales” in Cascade Brewing history! Cuvée du Jongleur or “Blend of the Juggler,” has been sold/traded amongst beer collectors worldwide fetching upwards of $100 per bottle. This Friday, Nov. 9, the Jongleur returns in a 500ml bottle and on draft. Cuvée du Jongleur consists of select red, triple and quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for up to three years.”
Old Town Brewing (Portland) has a new beer out: “‘Mind Your Elders’, our newest release, is on tap now! This nuanced brew showcases a complex depth of flavors and aroma, while maintaining an elegant and refreshing spirit. Notes of sweet elderflower play brilliantly with its soft hay and lemony character. Mildly sweet and crisp, with a semi-dry finish. Available at both locations now!”
This week we take a look at sulfur and rotten-egg aromas in beer and how to troubleshoot and mitigate it. This is part of my ongoing series on off-flavors in home brewed beer.
Sulfur or Rotten Egg-Aromas in Beer
A sulfur or rotten-egg aroma is common for fermenting beer with many yeast strains, particularly lagers. The most significant source of rotten egg smells is hydrogen sulfide gas which is often produced during active fermentation as a byproduct of the yeast processing sulfur. Sulfur itself comes from several sources including kilned malts, as some sulfur is produced when the malts are kilned or roasted. Hops also often contains some sulfur compounds and aromatics, and certain water profiles are high in sulfur. Yeast itself may also contain some sulfur, and certain yeast strains such as many lagers produce higher levels of sulfur gas during fermentation.
Unfortunately humans are extremely sensitive to sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide gas. Because sulfur compounds plan an active role in many decay processes like stagnant water and rotting foods, humans have developed a very high sensitivity to them. Some sulfur based compounds can be detected at a parts per trillion threshold.
The two most common sulfur compounds found in beer are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur dioxide has the aroma of a early burning match or gunpowder, while hydrogen sulfide has the strong rotten egg or volcanic gas aroma to it. Fortunately these gases are also very volatile so they will evaporate out of the beer in a fairly short time period. It is very common to smell both of these during active fermentation and as I mentioned they are more frequently associated with certain yeast strains including many lagers.
Mitigating Sulfur Aromas
To reduce the sulfur aroma in your finished you first want to consider your yeast strain as certain strains are far more prone to sulfur production than others. Selecting the right strain, particularly for lagers, is important. Also avoid high sulfur content in your brewing water.
If you detect sulfur gas in your finished beer, the best thing to do is give it more time. Lagers, in particular, often require extended aging periods and the sulfur aromas and flavors will fade with time. It is important to age your beer in a fermenter, if possible, to allow the gas to dissipate, as prematurely bottling or kegging a sulfuric beer will often just trap the sulfur gas in the bottle or keg.