Tuesday, October 28, 2008

At Capacity

In case anyone's wondering, this is what 13 gallons of hot-breaking wort looks like in a half-barrel brew kettle:

That's a double batch of Smoked Porter in progress. Semi-coincidentally*, this batch also pretty much maxed out my mash tun with its 24 pounds of grain. I only had room for about 1.5 gallons of mash-out water, meaning I actually had to supplement my two batch runoffs with a one-gallon mini fly sparge during the second batch.

Not complaining, mind you. Two batches of Smoked Porter are now bubbling away happily with the aid of two different yeasts, and one of 'em will probably get dosed with bourbon. Oh, blessed be the fruits of our labor...

* I say "semi-coincidentally" because O.G. has a lot to do with that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zat's All Folks

And so disappears what could be considered the paradigm of a controversial era in the history of American brewing.

Zima, the much-maligned but for a time much-consumed standard-bearer of the "malternative" craze of the late 90s-early 2000s, is no longer in production and will start disappearing from store shelves as this year turns into next, MillerCoors has announced.

How many high schoolers furtively cut their teeth (especially their sweet teeth) on un-beers like Zima and Mike's Hard Lemonade? (I always had trouble excusing the sickly sweetness of these beverages just for the sake of a buzz. And drinking enough to actually achieve your goal? The nausea rises just thinking about it. Make mine Southpaw, if it comes to that.)

No word from MillerCoors if carb-watching among American teens is to blame for Zima's demise.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Flared Pilsner

As mentioned in this space already, the Pilsner glass is a rather broadly defined category of beer-drinking equipment. (Just click here and you'll see.)

What we have here is a Pilsner glass that, while not especially common, should not strike experienced beer folk with its novelty, either.

Like other Pilsner glasses, this one is tall and slender – a good shape for showing off the golden, sparkling aesthetics of its namesake brew. But from a functional standpoint, this piece of glassware falls short of other options due to its pronounced flare at the top. Good for capturing neither head nor aroma for any length of time, the out-turned lip ill-serves the well-poured Pilsner in that regard, although it does, at least, deliver the gilded brew easily and gently into a waiting, salivating mouth.

No surprises here as to which beers are best offered up to the flared Pilsner glass: German and Czech Pils; plus other light fare like Helles, Dortmunder and Kölsch – though be aware you may be breaking convention here. (And since head retention and aroma are nonexistant anyway, why not an American Lager?)

But let it be said: There are better places to put your Pilsner.

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