Posted on January 20, 2011 in brewing by Josh
From flickr user davehunt82
Remember the book/movie Jurassic Park, where scientists managed to extract dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes trapped in amber that was millions of years old? They cloned the dinosaurs, opened a zoo of sorts, and then all hell broke loose, leaving us with the message that we should just probably not do anything like that in real life?
Well, one California scientist has done that anyway, but not with dino DNA. He did it with yeast. Then, as any rational person would do when they find themselves with some extra yeast, he brewed beer with it.
Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. has used Cano’s initial extraction of yeast to grow a much larger batch that fills a warehouse in Northern California used in the beer-making process.
“Our main beer is a wheat beer, and we also have a pale ale, but we’re really working on others, including an amber ale and an Oktoberfest,” Cano said.
Of those beers popular in the mainstream market, Cano compares the taste most closely to that of Blue Moon.
Despite initial skepticism from some about the taste the beer would produce, Cano says the flavor turned out surprisingly good and unique.
Critics have described the taste as one with lots of spice, resembling cloves, along with tinges of ginger and pineapple.
It’s a really interesting experiment. If I can ever get to California, it’s definitely on my list of things to try.
Posted on November 17, 2010 in brewing by Josh
From flick user david.nikonvcanon
While organic brewing is still a small percentage of brewing worldwide, it’s never been truly organic. Previously, rules allowed for beer — which, at its purest, only has a small number of ingredients — to be brewed with non-organic hops. There were certain large brewers who like this because it allowed them to use cheap, non-organic ingredients in mass produced beer, all while lableing it “organic.”
Well, no more. Macro brewers like Budwesier recently lost a fight with the The National Organic Standards Board, forcing hops to be organic when used in organic beer. TreeHugger writes:
The watered down standards were enacted because at the time most organic hops was grown in New Zealand and Europe and flown back to the US. Today, organic hops farmers are popping up across the country so it’s an ideal time to tighten the requirements (which seemed downright misleading in the first place).
The USDA had initially recommended back in September that the measure not be repealed but this week the NOSB voted unanimously to make the change effective January 1, 2013. Prior to this new standard, if a beer was completely organic than the label would read 100 percent organic.
Posted on November 9, 2010 in Beers by Josh
Photo from Sam Adams
Sam Adams recently partnered
with chef David Burke for a new signature beer. Burke is known for meat, and he didn’t disappoint — Burke’s beer calls for an assortment of spices with grilled beef hearts.
While spices including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and black pepper may strike some beer drinkers as odd, it’s the final ingredient that’s strangest of all — sliced beef hearts.
“When we think of David Burke, we think of beef,” says Boston Beer brewing manager Bert Boyce (say that three times fast), who helped Burke craft the beer. To stand up to the meaty character, Boyce and Burke settled on an Oktoberfest-style beer liberally sprinkled with fall spices. Then came the beef: During the brew day, Burke brought over grilled, sliced beef hearts, which were added at the end of the boil.
Once I get over the fact that there’s no just meat, but grilled beef heart in your beer, I’d be willing to give it a shot. I know some worry about carbs in their beer, but saturated fat seems a step too far.
Also, as someone who has homebrewed a peanut butter chocolate stout, one of the worries is that oil and fat keep the head down and suppress carbonation. I’d be curious to see how the brewmasters at Sam Adams dealt with that problem.
Posted on October 5, 2010 in Science by Josh
From flickr user gonzales2010
A field of study called proteomics could lead to brewers and drinkers better understanding exactly what’s in their beer. That means brewers who hide things like corn or rice in their recipes, despite advertising higher-quality ingredients, could be caught. Discovery News reports…
Besides giving insight into what makes beer what it is, the technique could help beer drinkers learn more about what they’re buying. The findings could also help manufacturers detect contamination or make a foamier, clearer or otherwise better product.
“This opens up a completely new horizon in beer analysis in general, and also in the analysis of any beverage,” said lead author Pier Giorgio Righetti, of the The Polytechnic Institute of Milan. “We are now analyzing a lot of other beverages and finding a lot of surprising things that producers don’t know are in their beverages.”
“This could be great for consumers to track which grains a producer has been using that they are maybe not declaring,” he added. “It could also help brewers refine their products. Now that we know how many trace proteins there are, producers could eliminate proteins that give a bad taste to beer or enhance the amount of proteins that give a better perfume.”
Nobody wants to lose the art behind brewing, but there’s plenty of science that can make beer more consistent, better tasting, and higher quality. I think everyone has probably had beer from a “bad batch,” and something like protein analysis can help brewers understand exactly what can go wrong. It can also help drinkers understand if that new microbrew comes from someone who cares about brewing, or someone who’s trying to hide cheap ingredients in the name of profit margins.
Posted on August 17, 2010 in Food by Josh
Beeramisu (Credit Billy at A Table for Two)
I recently came across this recipe for Beeramisu, a beer-centric take on the classic Italian desert. Not our standard post, but beer is a growing and increasingly used ingredient for all sorts of cooking, and re-thinking tiramisu is a particularly interesting way to use it.
To make the beeramisu, it is suggested to coffee or chocolate stout. I struggled to find any boutique stout where I live, so I just used Guinness Stout mixed in with strong espresso. I got coffee, and I got stout, but one more flavour is missing in my Beeramisu, is the booze! I love my tiramisu with a boozy kick linger in the mouth on every spoonful. Usually I use Amaretto, which gives it another layer of almond flavour to the combination. Coffee liquor like Bailey’s is also another good option which gives the Tiramisu an even creamier texture.
Full recipie is below, but be sure to check out the writeup at A Table for Two.
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Posted on February 21, 2010 in Food by Joe Hildebrand
Attempted to make Brewers Bread this afternoon with the spent grain from an IPA we brewed this morning at Mason Woods Brewing. I found the recipe for the bread here.
The IPA recipe had a grain build of Pale Malt, Vienna, 20L Crystal, and a very small amount of Cascade Hops (Note: we typically do not put hops in the mash but we do for this recipe).
I wanted to substitute beer for the water but didn’t know if the dry yeast would activate. I am planning on doing it next time I try this.
The mixing process went as expected. I added about 0.5 cups extra flour which might have been because the spent grain was still quite a bit wet. This is my first time making bread so I think I had the right consistency but maybe a little more flour could have been added.
The bread itself looked and smelled very good – but that is about it. I baked it over 45 minutes (recommended time was 30 – 40 minutes) but it was still gooey in the middle. I decided to take it out anyway. After I waited about 20 minutes to cut the first piece, I put both loafs back in the oven for another 20 minutes but I think the battle was already lost.
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