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Currently Browsing: Brewing

Several Food Freedom Issues

Bitter notes over at her gun-blog-turned-food blog how Bloomberg is being two-faced about food control, and also that home brewers in Oregon are getting screwed by a bureaucratic ruling that’s just destroyed a good part of their community. Now they know how gun owners and shooters feel. Bureaucrats in this country are out of control. One thing I would suggest for fixing this problem is rediscovering a very strong non-delegation doctrine.

Beer Exemptions

NRA isn’t the only one carving out exemptions for itself. Boston Beer company is getting in the game too:

I would be in favor of the proposal to lower taxes on craft breweries, but I see no reason to create a law that would give Boston Beer a tax advantage until they grow to three times their present size. The idea is to encourage small craft breweries. Once you hit two million barrels, you ain’t small no more. Take it on the chin, Jim, and pay Uncle Sam the full tab. You can afford it.

Hat tip to Liquidity Preference. Personally, I don’t like the idea of special tax statuses at all, even if it’s just for actual craft brewers. But I can also understand small brewers trying to get any leg up they can. The big brewers and distributors have a mega-powerful lobby in DC and state capitols that tailors liquor laws to benefit themselves. It’s regulatory capture at its finest.

My ESB Is Nearly Ready

My Extra Special Bitter is nearly ready to be bottled/kegged. It’s been in secondary fermentation for nearly two weeks, and it’s developing a clear, amber color. I can’t think of anything to go better with a good English Ale than some fish and chips. Of course, Fish and Chips are probably a good bit less English. Apparently chips (fries) come from Belgium or France, and fried fish was brought in by Jewish immigrants. Nonetheless, Brits are passionate enough about their fish and chips that they nearly went to war over it. Trouble cooled once Iceland started giving up fishing for the fast paced world of International Finance. Now that ship has sunk, and Icelanders have gone back to fishing, so perhaps things will heat up once again.

Holiday Brewing

I decided to make up a batch of Extra Special Bitter for the holidays.  It’s been quite a while since I have done any brewing, so I decided to go with an extract kit rather than doing an all grain batch. Right now I am outside with the snow, ice and rain bringing the kettle up to temperature for the boil. This will be the first time I try to use a plate chiller, so we’ll see how this goes.

UPDATE: Fermentation has started. I had a few issued with the plate chiller. In terms of cooling, it was very efficient, but if you use one, I have a few suggestions. Ideally, you’d probably want a pump. but they are hella expensive for a single use item. It can be done with gravity, but as I discovered a bit too late, one of these is a must, as the plate chiller ended up clogging with pellet hop residue. The worst part is I have one of those strainers for my kettle, but I forgot to put it on. Another option would be to just pre-filter the hot wort, being careful not to splash it and cause oxidation.

Craft Distilling

That’s apparently what they are calling Moonshining these days, and apparently Tennessee is about to make it legal.  Of course, that’s not going to get the feds off your back.  Under federal law, you can make small amounts (up to 200 gallons) per year of wine or beer for your own use, or to give away to others (you can’t sell it).  But there’s no amount of distilling that’s lawful for home use.  To do that, you need a license from the ATF and you need to pay the excise taxes on what you make.

My understanding is that if you want to commercially brew, make wine, or distill, ATF is actually very helpful at getting people set up and in compliance with the federal law.  Reading through a lot of forums on the subject several years ago I found myself thinking “This is not the ATF I knew.”

Speaking of brewing, it’s been quite some time since I’ve contributed toward my 200 gallon limit.  Pretty soon I will need to bring that down to 195 left for the year.  I’m thinking a scottish ale.

Please, No!

As a sometimes home brewer who primary has made ales from the British Isles, I have several authentic British pint glasses.  Authentic because they are emblazoned with a royal engraving on the glass, which certifies it one imperial pint (~20oz).  Truth be told, all these glasses are now made in Calais, France, but they are the royal standard.

Now it seems they may be in danger of becoming a thing of the past, due to the Home Office’s obsession of ridding the United Kingdom of anything that could possibly be used as a weapon.  That would be tragic, in my opinion.

It’s a Flying Fish Weekend for Us

Apparently neo-prohibitionist group MADD is angry at Flying Fish brewery over in New Jersey for naming one of their beers “Exit 4 American Trippel.” Apparently unaware that people in New Jersey locate other New Jerseyans through “What exit are you at,” MADD seems to feel that any association with highways and beer is entirely wrong, and promotes drinking drunk driving.  Apparently the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is worried people might think they have suddenly turned into a microbrewery, and are taking notice.

I’ve always liked Flying Fish beers, so if you’re in an area you can get it, have some this weekend.  I’m particularly going to try to track down some Exit 4 Trippel, and enjoy a few bottles out on my patio, just as a nice f**k you to MADD.  What’s next?  Calling the FAA and bitching that their name and logo promote drinking and flying?  Hang in there Flying Fish.  Don’t let the nannies win.

Hat Tip to Instapundit

Who’s Drinking Beer?

A guide to which states consume the most beer.  Seems that Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Nevada drink more than most.  You’d think for people that drink so much beer, Montana would have better microbreweries.  Maybe this is my excuse to move out there.

Is it Raining Cats and Dogs?

Illinois defeats two gun control measure in as many days, and now Utah has legalized home brewing.  What’s next?  Is Texas going to pass a law allowing gay marriage?

It’s good news though.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made any beer.  I keep meaning to brew up a batch, but I usually brew out on the back patio.  I’ve decided that’s how I will celebrate it’s completion.  I’ll just have to look at it as a $5000 piece of brewing equipment.

Kegging the Mead

Many people aren’t all that familiar with the adult beverage known as mead, which is a form of wine that is made from honey rather than grapes. I’m a brewer, and not much of a wine maker, but I figured I’d try my hand at making a batch of mead.

I have to declare my experiment only a partial success. Success in the sense that I have something alcoholic, that isn’t disgusting to drink, but only partial in the sense that it has a lot of autolytic notes. That’s usually a result of leaving the fermented product on the yeast cake too long, and not racking into another fermenter often enough. I certainly am guilty of getting lazy with this batch. I started this batch late last winter, racked it to secondary in late spring, put it off into a corner and kind of forgot about it until earlier this week.

Fortunately, my friend Gene tells me that autolytic notes are a feature of champaign, so I decided to actually keg the mead, and charge it with some carbonation. If the mead is sparkling, it might actually taste correct for that style. One thing is for sure, at least, it’s effective stuff. I drank a little of the leftovers, and I’m doing pretty well right about now.

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