Thursday, July 28, 2011

Record Smecord

Remember I told you that May was going to break this blog's "page views" record for any month? (see Record Breaking if you need to refresh your memory)

Well, May did break the record. It blew away the previous record 1383 to 1008. That 1008 page view record had held since September of last year.

As it turns out, June blew away May's record 1950 to 1383. July might break June's record. It will be close, but even if not, it blew away May as well. July's page view count is already at 1832 with a few days left to go. I'm wondering if the blog is starting a new trend or if the page views will return to the level of a couple of months ago. I guess we'll have to see.

This picture is not related to the topic of this post. I just felt it needed some picture.

In May, I had Cider Drinking and Breast Flashing to thank for increased views. I cannot attribute any one blog post in June or July for any increase in traffic, although people liked looking at my Fermentation Video in June. Readers also seemed pretty interested that I Got my G.A.B.F. Tickets and that I'm Moving on to 2011 Best Beers List. Women and Beer came on pretty strong at the end of July. Also, for whatever reason, our trip to Geneva Park Campground last August got quite a bit of interest lately. I still don't get very many comments, although I have gotten a few more than usual over the past few days.

Anyway, I'm sure no one cares, but I don't really have anything that exciting to share with you at the moment.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Phat & Tyred Brew day

Seems like forever since I've brewed beer, but today I brewed up a batch of my world famous Phat & Tyred Amber Ale. This is my first 5 gallon batch of the P&T beer. It is also the first time I've tried my modified BIAB process.

My modified BIAB process is basically using a nylon bag inside a 10 gallon gott cooler. I used no sparge, and I got all my boil volume from the mash itself.

Grains ready for the strike water
Beer Smith gave me a strike water volume of almost 8 gallons at a temperature of 161F. Just in case you were wondering, 8 gallons of water is pretty heavy. 8 gallons of hot water is probably pretty dangerous, so if you are going to copy this process, you might want to be careful. I wasn't, but I'm not that bright. Plus, I lead a Semi Charmed Kind of Life, so I won't get hurt. You might.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Women and Beer

Remember back in March of 2010 I mentioned that I had been surprised to find two women working in my local home brew shop (LHBS)? If not, feel free to review at  "My LHBS's".

Now-a-days, I see a lot more women in the LHBS's. Not only do my two main shops employ women, but I see more that seem to be there shopping for brewing ingredients rather than just tagging along with their husbands or boyfriends. Heck, even the Beer Model has brewed a couple of batches of beer, so I see at least one female home-brewer every day.

I would also say that women make up a decent percentage of craft "Beer Geeks". I think of the beer bloggers that I follow, at least half are women. And I think that a higher percentage of women who say they are beer drinkers tend to drink craft beer than do men who say they are beer drinkers.

From 26 Highly Suggestive Beer Ads
And yet, BMC (Bud/Miller/Coors) breweries continue to act as if women don't drink beer. Worse, they act like women CANNOT like beer. Remember my blog post "Beer Ads"? I commented on sexist beer ads and how I'm not sure they actually sell beer like they should. I made this observation after reading an article in which "The Beer Wench" had been complaining about the sexist nature of beer advertisements from large breweries. Personally, as a male chauvinist pig, I have no problem with the sexist nature of the beer ads. I just don't think they are effective at selling beer. I can understand that female consumers might not be too happy about these ads. The Wench is not the only beer blogger I've seen make the same point. Unfortunately, I didn't save the links to any of the other articles. Trust me, though, most women beer geeks don't appreciate seeing sexist beer ads.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Helpful #HomeBrew Thieves

My wife's family visited this past weekend.

They came in last Thursday night and then we spent the weekend (Friday thru Monday) up in Breckenridge.

I wanted them to help me reduce my SheppyBrew inventory, and they did. Boy did they help.

I started them off with some Summer Lovin' American Wheat in hopes that they would help me kill that keg so that I could have an empty one (see below for why it was important to have an empty keg). After awhile Thursday night, though, they wanted to try some other beers, and of course I let them.

Tracy's dad seemed to really enjoy both the Gringo Cerveza Cream Ale and the Gringo Cerveza Jalapeño Cream Ale. He is certainly not a craft-beer drinker, and I was not surprised at all that the Cream Ale would be his favorite. I am a bit surprised that he like the Jalapeño beer, though.

The newest brother-in-law tried a bunch of different kinds. The one he seemed to like the most was 15 Year Anniversary Amber Ale. He told me that ambers are his favorite. I suppose he probably would have been a fan of Phat & Tyred Amber Ale, but I didn't have any to offer him.

The older brother-in-law (older than the newer b-i-l ... not older than I am) also tried a bunch. He was a real big fan of the Fox Sox Knox Rye Pale Ale and the TommyHawk APA. He especially enjoyed the dry-hopped version of the TommyHawk, which was my favorite of the evening. I thought both those beers were tasting particularly delicious that night as well.

Tracy's youngest sister is pregnant, so didn't have much. She did have a few sips here and there and made some very complimentary comments.

The middle sister isn't much of a beer fan but did seem to like Summer Lovin' American Wheat and Buckwheat's Belgium Pale Ale.

I brought the rest of the keg up to Breckenridge. It emptied early Friday afternoon. This makes me very happy.

I let youngest sister take some beer home to one of my virtual beer friends. Hopefully next time I see her, she will be able to obtain some of his for me to try.

The SheppyBrew inventory is much lower than it was before the in-laws came to visit. In fact, it is lower than it has been in a long time. This is good in that I now can brew again. Sadly, we wiped out 15 Year Anniversary Amber Ale and Fox Sox Knox Rye Pale Ale. I'll certainly have to brew those again.

Can't wait to work on my pipeline again.

So, why did I want to have an empty keg? The last beer I made and kegged was Quarter Life Crisis Hoppy Red Ale. I dry hop this beer, and this time I decided to try dry hopping without using any kind of hop sack. Then, I didn't cold-crash and probably was not as careful as I should be to leave behind the bottom hop matter when I transferred from the carboy into the corny. Anyway, I ended up with enough hop matter in the keg that my poppet valve on the beer-out side was clogged up and the keg did not dispense beer.

The only thing I could think of to rectify the situation was to move the QLC into another keg, but at the time, my only other keg was full of Summer Lovin' Wheat. I would have bought another keg, but at the moment, used corny kegs are pretty expensive, plus I knew that the Beer Model's family was coming and that they have been known to consume a fair amount of beer when with me.

Tonight, I sanitized the empty keg and siphoned beer from the full keg to the empty one. I left a couple of liters of the QLC behind just to try to keep as much of the hop matter out of the new keg. I didn't waste it, though, I transferred some of that into a pint glass and the rest into a growler. I drank the pint glass and the growler is still in my fridge.

The new keg of QLC has been pressurized and is in the keggerator. I just poured myself about 10oz, and it does flow. It also tastes very good.

I guess the SheppyBrew Brew Master will consider this a learning experience. I'll be using hop sacks for dry-hopping and/or making sure I cold crash and/or be careful transferring dry-hopped beers into kegs. All's well that ends well, but I don't want to make this same mistake again.

Next brew day for SheppyBrew:  Phat & Tyred Amber Ale.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Belgo @NewBelgium

You can see over on the left side of this blog in my "Blogs I Read" section that I follow the New Belgium Brewery blog.

Today they posted "A sneak peek at something new and exciting... " Apparently, New Belgium Brewery is going to start brewing its Belgo IPA as part of its "Explorer Series", which basically means it will be available all the time instead of as part of its experimental / small batch "Lips of Faith" series of beers.

This interested me because Belgo India Pale Ale is a beer I blogged about back in November. (see

I liked the beer, but I think part of its appeal to me was that it was a limited edition type beer. For the most part, if I want a hoppy IPA, I am not really in the mood for the Belgium funk. If I feel like the Belgium funk, I'm not really looking for the citrusy hops of an American IPA. If I am purchasing an experimenting or limited edition beer, I am looking for something different than usual, so I am fine with that sort of conflicting flavor profiles. But, if it something I can buy at any time, I'm not sure that I will.

I guess we'll see. I wonder if it will come out in cans.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting development, and so I thought I'd share it with those of you who don't follow the New Belgium blog. Of course chances are no one but me find it interesting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

World Famous Phat and Tyred

I sort of jokingly refer to my "world famous" Phat and Tyred Amber Ale. It is one of my favorite SheppyBrews. Not only does it taste wonderful, but it was also my first completely non-Mr. Beer recipe. It was my first partial mash. It was one of my first all-grain beers. It is one of the beers that I've brewed over and over again, and tweaked the recipe just about every time. I've only brewed Buckwheat's Belgium Pale Ale more often.

When I recently shared with my Mr. Beer virtual friends that I had only brewed 3 times last quarter (see 2nd Quarter 2011 Brew Stats), I got a response from one of the guys, "I brewed your Fat Tire Clone 3 times this past quarter if you want to add that to your stats...". (don't believe me? click here)

Also, Phat & Tyred Amber Ale made it to the "The #homebrew Daily" on July 10th. Apparently the guy who does "The #homebrew Daily" follows me on twitter, and his picked up on my tweet. I am pretty sure this is the first time I've ever made any type of news paper. Pretty exciting.

So, I guess my Phat and Tyred Amber Ale  is "world famous"! This is at least the third non-Sheppy brewer that has made a version of this beer. There are one or two others who told me they were going to brew it, but who never let me know if they ever actually did. If I know about these people, I'm sure there must be countless more who have or are planning to brew it as well.

It usually gets referred to as my "Fat Tire Clone". Although it did start out as an intended clone, I do not like to call it one now. I've purposely modified the recipe away from being exactly like Fat Tire to more perfectly match my tasting preferences. It is fine if others call it my Fat Tire clone, though. I'm just honored that they recognize it.

Of course, I had intended to brew Phat and Tyred Amber Ale to be my first kegged beer. But as you may recall (Worst brew day ever?). Things got screwed up and I ended up with "Fat and Stoopid" instead. While a very good beer and a wonderful way to start kegging (and a beer that did not last long at all), Fat and Stoopid was certainly not the same as my Phat and Tyred Amber Ale.

And so, I've decided what I'm going to brew next. It is going to be my 7th batch of my world famous Phat and Tyred Amber Ale. I've updated the recipe just a bit, mostly to account for alpha-acid percentages in the willamette and fuggle hops that I have. My recipe is now based on a 5.5 gallon batch instead of 5 gallon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Washing Yeast for #HomeBrew

I have mentioned before that Billy Broas at is one of my favorite beer bloggers. Actually, he probably is my favorite beer blogger. If I were to take beer blogging seriously, his blog would be what I would try to model mine after.

Today, I came across a great post that he did quite awhile ago, and I thought I'd share.

You may have seen me reference on and / or this blog about me harvesting yeast for my home-brews. I've been doing it for some time. People ask me via email, facebook, or online forums from time to time questions about the details behind how I do it. I usually start with urls to a couple of pages that describe the process.

Billy took the explanation to the next level. He did a video about the process. I figured it out from text descriptions on the internet, but it really would have been helpful to have had Billy's video back in June of 2009.

Anyway, Billy did a blog post called "Yeast Washing". The url is . If you are wondering how I harvest yeast, Billy will tell you. Our processes are pretty much identical. This is the link I'm going to give people from now on.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Arrogant Bastard III

I just listened to CYBI's third Arrogant Bastard clone show (yes, I'm behind on my beer casts). Mitch Steele, Stone's head brewer was there to taste the beer. It was a failed attempt.

Remember I told you (see that last time everyone but Tasty called it cloned. They decided to let Mitch and AHA members try the next one at NHC. I thought they had agreed to do that same recipe, but Tasty switched up the recipe a bit. And it was a failure.

I'm so disappointed. I am not really disappointed that it was a failure as I am that Tasty decided to change up the recipe. I was really curious to hear what the brewer thought on a beer that CYBI declared a clone.

So, I'm still considering #2 the recipe.

Here it is again:

OG: 1.066
94.8 IBU
22.5 SRM

90% pale 2 row
10% special B

24g Chinook 85 min
24g Chinook 45 min
24g Chinook 15 min
24g Chinook 0 min

WLP 007 Dry English Ale

148 degrees mash

Again, since I love the description on the back of the bottle:

"This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory–maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beverage will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make things taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this. "

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2nd Quarter 2011 Brew Stats

The 2nd quarter of 2011 is over, which means it is time to publish another blog post in the continuing series on SheppyBrew's brewing stats (see SheppyBrew 2009 Stats, 1st Quarter Stats, 2nd Quarter Stats, 3rd Quarter Stats, SheppyBrew 2010 Stats, 1st Quarter Brewing Stats).

After the ridiculous amount of beer I brewed in the 1st quarter (just over 32 gallons), this 2nd quarter has been my least busy brewing quarter ever. I only brewed 4 batches, and that is including a double-batch of Gringo Cerveza Cream Ale, where I split the batch into two fermenters and added Jalapeños to one of them. So, in the whole quarter, I've only brewed 3 times. I brewed almost 15 gallons, which is the least amount since I've been keeping track by quarter, but not by too much.

The beers I've done this quarter are:
So far in 2011:
  • I made 12 batches of beer, which puts me on pace for 24 for the year (33 batches in 2010)
  • I have made about 47 gallons of beer, which still puts me on pace for a record-breaking 94 gallons (75 gallons in 2010)
  • 6 of the batches were completely new recipes (18 were new in 2010)
  • 1 batch was a lager (2 in 2010)
  • All the batches were SheppyBrew recipes.
  • 1 was a partial mash (9 in 2010)
  • The other 11 were all-grain mashes (10 were all-grain in 2010)
  • My average cost per 12oz bottle per batch has been $0.52 (I did not really keep this stat for all of 2010, but the average for the 4th quarter was around $0.79).  
Some things of note for the nano-brewery this past quarter:
SheppyBrew now owns 2 kegs, and both Summer Lovin' and Quarter Life Crisis are in my keggerator right now. I obviously like kegging, but I am going to have to continue bottling quite a bit. Corny kegs have really risen in price. Plus, I don't really have room for the number of kegs it would take to have the same kind of variety in my inventory.

I've changed my mash process to be BIAB. As I mentioned in Brew day: Quarter Life Crisis, I am thinking of changing my BIAB process to include a 10 gallon cooler, so that I can do slightly bigger batches. This will also help with cold-weather brewing.

My wife (the SheppyBrew beer model) brewed the Summer Lovin' Wheat with me (see Beer Model Brew Day). I guess that means my brewing month was even less busy as one of those brews, my wife did half the work.

Summer Lovin' American Wheat
 My inventory is still high, but I am not as completely overflowing as I was recently. My wife's family is coming into town this week, so I might get quite a bit of help reducing inventory from them. This will give me an excuse to brew more in the coming months.

Anyway, that was your report on how the SheppyBrew brewery has been going. I know no one cares, but it interests me to look back at these every once and awhile. I am not sure why I have not done this before, but I now have a blog label: Brew Stats to keep all these posts together.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hula Hooper

Many of you know that the SheppyBrew Beer Model turned 40 over the weekend. One of her gifts was a trip up to the Copper Mountain ski resort for the weekend.

On Saturday, we spent most of our time around the village. We also rode the chair life up the mountain. Copper Mountain's fireworks were Saturday night.

On Sunday, we took our bikes down to Frisco and rode them around Dillon Lake to the Dillon Dam Brewery and then to a playground.

We came home on Monday (the 4th), but not before we went up the chair lift one more time.

Here is a video of the Beer Model hula hooping:

Here are some random photos from the trip:

Over-sized chair

Kids playing checkers

Tiny little snowman

Playground at Copper Mountain

Playground in Dillon

Another kid in over-sized chair

Kids by the fire pit