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Everything posted by theisenm85

  1. As far as the hop situation... Yep, there's a hop shortage. Mileage varies depending on who you're getting your hops on, but it's a relatively expensive situation no matter where you go. We'll see what this year's harvest can bring us... but I've heard that the problem won't really be resolved until another year. And even then, who knows? Bad growing seasons can affect quite a number of things. There was also a warehouse in washington that burned down... losing about 4% of the national hop production right there. The weak dollar doesn't help, we're apparently exporting some of our crop to europe (who had a bad growing season from what I hear), and their brewers are getting taken care of for their native hops before we are. To add insult to injury... there's not a grain "shortage" per se, but prices jumped. In Europe/australia, terrible growing seasons drove prices much higher than usual. In the US, some overagressive business has caused the malting industry to go a bit conservative. Domestic grain prices rises weren't too bad, but they're still there. Then again, as long as you can brew beer there's something to cheer about.
  2. theisenm85

    Aging beer

    I'd think this would be at least part of the answer, not 100% sure though. In terms of beer aging, it's often quite beneficial. Anything with high numbers in ABV, IBUs, or SRMs (color) should be somewhat well suited to aging. However, there are times to drink beers relatively fresh that fall into those categories. For me, any beer that is depending on big hop flavor isn't one to be aging for toooo long. Hop character definitely starts to drop out. Where as flavors from grain in a barley wine or a russian imperial stout really start to meld together, hop flavor seems to drop out in a lot of cases. (For me) So for IPA's/hoppy pales or whatever concoction someone comes up with, I'll drink at least most of it relatively fresh. I can put away a bottle or 2 for aging, but I generally try to drink the hoppy stuff quick. It's a burden.
  3. What seemed stupid to me was how excited they were. Maybe they were just expressing their desire to move on as a passion for all things Vegas. I'll also agree that the judges surprised me tonight. Adam?- Does very well, they commend him... and then rail him for "Do you really know anything about food?" I wasn't aware that was a requirement to be a Food Network Star..... Kelsey- Orders people around... Authoritatively, but annoyingly. Tuschman says she still needs to be authoritative. It was much like he hadn't listened to her even talk. Yes, she didn't do what he wanted in the way he wanted it... but it's almost like he was on auto pilot. Lisa- I think they only had good points for her, but I might not have remembered something. Sure, convincing kids to try something new is great, but steamrolling their choices only indicates an unwillingness to listen. Shane- Breading is "too technical"? He said it was standard. They would have been more happy if he hadn't said that? All that changes is that the people who watch that realize that it's standard. Or at the least, widely used. By saying one word he imparted an important bit of information about what he was doing to the audience. They'll recognize the technique in the future, and be more comfortable with that process. The whole issue just reeked of their desire for the next Sandra Lee. Aaron- Didn't actually see his performance, but the judges had the valid point about not looking at the audience for the first bit... and then he turned it around. Anyway, I really really really really disliked suze and tusch tonight.
  4. Thanks for the breakdown of DIY costs! I gotta say I'm jealous about the yeast blend. Saison is one of the coolest styles out there for me. Sounds like you're set for summer... dry crisp and refreshing all the way around. I believe my next beer is going to be a Russian Imperial Stout for my sister's wedding. Thankfully the "research" for this beer has been and will be quite fun! I'm gonna grab a bottle of Stone's Russian Imperial (one of the best beers around in my opinion) take a sample for a hydrometer warm it up and let it go flat to get an idea for the final gravity. After that I'll choose an OG/yeast based on desired abv. Still have to decide which way to go on specialty malts though. Any suggestions? I'm also gonna do an ordinary bitter as the starter for it. I'll go to secondary after about a week and pour the stout right on top of the yeast.
  5. Ready to go chillers should run about 55-60 bucks for basic ones able to do 5 gallons.
  6. theisenm85

    Four Star Beer

    Really there are next to none on the west coast either.... but I certainly hope it's growing.
  7. $350 a bottle? Only used beer from a "secret" Northern Californian Micro? A Pilsner? Even given the relative "rarity" that these distillers are "required" to use some sort of microbrew to distill their quality liquor.... that doesn't make it any harder than brewing beer. Doing anything well, (fermented beverage-wise), is going to take a roughly equivalent amount of skill. Sure, there might be some difficulties for distilled beverages in terms of getting a liscense, or gaining a share of the market in the face of so many macro brands.... but microbrews face the same world. Hundreds to thousands of breweries can brew beer better than X local micro. Basically... they're both very tough. I'm against beer being slammed as some "simple" drink, or "easier" to create. Anything of quality is going to require love and skill. The fact that whiskey is basically distilled "beer" is of little to no consequence. Heating "beer" into a copper coil and filtering it isn't an indication of significantly more difficulty to create. There are immovable titans in both fields. Budweiser/milller/coors in beer, Smirnoff/JD/Seagrams/whoever in liquor. Craft is craft. Nothing is actually harder or easier.
  8. Why is it more difficult than brewing beer? There are plenty of horrible to mediocre microbrews.
  9. For me.... the wrong person went home. I always felt like Andrew had that culinary passion that a "top chef" needs to have. Maybe because his personality was programmed to display only that, whether or not it held any substance... but whatever. He did make a seemingly stupid dish. However, he believed in it. That's more than can be said for others... With Spike... he obviously only picked stuff to be able to screw people over, and then made a horrible dish with grapes and olives. Even imagining very good olives, I have trouble thinking up a way to make that work. In chicken salad form anyway. Despite Lisa's lackluster and horribly tattle-tale performance, I didn't think she was the one who deserved the ride home. Spike, for having the competitive advantage, squandering it in such a way that only made people laugh at him, and then making a laughable dish with amusing flavor combinations deserved the plane ticket. Oh well. I agree that Andrew, whether or not he had the talent, (which he probably did, but not in any reliable form), was going to go down in flames at some point. If I had to pick who I'd get to watch cook next week given any challenge, I'd choose Andrew every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Andrew is all about the food, and Spike gets personal.
  10. I also noticed the copious Michelob product placement. I was also amused at how much Antonia and what's her name slammed cooking with "****ing beer. " Maybe if Michelob wasn't everywhere they'd change their minds. Then again, maybe not. There's plenty of good, even great beer in this country. It doesn't seem like most of the chefs, if any, know too much about beer though. I can't really blame them... beer hasn't quite attained the level of respect in the food world that it deserves yet. They have enough to worry about without learning an entirely new ingredient that can actually be quite difficult to cook with. That said... if they had any respect for craft beer, or an appreciation of the flavors in good beer, they could have easily been quite comfortable cooking a sausage in beer. It's no different than braising with wine or any other number of alcohol related cooking activities. I can't remember who said it, but whoever said that they looked at their challenge as a "burden" rather than an opportunity was dead on. They looked at polish sausage as a burden because it was "below them", they looked at "drunken" as a burden because I don't know why, but a bunch of misplaced beer hate came up... In short, they should get over themselves.
  11. I'm not quite sure why Kraft and McDonald's need to be the poster boy for taking a more academic approach to cooking. Or, at the least, why they're mentioned before people/companies that don't.... promote a number of processed foods/terrible farming practices. I suppose that the blurb is about food chemistry, which is popping up everywhere lately. Corporations, by necessity, were among the first to start tackling these issues. Mass quality control was down to a science for quite a while before we really saw a scientific movement become popular in less mass produced food. I just didn't like how large corporations were mentioned first... They may have been quicker to take a truly scientific look at food, but those who care about how the food gets to the kitchen and what it does to people after it leaves will always be more important to me. Edit: "Will food lose its soul or just get an upgrade?" I don't think this has anything to do with food losing its soul. The people creating food products are the ones who have control over that. Taking a more involved approach to getting a desired result in food isn't the loss of soul, it's just a different approach. The loss of soul in food, in my opinion, is much more related to being divorced from the process of how food gets to the table, start to finish. I think one of the biggest culprits is how meat gets to the table. I believe that thinking hard about that fact that something died to make your dinner last night, (Vegetarians/vegans/whoever excepted) is something everyone should do once in a while. Slaughtered.... for our pleasure. Yes, everything dies, and I sure prefer them before me. But does that give us free license to treat animals they way they're treated for the most part? My reflection on these realities definitely insures that whenever I cook meat, I try to do it to the best of my ability. In some way, that helps me to respect the life that was given. Corny, misguided, whatever, it works for me. I'm far from perfect. I don't exclusively buy free range meats/eggs/whatever else. I don't actively campaign for the humane treatment of animals. I do have fast food every once in a while. Hopefully I can work on those things. For now, making sure that I don't buy in excess, and cooking everything to the best of my ability is what I care about. I think that's the sort of connection that is represents soul in food. We might try different techniques, with varying degrees of exactness, some of which will have strong basis in science, others not... but that has nothing to do with soul. Connection to food is where the soul comes from.
  12. Gordon certainly deserves some vitriol for ever agreeing to do a show based on this concept, and agreeing to act like he has. But is it his own invention? Sure, he had a British show of the same name, but the concept of this one just reeks Fox. I haven't watched this season as the only thing that made me watch last season was the entertainment that Gordon provided, but in previous seasons... it became quite obvious that all of the contests were a sham. There were wholly too many ties, too many "bottom of the 9th" situations to ever believe that these teams were actually competing in any fair manner. Producers either instructed Gordon to make the competitions end up this way, or they did it step by step, choosing the winners. The same concept continues with Gordon tasting things... while 95% of the things he has to taste probably aren't very good (When was the last time a reputable restaurant was named in someone's bio/resume?), he doesn't have to spit them all out or smash the plate into someone's clothes, or whatever he does. He's acting. 100%. (Ok, maybe not on that chocolate caviar venison whatever crap) While it's something I'm not going to watch anymore... it's no worse than any other reality show that isn't all skill based. It's more Big Brother than Top Chef, Bachelor over Project runway. What it comes down to is what the Fox producers want. Gordon doesn't have the time, and certainly not the desire to design a show in which he's only going to yell at people. He's picking up a paycheck. Sure, it might be selling out, but unless really presented with the opportunity... and I mean really, like an offer of millions of dollars, I don't think many of us can 100% say we wouldn't do the same. He's quite obviously done his time in the kitchen, under chefs like Robuchon and MPW. He definitely has the show biz bug more than most chefs.... but why not? He's done some great things with the British Kitchen Nightmares, some really quality programming on the F Word, and some pretty decent cookbooks. He has his 3 stars. (Amongst others) I agree that Hell's Kitchen isn't quality programming and that it's probably not doing anything to further food appreciation for most. But Gordon... has done his time. He's been a positive influence in many ways on the world of food.
  13. Blood Orange Hef: http://www.beerbrewingblog.com/archives/date/2007/05/ Brewer's tasting notes: After about a month of conditioning, the Blood Orange Hefeweizen came out really good. The nose has a very noticeable orange aroma made sweeter by the wheat malt extract. It takes a semi heavy pour to pull off a one finger head which disapates quickly. The color is a deep brown-amber. The taste is a nice smooth sweetness you would expect from a hefeweizen with the orange just hinting at the beginning. The low hop level seems just right for this beer; barely noticable but enough bittering to mellow the sweetness of the wheat. Overall a great beer.
  14. Was a couple of days ago, but I didn't see a post on it yet.... Found the Sam Adams Longshot at a Bevmo. Didn't realize it was out yet, but I hadn't really been paying attention anyway. Two Beers: Weizenbock Med strong carbed, very pleasant. Everything seemed to style. Had a nice chocolaty darkness, the fruity esters were present, but not overbearing. Grape Pale Had no idea what to think going into this one- For me, and my taste memory might be a bit off, it was pretty much a malty english style pale or esb even with a bit of grapey fruit flavor on the end. Seemed a little thick. Almost cloying. It was fine, however, I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn't buy it.
  15. Chris, I found what should be a verbatim recipe- Didn't know the policy on linking it, but the guy who wrote the blog said it was the recipe from that book. Basically, the oranges are a dry hop for 10 days in primary. Says to zest them, remove pith, and break oranges into sections, heat to 160 in some water, then cool and dump into fermenter. There's 5 oz sweet orange peel as a dry hop as well. .5 oz hallertau bittering, .5 oz saaz at 20, .5 oz hallertau at 10 Interesting recipe... I'd try it once definitely... doing it again would depend on the results. Not sure how much orange flavor would be lost while bringing them up to 160 for sanitation... I'd probably use the minimum amount of water possible and just dump all of it in. Not sure of the sugars in oranges, but I'm pretty certain they'd counteract any dilution the water could create.
  16. I'm afraid I don't really have much to say about herbal brews... Did wanna say that New Belgium Brewing just came out with their "Springboard Ale", which is flavored with a number of herbal type things. http://www.newbelgium.com/beers_springboard.php However, they did use Mt. Hood hops. I'm assuming for bittering, but I suppose they might have gone a different way. Haven't gotten to taste the beer or I might have a better idea. Just figured I'd post it up for a beer in this vein. Might be fun to clone, or at least steal some flavor profiles from.
  17. I'll have to try that! Might be able to introduce the GF to wild yeast/bacteria beers that way.... I never should have told her what lambic means. The lindemann's is hardly objectionable in any way, thankfully. Quite sweet. That Young's Double chocolate sure is good.... every once in a while. The head is nearly chocolate milk.
  18. I'd have to agree for the most part. That bit in the theme restaurant was beyond horrible. His "guide's" downing of moonshine+pill seemed downright dangerous/suicidal, or it was fake. Then again, maybe his tolerance for booze/tranquilizers is quite high. I remember very little about good food. Maybe it wasn't for the most part.... but yeah, very little to hang on to there.
  19. theisenm85

    Brewers' yeast

    While I'm pretty much never going to say that two isn't better than 1, dry yeast has very high cell counts, so it's generally not necessary to do a starter, or double pitch. And you can use that second pack if you get a stuck fermentation, or for whatever ya need.
  20. Cdh has everything right... but I'd like to add that you could do the primary fermentation in the carboy next time. Plastic has the lovely habit of tasting/smelling like your last brew. Not always a bad thing, but generally not a good thing. With certain styles that use wild yeasts or bacteria or whatever, the taste/smell/stuff might never leave the bucket. The other benefit of a glass carboy is that it's near impossible to scratch, where as plastic will scratch quite easily... Scratches can increase the chance that your beer gets infected since hateful stuff likes to hide in there. As far as taking a gravity... if you're really worried that it hasn't fermented all the way down, you can take one... however, it sounds like you got a pretty good fermentation. To reduce chance of infection, I don't really like to take readings unless I really need to. (Worried about a stalled fermentation). Before I bottle or keg, I'll siphon off pretty much everything, and take my reading with the last little bit, so I have the least chance for infection possible.
  21. theisenm85

    Extreme Beers

    It might please you to know that Sam Adams is basically going to be making Pliny. One of the Sam Adams longshot winners this year did a double ipa, which was specifically a pliny clone. He went a bit higher gravity, and I think changed 1 hop addition, but it's pretty much the same thing. Look for it next year though... the hop shortage is delaying the production. Pliny itself might even be in bottles by then.
  22. Currently reading Marco Pierre White's autobiography thing... Also have Elements of Cooking to get through, Sirio, and Bourdain's new book. (It was a good Christmas.)
  23. And that is definitly sushi I try to avoid.... not because it's unhealthy. Because if I had wanted mayonnaise on my lunch, I'd have gone to the deli.
  24. Had steaks at my grandparents house once. We were standing out by the grill, talking to my step-grandpa.... I was watching the the steaks. When they were done I commented on how delicious they looked.... My grandpa says, "Just a couple minutes more".... warning sign..... I watched the millimeters melt away as he kept saying just a couple more minutes. Cooking abilities aside we're a loving family, so I managed to at least manage a "very good" as the rest of the family was complimenting the moistness... As far as dining issues... I've been pretty blessed. Other than my Grandma who always gets our picture taken by the waiter... multiple times if it's not "good enough"
  25. I'd suggest www.morecoffee.com as yet another option. Roasters, grinders, green beans, other stuff.
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