Friday, February 29, 2008

Competition is Healthy

Today, I will skip the usual "Fever for the Flavor Friday" and talk briefly about a few things.

First, the weather is starting to have a warming trend here in San Diego, which means, more riding/commuting on my bike and less time spent in my car. (Hopefully, not less brewing)

Second, pictures will soon come of my sweet lager box. I can get the temp. down to 40-45 during the end of last summer. (After I make a few small improvements, it may get lower)

Third, there are a couple homebrew contests upcoming, so enter your beers! Here are a few in my neck of the woods:

2008 Mayfaire (in L.A.) $7/entry

4/25-4/26 (last day to enter 4/11) - $9/entry
NHC 1st Round - Southwest Region (San Diego)

6/22 - $7/entry
San Diego County State Fair Comp.

Results of AFC are at:

Sam Adams Longshot - FREE

Entries Due: 5/2 - $7/entry
Extract Beers (50% extract or more)

Imperial Anything - entries due sept. - $7/entry
held by C.R.A.F.T. in MI

Celebration of the Hop - due in Nov. - $7/entry
held by Scioto Olentangy and Darby Zymurgists

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A stewards view

I helped steward the AFC homebrew contest this past weekend. In volunteering for this event I had hoped to learn more about beer and beer judging. I did not learn much about beer but rather the judges. The event was being held in the church hall, which I found very interesting. When I walked in the everyone was already seated and eagerly awaiting to get started. **There were no Organic Beers entered**

I was assigned to Cat. 9 which is Scottish and Irish Ales. There were 4 judges and after talking to them a bit I found that 2 were experienced (~6yrs) and 2 were not (<2yrs). I found the judging portion to be the most interesting. As brewers we are very proud of what we make, similar to a chef and his plate. Although feedback from one of these events can be very helpful and important, this event may have changed my mind.

Let me explain:
During the event the experienced (exp.) judges techniques and descriptions (words chosen to describe the beers flavor, aroma, mouth feel etc.) were well more refined than the inexperienced (inexp.) judges (no surprise). The judges interaction is what I found the most interesting. For example, after they wrote down remarks and scores for that beer each judge spoke about what they found. After each beer they asked each other what they scored that beer, and if the scores were far apart the inexp. judge usually changed his score a little higher. Now, after witnessing this I firmly believe that the judges should never ask what they score was given, but rather what they found in the beer. In fact, the score should never even be known except by the steward who must average the scores before turning them in.

1) Don't take the judges remarks to heart, unless you win! HAHA. (basically a crap shoot who you will get and if they like that style to begin with.

2) I had fun and will steward again.

3) I will enter my beers (and take #1 into account).

4) It's all about having FUN!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Bada Bing! I have scored a "certified" organic plot of land and I have rhizomes on order. I have chosen 4 different rhizomes (Tettnanger, Sterling, Golding, Cascade) based on what I have brewed in the past and what I plan to in the future, and what grows well in this region.

Living in metro San Diego it can be difficult to find any unoccupied piece of land. It seems, like most heavily populated areas, land is a premium, and most of the time they are building on it. So I feel lucky to have found a small plot where I can grow organic hops! I am paying rent by giving homebrew, awesome.

Well, that was easy now the hard part begins: farming...?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pliny's Bellow

Humulus Lupulus
(from Hopunion)


Aroma: Similar to Hallertau

Flavor: Similar to continental European ales

AA's: 5.5-6%

75-80% aa's reamin after 6 months at 20C

Trade Perception:

Hallertau, German Hersbrucker, Mt. Hood, Liberty (similar to Hallertau Mittlefruh)

Typical Beer Styles:
Lager, Pilsner, Bock, Kolsh, Wheat, Minuch Helles, Belgian styles ales

Monday, February 25, 2008

Need to find a beer?

On a vacation? Not familiar with your local craft beer scene?

Well, you can now go to and find local beer where ever you are. So find a great local beer at

Friday, February 22, 2008


(from BJCP)
13A. Dry Stout

Aroma: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes. Esters low-medium to none. No diacetyl. Hop aroma low to none.

Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. Can be opaque (if not , it should be clear). A thick, creamy, long lasting tan- to brown- colored head is characteristic.

Flavor: Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic/sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness. Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains. May have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. The perception of body can be affected by the overall gravity with smaller beers being lighter in body. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.

Overall Impression: A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.

History: The style evolved from attempts to capitalize on the success of London porters, but originally reflected a fuller, creamier, more "stout" body and strength. When a brewery offered a stout and a porter, the stout was always the stronger beer (it was originally called a "Stout Porter") Modern versions are brewed from lower OG and no longer reflect a higher strength than porters.

Comments: This is the draught version of what is otherwise known as Irish stout or Irish dry stout. Bottled versions are typically brewed from a significantly higher OG and may be designated as foreign extra stouts (if sufficiently strong). While most commercial versions rely primarily on roasted barley as the dark grains, others use chocolate malt, black malt, or combinations of the three. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.

Ingredients: The dryness comes from the use of roasted unmalted barley in addition to pale malt, moderate to high hop bitterness, and good attenuation. Flaked unmalted barley may also be used to add a creaminess. A small percentage (perhaps 3%) of soured beer is sometimes added for complexity (Generally only by Guinness). Water typically has moderate carbonate hardness, although high levels will not give the classic dry finish.

Vital Stats: OG: 1.036-1.050 FG: 1.007-1.011 IBU's: 30-45 SRM: 25-40+ ABV: 4-5%

Commercial Examples: Guinness Draught Stout (also canned), Murphy's Stout, Beamish Stout, O'Hara's Celtic Stout, Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout, Orkney Dragonhead Stout, Brooklyn Dry Stout, Old Dominion Stout, Goose Island Dublin Stout, Arbor Brewing Faricy Fest Irish Stout

Friday, February 15, 2008


Fever For The Flavor Friday
(from BJCP)

6C. Kolsch style ale

Very low to no malt aroma. A pleasant, very subtle fruit aroma from fermentation (apple, cherry or pear) is desireable, but not always present. A low noble hop aroma is optional but not out of place (it is present only in a small minority of authentic versions). Some yeasts may give a slight winy or sulfury character (this characteristic is also optional, but not a fault).

Appearance: Very pale to light gold. Authentic versions are filtered to a brilliant clarity. Has a delicate white head that may not persist.

Flavor: Soft, rounded palate compromising of a delicate flavor balance between soft yet attenuated malt, an almost imperceptible fruity sweetness from fermentation, and a medium-low to medium bitterness with a delicate dryness and slight pucker in the finish (but no harsh afterstaste). One or two examples (Dom being the most prominent) are noticeably malty-sweet up front. Some versions can have a slightly sulfury yeast character that accentuates the dryness and flavor balance. Some versions may have a slight wheat taste, although this is quite rare. Otherwise very clean with no diacetyl or fusels.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp. Light body, although a few versions may be medium-light. Medium carbonation. Highly attenuated.

Overall Impression: A clean, crisp, delicately balanced beer usually with very subtle fruit flavors and aromas. Subdued maltiness throughout leads to a pleasantly refreshing tang in the finish. To the untrained taster easily mistaken for a light lager, a somewhat subtle pilsner, or perhaps a blonde ale.

History: Kolsch is an appellation protected by the Kolsch Konvention, and is restricted to the 20 or so breweries in and around Cologne (Koln). The Konvention simply defines the beer as a "light, highly attenuated, hop -accentuated, clear top-fermenting Vollbier"

Comments: Served in tall, narrow 200ml glass called a "Stange". Each Cologne brewery produces beer of different character, and each interprets the Konvention slightly differently. Alloow for a range of variation within the style when judging. Note that drier versions may seem hoppier or more bitter than the IBU specifications might suggest. Due to its delicate flavor profile, Kolsch tends to have a relatively short shelf-life; older examples can show some oxidation defects. Some Colgone breweries (e.g. Dom, Hellers) are now producing young, unfiltered versions known as Weiss ( which should not be entered in this catergory).

Ingredients: German noble hops (Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt or Hersbrucker). German pils or pale malt. Attenuative, clean ale yeast. Up to 20% wheat may be used, but this is quite rare in authentic versions. Extremely soft water. Traditionally uses a step mash program, although good results can be obtained using a single rest at 149F. Fermented at cool temperatures (59-65F, although many Cologne brewers ferment at 70F) and lagered for at least a month.

Vital Stats: OG: 1.044-1.050
IBU's: 20-30 FG: 1.007-1.011
SRM: 3.5-5 ABV: 4.4-5.2%

Commercial Examples: Available only in Cologne only: PJ Fruh, Hellers, Malzmuehle, Paeffgen, Sion, Peters, Dom; import version available in the N. America: Reissdorf, Gaffel; US versions: Goose Island Summertime, Crooked River Kolsch, Harpoon Summer Beer, Capitol City Capitol Kolsch

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Organic Ales

There seems to be many people who take care of their body and want to eat organic foods. Why not be able to have organic beer also? I do my part in reducing the amount of waste that I produce whether it be reusing bags at grocery store, commuting on my bike, only use electricity if I need really need it, etc. In the future will begin to make the move to include organic beers once I use up my current ingredients, formulate new organic recipies and purchase the ingredients.

Also, I will include a list of beer blogs that also brew organically.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NIPAC Hop Madness in March

Brewing News has put together a March Madness for beer! That's right beer is now going head to head to see which brewery has the best IPA. It starts soon so download the bracket chart and make your predictions, don't be a homer and choose your hometown.

Find out more at:

Friday, February 08, 2008


Fever For The Flavor Friday
(from BJCP)
13D. Foreign Extra Stout

Aroma: Roasted grain aromas prominent. Fruitiness medium to high. Diacetyl low to medium. Hop aroma low to none. Occasionally has the aroma of alcohol.

Appearance: Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity usually obscured by deep color.

Flavor: Can range from sweet to dry, with roasted grain character obvious but not sharp. Fruitiness can be low to high, diacetyl medium to none. Hop bitterness can be medium to high.

Mouthfeel: Medium full body, creamy character. May give a warming impression.

Overall Impression: A very dark, moderately sweet, strong, roasty ale.

History: Originally high-gravity stouts brewed for tropical markets. Some bottled export versions of dry or sweet stout may also fit this profile.

Comments: These beers possess a stronger alcohol content than other stouts except the Imperial Stout.

Ingredients: Pale and dark roasted malts and grains. Hops for bitterness. Ale yeast.

Vital Stats: OG: 1.050-1.075
IBU's: 35-70 FG: 1.010-1.017
SRM: 35+ ABV: 5-7.5%

Commercial Examples: ABC stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (bottled)

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Well, there has been a lack of post lately and the culprit is work. I have been working quite a bit lately and have not been posting or brewing. I was also helping alot over the weekend and all day tuesday campaining and trying to get people to vote! It was a long day, but a very fun and enriching. With the race so close, and far from being decided, there is still a lot of work ahead and I will be helping out until the end. So if your state has yet to hold its primary, PLEASE GO & VOTE!!!

Although, I have been working very part-time at a brewery which is hard work and very fun. Recently, I helped bottle an Imperial IPA and it smelled delicious as there was a nice hop smell permeating in the air. Mmmmm!

As this lack of post has let me think a bit of where and how I want to use Final Gravity. Should it be a blog with no clear direction? A blog about beer only? Hhmm, I think I want it to be a blog about my passions. Beer & bicycles.

So in the future you will see posts of beers, bicycles and how these passions are involved in my life.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Fever For The Flavor Friday
(from BJCP)
9C. Scottish Export 80/-

Malt is evident; some expamles have a low level of hop aroma. Fruitiness is low to nonoe. A mild smoky and/or toasty/roasty character is sometimes present. May have some diacetyl.

Appearance: Amber to dark brown. Draught examples often have a creamy, long-lasting head.

Flavor: Malt-dominated flavor, with subdued esters and just enough hop bitterness to prevent the beer from being cloyingly sweet. A very slight toasty/roasty and/or chocolate-like character is sometimes present. Caramel flavor from frystal malt medium to none. May have some diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, with low carbonation. Body is medium to medium-full.

Overall Impression: Cleanly malty, with perhaps a faint touch of smoke and few esters.

History: More recent commercial interpretations from Scotland have begun to drift towards English bitter in terms of bitterness, balance, attenuation, esters and dry-hopping. These guidelines don't account for these recent commercial examples which would more accurately be described as bitters. Traditionally, these beers were dispensed via pumps, which forced air into the headspace of the cask, thus forcing the beer out. These air-powered systems are referred to as "tall fonts".

Comments: Though similar in gravity to strong bitter, the malt-hop balance is decidedly to the malt side. Long, cool fermentation leads to clean malt character (which may include some faint peat or smoke character). Note that the smoky character can be due to the yeast as often as to smoked or peat-kilned malt. Strongly smoked beers should be entered in the Smoked Beer category instead. It is important to note that while the IBU's on some of these beers can be rather high, the low attenuation and solid maltiness results in a balance that is still even at best and more than likely towards malt.

Ingredients: Scottish or English pale malt with small proportions of roasted barley, crystal or chocolate malt, English hops. Clean, relatively un-attenuative ale yeast.

Vital Stats: OG: 1.040-1.050
IBU's: 15-36 FG: 1.013-1.017
SRM: 10-19 ABV: 3.9-4.9%

Commercial Examples: Orkney Dark island, Harviestown 80/-, Sherlock's Home Piper's Pride, Greenmantle 80/- Export, Arrol's 80/-, Highland Sever, Younger's No.3, McEwan's 80/- (despite the "IPA" on the label), Belhaven 80/- (Belhaven Scottish Ale in the US), Caledonian 80/- Export Ale (Caledonion Amber Ale in the US), Maclay Scotch Ale, Maclay 80/- Export (Maclay 80 Schilling Export Ale in the US)