Category Archives: homebrewing/beer

Bottle Conditioning in Growlers

Well, today seemed to be a busy day for people asking me beer-related questions on facebook. I like to repost things like this here, since the facebook wall doesn't really stick around very long.

So, a friend of mine who is just getting into homebrewing, posed this question:

hey, So the directions I have say no screw top bottles. I was planning on filling mostly just growlers, is that cool? and why is it that the net has so much contradicting information? mostly about the times for fermenting and carbonating

Well, I've experimented some with bottle-conditioning in growlers, with some mixed (but never disastrous) results. I've also heard the warning from people on the Internet about bottle bombs.

Read on for my response, which I elaborated on somewhat to fit this format (my blog), since facebook imposes character limits on wall posts and comments.

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Hi Patrick, I have a beer question.

Today on Facebook, my mom asked me a question that I couldn't answer in the short limits that Facebook imposes on wall comments/posts. I reposted it here in full form.

Here is the question:

Hi Patrick, I have a beer question.

Unfiltered and unfettered Hefeweisen... I had that recently at 12 Crane and it didn't taste right. I am sure I have had it before, or at least tasted it at a beer bar in Boston with you and I liked it. When I asked the waitress about it, she said the beer was as it should be but may have seemed strange because of the "unfettered and unfiltered". Does that sound right to you or is she just a good waitress with an intelligent sounding response? I am keeping my question "filtered" because I don't want to cast aspersions on any beer makers.

love, Mom

Read on for my response:

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Deval Patrick to raise taxes on beer

The Boston Globe is reporting this morning that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has announced he will raise taxes on beer, as well as other alcoholic beverages (and candy and soft drinks):

Patrick would raise $75 million, for example, by increasing charges at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, including hikes of $25 for getting a title for a car and $2 to renew a license. Eliminating an exemption on the state's 5 percent sales tax on alcohol, candy, soft drinks, and juice drinks would raise $150 million and be placed in a special health fund. (Administration officials have defined a juice drink as one that is less than 50 percent natural). Patrick would also expand the 5 cent deposit charge on carbonated sodas, beer, and malt beverages to include beverages such as water and juice drinks.

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Beer Nutz…Where have I been?

Well, maybe I've been living under a rock for the past three years, but I never heard of this show, Beer Nutz, until I just found it on Hulu.

So basically, these two guys travel from city to city, and profile the best beer spots in town. I just watched the first episode, filmed on location in my home town of Boston, MA. I got to see a couple friends of mine, Bob and Tigh, and plenty of places I've enjoyed a pint of two before.

I don't know what happened to this show, but it seems it hasn't been on since 2006. I, for one, miss it. Even though I just found it.

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Jim is looking for one of Jamil’s recipes

If you are a homebrewer, or just a beer lover, I cannot recommend joining the American Homebrewers Association enough. In addition to a subscription to Zymurgy, plenty of discounts to pubs and other places beer lovers are bound to frequent, and also a subscription to Tech Talk, the AHA-only email forum. Now, there are plenty of online homebrew forums, and many of them are great. Tech Talk is one of the best (in my opinion, at least).

I had a question once, shortly after joining the AHA, so I figured I'd give it a try. Within 2 hours of the email going out, I got about 2 responses directly to my email, and another five or so responses came in the next issue of Tech Talk. It was amazing, and it proved, once again, that homebrewers are the best type of people.

So, in that spirit, I have decided to re-publish my responses to other people's question on Tech Talk here. Hopefully this will help me reach more people, in case anyone has these same questions. With that being said, if you find this useful, you will find many more helpful people on Tech Talk, so join the AHA.

So, a little while ago, a guy named Jim D. asked the kind folks of Tech Talk if we could suggest an extract version of Jamil Zainasheff's Brown Ale recipe, which was published in Zymurgy in a recent issue. Here is my response:

If you are looking for one of Jamil's recipes, and you don't have his book, you can listen to the podcast he did. He went through each recipe in Brewing Classic Styles and discusses it in some pretty good depth, as well as gives out all grain and extract versions of the recipe. The archives listing is at There are actually two episodes on English Brown Ale, one for the southern style, and one for the northern.

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Beer and Homebrewing Podcasts

Podcasts are great for commuting. You get fresh content regularly, on almost any topic out there. I hardly ever listen to music on my iPod, since the only time I really ever listen to music is when I'm at work, and that is really just to help drown out distractions around me.

So, about half of the podcasts I subscribe to are beer-related, and half of those are homebrewing specific. Here is a listing of what I subscribe to. If you know of any other good ones, please let me know.

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New England Apple Ale Recipe

In the next installment of my recipe series, here is my apple ale recipe, which I am calling New England Apple Ale. I wanted to make a full-bodied beer, that made you think of apples (and cider, and apple pie). I wanted this to hold its own as a beer first, rather than a beer-cider hybrid, or a sickly-sweet fruity beer. I think I pulled this off.

The apple notes are strong, but they are balanced by the toasty notes from the roasted barley. The cinnamon and nutmeg in this recipe are dialed down from the last iteration of this beer I brewed, and I think that helps a lot. It still reminds you of apple pie, without completely being one.

This recipe took 3rd place in the 2008 Sam Adams Tour Center homebrew contest.

Read on for the full all-grain recipe.

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