June 11th, 2008

This evening was hosted by C.V. Howe, and brewers Andy Parker and Fred Rizzo.

Avery brewing company uses 6 different yeast strains and cover a broad spectrum of beer styles and flavors.  The tasting emphasized the flavor profiles and characteristics of each strain.  We were also given samples of filtered and unfiltered beer to allow us to taste the yeast cells themselves.  Deviation was not available.  Also, Avery’s lager, Kaiser, was not available as it had just been brewed.

Flight 1: Milder European Ales and Lager

1. 14er ESB – filtered. (Avery house English ale yeast.)  Clear in color.  More hop aroma.

Beer Style: Extra Special Bitter
Hop Variety: Bullion, Fuggle
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 120L
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.0% IBU’s: 37
Color: Copper

2. 14er ESB – unfiltered. (Avery house English ale yeast.) Cloudy.  Muted aromas.

3. Trumer Pils – Berkeley CA.  (Unknown lager strain.) Mystery beer! Brewed in Berkeley. Packaged in green bottles. It’s hard to make a good pils because they are delicate – it’s easy to hose them up.  Tasting notes: solid white head, very clear. Sweet up front, dry finish.  Sulfur/mineral nose.

Flight 2: Milder Belgian Ales

1. Karma Ale – Filtered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.)  Light, crisp, filtered. Copper in color. Low phenolic bite hinting at medicinal spiciness.  Fermented warm at 75°F.  Karma is lightly malted, lightly hopped and very yeast forward.

Beer Style: Belgian Ale
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian special B, cara 45, aromatic
OG: 1.048 Alcohol By Volume: 5.2% IBU’s: 10
Color: Amber

2. Karma Ale – Unfiltered. (Rochefort Belgian Strain.) Cloudy.  Sharp flavors. Almost orange in color.

3. White Rascal Belgian Wheat Ale (Belgian Wit Strain) – yellow in color.  Very fine white bubbles.  Fruit esters. Banannas, coriander and bitter orange peel and citrusy hops.  The yeast is the same strain as is used in Hoegaarden.

Beer Style: Belgian White Ale
Hop Variety: Czech Saaz
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.050   Alcohol By Volume: 5.6%   IBU’s: 10
Color: White

Flight 3: English vs Belgian

1. Old Jubilation – (Avery house English Ale yeast.)  Roasted malt.  Aromatics include toffee and mocha.  Dark mahogany in color.

Beer Style: English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Bullion
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, special roast, black, chocolate, victory
OG: 1.074   Alcohol By Volume: 8.0%   IBU’s: 30
Color: Mahogany

2. Oude Deux (Rochefort Belgian) – SAME WORT, different yeast!  Oude = Old, Deux = Second.  Medicinal alcohol bite.  Finished higher (1.016) so the ABV is lower then the Old Jubilation, but it seemed “hot”.

Flight 4: Bigger Belgian Ales

1. Salvation Belgian Golden Ale (Avery house Belgian Abbey yeast) Amber, phenolic, spicy, peppery.

Beer Style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
Hop Variety: Styrian Goldings
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, cara 8, cara 20
OG: 1.080   Alcohol By Volume: 9.0%   IBU’s: 25
Color: Golden

2. Collaboration, Not Litigation Ale (Abbey yeasts from Avery and Russian River) Copper, hazy, fruity.  Large amount of yeast in finished product.

Beer Style: Blended Belgian-style Strong Ale
OG: 1.079   Alcohol By Volume: 8.72%
Color: Cloudy Dark Amber

Flight 5: Yeast on the edge

1. Fifteen Anniversary Ale (unclassified brettanomyces strain) Pale with shades of pink.  Light in color.  Very dry.  This beer is a pure brett beer, which is very rare.

Beer Style: Brewed beyond any known category
Hop Variety: Sterling
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat
OG: 1.064   Alcohol By Volume: 7.68   IBU’s: 19.2
Color: Hazy Sunset
2. Samael’s Oak Aged Ale (Avery house English ale yeast) Same yeast as the 14’er, which is a mild ale. Samael’s is a huge intense beer.  No information on whether they had to do anything special to the beer, although they did share that it was a MASSIVE pitch.

Beer Style: Oak Aged English Strong Ale
Hop Variety: Columbus, Fuggels
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 150L
OG: 1.140   Alcohol By Volume: 14.5   IBU’s: 41
Color: Copper

3. De Vogelbekdieren (Rochefort, Belgian Abbey, brettanomyces, unidentified bugs) Dutch for Platypus.  Dark bronze in color, dry, “horse blanket” with strong acetic acid character.

Our treat for the day was a chance to go into the back room and look at the Barrels that Avery has beer aging in.  The beer is 15 + oude deux + some other stuff.  The barrels are giving the beer an oak vanilla character with a sweet after taste.  This is probably going to be released as Brubant if I remember correctly… my notes are unclear at this point – guess that happens after 5 flights of beer!

I finally won a chance to buy tickets to the Great Taste of the Midwest!!  This is an annual charitable event held in Madison, WI by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild.  Tickets are insanely hard to get – you have to mail for them on a specific date (May 1st) with a self addressed stamped envelope and a check.  If they aren’t post-marked that day, you don’t get into the drawing.  3000 tickets are sold in person around Madison.  2000 are drawn from the qualifying envelopes.  I’ve tried several years in a row to get these and finally made it!  I’m smiling like a fool.


GTMW tickets for 2008

On May 14th, 2008 Avery Brewing Company hosted another Insider Tasting Series at the tasting room in Boulder.  Peter Archer and C.V. Howe were the hosts this evening.

The initial discussion centered around the German tradition of brewing, which is fairly rigorous and strict due to the Reinheitsgebot.  The Begian Brewers, on the other hand, did not have such limitations and due to a variety of factors were able to isolate new and different ways to innoculate beer.  They have beers with the typical Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ale yeast) and Saccharomyces uvarum (lager yeast) – but thats where the Belgians differ.  They also use Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus.

We started with a tap beer during the meet and greet portion of the session. The beer recommended was the LiquorMart 40th anniversary ale which was styled as a belgian IPA with the Karma yeast and orange peel additions. Yummy stuff with a very narrow distribution.

Standard Belgian styles using Abbey Yeast…

    Flight 1:

* The Reverend Belgian Quad
* Salvation Belgian Golden Ale

The second flight featured beers with different yeasts and bacteria, most notably Brettanomyces.

    Flight 2:

* Fifteen Anniversary Ale
* Brabant
* Bad Sally
* Duchesse De Bourgogne

Tasting notes:

1. The Reverend Belgian Quad: Traditional beers dubbel and tripel. The quad is popularized by American brewers who love to do things in an over the top fashion. 10% ABV, Amber. Uses the house Abbey yeast, which is a Westmalle Trappist strain. Belgian Special B grains, dark belgian candi sugar and styrian goldings hops go into this big beer. Notes of dark cherries, currants and molasses blend with a sweet caramel taste.

2. Salvation Belgian Golden Ale: Dry golden strong ale boasting 9% ABV. Styrian Goldings hops, light belgian candi sugar and the house abbey yeast. Hints of apircot, peach, nutmeg and cinnamon (muted.)

3. Fifteen Anniversary Ale: This beer was selected by Adam Avery to commemorate 15 years. It is a rare 100% brettanomyces yeast beer. The brett is an uncategorized variety that is the house strain. It was fermented in steel tanks and carefully temperature controlled. According to the notes “There is very little acetic production… No lactobacillous was added to this beer, therefore there was no lactic acid production.” In traditional Lambics, bretts are used in combination with lacto and pedio and whatever else happens to blow or fall into the fermentor. This beer is a show case for pure brett characteristics. Clear, Amber color, low head. Classic belgian aromatics for sour beers. Very dry. Low acidic sourness.

4. Brabant: Named after the flemish word for “Big Horse”. The label has the art from a painting named the Peasant Dance from Pieter Bruegel. The notes state “Primary fermentation used a Westmalle Trapist strain (abbey yeast used on Reverend and Salvation). Once in the oak barrel, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis was added for a secondary fermentation, which … created the horsey/barnyard flavors. Some variation of brett brux is believed to be what Orval uses for their secondary fermention. Aged for over 9 months in the oak cask.” This was the maltiest beer of the bunch. It reminded me of a Biere de garde. Dark brown from debittered black malts. Aged in Chardonnay barrels. Mention of “dusty cobwebs” as a characteristic. Fruit character from white grapes. 1100 cases of this will be available next year. I may have to do another distribution to my podcast buddies if I can get a case! 😉 On a side note, the barrels are from “Norman Vineyards” who have a Mephistopholes wine!

5. Bad Sally: “BAD” salvation – as in bad ass. This was by far my favorite of the night. It was a WOW beer. This was originally going to be part of the “crucified trinity” – a take off of the devine trinity of beers Avery produces. “Primary fermentation used a Westmalle Trappist strain.” I’m sure the tasting notes from Salvation apply here. Then beer was put into barrels with the same strain of brett that was used in the Fifteen, then aged for 6 months in an oak barrel taking the beer from 1.011 down to a final gravity of 1.003!!! (almost no residual sugar). Fruit forward with some acidity. ABV 10.5%. Some tanic character leaves a chalky mouthfeel. Definite horse blanket/sweat taste. Barrels originally contained Cabernet Sauvignon. This my friends is an amazing beer! I hope they produce it soon!

6. Duchesse De Bourgogne – This was the only beer that was not an Avery beer. They brought it to demonstrate what spontaneous fermentation can result in. This beer is a modified gueze (8 + 18 month blend.) This beer has heavy acetic acid presence and moderate horsey and lactic flavors. 6% ABV, top fermented reddish brown ale from the west flanders region of belgium. Personal opionion – this beer is freaking nasty. I’ve tried it 3 times now and just can’t wrap myself around it. Sorry, the Duchesse is a skank – my opinion.

Other brettanomyces tidbits: In most beer styles (and wine) brett is considered a contaminant and the characteristics it imparts are considered unwelcome “off flavors.” However, in some styles, particularly certain belgian ales, it is appreciated and encouraged. Lambic and Gueze owe their unique flavor profiles to brett and it is also found in Oud Bruin and Flanders Red Ale.

Brett is usually categorized into 3 or 4 different strains, but it’s mainly out of convenience. With Saccharomyces, the industry has spent a lot of money to identify hundreds of different yeast strains. With bretts, the money hasn’t been put into it. There is a good chance that there are also hundreds of different brett strains.

On Monday April 14th, 2008 we had the last Boulder Beer “Beer Appreciation Class” until the fall.  Boohoo!  Their calendars are packed, no doubt because we’re in Beer Festival season, which pretty much runs spring, summer and fall. 

The last class was very interesting – Professional Beer Tasting!  Every week the brewers get together and have a professional tasting panel for the beers they will be distributing in the upcoming week.  The beers are always tasted unfiltered as this will show the flaws most profoundly.  Because the beers are unfiltered, there are still options for correcting any flaws that are found, even if it means slowly blending the batch into many following batches.

Each brewer fills out a sheet with the following categories:

Brand, Brew Number, Fermenter, Comments.

Aroma – Fruity, Solvent, Citrus, Banana, Hop, Spicey, Yeasty, Malty, Roasted, Oxidized.

Flavor – Bitternes, Astringency, Sweetness, Malty, Roasted, Fruity, Citrus, Hop, Grainy, Worty, Alcoholic, Mouthfeel.

Clarity – (rate on a scale of 1 – 10)

Off Flavors & Aromas – DMS, Sulfur, Cardboard, Musty Cellar, Diacetyl, Acidic/Tart, Metallic, Acetaldehyde, other

DMS – sulfur, eggs.  Sulfur – matches.  Card board – like chewing paper.  Diacetyl – Popcorn butter, butterscotch, corn, vegetal.  Acetaldehyde – Green apples, wet grass, hay.

We got to try rating beers based on a 10 point scale, then compare them to the professional brewers ratings.  “Expired” Hazed and Infused – high oxidation characteristics.  Rolling Rock – very strong DMS.  Heineken – again, strong oxidation.  Porter – high roasted malt character.  Buffalo Gold and SingleTrack were just to train us how to do a tasting and to callibrate our taste buds!  We were also able to compare and contrast Unfiltered Hazed with “Clean” Hazed from the bright tank.  Yum!

I found my numbers were consistently lower then the brewers.  I should have been a little more assertive with what I was tasting.  It was a fun night!  Can’t wait for the classes to start up again. 🙂

The 6th Annual Boulder Strong Ale Fest was held on April 11th and 12th at Harpos on Arapahoe.  I attended the Friday session from 4:00pm till 10:00pm.

This event celebrates the some of the biggest and boldest American strong ales.  Donations benefitted the Humane Society and the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.  Peter Archer of Avery Brewing Company did a great job getting many new breweries involved.  There were many offerings I never tried or even heard of before.

The requirements were: 8% ABV or higher, diversity of styles and most importantly, it had to be something very special and from the heart of the brewery.  Some brewers actually crafted ales specifically for this event!

The beers were very STRONG, some having 4 times the alcohol content of piss beer. There was a great food menu that I really wish I would have taken advantage of.  Thank goodness I had a designated driver for this one.  I definitely needed a ride afterwards.

Okay, on to the brews!
– I planned to try it, but didn’t
= I tried it.
+ I liked it.
^ I really liked it.

Allagash Brewing, Porland, ME
 Curieux – bourbon barrel aged triple 11.0%
 Musette – dry hopped Belgian Ale aged in bourbon oak 9.0%

Avery Brewing, Boulder, CO
– “Bad” Sally – belgian golden ale with bretts in cab sav barrel 9.0%
 Beast’04 – belgian strong ale brewed with 6 sugars 18.1%
 Deviation – strong hoppy lager 9.0%
 Fourteen – hoppy dark belgian ale 9.5%
 Mephistopheles’07 – belgian imperial stout 15.1%
 Maharaja – double IPA 10.5%
 Oak Aged Reverend – belgian quad aged in opus one oak 10.0%
 Samaels’08 – oak aged english strong ale 15.5%

Ballast Point, San Diego, CA
– Victory at Sea – imperial porter 10.0%
Bear Republic, Healdsburg, CA
 Batch 1092 – bourbon aged barleywine 9.5%
 Olde Scout – barleywine style ale 10.0%

BJ’s Brewery, Boulder, CO
 Trippel – with sweet orange peel and coriander 12.0%

Boston Brewing, Boston, MA
 Imperial Pilsner – pilsner on steroids 8.6%

Boulder Beer, Boulder, CO
Killer Penguin – american style barleywine 10.0%

Boulevard Brewing, Kansas, MO
 Doublewide on Bretts – double ipa with bretts 8.5%
 Long Strange Tripel – belgian style tripel 9.5%
 Quadrupple ale – bourbon barrel aged 11.5%

Bull & Bush, Denver, CO
^+ Legend of the Liquid Brain – imperial stout aged in bourbon oak 12.0%

Cambridge Brewing, Cambridge, MA
++ OM – belgian golden aged in chardonnay barrels 9.4%

Deschutes, Bend, OR
 Double Black – imperial porter infused with coffee 10.3%

Dogfish Head, Rehoboth Beach, DE
 120 Minute IPA – super huge double IPA 18.0%

Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA
 Old One Eye Cyclops Barleywine – barleywine 9.9%

Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA
^+ Parabola – barrel aged imperial stout 13.0%

Flying Dog, Denver, CO
 Double Dog Double Pale – dry hopped with cascade and columbus 11.5%

Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, OR
 Imperial Stout – yep, imperial stout 8.5%

Golden City Brewing, Golden, CO
 Stand Up Double – 150 ibu imperial ipa 9.3%

Gordon Biersch, Broomfield CO
 Maibock – strong lager 8.2%

Great Divide Brewing, Denver, CO
 Hercules Double IPA – huge hops start to finish 9.1%
 Oak Aged Yeti – imperial stout aged on oak 9.5%

Green Flash Brewing, Vista, CA
 Grand Cru – belgian strong ale with two yeast strains 8.7%
 Le Freak – trippel meets imperial ipa 9.0%

Ironworks Brewing, Lakewood, CO
 Misfit – sardonically irreverent wit 9.0%

Lagunitas Brewing, Cameron Park, CA
^++ Hop Stoopid – 101 ibu ipa 8.3%

Left Hand Brewing, Longmont, CO
 Imperial Stout – barrel aged in french oak 10.4%
 Oak Aged Widdershins – barleywine 8.8%

Mountain Sun Brewery, Boulder, CO
Miscreant – oak aged belgian ale 10.1%
 XXX Pale – extra dry hopped XXX Pale 8.5%

Moylans, Novato, CA
Moylander Double IPA – silver medal GABF 2007 8.0%
 Ryan Sullivans Imperial Stout – bronze medal GABF 1997 10.0%

New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
 CoJohnny’s Voodoo Ale – yerba matte grand cru trippel 8.6%

New Holland, Holland, MI
Night Tripper – imperial stout 10.8%

Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
 The Hammer – english old ale on steroids 12.0%

Oskar Blues, Lyons, CO
Bourbon Old Chub – scotch ale aged in whiskey barrels 8.0%
Ten Fidy – stranahans whiskey barrel aged imperial stout – 9.5%

Pizza Port, Carlsbad, CA
 547 Haight – imperial red ale 9.4%
 Black Lie – san diego style ipa 8.0%
 None the Weisser – weizenbock 8.0%
 Ruby Black – baltic porter 9.5%
 Sticky Stout – american stout 8.0%
^- Wipeout IPA – huge west coast ipa 8.0%

Pizza Port, San Clemente, CA
 Barbarian Barleywine – american barleywine 9.3%

Pizza Port, Solana Beach, CA
 The Guru – double ipa 9.5%

Pumphouse, Longmont, CA
^+ Oak Aged Imperial Stout – yep, like it says.  8.6%

Redstone Meadery, Boulder, CO
 Black Rascal – blend of blackberry mead and WR wit 8.0%
– Hops on Mead – yep, like it says. 8.0%

Shorts Brewing, Bellaire, MI
^+ ICE – rye steam ipa frozen, removed from ice, then dry hopped 10.0%

Ska Brewing, Durango, CO
 Dragon Ass Dopplebock– licorice and caramel 9.1%

Smuttynose Brewing, Portsmouth, NH
Wheatwine – american style wheat wine 11.0%

Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
 Russian Imperial Stout – yep, thats what it is. 10.8%

Trinidad Brewing, Trinidad, CO
Wee Heavy Lassie – whiskey barrel strong scottish ale 10.5%

Twisted Pine Brewing, Boulder, CO
 The North Star Porter – imperial porter 9.0%

Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA
 Golden Monkey – belgian golden 9.5%
 Old Horizontal – american barleywine 11.0%

Wild Mountain, Nederland, CO
Cliffords Big Red Ale – big hoppy red ale 9.3%

Wyncoop Brewing, Denver, CO
^+ Double Barrel Barleywine – aged on american oak 10.8%
 Rosslying Mead – braggot aged in brandy barrels


April 2nd 2008 was the third Insider Tasting Series.  This session was a special treat for me for two reasons – I love malty beers and the beer they show-cased happened to be one of my favorites from Avery Brewing Company – Samael Oak Aged  Ale.  My biggest fear was being able to walk out at the end of the evening. Not a problem as C.V. Howe and Peter Archer, our moderators for the evening, are always very conscious of giving folks enough without getting them wasted.

April usually marks the release of Samael’s Oak Aged Ale.  This is a big beer from the Demonic series – it’s brethren are The Beast and Mephistopholes.  NICE!

Flight 1: North American malts vs. Belgians

The Reverend Belgian Quad – Belgian yeast signature in it’s aroma.  Sweet taste.  This beer has Cara 20 (19° – 27° L) which lends body, adds smooth mouthfeel, and foam stability.  This malt was imported by Dingemans of Belgium.  This beer also has some Special B which imparts a heavy caramel taste and is credited with the raisin like flavors of Belgians.

Ellies Brown Ale – nutty nose.  Darker then the Belgian Quad. This beer has chocolate malts in it which is a high nitrogen malt that is roasted at temperatures up to 450°F then rapidly cooled when it reaches the appropriate color.  The malt lends various levels of aroma, a deep red color and a nutty/roasted taste.

Flight 2: Surprise Mystery Beer!  Czar vertical!  Noble hallertau hops, English Toffee, rich mocha, candied Currents, Anise.  This beer features Honey Malt (20° – 30° L), which is a North American (Gambrinus) version of a European malt – brumalt.  It’s intense malt sweetness makes it perfect for any specialty beer.  It’s devoid of astringent roast flavors.

Czar Russian Imperial Stout – Bottled November 2nd 2007.  Coffee, astringent, “brighter” and hoppier.

Czar Russian Imperial Stout – Bottled November 4th 2006.  Molasses, Sweet, Vinous.

FLight 3:

Samael’s Oak Aged Ale – April 2nd, 2008.  Awesome beer.  15.5% ABV “Bright” (a term Peter uses to describe fresh beer).  Some alcohol phenols but minimal heat.  Mouthfeel is somewhat thinner then other beers in this flight.  There was a bit of a bite.  Definite oak character.  Fermented in stainless steel with oak chips.

Samael’s Oak Aged Ale – May 5th, 2006.  Only beer in this vertical that maintained any head at all.  The head was about 1/4″ and persisted for several minutes. It was a creamy white color.  14.9%.  Effervescent.

Samael’s Oak Aged Ale – April 2005.  Sweet, caramel.  SMOOTH.  Very nice nose.  Body due to residual sugars.  It sipped like a liquor or after dinner drink.

There were a lot interesting discussions.  One of the discussions had to do with the price of malt going up.  This is having even a larger influence on cost of brewing then the cost of hops.  2 Row pale was .19 cents a pound last year, now they are up to .34 cents per pound.  I pay up to $2.00 a pound, so apparently buying in bulk is obviously worth it if you can!

They discussed brewing on a 40 BBL system, yielding 22 BBLs due to the high gravity involved.  To fill a 120 BBL fermenter, they need to brew 5 batches. 

And finally the discussed filtering beer on a 10 M DE filtration system using Perlite, then Pall at to filter it to the 5 micron level.

All in all, it was another great night at Avery Brewing.  I hope they don’t run out of topics to discuss, I want to keep coming back!

Things to drool over.  My brewery upgrade project is mostly finished.  I found a motor on CraigsList.com for $15.00 and I found a local Grainger distributor in Boulder so everything fell into place just as my MaltMill arrived in the mail (see previous post for the pro’s and con’s of different MaltMills I looked at.)

Here’s a quick shopping list for this project:

Dayton 1/2 HP motor, 1725 RPM, 115/230V, 1/3 phase, 5/8″ shaft. New in box. CraigsList.com $15.00
Fixed bore sheave, spoked, single groove, bore 1/2″, outside diameter 12″, 3L belt pitch diameter 11.55″, 4L belt pitch diameter 11.85″, keyway, die cast (Zamak #3) Grainger item 3X938 $27.15
Fixed bore sheave, solid, single groove, bore diameter 5/8″, outside diameter 2″, 3L belt pitch diameter 1.55″, 4L belt pitch diameter 1.85″, keyway, die cast (Zamak #3) Grainger item 3X896 $4.18
Bushing, Reducer, Pk3 (1/2″ to 3/8″) Grainger item 4X664 $4.93
V belt, 4L, 1/2 x 45″ Grainger item 4L450 $6.09
2 x 5 Gallon Buckets Home Depot $12.94
Switch Box Home Depot $1.85
120v 20A light switch Home Depot $4.18
Wall Plate Home Depot $2.99
25′ 12 gauge extension cord Home Depot $26.72
48″x15″x1/4″ white board Home Depot $6.75
5 gallon bottled water (used for hopper) Home Depot $11.99
2″ male/female PVC connectors, various nuts, bolts, washers Home Depot $10.00

This photo shows the final setup.  The adjustable JSP MaltMill mounted on the left with a 12″ Sheave, the 1/2 hp motor on the right with a 2″ Sheave.  The large hopper adapter is bolted to the mill with the 2″ PVC male/female connecters screwed together sandwiching the board.  The upside down 5 gallon water bottle with the bottom sawed off forms the hopper.  I had to cut the lip off the bottle and cut it vertically to get it to fit.  Next time I’ll find some PVC connectors so the bottle will slide in without being cut down.  The light switch is on the far right.  I used a 20 amp switch to handle the larger load. I also used 12 gauge wire.  The light switch has a male plug and a female plug connected to it. You plug it into an extension cord on one end and plug in the motor on the other end.  I also made the motor unpluggable so it could be taken off or swapped out without having to rewire the recepticle.

MaltMill Gear Driven Option and large Hopper Attachment

This picture shows the Gear Driven Option pretty well. Both rollers are case hardned. The gears have different numbers of teeth, so they rotate at different speeds. The belt reduction should cause them to rotate at 1.85″/11.85″ * 1725 RPM = 269 RPM. Which was my goal – not to fling the grain through the mill, but actually give it a good crush.

MaltMill Gear Driven Option and large Hopper Attachment

This is a picture of the light switch, plugs and motor.

Dayton 1/2HP 1725 RPM.  Wired single phase 115V

This is the bottom of the board.  Note the suck ass cutting. I’m not too good with a rip saw. C’est la vie. Good view of the rollers from the bottom.

Underside showing 10″ case hardened rollers

All thats left is to cover the belt and sheaves so I don’t cut my fingers off! 

I decided to put a small capital investment into the brewery this week.  I’ve been concerned about my mash efficiency for some time now.  I’ve been getting my grains crushed from the online brew stores at who knows what setting.  When I go to the LHBS (Local Home Brew Shop for you n00bs) I’m concerned at the cleanliness and the fact that who knows what grains are getting mixed in with mine.  There is always a lot of flour dust floating around.    I also didn’t like the fact that my crushed grains could sit around for up to 2-3 weeks during shipping and while waiting for my brew day.  I was also restricted from buying grain in bulk because I wasn’t able to crush the grains at home. 

Okay, obvious reasons with an obvious solution – buy a malt mill.

I did research on the topic in my OCD manner. 

Here’s the mill I want, thanks to a mention from TiMX on the BeerTribe.com forum -> “The MashMaster MillMaster“.  Note that is is adjustable on both ends, has large diameter case hardened rollers, is rust free and both rollers are gear driven.  Unfortunately it’s manufactured in Australia and minimally costs $119.00 to ship if you’re willing to wait 2-3 months!  You can get it faster if you’re willing to pay $204, $287, $346 or $423 in SHIPPING COSTS!  Okay, maybe next time.  It’s a beautifully designed grain mill.

The mill I settled on is the Schmidling Malt Mill for several reasons.  It has a nice long roller (10″ long, 1 1/2″ diameter, the largest in the home-brew industry).  The exact model I got has the following options:

  • MaltMill, Model A $143.00
  • Gear Driven Option $50.00
  • Large Hopper Adapter $29.00
  • Case Hardened Roller $30.00
  • Shipping and Handling $18.00

Total with Taxes: $270.00. 

Okay, so that was a little pricey!!  I really wanted the stainless steel rollers, but couldn’t see how you order them.  They were mentioned in the descriptor page.  So, what are the features of this malt mill?

The MALTMILL will process a pound of grain in less than 15 seconds and enough for a five gallon batch in under five minutes with the hand crank. When motorized, it can crush at a rate in excess of 1000 lbs per hour. At 400 RPM, it takes 3.3 seconds to crush one pound. It is designed to sit on top of a bucket or mash tun so that the milled product falls in and any dust created is contained. It can also be bolted or clamped to a work table for more stable or permanent operation.

The MALTMILL is provided with a nominal spacing of .045″ between the rollers. This produces an excellent crush on all commonly used malt. An adjustable version is available for those who perceive the need for additional flexibility . The roller journals ride in oil-impregnated bronze bearings, pressed into aluminum castings. A coarse textured surface on the rollers prevents the grain from slipping and is the key to providing an efficient mill at far less cost then conventional multiple stage roller mills.

For additional efficiency, in high volume operations, a Gear Drive Option (GDO) is available to drive the passive roller directly from the driven roller through precision-ground, steel gears. These gears have different numbers of teeth, to provide a differential rotational rate for the rollers.

The standard rollers are fabricated from cold rolled steel. The crushing surface is 10″ long and 1-1/2″ in diameter, the largest in the home brew industry. Unlike some competing mills using hollow tubes, the MALTMILL rollers are turned down from solid bar stock. The bearing journals and drive shaft are integral to the roller and offer the ultimate in reliability. Stainless steel rollers are available as an option (where?) for use in humid, salty environments or where required by local codes. We also offer case hardened rollers for the very high volume commercial user to eliminate the need to return the rollers for re-knurling.

That was copied from the link provided above.  My only concern with this mill is that the Model A (the only mill that provided the gear driven option for the secondary roller) is only adjustable on one side.  I assume that’s the side opposite of the gears.  This means that any adjustment is going to cause a gap that varies over the length of the rollers.  Wider or more narrow at one end then the at the other.  You need to be able to adjust on both ends to get the rollers parallel, with a consistent gap.  You can do this and still have a gear drive option with a little bit of engineering.  You just need to have the gap setting that curves along the gear.  Hopefully the factory gap setting will be perfect and I won’t need to worry about it.  A .045″ gap seems to be fairly close to the factory setting for all the malt crushers I looked at.  Maybe I should consult George Fix’s write up on optimal grain crushing.

Another mill I looked at was “The Barley Crusher” which had good features and a really decent price tag on it (base price $114.00 at the site, + $17.50 shipping for the 7# hopper, the 15# hopper is slightly more.)

  • Rollers are adjustable at both ends to keep the gap spacing parallel giving a uniform crush along the entire length of the rollers.
  • The gap default setting is marked and set at .039 at assembly. Adjustment range is from .015 to .070 thousands of an inch.
  • The rollers have a 12 TPI knurl to efficiently pull the grain through the rollers while leaving the hull intact to form an excellent filter bed for sparging.
  • Comes with a solid base with locators to center the Barley Crusher on a 5 gallon plastic pail. (Pail not included)
  • The standard hopper holds an even 7 pounds and the optional large hopper holds 15 pounds. Using a 3/8 drillmotor at 500 RPM gives you a crush rate of 6 pounds a minute making the big grain bills fast and easy.
  • The Barley Crusher is shipped fully assembled. There are no adapters needed to use a 3/8 drill motor.
  • I did read on several discussion forums that this was a good grinder, but it needs to be disassembled when the slave roller stops turning.  Apparently cleaning the bushings and reassembling will correct the problem.  I didn’t like the idea of having a passive roller in the first place so I started looking for a model which drove both rollers.

    Non-contenders – Crankandstein Grain Mill (lack of a gear drive), the MoreBeer Grain Gobbler (lack of details available) and the Victoria/Corona Grain Mill which I’ve heard nothing good about.

    Filtered v. Unfiltered beers.  Brewer Mike Memsic discussed the ways that filtering affects the flavor and style of craft beer. 

    I’ve been attending these Beer Appreciation Classes pretty regularly.  Originally they were promoting that you’d get an MBA – Master of Beer Answers!  Pretty cool.  The classes are held on a Monday near the first of the month.  It’s a great chance to discuss brewing with commercial brewers – for example David Zuckerman discussed dry hopping and all things hoppy.  A class was taught on cask conditioned ales.  Steve Trese discussed yeast.  It’s a great reason to get out and have a drink – and learn something!

    The class on filtered v. unfiltered was exceptional.  I’ve been thinking about getting a plate filter since my last dopplebock.  I didn’t pull the hot break from the boil kettle – what was I thinking? So I ended up with a persistent funky foam in EVERY glass of beer.  The main goal of filtering beer is to improve shelf life.  Reasons not to include yeast being a characteristic of the beer style (hefeweizen for example) or having bottle conditioned ales.  Mike discussed how you might want to control the amount of yeast in your product for consistency from batch to batch, so you would filter to certain level.

    We also discussed finings including isinglass (the swim bladder of a sturgeon – watch out vegans) and gelatin.  I asked about Irish Moss, which I guess isn’t really a fining.  My dumb question of the night.  🙂

    We toured the brewery and saw Peter setting up the 10M DE filter (DE = diatomaceous earth, or porous shells from diatoms).   It was cool seeing him make the beer slurry that would be used to coat the filter screens.  He looked like he’d been working with flour – his entire face was coated with powder.

    They were getting ready to filter a very hoppy beer (Single Track?)… we got to see a pitcher of the unfiltered beer.  It was  illegal to taste it because of regulations from the revenuers (TTB – Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.)  It looked and smelled just like hop milk though. Yum.  Then we tried some of the filtered beer from the bar.  Even the most casual observer would have seen THAT difference!

    We also got to hang out at the plate and frame filter and oh-and-ah over that.  It must be some serious work running a brewery.  These things have to be back flushed daily, repaired and replaced every week.  In the end, it’s worth it, because you get great beer!

    Last night, March 5th 2008 was the second session of the Avery Insider Tasting Series.  It was moderated by C.V. Howe (marketing), Matt “Hand Truck” Thrall and Andy Parker (brewers).   The tasting was designed to educate us on the flavor profiles  of various hop varietals, inform us of the different methods that brewers use to extract those flavors from the hops, and showcase the effects of time on hop flavor.

    Flight 1:

    Avery IPA – Distributed to 30 states. Piney due to use of Columbus.  Aroma from CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus).  3 Hop additions – bittering at 1 hour, flavoring at 30 minutes, aroma at flame out.

    Avery IPA dry-hopped with Bullion hops – English hops used in Out of Bounds Stout, Jubilation, and Ellies Brown Ale.   My perception was very sharp bitterness.  It would pair well with chocolate.  Not a great variety for dry hopping.  Cloudy due to protein haze.

    Avery IPA dry-hopped with Centennial hops.  Larger nose, citrusy, grapefruit.  Cloudy due to protein haze.  Dry hop cold  (35F) in keg.

    Avery IPA dry-hopped with CTZ (Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus).  CTZ is considered one variety of hop under different names.  It’s the principle aroma hop for Avery IPA.  Very intense nose (pungent, grassy, dank).  Cloudy due to protein haze.

    Flight 2:

    Salvation Belgian Golden Ale – clear in color.  Classic belgian ale aroma, spicy white pepper character.  High esters with alcoholic nose and alcohol warming.  This is a FANTASTIC beer!  Mostly hopped with Styrian Goldings hop, perhaps for the last time.  One third of the crop was destroyed by hail.  Apparently the farms are being repurposed and the crop may not be grown in large enough quantities to export.  So drink up and enjoy Salvation now – it may be reformulated in the future, perhaps with Sterling hops.

    Salvation Belgian Golden Ale dry-hopped with Centenial and Cascade hops – almost no noticeable nose.  Alcoholic phenols, fruity bubble gum, musty nose.  I think the addition of the hops degraded this beer from a great belgian beer to tasting like a standard american craft beer.  The dry-hopping caused cloudiness.

    Flight 3:

    2008 Maharaja Imperial IPA – This was kegged beer vs. bottled.  Higher SRM, huge hop nose, floral, biting alcoholic taste, residual bitterness.  Another fantastic beer.

    2007 Maharaja Imperial IPA – bottled.  Large head, big bubbles, white foamy head.  Big nose.  Plant earthiness.  Caramel flavors.  More chill haze then 2008 – apparently the proteins have more time to coagulate.

    2008 Cask Conditioned Maharaja Imperial IPA – Protein haze/coagulation, big nose.  This beer was very smooth.  Reduced carbonation/carbonic acid resulted in reduced bitterness.  Caramel character.  Cask was stainless steel.  This was a great beer.

    Notes: Dry hopping is the process of adding hops to the primary fermenter, the maturation tank or to kegged beer to increase aroma and hop character of the finished beer.  It does not significantly effect the IBU’s of the beer.

    Final Beer: The Big Boy! Quadruple dry hopped (2 pounds of dry hops in the keg) with Centennial, Simcoe and Crystal.  Not overly bitter.  Highly alcoholic.  Chill haze present.  Earthy.  Okay – by this point and time in the evening, it took a huge beer to make an impression. This beer did.  I can taste the hops now just thinking about it.

    Next ITS – Vertical tasting featuring Samael’s Oak Aged Ale!  See you there.