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Archive for the 'booze' Category

Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Book Review)

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Cover of Water by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski

As a home brewer with a couple of University degrees (BComp MBAS) and neither of them in chemistry my first comment about this book is “Holy fuck!”. This book being Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. No, seriously, this actually is as advertised… a comprehensive guide to the chemistry of water at all stages of the brewing process from the tap to the disposal of waste. It’s also a book that you can take from stage one of your brewing career through to building and running your own brewery on a commercial scale. So, I’m impressed. And I learned a lot… but it’s a tough read for the non-chemist.

So, from a home brewer’s perspective, I’m not sure exactly if you have to take the time to read Palmer’s book about water. But at the same time I know you’ll get a lot out of it if you can only wade through the highly complex explanations. I’d love to read another version – an edited university text book with side notes and diagrams. Not quite the Dummies Guide… but a graduates step into the concepts that build into the knowledge that makes water chemistry make sense.

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Session Beers (Book Review)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Session Beers by Jennifer Talley

Jennifer Talley is the brewmaster at Squatters Pub Brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah – a State where a 4 per cent ABV (Alcohol By Volume) limit is imposed on brewers as a legal constraint. For this reason alone, there should be no surprise that she was the go-to person to be asked to write this book about Session Beer: Brewing for Flavor and Balance. She’s an accomplished brewer, beer judge and competition winner with a career in creating and bringing to market consistently high quality low ABV beers that don’t knock you off the bar stool. Beers perfect for weddings and afternoons with your friends. Sessionable beers.

Of course, these session beers have been around for a long time in our society. The term might be more recent, but humans have been making highly consumable beers in this genre through history. Just be aware that a session beer isn’t merely low ABV, though. A session beer leaves nothing to hide behind when it comes to making errors. It’s extremely well made beer that you want to drink another and then another throughout the day (or night). And session beers are harder to make than might first appear to be the case. Alcohol, after all, contributes to the flavour of beer. Take away that mask and you better be sure of what you’re doing in the brewery.

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Seeing the World through Beer Flavoured Glasses

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

In some ways the experience of a beer (or mead or wine) is very much like standing in front of a framed photograph on a gallery wall. About 90 per cent of what the person experiencing that beer (or photograph) takes away from their encounter involves what they brought to the table as baggage. Think about that for a minute, because I didn’t just pull the idea out of thin air. Why do you think we all have different preferences, likes and dislikes, when it comes to food and drink? Why do two people looking at the same photograph see divergent pictures?

With food and drink, taste plus aroma equals flavour. Added to that, biological differences at the individual level make some people more able to taste specific off flavours; even certified beer judges can be unable to detect obvious flavour flaws in their glass. And one would expect this extends beyond off-flavours into the realm of experiencing complex flavour interactions in a given beverage. Supertasters are an obvious example. After all, why should this sensitivity difference only relate to off-flavours or errors? It doesn’t.

Flavour and preference have a cultural context – the foods and flavours you were exposed to from the womb until this time of your life impact your personal preferences. The World around us shapes our perceptions of good and bad flavours based on exposure and cultural reinforcement. For example, I gag eating herring that another person might savour and crave. Some of us appreciate wine, others don’t.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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