A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments are locked. No additional comments may be posted.

Stan Hieronymus -

Does it say those are Cluster hops?

By 1839 NY grew about one third of the US hop crop.

As well as what they called "English Cluster" there was Grape, Canada Red, Palmer Seedling and Humphrey Seedling.

Alan -

The note to the right in column #16 is headed "Whose Hops" and I would understand it to mean the supplier. Given this information from the next year and then a few decades later, there appears to be more variety noted in the characteristics of the hops than there were actual established varieties. Whether this results from terrior or handling or what I do not know.

Alan -

Another hop fact. For the brewing season 1833 to 1834, there were 29170 pounds of hops used in making 12,266 barrels of beer or just under 2.4 pounds on average.

Bailey -

I think column 10 even has the word 'Gravity' spelled out at the end, doesn't it?

Alan -

Yes - and notice how close the capital "G" and capital "Y" appear.

Stan Hieronymus -

The usage would be consistent from Matthew Vassar's records about the same time. Of course that was before cold storage, so the alpha acids and aroma would have degraded quickly. One reason that Cluster was so popular, though, was it was a good keeper.

(And I would argue that handling is part of t*****r, a word otherwise better left to wine types.)

Alan -

I don't know that at all. For example, my parsnips have terrior, reflecting each patch I have planted them in. Why fear the word just because it is a wine word?

Bailey -

Oh, weird -- I actually wrote a new comment and the old one popped up for a second time. What I meant to say was that when I've seen the abbreviation V in brewing records before, it's been 'vessel', as in FV (fermenting vessel).

Craig -

the HHG column is actually H H.G. There's no dot after the first H. Maybe that's a hint, too. Maybe not.

Maybe I just want to join in.

Someone love me

Ron Pattinson -

I think column 10 is ""H & Gravity", i.e. heat and gravity. So 56º F and 34.5 gravity. Presumably at the start of fermentation. So OG around 1096.

Column 11 is the weight of yeast used: 65 lbs.

Column 12 "H & CG" : heat and cleansing gravity. 78º F and 12 gravity.

Jeff Alworth -

If the OG is 1096 and the beer was 5.1%, that was sticky-ass porridge. The FG must have been around 1055.

Kristen England -

I read this as Ron does. With the heats and gravities. I think you are off on your malt thought. 8 bushels per quarter of malt at ~336lb/quarter = ~8000lb

If the start is 34.5BP (1.096) and the finish is 12BP (1.033) we're talking about 8% abv, not the 5% that is listed.

As for the malt name, its usually listed by either just 'pale' or by the malt house. not something thats particularly going to matter to you.

Alan -

Thanks, guys.

Kristen, the malt is actually listed by farmer. I have tracked one of them and would, if I was closer, probably be able to find the field. In the Senate records of 1835, there is reference so some darkening of malts but, yes, it would be mainly pales. The brewer seems to have malted his own barley. That is consistent with the experience in Kingston, Ontario, which was settled by Loyalist Hudson valley New Yorkers in the 1780s.

Jeff, sticky ass malt is one way of pointing out that I have the calculations wrong. No one raised Dutch or British side American would have wanted that. Damn good thing I was not the neighbourhood brewer! The beer, fortunately, would have been beer-like.

Ron, you have made my brain hurt by picking out that "+"! I need to go read the rest of the book and hunt for the "V" that is an "&" to see if the handwriting is consistent.

Peter Collins -

I'm hoping to come up with more insight but the first thing that struck me was column #7: The "14" looks a lot more like a "41".

I'll keep exploring.

Great post!

Craig -

I thought the V might have been an & as well, but of course, I doubted myself.

Alan -

Good catch, Peter. Total typo on my part.