A Good Beer Blog

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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

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Ron Pattinson -

Using a fairly poor extract of 65 lbs per quarter, I make the 3.5 to 4 bushel beer 1080 to 1090º. The 5 bushel beer I calculate at 1112º. That's assuming they were brewed whole gyle and not also brewing a Small Ale.

Alan -

I don't see this guy describing a second running or that the audience is all that sophisticated yet. Did you notice the local whiskey consumption a few pages earlier? I have a reference elsewhere to US citizens being greyish whiskey drinkers while Upper Canadian British sorts are rosy cheeked ale men. This brewery is one step more primitive than the 1808-11 Vassar book yet he is making beer and selling it to taverns. And his set up is technically clever. Looks like a newly built operation, too, and it would have to be given how recently western NY was taken over from the Iroquois.

Alan -

More on Grieve:

"The early merchants of Geneva, other than those who were located there under Indian and Lessee occupancy, were: Grieve and Moffat, Samuel Colt, Richard M. Williams, Elijah H. Gordon, Richard M. Bailey, Abraham Dox. Grieve & Moffatt established the first brewery in all this region. Mr. Grieve was in the employ of Mr. Williamson, in the earliest years, as it is presumed Mr. Moffat war', as his name occurs in connection with the early movements at Sodus. Mr. Grieve was out in the war of 1812, a colonel, under Gen. McClure. He died in 1835. Mr. Moffat removed to Buffalo.

Craig -

Do we assume attenuation was fairly poor, as well? Vassar's brews we're, both seven and thirty years later. Amsdell's were still low 100 years later, too.

Jeff Alworth -

I think Craig asks the key question. What was the final gravity. It had to be pretty sweet (old methods and old grains meant less fermentable worts that we have today), but how sweet? Eight P--that would be one thing, but might have been more jopenbierish at 18 or 20 P?

Alan -

Probably. He is moving it out the door fast. He is looking at but not yet achieving long keeping beers.

Jeff Alworth -

On my cell phone--sorry for the mess.

Alan -

Sweet would probably be welcome, Jeff. In one of Michael Pollen books there is a discussion on how sweet was rare especially in frontier situations. That being said, if he was just making any old crap this set up is too complex. Why two coldships for example? Given that he is serving a clientele that is in transit from New England and the Hudson, you are talking about people who are well aware what good beer is and would be used to wheat ale, porters, pale ales and double ales at least. He is aiming high with the given resources. Grieve goes on to commercial success and was even a colonel in the US military during the War of 1812. He is no dope. Here is more on him from the Genesee Country museum - the same folks behind our vintage baseball pals.

Craig -

I think low attenuation was a hallmark of pre-20th century ale brewing in America. Both complete records we've seen even at 70-some-odd years apart have been lower than their British counterparts. Vassar's attenuation was barely 50%, Amsdell was around 60%. It stands to reason that these Geneva beers—as well as the testified to brews in the 1835 NYS Senate report—may have had fairly high gravities, but were perhaps not as strong as would appear from there OGs. If a brew like the 1835 "testified" Albany Ales (the one Alan worked up a few years ago) ended up with OGs around 1.085—and were poorly attenuated—they may have finished between 7 and 8% ABV, rather than closer to 9%. Maybe the Geneva Beer, with an OG above 1.100 finished closer to between 9 or 10%, rather than 11%. Both brews would still be fairly strong, but with a good bit of residual sugar left in them. Sweet and strong, rather than just strong.

Alan -

You know what I say? I say "yum" that's what.