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Weird Alcoholic Drinks You Can Brew At Home


If you are on this website, you probably enjoy having a beer or two.  You may even homebrew your own beer or weird alcoholic drinks at home.  Booze has been a major piece of human existence for thousands of years.  People literally fermented and still ferment anything to create an alcoholic beverage.  It was even safer to drink than water.  In some parts of the world, that is still the case.  Check out these awesome fermented beverages from around that world that are unique and somewhat easy to create in your own home.  Put something different in one of those empty carboys or gallon jugs.  Some of these recipes are tweaked to be more brew friendly and yeast options can be changed to your preference.  I hope you enjoy these weird alcoholic drinks that you can brew.  Cheers!


T’ej (Ethiopia)

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T’ej is a honey wine (mead) that has been brewed in Ethiopia for centuries.  It is bittered with gesho leaves and twigs.  Gesho is kind of like a hop and falls into the buckthorn family.  The gesho also gives it a unique direction of flavor.  T’ej is usually homebrewed in Ethiopia.  However,  there are tej betoch (Tej houses) throughout the country.  Traditionally, it is served in a berele container but a pint would be just fine.  It is best served chilled and goes well with spicy food.  This is one of the more delicious weird alcoholic drinks that can be brewed at home.

Recipe (1 gallon)(ABV 8-12%):
32 oz of honey
96 oz filtered water (you don’t want chlorine flavors!) 
8 oz of ground gesho leaves 
4 oz of gesho sticks

1/4 tsp of Lalvin D-47 yeast (it will make your T’ej happier) 

  1. Mix and let stand at room temperature for three days. 
  2. Take about 6 cups of the mixture and bring to a boil with the gesho.  
  3. Cook for 15 minutes in low heat. Let cool and add to the mixtures.
  4. Move to a sanitized sealed container and pitch the proper amount of yeast.  
  5. Now leave at room temperature for 15-21 days.  
  6. If too dry, add a cup of honey and leave over night. If too sweet, add more gesho directly into the mixture and let it ferment more.
  7. Strain and serve cold. 

Sima (Findland)

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Sima is the official drink of spring in Finland.  This sparkling beverage is brewed to celebrate the 1st of May.  They know this as the coming of the warm season.  It is very easy to make and usually served with a funnel cake.  How can you go wrong with that?  It is refreshing and very drinkable.  Actually, the children drink it in Finland if it is poured before the raisins float to the top.

Recipe (1 gallon)(ABV 1-2%):
1 gallon of water
2 lemons
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1/4 tsp of yeast (Lalvin D-47 yeast works great)
*You can also add some citra hops leaves at the end of your boil for a nice addition.

  1. Bring the water to a boil.  
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, removed the skin of the lemons with a potato peeler.  
  3. Place these in a sanitized container.  
  4. Next, clean up the lemons by removing any remaining skin.  
  5. Slice the lemons and combine the skin and sliced lemons in a container along with the brown and white sugars.
  6. After  the water comes to a boil, pour it into a container with the lemons and sugar.
  7. Let cool to 70-75 degrees, then stir in the yeast.
  8. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours, or until you see bubbles forming at the surface.
  1. Strain the liquid into clean and sanitized glass bottles.  
  2. Add 5  raisins and 1 tsp. sugar to each bottle of Sima.  
  3. Seal the bottles and refrigerate for 3-5 days.  Or just looks for the raising to start floating to the top.  
  4. It is probably around 1% ABV at this point.  If you want a higher ABV, let the Sima sit for another 3-5 days or add more sugars.

Be careful of exploding bottles if you bump up the fermentables.  You know what can happen.

Kvass (Russia & Ukraine)

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Kvass is a fermented beverage popular in Russia and Ukraine.  It is also popular in most of the former Soviet states.  It is made from rye or black bread, sugar, and yeast.  The breads give it the color and it is often flavored with raisins, mint, and other adjuncts.  Kvass has been a popular drink in Russia for thousands of years.  It was first mentioned in written form in the year 996.  However, this beverage was consumed many years before.

Recipe (3 gallons)(ABV 1-2%):
3 gallons of water
10 slices of rye, dark, or black bread
1 cup of raisins
4 cups of sugar
1.5 tablespoons of yeast (Lalvin D-47 yeast works great)

DAY 1: (try to do part 1 in the evening)

  1. Toast the bread slices twice on the highest setting on your toaster. The darker the bread…the darker the kvass.  Your house may get stanky!  Toast in open air.
  2. Fill a large pot with 3 gallons of water and bring to a boil.
  3. When the boil starts, remove the pot from heat. Add raisins and toasted bread to the pot, cover with the lid and let it rest overnight.

DAY 2:

  1. Carefully remove toasted bread and throw it away.  A strainer works well for this.
  2. In a medium sized sanitized bowl, mix together 4 cups of sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of yeast, add them to kvass while stirring.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and leave the mixture on the counter for another 6-8 hours, stirring every couple hours.
  4. Remove the floating raisins with a large spoon.
  5. Using strainer, pour the kvass into bottles (plastic work great), close with a lid and leave them in the fridge overnight.

The next day, crack open and enjoy!

Tepache (Mexico)

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Tepache is low abv fermented beverage from Mexico.  It is popular among street vendors and inmates in the Mexican prisons.  It dates back thousands of year to the Nahua people where it was usually made with a maize base.  Today, you can find it commercially produced in a non-alcoholic form.

(1 gallon)(ABV 1%):
1 pineapple cut into cubes and save the rinds
1 gallon of water
1lb piloncillo, or  1lb of dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
8oz light beer

  1. In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water along with the piloncillo/brown sugar, cinnamon stick, and the cloves.  Turn down the heat and let the piloncillo completely dissolve while simmering.
  2. Wash the pineapple, and cut it up into cubes about 1in squared.
  3. Add in the pineapple cubes and rinds to the 1 gallon of water.
  4. Transfer to a glass 1 gallon jug and cover the top with either an airlock or plastic wrap.  Let it sit for 2 days.
  5. After it starts to bubble, add 8oz of beer, stir, and let it sit for 12 hours more.  If you let it ferment too long, it will turn into vinegar.

You can also add a pinch of tobacco after 2 days to give it an extra kick.  When it is ready, strain through a very fine strainer or cheesecloth, and serve cold.  This stuff is great.

Basi (Philippines)

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 Basi is a fermented beverage made from sugarcane that has been popular in the Philippines and Guyana for many centuries.  It is stored and earthen jars and usually ferments for several years.  A Basi festival is held every year in Naguilian, La Union.  This is one of the more difficult of the weird alcoholic drinks to make at home.

Recipe (1 gallon)(ABV 10-12%):
4.5lbs Sugar cane (cubed)
1oz Ginger (bruised)
1 gallon Water
2.5lbs Sugar
8oz Raisins (chopped)
Yeast (Lalvin D-47 yeast) and yeast nutrient

  1. Put the sugar cubes into a large pot with the ginger and 1 gallon of water.
  2. Bring to the boil  and then simmer for 45 mins.
  3. Strain onto sugar and raisins in a glass jog and leave to cool.  
  4. When cool (70-75 degrees) add yeast and nutrient.  Leave for 4 or 5 days and stir daily.
  5. Strain to bottles and let ferment from 30 days and up to 2 years.

beer gifts

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CBRE Reports Growth In Ohio Craft Breweries Have Major Impact


Ohio sees 148 percent increase in new craft breweries opening since 2012, over $2.2 billion economic impact; Southwest Ohio boasts 43 percent of craft beer Ohio market share.

As craft breweries continue to open and expand throughout the state of Ohio, the craft beer industry will have a significant impact on the commercial real estate market, according to a new CBRE Report entitled Ohio Craft Beer Taking Flight.  The report examines brewpubs, micro, and regional breweries and the commercial space they occupy in Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton.

The industry especially took off in the Buckeye state after legislators passed House Bill 243 in 2012, which allows breweries to operate tap rooms within their space without purchasing an additional license. Ever since, breweries throughout Ohio have acted as a catalyst for economic development and rehabilitation of many urban and suburban neighborhoods. Since 2012, the number of craft breweries has jumped from 63 to 156 through June 2016, a 148 percent increase. Those 156 breweries take up 1.7 million square feet of commercial space.

The economic impact of craft beer is not limited to absorption of square footage. According to the Brewer’s Association, Ohio was raked 7th in the country with $2.2 billion worth of economic impact from craft brewing in 2014, including breweries, wholesalers and retailers. In terms of jobs, the Ohio craft brewing industry supports 2,166 jobs directly in 2014, with substantial impact to other related jobs in wholesale and retail.

The impact that the craft beer industry has had on Southwest Ohio’s(Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton)commercial real estate market is exceptional. The region’s modern craft beer craze began when the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), started production in Over-the-Rhine in 1996. Since then, the number of craft breweries in the region has grown from two to 36, including 13 craft breweries in Dayton which occupy 100,000 square feet of space. Out of the three regions in Ohio studied in the report, Southwest Ohio has the majority of the craft beer market share in terms of square footage at 43 percent.

In Cincinnati, craft brewery operations represents 658,290 square feet, with 82 percent of the space being industrial while retail represents 18 percent. Multiple brewers use historic brewing facilities repurposed to accommodate modern technologies. Rhinegeist, for example, operates in Christian Moerlein’s former bottling plant built in the 1800s and modern day Christian Moerlein operates atop the former lagering tunnels of Kauffman Brewing Co. on Moore Street.In Dayton, Warped Wing Brewing and Dayton Beer Company are operating in a former industrial building in the downtown area.

Repurposing older industrial space gives craft beer consumers a unique taproom experience, according to CBRE’s Doug Whitten, vice president.

“Many breweries are taking advantage of Cincinnati’s historic brewery infrastructure left behind during the city’s brewery boom in the late 1800’s,”Whitten said.“By repurposing this older space they not only give their consumers a unique taproom experience,but they are also giving otherwise neglected or obsolete space new life.”

Ohio Brewery Saturation

The growth of the craft beer industry in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and will continue to have a significant impact on local economies, job growth and the commercial real estate market. Currently in Ohio, craft breweries are responsible for 1.4 million barrels of beer or approximately 6.3 percent of total output in the U.S. Nationally, Ohio is ranks fourth in total craft beer production by barrel, behind Pennsylvania, California and Colorado.

Because craft beer variations are limitless by nature, differentiation is starting to come from the space the craft breweries occupy, according to Kevin Schutte, managing director for CBRE’s Cincinnati office.

“As the Ohio craft brewing industry continues to gain popularity,consumers look for a unique atmosphere and experience,” Schutte said. “We expect commercial real estate will continue to play an important role in that experience.”

CBRE’s Cincinnati office provides a complete spectrum of commercial real estate services including asset services, brokerage services, corporate services, debt and equity financing, facilities management, industrial and logistics services, investment sales, office services, project management, research, and valuation and advisory services.

Here is a link to the full CBRE Report.  It is well worth the read!

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Brink Brewing Company – A First Look


Sitting discretely at 5905 Hamilton Avenue is the building that will become home to Brink Brewing Company.  It is a building with character that resides in a business district that is about to experience a major resurgence.  The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation has big plans for the entire Dow corner buildings and many other local projects are currently underway.  Most importantly, the residents and businesses along this stretch are anxiously awaiting their first brewery.  The buzz is starting.  

Brink is hoping to open sometime in November, but CEO John McGarry gave me access to their design renderings that are currently coming to life. He also gave me the sweet hat that everyone keeps asking about. Yes, those will be for sale.  They may sell you one now.

Brink Brewing will be a brewery for the community of College Hill.  As a matter of fact, the space is designed as a gathering spot and will even include a large community table as a main focal point in the taproom.  They will be able to accommodate close to 100 people at a time with plenty of seating and elbow room.  The large bar top will satisfy both service needs and those of us who enjoy a bar top seat.  You’ll also be able to watch the game from one of a few screens.

My favorite part is a community photo wall.  Local residents will be welcome to bring in photos of their lives in College Hill to be included on a large exposed brick wall celebrating each other.  This smaller scale community driven brewery is becoming a new phase of the craft beer revolution we are currently experiencing and I love it.  These concepts are pulling together the residents and other small businesses while jump starting economic development.  It brings intimacy.  It brings a feeling of ownership to the regulars.  Their marketing director Sarah McGarry knows exactly what needs to be done with this space.  The branding and design are stunning.

The building is a little over 3100 square feet with an open floor plan.  They will have an engaging store front with windows that will open up to Hamilton Avenue.  There will be a large patio/beer garden in back and a parking lot with plenty of room to park.  This will also provide enough room to host small beer events.

The primary brewhouse will be a 7bbl direct fire two-vessel system and they will start with four 7bbl fermenters. They will also have a 1bbl pilot system that will be used for special small batches and Brink/BeerMumbo playtime (not official).  The taproom will start with 12 taps and have the potential to expand as needed.  The goal is to keep a constant rotation of variety. Head brewer Kelly Montgomery is a big fan of old ales, big stouts, and barleywines. You can expect to see those as well as some more approachable “lighter” beers available all the time.  Blonde ales, cream ales, IPAs, etc.  Kelly is an award winning homebrewer who has a special talent for brewing beer.  Their other brewer Mark Landers also holds a great deal of experience that will be brought to the brewery and to your glass.

Food options will be available from their neighbor at Red Rose Jems Pizzeria and possibly other nearby places such at Martys Hops and Vines.  By the way, I hear Marty is pretty excited about Brink Brewing coming to the neighborhood.

President Andrew McCleese has visited nearly one hundred breweries throughout the country. The Brink Brewing Company will bring a little bit from each place to create a beer and taproom experience that will be special for College Hill.  After speaking with the team, I am more than excited for this place to open the doors.  Too often, I am seeing breweries open because they have capital to do so, yet lack the passion for this industry and the art of brewing beer.  When I met them, I felt that passion right away.  I heard it in their voices.  This place will be special and I am extremely excited for them.  Cheers Cincinnati!


Here are some construction photos:




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What Are The Different Types Of Wort Chillers?

wort chillers

Choosing an efficient method to chill your wort is an important decision when brewing. To achieve excellent beer, you must bring the wort from a boil to the appropriate temperature to pitch yeast quickly. A wort chiller helps ensure a clearer beer, minimal off flavors, a reduced risk of contamination from airborne enemies, and a stress free end to your brew day.  If you are a stove top brewer, you can probably manage with an ice bath in the sink.  For those who have moved into all-grain brewing, you need to use a wort chiller to achieve a quick cool down.

There are many different types of wort chillers out on the market.  However, you have three main styles to choose from. An Immersion Chiller, Counterflow Chiller, or Plate Chiller. All do a great job, but here are the differences between the three.

Immersion Wort Chiller:

Most all-grain homebrewers start out with an immersion chiller. These are simply submerged into the wort while water is pumped through the coil and out of the other end. Cool water enters the coil and passes through the wort to bring the temperature down. They work great, but can reach a stalling point when your ground water temperature and wort temperature reach a similar range if you are not stirring. Stirring the wort around the coils helps cover more surface area and you’ll achieve good results with an immersion chiller.  Immersions are great for up to 5 gallon batches.  If you want to brew anything larger, I would recommend moving to a counterflow or plate chiller.  

Pros: Cheaper, Easy to Sanitize, No pump needed
Cons: Slower chilling speeds

Some people run with two immersion chillers and run the water through a second chiller that is placed in an ice bath.

Counterflow Wort Chiller:


A counterflow wort chiller is similar in visual design to an immersion chiller, but they function differently.  You will likely need a pump to use both counterflow and plate chillers.  A counterflow works by placing a coil inside of a surrounding hose or tube.  Picture a smaller tube inside of a slighter larger tube.  The hot wort is pumped through the inside tube while cool water is pumped in the opposite direction through the outside tube.  This results in the more surface area of the wort coming into contact with the cooling element (water) than an immersion chiller.  This will cool your wort much quicker.  It is also dependent on how cool your ground water is.  Ice baths may be needed.

Pros: Quick Chill, Sanitary
Cons: Price, Pump likely needed


Plate Wort Chiller:

A plate chiller works in the same way as the counterflow wort chiller by bringing more surface area of the wort into contact with the cool water.  This is done by passing the hot wort and cooler water through multiple plates within the chiller in separate chambers.  The plates have a large surface area resulting in a quick temperature drop.  Some people believe these pull some of the hot break into the fermentation vessel.  They also need to be cleaned immediately after use and thoroughly.  This should not be an issue for most and plate chillers are the preferred design for commercial brewers.

Pros: Quick Chill, Durable
Cons: Price, Cleaning, Pump likely needed

Or, you can just create a frankenstein chiller like I started out with here.  It is ugly, but has never failed me.  I still use it today for smaller batches.

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What Was Home City Brewing’s Temperance Beer?


I was browsing a local antique mall this morning for pre-prohibition bottles and stumbled upon a particular bottle that I’ve been wanting for some time now.  

Actually, I was only looking for the label because finding a bottle with the label attached seemed impossible. Since it is my birthday today, I purchased it for $6.  A steal!  What is the historical significance of this particular beer?

In the late 1800s and early 1900s a movement called the Temperance Movement began surging in popularity north of Cincinnati as well as many other parts of the country.  Due to the large German population in Cincinnati and throughout Dayton, The Temperance Movement was extremely focused on the area.  

Their efforts in the U.S. began in the 1830s and gained momentum around the turn of the century.  The alcohol business was thriving and so was excessive consumption.  Some of these individuals wanted to regulate alcohol more, but most wanted it completely prohibited.  Their efforts were a large influence on Prohibition.  Believe it or not, they still exist today.

This particular beer holds a unique story in the Springfield, OH area.  In the early 1900s Springfield was saturated with pressure from Temperance members.  To help rectify, the Home City Brewing Company was established in 1906.  They immediately started producing “Temperance Beer” which was a low alcohol alternative for the bars/saloons in the area.  It contained less than 1/2 of 1% of alcohol.  Basically, lower than some NA beers.  It survived in Springfield for a couple of years.  

On March 29th, 1909 all saloons were voted out of Clark county under the Rose Law.  Just like that, ninety-seven saloons and Temperance Beer was axed from society as church bells rang over the city according to a publication during this time.  Home City was allowed to brew their other beers as long as they were distributed outside of Springfield.  They eventually closed in 1919 and never opened for business again.

This bottle is 110 years old and frozen in time.  That’s what I was excited to find it.  I hope you appreciate it’s story as much as I do.  Cheers!

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15 “Other” Hop Varieties You Must Try In A Homebrew

Hop Varieties

If you brew beer, ideas and recipes often pop into your head. There are few things more rewarding than a hop bill that fits together perfectly. Everyone knows about the Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, Citra, Simcoe, and many other mainstream hop varieties. These are all wonderful and make any ale outstanding. However, why not try some of the lesser known hop varieties that are way underrated. Did you know about Nelson Sauvin and its grape profile? Have you ever dry hopped with Apollo? On your next batch, try a hop that you have never used before! Here are 15 hop varieties you may or may not know about. Try one…or more of them. Your beer will love your for it.


Recently released in 2012, this is the grand baby of Pacific Jade.  It has a fresh squeezed citrus profile with hints of pine.  Waimea has high alpha acid levels and can be used as a bittering boss or an aroma phenom.

Buy Waimea Hops


A cross blend by Hopsteiner.  This is a dual purpose hop that works for both aroma and can also be used for bitterness.  It has a floral profile with a kick that some describe as melon, pear, or apple with a squeeze of lemon.

Buy Calypso Hops


This is a fairly new hop blend that most of us have heard about by now.  It was created to satisfy the West Coast Style aromas addicts like myself.  Citrus, tropical fruit, pine, and a little spice make this a serious player in the game.

Buy Zythos Hops


Falconer’s Flight
This is an amazing blend of Simcoe, Citra, Sorachi Ace, and a few other undisclosed hops.  HopUnion developed this blend to honor the legendary Glen Hay Falconer.  It is a perfect late addition packing a floral and tropical fruit profile.

Buy Falconer’s Flight Hops


This is a very unique creation by Washington’s hop breeding company.  If Nugget and Simcoe had a love child,  Mosaic would be her name.  It has an unexpected floral and fruity profile accompanied by the piney Simcoe DNA that shines through as an earthy addition. 

Buy Mosaic Hops


El Dorado
Developed by the CLS Farms and released in 2010, this masterpiece has mostly sat in the shadows with no excuse.  The blend is kept a guarded secret but I will tell you this one is blasted with citrus and tropical fruit.  I would best describe the flavor as a mouthful of Jolly Ranchers.

Buy El Dorado Hops


Nelson Sauvin
One of the most unique hops varieties available that can be used as a dual purpose.  It has an aroma and flavor similar to Sauvignon Blanc grapes and really balances out with most bittering hops.

Buy Nelson Sauvin Hops


Developed by Indie Hops out of Oregon in an attempt to bring Columbia Hops back from the forgotten tomb.  Well they ended up creating a new variety.  Meridian packs lemon zest, sweetness, and some describe it as Hawaiian Punch.

Buy Meridian Hops


Most of us have heard of Galaxy.  Have you tried brewing with this beauty from down under?  It is a very nice aroma gifted dual purpose hop loaded with citrus and fruity notes.  The uniqueness comes from the grassy/earthy finish.  Find it and try it!

Buy Galaxy Hops


This New Zealand creation that some refer to as B Saaz is a relative of the legendary Saaz hop that we all love in our pils and lagers.  It has a smooth citrus/fruity profile that adds a clean finish to any ale.  Motueka would fit well into the IPL fad that is currently working its way through the craft beer realm.

Buy Motueka Hops


Motueka has a little brother and his name is Riwaka.  This is also referred to as Saaz D.  If you have ever wondered what a west coast style Saaz would be like…here you go.  It is not an easy hop to locate.  However,  if you do find it,  buy it!

Buy Riwaka Hops


Developed by the Yakima Chief Ranch, this is a solid dual purpose hop that is better used on the aroma end.  It packs a grassy yet fruity punch unlike most hops.  Looking for a unique IPA?  Try it as a late addition and you will be surprised!

Buy Palisade Hops


Strickle what?  Another New Zealand hop developed by DSIR Research that can serve as a dual purpose hop.  Simcoe similarities of pine with a Sorachi Ace lemon zest.

Buy Stricklebract Hops


AU Summer
This is a seedless variety developed in Australia as an aroma hop.  Summer is one of only few hop varieties that pack a apricot and melon profile.  It would pair nicely with some of the popular west coast style American hops.

Buy AU Summer Hops


First cultivated in 2000, this totally underrated hop packs an alpha acid bite and an orange citrus aroma.  This is a solid hop to use in a double or imperial IPA as a first addition and late addition.

Buy Apollo Hops


Of course there are plenty of other amazing hops that are often forgotten.  Please let me know if you have any ideas as to some that I should add to this list.  Cheers to brewing good beer and cheers to drinking that good beer!

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MadTree’s New Facility: Before Walk-Through

MadTree Brewery

   MadTree Brewery
 As most of Cincinnati has heard, MadTree is building a new $18m brewery in Oakley at the former RockTenn site.  If you are clueless, read about it here.  This is a quick video walk-through to represent the “before” phase of their massive project.  I am intrigued by old buildings and manufacturing facilities.  This place satisfies my inner curiosity and possesses a lot of unique characteristics.  It is perfect for a growing brewery.  I am looking forward to the progression of this space.  Congrats to the entire team at MadTree.

Also, in the video I said “Covered Beer Garden”.  Apparently, they are opening that up as a green space.  Even better!

Walk-through Video:


Before Photos:   


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10 Tips For Clear Homebrew Beer

Clear beer

When it comes to brewing beer at home, we all want a clean and clear homebrew.  Some of us want to pour a beer that looks like it came from a commercial brewery.  The sad reality is, most of us do not have the expensive filtration equipment to get that commercial quality.  The yeast, proteins, and unwanted tannins are the offensive threat and you need to put on your best Defense to succeed.

Believe it or not, achieving a clear beer is not very hard to do at home.  There are many ways to help you achieve that clear homebrew.  Here are 10 steps that I personally do each time I brew.  If your beer still has issues with clarity, it’s not a big deal at all.  The beer will still taste just as delicious!  As a matter of fact, hazy is the new clear.

1. Grain/Yeast Selection
homebrew grains

You may not think the grain selection would play a major part in the clarity of your beer, but it does.  When building your beer recipe make sure you take the time to understand what is going in and how it may impact the clarity.  The dark malts, wheat malts, and malts used for head retention will throw a wrench in your goal of a crystal clear beer.  If those malts are part of your recipe, don’t sweat it.  The beer wasn’t meant to be crystal clear anyways.

Choose a yeast that accommodates the style of beer you are brewing as a number 1 rule.  You will also want to find a yeast with a high flocculation rate.  The higher flocculation, the faster the yeast will drop.  Once again, do not let your desire for clear beer change the recipe and do not over pitch the yeast.

2. Let Your Mash Tun Do The Work!
homebrew mash tun screen
Your mash tun has one of the most important jobs in the brewing process. It does a great job by itself and does not need your help.  Do not try to push down on the grain bed to extract more wort.  That is a really dumb idea and I promise you will end up frustrated.  Know your strike volumes and have a game plan before brew day.  If you just leave it alone, the wort will come out clear.  If you are using a square cooler, go with a bazooka screen.  If you have a round drink cooler, you can also go with a false bottom.

homebrew mash tun filter

You also CANNOT forget to vorlauf until your beer runs clear! When I am draining the wort from my mash tun to the boil kettle I use a funnel to grab any additional surprises (like a bug) that could make it into my beer.  This may be a little obsessive but it works for me.

3. Hot Break
Boiling Beer
Make sure you hit a boil quickly to achieve a good hot break.  When you start to see a smooth foam forming on top of your wort, get ready to stir and adjust your heat to avoid a boil over.  You can also spray it with water.  You are close to seeing the hot break forming.  The hot break is crucial to the binding of proteins.  When these proteins bind together, they clump, making it easier to get haze out of your finished beer.  Failing to achieve a good hot break can cause suspended proteins that can eventually make it all the way to the keg or bottle.  Check your burners and make sure they are ready to perform well before starting the brew day!

4. Cold Break
counter flow wort chiller
It is very important to chill your beer as quickly and sanitary as possible.  The cold break is your second chance bind those remaining proteins together before making it to the fermentation vessel.  If your wort starts looking like an egg drop soup, the cold break is a win.  It is nearly impossible to chill the beer quickly without a wort chiller.  While you are running your wort chiller, stir to create a whirlpool powerful enough to see the bottom of your kettle.  Here is a little lesson on wort chillers.

I am sure you are asking “what in the heck is he using?”.  My secret to a fast cold break includes a wort chiller, a floor pump, an under the bed shoe storage bin, and ice water.  I usually run my wort chiller through an ice bath and recirculate the ice bath through the chiller.  210 to 70 in a few minutes if I create a nice whirlpool too.  If I am doing something larger that 5 gallons, I use my plate chiller.

5. Filter During Boil
Homebrew Hop Spider
If you are adding hops, use a hop bag.  The deliciousness of the hops will make it into your beer without throwing them directly in.  When the boil is over, do not squeeze the bag.  Let the bag drip into the kettle and to avoid hop trub squeezing out.  If you want to get fancy, make a hop spider.  Google it.

Boil Kettle screen
I also use a bazooka screen in my boil kettle to serve as a filter for the wort that is exiting to the fermenter.  I have had good results with just using one of these.  If you want to spend the money, a false bottom is another option.

6. Irish Moss/WhirflocIrish Moss
In the last 10-15 minutes of the boil you can add Irish Moss or a Whirfloc (enhanced irish moss blend) tablet to your boil.  This stuff works like a magnet and pulls those tannins and proteins to a clump in the center before dropping to the bottom.  I will not brew without these.  Amazing stuff!

7. Transfer To A Secondary
homebrew secondary
I think this picture is a great visual as to what you leave behind when transferring from a primary to a secondary fermenter.  This is not always needed and really is a matter of preference unless you are dry hopping.  Just make sure you sanitize everything and create a smooth flowing transfer from one to the other.

8. Add A Clarifying Agent
Gelatin finings
Gelatin finings are cheap to buy and you can even pick them up from your local grocery store.  It is collagen based and can be added to a secondary to help round up those remaining proteins.  Chillguard, Isinglass, and Polyclar are also great to use.  You can find write ups all over the internet on how to use these.  Very simple!

9. Cold Crash After Racking To A Secondary or Keg
Six Point Resin
This is not rocket science.  Chill your beer at a minimum of 38 degrees for about a week after transferring to a secondary or keg.  This will drop more of those remaining haze contributors.  Do not cold crash it and freeze your beer though!  That would make the toughest beer drinker cry.

10. Pour With Precision
clear homebrew
If you keg, pour off a pint for yourself before serving to your guests.  After the beer has carbonated and settled another week, more proteins will settle into the bottom of the keg.  This can usually be drawn out with the first pour.  Drink it…do not throw it out.  If you bottle, switch to kegging.  You will thank me later.

I hope this has helped some homebrewers who are fairly new to the art.  Once again, a clear homebrew does not make it a better beer.  A hazy beer does not make it a bad beer.  Do what makes you happy with your beer.  Some of my techniques may not be recommended by all.  That is what makes homebrewing so great.  We are a large network of people willing to share our secrets, mishaps, and successes.



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25 Awesome and Somewhat Ridiculous Beer Gifts – 2016

Beer Gifts

The list has been updated for the 2016 season!  Sometimes, we have to buy gifts for those loved ones who are hard to impress or refuse to tell us what in the hell they want.  Everyone loves to open a gift and receive something totally kick ass.  The hardest part is coming up with an unexpected item that will blow their mind!  Everyone remembers the awesome beer gift.

Ask yourself the question, “Does this person like beer?”.  If you answered yes, here are 25 amazing and somewhat ridiculous beer related gifts that are sure to bring a smile!

1. Brewer’s Best Beast Equipment Kit w/ Better Bottle

Homebrew kit


BREWER’S BEAST EQUIPMENT KIT WITH BETTER BOTTLE The most complete equipment kit in the homebrew industry is now available from Brewer’s Best®. The Brewer’s BeAst includes everything your customers need to make the finest batch of beer (by using a Brewer’s Best® ingredient kit, of course) in one box. Equipment kit includes: 6.5 gallon “Ale Pail” Primary Fermenter with Grommeted Lid 6.5 gallon “Ale Pail” Bottling Bucket with Spigot Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser Auto-Siphon 5 Gallon Better Bottle® Carboy Plastic Paddle Carboy Brush Hydrometer Liquid Crystal Thermometer Bottle Brush Black Beauty Capper Econolock Drilled Bung Lab Thermometer Bottle Filler Siphon Hose with Shut-off Clamp IO-Star 20 qt. Brew Pot Equipment Instructions.

2. Beer-infused Hot Sauce (Variety Pack) – Asian Sriracha, Garlic Serrano, & Roasty Chipotle



















You’re holding this bottle in your hand because you enjoy unique things. You like bold flavors. You may even enjoy a beer now and again. We made this for you. Our beer-infused hot sauce is handcrafted with the freshest ingredients right here in the USA. Use it sparingly… or generously. Asian Sriracha Ingredients: Beer, Cayenne Chiles, Carrots, Sugar, Vinegar, Garlic, Salt. Garlic Serrano Ingredients: Beer, Habanero & Serrano Chile Peppers, Garlic, Vinegar, Lime, Salt. Smokey Chipotle Ingredients: Beer, Chile Peppers (Chipotle, Habanero, & Cayenne), Garlic, Onion, Vinegar, Black Pepper, Salt.

3. Beer Soap

beer soap

Beer soap makes a great gift for your favorite beer drinker, homebrewer, or yourself! Scent Descriptions: Oatmeal Stout – Amazingly delicious beer soap that smells like oatmeal stout beer, crushed oats, honey, and milk… don’t eat it! IPA – This soap is made with IPA beer and ground hops, giving it a spicy, herbal, and earthy scent. Vanilla Porter – Made with porter beer and vanilla, this one gives notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and blackberry. Apricot Wheat – Made with apricot wheat beer and walnuts. It gives off scents of apricot, spice, and malt. Belgian Witbier – Soap made with Belgian Witbier, orange peel, and coriander. This one smells spicy, citrusy, and sweet! Honey Pilsner – Made with pilsner beer, honey, and crushed oats, this one has a scent with notes of vanilla, honey, and melon.

4. BeerSmarts: The Question and Answer Cards that makes learning about Beer easy and fun



Do you know a porter from a stout? Or a lager from an ale? Pop open BeerSmarts and find out everything about your favorite beverage. These colorful question and answer cards quench your thirst for information about the culture, history, brewing, and favorite ways to drink beer. Now grab your friends and pick a card and find out: What makes a beer skunky? Waht’s a lambic beer? Where is the oldest brewery in America?

5. Big Mouth Toys The Beast Giant Fist Shaped Drink Kooler

Foam Hand Beer Coozie


Gigantic hulk like fist will keep your drink cold. Made from flesh colored foam, this enormous drink kooler is a lot of fun.

6. Big Mouth Toys Beer Belt / 6 Pack Holster(Black)

beer belt


You’ll be the hit of the tailgater party or fishing trip with this belt! Or give it as a gift to your husband so he can wear it while he is doing yard work. Wraps around the waist, secures with an adjustable size straps, and conveniently holds 6 cans of beer or any other beverage can.

7. All 50 States Beer Cap Maps – Glossy Wood – Skyline Workshop
















The three point retention system securely holds standard size [twist and popoff] beer caps in style. Mount it on your wall with the included nails that fit into several pre-drilled mounting holes. The map is crafted out of high quality 1/4″ wood and has a glossy smooth UV-resistant wood finish already applied and will look great against any background. Our Beer Cap Maps are the ultimate gift for the beer connoisseur in your life. The maps also make phenomenal groomsmen gifts for all your beer-drinking friends. Hang this highly detailed map above your bar, in your garage, man cave, kitchen, or brewery. It’s a great way to show off the places you’ve been, the local brews you love, or just your favorite color caps. No matter how the beer was, we promise you’ll love this map. Here at Skyline Workshop, we’re proud to make the most detailed and highest quality beer cap maps on the market today, and we back that with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, contact us and we’ll make it right as quickly as possible. From the lumberyard where we source our raw material to the final steps of packaging up your new map, we do our best to maintain excellence at every step of the process. We hope you’ll choose Skyline Workshop because you know you’ll get the best. If for any reason you’re not satisfied, please contact us and we’ll make it right.

8. Das Horn Drinking Vessel



Kick it Greco-Roman style with the Das Horn Drinking Vessel.

Styled after ancient drinking horns made from the horns of sheep, goats, and other bovids (ya know, horn-producing mammals), Das Horn holds 24 ounces (709 mL) of your favorite brew.

Das Horn includes a display stand for exhibiting it during non-party hours as well as a removable neck strap for hands-free use.

Dishwasher safe and made from BPA-free plastic

9. Das Beer Boot

Das Boot


Das Boot! There’s just something exhilarating about knocking back a few cold ones from this substantial Glass Beer Boot.

Popularized by German soldiers celebrating battle victories, beer boots are the world’s most Johann Badarse way to consume a stiff stout.

Because each Glass Beer Boot is hand-blown, its capacity varies slightly between each one. However, you should be able to cram 40-48 ounces of delicious brew into the Glass Beer Boot.

10. Beer Hammer Bottle Opener
Beer Hammer


Drinking beer whilst operating heavy tools and machinery probably isn’t the best idea, but if you’re ever doing some DIY and fancy a cold one, rest assured you won’t be left thirsty with the Friday afternoon hammer. The fully functional hammer can be used for sorting out those nails. Flip it over and the other end has been converted into a bottle opener.

11. MLB Officially Licensed 16-Ounce Color Changing Pint Glass

Reds pint glass


These officially licensed 16 ounce pint glasses have a satin etch pattern that changes to the team color when an ice cold beverage is poured into it! See the before and after image as shown! Amazing!

12. TrailKeg Pressurized Growler System


















The complete TrailKeg pressurized growler system! Just add beer. This package is adventure ready and makes it possible to enjoy great beer in great places. #greatbeeringreatplaces So whats included? And why is it so special? I’m glad you asked… Included: TrailKeg Lid with Internally Integrated Safety Pressure Relief Valve, TrailKeg 64oz Growler, Picnic Tap, Regulator TrailKeg Lid: Corny Keg Ball Lock (Liquid Out) – 90psi Safety Pressure Vent – Quick Disconnect Regulator Port (Only compatible with TrailKeg Regulator Included) TrailKeg 64oz Growler: 64oz – Stainless Steel – Vacuum Insulated Picnic Tap: Standard Ball Lock Disconnect – High Quality Beer Tubing Regulator: Quick Disconnect Design – Compatible with Threaded 16g CO2 – 0 to 30 psi range (Includes 2 cartridges)

13. Zymurgy – 12 Month/6 Issue Subscription



For 27 years, Zymurgy has been the leading light for amateur brewers in North America and around the world. It features innovative and award-winning recipes, discussions of equipment building, explanations of brewing science and presentations of brewing techniques in addition to a healthy dose of beer culture.

Your subscription comes with a full year membership to the American Homebrewers Association. Included with the membership are discounts to over 300 breweries and pubs nationwide as well as a subscription to the online talk forum, TechTalk.

14. The Grain Father – All Grain Brewing System (120V)


















The Grain father is your all in one brewing system to make beer from grain. The sleek look, user friendly design, and innovative features, make this your perfect brewing companion for both experienced and beginner all grain brewers. This superior unit includes: 304 grade stainless steel superior body tempered glass lid magnetic drive pump (6 watt, 1800 RPM) pump filter expandable grain basket to suit all sized grain bills, bottom mesh for grain basket built in electric element gauze filter to keep hops and stray grain in the boiler temperature and pump control, recirculation pipe with insulated handle, clips to attach alchemist series pot still setup for distilling 8 US Gal capacity 1600 Watt. Element counter flow wort chiller with copper inner coil 500 g.

15. 300 Beers to Try Before You Die!

300 Beers to try before you die


From Belgian fruit beers to hoppy cask ales, small-production microbrews to Czech Republic lagers, this is a personal and comprehensive portfolio of international beers compiled by one of the world’s leading beer writers. In this unique and beautifully illustrated collection, he has distilled decades of beer knowledge into an entertaining and indispensable guide to the ales that no beer lover should miss. The book divides beers by type, including bitters, best bitters, pilsners, brown and mild ales, pale ales, extra strong beers and bitters, old ales and barley wines, golden ales, porters and stouts, alt and amber ales, fruit beers, and beires de garde, each comprising an alphabetical listing of the beers. Many of the entries are fully illustrated, and each beer comes complete with a box panel for adding your own tasting notes. Information on the country of origin, beer strength, brewery, and a detailed description of the beer and its history are also given.

16. 6-Bottle Bike Bag

6pack bike carrier


Great bike accessory for your adventures, picnics and football games. This 6-slot Bike bag is a saddle bag with six compartments for carrying up to six bottles; The bag is made of dark grey canvas with black velcro strap and orange plastic exterior. A “must have” for all cyclists. It easily fits on the middle bar and offers plenty of storage space when you´re on the go. Handle for easy carrying.

17. The Go Plate – 10 Pack

















The Go Plate is a 1-handed party plate with 4 compartments that attaches to almost any cup, bottle, can or wine glass. Makes it easy to eat & drink without a table or chair, perfect for barbeques, parties, picnics, camping tailgating & more.

18. Shakoolie – The Original Shower Beer Koozie (Black)

Shower Coozie


Want a Better Shower Beer? One night, we asked ourselves “what if you could just stick your beer to that shower wall?” It was glorious friends – one of those “aha” moments. We combined a simple foam koozie with industrial grade velcro to create shower beer awesomeness. Not only is your beer now hands free, it also stays ice cold in a steamy shower. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself – “is it really that good?” Of course! The shower beer is the most relaxing thing on the planet. It’s great before going out. It’s great after work. Plus with Shakoolie, that hands free experience allows you to relax and enjoy your shower. We all love a good beer in the shower, and we’re just two guys who set out to make that experience better. So go ahead and pick up a Shakoolie today!

19. Beer Steins by King – Black German

King Beer Stein























 This extraordinary 0.5l (approx.. 16.90 oz.) beer stein features the Deutschland Coat of Arms on a German flag background in the center panel. The center panel is framed by a rich gold band relief. Finished in a black feathered glaze this beer stein represents some of the highest quality craftsmanship in the industry.

Compared to those Chinese, potentially toxic Chinese knock offs, this stein is produced from finest German clay and features a very thick and durable construction.

The stein is topped with a richly ornamented 100% lead free pewter lid. The lid is attached by hand and features a very sturdy stem and hinge mechanism which won’t fall apart after a few uses.

You really should watch out for those cheap Chinese knock offs with machine attached lids. You can easy identify them by a seam going through the hinge and stem. They are typically produced from very thin material and you won’t get much enjoyment out of them. 

This authentic German beer stein is the absolute must have for any beer enthusiast. 

If you drink your beer out of this beer stein it will just taste so much better than it ever did before.

But even better, if you put this stein into a freezer before use, it will keep your beer very cool for a long time. It’s really nice for the hot summer month and the outdoor party.

Instead of drinking out of the beer stein you can also use it just as a collectible. Since this beer mug is an authentic German product produced by King-Werks, one of the only remaining beer stein factories it can be a valuable addition to your collection.

If you decide to give this beer stein as a gift for a special occasion or you want to make your wedding special and share the experience of this German beer stein with all of your groomsmen. It will guaranteed be one of the best gifts you ever gave

20. Libbey Craft Brews Beer Flight 6-Ounce Clear Pilsner Glass Set, 5-Piece


Beer Tasting


This Craft Brews beer flight set is excellent for sampling small quantities of a variety of different brews. It’s great for parties or times when you only want a small glass of beer. The complete set contains four 6 ounce pilsner glasses, measuring 5” tall and 2-5/8” in diameter and one wood carrier, measuring 3.6” by 17”. It’s a great bachelor, housewarming, or host gift, as well as an excellent addition for the beer lovers collection. It is part of the Libbey Craft Brews collection. Glasses are dishwasher safe and made in the USA. Wood carrier is made in China and hand-washing is recommended.

21. Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Beer-Can Chicken Rack
Beer Can chicken


Steven Raichlen wrote the book on beer can chicken – literally. This ingenious device makes the process easier and virtually fail proof. Square construction gives you greater stability. The bird won’t tip and beer won’t spill. All stainless steel, so it will not react with food. Metal holder adapts to both beer cans and the included unique stainless steel canister, which you can fill with wine, fruit juice, or other flavorful liquid. Metal drip pan collects meat juices for sauces and prevents dripping fat from erupting into flare-ups.

22. SET OF 2 – Hopside Down Beer Glass

Hopside Down Beer glass


This Hopside down glass-in-a-glass keeps beer colder longer on the inside with no condensation on the outside. Enjoy your next tall, cold one in this fun, lightweight double-walled glass. It keeps up to 12 ounces of your favorite brew or beverage icy cold longer without breaking a sweat… literally! No more warming your beer with your hands. The Double-wall helps insulate your drink. Set of 2, each measure 7 1/2 inch tall and 3 1/4 inch diameter at the top.

23. Demdaco Big Sky Carvers 70515 Set of 4 Shotgun Shell Coasters

12 gauge coasters



  • Set of 4
  • Coaster holder has foam pads to protect table surfaces.
  • Holder resembles the stock of a gun.
  • Coasters resemble the end of a 12 gauge shotgun shell.

24. RTIC Stainless Steel Can Cooler 12oz

















The RTIC Can is designed to keep your 12 oz. can or bottle ice cold. The stainless steel, double wall vacuum insulation and locking gasket seals in the cold. Easy to clean.

25. Fred & Friends Port A Pint Folding Beer Glass

Port a Pint


Fred & Friends Port A Pint Folding Beer Glass.


The Bonus Item: Hop Candy-Cascade Flavored Hard Candy

Hop Candy

Hard candy made with real Cascade hops. This 4 ounce bag contains approximately 21 individually wrapped hard Cascade hop candies. The sweetness of the candy and the bitterness of the Cascade mingle in your mouth, with a taste reminiscent of the sweet/bitter taste of freshly boiled wort. Great for when you want the taste of fresh Cascade, but don’t want to drink.


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What Is A Gruit Beer? A History and Recipes.

Gruit beer

IMG_20130609_174700Evidence of brewing beer dates back to the 5th millennium BC.  Believe it or not, prior to the 16th century, hops were rarely used in the brewing process.  Bittering and flavoring consisted of herbs and botanical creations.  From the Egyptians to the Knights of the Round Table, gruit beer is recorded in their history.   

When the Reinheitsgebot purity law was established in Bavaria, it became illegal to brew beer with anything other than water, malt, and hops.  If a brewer was caught violating the purity law, his/her beer would be confiscated without compensation.  Gruit beer eventually phased out and hops became the weapon of choice. 

There are a few breweries creating traditional gruit style ales today such as Dogfish Head, New Belgium, Mt. Pleasant, and Midnight Sun to name a few.  These recreations must be appreciated with an open palate and mind.  Go to your local bottle shop and check out their supply for a gruit beer.


What kind of herbs, spices, botanicals are traditionally used in a Gruit Beer?

Traditional Herbs:

Sweet Gale (Bog Myrtle)

Wild Rosemary

Other Common Herbs/Additions:




Labrador Tea


Bog Heather

Black Henbane

Caraway Seed

Brewing gruit ale has unlimited possibilities and each batch can be a blank slate.  The ability to create beer that tingles your lips is also likely.  Here are some gruit ale recipes for those adventurous enough.  These were discovered after trolling through forums/websites.  I cannot guarantee the quality or end result.  Try them or create your own in true Gruit Style.


Double Gruit
A sweet and earthy beer
  1. 5lbs - US 2-Row
  2. 2lbs - Crystal 60
  3. 1lb - Cara Red
  4. 1lb - Wildflower Honey (add at 30 minutes)
Add to boil
  1. .5oz - Mugwort @ 45 minutes
  2. 1oz - Heather Tips @ 45 minutes
  3. .5oz - Mugwort @ 15 minutes
  4. 1oz - Heather Tips @ 15 minutes
  5. 2 grams - @ 0 minutes
  1. 2oz - Labrador Tea
  2. 2oz - Yarrow
  3. Yeast: WY1968
  1. Single infusion @ 152 degrees for 60 minutes
Beer Mumbo
Gruit Ale #1
I rich yet slightly sweet ale with a subtle bitterness
  1. 14 lbs - US 2-Row
  2. 9 oz - Crystal 120
  3. 8 oz - Crystal 40
  4. 6 oz - Munich Malt
  5. 6 oz - Oatmeal Flakes
  6. 5 oz - Roasted Barley
  7. 1 oz - Mugwort @ 60 minutes
  8. 1 oz - Heather Tips @ 60 minutes
  9. .5 oz - Mugwort @ 15 minutes
  10. 1 gram - Heather Tips @ 0 minutes
  11. Yeast - WY1968
  1. Do an infusion mash at 151 degrees.
  2. Primary fermentation - 21 days
  3. Secondary fermentation - 14 days
Beer Mumbo
Gaelic Dreams
No description
  1. 8lbs - US 2-Row
  2. 1lb - Crystal 40
  3. .5lb - Crystal 60
  4. .125lb - Roasted Barley
Add to boil
  1. .75oz - Mugwort @ 60 minutes
  2. .25oz - Mugwort @ 20 minutes
  3. .25oz - Mugwort @ 0 minutes
  4. Yeast: American Ale
  1. Single infusion @ 154 for 60 minutes
Beer Mumbo
Pog Mo Thoin Gruit Ale III
medium dark amber/yellow and had an herb-like flavor that mellowed with time
  1. 12lbs - US 2-Row
  2. 2lbs - Crystal 40
  3. 2lbs - Melanoidin Malt
Add to mash
  1. 55 grams - Yarrow
  2. 55 grams - Marsh Rosemary
  3. 2 grams - Myrica Gale
Add to boil
  1. 30 grams - Yarrow @ 60 minutes
  2. 30 grams Marsh Rosemary @ 60 minutes
  3. 2 grams Myrica Gale @ 60 minutes
  4. Yeast: American Ale
  1. Single infusion @ 149 for 90 minutes
Beer Mumbo
Yarrow Ale
  1. 3lbs - Light DME
  2. 3oz - Fresh Yarrow flowers and leaves @ 60 minutes
  3. .8 grams - Sweet Gale @ 60 minutes
  4. 2oz - Fresh Yarrow flowers and leaves @ 5 minutes
  5. Yeast: American Ale
  1. No mash
  2. bottle when fermentation is complete
Beer Mumbo

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Beer Mumbo’s Hopped Out Hummus Recipe



Making hummus is extremely easy and can save a lot of money if you make it at home.  Being an IPA fan, I created this awesome hopped hummus recipe that is super easy to make.  Give it a try.  


Food processor (this is my food processor)
Rubber baking spatula
Storage containers


1 (15-ounce can of chickpeas)
1 garlic clove (peeled and crushed)
1/4 cup of tahini 
1/4 cup of IPA (add more to achieve consistency as needed)
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Juice of 1 medium sized lemon
Salt as needed

Combine all ingredients in food processor and puree to desired consistency.  You may need to add extra IPA to achieve consistency.  If your IPA is bitter or aromatic, you may want to add water to achieve consistency instead of more IPA.  Just taste is as you go along.  Add salt or more lemon if needed.  Store in containers.


It’s a hummus Saturday… $0.15 per ounce – Homemade $0.30 per ounce – Store Bought #food #foodporn #cooking #yum

A video posted by (@beermumbo) on

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East Walnut Hills Meets The Woodburn Brewery


The community of East Walnut Hills just found out about a new addition to their business district.  Soon residents will have a brewery and taproom to call their own.  By soon I mean, likely Q3 of this year.  Everything is in line and construction will move ahead quickly once a few permits and legal items are cleared.

The Woodburn Brewery is located at 2800 Woodburn Ave. in the heart of East Walnut Hills.  Some neighbors are Myrtle’s Punch House, The Growler House, and a pie shop due to open soon.  This is a business district moving ahead with serious revitalization efforts underway.  

 The building is 4k square foot and was built in 1909 as a theater for the Cincinnati Motion Picture Company.  You can still see the ghostly image of the screen in back.  It was later used as a bank for years.  The original iron ceiling plates are visible as well as exposed brick.  There is overwhelming character and it is clear why this had to be the location.  You can see one of the old bank safes sitting on the floor.  According to Woodburn, it weighs over 1 million pounds and they will need to rent a crane to remove it.

The conjoined building was opened as a bakery.  It shares the same early 1900’s rustic appearance.  They plan on preserving the historical content.

The Beers

The space will require some creative use and essentially they will be using this 4k square foot as if it were 10k square foot.  Anything that can reside externally will.  Such as a grain silo, glycol chiller, etc.  They will have a 20bbl brew system.


Heading up the brewing side of Woodburn will be Chris Mitchell.  He has an extensive wealth of knowledge and has served as the city’s homebrew expert at Listermann for many years.  Most of our existing brewers in Cincinnati have come through the doors at Listermann a time or two.  Or in my case, daily.  He has nothing but appreciation and respect for the entire crew at Listermann

So what will they be brewing at Woodburn?  Here are some of the beers you can expect to see at Woodburn:

 Cedar IPA:

I know you are very curious about this beer.  I’ve had this beer many times and Chris has won numerous awards.  This beer has a dominant cedar aroma and taste.  It is a fantastic and unique brew.  Actually, it is one of my favorite beers!

Pineapple Saison:

Cincinnati has yet to see a Saison that really sits on a podium of excellence and uniqueness.  This saison utilizes fresh pineapple to create a very refreshing finish.  This will be that saison of excellence.

Roasted Red:

This is an interesting yet excellent approach to a red ale.  It has the appearance of a burgundy red with a roasted aroma and taste.  Look at it as a Red Ale/Porter hybrid.  Very unique and delicious.

Authentic German Pilsner

I will say this is the beer I am most excited about.  Through a contact, Chris was able to get a hold of a gold medal award winning Pilsner straight from Germany.  It was created by Ingolf Steinkamp for his German brewery BrauHaus Espelkamp.  This recipe is so German it had to be translated.  Golden in color with a dense head.  It is well hopped with spicy and floral notes. 

Chris has made is very clear that The Woodburn Brewery will brew unique and exciting beers.  He is not afraid to be creative and push the button.  Coming from a community of homebrewers, Chris wants to make it welcome to other recipes and idea.  At first they will keep the beers for the taproom patrons only with hopes of future distribution.  Eventually, you can expect bottled beers special releases and possibly some cans.  Chris has a strong interest in sours, barrel aged beers, and creative releases.

They are even dreaming up the possibility of ciders, meads, and wine.  The rooftop will likely be used as a bee colony to cultivate their own honey source.  I can tell you now that it will happen.  Chris loves the art of wine making and wants to share this with Cincinnati.


A personal note:

I have known Chris Mitchell for some time now and if you want to support a great guy, he is more than deserving.  I wish him the best and cannot wait for my city to try the beers. Cheers!

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Rhinegeist Update – Unexpected and New Beers Coming


11193249_876677725688239_3572125560637513951_n (1)

If you have been to Rhinegeist within the past few months you may have noticed a large expansion underway.  The new brew system is dialed in and production is ramping up daily.  That leaves room to create some exciting new beers on the original system.   Head brewer Jim Matt let me in on a couple of hush hush beers that are planned very soon.  Actually, I found his diary in one of the offices and read it when he wasn’t looking.

Puma Pils
No, they are not releasing shaving cream.  They are about unleash a canned Puma.  Expect to see these cans released very soon.  I really enjoyed this beer from the can.  The summer heat will pair well with a 6er of Puma.   

Berliner Weisse
The first sour mash will take place this month with the introduction of Lactobacillus.  What is lactobacillus? Simply put, it is a bacteria that produces something called lactic acid.  The lactic acid provides the tartness in yogurt and many sour beers.  The Berliner Weisse style has historical significance in Cincinnati and has experienced a major comeback over the past few years.  Brewing this style wasn’t really possible before the new brew system was installed.  A sour mash requires a dedicated time allotment of a mash tun so the lactic acid can work.  This can take hours or even days.  

Canned Ciders
Cincinnati has really missed out on the growing popularity of craft ciders and Rhinegeist wants to change that.  This fall they plan to can a couple cider varieties.  If you are familiar with the licensing to brew cider, you know that means a wine license is probably in the works.  It will be interesting to see where they go with this.  Hopefully, Jim will let me come in and brew a couple of my meads.  Hint Hint…

Emergency Hop Kit
Sun King and Rhinegeist are brewing a collaboration beer called “Emergency Hop Kit.” It was brewed at Sun King late last month, and the Rhinegeist version will be brewed in June. Sun King is planning to can their version later this month (in their own 16 oz cans) and Rhinegeist will can their version toward the end of June/early July.

Barrel Aged Madness
If you did not know already, there is a massive barrel aging program underway at Rhinegeist.  They have a lot of room to play and are taking full advantage of the space.  In addition to the barrel aged beers planned this year, some extremely rare double barrel aged varieties will be available.  For example, there is a batch of Mastodon that has been aged in Pinot Noir barrels and is now resting in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.  This beer is already amazing with some serious complexity to it.  By far, one of the best barrel aged beers I have tried.  Be on the lookout for these!

Additional Info
I had an opportunity to take a tour of everything that is under construction at Rhinegeist.  There are a lot of things going on and planned.  Some plans are still being dreamed up.  The brewery is gradually turning into a mini metropolis of fun.  I cannot wait to see how this all comes together.  Here are a few pictures I took on 3/8/2013.  It is mind blowing how fast Rhinegeist has grown in 2 short years.  Cheers to success!

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Taft’s Ale House – A Review and Recommendations


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Sitting on the corner of 15th and Race Street in Over the Rhine, you will find Taft’s Ale House.  It is a massive structure that dominates the intersection with its presence.  I will spare your time and not ramble on about how awesome this place is.  You will find out for yourself.  Here are my 3 reasons to visit and some recommendations for Taft’s Ale House.

1. The beer is top notch

With 100% certainty, I will say that every single beer I sampled was terrific.  The brewing team has pulled together a group of beers that are traditional, unique, and diverse.   There is a style for every palate.  While I enjoyed everything, my 3 must try beers are:

Rookwood Mosaic – India Pale Lager
I used to be an IPL skeptic and I have tried some pretty boring examples of this style.  My mind was changed after trying this.  If they told me this beer was hopped with 100 tons of Mosaic, I would believe it.  Citrus, mango, and tropical aroma.  It also tastes just like the aroma.  

Maverick  – Chocolate Brown Porter
Brewed with the Maverick Chocolate Company.  I really do not need to elaborate any further.  This beer tastes like a pint of fine liquid chocolate.  I felt like Augustus Gloop when I noticed drool coming out of the corner of my mouth.  Maverick is by far the best chocolate beer I have ever tried.  

Culebra Cut – Coconut Brown
The aroma is super strong with coconut.  It has an extremely coconut forward taste.  If you do not like coconut, that is your warning.  Here is a little hint:  Order a Maverick and a Culebra.  Mix them together.  It tastes just like a Mounds candy bar.

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2. The food menu is delicious and affordable

This was my first opportunity to enjoy tri-tip steak.  To be honest, I had never heard of tri-tip until last year.  I ordered “The Big Billy” sandwich which was served with caramelized onions and au jus for dipping.  Au jus is just like bacon.  It makes everything better.  It was some of the most tender meat I’ve ever had.  The steak was moist and extremely flavorful.  Order it with sweet potato fries.  Everything was affordable and the menu was diverse.  My wife is a vegan and even found something that she enjoyed.  They also have a kids menu and high chairs. 

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3. The architecture is breath taking

I will let the pictures do the talking…

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 Here are some photos from March 2014 and April 2015:


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A Simple DIY Cooler Kegerator In 4 Steps



Some people cringe at the idea of BYOB.  However, craft beer drinkers and homebrewers love the opportunity to bring their own beer to any party.  I have been contemplating the idea of building one of these for some time and put that cooler to use.  Here is my DIY cooler kegerator with step by step instructions.  

This was a very easy build and only took a few tools and minimal hardware investment.  If you already have a kegerator, this DIY cooler kegerator is very cheap to build.  Feel free to comment with your own ideas below!  Cheers!

Tools Needed

RotoZip (Anything that will cut a hole in plastic will do)

Hardware Needed

Roller Cooler (something with a flat surface area on the lid for your large hole)
Gas Disconnect
Corny Keg
Beer Faucet w/Liquid Disconnect
Tap Handle
Pipe Insulation
CO2 Tank w/regulator
Pencil or Sharpie

Step 1

Find the center of your cooler lid and drive a nail.  Using a string around the nail, create a 9.75 inch circle just like below.  Mark the string 4.875 inches from center.  Tie the string around a pencil or Sharpie and make a circle.  I recommend 9.75 inches because this will allow both a Corny keg (9″) and a Sixth Barrel (9.25″) room to fit.  A sixth barrel will need additional hardware to pour beer.

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Step 2

Trace a spot in the back for your CO2 tank.  I have a 5lb tank and it will not fit inside.  If you have a 2.5lb tank, you can probably skip this step since it will likely fit inside of the cooler.

Portable Kegerator


Step 3

Cut out your holes with the Rotozip or saw.  Make sure you do this outside and take your time.  If your cuts are not even, that is OK.  You will be placing insulation around the edges anyways.  I have terrible RotoZip skills as you can see.  

Portable Kegerator


Step 4

Trim the pipe insulation to fit around the edges of your cut hole.  Sit the keg into the cooler.  Lift your lid and add ice.  Attach the gas disconnect and the faucet with liquid disconnect.  You are now ready to start pouring beer.  Since the beer will be traveling such a short distance, adjust the PSI very low.  


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