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Brew A Legendary Ballantine Ale or IPA

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Before Ballantine beer came in a shameful 40oz container and shared the shelf with Olde English and Colt 45, it was great beer.  Actually, they brewed some pretty amazing concoctions for back in the day. They were a large scale brewery with craft beer brewing care.  They self distributed locally and brewed seasonal and one time release brews.  Impressive to say the least.

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A Ballantine delivery truck from 1905

The Ballantine Brewing Company dates back to the 1840’s in New Jersey.  A Scottish immigrant named Peter Ballantine decided to commercially produce his well respected recipes. They were brewing quality beers under a few different names until the company closed in 1972.  Miller Coors now brews the beer and the original recipe has been flushed As of 2005.  During their years of brewing Pallantine released ales, lagers, porters, stouts, a dark lager, and a bock.  Their most prized beers were an aromatic IPA that was aged in wood for a year before bottling and the sought after Burton Ale.  This ale was aged for 10-20 years in wood before being gifted.  It was never sold commercially and was only given as a special Christmas gift to distributors and serious VIPs.

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The Elusive Burton Ale. Bottles of this this are still traded and auctioned off. Even today they still hold a nice flavor profile. Good luck finding one!
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A Balantine XXX Ale can
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Ballantine Wood Aged IPA

So you now have an idea about the amazing history of the Ballantine Brewery and the awesome legendary beers that USED to hold this name.  Here are two original Ballantine recipes for you to brew up.  However,  if you do the IPA…age it in wood for a year.  It just seems like the right way to finish this beer.

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Aunt Babette’s Beer and Other Receipts – 1889

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I was rummaging through some more old books and came across “Aunt Babette’s Cook Book: Foreign and domestic receipts” c1889.  This is a Jewish cookbook published by The Bloch Publishing and Printing Company which had a location in Cincinnati, OH.  It’s an amazing collection of receipts and is well worth the read.

After reading some of Aunt Babette’s receipts for game,  I will never complain about my options at the dinner table again.  However,  I am intrigued by her Beer Soup, Hot Beer, and Eierbier receipts.  So, I did a little research.

Eierbier and Hot Beer:  This is a receipt that came over to America with the German and Polish immigrants in the 1800’s.  There are many records from the early 1800’s mentioning this odd beer concoction.  It was often described as a cold weather drink that is warm and creamy to enjoy.  Yuck!  I am not planning on trying this anytime soon.

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Eierbier Eierbier is a frothy and creamy drink that used to be used a cure all for the flu and common respiratory problems.  Served very warm with a spoon.

Beer SoupBelieve it or not, this dates back to the Carolingian Empire.  Beer soup for breakfast?  Indeed!

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Beer Soup The recipe for beer soup has changed much over the years. This is what a traditional beer soup looks like with cheese added.

Here are some additional receipts that I found interesting:

Raisin Wine

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Fricasseed rabbit

Oyster Plant

If you would like to read the entire book of receipts,  you can download it here from BeerMumbo.  Cheers and please let us know if you decide to take on one of these receipts.

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A Simple Mosquito Trap Using A 2-Liter Bottle, DME, and Bakers Yeast

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It is summertime and that means spending time outside enjoying your favorite craft beer is a must.  However, there is nothing more frustrating than cracking open a beer and immediately realizing you are being eaten alive by mosquitoes or that damn fly will not stay out of your beer!  As a homebrewer I spend a lot of time brewing and drinking beer outside.  Did you know that studies have shown drinking beer increases your mosquito sexiness by 15%?  Did you know a mosquito can smell that CO2 being released from over 50 feet away?  The solution:  FERMENTATION.  This is how I keep those nasty insects away from my happy time.  I have noticed this works for many insects including mosquitoes and flies.  Here is a simple mosquito trap you can build.

Supplies Needed:

  • Scissors or A Utility Knife
  • Empty 2-liter bottle
  • 1 Cup DME (Dry Malt Extract) or Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cups of water
  • Baking Yeast
  • Black cloth
  • Insects to kills
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1. Find an empty 2-liter bottle

 

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2. Cut the bottle into two parts. You will want the bottom portion to be slightly larger. 60/40 should do it.

 

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3. Put the two pieces together like this. You will want room at the bottom for some liquid.  The hole inside is where the insects make their way in.

 

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4. Add 1 cup of DME (brown sugar will work too) to 2 cups of really hot water
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5. Add some baking yeast to your concoction. Baking yeast works better in high heat and creates more carbon dioxide. Insects are attracted to the CO2 gases released when the yeast attacks the sugars. If you are in a pinch and the temperature isn’t too hot, you can use brewing yeast.

 

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6. Your mixture should look something like this and should contain the DME, yeast, and hot water.
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7. Add your Mosquito cocktail to the 2-liter trap like this.
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8. Wrap the trap in something black. Mosquitoes and most other insects are attracted to black. I used weed cloth which seems to work well.  You are done!  Now sit back and wait!
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If your trap looks like this one…move!

 

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A Simple Wort Chiller To Chill Your Beer Faster

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Ok, so maybe the method isn’t unconventional since it is basically the same process used in a Whirlpool Immersion Chiller. However, the use of random supplies is.  This is a simple wort chiller upgrade to chill your beer faster.  I have used it for years and it has never failed me.

One of the most important steps in homebrewing is chilling the wort to an optimal temperature for pitching yeast.  The primary objective is to chill as fast as possible.  There isn’t a magical additive available on the market, so this step should be taken serious. Why?

1. The longer wort is exposed,  the greater chance infection can occur. Infected beer = FAIL and wasted effort.

2. The possibility of oxidation increases the longer the wort is exposed to the elements.

3. Creating a quick “cold break” results in clearer beer. The cold break is essential to avoid the haze look to your finished product. 

I think you get the point!

We have all experienced the “stalling spot” during the cool down wishing we could find a way to speed things up. What is the “stall spot”? The wort cools quickly from a boil down to around 85°-90°. At this point, the outside temperature and wort temperature are starting to run a parallel side by side race. This is even worse in the summer heat.  To pitch yeast, wort temperature generally needs to fall below 80°. The last thing anyone wants to do is leave wort exposed to mother nature’s wrath.

My father-in-law came up with an unconventional work of art to chill the wort to pitching temperature quickly and efficiently. He found the supplies sitting around the house and pieced together his odd yet awesome contraption.

Supplies:
– Standard wort chiller
An under the bed storage bin
Submersible Pump
– Bag of ice

Cut out a hole in the lid of the storage bin so the pump can sit flush against the bottom.

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When the wort reaches around 100°, dump a bag of ice into the storage bin and add some water. You want an ice bath. You can also start this method from the end of boil as long as you have enough ice. The hot wort exchange melts the ice bath quickly. I personally found 100° to be an ideal target for two reasons.

1. The wort generally chills pretty quickly with a wort chiller for the first half of the the chill.

2. When I brew, I tend to drink. I can remember 100° pretty well when I have had a few.

Hook up the wort chiller to the pump so an ice bath can be recirculated through the coiled copper and back into the storage bin. It works like the cooling system on a car. The objective is passing the ice cold water through the chiller. Add a solid whirlpool with a drill and sanitized paint stirrer (paint stir what) and you are in business.

This will cool the wort within a few minutes. Be careful you do not over chill the wort. That would defeat the whole purpose.

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This concept can easily be applied using any chiller and submersible pump. Cheers to brewing beer and cheers to inventing odd ways to brew like a pro for half the dough.


beer gifts

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An Inexpensive Homebrew Water Filter

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The other day I was brewing a collaboration with The Brew Professor and he showed me a simple yet effective water filter that hooks up to any hose. It was an RV water filter! If it can filter water for an RV, why not beer?

This isn’t a fancy RO system but it is a great way to brew with better water for very little money. The 100 micron fiber filter helps reduce some of the bad tastes, chlorine, and odors that can come along with public or well water.  Treat your beer with love and pure water.

You can buy these for under $20 through Amazon and it is well worth the small investment. I really liked the simplicity of the Camco 40043.  If you want to get even more fancy pants, add a Drinking Water Hose for less than $10.

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A Simple Guide To Planting Your Own Hops

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So you have decided that it would be exciting to grow your own hops at home.  Growing hops can be a very fun and rewarding project as long as you have the time, space, and desire to lay out the effort required.  You cannot grow hops at home to replace those you are currently buying from your home brew store.  Why?  The alpha acid levels of those you grow at home will basically be unknown.  Hops grown as an amateur at home can be utilized for aroma and late hopping.  Fresh Hops!  It really does not get better in my opinion.  Here is a simple guide to planting hops at home.

Before you begin the hop mission you need to consider a few things…

1.  Do I have room to grow hops?  They are not like growing a tomato plant.  Hops require room to grow.
2.  What kind of beers do I like to brew the most?  This is the driving factor as to what you should attempt to grow.
3.  How many hop varieties can I handle?  No reason to go overboard.

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1.  Make sure you pick a nice looking brood of rhizomes.  Look for a mid to high level of buds sprouting.  You do not want something with no bud sprouts.

 

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2.  Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and fill with nice soil.  I mixed in some spent grain with each hole just for good hop luck.  Put enough soil in the hole to create a nice mound about 6 inches above ground level.

 

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3.  Use your hand and make a divot in the mound about 4 inches deep.

 

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4. Make sure you face the buds up or the side of the rhizome with the most buds.

 

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5.  Lightly stomp the mound to compact the soil.  There is no need to level the mound with your Hulk strength.

 

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6.  Drive a growing pole into the ground.  I used a 10 foot pole to make sure I allowed enough vertical growth.

 

Now wait until you see about 1-2 feet of vine coming out and help start it on the growing pole.  Eventually,  you will want to create horizontal growing lines.  These are just pictures of what I did.  You can find an awesome instructional PDF here,  which I really recommend reading.

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Family Beer Recipes from the early 1800s – America’s Pride

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We often forget about the importance beer played in the settlement of the country we love so much.  In the early 1800′s, beer was a huge component to the daily diet for the majority of most Americans including children.  Women even drank beer when they breast fed because it was believed to provide nutrients to the unborn child.  Kids also assisted in brewing beer and worked in breweries through the early 1900’s.  As a matter of fact, families kept sacred cookbooks that contained family beer recipes alongside food recipes that often dated back hundreds of years.  Until modern sanitation methods surfaced,  it was safer to drink beer than water.  If you were going boil water, why not make beer. People were a different kind poor back then.  When a family needed nutrition,  it was up to them to find a means to get by.  Beer played a crucial role in survival and social life.  If you didn’t have money to eat well…you drank well because it was cheap to brew items that could be fermented.

Beer consisted of locally acquired ingredients.   Hop pellets, specialty grains, lab controlled yeasts, and artificial flavorings did not exist.  An open fire with an iron pot is how you rolled.  If you wanted a cheap beer, items were collected and often mixed with molasses.  It was hard for families to acquire grains all the time.  Therefore,  other items were often used to grab sugars starches needed to make alcohol.

Anyways, I was recently given permission by the Cincinnati library and a few historical societies to view some of the rarest books in Cincinnati dating back to 1820.  Check out these awesome old time beer recipes.  Try one!  However, I promise they will not match our current selections.

Check these photos out:

Ohio Recipe Book of the 1820’s – 1820

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Family Receipts, or Practical Guide for the Husbandman and Housewife. Cincinnati – 1831

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White’s New Cook-Book – 1840

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Here are some bonus items found in this book from 1840.  Can chicken jelly can cure a hangover?  I am definitely not willing to give it a shot!

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Homebrew Tip: Inexpensive 15 Gallon Fermentation Vessel

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So you are currently brewing 5 gallon batches and they keep turning out so damn good.  You start day dreaming about upgrading to a 15 gallon or larger system.  This is something that most homebrewers eventually go through.  The problem is, most of us lack the funds to upgrade to that larger system whenever we feel the initial urge.  Our extra cash is usually spent on craft beer mix packs that we refuse to give up.  There is no reason to max out your credit cards and drop 2-5k on some fancy stainless steel beer brewing system.  Upgrade layaway style!  Slowly buy the small things you need to upgrade to a larger system.  Doing this will also give you the opportunity to learn each component as you attain it.  Being creative is another great skill to unleash!

How about a CHEAP fermentation upgrade idea?

If you buy homebrew supplies from a local supply store,  you probably have a decent relationship with the employees.  These homebrew supply stores usually have Briess liquid extract barrels that eventually become empty.  Considering their priority is putting more extract out, these empty barrels get tossed in the garbage.  Ask them if you can have their next empty container.  They may have some sitting in the back waiting for you to ask.

The smaller extract barrels are what you are looking for.  They are food grade.  They have a liquid scale on them,  they have openings on the top, and they have a damn good handle! 15 gallons of beer is not easy to toss around. All you need to do is install a #13 rubber stopper with an elbow for your blow off and you are good to go.  These types of barrels are plastic so you will need to make sure you have optimal temperature control during the fermentation process.  If you can manage that,  your beer will ferment very good inside of one of these.

A handy scale on the side
Install a standard #13 rubber stopper and an elbow for your blow off hose.

 

 

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5 Important Tips When Brewing With Kids Around

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 If you are like me,  you are a parent who enjoys the pleasure of brewing your own beer.  It is your time to feel like you can still serve a purpose outside of changing diapers,  wiping butts, and wiping noses.  Finding time to brew a batch of beer is damn near impossible.  Therefore,  you have to make time while maintaining your duty as a parent.  Since you generally work Monday-Friday and are busy doing meaningless shit on Saturday,  you tend to brew on Sundays.  That is also a day when your kids are bored and need your undivided attention.  It is best explained as trying to brew beer in the bed of a truck while driving down a country road.

Whether you want them to or not,  your kids will want to know what you are doing.  They will also feel the urge to “HELP” you.  This is not the same kind of help as a friend who is there to assist with the brewing process.  It is the kind of help that somehow makes you late on adding your hops,  boiling off your wort until you have 2 gallons of beer left, or forgetting to check the temp before dropping the yeast.  Brewing with kids basically sucks.

The funny thing is you still brew despite the odds not being in your favor.  Beer is your escape and you are going to brew this batch of beer no matter what!  Here are some tips to keep in mind when brewing with kids around.

1.  It is OK to brew beer and allow your kids to play a  helper role…however…make sure your kids do not go to school and tell their teachers they make beer with Dad.

2.  Keep an eye on all of your supplies at all times.  Otherwise,  you will be making a trip during your boil to the home brew store.

3.  Make sure you establish a safe zone for your boil.  Not only are you dealing with a hot flame,  you are dealing with 200 degree wort!   See below for my homemade contraption.

4.  Keep all glass items away from your kids!  They will break it if they can find a way to touch it.

5.  Do not dump your mash tun in a place your 2 year old will find it.  It does not make good sand castles but its like removing glue from a kid’s hands and hair.

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BeerMumbo – Ermahgerd Double Brown Ale

BeerMumbo - Double Brown Ale

Brewed by:  BeerMumbo
ABV:  7.5%

Ermahgerd Double Brown Ale is a delicious brown ale brewed with simplicity and double the balls.  This brown ale is so smooth and tasty your face will have no choice but to say ermahgerd!  Brewed with specialty malts and course crushed grain,  you will get that  sweet yet rich earthy  taste that makes a brown ale a derble bown.  Enjoy!

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Beer Recipe – Two Hearted Chicken

Beer Chicken Recipe


Looking for something tasty and quick?  Looking for something healthy and flavorful that you can make while drinking a beer?  Folks,  you need to try BeerMumbo’s Two Hearted Chicken recipe.  The hops aroma and taste are a great sidekick to chicken.  It is so simple, you could probably cook it completely drunk.  It is so good,  you will be willing to make it even when you are drunk.

Ingredients:
1lb of Chicken Breast
8oz of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (other ipa varieties will work as well)
1tsp of Lemon Zest
1tsp of ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions:
In a 12 inch pan,  combine all ingredients and bring to a slow rolling boil.  Let the chicken cook through (about 15-20 minutes at a slow boil)  Turn off the heat and eat it!  If you have some fresh hop cones,  throw them in with 5 minutes left and you will experience an aromatic explosion and a guaranteed hopgasm.  Serve it on a bed of rice.  Serve it on a bed of lettuce.  Service it with noodles.  Eat it by itself.

Do not throw things like onions or peppers in because they will hide the hops taste.