None More Black Dry Stout (Partial Mash)

NoneMoreBlackLast month, I posted the all-grain recipe for my “other” dry stout. When I make dry stout, I usually brew my Murphy’s clone. However, occasionally I’ll brew this one, which is closer to Guinness (although not an attempt to be a clone). This is a partial mash formulation of that recipe. As partial mash recipes go, the grain to malt extract ratio is high because of its low original gravity and the fact that the pale grains are mashed and the dark grains are steeped separately. The mash actually uses a starchy adjunct — flaked barley — so you can’t do a true “extract and steeped grains” version of this. 

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Second Anniversary!


I have a beard now, because all the cool brewers have one. I still have, however, the same stupid facial expression.

Today is the second anniversary of Beer and Wine Journal (BWJ). Archived articles go back to June 17, 2013, when the site was being built, but James Spencer and I (Chris Colby) didn’t announce that the site existed until a week later. Over this time, we’ve posted more than 480 articles, mostly related to beer and brewing.

The “Wine” in our site name reflects the fact what we had a “wine guy” on board at the start, but he dropped out shortly before we launched. Consequentially, I’m thinking of renaming the site to make if reflect the content better — Beer and Brewing Journal, maybe? — sometime down the road.

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All Grain Pale Ale 30-Minute Boil Experiments

“You must boil all grain wort for at least an hour, and sometimes for ninety minutes in some cases.” – Guy you know who taught you all grain brewing

A 30-minute boil makes for a shorter brew day.

A 30-minute boil makes for a shorter brew day.

One of the things that homebrewers hear when they first get into brewing all grain is that the full length boil is very important. The boil achieves several objectives:

– Sanitization of the wort
– Coagulation of proteins
– Isomerization of hops
– Volatilization of DMS
– Evaporation of water

All of these are important goals. But is sixty minutes a magic time? Will boiling wort for, say, half that time result in a beer that is sub-standard?

On a recent episode of Basic Brewing Radio, Marshall Schott, who goes by the title “Brülosopher,” shared an experiment attempting to answer this very question. Steve Wilkes and I sampled the same recipe that had been boiled for thirty minutes and sixty minutes, and we had a very hard time telling the difference between the two. Read Marshall’s blog post. [Read more…]

IPAs Are Not Giving You Man Boobs

Lupulin - yellow gold

Lupulin – yellow gold

There’s no evidence that IPAs are giving you man boobs. A provocatively titled article claiming the exact opposite made the rounds on social media a few days ago, but there is no evidence to back up this claim. Here are the facts. [Read more…]

It’s Time To Stop Using The Term “Craft Beer” (Part III of III)

tombstone1In the first two parts of this article, I argued that the term “craft beer” no longer had a worthwhile definition for most homebrewers and beer lovers. There was a time when the beer we liked was produced by breweries that were small, independent, and traditional. They were also frequently local. But all that has changed. So what can an average homebrewer do? [Read more…]

It’s Time To Stop Using The Term “Craft Beer” (Part II of III)

tombstone1In the first part of this article, I offered the opinion that the term “craft beer” should be abandoned. Its internal logic has been so mangled by repeated redefinition that it is no longer useful. Small doesn’t mean small anymore. Independent doesn’t mean independent, and traditional can apparently mean anything (except brewed the North American lager brewing tradition of the 19th and 20th Centuries).

In this part of the article, I want to offer the opinion that the components of the term — small, independent, and traditional — are mostly just historical holdovers, and not the sort of things that most beer drinkers care about when they choose a beer. [Read more…]

It’s Time To Stop Using The Term “Craft Beer” (Part I of III)

[Disclaimer I: Most of the stuff I post on Beer and Wine Journal is factual information about brewing beer. Occasionally, I’ll post an opinion piece. This is one of those occasions.] 

[Disclaimer II (Because It’s 2015 And This Is The Internet): This is my opinion. You may disagree with it, and that’s fine. I do hope you notice, though, that I’m arguing against an idea, not people. I’m not calling anyone names. I have tried my best to fairly characterize the opposing idea rather than attack a straw man. This is not meant to be a rant; it’s meant to be an argument. I hope it causes some brewers to think and starts a discussion. But I’m also hoping that any discussion is a rational discussion among people who understand that we all like beer. And our similarities, in this case, are more important than our differences.] 

tombstone1It’s time to ditch the term “craft beer.” There was a time when it had a semi-useful meaning, but that time is gone. The ever-changing definition of craft beer has led to a current definition that has little or no value to homebrewers or beer enthusiasts. It has internal inconsistencies, it is composed of disparate elements, and frequently spawns absurdities. It is also silent on what matters most to the majority of beer enthusiasts — beer quality.

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None More Black Dry Stout

NoneMoreBlackI like a wide variety of beers, but one style of beer I always come back to is dry stout. Dry stout is a great session beer. It can also be a great “sobering up” beer. If you’re at the end of a long night of beer drinking, but still want one more beer, sipping a dry stout can be a great closer. It’s lower in alcohol than most beers, so you can enjoy it and also slow down a bit. It’s also a great “I could stand to lose a few pounds” beer, as the Calorie count is lower than most beers. But mostly, it’s a dark, roasty, delicious beer that is always flavorful and smells wonderful. [Read more…]

Will Drug-Producing Yeast Strains Negatively Impact Homebrewing?

220px-Morphin_-_Morphine.svgYesterday, I posted a brief description of how, very soon, there will be a yeast strain capable of producing morphine from glucose. The usual substrates for morphine production, compounds isolated from opium poppies, will not be required. The simplicity of how morphine could potentially be produced has already caused nearly every article in the popular press (and many in the scientific press) to claim that producing morphine could be as easy as brewing beer at home. Some articles even unequivocally link the two. This should cause some concern among homebrewers. [Read more…]

Brewers Yeast Will Soon Be Able to Produce Morphine


“Well it just goes to show/ Things are not what they seem/ Please, Sister Morphine/ Turn my nightmares into dreams.” — Rolling Stones

On May 18th, the journal Nature Chemical Biology published an article entitled, “An enzyme-coupled biosensor enables (S)-reticuline production in yeast from glucose.” It’s a title that would generate little interest outside of a handful of biochemists had the authors not spelled out its implications elsewhere.

(S)-reticuline is an intermediate in the biochemical pathway to morphine in opium poppies. And previously, two other yeast strains have been engineered to produce morphine from (R)-reticuline, and (R)-reticuline from (S)-reticuline. In others words, there are now three yeast strains that — working together — could produce morphine starting with glucose — no opium poppies required. They did this by splicing genes from poppies and other organisms into these strains. It is, of course, only a short matter of time until all the genes necessary are brought together into single strain. [Read more…]