ACB Films Presents Winterfest 2014

I’m sure many of you remember the 80+ breweries at this year’s Winterfest. You may remember the pretzel necklaces, the firkins, or the random bursts of cheering. What you may have forgotten was that there were video cameras seeded throughout the venue.Here is the epic video created by ACB Films, which documents all of your uninhibited shenanigans. The funny thing is I remember most of these people when we were pouring. Well documented! You can follow their YouTube channel here.

Hipsters Love Beer

Not much to say here… So true. So true. Just kidding. I’m probably just as guilty as any of these Arrogant Bastards ūüôā Just ask my friend Nate! He frequently reminds me that “session beer” and other brew jargon only proves how awesome/douchey I am ūüôā By the way, I was totally into microbrew before it was cool. Enjoy!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Timelapse

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company released a timelapse video of the open tank fermentation process used to make their famous Bigfoot Barleywine. For those of you who have never seen a high gravity beer fermentation this may seem pretty chaotic. The stainless steel vessels are cleaned, sanitized, then filled with cooled wort on which the yeast is pitched. The bubbly foam you see moving around on top/spilling over the side is referred to as the krausen. This is yeast and wort proteins, along with unfermentables and hop resins. It usually sticks to the side of the fermenter, and in this case spills over the sides of the vessel. Pretty amazing to see this process in timelapse! Great video Sierra Nevada!

Triumph the Comic Insult Dog Visits GABF

Triumph the Comic Insult Dog got an all access pass to the Great American Beer Festival this year (Man I knew I should have pursued puppetry further). Either way, he got a chance to cut down craft beer enthusiasts, judges, and brewers alike. Enjoy!

“A microbrew connoisseur¬†walks into a bar and he says to the bartender, “Give me your finest pumpkin ale, but make sure it’s not too hoppy.” So the bartender takes out a baseball bat and beats the man senseless while everyone cheers.”

Inside Indiana Business Craft Beer Show

Inside Indiana Business will be airing their Indiana Craft Beer Show on Friday October 11th. The episode was filmed inside Sun King, and features talks with Sun King, Three Floyd’s, and Bier Brewery.

Bottoms up! Move over Budweiser and Miller, there’s a craft beer movement and Indiana is getting more than just foam.

This week, a special edition of Inside INdiana Business coming to you from Sun King Brewing Company in downtown Indianapolis focused on the growing business of beer.

We’ll talk with some of the biggest players behind the Hoosier craft beer movement. The show airs in Indianapolis: Friday night on WFYI at 7:30 and Sunday morning on WTHR at 11. It can also be seen on a dozen other channels around the state

Find listings in your area here:

Haha, on a side note. Here’s Aric Hartvig chugging a beer ūüôā

Pranksters Connect Friend’s Plumbing To Kegs Of Beer

Haha! I need friends like this ūüôā These guys swapped the plumbing to every faucet in their friend’s house with a connections to kegs in the crawlspace. They also hooked up hidden cameras to film their friends reactions.

Me and the boys played a bit of a joke on our mate Russ. Kegs of beer have been plumbed into every tap in the house, with loads of cameras to catch the action. Took us all day to set up but it was worth it when the icy cool beer came pouring out.

Home Food Preservation – Pickles and Pickling Class



Great Fermentations is hosting a Home Food Preservation workshop focusing pickles and pickling this Saturday from 9am-12pm. We are stoked!

In each workshop you will learn the basic principles of food preservation and the process focusing on making pickles.  You will get hands on practice producing product in each workshop, and you get to take home your finished product!

$25 gets you admission to the class, product, jars, and food safe preservation resources! Come join us at GF’s Northside location and maybe you can confront your fear of pickles ūüėČ

Indiana City Grand Opening

The grand opening at Indiana City was a lot of fun. Food trucks, music, and good beer. I got the opportunity to try each beer yesterday, and they were all pretty solid. My personal favorite of the day was the Shadowboxer Oatmeal Stout. Yacht Rock Belgian Wheat was also pretty smooth. Some would say Kenny Loggins smooth!

The TapIt Cap

TapIt Cap Image


Robert Scott of Denver, Colorado has created something great for craft beer lovers. Have you ever wondered what the shelf life of beer in a growler is? Once your growler has been opened, you can pretty much expect your beer to start losing carbonation similar to that of a 2-liter bottle of pop. Using the TapIt Cap you are literally converting your growler into a mini keg system that preserves your beer from oxidation, but also maintains pressure for perfect pours every time. Great idea! These would be great for 1 gallon growlers as well as 1/2 gallon growlers. If you are interested in supporting this idea, stop by Robert’s Kickstarter page and show the TapIt Cap some love. You can also follow the TapIt Cap on Twitter. This will be an interesting product to watch in the months to come. Best of luck to these guys!

Yeast Starters and Building a Quick/Dirty GhettoBlasting Stir Plate

Yeast StarterOne thing you might hear about as you get further along into homebrewing is the need for a “yeast starter” or “pitching rates.” ¬†Below 1.060 gravity you can still get away with a single smackpack or vial of yeast and end up with a fermentation that finishes and has enough oomph to clean itself up afterwards. ¬†But when you start looking into big Imperial style beers, barley/wheat wines, Double IPAs, etc a single serving of liquid yeast is simply not enough yeast to finish off such a big plate of sugar. ¬†So now we need to make a starter!

erlenmeyer_small_For a typical big beer between 1.060-80 you will need at least a 1-Liter Erlenmeyer flask and you will need some DME (Dry Malt Extract) and you will need to brew up the DME for 1.040 of yeast starter goodness.  You need about 10g of DME per 100mL of starter so 1L will come in at 3.5 oz of DME boiled in 1L of water for about 15-20 minutes.  What I like to do is get the water boiling in the Erlenmeyer flask to sanitize it and then carefully pour the boiling water into a saucepan and boil the wort with the DME.  Once you have boiled the wort pour it back into the Erlenmeyer flask and chill it down like you would if you were brewing a small beer.  An ice bath in the sink will suffice.  This is why I put the wort back into the flask because I have found that the flask fits easier in the sink than a saucepan with a handle.

Once the wort is cool go ahead and pitch your yeast into the wort and allow 24-36 hours for the yeast to have reached their maximum population for the volume of wort given. ¬†Aerate the wort as you would normally as well and place enough aluminium foil over the top to cover the flask but do not make the container airtight. ¬†The yeast require that oxygen to grow optimally for the next 24 hours. Also keep in mind that increasing the gravity WILL NOT increase yeast count. It will only increase stress. ¬†Less gravity will have a negative impact on yeast growth however so 1.040 is found to be a “sweet spot” so to speak. ¬†Creating this starter will typically increase the number of cells from a pack/vial of 100 billion to 130-150 billion cells for a 1L starter. ¬†Again, as I said if you need more cells you can go with a 2L starter and get ~180-200 billion cells. ¬†Brewing a 1.110 OG barleywine and need about 350 billion yeast cells you say? ¬†Well, that is where the stir plate comes in!
A stir plate will actually DOUBLE your yeast cell count from a non-agitated yeast starter.  So your 1L starter that produces 135 billion cells will jump to about 260 billion cells if properly agitated for 24-36 hours.  Agitation is a process that keeps the yeast cells from flocculating out of suspension, which also inhibits their continued growth.

You can spend upwards of $100 for a cheap stir plate or even more for a professional agitation unit OR…. You can build your own for anywhere between $15-30.

I just recently built one using this video as inspiration:

The one place where my build differs from Fo’s is I used a Thermaltake Mobile Fan II External USB cooling fan for the magnet mount. ¬†This somewhat limits where I can plug in my stir plate as I don’t have a laptop but I didn’t feel like splicing the wire. ¬†Splicing wire is not hard at all but I’m lazy and just felt like going the USB route and it works great. ¬†Make sure you have a variable control for your fan RPM however. ¬†When you first plug in/turn on your stir plate with your suspension in place the bar may not move right away and you will need to slowly increase the rate of spin to get it turning, taking care not to “throw” the stir bar. ¬†Once the bar is turning you can then turn down the RPM if you so choose or leave it where it is. ¬†As far as I know the speed at which the bar is spinning has little to no effect on the actual process. ¬†So long as you are agitating the yeast cells and keeping them from flocculating and settling out, your stir plate is doing its job.

Here are some before/after screenshots from Beersmith showing its calculated difference between using a stir plate and NOT using a stir plate:
noSP_small_zpseac6bdf3No Stir Plate

yesSPsmall_zps5ed5d3db With Stir Plate

That is about it.  Here is a quick video of my own build in action:
I purchased the fan and stir bar on Amazon, the project box and magnets were purchased from my local Radioshack, and the mountings for the fan/variable control were purchased at Lowe’s. If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me or comment on this article. ¬†Thanks for reading!