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 🙂

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!

First Annual BIMP Tour Revisited!

This tour was AMAZING! We packed up several empty coolers, mp3 players, and a small amount of luggage on a beer tour I’ll never forget. 8 people in a 12 passenger van forded through viscous wind, rain, and snow to visit some of the best breweries in the midwest. We hit Lafayette Brewing, Peoples Brewing, Crown Brewing, and Three Floyd’s on Day 1. Founders Brewing, Brewery Vivant, and Bell’s Brewing (where we enjoyed the wonderful musings of Keller Williams) on Day 2. Day 3 started a lot slower :), but we did manage to make an extended stop at Dark Horse Brewing before making the voyage back home. I personally sampled over 35 unique beers not distributed outside of the breweries, and also managed to bring home several rare bombers and a growler. What’s next for BIMP Beer Tours you ask? We are thinking about another trip North to Traverse City via train and working our way back to Indy. We definitely have more breweries to explore in the Grand Rapids, MI area. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again to Keith, Michael, Lance, Ryan, Joe, Mikey, and Jenn for making this trip so enjoyable. Hope you had as good of a time as I did. Cheers!

BIMP’s Choice Picks for Winterfest 2013

The Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest 2013 is rapidly approaching, and we’ve selected a few brews to watch out for at the event this year. The full list is available at the Brewers of Indiana Guild page. There will be several high abv beers at this event, so PLEASE be safe and be responsible. Without further ado, here are our picks! See you at Winterfest

ATG_Brewery_2C_onLight-768x768 Corsair Rasputin Barrel Aged Spackle the Orb, Cask Conditioned Wakatube

temp_file_Bells.insp_.brew_logo2c_1-1024x808 Hopslam Ale, Harry Magill’s Spiced Stout

Bier_Brewery_and_Taproom DFGIPA (Damn F*cking Good India Pale Ale), Belgian Dark Strong, or their Belgian Dubbel

BIMP Logo - Winterfest Post Replicale Old Ale, Belgian Wit, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Session Ale

photo_51-140x200 Hipster Bird Double Black IPA, Beard Tax Russian Imperial Stout

ROUNDLOGO001-273x284 Gettin’ Figgy With It (Imperial Belgian Porter with fruit)

2012pintglass-614x543 Winter Warlock

DD_Logo_RGB-814x730 Lift Off West Coast IPA, Muse Belgian Golden Ale

photo_12-140x200 Black Corridor w/Blueberries cask (Imperial Chocolate Ale), Dogma Dubbel

bird-logo-365x372 Secret Stache Stout

Flat 12 Bierworks Logo Farmageddon (Black Rye Saison)

FSB_logo-922x903 1221 Imperial Stout, Backyard Porter

gf_logo-250x265 Imperial Porter (Aged in Templeton Rye Barrel)

nabc_color-492x492 Holly King (non-barrel-aged Replicale), Dirty Squirrel

temp_file_Logo4-432x432 Procrastinator Helles Bock, Ardelle 2012

Ram_PMS_185-1024x406 Barrel-aged Apocalypto BarleywineShoreline-Brewery-logo-square1 2009 Discombobulation Celebration AleSunKingLogo-cutoutgif-1024x638 Batch 333: The Velvet Fog, Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil

Triton_Logo_RGB2-375x541 McQueenies Scotch Ale, Old Lang Syne (Replicale)DSCN0766-8x6[1] Picadilly Pale Ale, Cannonball DoyleUpland_Logo_horz-444x161 Lil’ Sebastian ESB, Gilgamesh

Stout Bout Homebrew Competition Revisited

Thanks to all that made the Stout Bout Homebrew Competition at Great Fermentations such an awesome time! There were 10 great beers served, several of which beat out Hoppin’ Frog’s BORIS The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout (a 2-time gold medalist at the Great American Beer Festival that I snuck in for kicks) in our blind tasting. Our top three homebrews selected this go-round were Josh and Ashley Jenkins’ Milk Stout, Doug Dixon’s American Stout, and Michael Catlin’s Breakfast Russian Imperial Stout. Great work guys! The entries were pretty spread out (we had entries for 5 of the 6 recognized BJCP stout categories), with two Russian Imperial Stouts (one was aged for 2 years), 3 Oatmeal Stouts, 2 Milk/Sweet Stouts, a Dry Stout, and an American Stout. Thanks again to Great Fermentations for lending us their classroom, and also to cosIT Photography for the outstanding camerawork. More photos can be found in a set on cosIT’s Flicker Photostream. Cheers!

White House Homebrew!

This just makes sense to me. From Anchor Brewing Company all the way to the White House, the microbrew movement is in full swing. On August 14th, Barack Obama confirmed that a small beer brewery has been added to the White House. Small batches of brew are created at this new facility for special occasions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a steady flow of ridiculously good beer flowing through our nation’s capital. One such beer, the “White House Honey Ale” comes in both light and dark varieties, and is made with honey from the White House garden. At the moment there are no reviews on this ale, but I’d be more than willing to offer my services 🙂 Beer and American presidents have a history that goes all the way back to George Washington. In fact, Washington’s recipe was published not too long ago. This 30 gallon recipe calls for molasses instead of malted barley as the primary sugar. This technique was consistent with some English style Porters during that time period. Here are the recipes for the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter if you are interested in brewing them yourselves. Looks like they are keeping the bittering hops a “secret.” It’s a partial mash recipe that looks pretty straight forward. Let me know if you make any!

Making Hard Cider With Apple Juice

This is a step away from my usual posts, but I thought it would be a cool thing to try. EdWort of posted a thread on making Apfelwein (German Hard Cider) from 100% preservative free apple juice, corn sugar, and wine yeast. The recipe is super simple, apparently tastes fantastic, and can be made in as little as 6 weeks. What’s the downside? Haha, from what I understand Apfelwein gives you a ridiculous hangover. In fact, there is even a disclaimer at the bottom of Edwort’s recipe. Either way, I’m super interested in creating some Apfelwein of my own.


Here’s a video tutorial Craig Farraway of Craigtube has created that walks you through the process. If you’ve done this before, please share your results with us here or on our Facebook page. Prost!

History on Tap

Connor Prairie is hosting “History on Tap” on June 15 featuring several beers from local Indiana breweries. Connor Prairie is an “Interactive History Park” located in Fishers, that allows you to immerse yourself in the 1800’s. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the gate. You can expect some great brews from Bier, Fountain Square Brewery, Flat 12, Upland, and Sun King at this event.

The event will also feature:

  • Q&A with Douglas Wissing, author of “One Pint at a Time: A Travelers Guide to Indiana’s Brewers”
  • Craft brewing demonstrations by Tuxedo Park Brewers
  • An evening adventure through Prairietown
  • 1859 Balloon Voyage (weather permitting)
  • Food*