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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three Small, Unrelated Things

Our newly-upgraded professional soccer team (that's football club to you Europeans), the Portland Timbers, play in their first home game tonight. I will be one of the 18,000 in attendance. They are starting out a rocky 0-2-1, but as a Red Sox fan, I know it gets a whole lot worse. A few of the local breweries are offering celebratory batches, but I think Lompoc's Kick Axe is the best: a green, vivid, dry-hopped pale. If you're brewing a beer to honor a green-and-yellow-jerseyed Portland team, it's gotta have hops.

A couple weeks back, I attempted a modified turbid mash for a lambic. It was a long and strange procedure, the results of which will only be known years from now. Unsatisfying! However, I transferred it off the alarming trub pile in the primary fermenter and had a zwickel on the way. It was wheaty and fresh and while you could go so far as to call it zesty, funk was nowhere to be found. It was, I expect, roughly what medieval mild ale tasted like. Interesting.

Doing a bit of research for the book and I found a source that identified three styles of beer brewed by the ancient--and first--brewers, the Sumerians. Dark, white, and red. It didn't get much into the distinctions, but did go to show that even at the outset, styles proliferated. I have no word on whether late-era Sumerians debated the evolution or critiqued later iterations as "not to style." Probably.

Go Timbers!


  1. I saw the Timbers first-ever pro game against the Rapids. The Timbers looked awful. They lost 3-1, and it wasn't as close as it sounds.

    The soccer stadium in dreary Commerce City, Colo., offered only Coors products and truly bad hot dogs, so I hope Beervana has had some positive influences on the former Civic Stadium.

  2. Yeah, I saw that game, too. Horrible. But we're improving! (Err, maybe.) In any case, the Widmer Brothers quickly signed up to be the sponsor so we'll be sure to have craft beer in the house. I'll report soon on whether other Craft Brewers Alliance beers were available, too--or any others, for that matter.

    But no, if you tried to only offer macro, there'd be a riot. I'm only half-exaggerating.

  3. I think you're supposed to leave lambics on the trub for the duration.

  4. I'll be there tonight as well. I heard Widmer will have the X114 on tap.

  5. Yes, Leave Lambic on Trub. There should be a lot of trub and the wort should be almost milky. Funk will come from yeast and bacteria added. Need a lot of those. Hope you made a real good YEAST/FUNK Starter before pitching. What was your gravity?

  6. You'll want to read Richard Unger's "Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance" as part of your research. For instance, in discussing methods in Mesopotamia, he writes, "A list survives of some seventy different sorts of beer . . ."

    Libraries are good, but this is one book you should own. As I recall, best price was at

  7. I saw the Timbers many, many years ago. It had to be in the early 80's. Hoping to catch them . I live in Tampa now and I missed them last year when they came down here, hoping they're coming back again this year.

  8. I rack to a secondary and leave the primary trub behind. I pitch the bugs into the secondary, but leave all the trub from that point on. I have a few carboys that are 4+ yrs old that have 3+ inches of trub in the bottom. So long as the beer that comes out tastes OK, I leave it and throw fresh beer on top. You don't need a starter for the "wild" critters since most are slow growers and won't benefit from it. What they need is time, lots and lots of time.

  9. Stan, thanks for the tip.

    Bill, thanks for the info. I always wonder what your opinion is on the matter of lambics. It does look like there will be some decent trub in the end, anyway.

  10. Even real lambics are taken from the primary open fermenters into barrels or fourdres for aging, so they do remove the trub from the primary. But, yes, a bunch of that stuff will eventually drop out in secondary and it's good eats for the brett, pedio and lacto.