BSG Select CiderBase™ is a distinctively bold apple juice base made from apples sourced in the Pacific Northwest. It is a proven performer both as a base for hard cider as well as spirits, and the 5 gallon pack size will now be available aseptically packaged in a sturdy bucket. We anticipate this to be an improvement over the old bag-in-a-box packaging for shipping and storage.
For more information on usage of CiderBase™ as well as a recipe for a standard cider, please click here.
Earlier this month, BSG and Rahr hosted a delegation of brewers from Illinois for a tour of the Rahr Malting Company campus in Shakopee, MN, as well as a bit of education. What did they see and do on this field trip? Let’s find out:
Paul Schroeder, BSG CraftBrewing’s Chicago-based Sales Development Coordinator, joined the group (including brewers from Revolution Brewing, Two Brothers Brewing, On Tour Brewing, Sketchbook Brewing, Begyle Brewing, Obed & Issac’s Brewing, Penrose Brewing, and Oak Park Brewing) for the 6-hour bus ride from Elgin, IL to Minneapolis. With one stop in Wisconsin to pick up some New Glarus beer, Paul tells us the drive was filled with shop-talk about beer, process, and the direction of the industry. After arriving in Minneapolis, our crew spent the evening visiting Town Hall Brewery and Indeed Brewing.
The next morning started off with malt education, including talks from Rahr maltster Aaron Eernisse on Malting 101, BSG’s Central Midwest Sales Manager Ashton Lewis on malt modification, and Dr. Xiang S. Yin and Dr. Pattie Aron from the Rahr Technical Center speaking on stability in beer and the capabilities of Rahr’s lab facilities, respectively. Paul reports that each talk spurred a lot of questions from the visiting brewers.
After the talks, the field trip group toured BSG’s Shakopee distribution center, the recently-commissioned Malthouse #6, and the Rahr Technical Center and Brewery. The tour concluded with a view from the top of Malthouse #5 to survey the Minnesota River valley, which has been home to Rahr Malting Co. for generations.
We’ll let Paul relate the conclusion of the visit in his own words:
“After that we headed to Surly Brewing for a dinner and tour. As the night was winding down, we had to stop and get some of Minneapolis’s world-famous burgers, so we head to Matt’s [Bar & Grill] for some Jucy Lucys. The kitchen was closed and all hope was lost, but one of Matt’s employees had 6 fresh-off-the-grill Lucys and traded them to us for some Illinois beer that we had with us. Mission accomplished! Took off the next morning at 7:45 am and made it back to Chicago by 2 pm. Great trip and can’t wait to do it again.”
Earlier this summer, the Rahr Technical Center Brewery had a chance to trial the new SafAle BE-134 yeast. We caught up with head brewer and BSG Product Development Manager Mike Miziorko to get his impressions of this 6.6% abv saison.
How did the yeast perform?
Performance-wise, I think the yeast did very well: the beer was mostly fermented after 5 days and continued to slowly dry out over another 4.
How would you describe its kinetics?
I would say the yeast is very highly attenuative, we have not used anything else quite like it. This beer finished at 1.5°P, probably due to the 10% Caramalt used in the grist.
And the sensory aspects?
From an organoleptic standpoint, the yeast delivered what it promised: lots of esters and phenols one would expect from a Saison, plus a low final gravity.
Overall I’d say I am pleased with the yeast and would recommend it, but would remind brewers to plan for high attenuation when using this strain.
SafAle BE-134 will be available from BSG in late summer 2017.
Bad Weather Brewing Company of St. Paul, MN has built a reputation on their flavorful ales like flagships Ominous (a double brown ale) and Windvane (a red IPA). Recently, though, they’ve added a series of German lagers to their lineup that have been very well received both in and out of the taproom - BSG HandCraft was lucky enough to pour a couple kegs of their Dortmunder at their beer station during Homebrew Con in Minneapolis this June.
We sat down with Bad Weather’s head brewer Andy Ruhland to talk lagers:
BSG: The Dortmunder is one of a few pale lagers that Bad Weather has done after many years of intensely-flavored ales – what brought it into being? Market forces, labor of love, a challenge, or just an opportunity to change it up?
AR: From day 1 of being hired it was my intention to brew lagers. Specifically Pale German Lagers. They are my favorite styles to drink, they are simple and elegant yet incredibly hard to brew, and I love a challenge. Limited tank space kept us from doing that right away. After our first cellar expansion the window opened. We started with a Munich Helles, then the Dortmunder Export, and a Maibock (available at the time of this writing, taproom only). I'm hoping to continue at least 1 lager offering fairly regularly at the taproom.
BSG: What were the malts used in the Dortmunder?
AR: We used all Weyermann® malts with the Dortmunder. Barke® Pils, Barke® Munich, Carafoam®, and Acidulated malts.
BSG: How were they to work with?
AR: We had excellent extract and clarity on the brewhouse. I was looking for a malt that would help me get that authentic "Dort" character. I think we achieved that along with the double decoction mash. In reality a single infusion would suffice for these malts but when I think of how these beers have been brewed historically you don't mess with tradition.
The Yakima-based staff of BSG Hops works closely with growers throughout the year to ensure we receive the highest-quality hops at harvest. Our agronomist Patrick O'Brien sends us this dispatch from the fields with a look at the progress of the 2017 crop:
Variety: El Dorado
Training Date: May 25th
Growth Phase: Vegetative/reproductive
Hops are a perennial rooted planted with annual above ground growth, so in March the root system starts to push new shoots that emerge through the soil surface. The growers then prune back the shoots to get the growth timing just right. When there is enough new growth the hops are trained. The training date is very critical and varies depending on the variety. The training date is important because if you train to early you run the risk of early bloom. This can lead to inconsistent maturity at harvest. If you train too late you run the risk of not maximizing yield. Training starts in the Yakima Valley in late April/early May and concludes by the end of May.
The El Dorado field shown here was trained on May 25th. Between the time of my pictures below and the training date 36 days had passed. It is now June 30th and most of the hop bines have climbed the 18’ trellis. Hops are phototropic (light) and thigmotropic (touch), so this causes them plant to climb the twine in a clockwise formation as they follow the sun.
The plant grows vegetatively with longer day length, so when the summer solstice came around (June 21st) and the days get shorter, the plant is triggered to start growing reproductively. This doesn’t mean that all vegetative growth has stopped though; the plant will now produce lateral bines through the month of July. The lateral bines are where the cones will form. At this time, there are only a few plants with any bloom. The blooms on a hop plant are referred to as burrs and they are pictured below.
Note on field work: the growers are currently irrigating and fertilizing frequently. They have been fighting some powdery mildew pressure and aphid presence to this point and have field crews scouting every week to determine when treatment is necessary. Spider mite populations are starting to increase with increased temperatures.
It is with profound sadness that we need to pass on some news regarding the passing of our friend and business partner Peter Simpson. Peter always put his customers first and we will miss his infectious charm, high energy, and deep appreciation and passion for good malt.
Peter passed away peacefully on May 20th following a short battle with cancer.
From Simpsons website read here.