I’m always looking for a way to keep my homebrew at an optimal temperature while fermenting, but I’ve never given a ton of consideration to the drinking temperature. I usually pull a beer out of the fridge and let it warm over time. The problem is that different beers will greatly suffer from getting too warm. The same goes for beers getting too cold.
There are a lot of solutions to this problem but I keep coming back to the beer koozie. A koozie is basically an insulator for your beer that keeps the heat of your hand out, and the temperature of your beer in. There are some fun definitions that can be found about it here. There was even a study about it, really. I’ve recently started using these to keep my beers at a consistent temperature for reviews but I’m suck with a problem. Most beer koozies are branded with logos and products that I don’t support or believe in. I once received a Bud Light koozie for purchasing a few 750 ml bottles of Belgian beer. Odd, it was.
So I’ve been on the search for craft koozies and I think I found one. Expressimprint.com offers blank koozies that you can place your own designs and text on. I did one for this site as seen below while wasting time not doing grad work.
The nice thing about Express Imprint is that they have a very low minimum quantity for orders. Usually custom printing places require company sized orders, not personal sized ones. I plan on ordering a few for our annual family picnic. My family will dig it and I get to keep their cheap beer from getting warm and undrinkable. It’s a win-win.
In college I took a lot of classes centered around printing. One of my favorite style of printing is block printing. It’s simple, cheap, and has some really nice looking results. For my block printing I purchased the Speedball Super Value Block Printing Starter Kit (not ad linked). The basic idea is that you have a soft block of material where you carve away material that you don’t want to be printed and keep the material that you want.
I started by designing a logo in Inkscape for my beer. I then printed it out onto normal paper. Some use transfer paper, but normal paper works just fine. I then colored the printed areas with a pencil. I then put the logo, pencil side down, on the block and pushed over the whole thing. What this does is transfer the pencil marks to the block in a reversed fashion. You need to do this because the image will come out reversed when printing. I think took a sharpie and traced the outline of what was transferred. It looked like the image below.
Once this is done you need to carve away everything that you do not want printed. The kit linked above comes with three different sizes of cutting tools for different levels of detail. You next need to place ink in a pan and spread it with your roller. The roller will be used to transfer the ink to the block. You should head a sticky sound to know that you have the proper amount of ink on your roller.
You can then roll your ink onto the block. The same sticky sound should be audible and the ink should have the texture of an orange. Some other areas will get ink on them but they will not show up if the paper is pressed properly. Finally you take paper and push it onto the block. A rolling pin or beer bottle helps with even distribution. The results of my work are shown below.
I cut them out and glued them to my bottles and I have a nice looking, custom logo. I save the blocks in case I ever want to make the same style of beer again. It’s super fun and very easy.
If you were not aware, today was the start of American Craft Beer Week. This is the seventh year of the week and there are thousands of events in all 50 states scheduled. Check out CraftBeer.com for all of the events.
Speaking of CraftBeer.com they have a great craft beer quiz to take in celebration of this week. I scored an 80% FYI. Are you doing anything for the week? Personally, I don’t have any big plans but I am hoping to brew at some points. I kind of wish that they week had a bit more of the weekend, i.e Sunday. I know that I have been slacking on review these past two weeks but I will rectify that situation later this week with a bunch of new reviews. Thanks as always for visiting the site and let me know if you have anything fun planned for ACBW.
I found this while browsing the web today and I thought that I should share it. The file size to too big to put on the main page but you can click here to view it.
I’ve explained in the past my views on beer rating and why there is not “rating system” on this site, but I do want to find a better way to review beers and understand them. Why are all IPAs not created equal and what makes one better then another even if they use the same recipe? Some of these questions can be answered through homebrew knowledge but it does lead to an interesting set of research. For the most part most beer reviews follow the path below:
I generally follow this as well with the addition of some background on the brewery and/or beer. I’ve been reading Moneyball recently and it has me thinking about beer. The general preface behind Moneyball is that the “typical” ballplayer may not be the best person for the position and that the scouting system is out of wack. Regardless if you buy into the idea (it’s had mixed results) it takes on an interesting flavor when you look at it through a beer lens.
Out of all of the beer rating sites out there, not one of them can match a beer with another beer that you would also like reliably. There are a number of apps out there at that attempt to do this, but they have mixed results at best. It shouldn’t be terribly hard to come up with some hard stats on beers and find other similar beers that match, but for some reason, no one has done it yet. In Moneyball the author talks about batting average and errors being overrated statistics and that the only thing that really matters in on base percentage. The book argues that you can look at batting average, but you need to get on base in order to score. Some players might not have a great batting average but they get a ton of walks, which raises their on base percentage and therefore value.
What stats do we look at in beer that tell us about the beers we love? And what stats are overrated? We have the basics of ABV (measure of alcohol), IBUs (measure of bitterness), SRM (measure of colors), and others, but which ones really matter? Which ones haven’t we discovered yet?
We need to take a look at how beers are rated and what we are actually rating in order to get a better understanding of what makes a great beer. I can taste a beer and tell you if it is good or not, but I would like to put a bit more “science” into it. If we understood the stats to make a beer great, then we could more easily find similar beers that we like. We could also find deeper connections between beers and find the different pathways through which we discover craft beer. For instance, why do most people dig IPAs right out of the gate? I don’t have any answers to the questions I pose, but I think we should be considering them. Do you have any thoughts on ways to better view beers?