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09-01-06

Tommyknocker Butt Head Beer Review

09-01-06It is getting close to fall and that means Bock season. Here in Lubbock we had a dip in temperatures over the past week from the high 90s to the high 80s to low 90s, and yes, you can feel the difference here. So I went down to the six pack store and decided I wanted something drinkable and had a lot of flavor. I saw Tommyknockers Butt Head Dopple Bock and grabbed it. First off, I’m a big fan of Bocks, Dopple Bocks, and the one Triple Bock I had I also enjoyed. Secondly, the name of the beer is Butt Head. Why wouldn’t I buy it?

09-01-02When I got home I chilled it down in the fridge overnight and I had it last night after dinner. Upon opening a sweet caramel smell leaked out all over. It was wonderful. After closer inspection, there was a bit of alcohol on the nose behind all of that sweet malt.

It pours a brown to ruby color and had a brownish head with it as well. I usually expect a bock to be crystal clear, being that lagers generally are, but this was slightly hazy. There was also some sediment which I can only assume was some yeast. Being a homebrewer that doesn’t bother me at all, but you generally don’t see sediment on a commercially brewed lager.

09-01-04On my first taste I noticed the malt all over the place. It was sweet, with a slight hop flavor on the back end, but not much. As a bock should be, it was very crisp and had those lovely bubble on the front of the tongue.  As the beer warms up the heat in it becomes more and more noticeable, but that’s not a bad thing. It left a pleasant aftertaste in my mouth that made me want more.

The mouthfeel was a bit thick, almost creamy. It was very smooth and went down easily. For beer that comes in at 8.2% ABV I would expect it to be a bit thicker in the mouthfeel. But man, did I enjoy this beer. It was super drinkable and just a wonderful addition to my taste buds.

A few other notes I jotted down. There is a lot of heat on this, so you really can’t drink too many of them. There is a nice layer of head that last through the whole drink. I don’t know why but I like that quality in a beer. The sediment I talked about earilier was a bit strange. Strange enough to have me comment about it twice. And my final note is that this beer gets more and more enjoyable as it warms up. I would suggest getting a sixer of this if you have the chance. I think most would enjoy it.

09-01-05

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Yeast

While there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different classifications for beer, they all come from one of two starting points. You either have an Ale or Lager. As a general rule, most macrobrews are lagers while microbrews are ales. We will get into why that is in just a bit.

So what is yeast?

Yeast is a single cell organism that eats sugar. When it eats (ferments) sugar it gives off three by-products; carbon dioxide (CO2), alcohol, and heat. This is why we use it for brewing, without yeast, we would have a grainy, sugary drink that didn’t make us feel very good (or as good as a drink with alcohol can).

Ale vs. Lager

As I said before, everything boils down to the type of yeast you use; lager or ale. An ale refers to a yeast that ferments on the top of the fermenter and will function from 60-76 degrees or so. If it gets any colder than 55 degrees, the yeast will go dormant and stop fermenting. Ales can ferment in 3-7 days depending on the sugar available. Generally ale yeast give you a higher alcohol concentration. Ales also give off a fruity ester flavor that is desirable for some types of beer.

A lager on the other hand is a bottom fermenting yeast and functions at colder temperatures (40-55 degrees). It tends to give a crisper beer, but also takes longer to complete. It can take as long as month and a half. Lagers are much lighter in body and tend to be harder to make. A lager does not give off the esters of an ale, and therefore, it can be easier to detect when something goes wrong.

My choices for homebrew

Luckily homebrew shops offer a huge variety of yeast. Some cultures are specially made to give special tastes. A hefeweizen yeast will often give a bananna flavor to the beer. The yeast also come in several different forms. The first is dry yeast. Dry yeast is freeze-dried yeast cells that are very cheap. You must rehydrate the yeast in order to give it a proper chance at life. Another problem is that it can become easily infected and cannot be used on multiple batches.

The other option is liquid yeast. These generally come in two forms, The first is a smack pack. There is a bag within the outer bag that hold yeast nutrient. When you smack the bag, you release the nutrient and the yeast start feeding and multiplying. It is an effective means of generating healthy yeast growth.

The other liquid yeast can be found in vials (pictured at the beginning of this article). It is basically a vial of dormant yeast cells that need to be grown a bit to get proper pitching rates. Liquid yeast is the way to go if you want to make several beers using the same type of yeast. It is reusable. The only real downside is the upfront cost. Dry yeast can be found for around a dollar, where liquid yeasts cost at least $6. But you get a better pitching rate and it can be used over and over again.

I’ll explain what I mean by some of these terms more indepth next week.

A little background

If you haven’t read the About Us page yet, I suggest you go on over and start that. If you have, and want to know more, then here is the post for you. My name is Nate and I am the tech/internet savy person who started this site, Pete was an afterthought. I got my inception to beer a couple of years ago and haven’t grown tired of the stuff yet. I’ve enjoyed making trips out to different bars, breweries, and 6-pack stores trying to sample as much as I can. And no, I’m not the snobby beer drinking who asks of little sample glasses and leaves when I’m at the bar (you know who you are).

I drink my beers fully by the glass, 6-pack, or case. I love drinking beer, but I have also gotten into homebrewing. This site will be a mix of beer reviews, homebrew, and beer culture. I’ve been homebrewing for two and a half years or so, mostly on the Mr. Beer setup. This last summer I finally converted over and got the 7.5 gal plastic buckets and all of the other necessary things. I’ve made everything, good and bad, from stouts, lagers, IPAs, Red Ales, and even a cider. I am getting ready to make my jump into all grain. So with that, my introduction is done. Think what you may, but I’m having a great time trying new stuff and creating some concoctions of my own.