Saturday, September 19, 2015

10 Things You Should Know About Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest time again! "Fall beers" seem to hit the shelf and draft-lines earlier every year. I'm not going to moan and groan about that like everyone else.  There's a method to the madness and a little history behind it, but that's for another post and time. Here are 10 things you need to know to impress your friends or family with while celebrating another Oktoberfest! 

  1. Despite the name, Oktoberfest is celebrated in September. 
  2. Oktoberfest last 17 days, and can go until the first Sunday in October (German Unity Day / Reunification of Germany)
  3. Oktoberfest began October of 1810, as the celebration of the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities (fair, markets, and horse racing) held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the event. The decision to hold subsequent horse races the following year gave birth of the tradition we know as Oktoberfest! 
  4. The first beer served in glass mugs at Oktoberfest wasn't until 1892.
  5. Traditional Oktoberfestbier called Märzen, are lagers that are slowly fermented to 5-6% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). 
  6. German beer - Oktoberfestbier / Märzen began as a very dark colored lager until around 1870 when they began to lighten up to a copper color. The beer has since evolved to a light golden color more recently. 
  7. Märzen (German for March or March Beer) was typically brewed in March since a law in place that prevented the brewing of "new beer" in the warmer months.  This was largely due to health concerns and likely some batches that turned south in the warmer months. (Beer was forbidden to be brewed between April 24th - September 28th
  8. This Märzen - "March Beer" was kept in cool cellars and even some caves that were filled with ice and snow that was left over from the prior winter months. This helped condition and keep the beer viable during the warmer months. 
  9.  In celebration of being able to brew "new beer" again (starting September 29th), any surplus of the remaining Märzen / Oktoberfestbier was served aplenty at Oktoberfest and has become a staple of the 17 day event. 
  10. Oktoberfestbier is a registered trademark held by six big breweries in Munich, Germany. These six breweries are SpatenLöwenbräuAugustiner-BräuHofbräu-MünchenPaulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. According to the German Beer Institute, Oktoberfestbier  can only be brewed by the breweries in the city limits of Munich, Germany.  These are also the only breweries allowed to participate in the annual Munich Oktoberfest. All other beers brewed to emulate the original must be labeled Oktoberfest-style beer.

Acknowledgments and Sources
Charles Bamforth - Brewmasters Art
Michael Jackson - Birth of a Lager, Beer Hunter
German Beer Institute


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7 Things You Should Know Before You Get Into Brewing!

So you think you want to get into brewing beer? I totally recommend it, but there are a few things you need to know and do your homework about before making the addictive plunge! The list could be pages and pages deep, but here is a list of the top seven I think are important.

1. Brewing is 90% cleaning and sanitizing, 5% brewing, 4% bottling or kegging 1% Drinking. Take a second to think about that. 

2. A “Starter Kit” with extract is an ideal way to start your home brewing journey. Depending on if you start with a 1 gallon kit or a 5 gallon kit, you will need to have a few things that are not included in typical kits. 
  • A large enough brew kettle. You will need one that can hold and boil 3-5 gallons of water/wort.
  • Powerful enough stove or propane burner for boiling large volumes of water. Anywhere from  3 to 5 gallons of water is typical. You have to account for boil off,  hop / trub / protein coagulation, and the fallout after the boil. 
  • Palatable Drinkable water. You do want good beer don't you? Either a nice water filter or just purchasing a few gallon jugs of reverse-osmosis water.  

3. Brewing a batch (depending on size and efficacy) can take anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. Shorter times are estimated for one gallon extract batches while longer times are needed for all grain brewing. 

4. Yeast is your friend! Your kit should have come with some yeast. If not, you will need to get some brewing yeast before you can make beer. (Don’t use bread yeast.)Yeast is alive and needs to be treated with some respect. Before you brew, its recommended to keep it in the refrigerator and limit how long it sits. The longer it sit hinders the health and effectiveness of the yeast. On brew day, take it out of the fridge a few hours before it is going to be pitched (put into the wort to make beer). 

5. You will need some ice and a big enough sink or bathtub to place the boiling pot of wort into. After the boil, it is important to bring the temperature below 100 degrees as quick as you can. Some advanced brewers typically use a wort chiller or chiller plate, but since this might be your first time, a good cold bath and a little patience will go a long way. 

6. Brewing can get expensive. Not really the ingredients, but the equipment. A Basic set up can $300 to an elaborate set up for Thousands of dollars. The nice thing is you can add as you go and upgrade as you see fit. The value of the equipment seems to keep is value, so worst case, you could sell it to someone else looking to brew. Either way, you have been warned!  

7.  While it can be a little overwhelming, brewing beer is not that hard.  It can be as simple or as technical as you want it to be.  Realize that brewing was done several years prior to todays science. Think of it like brewing tea or coffee, just a lot more cleaning and sanitizing! Once you make the jump though... you might be hooked. Brewing can be very addictive!  

Feel free to share these tips with someone you know that might want to enter the beer brewing world. Thanks for reading.

Jimmy Batte 

    BatteCave Brewing Company

    Assistant Brewer Millie cleaning a fermenter
    The brewing community is a pretty unique community. It’s pretty laid back and everyone is willing to share there knowledge, insight, tools, and even a yeast strain when it comes down to it. Of course there are a few bad apples or exceptions but grossly, it’s a great community to be a part of. 

    My wife and daughter got me to take the plunge into the home brewing world a few years ago. They purchased a home brewing kit as a Fathers Day gift and I haven't looked back sense. After diving head first into this great hobby/profession (for some), several questions arose. Not far behind the questions were a myriad answers. Some answers the complete opposite of others but seem to get the same or better results. Thats the other nice thing about brewing, having options that work best and efficiently for you and your brewhouse setup. 

    My goal is not to re-invent the wheel but to share some knowledge in some short and sweet (not too scientific) post. Hopefully it can better serve the newbies as they enter this fun hobby or as a refresher to some that might be mash paddle deep already.


    Family Update 2015!

    Getting an opportunity to get back to blogging. As you can see it's been a little while... too long in fact. I'll be posting more consistently as we head into the Fall of 2015. Look forward to sharing what we've done and what we're up to now.

    On the Docket

    • My wife and I completed  T25 (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma) - Will be posting our review, tips, survival guide, and pics included. 
    • I started brewing beer over a year ago.. yay! Will be posting a good bit in regards to this venture.
    • Our little girl is three (time is flying!) She's into gymnastics and is our whole world! Will making some post as she has her own YouTube Channel (Millie's World).
    • My wife, Lauren is a school teacher (Elementry Edu. 3rd grade). She has developed The Handout Factory that helps teachers with educational materials ("handouts") to simply their lesson-planning,  teaching, and engage the students with a fun learning environment. She is an avid "Whole Brain" teacher. She contributes to Teachers Pay Teachers consistently and specializes in South Carolina History / Social Studies. Will provide a link to her spot on the web as soon as it's ready. 
    • Photography... I am still active in the photog community but I am not as social since ceasing the business. Will continue to share things on here however. 
    • Food... yeah, we still love food! Will continue to post some of the things we make and devour routinely! 
    • Periscope - Just downloaded this fun app and will be broadcasting some things as we go! Grab it if you haven't already!
    • And much more... consistently! 

    Cheers & Thanks for reading!

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