Friday, November 26, 2010


I saw the first episode of Brewmasters with Sam Calagione on the Discovery channel last week and was very impressed with the show.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I intentionally didn't read any reviews or watch any previews.  I have always been a big fan of Dogfish Head beer, and am about halfway through Sam's book: Brewing Up a Business. If you have some spare time, read this book. Even if you're not into beer,(Then why are you at this site?) it's a great book on entrepreneurship written by someone who doesn't come from the business school norm.

So back to the show. I thought it was fantastic. Not only does Sam do a nice job at explaining basic brewing processes throughout the show, it's funny and you do get a good chance to see the thought processes that go into making great beers. And so far it doesn't seem like they take themselves too seriously. Definitely not beer-snobs by any means.

You really couldn't find a better marketing tool for Dogfish Head than this show. Though it's a pseudo-reality show, I suppose you could also think of it as in infomercial. But not in a bad way. Throughout the entire show the viewer is educated about what it takes to create incredible craft beer. Quality ingredients for sure, but also equal amounts of enthusiasm, creativity, and fun. I think the show will really help build the brand and brand loyalty.

Lastly, considering the show was one big Dogfish Head commercial, I found it a bit ironic and sacrilegious that Blue Moon and Dos Equis ads were very prominent during commercial breaks. Sad that many consumers are going to see those ads and think that Blue Moon is a craft beer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cabernet Saison Update

I kegged my Cabernet Saison last weekend.  See the previous post about why on earth anyone would use Cabernet grape juice in beer, as well as how I went about doing it.  Though it still needs to finish carbonating and clearing a bit, it tastes awesome.

The Whitelabs Belgian Saison II yeast turned out to give off some very complex flavors.  There are absolute spice tones of clove and maybe a little pepper.  Surprising how a yeast can give off those flavors.  I used no spices in the beer.  The Cabernet grapes left very little actual grape flavor, but I do think gave the beer a bit of extra tartness.

I'm not exactly sure what the alcohol (ABV) ended up at, since I'm not sure if I did the calculation right. The problem is after I add the Cabernet juice to secondary, the gravity of course jumps back up and then continues to ferment for a couple weeks until complete.  So that throws off the calculations.  But I think I figured it out. Maybe a reader can check my work here:

My Original Gravity (OG):   1.058
Final Gravity after Primary Fermentation (Before adding Cabernet juice): 1.012
ABV: 6.0%

After adding Cabernet juice, gravity of beer = 1.018
Final gravity after fermentation with Cabernet juice= 1.011

So to calculate alcohol, I figured I should add the ABV resulting from the added juice to the first OG.
That would mean that the Cabernet juice contributed an extra .91% of ABV.  Added to the ABV from primary fermentation (6.0%) would equal total ABV of 6.91%  Right??  If anyone thinks different.  Please leave a comment.

Also, on a side note, I thought I was being real adventurous here with using the grapes in the beer.  I knew that there was a Sam Adams Longshot winner a couple years ago that did a Grape Pale Ale, and I've had Dogfish Head Midas Touch which I think also has grapes.  But then last week I had Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic 10.10.10.  It is made with Muscat, Sauvingon blanc, and Gewurtztraminer. And now I think I remember seeing a tweet that The Bruery got a shipment of Syrah grapes recently, so I'm assuming there should be a tasty ale with grapes coming from them soon too!!