About MD

I enjoy beer and fishing, not always in that order.

the alchemy of FWH

FWH Mittelfruh

“Despite increased bitterness, the tasting panel described the first wort-hopped beers as more pleasant tasting and overwhelmingly preferred them. Gas chromatographic analysis indicated the conventionally hopped beers contained a higher level of hop aroma substances … but panelists nonetheless described the first wort-hopped beers as having a very fine and rounded hop aroma and rounded hop flavor.”

Stan Hieronymous, For the Love of Hops

Sweeney Astray Irish Red Lager

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Citizens, I’ve had pints (many pints, if we’re being honest) of Caffrey’s and Smithwick’s in front of peaty turf fires an empty pint glass’s throw from the north Atlantic, but this is not going to be about peaty turf fires and Caffrey’s and Smithwick’s and throwing pint glasses. Mostly. Continue reading

Svetlé 12°

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Decoction is a meandering path to take to arrive at a beer; you can get a fermentable wort (not the same wort, though) into the boiler with less time and effort, but I think it’s safe to say that for most homebrewers, this whole thing we do is about the journey at least as much as it is the destination. Continue reading

prep day: nerds up, temps down

Czech pilsner: the OG single malt-single hop beer. It’s caramelly, it’s malty, it’s hoppy, it’s a lager but it’s got some yeast character; it’s demanding to brew but it’s so, so easy to drink. It’s been too long since I’ve made one. Continue reading

feels like the first time

self portrait with Secession

The recent opportunity to try Westvleteren 12 (thanks, David!) got me thinking: what makes a beer memorable? There are objectively great, world-class, special occasion beers – like the Westy – and then there are your personal favorites, and the overlap (or lack thereof) is interesting. Continue reading

book report: Dave Miller’s “Brew Like a Pro”

I like Dave Miller. His Homebrewing Guide was the technical manual in the mid-90s and the book that ushered me into all-grain and kegging. He had previously written a number of other books, some of them for what would eventually become Brewers Publications. Then, like many others, became a homebrewer who went pro.

That was more or less the last we heard from Dave in print for a while, until last year’s Brew Like a Pro. Mr. Miller has retired as a pro brewmaster and once again taken up the small spoon; this book is, in his words, “a field report of my reentry into homebrewing.” Continue reading