Larsblog

Brewing raw ale in Hornindal

I tried a Hornindal raw ale at a tasting with friends, and was blown away, for two reasons. The first was that the flavour was nearly indescribable. The second was that it was so good! The consensus was that it felt like a step up from the Cantillon we had before it, and the top-notch Belgian we had after it felt like a step back down. So this really was a world class beer, fit to compete with just about anything. ...

Read | 2015-12-26 11:35 | 17 comment(s)

Telemark: the world of yesterday

Driving through the pass after Notodden, I could see the landscape changing. The hills had given way to real mountains with snow on their caps. It was the last day of May, and the fresh snow was almost blindingly white in the sunshine. I was leaving flat, prosperous eastern Norway for the mountainous region of Upper Telemark, a part of the country that used to be quite remote. ...

Read | 2015-12-01 16:35 | 0 comment(s)

Traditional malting in Morgedal

The guys I visited in Morgedal were definitely brewing traditional farmhouse beer, but they bought the malts. I'd read a lot about the old techniques for malting, but hardly ever seen any of the old malting equipment. So before going to Telemark I'd tried calling various museums to see if they had anything I could look at. That didn't really lead to anything, and I told Terje and Halvor about how disappointed I was. Terje then offered to show me his malt house, because there's one still standing on his farm. ...

Read | 2015-11-21 13:09 | 1 comment(s)

Brewing in Morgedal

The farmhouse survey showed that brewing in Telemark was still alive in the 1950s, but for a long time I thought it had died out. Then I found a video from the 1980s showing a recreation of farmhouse brewing. And then, on Facebook, I found something called "Morgedal susle og ølbryggarlag". In other words, Morgedal brewing association. Their photos of steaming wood-fired kettles full of juniper left no doubt: farmhouse brewing was still alive. So to learn what was going on and how they were brewing I contacted them via Facebook and invited myself to come and brew with them. ...

Read | 2015-10-29 14:00 | 4 comment(s)

The Saccharomyces family

The series on yeast taxonomy now ends with a post on the various species in the Saccharomyces family. If you don't know what a genus is, or what, exactly, Saccharomyces is, read the first post in the series. The family contains two members most people know very well, and then a whole series of lesser-known members. ...

Read | 2015-10-17 12:19 | 13 comment(s)

How hops prevent infection

The increasingly inaccurately named series on yeast terminology continues with a post diving into how, exactly, hops prevent bacteria from infecting beer. I realize now I should have called it "the microbiology of beer," but too late. Anyway, in essence, bacteria can't handle alpha acid, and the IBU scale measures the amount of alpha acid in the beer, so higher IBU = more bacterial resistance. It's the details of how this happens that is interesting, however. ...

Read | 2015-09-18 14:43 | 6 comment(s)

Yeast terminology, part 2: bacteria

We continue the series on the family tree of yeast with a post on bacteria. As I explained in the first post, bacteria are very different from yeast, but they are still important in beer. (Yes, I should have thought of a better title while I was still doing part 1. Ah well.) ...

Read | 2015-09-05 15:28 | 3 comment(s)

Yeast terminology, part 1

I was asked to explain the family trees of yeast and since not much has been written on this I figured I'd give it a go. Before we get to the actual family tree, let's start by clearing up some terminology. ...

Read | 2015-08-27 18:54 | 1 comment(s)

Danish farmhouse ale

Danish farmhouse brewing appears to be almost entirely dead today, but it was once thriving all over Denmark, and it died fairly recently. Apart from one very brief summary hidden in a Danish dialect dictionary I don't know of any attempt at a comprehensive description of this brewing culture. So when I discovered that extensive ethnographic surveys of Danish farmhouse brewing existed in two places in Copenhagen I spent three days photographing 126 separate responses in order to get a picture of Danish farmhouse ale. ...

Read | 2015-08-16 12:35 | 6 comment(s)

Raw ale

The topic for the session #100 is "resurrecting lost beer styles". I decided to choose what is very likely the biggest beer style you've never heard of: raw ale. It's not even a single style, but a whole group of beer styles, all of which share one characteristic: the wort is never boiled. Strictly speaking raw ale neither dead nor lost, but it's still in need of a ressurection. Because even though these beers are spread over a wide area, and historically have been extremely important, hardly anyone has ever heard of them. ...

Read | 2015-06-05 09:42 | 19 comment(s)

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