BYO Magazine December Issue

The Big Lagers! issue, huh? Well, we’ll have to see about that one . . .

 BYO Magazine December

Looks like BYO couldn’t hold up the good quality they were carrying last issue, they totally dropped the ball. I didn’t hit an article that held my attention until page 30, an article on chocolate malt. Don’t get me wrong, I read every page up until page 30, it was just either about topics I didn’t care for or non-informational. Anyway, the chocolate malt article was OK talking about the characteristics, how it is made, how to use it in a recipe and then how it is used in commercial examples. It was then followed by four clone recipes that included chocolate malt with two of them actually being about beers that are good: Alaskan Smoked Porter and Rogue Shakespeare Stout.  In the middle of the article was a great (and cheesy) ad for the Sabco Brew-Magic System with Sam Calagione from DFH. I still think it is amazing that DFH started on a ten gallon homebrew system, amazing!

Next was the main article about “reiterated mashing, multiple mashing for massive brews” by Chris Colby (my favorite 🙄 ). It’s funny, it is an interesting article to listen to what he does, but at the same time he writes as if it is a break through technique. It’s true, I may not have heard of anyone writing an article about it, but I have definitely thought about doing and have heard of others doing it on-line. The worst part is the timing of the article. He talks about using two or three+ mashes to make one massive beer, cool, but with the prices of beer ingredients about to go through the roof this is just ridiculous at this point, pure gluttony. A neat idea that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to “afford” to experiment with.

There was another article by Chris Colby ( 😕 ) a little bit later called Practical Porter. Didn’t I read this article in the November/December issue of Zymurgy? Whatever . . . anyway, he goes on to talk about more than the history which is what Zymurgy was really talking about. He talks about the differences of dark grains chocolate malt, black patent, roasted barley, and brown and what kind of attributes one can look for from each malt and how to use them while formulating a recipe. Then he goes on to talk way too long about water chemistry. I know it is important to brewing, but he could have wrapped it up in a paragraph not a page. One good thing that I think he stressed more than once is that the beer known as Porter covers a vast spectrum with a large “sweet spot” and it is really a beer that should be brewed to your liking and not so much to style guidelines, my style.

Later there was one of the few “Projects” articles that I thought was helpful. It was how to turn your immersion chiller (what I have) into a recirculating immersion chiller on the cheap, nice. I actually had this idea a long time ago and posted it on one of the beer boards I go on and it was well received, but I never followed through because of the price of the pump more than anything. Also, this is how Garrett chills his wort, but he uses the “more expensive” route with the hard-core march pumps. This is a similar set-up as I have discussed before, but with a cheap effective pump, he suggests a pond pump or sump pump. I think a pond pump could be the way to go, but I have never priced one out.

The mag ends on a fun little article that a guy sent in about making homemade root-beer.  I have always wanted to make homemade root-beer, I even have the ingredients down stairs, but I have always been hesitant because of the problem this guy ran into: bottle-bombs! Yikes! I had that problem once, with my fifth batch back in 2000 and it is something that still scares me. One day, one day . . .

2 Responses to “BYO Magazine December Issue”

  1. Garrett Says:

    BYO was definitely riding the shirt-tails of Zymurgy this month. I may have to re-think renewing my subscription… unless things improve.

  2. Brian Says:

    Bah, I renewed my subscription. For $20 it’s worth the reference most of the time, but it is sub-par to Zymurgy. I’m not quite sure why but it eats me up that Chris Colby is the editor and writes some of the biggest pieces for the magazine (two this month) and they really aren’t that good. I think HE needs an editor when he writes to stream-line his stuff. I’ve said it before, does this guy get paid by the word or something?

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