Thursday, February 19, 2009

HB 2461

The Oregon Brewer's Guild is opposed, and frankly, so am I.

Not only would this be the single largest beer tax increase in the history of the world (increasing the excise tax on a barrel from 3 bucks to over 50 bucks, and the price of a pint by a buck and a half), but it would probably hurt an industry that has already done so much for the State's economy.

As I'm writing this, I have no idea what the Oregon demand curve for beer looks like.  But let's assume that it exhibits unit elasticity.  When the cost of a pint of beer increases by $1.50 (about 40%, assuming a typical pint costs about 4 bucks), the demand for pints will correspondingly drop by, you guessed it, 40 percent.  And if 40 percent of the Oregon population are beer drinkers, this is real revenue LOSS, not gain.  

Now imagine a relatively elastic demand curve, and the revenues decline further.  

Without seeing Ben Cannon's (the sponsor of the bill) analysis, I can only speculate, but it seems that they're hoping that consumption will not be curtailed too much, so that tax receipts can come in big.  However, in order for the demand to be inelastic (what Ben's assuming), there need to be no close substitutes for beer.  I'm thinking of wine (which I'm assuming Ben drinks a lot of), spirits, beer in Washington, beer in California, and the most important of all, homebrewing.  

Is prevention for alcohol and substance abuse important (to which the tax receipts will go)?  Hell yes.  But this tax increase (including its timing and magnitude) is really troubling me.  I'd rather have income taxes increase a little bit (the principle here being that everyone benefits from reducing the number of drunk drug addicts), than have responsible beer drinkers, and the craft beer industry, fit the bill.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Electric Brew Vision

The vision:
Boil Keg, Counter Flow Chiller, Pump, Drain Sink, Hot and Cold Water hookups, hose, electronic controller for pump, fan, boil kettle, (MT, HLT). not to scale.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Well, self-aware beerie and foodie that I am, I apparently cannot leave well enough alone, so Q6 is similar to Amarillo in the Morning (which I have never made exactly), but different.

4 lbs Briess Light Malt Extract Golden Light
3 lbs Briess light Malt Extract Pilsen Light

Steep 8 oz Dextrine Malt Cara - Pils and 8 oz American Crystal 60L for 45 minutes (or so)

Start Boil, add Malt Extract and hops as follows
1 oz Amarillo 60 min
1 oz Norther Brewer 40 min
1 oz Amarillos 20 Min
2 oz Amarillo 5 min

Let's see how it goes....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Electric Brewery

I didn't want to start a post without a pic but i can't resist. I 'll add pics later.
I've chosen to go the electric brewery route. It's well documented on the internet but requires some electrical know-how. To this point I have welded a stainless keg with three threaded fittings; 1 for the electric heater, 1 for the thermometer and 1 for a ball valve. The welds are not pretty, as this was my first try at welding stainless but after a few attempts they are water tight. The control box has been a challenge and a fun project. I am about 80% done with it. It will be able to handle a HLT, mash and boil. I thought i had a 220 60Amp circuit available but that was for the hot tub. So i am left with a 30 amp circuit from the sauna. If i need multiple elements for the HLT, mash and boil, I may upgrade it to 60amp or use the dryer circuit which is also 30A.
As always, i couldn't wait for the control box to be finished before i tested the electric element out. So i filled the boil keg with approx 7 gallons of cold water and wired it up. I was nervous but very excited. This is 220V 30Amp circuit that i am working from. I plugged in the unit and stood back. Instantly i could see the water moving as the element heated up the water around it. There was a low sound that emanated from the unit. I was really curious at the temperature / time curve. I plotted a few points: at 15min / 150, at 25 mins 190, at 40 mins rolling boil. I did not take the temp of the water that i started with but it was cold water.
Next steps: Ducting for the exhaust fan for moisture, finish the control box, some plumbing and build a stand. pics to follow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

KLCC Eugene Brew Fest

So, occasionally I take side gigs, as long as they are with good people playing good music. It's fun, keeps me on my toes, and if it's at a brew fest, well, that's a no brainer. So, I played with Ashleigh Flynn at the Eugene Brewfest last Friday. The highlights, of course, were the Pelican and Ninkasi booths. Pelican had and IPA that was the best I tasted, and a stout that was the only one I tasted, but was great. Ninkasi's beer of note was Spring Reign, a hoppy pale ale that starts out malt forward and has a refreshing hop finish. It's on the lighter side (compared to 8 percent double IPA's anyway), so it's also right in line with the beer I would like to perfect but have yet to. (I think I have everything but the malt finish down pretty good) Check back later.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Getting There...

Most recent work completed on RIMS brewery project:

1.  Painted stand glossy black
2.  Built galvanized sheet metal hood over stand, fastened to ceiling.
3.  Pinned in the gas line assembly with valves (still waiting for adaptors.  sigh.)

Need two electrical socket boxes wired in area, plus water and gas line feeds.  

Getting there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009