Brewery Logo

My sister is a designer. I’ve been asking her to design a logo for my brewery for a few years. I provided no suggestions or assistance and I’m not offering her any money or other compensation, so I understand why it took awhile. But I now have two color variation versions of a logo.


Old Koehler Brewery Signs

My parents recently drove down to Nashville to visit and brought these old Koehler Brewey signs with them. I’m pretty sure they came from my Grandpa Koehler, but I don’t remember how he got them. I need to ask my Dad or my Grandpa.

I’ve been receiving comments from people related to the old Koehler Brewery in Erie on the About the Brewery page. I don’t think my family is related to the brewery except in name, but I do like to see old Koehler Brewery stuff.

Koehler's - There's no better beer!

Jackson Koehler Brewery Erie, Pa.

Brewery Upgrade

The Koehler Brewery has undergone a series of upgrades. Get your pants on, this is serious business.

(1) I purchased the domain name. Now you can save yourself from having to type wordpress. before you type That’s an amazing 40% fewer characters.

(2) I setup a Google Apps account for my new domain. That means I have up to 50 email accounts The public outcry for Koehler Beer email accounts makes me wonder why no one previously registered the domain. If you too are salivating over the idea of a shiny new Koehler Beer email account, ask away.

(3) I purchased a new More Beer 15 Gallon Heavy Duty Modified Kettle on sale from the Big Give Back. It’s monsterous and has a far heavier bottom than the 10 Gallon PolarWare Kettle I was using previously. The PolarWare has turned into a hot liquor tank.

(4) Along with the new kettle, I bought a new 50′ immersion chiller, also on sale from the Big Give Back. The old chiller has become a pre-chiller that will go in an ice bath to finish off cooling with a bang.

I Am A Craft Brewer

“I Am A Craft Brewer” is a collaborative video representing the camaraderie, character and integrity of the American Craft Brewing movement. Created by Greg Koch, CEO of the Stone Brewing Co. and Chris & Jared of Redtail Media…and more than 35 amazing craft brewers from all over the country. The video was shown to a packed audience of 1700 craft brewers and industry members at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference as an introduction to Greg’s Keynote Speech entitled “Be Remarkable: Collaboration Ethics Camaraderie Passion.”

A program is in development to include even more of America’s amazing craft brewers. Please stay tuned!

Legal Drinking Age Map

Legal Drinking Age

More beer related maps via Jimmy.

GABF Medals Map

GABF Medal Map

Thanks to Jimmy for sending me this map, and thanks to whoever made it – check the link at the bottom of the map.

Tennessee did alright. One of the better beer places in the Southeast.

It’s been too long. Let’s get this blog rolling again.

Hop Growth Update

The hops just keep growing. The largest plant is now one of the Cascades which overtook the Centennials this past week. It is almost 10 feet tall. The other plants are between 7 and 8 feet tall, except for the second Cascade plant which is just barely 5 feet tall. I’ve got 2 Cascade plants; one of them is the largest and one of them is the smallest. I wish I knew why.

Both the Cascades and Centennials have begun to sprout hop cones. They look like little spiky shower heads. The Cascades are definitely ahead in terms of the number of cones. The largest plant has at least 100 of these things on it, which I hope means an abundant harvest. No cones on the Newports at all and the very beginnings of some cones on the Willamettes.

One more developing cone picture, this time on a Centennial.

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Hop Shortage Ideas

With the ongoing hop shortage people are looking for other ways to bitter their beer.  Here’s an interesting idea from the East Germans as documented in the New York Times back in 1991.

“They convinced us that to be competitive, we had to brew under the German beer purity law,” Mr. Funk said. “And they created marketing and advertising concepts for our products. Before unity we used to put cattle bile in our beer to give it the bitter flavor of hops, which we couldn’t always get.” The brewery now spends $533,333 annually on advertising, compared with $6,666 under Communism.

Cattle bile does sound bitter.

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Rehydrating Dry Yeast with Dr. Clayton Cone

I came across this Q&A exchange between Dan Listermann and Dr. Clayton Cone regarding the proper rehydration of dry yeast and thought I would post it here. I haven’t had time to do any of the tests I want to do comparing dry yeast and liquid yeast, but I will certainly incorporate a comparison of rehydrated yeast and yeast sprinkled directly on the wort.


From: Dan Listermann
Subject: Yeast Hydration, Infusion Mashing and England

My question to Dr. Cone regards yeast rehydration. All the packages of
yeast contain instructions for rehydration yet they all ferment just fine
without it. I have to believe that such a procedure may be theoretically
beneficial, however it would seem to be margionally usefull at least on a
homebrew scale.

I own a home brew shop and a very common phone call is the ” My beer is not
fermenting.” problem. I go through the list of potential causes ( plastic
bucket lid leaks, too cold, ect.) About twice a week the caller will
indicate that he rehydreated the yeast. This is a strong signal that the
yeast has been damaged and will need to be replaced. I have come to the
conclusion that, since rehydration is not necessary to ferment beer
properly and there is a strong chance that the yeast will be damaged in a
botched rehydration, it is not desirable to recommend such a proceedure.
Just how important is rehydration and is it worth the risk?

Dan Listermann dan at 72723.1707 at


I appreciate your dilemma It is a universal problem for those that market
Active Dry Yeast.

Let me give you some facts regarding rehydration and you can decide for
yourself where you want to compromise.
Every strain of yeast has its own optimum rehydration temperature. All of
them range between 95 F to 105F. Most of them closer to 105F. The dried
yeast cell wall is fragile and it is the first few minutes (possibly
seconds) of rehydration that the warm temperature is critical while it is
reconstituting its cell wall structure.

As you drop the initial temperature of the water from 95 to 85 or 75 or 65F
the yeast leached out more and more of its insides damaging the each cell.
The yeast viability also drops proportionally. At 95 – 105 F, there is
100% recovery of the viable dry yeast. At 60F, there can be as much as 60%
dead cells.

The water should be tap water with the normal amount of hardness present.
The hardness is essential for good recovery. 250 -500 ppm hardness is
ideal. This means that deionized or distilled water should not be used.
Ideally, the warm rehydration water should contain about 0.5 – 1.0% yeast

For the initial few minutes (perhaps seconds) of rehydration, the yeast
cell wall cannot differentiate what passes through the wall. Toxic
materials like sprays, hops, SO2 and sugars in high levels, that the yeast
normally can selectively keep from passing through its cell wall rush right
in and seriously damage the cells. The moment that the cell wall is
properly reconstituted, the yeast can then regulate what goes in and out of
the cell. That is why we hesitate to recommend rehydration in wort or
must. Very dilute wort seems to be OK.

We recommend that the rehydrated yeast be added to the wort within 30
minutes. We have built into each cell a large amount of glycogen and
trehalose that give the yeast a burst of energy to kick off the growth
cycle when it is in the wort. It is quickly used up if the yeast is
rehydrated for more than 30 minutes. There is no damage done here if it is
not immediatly add to the wort. You just do not get the added benefit of
that sudden burst of energy. We also recommend that you attemperate the
rehydrated yeast to with in 15F of the wort before adding to the wort.
Warm yeast into a cold wort will cause many of the yeast to produce petite
mutants that will never grow or ferment properly and will cause them to
produce H2S. The attemperation can take place over a very brief period by
adding, in encrements, a small amount of the cooler wort to the rehydrated

Many times we find that warm water is added to a very cold container that
drops the rehydrating water below the desired temperature.

Sometimes refrigerated, very cold, dry yeast is added directly to the warm
water with out giving it time to come to room temperature. The initial
water intering the cell is then cool.

How do many beer and wine makers have successful fermentations when they
ignore all the above? I believe that it is just a numbers game. Each gram
of Active Dry Yeast contains about 20 billion live yeast cells. If you
slightly damage the cells, they have a remarkable ability to recover in the
rich wort. If you kill 60% of the cell you still have 8 billion cells per
gram that can go on to do the job at a slower rate.

The manufacturer of Active Dry Beer Yeast would be remiss if they offered
rehydration instructions that were less than the very best that their data

One very important factor that the distributor and beer maker should keep
in mind is that Active Dry Yeast is dormant or inactive and not inert, so
keep refrigerated at all times. Do not store in a tin roofed warehouse
that becomes an oven or on a window sill that gets equally hot.

Active Dry Yeast looses about 20% of its activity in a year when it is
stored at 75 F and only 4% when refrigerated.

The above overview of rehydration should tell you that there is a very best
way to rehydrate. It should also tell you where you are safe in adapting
the rehydration procedure to fit your clients.

Clayton Cone.

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Hop Growth Update

The hops keep on growing. These are my two Centenntial plants in the foreground with two Newports behind them; behind the picture are two Willamette and two Cascade plants also in pots. The Centennials are out-pacing the other plants so far. They were the first to sprout and have been the fastest growers after sprouting. I also have a larger number of bines on the Centennials plants than I do on the others. I’m not sure why that is the case, but I assume it has something to do with the variety as I am basically treating all the plants the same.

One of the most common searches people use to find my blog is ‘growing hops in pots’, with people often trying to find the correct size of pot to use. I’ve got eight plants in two different size pots. The Centennial and Newport plants shown here are potted in 12″ plastic pots from the hardware store. The Willamettes and Cascades are planted in 16″ pots. I was originally only going to have the four 12″ pots, but ended up getting four more rhizomes to plant. I decided that bigger was better, and the 12″ pots were looking pretty small to me once I the rhizomes had started to sprout. From general reading about hop online, I suspect that even the 16″ pots are too small for the hops to grow to their full potential. I can only wait and see. This is my first year growing hops, so I certainly have things to learn.

I am using pots because I don’t have a place to grow the hops at home at the moment. My backyard is both too small and is sort of under construction at the moment. Once it’s all sorted out, I might be able to have a few plants there. So I have the hops growing at the office up the side of an old silo. They get lots of sun and have plenty of room above them to grow. Part of the deal is that I have to keep them in pots so that they are relatively contained and can be removed at the end of the season. This is fine with me as I’d like to take them home someday as well.

Since they are growing in pots and have relatively little soil for nutrients, I have been watering them daily with Miracle Grow solution. I use a 1 gallon water jug to water the 8 plants once a day, so each plant is getting about 1/8 of a gallon of Miracle Grow water per weekday plus whatever rain they get naturally. I’m not in the office on weekends, so they have to fend for themselves. I try to give them 2 waterings on Friday, but I generally forget in the rush to get home for the weekend. I might have to start watering them twice a day when they get bigger. I’ll be checking for any leaf damage or stunted growth to determine if they are lacking nutrients. I’m also considering switching to a bloom fertilizer once they plants stop growing foliage and start growing hop cones so that I can maximize production.

Again this is my first year growing hops, so take my processes with a grain of salt. So far, they seem to be working just fine, but I’ll not really know how successful I have been until the fall.

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