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Ask a Brewer: Central State's Josh Hambright and Chris Bly


Central State's Chris Bly, Josh Hambright and Jake Koeneman.
  • Central State's Chris Bly, Josh Hambright and Jake Koeneman.
This week, we’re bringing you a super-sized edition of Ask a Brewer, thanks to two of the brewers at Central State. Josh Hambright and Chris Bly are the brewing arm of the newly-opened Central State Brewing. In celebration of their launch and the tapping of their first beer, they’re taking over for a hefty dose of advice-giving.

I just had a good waft of my latest batch, and for some reason, the whole thing smells exactly like band-aids. Not great. What went wrong?

Josh Hambright: Thats a bummer for sure. Sounds like you have a batch with some nasty Phenols. Phenols are compounds found in all beers, they are found naturally in grains and hops and can also be produced by yeast when it metabolizes certain compounds and in certain conditions. Many phenols are actually very desirable in beer, for example 4-vinyl guaiacol is what gives Hefes their classic clove flavor, the pepper and clove characters in saisons are thanks to phenols, and the barnyard funk that Brettanomyces is famous for creating in beers like Lambic is caused by 4-ethyl phenol. However there are some phenols you definitely want to avoid in beer and you found one of them. My first suggestion would be to check your water. If you're using tap water, chances are it contains Chlorine or Chloramine, yeast will eat these compounds and produce chlorophenols. The human palate is very sensitive to these compounds and can detect them down to parts per billion in a solution. Chlorophenols are often described as medicinal, plastic like or smelling like band-aids. Consider brewing with bottled water (buy the refillable jugs from the grocery store and just keep reusing them) or you can run your brewing water through a charcoal filter to strip out the offending chemicals. The other source of chlorophenols could be your sanitizer. If you're using a chlorine based chemical like bleach to clean or sanitize and aren't rinsing it off completely then you'll be getting chlorine in your beer. In that case consider switching to a product like Star-San or Iodophor which are no-rinse sanitizers. And speaking of sanitation, the other cause could be wild yeast getting into your batch and producing their own weird phenol character, so check your sanitation practices and make sure you aren't getting contaminated some how.

Colts chose a WR over Malcolm Brown? What the fuck? What are we going to do now?

JH: Funny story, I was on the Robotics Team in high school after quitting football after 2 weeks because I didn't like running till I puked, haven't paid much attention since then. So instead I'll turn this over to Chris Bly who is one of my partners at Central State and gives many more fucks about sports balls than I do and let him answer. Take it away Chris:

Chris Bly: Oh man, I was a non-ball sports kind of guy back in the day. More likely to break something than I was to do something positive. I try and pay some attention to the draft and all, but for the most part every Sunday I just enjoy the background noise and excuses to create artery-destroying food creations. So, the thing about Grigson that really strikes me is that to this point, he's had one no-brainer pick (Luck), and then a whole bunch of high picks that appear to be of some questionable quality. Problem is, they keep winning. Completely destroys any narrative of a bad GM doing bad GM things to make his team on the field bad. So now we either have a situation where he's making sneaky good picks and free agent signings that are building a team around their franchise cornerstone, or we have a GM who is continuing to field a winning team despite his best (or worst?) efforts to fuck up the whole thing. You can only call a successful idiot an idiot for so long until you realize that success probably qualifies them for non-idiot status. And non-idiot status seems to go a long way these days!

Are grand gestures ever necessary to keep romance alive? My wife says that once in a while, a man should get creative and do something big and bold, but I think consistent small gestures are the best (flowers, notes on occasion). What do you think?

JH: Human beings all have different "love languages" that they use to communicate love, some people want big bold gestures, some people want physical touch to reinforce their love, some want gifts and things bought for them, some just want to hear or read nice things from their S/O, some want actions like help around the house. It’s easy for us to assume that what we find is our love language to be the same for our S/O and it’s usually the one that comes easiest to us, however it’s important to figure out what language they use for love so that you can communicate properly. If your wife wants something big and bold to help her feel loved than that's what you have to give her. You can’t speak to her in your language if she doesn't understand it, you have to speak her love language. So go do something big and crazy. Hire a sky writer and get "HEY BOO YOU'RE MY NUMBER ONE AND I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD" written over the state fair at the precise moment that you guys get stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel (because you bribed that carny that has small hands and smells like cabbage to stop the ride while you're up there) and suddenly BAM! you pull a puppy and a dozen roses out of your back pocket and then BOOM! FIREWORKS you got a buddy to set up in the parking lot start going off. Or whatever floats your boat and you come up with, my idea is probably really expensive because sky writers probably charge by the letter or something and this requires precise timing that only really happens in the movies. For reals though, the best relationship advice I can give anyone is to figure out what your S/O needs to feel loved and do that, if she's telling you that’s what she wants, it’s not code for “No, don’t do this.” It’s what she wants.


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