How Many Beers Are In A Keg? And Other Conversions

This is something I had to memorize for the Advanced Cicerone exam so I figured, may as well make my own chart!

How Many Beers are in a Keg? A Barrel? A Batch?

I always hear brewers talking in “batch sizes,” bartenders talking in “pints,” and um…frat boys talking in cases. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize how all of these common beer phrases relate to each other.

I created this niffy little chart to make it easier (and also because I have to memorize it for the advanced Cicerone exam…)

Unit Bottle 6-Pack Case Keg Barrel 10 Barrel Batch 30 Barrel Batch 250 Barrel Batch
Bottle 1 6 24 165 330 3300 9900 82500
6-Pack 1/6 1 4 27.5 55 550 1650 13750
Case 1/24 1/4 1 6.875 13.75 137.5 412.5 3437.5
Keg 1/165 1/27.5 1/6.875 1 2 20 60 500
Barrel 1/330 1/55 1/13.75 1/2 1 10 30 250
10 Barrel Batch 1/3300 1/550 1/137.5 1/20 1/10 1 3 25
30 Barrel Batch 1/9900 1/1650 1/412.5 1/60 1/30 1/3 1 8.33
250 Barrel Batch 1/82500 1/13750 1/3437.5 1/500 1/250 1/25 1/8.33 1

I picked the 10, 30, and 250-barrel batch sizes because I thought it was a nice way to look at production across the different types of breweries. The largest craft breweries like Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada have 250 barrel brew houses.

So, anyone memorizing this bad boy with me??

How Do Brewers Make Clear Beer?

These are notes from the field while studying for the Advanced Cicerone Exam

What Is Added to Beer to Make It Clear?

Yes, I know, who cares about clear beer these days? It’s all about that #haze #juicebomb, right Instagram?

Well, if you’re brewing a classic style or entering competitions (or studying for Cicerone!) you’ll definitely want to know how to make your beer clear. There are two categories of substances used to make beer clear, also called “finings.”

The first category is “hot side.” These finings are added during the brewing process when the wort is “hot.” The clarifiers in this category are Irish Moss and Whirlfloc tablets. Both are made from seaweed but Whirlfloc tablets have more carrageenan in them than Irish Moss. Carrageenan is the active ingredient causing protein to clump and fall to the bottom of the beer so Whirlfloc requires a smaller dose to be effective.  

Naturally the other category is “cold side.” Cold side finings include Isinglass, Gelatin, and Polyclar. My favorite in this category is isinglass, just because it’s made of fish bladders and I like imagining all the tiny fish bladders dissolving in a beer.

As a homebrewer I typically use gelatin for clearing beers. For all of these cold side clarifiers, the fining agent is mixed with water (or in the case of isinglass an acid) and added to the fermenter a few days before bottling. When the beer is racked or bottled after being cleared with gelatin you get a nice layer of protein jelly, is cool but also kinda gross to clean!

What do you think about clear beers? Do you prefer them or are you all about the haze? Let me know at @beerswithmandy.

Which Hops Produce Bitter Cones?

These are field notes jotted down while studying for the Advanced Cicerone Exam.

Only Female Hops Make Beer Bitter

Did you know it’s lady hops giving your IPAs bitterness??

When you see hops hanging from a bine those are almost always the “female” cone. In fact, it’s a best practice in hop growing to eliminate a male hop plant immediately if you see one. The characteristics of male plants are much harder to control and will cause a specific type of hop (for example Columbus or Chinook) to taste slightly off or have a different alpha acid content. Male hops grow “flowers” that are used for breeding so if a male plant pops up in a hop farm, the hop cones will have seeds (which is not ideal for harvesting).

So next time you take a sip of bitter beer, thank the lady hops that made it for you!

Figure 1. a. Male inflorescence, b. stamen (male flower), c. anther, d. female inflorescences (burr stage), e. pistillate (female flower with stigmas projecting above bract that surrounds ovary), f. hop bine, leaves, and cones, g. hop bract, h. hop seed (achene). Source: Wikimedia

Figure 1. a. Male inflorescence, b. stamen (male flower), c. anther, d. female inflorescences (burr stage), e. pistillate (female flower with stigmas projecting above bract that surrounds ovary), f. hop bine, leaves, and cones, g. hop bract, h. hop seed (achene). Source: Wikimedia

What is a Stange Glass? (And Why Do I Care??)

These are some field notes from Advanced Cicerone study sessions.

What is a Stange Glass?

The answer to this question is pretty easy, a stange glass is the traditional serving-ware of a kölsch.

But let’s get more difficult ~why is a stange glass?~

That my beery friends is far less clear.

This tall, thin, perfectly cylindrical glass can be traced back to Cologne, where they are served out of a kranz tray like the one below. A traditional stange only holds about 6oz of beer so a group could drink several stange-fuls out of a kranz.


The light carbonation of the kölsch style benefits from the smaller serving size. It is unlikely that the beer will be completely warm and flat by the time you finish 6oz. In a busy bar, it is also unlikely that your server will want to refill your 6oz glass every few minutes. Today, stange glasses are made in 12-13oz sizes so your bartender doesn’t need to constantly top you off.

Similar other tall, thin glasses, like a weizen vase or a pilsner glass, a stange is helpful for head retention and shows of the brilliant clarity of the kölsch.

Is there other glassware that you are curious about?! Let me know @beerswithmandy so I can tell you a little more over the next 95 days!

Zwanze Day: What is it anyway?

This Saturday is a special holiday for beer lovers around the world. If you're not into sour beer (yet!) you may have never heard of Zwanze Day. Trust me, it's worth all the hype you are seeing in your twitter or instagram feed. Plus, there is still time to make plans to go to an event that doesn't require tickets! So here's everything you need to know about  Zwanze. 

A Zwanze Day Explainer 

The world-famous lambic brewery, Cantillon, created the celebrated and cherished series of beers called Zwanze in 2008. The series was (and still is) a creation of brewer John Van Roy that allowed him to release an experimental, limited quantity beer.  

A barrel at Cantillon from my visit to Belgium in 2017.

A barrel at Cantillon from my visit to Belgium in 2017.

From 2008 to 2010 Zwanze beers were released under cover to various undisclosed locations and very, very lucky drinkers. In 2011, the world-wide release party known as Zwanze Day was born. 

The toast and party holiday was created for many reasons, the first was to help dedicated lovers of spontaneous-fermented beer find these special brews and the second was to combat resellers. Van Roy said he was informed of Zwanze being sold on eBay for 600% mark ups. 

The 2011 world-wide Zwanze release party had 22 locations. In 2017 Zwanze Day locations have tripled to include 66 worldwide. 

The last special thing about Zwanze Day is that event goers are bonded together in a world-wide simultaneous toast! Bartenders and owners tap their kegs of the special Zwanze blend at the exact same time no matter the time zone. So when you're feeling excited as the beer is passed around - know that their are beer lovers all over the world that feel the exact same way. 


Zwanze Day 2017

The 2017 Zwanze will be a lambic, tea blend inspired by John Van Roy's son's love of iced tea. The label art is inspired by another of his son's loves - Game of Thrones. And c'mon how cool is this label?! 

My favorite part of the 2017 Zwanze announcement post was Jon Van Roy's care to explain what Game of Thrones would be like in Cantillon's world, "But in our version, no one dies and everyone has a good beer!"

via Brasserie Cantillon's  Facebook page .

via Brasserie Cantillon's Facebook page.

As awesome as this label art is my favorite Cantillon Zwanze Day 2017 graphic comes from a brewery just outside of Austin, Texas, Jester King. They make a shirt for their event each year and 2017 is so funny to me. Below is their Instagram post with the shirt art. 

This year, NYC is lucky to snag two coveted spots on the Zwanze lineup both Fool's Gold and Spuyten Duyvil will host events. (Full list of locations below.) I'll be at Fool's Gold bright and early so let me know if you'll be there too! 

List of 2017 Zwanze Day Locations 

Note: Some of these events require tickets so check with the venue before making plans.

- NOLA -- Adelaïde
- Bitter Phew -- Sydney

- Tribaun -- Innsbruck

- Moeder Lambic Fontainas -- Brussels
- Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles -- Brussels
- Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon – Arlon
- Rose Red -- Brugge

- Dieu du Ciel -- Montréal, Québec
- Birreria Volo -- Toronto, Ontario
- Bells and Whistles – Vacouver, British Columbia

- Himmeriget -- Copenhagen

- La Fine Mousse -- Paris
- La Capsule -- Lille
- Brasserie du Mont-Salève – Neydens
- Au Poêle de la Bête -- Toulouse

- Stadin Panimo Baari – Helsinki

- Café Herman – Berlin
- Mon Petit Café -- Stuttgard

- Kernel Brewery – Bermondsey
- Beermerchants@Unit 101 -- Manchester
- Six° North – Aberdeen
- Moor Beer -- Bristol

- Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà -- Rome
- The Dome -- Nembro
- LambicZoon -- Milano
- The Drunken Duck -- Quinto Vicentino
- Ristopub Margherita -- Quartu Sant’Elena
- Ottavonano -- Atripalda
- TryBeer Room – Castiglione d’Adda

- Dolphins Ueda – Osaka
- Lembeek – Nagoya
- Favori -- Tokyo

- De Bierkoning -- Amsterdam

- Garage Project – Wellington
- Camera Storyline -- Oslo

- Masia Agullons -- Sant Joan de Mediona

- Ölrepubliken -- Göteborg

- Bière Café Au Trappiste -- Bern

– Anchorage Brewing Company — Anchorage, Alaska
– Armsby Abbey — Worcester, Massachusetts
– Avenue Pub — New Orleans, Louisiana
– Bagby Beer — Oceanside, California
– Beachwood BBQ — Seal Beach, California
– Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar — Denver, Colorado
– De Garde Brewing — Tillamook, Oregon
– Fools Gold NY — Manhattan, New York
– Green Bench Brewing — St. Petersburg, Florida
– Holy Grale — Louisville, Kentucky
– Jester King Brewery — Austin, Texas
– Jolly Pumpkin Brewery — Dexter, Michigan
– Laser Wolf — Fort Lauderdale, Florida
– Mikkeller Bar SF — San Fransisco, California
– Monk’s Cafe — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
– Novare Res Bier Café — Portland, Maine
– The Porter Beer Bar — Atlanta, Georgia
– REAL a gastropub — Honolulu, Hawaii
– Russian River Brewing — Santa Rosa, California
– Schera’s Restaurant and Bar — Elkader, Iowa
– Seymour, the pub — Greenfield, Massachusetts
– Side Project Brewing Cellar — Maplewood, Missouri
– Slow Boat Tavern — Seattle, Washington
– The Sovereign — Washington D.C.
– Spuyten Duyvil — Brooklyn, New York
– Thin Man Brewery — Buffalo, New-York
– Trillium Brewing Company — Canton, Massachusetts
– West Lakeview Liquors — Chicago, Illinois

Find a location, don't let the long lines get to you, and raise your glass with beer appreciators the world round. 


Why is a Little DMS Okay in Pilsners?

These are field notes from my Advanced Cicerone studies. (Yes, I passed!)

Why is DMS Acceptable in a Pilsner?

The mild corn-like aroma on a pilsner has nothing to do with corn in the beer (although some may contain corn to lighten the body and mouthfeel). Dimethyl sulfide, referred to as DMS can be formed on the hot side of the brewing process or as a result of an infection in fermented beer. DMS from an infection is never acceptable, not even in pilsner. Today, I’m focusing on the DMS that can be formed even when beer is brewed properly.

DMS is formed from a “precursor” compound SMM (S-methylmethionine). SMM is found in malt but it is burned-off almost completely during the kilning process. Since very light malt like pilsner is kilned for such a short amount of time, some SMM may remain in the malt after it’s kilned.

Since pilsners are made of - you guessed it - almost 100% pilsner malt they are very susceptible to DMS, even after careful brewing. The best way to eliminate DMS is to boil the wort for a long time and cool the wort extremely quickly after the boil. Since some traditional methods and technologies do not allow for this accelerated cooling, DMS is considered acceptable in pilsners especially the traditional German styles.

So if you’re hanging at the German bar for Oktoberfest this month and you catch a whiff of creamed-corn (the tell-tale sign of DMS formed in brewing) don’t cry “bad beer” right away! Take a few sips, let the beer warm and see if you can enjoy a corny tinge to a classic style.

Getting Your Hands on Trillium Brewing Company's Crazy Hazy IPAs AT FORT POINT

My mission was simple. Get to Boston acquire the beers. Get home without drinking them all. 

Why the mission? I, like every craft beer drinker recently, have heard SO MUCH about this East Coast IPA (also called the NEIPA or North Eastern IPA). It seemed to be like The Alchemist's Heady Topper by sweeter. No like a pale ale, just cloudier. It's harder to make than a West Coast IPA. No, it's for lazy brewers who don't filter. I'd heard to many contrasting opinions and read about one too many think pieces. Trillium consistently came up as an example for a brewery that was in the North Eastern IPA game for the technique, not the trend. 

Trillium Brewing Company's Scaled IPA fresh and hazy off the tap.

Trillium Brewing Company's Scaled IPA fresh and hazy off the tap.

So back to the mission: the get to Boston part was easy. JetBlue has amazing sales on tickets from NYC. $40 each way? Don't mind if I do!

I stayed at the Boston Seaport Hotel (which by the way was fabulous) located just a short walk from Trillium's Fort Point location. It's denoted by a small chalkboard sign out on the sidewalk and the entry is on the side of the building. I walked by a few times so keep your eyes out!


The Fort Point location is really more of a shop than a taproom. There is no consumption allowed onsite, but there are growler fills, cans, bottles and stacks of merch. 

If you're in Boston for business, or on a trip with people who don't want to spend hours with craft beer, the Fort Point shop is perfect for you. It is truly an in-and-out experience, even if there is a line. The cans aren't too heavy to carry around if you're being a tourist for the rest of the day so there's really nothing holding you back. 

We left with what seemed like a pallet of cans and two bottles. Plus a set of snifters and a tshirt because c'mon that flower logo is so great! It was hard to leave behind the zip up sweatshirt but suitcase space required me to make decisions. 


Even with this smashing success, my Trillium experience in Boston wasn't over yet. First, I still had to taste the product!! And we still had to head out to Canton. I'll get to that in the next post. 

Tips for a Trillium Brewing Company, Fort Point visit: 

  • Bring something to carry your cans and growlers in. They give you a box but that's not ideal if you plan on exploring the city for a little while.

  • Row34, which has my favorite lobster roll in Boston, is right next store. Row34 also serves a well-curated selection of local and international craft beer and a raw or cooked seafood menu to die for.

  • City Tap House is kitty-corner from Row34. If you're looking for a big ol' beer list, more of a nightlife scene and some interesting twists on bar-food standards this place is worth a stop. When I was there they were working to get Trilium on tap, so keep an eye out for that!

Boston Brewery: Trillium Brewing Company at Canton

By the end of this post you'll be ready for the perfect visit to Trillium Brewing Company's Canton location because you'll know what to expect and how to set yourself up for the most fun!


Trillium Brewing Company has two year-round locations in the Boston area: One at Fort Point, and their main location outside the city in Canton. My visit to the Fort Point shop left me wanting more from my Trillium experience. So I booked a very long uber out to Canton. 

Canton is a pretty quintessential north-eastern suburb. Big houses, snow covered yards, novelty mailboxes, everything you would expect. I was pretty surprised to find that the Trillium Taproom was tucked in this neighborhood. 

Pulling into the parking lot I was met with lots of dudes carrying boxes of cans out to their cars.

“Uh oh, the beers all gone!” one joked with me. Judging by the packed parking lot, I almost believed him.

I continued on past the retail door to the taproom door and wowza - look at that line. Upon walking through the door you all but collide with the center of the line to order beer by the glass. I took my place wayyyy at the back and suddenly wished I had brought a book - or at the very least that I had more phone battery. 

As the line inched forward I passed many groups huddled around barrels or leaning on the small bar that ran along the wall. There is not much in the way of seating in this taproom. I then past the “food truck of the day,” severing oysters, but at 3pm there were not many takers for their fresh-ish shellfish sitting out on ice. 


Finally, I came into view of the tap list which was extensive and offered more options than the Fort Point location. The GABF medals dangling from the board were an obvious reminder of the quality that made the line so. so. long. 

Ordering was efficient and by the time I swiped my card I had a beer in my hand. The perfect beer in hand for getting back in line - ha! Is it just me or does a line move faster when you have a drink involved. I got the Double Dry Hopped (DDH) Summer Street for the line and it was a perfect waiting beer. Light, floral, and fruity, not too heavy of a mouth feel and a clean finish. No wonder this place is so crowded! 


By the time I made it to the registers again, I had a plan. I wanted to order three very different beers. Again, a quick ring up and this time I found myself a spot leaning against the divider between the “taproom” and the active brewery. 

I tried, Trillbomb!, DDH Scaled, and the Free Rise Nelson. They were all great and definitely in the style of Trillium. The IPA was sweet and ended with the gypsum bite I have found characteristic of East Coast IPAs. The stout was big and strong with a potent nose of Bourbon. The free-rise, while slightly funky was more of a pale ale than a saison. 

2017-02-18 16.49.54.jpg

After considering another trip to the back of the line, I decided against it and summoned yet another car back to Boston. I had fun and I learned a lot. 

Is the trip to Trillium's Canton Brewery Worth It?

I pondered this on my long ride home from Canton - still thinking about that zip up sweatshirt I decided not to buy again. I think the answer is it depends! Boring...but true. 

If you're a big beer fan that doesn't mind standing for a while Canton is the only place that you're guaranteed to try several Trillium beers in one spot. You can even skip Fort Point and just head to Canton for both your beers on tap and to-go. 

If you have someone in your group that needs to sit down, this might not be great. You can hope for a friendly stranger to give up their seat, but I don't gamble on friendly strangers often. If you are on a trip to see Boston - it's a tough call! Canton is quite a way out of the city and there are many great locations in Boston that carry all kinds of beer and have a little more scenery, plus you can go to Fort Point for your to-go beer needs! 

Tips for visiting Trillium Brewing Company at Canton:

  • Check the food truck for the day. I wasn’t about to eat oysters. I wished I had a meal in me or a snack so I could go on sampling.

  • Expect a line. It’s not a let down if you’re expecting a wait. Bring a friend, or three and wait together time flies when you’re waiting in line with a beer in hand.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. As someone who doesn’t follow this rule in my day-to-day life it’s worth putting in here. You’re standing on concrete and, yes, you’ll be standing.

  • Bring your pup if you want! There were several dogs in the taproom when I was there and they definitely provided some entertainment while waiting in line.

  • Don’t drive or dedicate a driver. Their stouts are great, you’re going to want to try them, and trust me, one is enough to knock you on your butt.

  • You can get cans, bottles and merch to-go! While the major attraction of the Canton location is getting to sample multiple of the famed breweries beers, there is also a line for to-go items.

Are you headed to Trillium or the Boston area? Find @beerswithmandy on twitter. I love nothing more than talking about beer trips!