The meeting was held at Pilot Malt House’s new production facility in Byron Center and hosted by President/Owner Erik May. Erik started the night by giving us a brief tour of Pilot’s new facility. Some highlights of Erik’s ramblings were that New Holland has been very happy with Pilot’s wheat malt and continues to order boatloads, other projects in the works include 8 tons of locally grown rye malt for soon-to-open West Side distillery, Long Road Distillers, a potential “ancient” malted grain for 3 Floyds, and expanding to other types of malted grains such as oats, millet, sorghum, etc. Erik also mentioned that the new facility includes a full medical grade laboratory which may offer lab services for brewers in the future.
2. The Grand Rapids Society of Homebrewers has scheduled two upcoming events. The first will be an Off-Flavor Sensory Training led by Adam Mills, head brewer at Crankers Brewery in Big Rapids. This event will be held Saturday, January 31st from 1:00-3:00pm at 342 Market Ave. SW. Note, this event requires registry as it is limited to 40 participants and as of January 2nd registration was nearly 2/3 full. If you are interested in this event, don’t wait on registering. If you are unable to attend or registration has filled, please send the Grand Rapids Society of Homebrewers a message and future classes may scheduled if there is enough interest.
The next planned event is a Homebrewer Bottle Raffle. This promises to be an awesome event as you’ll bring 12 of your own homebrews from the same batch and leave with 12 different homebrews from 12 other GR homebrewers. Invitation is open to any member of the five AHA registered Grand Rapids homebrewing clubs and will be held Saturday, April 18th at The Mitten Brewing Co. Look for a registration link for this event soon!
Beer and Mead Sampled
Nick R. – Festbier brewed along with writing an article on Festbier & Marzen for the March 2015 edition of BYO Magazine, so watch for that in your mailbox or on newstands soon! Comments: (brewer) – felt it was a touch too malty sweet, plan to replace ~12% munich malt with ~20% vienna malt; pilsner malt used was half German (Avangard) and half Czech in this batch, plan to use all German pils malt for next batch as the Czech pils malt added an out of style malt character that was slightly too malty sweet tasting; will also slightly increase bitterness next time and use a bit more aroma hops.
Kathy – Spiced Peach Melomel, tasting notes of “peach cobbler”, “tannins help balance”, “not clear yet, but great flavor and balanced spice notes”. Used orange blossom honey (she uses for all of her meads), 3 lbs. golden raisins in primary to increase mouthfeel, peaches were boiled with spices and some vinegar to balance spice and brighten other flavors, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Nick K. – Belgian Dark Strong Ale, 9% abv after being diluted down from 11%, WY1388 fermented at 68F, tasting notes: “sweet candy-like aroma”, “a bit undercarbed for style and higher carb would make it seem a bit more dry”, “not quite enough of the dark fruit notes I usually enjoy in the style, mainly caramel and brown sugar flavors here”, “slightly too sweet”, “yeast character fairly low for style”.
Phil – 2013 Lambic, “bacon?”, “smoke”, “tart”, “funk”, “sock”, “barnyard”, “I drank it and I don’t generally like sours”.
Nick R. – El Dorado Session IPA(s), nearly all flameout hops (including 10 minute hop stand after flameout) with very small bittering/first wort addition, also used a big dry hop. One version was as originally planned (1:1 sulfate to chloride and all El Dorado) which was very sessionable with orange creamsicle-like character. The second had gypsum added after fermentation and an additional dry hop of Amarillo and Galaxy (increased to 4:1 sulfate to choloride). This version seemed much more hop forward with “resiny” and “big grapefruit” descriptions. An excellent example that the perception of bitterness is certainly not just what your IBU calculator says. Check out this short presentation by Thomas Shellhammer of Oregon State University on the topic.
Chad U. – Maris Otter & Mosaic SMaSH, 4.5% abv, US-05, 2 oz. dry hop. Pineapple and grapefruit character without “armpit” that some have gotten from other beers with Mosaic. “Thin finish was the only thing I didn’t like.” “I liked it more than Mosaic Promise from Founders, not nearly as dank or creepy(?).
Jeremy G. – Irish Red, WY1084, maris otter, crystal & roasted barely, going for dry version. “Dry with nice fruity esters”, “Not too caramelly, nice!”
David – Hoppy Red, 5% abv, Amarillo feature. David’s first recipe from scratch, included 10 malts. “Very dark, almost brown, good Amarillo hop character.”
Mead – Pumpkin Ales, whole large sized pumpkin added to mash after chopping up, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, & vanilla added to last 15 min. of boil. Split fermentation, one with US-05 and the other with S-04. General consensus was that S-04 was just slightly sweeter and seemed to work better with the spices.
Eric – Fruitcake Stout, Nottingham yeast, milk stout base, 2 cinnamon sticks added to last 15 min. of boil, Huell Melon hops at flameout. 2 lb. candied citron fruits and crystalized ginger added to secondary. “Wow, a lot going on”, “sweet black licorice”, “root beer-like aroma”, “sarsaparilla”.
Chris – Chocolate Cherry Stout, 8 oz. dark cherry concentrate, 8 oz. cacao nibs toasted in oven for 10 min. “Yum”
Nick K. – Three variations of Saison, all went from approximately 1.067 to 1.001: 1. With turbinado sugar, Danstar Belle Saison yeast; 2. With sauvignon blanc concentrate, Nelson Sauvin hops, Danstar Belle Saison yeast; 3. With sauvignon blanc concentrate & WLP565.
Eric – Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mead, 6lb honey in 3 gal water, 1.100 OG, 1 lb. honey roasted peanuts, 2 oz. cocoa powder, either cote de blanc or premiere cuvee yeast. Goferm in yeast re-hydration.
Chad B. – The Spruce Is Loose
Matt O. – Bock
Jeremy G. – Amber “Holiday” beer
Kathy – Coffee Wheat Blonde, whole coffee beans in secondary