Attending – David, Nick R., Jeremy S., Jeremy G., Steve, Chad U., Chad B., Mike & Rachel, Ken, Jim, Phil, new member Chad D., and host Andy Sietsema
It was a treacherous trek out to rural Ada on a blustery January evening, but that stress was alleviated with the first sip of Sietsema Orchard’s delectable ciders. For a welcome in the taproom, host Andy Sietsema offered up sample pours of their Red and Yellow Label ciders, as well as a Dry Hopped cider. All varieties were very well done. Next, Andy led us on a tour of his cider making operation and offered samples of his barrel aged varieties. One batch was aged in barrels previously used by Founders Brewing Co. for their KBS and another batch was in barrels most recently used by Osgood Brewing. The bourbon character was not strong up front, which still allowed the cider to be the showcase while offering some additional complexity throughout the taste.
* January 31st (1:00-3:00pm) – GR Society of Homebrewers Off-Flavor Sensory Training at 342 Market.
* February 7th (1:30-6:30pm) – Brewsquito and Friends Great Chili Competition at 342 Market.
* February 26th (6:30pm) – February Monthly Meeting & Brewhouse Tour at Jaden James
* March 26th (7:00pm) – March Monthly Meeting at Ken’s
* April 18th (12:00-3:00pm) – GR Society of Homebrewers Bottle Raffle at The Mitten Brewing Co. This is a free event, but you must register in order to participate. Registration is limited to 70 and will open this Sunday, February 1st, at 1:00pm. Click here to register, or browse to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/grsoh-homebrew-bottle-raffle-and-draft-tickets-15553939251.
2. For those attending the 10th Annual Winter Beer Festival, be on the lookout for Rockford Brewing’s collaboration with local NHC medalists, Nick R., Kathy T., and Jeff C.! They brewed a Belgian Tripel with 25 lbs. honey and 15 gal. cider, fermented with White Labs Belgian Strong Ale WLP545.
Beer and Cider Sampled
Steve – 2013 Ciders, started with 1.050 raw cider from Vander Mill by way of O’Connor’s Homebrew Supply in late September 2013. Andy noted this is pretty early in the year for most mills, but the blend likely would have included McIntosh, Paula & Ida Red, Golden Delicious, and Gala varieties. From the raw cider, Steve split into 2 batches. The first included an addition of 1 lb. of honey and was fermented with Safale S-04, finishing at 1.000. Tasting notes for this batch were: “Fruity”, “tart”, “dry”, and from Andy – “slight sulfur, but overall pretty good and I could drink the shit out of it”. The second batch used 6 oz. honey and 6 oz. spicy orange marmalade, also finishing at 1.000.
Steve – 2010 Cider aged with bourbon and oak, included 5 lb. dark brown sugar, fermented with Lavlin K1-V1116 wine yeast, 1.086 OG, 0.994 FG.
Steve – 2010 Cyser, 1.090 OG, 0.995 FG.
Jeremy G. – 2014 Cider, natural/wild fermentation, apples from DT’s “secret orchard”, tasting notes: “Very interesting”, “big sulfur”, “old sneaker”.
Mike Z. – 2014 Cider, raw cider from Hill Bros. Orchards, 1.050 OG, 0.998 FG.
Jeremy G. – “Thistle Dance”, a Strong Scotch ale, used 8 oz. peated malt, 2 hour boil, 1.107 OG, 1.026 FG, Wyeast’s excellent Scottish Ale strain WY1728 fermented in low 60’s.
Chad D. – Oatmeal Stout, ~6.25% abv, good amount of roast, “very tasty”.
Chad D. – IPA with Conan (aka Vermont Ale) yeast strain, ~6.5% abv, Citra & Centennial featured in whirlpool and dry hop, massive 8 oz. dry hop!, tasting notes: “A touch grassy, but whoa!”, “superb mouthfeel”, “slightly astrigent, a little cat piss, dank, but excellent”, “juicy fruit”, “quaffable and dangerous”.
Jim – “Spruced Up IPA”, a clone of Tjosaas’s’s’s’s “Just The Tip” IPA. 1.5 qt spruce tips added with 60 min. left in boil, boatloads of Simcoe, Citra, and Amarillo, fermented with Safale US-05.
David – Dubbel, tasting notes: “2 thumbs way up!”, “nice body & color”, “no off flavors and not too much of any single flavor”, “very balanced & drinkable”.
Chad D. – ESB fermented with Wyeast’s London ESB Ale WY1968, “nicely malty”, “what I look for in an ESB”.
Ken – 2014 Imperial Porter with raspberries, used 1.5 lb. raspberries in secondary (last year’s version used 4 lb.), recommends lower amount if wanting to drink fresh and more if intending to age, tasting notes: “Wow!”, “level of raspberry character is about perfect”.