February 2018

Attending – Phil and Liz P.(hosts), Paul C., Andrew B., Jeff C., Chad K., Jim M., Nick R., Craig F., and John A.

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* Big thanks to everyone that came out for the 2018 Brewsquitos & Friends Chili Cookoff and congrats to the champs!
* March 14th (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at Harmony Hall
* April 10th (6:30pm) – April Meeting at Bier Distillery

2. Dates to save:

* May 5th – Siciliano’s Big Brew Day at Trail Point (see Tim G. for details on after-party)
* July 21st – Summer Party at Uzarski’s

3. 2018-19 Brewsquitos Quarterly Club Competition – more details to follow

* Will consist of 4 total competitions, one every 3 months, starting in June 2018
* Each competition will focus on a different core ingredient (Hops, Malt, Yeast, Water Adjunct)
* Judging will be to specified BJCP style (with modification based on description by entrant)
* Prizes for 1st-3rd place in each competition, as well as Grand Prize and two Runner Up Prizes based on cumulative points

4. Basic brewing tool calibration discussion led by Paul C.

A. Thermometers

* If you make ice bath incorrectly, you’re better off not calibrating.
* A typical glass of ice water is not an ice bath. For example, a glass filled half way with ice and then filled with water will be near 40F.
* For correct ice-to-water ratio, fill glass completely with ice before adding water. After adding water, ice should still touch bottom of glass.
* Thermometer probe should be stirred in center of ice slurry (i.e. sides or bottom could be slightly warmer).
* If your reading is within the manufacturer’s accuracy specification then DON’T ADJUST CALIBRATION. Doing so could through off measurements at warmer temperatures. Typical accuracy specs are +/- 1.0F or +/- 0.7F.
* Various thermometers brought to the meeting measured between 31.0F and 35.1F in our ice bath.

B. Hydrometers

* Forgot to take notes, but some info here – https://byo.com/article/calibrate-your-hydrometer-and-fermenter-techniques/

Beers & Perry Sampled

Jim M. – WTF Is It? Ale, 67% Schill Kolsch Malt, 33% Castle Munich, small aroma charge of Hallertau Blanc, Safale K-97 @ 60F, 1.060->1.009. Descriptors were “like an ale fermented Festbier”, “malty Pale Ale”, “Kolsch-ish”. Regardless of style, it was tasty and drinkable.

Jeff C. – Kolsch, 91% Pils, 4.5% Vienna, 4.5% Wheat, bittered w/ Perle, WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch Yeast @ 64F, 1.050->1.008. Excellent.

Andrew B. – Sweet Potato Vienna Lager, inspired by recipe in The Homebrewer’s Almanac, 4 lb. oven roasted sweet potato added to mash, 60% Vienna, 20% Pils, 20% Munich, WLP838 Southern German Lager Yeast, 1.047->1.009. Sweet potato gave nice orange hue, flavor contribution was subtle, but added nice complexity to base beer.

Nick R. – Mandarina Pils, Warrior for bittering, 1 oz. Mandarina @ 15, 1 oz. @ 5, 1 oz. whirlpool, Saflager W-34/70, split batch w/ Paul A. who used Saflager S-189 (Nick stated beers were very similar). Delicious beer.

Chad K. – Coffee Blonde, coarse crushed Rowster coffee added to secondary, awesome fresh coffee character.

Paul C. – Oatmeal Stout, 66% Maris Otter, 10% Flaked Oats (toasted in oven at 300F), 7% Golden Naked Oats, 5% Victory, 5% Chocolate (Briess), 3.5% C80, 3.5% Black Barley, 1.050 OG, Safale S-04. Small refinements suggested (including switching to Safale US-05), but otherwise a very good Oatmeal Stout.

Craig F. – Oatmeal Stout, 1.053 OG, some acetaldehyde present, 1L starter of WY1469 West Yorkshire, ferm slowly ramped from 64F->66F->68F, approx. 14 days in primary then cold crashed. Practices seemed sound, unsure what caused off flavor.

Chad K. – Peanut Butter Porter, peanut butter was bumpin’!, Pilot Malt House PB Toast malt, Peanut Butter Cup flavored coffee from CoffeeAM, peanut butter flavoring extract. Suggestions to increase body and perhaps abv of base beer, but peanut butter character was very impressive.

Phil P. – IPA w/ S05J hops (experimental variety being trialed in MI), notes of orange cream, orange rind, citrus, and light pineapple and dank character.

Craig F. – Equinox Wheat IPA, 50% 2 Row, 50% Wheat, Equinox hops.

Jeff C. – Perry, Vivace white wine yeast, finished at 1.002, backsweetened to 1.006.

Nick R. – Tart Cherry Gose, lacto plantarum, US-05, 1.041->1.010, 4.5 g/gal salt.

October 2017

Attending – Nick Rod. (host/bartender), Mike, Al, Geoff, David, Liz, Phil, Too Tall, Chad U., Jeremy, Trevor, Paul C., Mead, Craig, Andrew, Joe, Tiffany, and Jeff. Big thanks to Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply for hosting us!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* November 4th (11:00am) – AHA Learn to Brew Day at Gravel Bottom
* November 16th (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at City Built
* November 17th – last day to submit entries for the 2017 Beer City Club Competition
* November 18th – 2017 Beer City Club Competition judging at Thornapple
* February 17th (1:00pm) – Brewsquitos & Friends Chili Cook Off 2018
* July 21st – Summer Party at Uzarski’s

Beers & Prison Wine Sampled

Andrew – Dry hopped Lager, 3.2% abv, inspired by Perrin’s Q-Stew, Citra & Mosaic cryohops.

Jeremy – Schwarzbier, first dark lager, brewed for PTB September club competition – Dark European Lager, didn’t win.

Too Tall – American Pale Ale, Topaz, Galaxy & Citra hops.

Geoff – NEIPA, Galaxy, Citra & Mosaic hops, yum.

Joe – NEIPA, Galaxy, Citra & Mosaic hops, double yum.

David – Wedding Cuvée, blend of Pale Ale w/ Citra hops (CPR) and IPA w/ Amarillo & Simcoe hops (GFIPA) which David brewed for his son’s wedding.

Al – Wheat IPA & Belgian IPA, Idaho 7 & Citra cryohops, split batch with half fermented with S-04 and half with BE-256 (Fermentis Abbaye).

Phil – IPA, 20% Oat Malt, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Citra & Mosaic hops.

Chad U. – Coco Stout, chocolate malt & Pilot’s PB Toast malt, originally an extract recipe, tried to replicate a few times all grain, ended up switching back to extract.

Paul C. – Milk Chocolate Porter.

Craig – Baltic Porter, Brewing Classic Styles recipe.

Mead – Pineapple Wheat, split batch with half using 4 lb. of frozen pineapple for 5 gal. and half using a homemade pineapple extract.

Trevor – Berliner Weissbier with blackberries.

Chad U. – Tart Cherry Kettle Sour.

Phiz – Cherry Baby, Saison base with house culture & tart cherries in secondary (~2 lb./gal.).

Paul C. – Lemon Wine, aka Skeeter Pee, ~9% abv.

Nick Rod. – BBA Maple Imperial Stout, BCBS recipe in a Journeyman Distillery bourbon barrel with Beanilla natural maple flavoring added.

September 2017

Attending – John B. (host), Andrew, Phil, Paul C., Geoff, Al, Steve, Mead, Tim, Gerald S., Scott, and Dan.

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* September 30th (2:00pm) – Oktobrewfest
* October 23rd (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at Gravel Bottom

2. Welcome to the 2017-18 Board. Prez – Phil, VP – Jake, Treas. – Andrew.

3. Announcement of 2017 Beer City Club Competition. Entries due by 11/17. Judging on 11/18. Register at Reggie Beer. Last chance to qualify for the 2018 Beer City Pro-Am!

4. Oktobrewfest needs more beer entries and food! This is a great party put on by Jeremy Gavin and friends. Find all of the details here – https://www.facebook.com/events/307817202968807/.

5. Proposal to establish one club event for each quarter. Currently we have the Chili Cookoff in the winter, but the rest are open as there will be no fall Brew ‘N Que for the foreseeable future. Current ideas are:

* Spring – Group Brew in order to fill club bar taps at Big Brew Day in early May.
* Summer – Piggyback on the Pro-Am picnic? Assuming this continues, the 2017 event was a lot of fun.
* Fall – Replacement for Brew ‘N Que? Need ideas.

6. Other ideas?

* A few have expressed interest in more club competitions. Perhaps a scaled down version of something similar to the 2016 Homebrew League? Would require a decent amount of participation to be successful and someone to organize it.

7. Apparel order…yes.

Beers & Cider Sampled

Paul C. – Cream Ale, smooth and highly drinkable, slightly elevated fruitiness and perhaps a touch dark for the style.

John B. – NZ style Pils, Nelson Sauvin hops, WY2000 Budvar, crazy delicious.

Steve – Bourbon Barrel Aged Heirloom Cider, Sietsema juice, 457th use barrel, almost no oak, but otherwise very tasty.

Andrew – Table Saison, pils/wheat/oats, Yeast Bay Saison Blend II, wonderful complexity in an easy drinking style.

Dan – NEIPA, WY1318, Mosaic, Centennial, Simcoe, Galaxy, excellent hop aroma and flavor, a bit more pine and/or dank than in other examples, perhaps a touch too bitter.

Scott – Belgian IPA, WLP550 (Achouffe, aka WY3522 Ardennes), good balance of Belgian yeast character and hops.

Phil – Pool Juice, dry hopped Berliner w/ grapefruit, super easy recipe.

Gerald S. – Porter and variants (coffee, cacao nibs, blueberry), first all grain batch!, excellent sanitation and bottle conditioning!, base porter recipe was tasty although a bit too bitter, variants were interesting to try, but on the subtle side.

Paul C. – Schwarzbier, WLP810 (SF Lager), fermented in mid-60s, excellent coffee/chocolate-like aroma!, would be even better with a crisper finish.

Mead – Bourbon/Oaked Imperial Stout, 2 oak spirals & ~13 oz. bourbon for 6 gal., aged about 9 months, but still quite oak forward, otherwise solid.

Geoff – Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter, 2/3 Baltic Porter, 1/3 Founders Porter clone, notes of dark fruit (possibly from warm-ish ferm. of Baltic), vanilla, nice barrel character (Gray Skies).

John B. – Bourbon Barrel Aged Quad, brewed with Trevor & Craig, homemade date/fig extract added, hoooooooooly smokes, fantastic way to cap off the night.

Foosball Champs – Steve & Phil!!!!!! In your face John & Al!

December 2015

Attending – Hosts Ken & Bri, Phil, Nick Rod., Chad B., Steve, David, Matt O., Kathy, Chris D., Jeremy G., Chad U., Jason D., new members Rob & John, and guest/potential new member Jake

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* February 11th (5:30pm) – Happy Hour at Kitzingen Brewery
* February 23rd (6:30pm) – Monthly Meeting at Casa de Phiz

2. SMaSH Beer Club Competition! Bottle turn in on February 29th, 2016. Details and ground rules can be found in the post here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/brewsquitos/permalink/1252173368133198/.

Beers & Ciders Sampled

Matt O. – German Pils, triple decoction, YB Hessian Pils.

Nick Rod. – Table Saison, Pils LME + Beet Sugar, Amarillo & Hallertau Blanc, Belle Saison at 68F.

Nick Rod. – English Mild, 35% Pilot Malt PB Toast, no sparge, London Ale III.

Ken – Kolsch, WY2565 at 68F, group recommends cooler (58-60F) with that strain, or using S-23 or WLP029 in upper 60Fs, 5.1% abv.

Chad B. – Pale Ale (“Nookie”), 100% Michigan Chinook, US-05. Huge ruby red grapefruit and/or tangerine notes. Wow.

Chad U. – Pale Ale (same mash/boil with Chad B.), YB Vermont Ale (Conan). Hops didn’t stand out as much as Chad B’s.

Nick Rod. – Session Rye, 25% rye, 20% Crisp Caramalt, Nelson Sauvin & Hallertau Blanc, YB Vermont Ale (Conan), 4.5% abv.

Matt O. – Saison, WLP566 Saison II

David – Multigrain Red, 8 diff. grains, all Centennial, 4.8% abv.

Jeremy G. – Jolly Trolly brewed during Learn to Homebrew Day at Gravel Bottom, no spices used, ginger, Pilot Malt Sassafrass Smoked Malt.

John – Dubbel, Pils, aromatic, Special B, homemade candi sugar, coriander, WY3787.

Jake – Tripel, inspired by Final Absolution, T-58 at 65-70F.

Al – Tripel with Brett, oak, & bourbon, about 6 months of aging.

Ken – Citra Black, some “dank” from Columbus.

Steve – Citra Black

Al – CNPA, chocolate, PB2, dark grains added at vorlauf.

Al – CCNPA, same as above but with cacao nibs & amaretto.

John – Wee Heavy with Glenlivet soaked oak, Nottingham.

Ken – Wee Heavy brewed at 2015 Homebrewer’s United, aged in 2nd use Journeyman barrel, 11.5% abv, notes of coconut.

Phil – Kettle sour with raspberries.

November 2015

Attending – Tim, Chris D., David, Nick Rod., Jason, Chad D., Chad B., Phil, Mead, Jeremy G., Kathy, Chad U., and Jim. New members(!) Kris V. and Nick Roe. Also guests/potential new members Paul, Craig, Lance, John, Gerrid, and Matt

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* December 3rd (5:15pm) – Happy Hour at Harmony Hall
* December 17th (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at Ken & Bri’s

2. SMaSH Beer Club Competition! Bottle turn in on February 29th, 2016. Initial details and ground rules can be found in the post here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/brewsquitos/permalink/1252173368133198/.

3. Club bar is now completely outfitted with all keg disconnects (including support for up to 5 pin-lock kegs) and two dedicated 5 lb. C02 tanks. This purchase was made possible after the 2015 Dead End Brew and Que where PitStop Catering‘s (and neighbor of Steve) Matt Smith donated all of the collected proceeds to our club. As a small gesture back toward Matt, the club awarded Matt an honorary club membership and t-shirt. Big thanks again to Matt & PitStop Catering.

4. Big thanks to Roger at Riverside Liquors for donating a selection of 2013 Yakima hops to the club!

Beers & Ciders Sampled

Nick R. – Sampling of two beers from Nick & David Curtis’s (Bell’s Brewery) post-boil hopping experiment (with support from the AHA’s Research & Education Fund and Bell’s Brewery lab & sensory panel). Both beers were exactly the same except for the time that the hops were added. Beer #1 had hops added with 10 minutes remaining in the boil and was then chilled immediately. This beer was measured by Bell’s lab to have 48 IBUs. Beer #2 had no hops added during the boil, but instead added at flameout for a 30 minute hop stand (prior to chilling). This beer was measured by Bell’s lab to have 50 IBUs. From a quick poll of club members, there was nearly an equal split, but a slight edge to Beer #1 having more perceived bitterness. Almost all members felt that Beer #2 had more hop flavor and aroma. Overall, this was a very cool experiment that should give homebrewers a better idea of what to expect from hops added late in the boil and post-boil, or in the whirlpool. Look for the full detailed report in an upcoming issue of Zymurgy Magazine.

John – 2015 Cider, Indian Summer juice with dextrose and white wine juice added.

Chris D. – 2015 Cider, Sietsema’s juice fermented with US-05.

Chris D. – 2015 Cider, Sietsema’s juice with orange blossom honey added and fermented with Premier Cuvee.

Mead – Marzen.

Chad D. – Saison.

Nick R. – Dry hopped Gose for Bell’s Homebrew Comp. (finished 2nd overall!).

Jeremy G. – Biere de Garde.

Chad D. – Harvest Ale.

David – Tangerine Rye for Bell’s Homebrew Comp.

Chad D. – Peach IPA for Bell’s Homebrew Comp.

Chad B. – Smoked Porter (home-smoked malt).

October 2015

Attending – Jim, Phil, Nick R., Kathy, Chris, Jeremy G., Jason D., Chad B., David, Steve, guests Nick Roe., Jeff, and host Andy

Host Introduction

Once again, Andy at Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill was a fantastic host!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* November 4th (5:30pm) – Happy Hour at Founders
* November 7th (10:00am) – Learn to Homebrew Day at Gravel Bottom
* November 10th (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at Rockford Brewing Company

2. Jeff C. recommends checking out the book Apples to Cider by April White and Steve Wood.

Beers & Ciders Sampled

Jeremy G. – Light Lager double batch, both with Weyermann Floor-malted Bohemian Dark Malt, both single hopped with El Dorado, first used single infusion mash at 148F and a 60 min. boil, second used double decoction mash with 90 min. boil.

Nick R. – Session IPA, 1.042 -> 1.016, 3.5% abv, DME with wheat, oats, english caramalt, and lactose, Citra, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria hops, with grapefruit peel and juice.

Nick R. – Wet-hopped/Harvest Ale, 6.8% abv, Southern Cross & Pacific Gem hops grown at home.

Jeff C. – Spruce tip Cider, Hill Bros. juice, simmered 8 oz. tips w/ water and added to juice prior to ferment, slight backsweeten, made extract with additional tips and added at bottling.

Steve – Bourbon barrel Cider, Klein Orchards juice, 9 months in 4th or 5th use barrel.

Jim – CPR, 3 oz. total Citra.

Kathy – Schwarzbier, her 1st lager.

Kathy – Maple Pecan Porter, aged in maple bourbon barrel.

Chad B. – 2014 Belgian Golden Strong.

PhilKettle Sour with Amarillo dry hop & grapefruit peel, no boil, no hops on hot side.

Steve – Imperial Stout with coffee & chocolate.

David – Wee Heavy, 0.5 lb. smoked malt by Chad B., WY1728.

Kathy – Cyser, Hill Bros. juice.

September 2015

Attending – David, Jeremy G., Al, Mike Z., Mead, Chris, Ken, Steve, Nick R., Chad D., Chad B., Phil, Chad U., and guest Eric

Host Introduction

Many thanks to Gim & Justin for hosting the club at Railtown Brewing Co.!

Beers, Ciders & Perry Sampled

Mike Z. – 2014 Hill Bros. Cider on peaches.

Steve – Bourbon barrel Cider/Cyser.

Eric – Oaked Perry, freeze concentrated to 30 brix, half on American oak, half on French oak (French preferred by most).

Chad B. – Rye Pale Ale with Summit & Cascade hops.

Chris – SMaSH Pale with Galaxy hops & Golden Promise malt.

Mead – English Brown, both straight and with coconut extract.

Chad D. – Saison with Yeast Bay Saison Blend.

Chad U. – Pumpkin Beer with no pumpkin (used sweet potato).

Ken – Calder Red with Belgian yeast.

PhilGolden Rye IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops.

Chad D. – Golden Rye IPA with Nelson Sauvin hops.

David – Golden IPA with roasted coriander, orange peel, and Citra & Hallertau Blanc hops.

Ken – Bell’s Two Hearted clone.

Nick R. – BBQ (Bourbon barrel Quad).

Chad D.Kasteel Rouge

DavidBlue Point Oktoberfest

AlBlackrocks Barbaric Yawp

August 2015

Attending – Matt O., Tim, Chad U., Chad B., David, Jeremy G., Jim, Chris, Jason D., Phil, and guests Amy and Eric

Host Introduction

Thanks again to hosts Jeremy and Amy G. for welcoming the club to Thunderhome on a pleasant August evening. Compliments also go out to David for the delicious bread and Chad B. for the smoked pepperoncinis and olives. Cheers!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* September 15th (7:00pm) – Monthly Meeting at Railtown Brewing Company
* September 19th (9:00am) – Bell’s Homebrew Competition Kickoff and Homebrew Expo at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
* September 26th (2:00pm) – OKTOBREWFEST2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at Thunderhome
* October 5th (5:30pm) – Happy Hour – STEIN NIGHT! at Brewery Vivant
* Special note for October’s Monthly Meeting on 10/13 at Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill: If you would like to go home with some fresh pressed cider, you should plan to arrive with your carboy/bucket no later than 6 p.m.

2. Brewquitos Apparel – deadline for entering your order extended through Tuesday, 9/15. I will take manual orders for standard/recommended items only (t-shirts, hoodies, work shirts) at the Monthly Meeting.

3. Club “KBS” barrel project update – for those invested in this project from 2011/12, the beer now has less acetic character than our last sampling in 2012, lol. I didn’t think it was possible, but the acetic seems to have nearly disappeared. There was no pellicle or other sign that an infection had taken over. That said, there is a noticeable tart character beyond what you might get from heavy oaking or roasted malt. In order of intensity, I tasted oak (strong), coffee, alcohol, bourbon, and tartness. It won’t turn out to be KBS, but it is an interesting, complex beer as is. With some additional care, it could be even better. Please get in touch if you would like to retrieve your portion of the finished beer.

4. Cut the club bar in half? Chad U. suggests that the club bar may be more useful if it were modified to be two 6 tap setups. More discussion on this soon.

5. Gravel Bottom Collaboration – more discussion at the Monthly Meeting on 9/15.

Beers Sampled

Jim – Munich Helles, Saflager W-34/70, “clean, solid beer”, Jim very satisfied with dry yeast for this lager.

Chad U. – Pale Ale, Vermont Ale yeast strain, used well water in Holland, “very good nose for not being dryhopped”, “taste of hard water on back end”.

Chris – SMaSH Pale, Golden Promise malt and Galaxy hops, “very fruity, great aroma”, “juicy fruit bomb”.

Matt O. – Roggenbier, 50% rye, double decoction, Hefeweizen yeast, “excellent rye character”, “true to style…solid beer”.

David – Belgian Golden Strong, 7% abv, WY3711 French Saison yeast, “like a candy you used to have as a kid”, “a touch hot”.

Chris – Belgian Golden Strong, Brewer’s Best kit, in comparison to David’s this was darker and seemed less boozy despite the higher abv.

Chad B.Silver Medalist from the 2015 Crystal Lederhosen in the “Strong Arm Class” Mrs. Doubtfire, an English Barleywine, “phenomenal”.


Jeremy G. – Malice of Forethought, excellent dark ale crafted for a Journeyman Distillery rye whiskey barrel.

Jason D.New Holland Incorrigible Reserve

-Chad B. (transcribed by Phil)

July 2015

Attending – Chad D., David, Steve, Nick R., Mead, Chad U., Mike Z., Liz, Phil, Nick K., Matt O., Al, Jim, Chad B., and guests Brendan, Dave, Gerrid, and Nicole

Host Introduction

Cheers to Nick & Nicole R. for a nice setting in their garage and providing a tasty spread of burgers, brats, salad, and tater tots! You guys are awesome!

In an attempt to one-up the hosts, Chad B. brought a mouthwatering variety of home-smoked cheeses. Chad, you are also awesome!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* August 20th (6:30pm) – Monthly Meeting at Thunderhome
* August 22nd (9:00am) – New Holland Homebrewers United at New Holland Brewing Co. – Production Campus
* September 2nd (5:30pm) – Happy Hour at The Mitten Brewing Co.

2. I believe I speak for the club in expressing the utmost gratitude to outgoing Club President, Nick R. Club membership, involvement, and resources have all sky rocketed under Nick’s leadership. While he’ll be missed at the top, we can all be assured that Nick will continue to bring well researched knowledge and expertise to the club. Also, as he briefly mentioned at the meeting, be on the lookout in Zymurgy magazine for his recently approved research project. With help from the AHA’s Research & Education Fund, as well as Bell’s Brewery’s David Curtis (and laboratory), Nick’s project will attempt to provide objective data and sensory panel feedback for hop stand/whirlpool hop additions. Thanks for everything, Nick!

3. Congratulations and thanks in advance to our 2015-16 Officers! President – David, Vice President – Chad B, Secretary – Steve.

4. Apparel order information coming very, very soon. Nailing down a few questions with the screen printer. Expect an email with a link to an order form by 8/28.

5. Two tap jockey box is assembled and available. Details coming soon on how to reserve it for your events. There will be a charge to replace the beverage lines if it is not cleaned after use. A second two tap box was purchased on the side by a few members. If you anticipate needing more than two taps (or if the club box is already in use), please contact Nick R. or Phil to arrange rental (with modest fee to help cover costs).

Beers & Cider Sampled

Nick R. – Dry hopped Gose w/ orange peel, 100% DME, 1.045 OG, sour worting (aka kettle souring) method, 8 gm/gal. salt, “Very tasty, but the salt is slightly too forward”, brewer notes that he’d likely back down to ~4 gm./gal of salt for next version.

David – CPR (Citra Pale Ale w/ flaked rice) recipe from Jim, bumped up to ~6% abv.

Nick R. – Apricot Berliner Weisse, 100% DME, 1.034 OG, 8 lb. apricots in secondary (washed, pitted, quartered, froze) for 5 gal., ~1 oz. apricot extract at packaging.

Chad B. – Hibiscus Cider, Brewferm Blanche yeast, Old Orchard concentrate (from bulk).

Mead – Summer Wheat, coriander & orange peel, small amount of peach extract, “Fairly hoppy, firm bitterness”.

Nick R. – Session IPA, 73% 2-row, 19% Crisp Caramalt, 8% torrified wheat, 1.048 OG, 1.015 FG, 4.3% abv, 15 oz. total hops, Conan yeast.

Steve – Calder Red, unchanged from Siciliano’s recipe aside from dry hop which included homegrown Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus.

*Impromptu Spruce Beer Side-by-side-by-side-by-side*

Chad B. – Spruce Amber, 1 lb. spruce tips added at 60 min., spruce level = whoa, 23.1% of popular vote.

Al – Spruce Pale, 10 gal. batch, 1 oz. Warrior at 60 min, 1 lb. spruce tips at 30 min, 1 lb. spruce tips at 10 min, dry hopped with Chinook and Simcoe, spruce level = Whoa!, 53.8% of popular vote.

Chad D. – Spruce IPA, 6 cups spruce tips for 60 min., spruce level = Whoa, 7.7% of popular vote.

Mike Z.Short’s Spruce Pils, about 1/3 of the group did not like the beer at all, spruce level = WHOA!!!, 15.4% of popular vote.

Matt. O. – Pale Ale, 80% 2-row, 20% Cara 8, handful of debittered black malt, 1.056 OG, 1.009 FG, 6.2% abv, WLP001, “Stone fruit notes”.

Nick K. – Split batch Saisons, mostly Pils malt with a little beet sugar, 1.053 OG, 22 IBU, fermentation for each was roughly the same – pitch at 71/72F and rise to 78F gradually over a week

1. Yeast Bay – Dry Belgian Ale, 1.000 FG, “Light pepper, big pear-like ester, some white grape-like notes”, 54.5% popular vote for this variant.
2. Yeast Bay – Saison Blend I, 1.002 FG, “Light funk, earthy, light pepper, pleasant ester profile that’s not overly fruity”, 36.4% popular vote for this variant.
3. Lallemand/Danstar – Belle Saison (dry yeast), 1.000 FG, 9.1% popular vote for this variant.

Chad D. – Hibiscus Saison, Yeast Bay – Saison Blend I

Al – Belgian Blonde, ~30% wheat malt, 1.064 OG, Lallemand/Danstar – Belle Saison (dry yeast) pooped out around 76% app. attenuation, pitched WLP644 which fully attenuated the beer to 1.000.

Phil – English Barleywine with bourbon.

Chad U. – KBS 2nd runnings beer w/ Sumatra coffee and bourbon, 6% abv.

DavidThree Taverns Quasimodo – Belgian-style Quad

Nick R. – Quad, Yeast Bay – Dry Belgian Ale

DavidThree Taverns Theophan The Recluse – Belgian-style Russian Imperial Stout

Nick K.Brasserie De Blaugies/Hill Farmstead La Vermontoise – Saison

Nick K.The Alchemist Heady Topper – DIPA

Nick K.Fiddlehead Second Fiddle – DIPA

Nick R.Bell’s Neptune – Mystical Stout


June 2015

Attending – Mead, Chris, David, Jason D., Tim, Chad U., Jeremy G., Mike Z., Nick R., Phil, Kathy, and guest/host Susan

Host Introduction

A big thank you to David and Susan for the great space and hospitality. The homemade snack selection, including 2 varieties of chex mix and another snack mix, was flavorful and provided a good base for sharing a few beverages. If you’re ever curious about some of David’s recipes, make sure to check out the WhatsCookingGR group.

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* July 9th (5:30pm) – Happy Hour at Hideout Brewing Co
* July 23rd (6:30pm) – Monthly Meeting at Jeremy’s Fabulous Frenchie Farm The Rodfather’s

2. Apparel order – Phil checking with company that we previously ordered from, updates at next meeting.

3. Bar & Jockey Box – A few remaining bits will be purchased to have the bar completely outfitted. Voted to go ahead with the jockey box assembly, updates at next meeting.

4. Club collaboration with Gravel Bottom Brewery sometime this Fall! Details are still being worked out. Check out the beers were considering and give your vote here.

Beers Sampled

Chad U. – Tweaked Calder Red (inspired by Big Red Coq) brewed with Chad B. & Kathy at the 2015 Siciliano’s Big Brew Day, WY3522 Belgian Ardennes (slurry from Vivant), 2 lb. honey, lots of Citra in boil & big dry hop. Very nice!

Mike Z. – Calder Red brewed with Matt O., a small amount of extra malt added to Siciliano’s recipe, only Pekko hops (formerly ADHA 871), but hopping rates used in the recipe keep the character somewhat restrained.

Nick R. – Calder Red DIPA brewed with Phil & Chad D., lots of extra hops and malt, pitched both US-05 and Vermont Ale in primary, big Amarillo & Citra dry hop.

Phil – Calder Red DIPA, same as Nick’s beer but dry hopped with Amarillo & Galaxy.

Mead – Imperial Red IPA, 112 ibu, 2 oz. Simcoe dry hop.

Jason D. – Citra IPA, low-ish hopping rates but still very aromatic. Excellent beer!

Nick R. – Golden Rye Tripel w/ Kumquats, “Too much kum; not enough twat”.

Jeremy G. – Eisbock, established Dopplebock recipe that was freeze concentrated (on purpose!).

Jason D. – Rye IPA, Munton’s gold yeast.

Mead – Schwarzbier (Black Lager)

David – Milk Stout, recipe from Ken who typically brews as a 10 gal. batch, scaled to 5 gal. but forgot to reduce lactose addition, ended up being ~12% of malt bill. Was not overly sweet at all and had great full body. Takeaway is that using more lactose than typically recommended can yield very nice results!

DavidCreature Comforts Athena (Berliner Weisse)

Nick R.New Belgium Hop Tart

TimOmmegang Cooperstown Blonde

DavidOrpheus Brewing Atlanta (Tart Plum Saison)

DavidSweetWater Hop Hash DIPA

Kathy – Maple Bourbon Barrel Stout


May 2015

Attending – Kathy, Jason D., Mead, Chris, Steve, Al, Chad B., Nick R., Mike Z., Phil, Liz, Chad U., Chad D., guest Jeff, and guest/host Seth

Host Introduction

Most of you likely know the story of Rockford Brewing Company’s inception in 2012. If you don’t, take a minute to come up to speed with the article here. Fast forward to 2015 and you can see that RBC is in full stride. Owners, Seth Rivard & Jeff Sheehan, have crafted some excellent recipes and continue to impress with their creativity. They’re also big proponents of homebrewing, so hopefully you’ll see a lot more interaction between the club and RBC in the future!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* June 11th (5:30pm) – Happy Hour at Railtown Brewing Company
* June 25th (6:30pm) – Monthly Meeting at David’s

2. Lots of medals at the 2015 Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Nice work everyone!

3. Lots of interest in putting together another apparel order with official Brewsquitos artwork. More details on this soon.

4. Proposal to use club funds for a jockey box. More details on this soon.

5. Tour of Hop Head Farms in Hickory Corners is in the works for later this year. More details on this soon.

6. Large square table format for meeting seemed to work better than the usual long rectangular tables. “This square table is awesome! I can see a lot more dude’s faces.”

Beers and Cyser Sampled

Steve – Witbier, unfortunately no carbonation, damn you carb tabs!

Al – Split batch Saison/Belgian Blonde, Belle Saison and T-58, both light and refreshing with good balance, Belle Saison version had more peppery phenol character.

Mead – Schwarzbier (Black Lager), WLP 830 German Lager, determined that it was underpitched after discussion with Nick R., roast character was fairly heavy, but otherwise fairly clean and crisp.

Nick R. – Rodfest IV, 76% Vienna, 14% Munich II, 10% Munich I, WLP 833 German Bock, OG 1.055, FG 1.011, pretty pretty good.

Chad B. – “Rodammer’s Dirty Seconds”, Belgian Stout with coriander and chocolate.

Mike Z. – Spruce IPA, 7.5% abv, 1.5 qt tips @ 10 min. for 5 gal. batch, Sorachi Ace and Citra hops. Delicious beer that started a long discussion on the various methods for using spruce tips in beer and cider.

Chad D. – Sacch. Trois IPA, WLP644 Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois, super juicy and tropical, whoa…amazing.

Nick R. – DIPA, Conan (aka Vermont Ale) yeast, dank/resinous hops (lots of discussion on what “dank” means in beer). Will likely re-brew at some point and incorporate fruitier hops.

Chris “My family pronounces our last name incorrectly” D. – Chocolate Wheat Porter, cacao nibs in secondary.

Chad B. & Kathy – Calder Red with lots of Citra hops brewed at the 2015 Siciliano’s Big Brew Day.

Steve – Cyser, ~11.2% abv, OG 1.100, FG 1.012. Started with 1.066 cider from Sietsema’s and added 5 lb. orange blossom honey 3 days into primary fermentation. “Very, very good as is, but perhaps a touch of oak would take this to the next level.”

Phiz“Slow Burn” Imperial Milk Stout with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ancho chiles.


March 2015

Attending – Mike Z., Nick K., Liz, Jeremy G., Chad U., Chad D., Jim, Ken, Bri, Nick R., Tim, Kathy, David, Al, Phil, Chad B., and new member Jason D.

Hosts – Ken & Bri in BFE. Thanks for the great space and accommodations, guys!

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* May 2nd (butt crack of dawn) – 3rd Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew at the Calder
* May 7th (5:30pm) – May Happy Hour
* May 16th (12:00pm) – 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party (note: get your tix now!)
* May 19th (7:00pm) – May Monthly Meeting at RBC

2. Congrats to El Presidente, Nick R., for having 3 of his 4 beers submitted to NHC move on to the finals! In the Austin region he placed 1st in Category 18 with a Belgian Golden Strong, 3rd in Category 19 with an American Barleywine, and 3rd in Category 22 with a KBS inspired beer. Hopefully Nick can close the medal count gap on local celebrity, Jeff C.

3. Congrats to Matt O. for 2nd place in Category 5 in the Chicago regional for his Eisbock! Check the February meeting recap for notes on this delicious beer.

Beers, Ciders, and Mead Sampled

Jeremy G. – Pils, single infusion mash, no water adjustments, all Perle hops, WY2308 Munich Lager, 60-62F primary then lowered to lager temps.

Ar – Floral & noble hop aroma, clean, light grain, light fruitiness
Ap – Deep gold
F – Clean, light grain, floral and noble hops, slightly sharp…may smooth out with additional conditioning
M – Light body, good carb
O – Nice, dry Pils. “Slightly low hop character” – Nick R.

Nick R. – Pils, decoction mash (45@144F->30@150F->15@160F), Avangard malt, German Magnum hops for bittering, Tettnang and Saaz for flavor/aroma, WY2402 Danish Lager, pitch at 44F -> 46F for 1 day -> 48F for days 2-5 -> 60-68F for diacetyl rest -> lager.

Ar – Light grain, low to medium floral and noble hop aroma
Ap – Light gold
F – Nice bitterness, floral and noble hops, “excellent malt flavor for such a light beer”
M – Very crisp and dry
O – Nice traditional Pils, but most prefer a more elevated hop character

Jim – Dry Cider, Earth First Farms organic apples, WLP002 English Ale, FG 0.999.

Ar – Sweet apple
Ap – Light gold
F – Crisp apple, perhaps very a slight Brettanomyces character
M – Medium, crisp, dry
O – Very nice dry cider

Mike Z. – Dry Cider, 2014 Sietsema cider blend (5 varieties), FG 0.996, only 2.5 months old.

Ar – Intoxicating fresh apple
Ap – Light gold
F – Amazing upfront apple sweetness with bone dry finish, good level of tartness
M – Dry, very dry
O – Wow! For a 2 month old cider, this was excellent

David – Spontaneously fermented Cider, froze over winter.

Ar – Sulfur bomb!, vineous
Ap – Hazy gold
F – Good apple flavor, sulfur
M – Crisp, dry
O – Sulfur aroma/flavor detracts, but otherwise tasty (DT recommends bubbling C02 through by hooking gas line up to liquid out post in order to scrub out some of the sulfur, David reported back that this definitely helped!)

Kathy – Cider, 2014 Hill Bros cider blend, Red Star Côte des Blancs, two variations – one straight and the second with Montmorency cherry concentrate.

Ar – Green apple
Ap – Very light straw color, still/no carb
F – Fresh apple, slightly sweeter than other examples
M – Lt/med

Nick R. – Cider, 2014 Hill Bros cider blend, Red Star Premier Cuvée, FG 0.998, backsweetened to 1.004, 20g malic acid, Nelson Sauvin/Galaxy/Amarillo/Mosaic dry hop (3.3 oz. in 5 gal.).

Ar – Mosaic forward (cat pee apparent for some)
Ap – Very light straw color
F – Fresh apple with firm tartness
M – Slightly chalky with lingering tartness
O – Acidity reduces complexity, “Hoppiest cider I’ve ever tasted”

Phiz – Peach Baby IV (2014), well received, yum!

Chad U. – Javilla (blonde ale with coffee and vanilla beans, 3/4 lb. whole bean coffee & 3 vanilla beans sunk in bag for 6 hrs. in cold, kegged beer, “Coffee’s bumpin'”, “Damn, aroma is just like fresh brewed coffee with french vanilla creme, “Great beer, fun and just makes me smile”.

Chad D. – IPA featuring Conan yeast strain, Citra & Centennial hops, “Juicy”.

Chad B. – Double Black Rye IPA, “Is there Tomahawk in this? I like it.”

Al – IPA, started at 6.8% accidentally froze off a gallon so now 8.8%, bigger malt and lower hop character than typical, more in the old/strong ale territory.

Kathy – Full Moon Beam, WY3463 Forbidden Fruit, nice honey character.

Tim – Butterscotch Porter, bottled January 2014, “dark sugar/candy flavor”, “raisins”, “vineous”.

Nick K. – Imperial Stout

Jim – Mead with organic Black Mission figs.


February 2015

Attending – Nick R., Phil, Chris, Mead, Matt O., Kathy, David, Mike Z., Chad U., Tim, Kevin, Al, Ken, and Bri

Host Introduction

Owners Bob and Roger Bonga of Cascade Winery & Jaden James Brewery played host to the club on the eve of Winter Beer Festival 2015. David was gracious enough to bring a sampling of The Pit Stop’s exquisite BBQ offerings. Bob stopped by to welcome the club, gave us a quick overview of their history, and provided a preview of the special beers they had brewed for WBF. Meanwhile, Roger set up their nanobrewery system which he then displayed during our brief tour of their facilities. On our way back to the taproom to continue the meeting, several members perused the homebrewing and winemaking supply shop, of which they were previously unaware.

Club Business

1. Nick R. gave a brief club financial statement and a few ideas were tossed around on what the remaining 2015 funds might be used for. More on that soon.

2. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* March 26th (7:00pm) – March Monthly Meeting at Ken & Bri’s
* April 9th (5:00-7:30pm) – Social Hour & Heavy Medal pub release
* 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 people. Click here to register.
* April 23rd (7:00pm) – April Monthly Meeting at Kathy’s
* May 2nd (butt crack of dawn) – 3rd Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew at the Calder
* May 16th (12:00pm) – 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party (note: get your tix starting Monday, March 23rd)

Beers and Mead Sampled

Nick R – Belgian Golden Strong Ale, yeast is Dry Belgian Ale from The Yeast Bay (may be similar to The Bruery’s house strain), 9.5% abv, 1.000 FG, ~30 IBU, carbed to 3.5 vol, similar to Duvel. Tasting notes: “excellent pear-like ester”, “very dry and quaffable”.

Phil – Belgian Golden Strong Ale w/ American & NZ hops, same yeast strain as Nick’s, 8.5% abv, 1.000 FG, ~32 IBU, carbed to 3 vol, Citra & Nelson Sauvin for whirlpool and dry hops. Tasting notes: “a lot more perceived bitterness than Nick’s”, “hop character changes the beer quite a bit”.

Ken – Pale Ale, his first beer with water adjustments (started with 50% softened and 50% RO). Tasting notes: “soft hop character”, “low to no astringency, nice”.

Mike Z.La Fin du Monde clone, WY3522 Belgian Ardennes, 1.016 FG, fermented at 68F. Tasting notes: “classic Ardennes character – slight bubblegum & some plum-like esters”, “not as dry as La Fin du Monde, but still very tasty”.

Al– TripAl, ~8% abv, pretty dark for a Tripel. Tasting notes: “dark sugar flavors”, “raisin”, “not too sweet”, “perhaps closer to Dubbel”.

Mead – IPA, ~6% abv, Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette. Tasting notes: “balanced, crisp, very enjoyable”.

David – Hoppy Pale Ale with a boatload of fresh picked hops. Tasting notes: “very smooth, no bitter bite at all”, “mellow”, “nice citrus-y and floral hop character”.

Matt O.Roggenbier, 55% rye malt, WLP300 Hefeweizen strain, ~5.5% abv. Tasting notes: “very good example of the style”, “wow, very nice”.

AlFraoch, ale brewed with heather tips, WY1728 Scottish. Tasting notes: “finally a real example of a Fraoch”, “doesn’t taste the least bit infected, unlike other examples I’ve had”.

Ken – Tripel. Tasting notes: “could be a touch drier”.

Al – Raisin Nut Brown, special B malt, raisins in secondary.

Chad U. – 2011 Cranberry Mead. Tasting notes: “good dry mead”, “a bit too tart”, “I prefer a little sweeter mead”, “fruit character is subtle and would likely come through more strongly with a bit of backsweetening”.

Matt O. – Eisbock, 1.086 OG, 1.022 FG, ~10.75% abv after freeze concentration (~8.5% prior). Tasting notes: “not overly boozy”, “a delicious malt bomb”, “gorgeous color”.

Nick R. – Belgian Quadruple with bourbon & oak. Tasting notes: “woooooooow, beer of the night”, “looking forward to this one maturing, but it’s excellent already”.

DavidBrouwerij Het Anker Gouden Carolous Cuvee van de Keizer Rood


January 2015

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

Host Introduction

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.

Club Business

1. Reminder of upcoming events & meetings:

* 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”.


December 2014

Attending – guests Eric F. & Scott “Bocephus” B., Nick R., Kathy, Steve, David, Ben, Chris, Jim, Jeremy G., Mead, Nick K., Matt O., Phil, Mike Z., Chad U., and Chad B.

Host Introduction

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.

Club Business

1. The Brewsquito and Friends Great Chili Competition will be held Saturday, February 7th from 1:30-6:30pm at 342 Market Ave. SW. For more information, follow the link.

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!

3. Our January meeting will be held at Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill8540 2 Mile Rd. NE Ada, MI 49301 on Tuesday, January 6th at 7:00pm.

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”.

Phil2013 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


November 2014

Thanks to those of you who made it out to Tim’s house last night for meeting despite less than ideal conditions. Despite a low turnout, we had a great time, including listening to expert cidermaker Jeff Carlson walk us through some cidermaking basics including some sensory tasting. Props to Matt for coming all the way from Hastings to share a really nice Tripel. And of course, thanks to Mrs. Goodyke for supplying the group with a nice spread to munch on during meeting.

Discussed last night were the end of Phil’s 2+ year long meeting streak due to his man date with Jason at St. Cecelia’s, and plans for a chili cookoff to be held in late January or early February. If you can host, speak up here. We also discussed some of the tentative GRSOH events to be held early next year, which will hopefully have announcements forthcoming soon.

Next month’s meeting should be a fun one, as we visit Ryan and the guys down at Pilot Malt House. Certainly not one to miss! Cheers, Prost and Na zdrowie!


October 2014

Holy shit, the meeting recaps are back!

Attending – guest/potential new member Kathy T., Chris, Mead, David, Ken, Jeremy G., Matt O., Chad B., Chad U., Mike Z., Tim, Liz, Phil, Al, Nick R., Steve, and Jim

Club Business

1. Freshly elected El Presidente, Nick R., gave a sensational summary of his ‘State of the Club’ survey. To summarize that summary: Active membership is comfortable with increased dues ($30) in order to complete the furnishing of the Club bar and to fund other cool shit, the Club will continue to arrange a few club competitions per year, the majority is in favor of more educational content (El Presidente notes that this will only occur if members volunteer to present and lead discussion on occasion), members would like to see more events (see #3 below), and several noted that they would like more formal feedback on their beers (see #4 below).

2. The Club is forming the Grand Rapids Society of Homebrewers along with Primetime Brewers, Rivertown Homebrewers, Grand Rapids Homebrewers Club, and 616 Brewing Homebrew Club. The goal of this multi-club organization will be to arrange events throughout the year focused on the social and educational aspects of homebrewing. Look for an announcement soon on the first proposed event in early 2015.

3. Including potential GRSOH events, the Club will strive for at least one special event per quarter. Moving forward, the Fall quarter will continue to be covered by the annual Brew and Que and Oktobrewfest, so the focus will be on adding Spring, Summer, and Winter events. Promising ideas mentioned in the survey include: Chili cook-off, summer picnic, Fiesta de Goodyke, imperial beer competition, special/rare bottle shares, Michigan Homebrew Festival, ping pong & bonfire extravaganza, and group brew + chili cook-off + hot tub party. Ken also brought up the possibility of raising funds for charity at an event. If you have additional ideas for consideration, please get in touch with Nick R. at nrodammer@gmail.com (p.s. he also loves cat pictures, memes, gifs (NSFW language) & videos, so feel free to send those as well).

4. Beginning with the November meeting we will attempt more formal/critical feedback for those requesting it on their beers. Prerequisite for this will be to post the style and general notes about your beer to the FB event page for that month (or if you don’t have FB, email to Nick R. and he’ll post). In the event that you forget to post about your beer, at the very least, bring your recipe notes. The more information you can provide, the more meaningful your feedback will be. Depending on demand, brewers may be limited to 1 formal/critical review per month and priority will be given to those that post about their beer prior to the meeting.

5. AVP of Monthly Happy Hour, David, has arranged our first Brewsquitos Social Hour for Wednesday, November 11th from 5:00-7:00PM at Brewery Vivant!

Beer & Mead Sampled

Jim M – Wet Hop/Harvest Ale using homegrown Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial – Juicy citrus-forward hop character with a crisp, dry finish.

Chad B. – Belgian Dubbel using horehound candies in place of more traditional simple sugars.

Jeremy G. – Hoppy Amber Lager (IPL), 6.5%, 74 IBU, Saflager S-23, featuring Huell Melon hops.

A – Good clarity, amber/gold
A – Butterscotch, caramel, buttery, ripe melon
F – Butterscotch & melon, “reminiscent of Founders Das Radikal” -Nick R., crisp, dry
M – Lt/med
O – Hop variety is featured well, seems like diacetyl is present, but possible that the character of Huell Melon affects that perception

Ken – Cream Ale with sourwood honey, 4.9%, 19 IBU, 1 lb. honey malt in mash and 1 lb. sourwood honey in secondary with yeast active.

A – Crystal clear (used gelatin)
A – Nice, slightly floral/sweet honey aroma
F – Floral/sweet honey with light graininess, balanced, dry
M – Soft, light
O – Very clean, balanced session beer, some expected more sweetness from 1 lb. honey malt

Kathy – Cherry Tart Kiss (melomel), original batch placed 2nd in the final round of 2014 NHC for Cat. 25!, uses Grand Traverse sour cherries and cherry concentrate, Kathy recommends a traditional hydrometer over refractometer for gravity readings on meads.

“Damn close to the 1st batch” -Nick R., “A touch too sweet for my taste” -Jeremy G., “I’d like more cherry flavor” -Chad B., “Would backsweeten a little bit less” -Chad U., “I love it! Can I buy a bottle?” -Tim

Matt O. – Bohemian Pilsner, WLP830, triple decoction, lots of EKG hops.

A – Crystal clear
A – “Doesn’t smell like a pils”, fruity, floral/spicy hops
F – Fruity, floral, spicy, crisp
M – Medium
O – Esters and hop character out of style for Bo Pils

Nick R.BrettSaccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois IPA, 5.9%, WLP644 (Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois) (76% apparent attenuation) – starter stepped up over 2 weeks to reach desired cell count, grist included 10% flaked rye, 10% flaked wheat, 6% flaked oats (flaked grains for added mouthfeel, tradeoff is haze), 6 oz total dry hop (3 Nelson Sauvin, 3 Galaxy).

A – Very cloudy, lt. gold color
A – Lots of grapefruit
F – Grapefruit bomb!, lingering bitterness, too bitter for some, not for others
M – Lt/med, slightly astringent (hops)
O – Hops seemed to cover the ester character of the yeast, “I had higher hopes” -Nick R.

David – Foreign Extra Stout (dry export style), grist included 6% black barley and 1.5% UK chocolate.

A – Dark brown/ruby (not quite 30 SRM, BJCP min. for style)
A – Chocolate, coffee
F – Chocolate, coffee, slight roast (several wanted more roast, David said he preferred more subdued roast character), dry
M – Medium (not quite full enough), very smooth
O – Decent example, but several wanted more roast and body

Mike Z. – Pale Ale with spruce tips, used 2.5 qt. tips for 10 gal. and added 15 min from end of boil.

A – Moderate haze, gold color
A – Floral, pine
F – Sweet spruce flavor, some pine but doesn’t overwhelm like other examples
M – Medium
O – Excellent!

Chris – Belgian Dark Strong (intended to be Dubbel, but ended up at 9%), WY3522.

A – Hazy, amber/deep gold
A – Spicy/peppery phenols and fruity esters
F – Slight soapiness, spicy/peppery, candy-like sweetness, tart fruit
M – Full, noticeable alcohol warmth
O – Could be smoother and have a bit more complexity, but otherwise very nice, “Fun!” -Jeremy G., “I like it. It’s got a bite!” – Tim

Tim – Mesquite Smoked Rye featuring Briess mesquite smoked malt, brewed at 2014 New Holland Homebrewer’s United with Chad B. and Chad U.

A – Hazy, gold
A – Subtle smoke
F – Bread, smoke, wood, well balanced
M – Medium
O – Smoke is not overpowering. Not distinctly reminiscent of mesquite, just generic smoke. “Like being hungover around a campfire” -Unknown Author

Nick R. – Table Saison, 4.7%, 1.039 OG, pils DME, oats, and honey at flameout, Calypso hops in kettle and 1.5 oz. dry hop, dry Belle Saison yeast, fermented at 72F for 1 day, 76F for 3, and 80F for 10 days.

A – Good clarity (no finings used), yellow/lt. gold
A – Spicy pepper, fruity/citrus/lemon
F – Lemon & pepper dominate
M – Medium
O – “Sell it!”, “Excellent”, “Winner”, “I could drink the shit out of this” -Kathy
Brewer’s comment – may try Amarillo & Orange Blossom honey next time

Al – Belgian Blonde, 6.5%, brewed large batch portion of which was served at NHC, developed weird waxy looking stuff in carboy but tasted okay, so kegged anyway.

A – Very clear, gold, “This is clear, Nick. Your saison? Eh…” -Chad B.
A – Sweet honey-like
F – Fruity, sweet malt, crisp
M – Medium
O – Perhaps a touch too sweet, however some thought it was well balanced

Mead – Red Ale, used cabernet wine, bourbon, and coffee extract to try to achieve tobacco-like flavor. Unfortunately the beer was infected in the bottle :-(

Phil and Liz – Two variations of Oatmeal Stout, same recipe but one was brewed with no-sparge technique and had dark roasted grains added at start of vorlauf and the other was brewed with typical batch sparge process and dark roasted grains were added at the beginning of the mash, most preferred the no-sparge version although several commented that both versions were not quite roasty enough and needed more body to be good examples of an Oatmeal Stout.