April 2020 Minutes

This was a virtual meeting due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We started getting together around 6:30PM on Zoom. We had 18 members be able to log in. For the first 45 minutes we caught up socially. Ken told us about eeling. George mentioned he posted on Slack about a seltzer kit. Chris let us know there is an estimate that up to 30% of microbreweries may close due to the strain they have to sustain nowadays. Pairings Bistro has turned their wine room into a market to help local farmers. For a while they were selling their Belgian beers at half price as well. Eryn from Alecraft reached out to Ken about what they have in stock. He’ll try to post on Slack about products coming in. We discussed keeping each other informed about brewing/ingredient deals and where to find supplies.

OLD BUSINESS: coming soon.

NEW BUSINESS: pretty much just the COVID-19 Pandemic and how it’s changing our lives.

BARREL PROJECT: is still going but quite on shaky ground due to difficulty in coordinating brewing and restrictions prohibiting large gatherings. Follow developments on Slack.

FINANCIAL REPORT: we have $308.74 in the bank, $170 in cash and 25 paying members. The club hasn’t been reimbursed for the grain buy yet. We talked about setting up a Venmo. Dave H. asked about raising money to help struggling breweries in MD. We thought it was a good idea worth investigating further.

The format of the meeting was to allow each member to discuss what they were drinking and/or brewing. We happened to go in order of the sign-in sheet, which is alphabetical.

Gregg: was drinking a Belgian Wit Homebrew he made with 50% pils and 50% wheat malt. He used yeast that he cultured from a Brewery in Denver that only uses Brett, no Sach. He will brew a smoked Helles soon.

Myke: was drinking a Sierra Nevada Celebration (2018). He likes how this beer ages and has been aging some for up to 5 years at cellar temperatures. Their profile goes from hoppy to malty upon aging. He thinks the 2018 still had noticeable hops. Ken mentioned he doesn’t like this year’s version of the beer as it is grassy. Claire on the other hand really likes it. Adi wondered if storing hoppy beers in the fridge may not be a better alternative than cellar temps.

Chris: was drinking a homebrewed NEIPA made by his neighbor Scott; it had citrus notes and more bitterness than maybe required by the profile, but still quite good. He has no plans for a new homebrew but is troubleshooting a 14% RIS he initially brewed in January 2019. Despite it dropping to 1.034 from 1.126, it still has residual sweetness that borders on syrupy. He is doing a massive pitch of a WL High Gravity yeast. He has stepped up his starter twice already and is probably looking at around 600 billion cells. This yeast allows adding oxygen during fermentation. He thinks the original pitch of Irish Ale yeast and one batch of the WL High Gravity got overwhelmed and stopped. This time, he will pull 0.5gallons of the beer, pitch the starter there and allow it to acclimate first.

Mike: was drinking Admiral Achbar’s Imperial Belgian Pale homebrewed with Marc 1 month ago. Amongst other things, it did NOT require 9 pounds of acidulated malt, only 15oz 🙂 Mike is not brewing anytime soon as he is still working and the equipment is with Marc.

Marc: was drinking a homebrewed standard West Coast IPA with tropical hop notes and crisp bitterness to finish. He used Briess 2 row, Vienna, Crystal Caramel and malted rye. He used Comet for bitterness, Simcoe, Citra, Idaho7 for flavor and dry-hopped it with Citra and Idaho. He also brewed his saison for next month. He did an open fermentation and used Frankenyeast (combo of French/Belgian yeast strains) which dropped it to 1.001. He brewed a smoked Helles this week and did a triple pitch of his dry yeast to ensure it kicks off properly.

Collin: was drinking Steve J’s Double IPA homebrew. He brewed three times this week. He made the Oud Bruin for the Barrel Project, his saison for next month (he will add a 4oz dose of pear extract to it upon kegging), and a “Grab Bag” IPA he brewed with Jess to use up various hops (they used Mosaic, Motueka; dry-hopped with Mosaic and used Omega Yeast Tropical IPA-this yeast was going strong within 12 hours, whereas the WL used in the past took 2 days).  

We discussed over-pitching at this point as Ken was worried some of the newer yeast brands such as Omega and Imperial, can cause it. Chris recommended to look at yeast calculators and the consensus was that, as home-brewers, we are likely under-pitching our yeast rather than over-pitching. Kelly has posted a video in the past talking about this subject further.

Ken: was drinking 2 homebrews: a cream ale and his hibiscus saison. The cream ale he has been brewing for the past 6 years for his neighbor who only enjoys Budweiser. This is an “everyman’s drink”, using a lager yeast at ale temperatures. He did a 10gal batch with OG 1.046 and 4.6% ABV and the aroma is reminiscent of a cornfield. His saison started originally as an Independent Wort challenge so he has been tweaking the recipe. He used his go-to saison yeast, the Belle Saison. For future brews of this recipe, he would try to use French or Belgian malts for more complexity. 

Linda and Adi: were drinking their homebrewed Brown Ale: Irish Brown. It started as an Irish Red recipe but ended up with the flavor profile and color of a brown. They brewed three times in two days this week: the Oud Bruin for the Barrel Project, a super-saison for next month, and a smoked Helles. The saison’s OG was shy of the desired number, so the saison may not be “super” but they used Imperial Rustic yeast so one never knows. 

Claire and Art: drank a bottle of Steinhard’s Kriek which they love for the natural cherry flavor that is not medicinal or artificial, then switched to Steven, their homebrewed Dry Irish stout from last month’s meeting. They brewed a double IPA last weekend with Citra and El Dorado hops and Giga Vermont IPA yeast (this yeast is quite slow to start off but they had used it in the past and were happy with the result). They will brew their saison soon as well.

Dave H: was drinking an Imperial Coffee stout from Wyndridge farms. He brewed a Double IPA with Joe K about 3 weeks ago that came in at 1.084 and is still fermenting strongly. They used Columbus, Centennial, Cascade and Glacier hops. He will soon brew an experimental all-grain saison with his wife and add 3lbs of blood orange puree and 3lbs of honey.

Steve J: was drinking Collin’s Flanders Red homebrew as part of their beer swap. He brewed his Saison about 10 days ago and used French Saison yeast which dropped it from 1.053 to 1.001 and he expects it to be dry and peppery.

Matt: was drinking his Dark Mild Homebrew. He has recently gotten an experimental 2-row from Chesapeake malting company and was wondering how to find out how to use it and how much. Marc suggested contacting the malting company to find out the PPG.

Kelly: was drinking his Rye Pale Ale homebrew (brewed with US05 and similar to Rye Baby from Union, but drier) but also The Cat’s Pajamas from Full Tilt, which he had delivered. He brewed a Lavender Saison recently for next month.   

Kevin: drank an Allagash Sour and an Imperial Stout. He has no plans for brewing as he is too afraid to leave his house and get ingredients. He will wait on brewing until the pandemic ends.

Dave W: brewed and was drinking a session NEIPA. He stripped his tap water of all adjuncts and ions in a deionization chamber then added his salts as needed. He used gypsum, calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate. He added his hops during a lengthy (180 min?) whirlpool and used a FermZilla Conical Fermentor. We discussed various aspects of water chemistry, pH, hop additions, oxygenation and the fermentor itself.

I stopped taking notes at 11PM. Happy Brewing and hope everyone stays healthy and safe! Cheers!