2000 December Meeting

Intermediate Newsletter and Minutes         December 01, 2000
Recording Secretary: Kenny Schrader


Woodbridge Homebrewers Ales & Lagers Enthusiasts Society
Woodbridge Homebrewers Of Really Exciting Shit!
In a word, WOW! Our Event Coordinator (LUKE) came through once again. This month's extra curricular activity was a private and personal tour of Harvest Moon Brewery. Barry, the MasterBrewer was our host. As a BONUS, the MasterBrewer from Pizzerino Uno, Mike, also attended. Club attendees were Keith, Luke, Kathy (Cathy?), Kenny, and Paul. We had good reason to celebrate (like we need one, right) because Paul quit smoking and was on his 5th day!
Barry took The Club downstairs to the fermenting room to sample his stout right out of the tank. Harvest Moon has a total of (4) 15 barrel fermenters, and (6) serving tanks. The stout was very good, and we had a chance to pick the brains of both Barry and Mike of Pizzera Uno, who are each respectable brewers in their own right.
Perhaps the most intense topic of discussion was yeast. Barry taught us how fermenting vessels are designed for specific strains of yeast. There are conical shaped fermenters, which we are most familiar with, but also flat bottomed and top arched. Yeast circulates in wort in many different ways. Some strains (typically ale) rise to the surface and stay there, needing to be skimmed off. Some strains (typically lagers) tend to sit on the bottom. On occassion, yeast will settle in the middle of a tank and develop "hot" spots. There are systems (Pugsley) that are designed to make beer very fast. The Ringwood strain is used in that system, and the fermenters are designed just for that particular strain. Other yeasts would not do well in those tanks, which makes that system "Ringwood Only". Ringwood works very quickly but floculates (settles out) prematurely. These tanks have oxygen pumps to circulate the settling out yeast and revive it. The Ringwood yeast has a certain flavor characteristic which dominates the beer. Some brewers avoid it just because of that, but it is used widely for high speed beer production.
Unlike many breweries that use only one "house" yeast, Harvest Moon uses three. (Brewers like to use one for ease and elliminate fear of cross contamination). Barry uses American Ale 1056, but also a London Ale and a lager. Most all of us have used 1056 as well, but Barry takes it to extremes and can ferment with it as cool as 50 degrees. If anyone needs yeast, just give Barry a call as he said he would be more than happy to help out The Club.
Other topics discussed were many. Among them, the price of setting up a commercial sized brewery. Typically it can run about $100,000. Mike from Uno said it could be piece meal bought though for as little as $20,000. We talked about what appears to be the demise of homebrew shops in our area, and why that is occurring. Hops were a brief topic. All in all a very educational session! Both brewers were invited to attend our Christmas party, as well as an open invitation to any of our meetings. Mike will try to make our January meeting at J.J. Bitting.
The brewers had to leave but The Club hung around for a few more cool ones (Alt, IPA, Porter, Stout, Golden, ESB) at the bar. Then it was off to The Old Bay for (um, many) night caps! One of our favorites on tap was the Ramstein Winter Wheat Dopplebock weighing in at 9.5%. We also had quite a few "Hammers", the Baltic Porter from our friend Tom Baker at Heavyweight which is another knockout at 8.3% ABV. Mrs. Luke really enjoyed the white wheats, those being Celis White and Hoegaarden White with twists of lemon. One really superb brew that we had several of was the Stoudt's Honey Double Maibock at 8%. Paul tried the big beer Corsendonk Pale Ale, served in a brandy glass. Other tap offerings we enjoyed included a rye beer from Stoudt's (Holiday Reserve), Chicory coffee stout from Dogfish Head, and another great CLASSIC doppelbock imported from Germany, the Ayinger Celebrator!
The Club was "giddy" at this point, as we all tried some Crazy John impersonations. (Hey Keefe, whaddya tink, huh?) It was then brought up that perhaps we need to change the name of The Club from WHALES to W.H.O.R.E.S. (Woodbridge Homebrewers Of Really Exciting Shit) as part of a recruitment strategy. No doubt, a web site address of whores.org would get some hits!
Christmas BASH, 12/21/00 at Kilmeyers 7PM for Club MEMBERS and specially invited guests only. Happy Holidays!
Kenny/Divorce Court Labs Brewery