May 2014 BIER Minutes

5/14/2013 we had a small group at Brothers 2, with 17 of us, lots of brew talk and great beer. 

Jason Fletcher             Zach Dubord               Donna & Bernie Kordula        James Dunn     Chris Given

Adam Hawley             Pete Patton                  Dan Homa       Dick Tuthill     Bob Ciesla       Dave Russell 

Dave King (1) Dave King (2)             Dave Semo      Josh                 Brian Murphy

We have 3 new members this month, Pete Patten, Zach Dubord and Josh.  Pete has his 1st kit, a Mr. Beer kit, which he’s hesitant to jump into, and had many questions, but he needs to just get that 1st batch made, per the instructions, and we can go from there.  

Dave Russell asked how often we brew.  If you get really into it, and brew often, 5 gal. batches can be a lot of volume.  But, as you brew more and the word gets out, you’ll tend to find friends who were obscure, are now wanting to help you with your supply.  There are always 1 gal. batches, getting rather popular lately.  I, on the other hand, recently went from 6 to 11 gal. batches.  

I’ve sent notices of some Homebrew Contests, which we can enter beers in, and can go help Steward or Judge at.  Here are but a few; Battle of the Brews, July 19 at the Delaware State Fair Grounds, Sam Adams Longshot Competition, June 28, and the NY State Fair Homebrew Contest, at the Fair Grounds in Syracuse, July 11.  BTW, James Dunn offered to take our entries up with his, the week of June 23rd. 

Summer Fests are coming up soon.  Technology that Drives Us, May 17 and Fiery Foods and Sudsy Brews, Oct. 11.  The NHC in Grand Rapids, MI (6/12 – 14), Rochester’s Flour City Brewers Fest is back, and this time it’s going to be at the Public Market, Aug 22.  Madison Co. Hop Fest (9/13), Sudsy Brews and Fiery Foods (10/5.  Beer Camp in Philly is Aug. 2, $65/ea. Dan Homa is going. Belgium Comes to Cooperstown is Aug 8 & 9, but it’s sold out.  Then there’s the GABF (10/2 - 4). 

The Community Shop, in Owego is a quiet little corner store at 106 North Ave. with a great selection of Craft Beer, so if you live down that way, or happen to drive by, give them a try.  And if you’re closer to Waverly, don’t forget the Jolly Farmer.  Speaking of Owego, Marty’s Farmhouse Brewing Tasting Room is open, just a couple blocks North of the Community Shop (14 George St.).  Starting Sat. June 7, you can stop by, get a pint, and fill your growler.  Check out the article in Upstate Brew York.  

Hops are growing like mad.  Mine were about 5’ high the day before our May meeting.  They’re up to the roof now.  How are yours doing? 

There was a bit of a scare, when we heard that the FDA was going to require breweries to dry, test, and package their spent grain before allowing farmers to feed it to their stock.  The Wall Street Journal says they backed off, thank goodness.

We talked about brewing water, important for many beer styles.  Some of us are guessing at it.  Zach at North Brewing, installed a Reverse Osmosis unit, so he can dilute down his Endicott water.  Our Endicott report is worthless, it doesn’t contain most of what we need to know.  Ward Labs will analyze it for $40, just send in a sample.  John Palmer has approved the LaMotte Test Kit.  Without a pH meter, it’s $125 for up to 50 tests, to get total hardness, Ca, Mg, SO4, Alkalinity, Cl and Na.  I’m planning to get one, so I can stop the guess work.  Want to share the cost?   

Homebrew Tastings;

Zach – Dunkel, Recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles,” with extract, White Labs Hefe yeast, nice banana esters from the yeast.  Good example from one of our new members. 

James Dunn – Vienna Lager, nice malty flavor, with a honey like note. 

Dave Russel – American Amber, same as last month, a Brewer’s Best kit, his 1st batch, holding up well.

Adam – Cider, Alde’s cider plus US-05 yeast, dry, slightly sweet.  It was dry hopped, but age has greatly reduced the aroma.

Bernie – Brown Ale, rich brown malt flavor. Clean, well done.                                                                                     

Dave King (2) – JBA & Rye Ale Blend, 75% Lion’s Pride Rye Ale with 25% Judy’s Brown Ale.  Light Brown Ale malt flavor in the collaboration Rye IPA.  Served from the Beer Box, another great application for it, easy way to blend and then serve your kegged brews.

Dan – Rye IPA, a bit light, easy on the hops, cleanly fermented.  All-grain, Brew-In-The-Bag, no sparge, using a converted ½ keg and pulley system.  O.G. = 1.050.  Amazing result, a great 1st effort.  Congrats, Dan! 

Adam – Wheat Stout, clean, high HOOCH, same recipe from 2 years back. 

James Dunn – Belgian Triple, nice clean, well done.  Incremental feeding of sugars for 9 – 10% ABV. 

Josh – Amber Ale, from Doc’s.  Good, but some off flavor indicates a bit of contamination.  Josh is an experienced wine maker, just getting into beer making.  We suggested use of a good cleaner, such as PBW and a good no-rinse sanitizer, such as Star San.  Wine can be more forgiving for sanitation, due to the higher ABV. 

Dave Semo – Lager, good bitterness level, low CO2, Vienna style?  Easy drinking. 

Dave Semo – Old Ale, 6 mo. old, with Treacle sugar.  Nice smooth sipper.  

Josh – Banana Wine, strange, but interesting, and actually very drinkable.  Made with 14 lb. of bananas & some sugar for a 5 gal. batch.  EC1118 Champagne yeast finished it nicely.  

Commercial Tastings;

Dave King (1) – Elevator Espresso Chocolate Stout (6.5 %, brewed with 4 pounds of locally roasted espresso & 4 pounds cocoa beans) from Endless Brewing, big coffee flavor. 

Chris – Matilda, Belgian style ale from Goose Island.

Brian – Lambic, sour, tart


Great beer, fun time.  Thanks to Fil for allowing us to meet at the Brothers 2, great place, great beer, great food.  If you would like to get in on a bulk malt buy from North Country, IPA has their web based ordering system up and running.    

Don’t forget, if anyone wants to write a review of a pub, a brewery, trip, etc, please do so, and send a copy to Tim and Me.  We’ll get it on the web, you’ll be famous.  See you June, 11th at Brothers 2.  BTW, Fil is adding a ton of taps soon, should be over 20 soon.       

              Dave King (2)