November 2014 BIER Meeting

Nov. 12, 2014

25 Attendees; Given                 Jason Fletcher Bob Ciesla                   Bernie & Donna Kordula                   

Dave & Joan King      Rich Andel                  Fil Fata                        Josh Sember                Dick Tuthill    

Roger Haggett            Jim Dabek                   James Dunn                 Chris Hritcko Jim Parks

Erick Joh                     Dan Koller                  Dave Russell   Jim Burt                      Ed Miner                    

Jim Lawson                 Don Petcosky Nick Martensen           Ray Corey      


James Dunn, Roger Haggett, Dave King (2) and Frank Haining went to the Knickerbocker Battle of the Brews Nov. 8, at the Albany Pump Station, and had a very good time, as usual.  James and Frank Judged, while Roger and Dave Stewarded.  James Dunn took home a Silver Medal for his Vienna Lager!  Dave got to Steward for the Sour and Specialty Beers, good thing the guys at the IPA table were generous, or he’d done without any decent sampling.      

Theresa Hollister will be doing another Finger Lakes Beer Trail Winter Passport Program.  February 20 – March 31, 2015 this time.  For $15 plus tax, you get up to $185 worth of discounts at 35 locations, including nearly all the Craft Breweries in Central NY.  Joan and Dave will be in Florida, so if you’d like to set up a bus trip, go for it!

Marty is malting, having gotten a big shipment of barley, but ask him about availability, since he’s got a lot of demand from Craft Breweries to satisfy.  Doc’s is offering some good pricing on bags of malt, too.

We had a “Learn to Homebrew Day” brew session at Marty’s Nov. 2nd, with 14 students attending.  Doc’s Homebrew gave us an American Pale Ale kit, and the brew day went very well.  Although it happened after this meeting, I can report that we bottled it a couple weeks later, and had a tasting session Dec. 7th.  It came out good, very cloudy, we forgot to add a clarifying agent, like Irish Moss.  None came with the kit, but we should have used it.  The beer was extra bitter, probably due to our full volume boil, instead of the common partial boil.  The noted 34 IBU, about right for an APA, but a Rager calculation indicated 60 IBU from a full boil.  Also, there was a harshness, probably due to it being young, but also due to suspended yeast.  We each were able to take 3 bottles home, so we’ll see what some time does for it.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we gained a couple new members.  The above photo is at, or near high Krausen.

Erik Joh, a new member of BIER, Attorney, and soon to be Hop Farmer, told us about his hop and possible barley farming, just South of Binghamton.  He’s putting in 1.5 acres of hops, with plants, not rhizomes.  A pond on his land is rich in algae, which can be a very good Nitrogen source.  He says there are 4 hop harvester machines in NY State now.  Erik brings a varied and extensive background in many fields (no pun intended).

Joan brought pretzels, Bob brought popcorn, and Josh brought his Hickory Venison Jerky, these went well with our many brews.  Thank you all!

We voted in a new Web Master, Josh Sember, with possible help offered by Dan Koller.  Tim O’Leary did a fine job with our web site for several years, and it’s time to give him a break.  Thanks, Tim, Josh & Dan. 

We gave away some tasting glasses that were gathering dust at the King’s. 

We discussed buying the How to Brew Extract and All Grain DVD Series, $20/ea., John Palmer and Brad Smith did these, certainly well done, worth the $20 if you’re new at either brewing method.

Jeff Poltz has now had both hips replaced, as reported by Jim Parks.  Best of luck, get better soon, Jeff.

BIER membership is up to 48, as of this writing. 

Water analysis continues to be of interest to some of us.  5 people provided samples, and for $5/ea., your President did an analysis of each with his LaMotte test kit.  Check the results.  If you need a non XLS format report, let me know.  The 5 samples, and both Dave King’s, show some similarities, with the greatest differences not yet explained, but just different water sources.  If you’d like to have yours analyzed, bring a pint or so and $5 to the meeting.  Chris Givens brought a couple reports, 2010 & 2013, for comparison.

The Homebrewed Beers; (Served by Jason Fletcher, our Cellar Master, with help from Bernie)

Jim Dabek – American Amber, Northern Brewer all-grain kit, nice clean beer, good start to the evening.   

Don – American Wheat, done with the zest of oranges and lemons, fermented with a Kölsch yeast.  Nice refreshing, citrusy flavors.      

Don – Bohemian Pilsner, lagered in his converted freezer.  70% RO water, 30% his hard well water, great for the style.  Weiss is selling softened water as RO?  Can anyone collaborate this?  

Jim Burt – Amber,  a kit, with added hops, made a nice “Pale Ale,” well done.  Jim’s got 19 batches under his belt, a fine brewer. 

Dan Koller Party Dog, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone from Brew Toad, ingredients from Doc’s, nice malty Pale Ale, done on his induction range, well brewed. 

Jim Parks Scotch 80 Shilling, big pop, well carbonated, 1.080 O.G., bottled in July, US-04 yeast, 8.3% ABV, great malt flavors.   

Dave King (2)JBA, the latest rendition, with an attempt at water correction, oops, late salts addition to mash, got a pH = 5.4, a bit high, I’ll add about 1.5% Acidulated Malt next time.  8.1% ABV, used some WLP007, Dry English Ale yeast, and some US-05 Chico Ale yeast, finished very low, still good bit of “Brown Ale” flavor, but a little 1 dimensional, maybe the malts are getting a bit old. 

Jason – Oatmeal Stout, O.G. = 1.046, 46 IBU, Eldorado hops, oaked, nice complex, malty stout. Dunn – Substance Abuse Brown Ale, great “Brown” flavor, 85 IBU makes it a great Brown Ale.

Dave Russell – Pumpkin Ale, Partial mash of 6 row & cooked pumpkin, Amber malt extract, Cluster hops and pumpkin pie spice, fermented with US-05.  Good job, nicely balanced all around, especially the pie spice.

Nick – Pumpkin Ale, another good example, a bit lighter in spices than Dave’s.  3 cans of pumpkin in the mash, for a 5 gal. batch. We had one bottle to be a gusher and one not.  Uneven carbonation? 

Rich – IPA, Heady Topper Clone, 2X IPA, made with hop extract, Simcoe and Amarillo 2.5 day dry hop, nice and dry, 120 IBU, 9% ABV.  Great nose,   

The Commercial Beers;

Rich – Smutty Nose IPA, a good fresh example from a Sam the Beer Man keg.  Certainly a well known, excellent American IPA. 

Chris Hritcko – Lancaster Pumpkin Ale, big on spice.

Bernie & DonnaHop Drop & Roll, NoDa West Coast IPA.  Certainly a big, flavorful IPA, from Charlotte, VA. 


Ed – Scotch Ale, from Smutty Nose.  A fine, richly malty example. 

Fun night, many great brews.  Thanks for the recipes, I’m sure many of us will be interested in the details. 

Next month is our Christmas Dinner, Dec 10th.  6:30 should be a good time to meet.  If you haven’t attended one of these, this will be a good year to start.  Brothers 2 has a great full menu, and many fine draft Craft Beers, big improvements to our once a year tradition.  BTW, your BIER membership is good for Happy Hour pint prices any time, so just show your waitress your membership card.

David Katleski, from Empire and the NY State BA, was going to attend our Dec. meeting, but a family matter conflicts, and we all understand how that can happen.  Hopefully, Jan. will work for him. 

     Dave King (2)