What a fantastic day for a Big Brew! Under warm sunny skies we had 13 different brewing systems going simultaneously in Chris’s front yard. They ranged from Marty’s 2 gallon fully automated PicoBrew and Justin’s 2.5 gallon 3-tier stand, up through Ian’s 10 gallon batch on Sir Ballington and Michael and Chris D’s 20 gallon pseudo-partigyle. I figure we made about 80 gallons of homebrew at the event, with 9 of the 13 batches opting for trying their hand at the BHG 6th Anniversary Wee-Heavy. Another dozen or two people stopped by throughout the day to check out the scene, some of whom were using it as good research in plotting future system upgrades.
A big thank you to Chris Brehm for hosting us again, Jason Mantello for providing us with food, Frank and Brad at Aslan for providing a ton of fresh yeast, and everyone who made the effort to jam their equipment into cars and trailers and put the Big in Big Brew Day!
More pictures available at http://gallery.quessenberry.com/BHG/BHG-Big-Brew-2015/
Join the Bellingham Homebrewers Guild to celebrate National Homebrew Day with a big group brew on Saturday, May 2. Come show off your equipment and brew a batch or just hang out and enjoy some delicious homebrew with us.
The Guild will provide lunch, you bring some homebrew and/or snacks to share. This will be an all day event, so stop by any time and join the fun. Hope to see you there!
Thinking about brewing your own beer at home? Not sure where to start? Looking for some helpful advice and tips from people who have been in your situation? Join us at the next Bellingham Homebrewers Guild meeting on April 9 at 6:00 PM at the Chuckanut Brewery on Holly Street.
At the meeting you’ll find homebrewers at every stage of the craft – from beginners to folks with 20 years or more of experience. You’ll find brewers who make great tasting beer in their kitchens to those who have a garage full of equipment that looks like a scaled-down version of a commercial brewery.
What is the favorite pastime of Guild members? Making and drinking beer, of course. A close second is talking about beer. Join us at an upcoming Guild meeting and let us help you get started!
Bob and Wayne from Skagit Valley Malting attended the February club meeting to help judge the competition beers made with their malt. They also brought four varieties of malted barley for us to sample.
The first, Copeland, was the only sample barley that is recommended by the American Malting and Barley Association as a malting barley. The AMBA approves only 6 to 12 new barley varieties each year. Bob described this Skagit-grown Copeland as “Copeland enhanced,” a term used by a buyer from a major craft brewer.
The second sample of malt was from a variety called Alba which was bred at Oregon State University. This was was tested by the AMBA, but did not make it to their recommended list. Bob told us that the flexibility in SVM’s systems allows them to malt this variety quite successfully.
The third sample from SVM was a hull-less barley malt that they been call “Purple Egyptian.” The actual name of the variety is Obsidian and it originated in the headwaters of the Nile River. This grain is being revived by grain historian Dr. Richard Scheuerman from Seattle Pacific University. Sadly, there are very limited amounts of this malt available as seed is still being developed.
The fourth sample was barley with the experimental moniker of NZ-151. This is another barley that was tested by the AMBA and rejected which SVM have malted successfully. NZ-151 is being developed at the Washington State University Research Center by Brook Brouwer as part of his PhD thesis. Brook and Bob created a SMaSH test brew with it and found yet another different flavor profile in both the malt and the beer than in any of the other malts we sampled.
What makes Skagit Valley grains so special? According to Bob, “We are fortunate that here in the Skagit Valley we get plumper, lower protein grain than is available elsewhere due to our soil and microclimate. The USDA has rated Skagit’s soil in the top 2% most productive in the world. That soil combined with our Salish Coast microclimate west of the Cascades between Eugene, Oregon and central Vancouver Island, has produced the world record yield for both wheat and barley. These crops must be planted every few years in rotation to break disease cycles and recondition the soil. Historically local farmers have not been excited about growing it because it was typically sold for low returns in the commodity feed markets. They are now excited about having some of their necessary rotation crops selling for a premium price since we can now add value to them by producing world class malt.”
It was great to meet Bob and Wayne and to discuss brewing possibilities with them. We look forward to more interesting and unique malts from Skagit Valley Malting in the near future.
The first club competition of 2015 was held at the February meeting. There were a total of 16 beers to taste and rate. You can find the results on the Club Competitions page.
Monthly club meeting is this Thursday (3/12) at Aslan Brewing. We meet in the brewery, please enter the brewery directly via the external doors on Magnolia St and not through the restaurant.
On the agenda is a style calibration with dark lagers (BJCP 4A, 4C). This is the April club competition style, so we’ll provide some commercial examples to taste as a group and discuss what appropriate characteristics a good example should have.
Doors open at 6pm, business will be discussed at 6:30pm, sampling will occur until it’s all gone. Join us whenever you can. Meeting are open to anyone who likes to geek out on beer and brewing. Please bring your own tasting glass and something to share – homebrew, commercial beer, or a snack. If you’re joining us for the first time and have never attended a meeting before then don’t worry about bringing anything, just come check us out!
Join the BHG on Saturday, November 8 to participate in the AHA’s annual Learn to Homebrew Day! The American Homebrewers Association founded “Learn to Homebrew Day” in 1999 to introduce people to the hobby of homebrewing and to promote relationships with local homebrew shops. The event has since been held annually each November.
Members that already know how to brew are encouraged to take their brewing setup mobile and join us for a group brew. You should also invite a friend who doesn’t brew to join us and introduce them to the joys of the hobby!
Brewing will be occurring all day from 9am – 6pm. Feel free to drop by to say hi and ask questions, or setup you equipment up at any time. From 1pm – 4pm we’ll be doing an introductory demonstration geared towards new brewers, walking through the basics steps and requirements for making your first extract batch.
We’ll be hosting this at Chris Brehm’s house (2617 Cedarwood Ave) rain or shine. Donuts and brats will be provided by the club, homebrew by club members. Email todd@quessenberry if you have any questions.