Beer Quotes & Wisdom

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline-it

helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear

weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -- Frank Zappa

Friday, April 30, 2010

Big Brew a Go for May 1

It's a go for Half Moon Big Brew May 1 at noon.

At 3:45 PM Friday April 30, the weather forecast shows rain tomorrow morning ending by noon. The afternoon from 12:00 to 3:00 has only 10% chance of rain forecast increasing to 40% at 3:00. So it looks like we should be able to get our Big Brew in at Half Moon.

John will have the wort ready for us at noon. To do this he needs to start the mash at about 9:00. I'll make one last check of the weather forecast at 8:00 AM so if the forecast has changed dramatically at that time we could still cancel the brew. You should check this site again tomorrow before coming out to Half Moon in case we have to cancel tomorrow morning.

Jeff Gloudemans for Tom Ferguson

First Round NHC Winners

The first round of the Great Lakes Region for the National Homebrew Competition has been completed.  Indiana was represented very nicely with 25 winners advancing with 25 brews.
On the Howard Co. Homebrew front, Larry B., Tom F. & Jon C. all have the chance to advance to the finals.  Larry took 1st out of 16 entries with his doppelbock in the bock catagory.  Tom & Jon took a 3rd out of 22 entries with their pilsner.
For a complete listing of the 1st round winners go the the AHA website at
For the listing of the Indiana winners, go to the Indiana Beer blog at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dark Lord and home brew

Found this interesting article over at Beer Dorks arguing that home brew is just as good and important or more so than Three Floyd's Dark Lord Stout.

I think variety is the spice of life, beer of all prices and mass produced or home brew is a good thing. But this is an interesting take on the subject.

A quote I found along these lines, "Beer was not made to be moralized about, but to be drunk." Theodore Maynard.

Beer Dorks "Don't Fret, Home Brew"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Big Brew Yeast Starters

I made the starters today for the Big Brew next Saturday at Half Moon. The plan was to make 5 one gal starters and 5 half gal starters each with a different strain of Belgian Yeast. What I did was randomly pick yeast strains of the 10 varieties purchased to divide them among the 1 gal and 1/2 gal starters. Since I only had 4 one gal containers available one of the 1 gal starters (Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity) was made using two 1/2 gal growlers and splitting the yeast between them. All of the yeast varieties purchased were from Wyeast.

1 Gal
3787 Trappist High Gravity
3538 Leuven Pale Ale
3655 Schelde
3522 Ardennes
3942 Wheat

1/2 Gal
1388 Strong Ale
3463 Forbidden Fruit
3724 Belgian Saison
3711 French Saison
1214 Belgian Abbey Ale

My plan is to let them ferment out and then deliver them to Half moon on Wednesday or Thursday to be stored in their walk in cooler.

Jeff G

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Got alot done on the Club Bar today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Larry's Half Moon Big Brew

On Thursday, very early in the morning, Jon put me to work in the Half Moon brew house to brew up a batch of the award winning Susie's Sweet Stout.  Jon had all the grain gathered up and set out the night before, water heated and everything ready to go when I arrived at 7:45 in the morning.

After a quick explanation of the intricate manifold with its myriad of switches & levers and a brief lesson on the tri-clamps for the hoses, we did a sanitizing ritual with very hot water through everything we would be using that day.

After re-arranging the hoses and clamps and I was ready to start the heavy end of the day.  Or what I thought would be the heavy end of the day.  297 pounds of grain had to be loaded into the mash tun.  Fortunately only 55lbs at a time. 
Then came the mixing/stirring of the now wet grain.  Using a fancy "hoe" and reaching all the way to the false bottom of the tun I had to pull the grain to the top and make sure there were no dough  balls and everything was evenly mixed.

In the following hour, Jon had me move some more hoses around allowing me to work on my one-handed tri-clamp technique and get things set up for the yeast transfer that was to come later.  Eric M. arrived with his video camera to document the momentious occasion.  We also sampled a bit of the Susie's Sweet Stout that I brought from the secondary at home for a sample of what we are shooting for.   It is from the batch I brewed a few days earlier that will be the featured beer at this year's Indiana Brewers Cup dinner. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Meeting

The April club meeting brought out 17 people and an equal number of beers.  The one we were all there to taste was the sample pulled from the bourban barrel to assess.  A pronounced bourbon aroma greeted you as you raised the glass, but the vanilla from the oak and a chocolate flavor are what you tasted.  It is very good!
There was some discussion as to whether to leave it in the barrel longer or if this was the right time to keg.  The majority felt it was just right and it was decided to keg it soon.  Those of us receiving a keg (or 2) of it will try to leave it alone until it is time to enter it in the Indiana Brewers Cup contest.  A sampling of everyone's keg to determine the effects on storage and carbonation at a later meeting will determine which keg to enter.

Another use for a keg of the brew was brought up in that the Howard County Homebrew Club has been invited to participate in the annual "Ales For Tails" fundraiser that will be held at the Quarry Restaurant on June 23rd.  It is an evening of sampling beer & wine paired up with food in order to raise money for the Kokomo Animal Shelter.  We were approached to possibly set up a display there for homebrewing and it was also suggested that the club offer something for the silent auction as well.  It could be something as simple as a lesson in homebrewing.

This year's BIG BREW at the Half Moon will be on May 1st, starting at noon.  Once again Jon, the head brewer of the Half Moon will mash up a batch of wort for us to brew up for the day.  This year's experiment will be yeasts.  A Belgian Blond beer will form the base.  Tom F. will order the hops for the brew and we will all follow the same hop schedule, theoretically all producing the same beer.  Then those participating will each use a different Belgian yeast, so that we can taste the differences that the yeast contribute to the final beer.  Jeff G. will brew up a batch of starter for all to get the yeast up and running.  So with Jon providing the wort, Tom ordering the hops & yeasts and Jeff providing the starter, everything should be fairly uniform to accentuate the yeast profiles.

Brent gave us an update on the construction of the portable serving bar he is making for the club.  Something that will be used at the Indiana Brewers Cup and the Ales For Tales as well as other homebrew functions.  Hardware still needs to be purchased, and some decissions like how many taps will be needed still has to be decided.  Cary K.  will make some tap handles.  He also had some well made mash paddles that he was selling for the bargain price of $5.

Jon & Larry set the time for Thursday the 22nd to be the brew day for Susie's Sweet Stout for the Half Moon.  They will be using the recipe that won the Best of Show at the 2009 Indiana Brewers Cup.  It was unanimous that Jon should let Larry do ALL the work.

A group hop order & malt order was discussed.  The hop order is a go with several members jumping in on it, and the grain order looks to be in the future.

The dispensing of the beers for the evening went quite well with everything from a Mr. Beer kit to a blend of several "left overs" that all got mixed together to for a "perpetual" beer.  Maibocks, Porters, Heffes, Brown ales, Munich Dunkels & even an IPA made with lager yeast.

The best story of the evenng was Cary's apricot mead that required a 3' bottle opener & a blast shield to open.

Tom F. Offered up bags of hop rhizomes from his hop garden, and Andrew offered some "aged" grains that he was anxious to move out of his basement.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Susie's Sweet Stout Double Brew

In getting ready to finish up my 1 year of fame, I brewed up the double batch of Susie's Sweet Stout. This is the 2 kegs worth of 2009's Best of Show that will be the featured beer at the 2010 Indiana Brewer's Cup award dinner.I've never done two brews in one day before, so this was something new for me. My equipment is set up to do single 5 gallon batches of beer. But because I'm using the yeast built up from a batch of Thistle Dew Scottish ale I made last week, I had to get both batches done in relatively short order.

I took detailed notes in the brewing of the Thistle Dew. Things like how long does it take to heat 4 gallons of water to 170 degrees, and how long does it take to drain 6 1/2 gallons of sweet wort from the mash tun. I was then able to put together a time line of when to start the second batch while still working the first without ending up with two critical events happening simultaniously.

I sent out an invitation to the Howard County Homebrew Club to join in on the event. 4 members came by to share the day. Jeff G. was first to arrive with a couple of his own beers. Erik M. began his Homebrew Tour as he is looking to document the different methods of brewing the members of the club uses. Jon S., who donated the use of some of his equipment to help out in the heating of muliple pots of water, stopped by to have a beer. Matt D. drove up and unloaded his brewing equipment to do up a batch of his own beer. He also brought a keg of beer to share as well.

Then the non-brewers began to show up. 5 other friends & neighbors came over to enjoy the beautiful spring day, and have some wonderful homebrew and brats that were grilled by Jeff in the back yard.

Erik filmed the process throughout the day, and everything went quite smoothly with onle one minor spill that he caught on tape as the transfer hose of the first batch went astray spraying beer all over the floor of the kitchen. Eric showed signs of a mild panic like he'd never seen anything like this before, which he hadn't. I kept my cool, having seen this kind of thing before and got it quickly under control and began the clean-up.

The transfer of batch #2 went much smoother and with the insertion of the airlock, my brewing was done. Now all that was left was the clean-up. Interestingly enough, it was also about the time everyone decided it was time to leave too. It was a good day, and though I don't think I'll be doing another double brew anytime soon, I enjoyed the company for my Big Brew Day.

Larry Barnhart's Big Brew from Howard County Home Brew Club on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Very Late Addition to the Boil

I brewed one of my perenial favorites on Sunday, Thistle Dew.  Its a Scottish ale made with a pound of thistle honey.  I've probably made more batches of this beer than any other.  But this batch had me confused.
Everything was going smoothly, even though I was trying to squeeze this brew in before heading off to work.  I had to get this beer in the primary on this day because it is to be my yeast starter for the double batch of Susie's Sweet Stout I am going to brew in a little over a week's time.
As the final hurrah in my year of fame as brewer of the Best of Show in the 2009 Indiana Brewer's Cup competition, I have to make 10 gallons of the award winning beer for the 2010 awards dinner as it will be the featured beer of the evening.
But I digress.  Everything was going smoothly with the mash, with the initial gravity reading falling right where it should be.  Even the boil went without incident, without so much as a threatened boil over. The chilling & transfer to the carboy went smooth as silk. Everything went right in with not even a drop of spillage on the floor.
But here's where things took an odd turn.  In checking the OG, I was surprised to find the reading to be a bit low.  Actually, quite a bit low.  The mash efficiency was running at 74% and the initial reading into the kettle was right on the money.  Gravity readings are supposed to go up after the boil, this went down according to the Beer Smith brew sheet .  I was confused.
It wasn't until the next day when I opened the cupboard and found the jar of thistle honey still sitting on the shelf that I realized why the gravity of the finished product was off.
Now comes the delimna of how, or even should I try to add the honey while I have a very active fermentation in progress.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Walking Into the Sun

Sun King Brewery visit from Howard County Home Brew Club on Vimeo.

This is a short video I did when I visited Sun King Brewery and checked out their tasting room.

Sampled some beer, saw their operation, took a couple growlers home. Nice way to spend a Friday afternoon.

I know there were a few HCHBC members who asked questions about Sun King on the message board, I hope this video might give you some idea about who they are.

Hope you enjoy the video. If you didn't, have another beer, it gets better by the pint.

*It might take a few seconds for the video to buffer and start on a slower dsl connection. I hope no one is on dial up trying to view this, it literally will take til the end of time.

Warm Beer, Cold Women

Beer Is Good