Cass River Homebrew Club

we think beer is neat

Gang Brew Day!

Lets brew us a stupid beer!  Last year we made a pasta sauce saison,  This year we need to make something even more silly.  I think we are going to start with a simple wheat beer  with hibiscus like Josh suggested.  The goal of this brew is to be silly, I hope everyone thinks of some sort of interesting addition.  We will be brewing this beer saturdy, July 14th.  at hop craft brew supply.  Bring anything interesting, we will get grains at the shop, and then we will make something fun.  See you all next weekend!

Brewing Together

As sad is it makes me to point this out, it seems that the club has for all intents and purposes devolved into a monthly drinking club.  While there is nothing wrong with that, I don’t believe that this is what any of the active members want out of this organization.  The question we are now faced with is how do we go about fixing this.  We have tried an additional monthly social meetup, that, while a good time, doesn’t address the issue, if anything, it made it worse.

The idea of an additional meetup every month however, I think is a good idea.  We simply need a more focused theme.  I have a very simple proposal to help in this venture.  We are a homebrew club; let’s brew.  Look, I know that we do a few group brew days every year, we have Big Brew Day, Teach a Friend to Homebrew day, and Gang Brew.

This isn’t enough.

It really isn’t

Every time we do a group brew event, we end up meeting a few like minded people that will usually end up showing up to one of the next few meetings.  The problem is that they don’t stick around.  I think there is a pretty simple solution to this, we just need to get out and brew more.  All of us active members already brew frequently, why not do it together?  Why not make it a social and collaborative event?  Why not use our experience to guide new brewers into the hobby?

I have a very simple proposition.  Let’s hold a club brew day once a month.  I would suggest the third Saturday of each month, we meet up at either Hop Craft or somebody’s house and brew together.  I think it would not only aid in bringing in new members, but it would also help to raise our profile in the local community.

2018 Michigan Homebrew Festival Gang Brew Challenge!

It’s that time again folks!  We need to one up the pastafarian saison from last year, let’s get weird with this shit.  Same rules as last year except that it needs to be 8% instead of 7%.  Everybody needs to start brainstorming ideas for ingredients, and styles.  Tracy and I have a peach mead that we could blend in to make a braggot, I also have the idea that the beer should be a silly color like purple for some reason, so maybe lavender, or beets?

I posted a thread in the recipe section of our forum to discuss ideas.  It can be found HERE

The brew day will be announced soon (let me know if there are days in the next 2-3 weeks that don’t work for you), and we will be brewing at Hop Craft Brew Supply.

June Meeting Minutes

Cass River Homebrew Club minutes 612018

Big Beers are Easy

I seem to have gotten myself a reputation for brewing exceptionally high gravity beers.  The overwhelming majority of people I have talked to on the subject seem to be under the impression that high alcohol beers are more difficult to brew successfully than their more restrained counterparts.  This is a point that I strongly disagree with.

With a standard 1.060 ish  brew you have to worry about your fermentation temps, oxygenation, infection, and the standard array of factors that conspire to ruin your beer.  With high gravity brewing, the spoiling factors remain the same except for the fact that you have a much higher sugar and then later on alcohol content to protect your brew from unwanted bugs.  As long as you properly set up your yeast to handle the load of such an arduous fermentation, you should have no problem producing a clean, delightful beer.

Now, preparing your yeast for such an endevour is no simple task.  If you are reaching into the 1.1xx OG range, expect to add a few steps to your brew day.  I use a pretty simple procedure whenever I make a beer of this size.  First off, I choose a yeast strain that can handle the alcohol content I am shooting for.  For my big stouts I generally choose white labs wlp 099. It ferments clean like wlp001, 1056, and S05, but it has a remarkably high alcohol tolerance.

Yeast strain is not the final factor in brewing beers of this nature.  Once you choose your yeast strain you have to start propagating it. I normally make a four liter starter for my big beers to ensure that I have an adequate cell count.  To do this I use dry malt extract and mix up four liters of 1.030 wort, boil it, chill it, and then pitch the yeast on a stir plate for at least 24 hours.

Once my yeast is ready, and my wort is brewed I will then dose the wort with a teaspoon of diamonium phosphate, and then use an oxygen stone to add pure oxygen to the wort for roughly one minute before pitching the yeast.  I will then add additional yeast nutrient and oxygen, once a day for the first four days of fermentation.

After vigorous fermentation is complete I will add adjuncts like vanilla bean, cocoa nibs, and bourbon aged oak chips for four to twelve weeks until the desired flavor is achieved.  At this point it is safe to bottle or keg as desired, and enjoy the beer.  Obviously something of this size will be better with age, but it is pretty good young as well.

Thank the Beer Gods! We are back on the internet!

Holy gosh dang, one of us hamfisted drunkards finally figured out how to work this here internet box and bring back the website.  We will be posting information about all things relating to the club, and just general beer related activities in the tri-cities right here.  So bookmark this page and check back often.  Unless of course you want to make me sad…

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