April 2011 Hot Break

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In This Issue
From the President
ASH Happy Hour
Readers' Submissions
Last but not Yeast...
April General Meeting


Thursday, April 14, 5:30pm-8pm
@ BJ's Chandler

  April 2011 General Meeting 

Tuesday, April 19, 7pm-9pm

Sat. April 23
11 am-7pm

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This month we're getting social, very social. We've got a good weekly happy hour going, members are whipping it out and we started a new Facebook page for the club. This page will be more connected to our members and local craft beer and homebrew friendly establishments. Head on over to our FB page and "like us" (really like us). 

For details on the rest of our social shenanigans, read on...

From the President
By Rob Fullmer
ASH President Rob Fullmer

The question of the month is, "Where have you whipped it out?" Well here is my story!

I went to Papago Brewing and had a stellar Petrus Old Pale. I eyed up the bottle cooler, snacked on some Beer Bites which entitled me to a 15% discount on my to go beer- the Draft Magazine 100 point rated Yorkshire Stingo.

All because I whipped it out... my  ASH discount card. It was a nice way to kill a Saturday afternoon. What were you thinking?

Where have you whipped it out? The term came from our last general meeting when we announced the card and discounts. Someone shouted "When in doubt, whip it out." We're getting requests from other businesses to expand the program and so there will be more discounts to come. You just have to follow up by letting everyone know who you are- an ASHer!


ASH Card Front 

We just added Santan Brewing- $1 OFF pints all day every day (even during happy hour) applies to the ASH Member only and Hungry Monk - $1 off your first pint every day except Wednesday.
Chris Soper has been doing a great job with the Thursday night happy hour. It's a good way to network with other brewers and a great way for ASH to let businesses know who we are. There is a thread where you can talk about the upcoming ones and it's always going to be listed on our google calendar and on the events tab.  
Soon very soon, we'll find out if our NHC entries made the cut for the first round. ASH sent out 38 entries with some going to San Diego to be judged April 8 - 10 and others going to Lodi to be judged April 15 - 17.  We're close to hitting our keg pledge for NHC. Kegs will also be needed to support the hospitality suite.

We're also going to need to come up with a Club Night theme and pull that together.


Jerry van West, NHC Transportation Coordinator, has thrown the gauntlet on the NHC bus issue: The deposit is $100 (per person) which is due by April 30th.  The balance of $25 will be due by May 20th. Please let Jerry know if you are definitively on the bus or off. It's not fair to anyone if you are holding up the process. Contact Jerry directly about any questions.

Expect a full court press on the NHC during the next few meetings. 
Our April General Meeting on the 19th is going to feature Beer Pairing and Cooking. Our own Carl Seals, a 23 year veteran of the hospitality industry, a level 2 sommelier and chef will be walking us through some pairings. As of today, I'm still working on mystery guest number 2. Later in the year we'll feature the breweries and their chefs. I want to make sure that out meeting process issues and conduct are in order before we bring those guys in.  On that note, if anyone is bringing an IPA, Rauchbier or Boho Pilsner, please send me a message.

On the 23rd we're going to have our Phoenix Urban Pub Crawl. It's slightly different than in years past, so read up on light rail routes and RSVP here.  We're going to new places in downtown Phoenix, ones most of us haven't heard of.

Who has been here before???
We can't do very much planning until we know who's coming so sign up!

Next month we're having our late Springfest. Stay tuned!

ASH Weekly Happy Hours, What's the Deal?

As Rob mentioned in his note, a couple of very active ASH members have done an outstanding job of setting up a weekly happy hour at various locations. 

Usually these happy hours are informal gatherings where members can meet and hang out. But occasionally, like for tonight's happy hour, forces combine, planets align and opportunities unfold. 

Tonight we're meeting at BJ's Brewhouse in Chandler. This is from BJ's brewmaster Derek Osborne (aka Doc)

"We have a belgian IPA not yet on tap. I will be here to take ASH members back to the brewery to try it from the tank (unfiltered). Must have non slip closed toed shoes to go back there. Also, tapping a cask of it this afternoon. See you here."

That's right, show up for the happy hour tonight and hang out with Doc and check out a new brew. Visit the event page and RSVP so we know how many are going to be there.

The happy hours are every Thursday, usually from 5:30 to 8pm. The location is chosen in a casual manner. Everyone is free to give their suggestions for the next location. Visit the Weekly Happy Hour discussion to stay informed and post your suggestions. 

Also keep track of what's going on by following us on twitter @azhomebrewers. If you're attending the happy hour, let others know about it by posting on twitter with the hash tag #ashhappyhour. That way those who couldn't make it can be envious of all the fun you're having.

Readers' Submissions


A few weeks ago, just as our high temperatures in the valley spiked to the 90s and it was clear summer was on its way, I asked for your suggestions/tips/tricks for getting your wort down from boiling to a cool pitch ready temp asap. The majority of you answered saying you use a pump to recirculate ice water through an immersion chiller.

New ASHer Sam Paterson responded with this story and photos:

"I'm new to home brewing and only joined ASH this month, but before I started my first batch of beer I read two books;  Joy of Home Brewing and How to Brew.  I found all this talk about hot breaks and cold breaks to be quite interesting.  I told myself if I'm going to do this new hobby of mine any justice I might as well do things right from the get-go.  So my first 'equipment' project was to build myself a wort chiller.

"It was actually easier than I thought.  I bought 25 feet of 3/8 soft copper tubing, some pipe bending tools to keep the kinks away, two female garden hose couplings, and a couple of compression fittings.  I had the immersion chiller built in less than 30 minutes.

"Now we all know that 'cold' tap water in AZ is not really cold so I went back out to the garage and dug up this old pump my dad had given to me years ago.  It was used back in the early 1960's to drain the pool when I was a kid.  (OK now I have dated myself)

"Well to make a long story short, I put some ice in the sink with some water and dropped this 50 year old pump in there to push some really cold water through the chiller.  I was able to chill my wort (2.5 gal extract and specialty grains) from boil knock-off to 70 deg in under 10 minutes.

"So thanks to this 50 year old pump, I'm hoping my first batch will turn out to be winner.  I bottled it two nights ago!"

wort chiller pump

Wort Chiller in pot on stove

Thanks Sam!

Ken Forrey takes a similar approach but doubles up on the cooling:

"I use an immersion chiller and a pump that I place in the bottom of the deep end of the pool.  I also have an ice chest filled with ice water that I place the boil kettle into. This double approach cools the hot wort down quickly."

I agree the pump/recirculating ice water is a great method. Some brewers though find themselves caught without power for the pump, so what then?

This was the case for me when I first started brewing all grain outside. I didn't have a safe place to plug in my water fountain pump so I had to rely on hose water going through the immersion chiller alone. This worked fine during winter months when the ground water was nice and cool, but during the summer the ground water can be in the 80s.  

I took a desperate chance and decided to brew a 10 gallon batch, but start with 5 gallons of a concentrated wort and add cold water and ice until I had 10 gallons of wort at a cool temperature. What about infection from the ice? Or the water? So far no problems. This may be a more laid back approach than some brewers would prefer, but so far I've brewed a few batches this way and the beer has tasted just fine and no infections (not to mention I doubled my output). 

Thanks to everyone who gave answers and contributed. Anyone have a different method or ideas about wort chilling? Continue the conversation here

Now, I had so much fun checking out everyone's responses, I'm sending out another call for submissions: Sour Beer. 

Anyone have experience making sour beer? Strong opinions one way or the other? Tips for those who may be interested in making a sour? I know Joshua Blackburn has some experience experimenting on the wild side. Let's hear what you have to say. Post your comments, stories and/or photos  on the submissions thread or email to editor@azhomebrewers.org.
Last but not yeast...
by Jon Badalamenti

Greetings, fellow zymurgists!


Keeping with our yeast management theme for this year, I thought I'd share some tips on things I do to keep my yeast happy and get good, clean fermentations every time.


1. Always make a starter
It's really easy to underpitch your beer. Underpitching simply means that you start fermentation with fewer yeast cells, which means cells have to spend more time reproducing instead of turning all those sugars into alcohol. Sometimes they may not reproduce enough to give a complete, well attenuated fermentation and in the process the yeast can (and probably will) produce all kinds of off flavors like fruity esters, andacetaldehyde (green apple).

Here's an example: The general rule of thumb for pitch rate is to pitch 1 billion yeast cells per liter per degree Plato. For example, 5 gallons (19 liters) of even lower gravity wort (say 1.048 = 12�P) requires 228 billion live, active yeast cells. A smack-pak from Wyeast has 100 billion cells, but that's not the whole story. Like driving a new car off the lot, the yeast in the smack-pak start losing viability as soon as theyleave the lab. Even a relatively new, one week old smack-pak could have only 70-80% of its original viability. If you use just that smack-pak and go straight into the fermenter without a starter, that means you're underpitching the same beer with three times less yeast than you actually need. For clean lagers, youneed 1.5-2x the pitch rate, so 10 gallons of Pils starting at 1.048 means you would need almost 1 trillion yeast cells, or the equivalent of 10 Wyeast smack-paks. That's a lot of yeast! Now, unless you're Lisa Simpson and happen to own a microscope you won't be able to know the exact pitch rate, but you can see you'll need a lot more yeast than what's in the smack-pak. It's always better to slightly overpitch than to under pitch.  

Making a starter also ensures your yeast are at their peak health before they have to live in an environmentthat they don't really like (i.e. fermenting wort into beer). Starters give yeast plenty of oxygen to make cell walls, which they will need to divide at the beginning of fermentation. There are plenty of resources out there on how to make starters, but the best option (and the one I use) is a magnetic stir plate and a flask containing about half its volume of wort at 1.030-1.035. It's really just a simple task of getting some dry malt extract, boiling it for 20-30 minutes, cooling, and adding yeast. Remember that good brewery hygiene is essential and everything needs to be sanitary. For big beers or larger batches, you can just repeat this process a few times to grow up enough yeast.

Check out this BYO article on pitch rates


2. Control your fermentation temp
Room temperature in AZ just doesn't cut it. Clean ale fermentations are best at 66-68�F and it's far cheaper to cool your carboy than turning down the AC to 68. Again, plenty of resources online for creative ways to keep your carboy cool. The best option is an old fridge with a thermostat, which works very well, especially for lagers. You can also get a tub or bucket filled with water and use a cheap aquarium pumpto recirculate water onto a wet towel on top of the carboy and use a fan for evaporative cooling. This keeps the fermentation about 10 degrees cooler than room temperature. When it gets really hot, you can just tosssome ice into the recirculating water. Letting your fermentation get too warm is probably the easiest way to get just about every off flavor the yeast can possibly create.


3. Let your yeast finish the job
As far as I can tell, yeast autolysis at the end of primary fermentation is a bit of a myth. Autolysis means that the yeast start dying, bursting open and releasing all kinds of off-flavors into the beer. Some resources claim this happens quickly after primary fermentation, but it has not been my experience at all.

One of the worst things you can do is to separate the yeast from the beer before you've let the yeast ferment to completion. If left in contact with each other, even for just a few more days, yeast will clean up theirmess in the beer and naturally remove some of the off-flavors they produced during the fermentation.This will guarantee good attenuation and a complete, clean fermentation. The best example is diacetyl, which tastes like buttered popcorn. Lager yeast are notorious for producing it, but some ale strains (usually English ones) do too. If you let the yeast stay in contact with the beer after fermentation, and bump up the temperature just a few degrees and hold for a few days, you can coax the yeast into breaking down the diacetyl into compounds that are flavorless. If you rack into a secondary too soon, the diacetyl will stick around and will probably be a flaw in the finished beer. Racking too soon also introduces oxygen, which also creates off-flavors and makes any yeast you might transfer even less likely to clean up their mess. As long as you have temperature control, let primary ale fermentations go 7-10 days (or longer for bigger beers) before even thinking about racking into a keg or secondary. I've let primary fermentations go for 3+ weeks without any problems--not to say you should too, but it's better to let beer sit in the primary than rack too early.


4. Take advantage of special release yeast
White labs and Wyeast have a full selection of year-round yeast strains that will allow you to make any beer to style. But if you're looking for some new or different fermentation profiles, try some of the private stock or special release yeast. Usually there are three different yeast strains released each quarter and on a rotating basis. Sometimes you can get some really interesting ones. This winter White Labs released their WLP 037 Yorkshire Square Ale yeast, which is supposedly the strain used in Sam Smith's and has a veryunique malty ester profile unlike any of the year-round strains. And if you're able to keep your yeast stored frozen, you don't have to wait for the next special release. But I'll save that for a future Hot Break! 


April General Meeting Tuesday, April 19 7pm-9pm

The ASH General meeting will be at the new ASH Clubhouse, 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85257.  We're in the storefront under the Rose Market sign.

There will be two guest speakers:
Our own Carl Seals, a 23 year veteran of the hospitality industry, a level 2 sommelier and chef will be walking us through some pairings. Carl's work has taken him through some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Arizona including: Christopher's, Lon's at the Hermosa, Sushi on Shea, El Tovar at the Grand Canyon and NOCA.
There's a mystery guest as well. Find out more at the meeting Tuesday.

Always keep in mind, if you visit a new brewery, find a cool beer spot, had a life-changing brewing epiphany, have a great project you're working on, or anything else you'd like to mention on Hot Break, email me; editor@azhomebrewers.org. We want to see stories and photos from our members.


We'll see you at the General Meeting. Till then brew on and RDWHAHB






Your Club Board Members
ASH President Rob Fullmer
 - Rob Fullmer

Vice President - Ben Conner

 - Maureen Basenberg

Treasurer - David Schollmeyer

Communications - Tom Boggan

Arizona Society of Homebrewers

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