"Bring us in good ale, good ale;
and bring us in good ale,
For our blessed Lady's sake,
bring us in good ale."
-English folk song, ca. 1460-
The Beer-BQ! Annual convocation of brewers and brewers' families and friends. Sun, fun, victuals, and of course libations. Bill Pfeiffer has offered up his home, deck, yard, and pond for the event this year. The date is Saturday, July 16, starting any time after noon.
Bill says to bring "wet" clothes for the little ones (and, we suppose, the not-so-little ones, too), including shoes that can get wet and muddy, and something dry to change into. And fishing poles and worms for the pond. And sunscreen, or whatever else you need to enjoy an afternoon outside. And pray for good weather.
Also needed: chairs (of the outside variety) and folding tables. Bring a dish to pass. Mike will be roasting a pig again.The VanEck brothers will be brewing beer with the club's pico-system, so come early if you want to help, watch, or just get in the way. See how easy it is to brew all-grain beer with this system.
It is still a Brewers Guild meeting, so don't forget the homebrew. We will also be judging entries in the club-only Weiss is Nice contest (see below).
Entries will be accepted for the 1994 Mazer Cup mead competition, even though it's before the official entry period. Entry forms have been included in this issue.
A large group braved the heat in Spencer's back yard for the June meeting. Memorable beers included a raspberry beer, made with the raspberry extract from HopTech, that Arthur (don't know his last name) brought. It was his first time in attendance, too, and we hope to see him again. The VanEck brothers brought a bottle of their Worker Bee Christmas Ale, styled after the St. Sebastian Christmas Ale. This one used the Düsseldorf yeast (they split the batch between this and a Belgian yeast). It was quite tasty, and much improved over the February tasting. Big beers like this one seem to need an extended aging period to be at their best. They also had a few other Worker Bee beers: a Scottish ale, Cascade IPA, and a Bitter.
Rachel Apgar and Holly Fischer made their first appearance with Summer Guzzle. We hope to see more of them and their beer. Another new member, Bill Semion, brought Alt Rot (we think, his handwriting is a bit difficult to decipher) and Nut Brown Ale. And, Jim Clemens rounded out the new members list with three beers: Double Bock, Amber, and Dark. (Looking over the list, we see a number of beers we don't recall tasting. But, then, it was a busy meeting.) There was also a nice Brewferm Framboise that Jeff Brown and/or Joe Manning brought.
Jeff Renner, normally a very meticulous brewer, brought an oxidized American red that tasted and smelled strongly of wet cardboard boxes. He's still not sure how it got that way, but says it was fine for the first several weeks (couple of months?) in the keg, and then suddenly "went bad." Not something you'd want to drink, but a good lesson in what can go wrong. He also brought Is it Porter? Dennis Raney had a Maple Ale that was interestingly different, but hard to pin down the maple flavor, exactly. Jeff Holmquist brought Dopplebock 9% that was, he says, "chocolate based," and Mashed Light (if we remember correctly, this was his first all-grain, and was definitely tasty.)
Tom Dimmer had a bunch: American Lager, redolent of corn; German Export--as we recall, he entered this in a competition as a Pilsener, and got back the advice that it was much closer to a Dortmunder Export, so he changed the name; Pilsener; Dark; and the stout that was the club's entry into the AHA Stout Bout competition in May. Bill Pfeiffer brought a Robust Porter, a Pale Ale, and the Oktoberfest that made it to the second round of the National Homebrew Competition.
We're still getting the rye beers from Jim Johnston, this time a Honey Lager Rye, and also a fine Raspberry Mead. Paul Philippon contributed a fine example of a strong Scotch Ale. Another beer we didn't get a chance to taste was Jack Mercer's English Red Bitter with Spruce. We did sample some of Spencer's beers, including a Wit Test made with pale ale malt and whole wheat flour, very fruity and a bit sweet, and two variants of the Witola that Spencer and Dan made, these with the Dentergems yeast and the Hoegaarden yeast. They tasted very different from each other, with the Dentergems yeast coming through smoky and spicy, while the Hoegaarden yeast produced a much fruitier, softer beer.
On the commercial side, the Merchant of Vino donated both a 3 Monts Grand Reserve (and nicely reserved it was, too!) and Bell's Pale Ale, a new offering from Kalamazoo. Bob and Jean Freligh have been traveling again. They showed up with a number of Austrian beers: From Vienna, Gold fassl Pils - Otto Kringer; from Graz, Puntigamer; and from Salzburg, Augustiner Bier. Yum! Dennis Raney continued his run of importing hard-to-find beers with Dom Kölsch. This was our first Kölsch. It was light and refreshing, with an almost tart, fruity palate. Seems like a good summer beer. The Van Ecks also had a bottle of Mort Subite Geueze, but we missed it. Darn! We made up for it later, when Spencer brought out a bottle of Boon Framboise and one of Boon Faro. Both seemed to have improved significantly since tasting their "sister" bottles back in the fall. We had heard a rumor that these beers needed some bottle age, and this seems to bear it out.
We had 4 BAA selections, as they didn't make it to the May meeting. But, we've lost one of the newsletters, so we can only report on two of them: Wild Goose Spring Wheat Ale, and Wild Boar Classic Pilsener.
Several of us had fun crunching malts in our mouths to investigate the differences between various kinds of malt. We tasted malts from the DeWolf-Cosyns maltings in Belgium. We tasted Pilsener, Pale Ale, Wheat, Munich, Aromatic, Biscuit, Caramel Pils, CaraVienne (a medium dark crystal malt), CaraMunich (a darker crystal malt), Special B (very dark crystal), Chocolate, Black, and Roasted Barley.
The AABG did very well in the National Homebrew Competition this year. We had 5 beers advance to the second round (Hal Buttermore's English Pale Ale, Alan Pagliere's Pilsener, Dave West and Bill Pankratz's Barleywine, Jeff Renner's American Pale Ale, and Bill Pfeiffer's Oktoberfest). Of these, two placed first in their category! Dave West took first place in the Barleywine category and Alan Pagliere took first place in Pilsener. Overall, the club tied for 3rd place in the "club point total" competition. Pretty darn good for the first year we seriously targeted the competition. Let's do better next year! Dan and Ken feel the same way, and are issuing a "wake up call" below.
Most of you know that Dan & Ken worked hard on a presentation about mead for the conference. They brewed 12 batches of mead using different honeys and yeasts, for a tasting session, and wrote a scholarly paper on a number of aspects of mead making. Their presentation was a big success; we have independent reports that many attendees thought it was the best of the whole conference.
The AABG table was very popular during "club night," as they passed out free samples of many of their meads to the crowd.
For Dan & Ken's perspective on the trip, check out the article later in this issue.
Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm
As most of you already know, Dave West took 1st place in Barley Wine and Alan Pagliere took 1st place in Pilsener at the AHA Nationals. The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild tied for third place club point total with Hop, Barley and the Alers. This all took place much to the chagrin of several other clubs that perceive themselves as the up-and-comers. We think that this is not at all surprising. We know that the AABG members make some of the best beers in the country. Rolf has said this for years, maybe he is right!
It is time to share these beers with the rest of the country. The AABG had a great turn out of brewers submitting their beer to the National this year. We simply wish to encourage those of us that have special skills in particular styles to brew them and submit them to the National next year. We entered 60 or so this year, let's do it again.
In the initial rush of enthusiasm that followed the announcement of Dave and Alan's success, we were filled with a compelling "brew to win" sense of dedication. While that may not be a bad way to have fun with this hobby, it may not be the same approach that the rest of the group would take. On the other hand, this judging thing is often a craps shoot of which judge you get, what tastes good to them at the time, and the state of the other competition in any given category. There are probably several unentered beers or meads or cysers in the basements of AABG members which could have been second round or award-winning brews. How the AABG's ratio of first round entries to second round entries rates against the Sonoma Beerocrats is a mystery, but two firsts out of five second round entries would have to be pretty good for any club.
A program as simple as the AABG providing entry fees would encourage entries from our group and would go a long way to maintaining our new position as third place.
Let's look at the competition from this year. The Sonoma Beerocrats (first place) took prizes in:
1st: American Pale Ale, English Bitter, Scottish Ale, Porter, German Light Lager, Oktoberfest/Vienna/Märzen, Melomel, Cider.
2nd: Barleywine, American Ale, American Lager, Cider.
3rd: English Bitter, Traditional Mead, Sake.They look sort of unbeatable, with 60 points (1st place=6 points, 2nd place=3, 3rd place=1).
The Boston Wort Processors took:
1st: English & Scottish Strong Ale, German-style Ale.
2nd: German Light Lager
3rd: Bavarian Dark, Oktoberfest, Cider
With 18 points, they're still quite a ways ahead of our 6 points, but not unassailable.
With just one more 3rd or 2nd place finish, we would have taken a clear 3rd place. Next year in Baltimore!
Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm
On April 2 1993 Ken and I made 12, 5 gallon batches of mead, all traditional and all to the same recipe. We made 6 different floral source meads and 6 clover honey meads with different yeasts. These were the basis for the tasting portion of out talk at the AHA National Conference last month in Colorado. We kegged these early last month and took them to Denver.
We arrived at the Ann Arbor Amtrak station in plenty of time to check our "baggage", but were told "there is no way that you are taking those cylinders on that train!" Not a good start. We decided to check as many acceptable bags and carry on as many kegs as we could. We were waiting, disappointed, but not beaten, when the baggage handler came out to find us, asking if we were going to that "beer thing". It seems that there was someone in the station that knew about the conference. Saved! We checked the kegs and were soon on the train after a short delay (it is Amtrak you know).
After an uneventful trip to Chicago (except for a very tasty Leffe Tripel), we sat in the station when suddenly a commotion began down the hall. The CBS crew had arrived. Now, these folks know how to travel. They had 17 people, 20 kegs, an impressive amount of stuff and special treatment because they traveled in a pack. Of course, we joined the pack. We hopped aboard the California Zephyr and left Chicago, our troubles and most of our sanity behind.
"Have a beer" said Dennis Davison.
Thanks, what is it? I said after receiving a LARGE glassful.
Ooooh, this was going to be a looong trip. A very rich and tasty (real) Eisbock it was too. There were many tasty brews served and plenty of good conversation as we traveled over the great plains toward Denver. Ozzy made his appearance at about 100db somewhere near Omaha.
Arrival in Denver was uneventful except for the baggage handler that got out of control and nearly assaulted a woman. This required a bit of noble interference by Ken. We had dinner at the Wynkoop Brewery-excellent beers all around. The food is outstanding as well. Later that day we met Bill and Hal who had flown in, they were well rested; our equilibrium was shattered from the long train trip.
Many good talks, so much information and friendship (and beer, of course). Highlights include Tony Babinec and Steve Hamburg's talk on Bitter and George Fix on brewing techniques. We pre-introduced our presentation at both of the Jambeerys by serving our Wild Raspberry and Orange Blossom meads as well as smoked fish, turkey, pheasant, jerky and cheese bread. The second Jambeery we served Fireweed and Snowberry meads. This created quite a stir at times with many crowded around our table. Our talk on Honey and Mead making went very well. We had an all-star cast (including three former mead makers of the year) to pour the meads as we talked. It went so well that we were asked to present next year by Karen Barela.
Saturday we went to The Colorado Brewers Festival in Ft. Collins. There were about 40 brewers serving their beer on a tasting basis. Hal kept notes and can fill in many of the details. Hal and I were wandering, looking for presents to take home, sipping a glass of something, when we stumbled upon the New Belgian Brewing Co. We were able to sample all of their brews at their tasting room. Very tasty indeed, they are actually brewing a respectable Abbey Style beer and a Tripel in the USA! Hal and I took the normal tour which quickly turned into the VIP (laboratory) tour thanks to Steve Leason, one of their brewers that I have had some contact with.
Quiet, peaceful, mead and beer-free, we had a good trip back on the train which gave us some time to think about our next talk at the National. Yes, we will do it again, but maybe not until 1996.
Our train was 3 hours late pulling into Chicago so we missed the connection to Ann Arbor. We went instead to Toledo and then by cab to AA accompanied by two under-evolved humans who would make a good case for intelligence based reproductive license. They were entertaining though.
The Bavarian Weizen style is one of the two major styles in the German Wheat Beer category in this month's AHA Club-only Weiss is Nice competition. The other is Berliner Weisse, which we won't discuss here. The Weizen styles and other German wheat beers are discussed in detail in the book German Wheat Beer, by Eric Warner, from the AHA Classic Beer Styles series.
Bavarian Weizen is an ale made with 50-70% wheat malt, and usually fermented with a special yeast strain that leaves a clove-like phenolic flavor. It is tart, fruity, sometimes malty, and generally refreshing. It may be served with or without a yeast sediment (mit hefe or kristall), and is usually sold in 1/2 liter bottles, and served in special tall, flared glasses that help contain the large head. Except in the Kristall variant, weizen is frequently cloudy, especially when served with the yeast.
The AHA recognizes three subcategories of Weizen: Weizen/Weissbier, Dunkelweizen, and Weizenbock. The official descriptions are given below.
German-style Weizen/Weissbier Pale to golden. Light to medium body. About 50% -70% wheat malt. Clove and slight banana character. Fruity/estery. Clove, vanilla, nutmeg, smoke and cinnamon-like phenolics permissible. Mild sourness OK. Highly effervescent. Cloudiness OK. Low bitterness. Low hop flavor and aroma OK. No diacetyl. OG 1.048-56, 10-15IBU, 3-9SRM.
German-style Dunkelweizen. Deep copper to brown. Dark version of Weizen. Chocolate-like maltiness evident. Banana and cloves and other phenolics may still be evident, but to a lesser degree. Stronger than Weizen. Medium body. Low diacetyl OK. Low hop flavor and aroma OK. OG 1.048-56, 10-15IBU, 17-22SRM.
German-style Weizenbock Usually deep copper to dark brown, but light versions can be amber to copper. Medium to full body. Alcoholic strength evident. Maltiness high. Low bitterness. Hop flavor and aroma absent. Banana and clove character apparent. Low diacetyl OK. OG 1.066-80, 10-20IBU, 7-30SRM.
The most critical factor in making a Weizen is using the right yeast (and, of course, using wheat malt). Dan McConnell took best-of-show at a competition last year with an extract-based weizen fermented with the YeastLab German Wheat yeast (W51). The old Wyeast Weizen strain can give good results, but can also give inferior results; its problem is that it's a mixture of a normal ale yeast with the weizen yeast. If the ale yeast predominates, you'll get a neutral beer that just doesn't taste like a true weizen.
A Weizen should be lightly hopped, because the hop bitterness "fights" with the clove-phenolic character. Except in the Weizenbock style, the hop bitterness should be almost subliminal.
Extract Weizen 6 lb. 50% Wheat extract (e.g. M&F), or
3 lb. 100% Wheat extract (Ireks) and 3 lb. light malt extract
6HBUs Hallertauer hops (1.5 oz @ 4%)
Weizen yeast Boil 2 gallons of water, turn off the heat and mix in the extract(s). Bring back to a boil and add hops. Boil for at least 45 minutes. Chill and mix with cold water to make 5 gallons at 68F. Aerate and pitch yeast starter. Ferment below 70F to prevent excessive phenol and ester formation. Prime with 1 cup corn sugar and bottle.
The extra priming sugar is used to get the higher than normal level of carbonation that is typical of a Weizen. Together with the use of wheat, this contributes to the large, fluffy head that is typical of the style.
Mashing wheat malt can be tricky. The wheat has a higher protein content than barley, and has no husks to help make a filter bed. These two factors can easily lead to a stuck mash. A protein rest is definitely indicated, about 20-30 minutes at 121F. Traditionally, Weizens are made using a decoction mash, but a standard "step-infusion" mash can be used, also. Decoction will slightly increase the extraction rate, and contributes to a maltier flavor profile, but takes lots longer. See Warner's book for details.
All-grain Weizen 3 lb. Pale or Pilsener malt
5 lb. Wheat malt
3 HBUs Hallertauer hops (.75 oz @ 4%)
Weizen yeast. Mash with a 30 min. protein rest at 50C and a sugar rest at 65C until conversion is complete. Mash out at 77C (this is important to help avoid stuck mash). Sparge 6-7 gallons. Boil for 1.5 hours, adding hops 60 minutes from the end. If you wish, you can add another 1/4 oz of hops about 15 minutes from the end for a bit of hop flavor. Ferment as above.
I recently had a discussion with a number of other brewers about the Dunkelweizen category. Most felt that the term "chocolate-like" in the description was misleading or just plain wrong. Most German dunkelweizens get their color from a dark base malt (e.g., Munich malt), dark wheat malt (very hard to find) and/or a bit of dark crystal, together with the darkening effects of a double decoction mash. This is confirmed by the description in the book German Wheat Beers. One corespondent wrote:
I've talked with Eric [Warner] many times, even brewed with him one day this spring. He says that any real dark German beer gets its color from the medium/dark Munich malts. Using the roasted malts like chocolate will give you plenty of color but will not impart the right malt flavor profile.
He then suggested replacing the pale malt in the above recipe with Munich malt, and adding 4 oz of dark crystal for color and body.
If you've been into the Merchant, Big 10, or other specialty beer store, you can't help but have noticed a huge assortment of weizen beers recently. A recent blind tasting by a group of AABGers ranked Tucher and Franziskaner both highly. The Ayinger dunkel (Ur-Weisse) is intensely malty.
If you've ordered a Weizen in a bar, you have probably observed what Warner calls "the flashy pour." The bottle is opened, the glass (wetted inside, and the rim wiped with a lemon slice) is inverted over the bottle. Then the bottle and glass are inverted and the bottle is slowly withdrawn from the glass as the beer flows out. Properly done, the last bit of beer flows from the bottle just as the head reaches the top of the glass. If you've tried it yourself, you know that when done wrong, you get beer suds all over the place. The tricks are: * wet the glass--this minimizes bubble formation; * the oil from the lemon slice helps break down the head if it reaches the rim; and * pull the bottle from the glass slowly--if you do it too fast, you'll get more foaming than you want. Finally, the bottle is vigorously swirled to get the yeast off the bottom, and it is poured into the glass.
Warner also describes "the master pour," which he clearly prefers. Again, you want to wet the glass. Tip the bottle until the beer just reaches the lip. Then place the glass against the bottle, angled slightly upward, and tilt both slowly, letting the beer flow gently down the side of the glass. When only an ounce or so is left in the bottle, pour it directly down the center to build up the head, and get the yeast. Doing it this way preserves more of the CO2 in the beer, and you'll get a longer-lasting head and more "sparkly" mouth-feel.
Judges will be needed for the Mazer Cup mead competition, August 12. Contact Dan McConnell for details.
Other upcoming judgings include the State Fair, sometime towards the end of August, and the German Festival in Toledo, probably near the beginning of August. Spencer is the judge coordinator for the State Fair; contact Josh about the Toledo competition.
Half a dozen of us met at Alan Pagliere's house in June to sample and judge a variety of wheat beers. We concentrated mostly on the Weizen style, but also tasted a Berliner Weisse, an American Wheat, and a few Dunkelweizens. After finishing, we relaxed with a bottle of Boon Geueze, also made with wheat.
Call Spencer or Hal if you are interested in participating in, and/or hosting, the next session.
AHA AHA AABG Competition Deadline Judging Weiss is Nice Aug. 8 July Best of Fest Oct. 3 September Specialty Quest Dec. 5 November
Starting balance: $650.11. I received dues and donations from Jim Clemens, $15; Brad Kluczynski, $8; Arthur Howard, $8; Bill Semion, $7.50; Jim Rigney, $7.50; Holly Fischer, $7.50; Rachel Apgar, $7.50; Eric Olson, $7.50; and Dave Eby, $7.50; I received $34 from the June Beer Across America Leftovers raffle; and I also received $15 from Steve Yalisove, $10 from Alan Pagliere, and $10 from Mark Guiffrida for the use of the pico-Brewery. This made for a total of $145.00 taken in.
The pico-Brewery Sinking Fund now stands at $76. The Brewery is now reserved for the weekend of July 9th. Call me at 663-8196 to make your reservation!
I have paid out $45.90 to Beer Across America for the April and May selections; I reimbursed Spencer Thomas $15.79 for May copies; I paid $35.14 to Copy Mart for June copies (!); and I received permission to reimburse myself $46.11 for postage for the May and June newsletters , which made for a total paid out of $142.94. This leaves a balance in the checkbook of $652.17.
Dues are prorated at $1.25 a month through December '94 Make your dues checks payable to me, Rolf Wucherer, 1942 Steere Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. The club does not have a bank account and checks made out to the Guild must be resubmitted!
As always, we need volunteers to host the meeting. Call one of your editors or accost us at the meeting.
Saturday, July 16 Bill Pfeiffer BEER B-Q Weiss is Nice Tue, August 16 Josh Grosse Thu, September 15 Bob and Jean Freligh Best of Fest Tue, October 18 Brewola Thu, November 17 Specialty Quest Tue, December 13
Rachel Apgar 428 8th St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Jim Clemens 2394 Bishop, Apt. #3, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Dave Eby 2901 Baxter Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109 763-2466 Holly Fischer 1212 Snyder Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 Arthur Howard 509 Oakwood, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 -2114 Brad Kluczynski 2135 Fulmer Ct., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 Eric Olson 1619 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104 662-9149 Jim Rigney 2227 Placid Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 Bill Semion 41629 Larimore, Canton, MI 48187New Address:
Ken Schramm 1545 McManus, Troy, MI 48084 (810)816-1592New club contact:
Madison P.O. Box 1365, Madison, WI 53701-1365 Homebrewers and Tasters Guild, C/O Bob Paolino, VP
More directions to Bill's house
From the North:
Take US 23 south to the M-59 exit,
Go west(right) to the 1st traffic light,
Go south (left) on Old US-23/Whitmore Lake Rd 3.6 mi to 1st flashing traffic signal
Go east (left) on Hyne Rd. 1.3 mi
Go south (right) on Corlett to end, 1 mi
Go west (right) on Newman,
Continue south (left) on the paved road (Van Amberg) 0.7 mi
Go west (right) on Seitz Rd,
The house is 1/4 mi on the left.
From the West:
Take I-96 east to Spencer Rd. exit (#147),
Go east (right) to Old-23/Whitmore Lake Rd (traffic light)
Go north (left) to Spencer Rd. (traffic light)
Go east (right) on Spencer Rd 1.2 mi,
Go north (left) on Van Amberg 1.5 mi,
Go west (left) on Seitz Rd.
The house is 1/4 mi on the left.
From the East:
Take I-96 west to Pleasant Valley Rd. exit (#150)
Go north (right) 1.1 miles
Go west (left) on Spencer Rd, 0.7 mi
Go north (left) on Van Amberg 1.5 mi,
Go west (left) on Seitz Rd.
The house is 1/4 mi on the left.
Saturday, July 16, Noon and later
10676 Seitz Rd, Brighton
Bill Pfeiffer's House, 810-229-0727
Bill faxed directions to his house from all points. The ones from points
other than Ann Arbor are inside, on the last page. From Ann Arbor,
Take US 23 north to Lee Rd exit (#58),
Go north (right) on Old-23/Whitmore Lake Rd. 2.2 miles
Go east (right) on Spencer Rd. 1.2 miles
Go north (left) on Van Amberg 1.5 miles, then
Go west (left) on Seitz Rd, 0.25 miles, the house is on the left.
Guide for New Members Bring 1-2 bottles per batch of your beer that you'd like to share, or an interesting commercial beer. Bring tasty munchies to cleanse the palate and sop up the alcohol. Feel free to share and sample with other members and make and accept constructive comments; making better beer or curing ailing ales is our interest! Please observe good judgment while imbibing and don't drive while intoxicated.
Ann Arbor Brewer's Guild
c/o Rolf Wucherer
1942 Steere Pl.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104