The Herald Trubune
Newsletter of the Ann Arbor Brewer's Guild

"At noon, the haymakers sit them down
To drink from their bottles of ale, nut-brown"

-The Leather Bottel, Eng. folk song-

Vol. 8, No. 9
September, 1994

In this issue

  • The Meeting: What's Happening
  • The Last Meeting
  • Beer News
  • Brewola
  • Taste of the Great Lakes
  • Spirit of Belgium
  • Competition News
  • Brewers Anonymous
  • Treasurer's Report
  • Upcoming Meetings
  • Members
  • Newsletter Editors
    Spencer Thomas: 994-0072
    Josh Grosse: 769-0906

    The Meeting:
    What's Happening

    Bob and Jean Freligh will host this meeting at their home in Adrian. Yes, it's a bit of a drive, but it's sure to be a fine meeting.

    We'll be choosing the club's entry into the AHA club-only Best of Fest competition. This competition pits lagers in the Vienna, Märzen, and Oktoberfest styles against each other. Bring two bottles of your entry; the winner receives free postage to Colorado, and the honor of representing the club.

    We will also be handing out free yeast for the Brewola recipe. Come early to get your choice.

    Let's talk about a bulk grain order. We can get it at about $20-$25/50 lb., if we can order 1000 lb. (10 brewers at 100 lb., or 5 at 100 and 10 at 50, or...)

    Hal will collect entries for the Mt. Clemens competition (see p. 5).

    The Last Meeting

    While Josh sat in the corner and registered State Fair competition entries, the rest of us enjoyed the balmy evening air in his backyard. Only Josh's son took advantage of the swimming pool, though.

    Bits of news include: Dan McConnell and Ken Schramm appear in a picture in the latest Zymurgy (the picture's about the size of a stamp, but you can still recognize them), taken during their "Mead Guys" presentation at the AHA National Homebrew Convention. Their mead was so well received that they've been asked to brew the commemorative mead for the 1996 NHC in New Orleans. They're planning on brewing 40 to 45 gallons.

    Rolf pointed out again (and was echoed by several other AABGers) that we did very well in the national competition this year, and that we should strive to do even better next year. Cries of "Brew to Win!" rang out. Rolf disagreed, and said "Brew for yourself," but enter good ones in competition. A simple suggestion: when you brew a good beer, set aside a 6-pack in a specially marked "competition" box. The NHC requires 4 bottles (1 for the first round, 3 for the second), and you'll have a couple to taste to check on how it ages.

    A final(?) note on competitions: you should enter excellent beers to win, but it's also a good way to get unbiased feedback on how to improve your good beers and make them excellent. Of course, you can get immediate advice and feedback at the AABG meeting, but you'll get a different point of view from a judge who lives and brews elsewhere.

    The 5th annual Taste of the Great Lakes conference is Saturday, Nov. 5, in Frankenmuth. See inside for details.

    Several new members/first-time attendees introduced themselves (Jeff Renner suggested this, and we think it's a great idea). Their brewing experience ranged from 6 batches over the last year to almost 100 in 2 years! Welcome to the club, we hope you get as much from it as we have and do.

    The Beers

    Josh was busy, and Spencer came late, so this list is necessarily abbreviated. Pete Sobczak brought a young (1 month) Kriek Lambic. While it's very funky now, we think it's got potential, and advised him to stick it in the cellar for a year or two to mature. Good job, Pete! He also brought a Timmerman's Kriek to remind us what he's shooting for.

    Dave and Jon Van Eck brought another bottle of their Xmas Ale, fermented with the YeastLab Belgian yeast. This stuff just keeps on getting better. Hopefully they'll have some left in time for Christmas this year. It's probably too late to brew up a new batch, unless they're aiming at Xmas '95. They also had some Brewski(TM) (don't bother) and Miller Amber Ale (pretty good, actually!)

    Randy Eshenroder had a 100% malted wheat beer (we missed it); an IPA that needed more finishing hops and was a bit dark, but otherwise good; and a Medium Scottish Ale that was quite nice -- he had been aiming for a heavier beer, but didn't get the sugar extraction he had expected from his mash.

    And, all in the "we missed it" category, Paul Phillipon had Back Porch IPA; Brian O'Connor brought a dopplebock; Jack Mercer had a stout; and Peter Holmes brought his Spruce Deliciousness -- one person commented that he had been inspired by tasting it to want to make some himself. Hal Buttermore had an intensely malty Oktoberfest.

    And how could we forget the 3-week old cherry melomel that Jim Johnston and Dave West brewed. We were so impressed that we've included some tips from Dave on making meads quickly.

    Making a quick mead.

    The gospel according to Dave West: Use ale yeast -- not a funky one -- American, British, London, European all work. Any ale yeast will go to 14% alcohol in 2 weeks with enough nutrients. Use a big starter (1 quart/5 gallons) -- pour the beer off the slurry, but a couple of ounces will add some nutrients. 2-3tsp yeast nutrient (white crystals) per gallon! Also some yeast energizer and yeast hulls. Ale yeast needs a lot of nutrient to finish. Aerate it well, re-aerate after 6-12 hours -- put 5 gallons of mead in a 6 gallon carboy and swirl. Use the "triple ripple" airlock -- it won't dry out, won't suck back in. Whirl it just before it's done to sink fruit to bottom (may have to do it several times over several days). The day before bottling, tilt the carboy and rock it back and forth to get the fruit to stack up in one "corner", then stand it back up carefully and you can siphon it from the other side of the carboy without plugging the siphon. Dave siphoned 35 gallons this way recently.

    When using fruit, don't add sulfites, pasteurize the fruit at 150-160 for 15 minutes. Old, moldy, overripe stuff makes the best mead (scoop out the mold carefully, though). Mead doesn't seem to like hard water. Use malic and tartaric acid mix, not citric acid, which tends to dominate the flavor.

    We also talked to Dan McConnell, and he said that he (Dan) would add pH monitoring, as well. During fermentation, the yeast puts out acid. If the pH of the mead drops too low (too acid), the yeast slows down and/or stops. He adds calcium carbonate (precipitated chalk) to keep the pH in the 3.7-4.0 range.

    Beer News

    New Beer

    A couple of new beers were noted at the Merchant. We haven't seen these elsewhere at press time, but that doesn't mean they won't show up.

    Schlenkerla Rauchbier If your only exposure to rauchbier (smoked beer) is the swill with the lion on the label, then you should try this one. It's basically a Märzen (Oktoberfest) made with some smoked malt. The base beer is good, and the smoke is nicely done, so it doesn't overwhelm you.

    Rauchenfels Steinbiere If you saw Michael Jackson on TV in The Beer Hunter, you saw this being made. Rocks are heated to over 2000deg.F and then plunged into the kettle to boil the wort. The caramel covered rocks are then added to the lagering tanks, where the caramel dissolves back into the beer. We tried the weissbier. Mike says there's a malt version, too. It's a pleasant beer, with a caramel note. Our sample had a slight metallic taste; not sure if that's characteristic of the beer or just a "sample defect." It comes in a flip-top bottle with raised glass pictures and lettering, which is almost worth the price alone.

    Tangled Webs

    From a Milwaukee newspaper:

    Beer maker's quest to compete in the global marketplace [sic]has spawned some pretty odd and complex relationships. Jack MacDonough, chairman and chief executive officer of Miller Brewing Company, gave the following example during a speech [at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's 28th annual Business Outlook Luncheon.]:

    "I will tell you about the tangled web of alliances involving just one company, Molson Breweries USA, which shares a name with Molson in Canada, their original parent.

    But now Molson Breweries USA is wholly owned by Miller Brewing Company, which also brews and sells Coors and Coors Light in Canada.

    However, Molson Canada also brews and sells Coors and Coors Light in Canada.

    Coors has recently purchased the right to brew one of Labatt's brands in the US. Labatt is the second-largest brewery in Canada and Molson Canada's chief competitor.

    Labatt sells Budweiser in Canada.

    Meanwhile, the Foster's Brewing Group of Australia continues to own 40% of Molson Canada. Foster's, in turn, is 17% owned by Asahi, of Japan.

    Molson USA now sells both Foster's and Asahi here in the USA.

    Molson Canada also brews Kirin, another Japanese beer, for sale in North America.

    In England, Foster's makes John Courage, which is one of the brands we import. But just to make things more interesting, John Courage also makes and exports Watney's, which is one of John Courage's main competitors here in the states.

    The people who sell Watney's are called Wisdom. They're owned by FEMSA of Mexico, in whom - you guessed it - Miller has an 8% interest.

    And to complete this very orderly and coherent picture, take a guess what brands the Foster's Brewing Group brews in England: Budweiser and Miller."

    MacDonough concluded that "the world's brewers don't have permanent friends or enemies - they have permanent interests in making money."

    Beer Ads Smell Like Hops?

    August and September issues of Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated will include beer ads with a scent. A pioneering Scratch and Sniff advertising campaign from Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, will be launched. Full-page ads will give readers the scents of Noble Hops and German Hallertau Hops, which give the beer its flavor.

    Brewola: Belgian Ale

    The Brewola drill, if you're not familiar with it, is this: everybody brews the same beer, then we taste them all side-by-side and revel in the differences.

    This year, we're going to do a Belgian Ale, aiming at entering the Spirit of Belgium competition (see below). This is a style that is relatively easy--it doesn't require long fermentation or aging-- so you can do it in a month (by the October meeting, that is).

    We're adding a slight twist -- Dan has agreed to provide tubes (ala YeastLab) of a wide variety of Belgian yeasts. Some of these will be available at the September meeting. Call Spencer if you're interested but can't make the meeting.

    The following notes were written by Phil Seitz of BURP.

    The style

    Pale to brown. Bitterness, hop flavor and aroma should be noticeable, with noble or classic types preferred. Low to medium esters. Low malt aroma, restrained caramel or toasted (biscuit) malt flavor OK. Medium body. No diacetyl, alcohol flavors, or roasted (black) malt. Medium carbonation.

    OG 1.044-1.054, 4-6% ABV, 20-30 IBU, 3.5-12 SRM

    Keep in mind that these should be easily drinkable everyday beers, the kind you'll have when you're planning to drink more (many more) than one. These are generally beers of standard strength that combine subtle Belgian-tasting yeast flavors with noticeable hop character that is frequently pilsner-like, leaving a pleasant lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Subtlety, finesse and balance are the most important factors.

    Unfortunately this is one of the AHA's problem categories, as there are a few commercial examples of spiced beers that might also fall in here. Judges should also be prepared for variations, particularly mini-versions of stronger Belgian ales. However, I think the original intention was to focus on beers like DeKoninck and Vieux Temps, which are not spiced.

    Making it

    Standard infusion or step mashing techniques are fine. Most commercial versions use Pilsner malt as a base, employ a protein rest, and use hops such as Saaz, Hallertau, East Kent or Styrian Goldings, and other classics. Creative use of yeasts and yeast/hop combinations are good, as long as neither predominates and all are relatively restrained. Judicious use of small amounts of caramel malts and toasted malts such as Victory or Biscuit malt is OK, but the body should remain light and not very sweet or satiating; the vast majority of the grist should be Pilsner malt or light extract.

    Common Problems:

    1. Solvent or fusel flavors. A change of yeast or lower fermentation temperature should help.
    2. Needs more hops. Subtle lingering bitterness, pleasant hop flavor and an enticing noble hop nose all contribute to a good example.
    3. Body too full. These beers should not be satiating, but should be "poundable." Usually reducing caramel malt will help this problem.

    Todd Enders' Belgian Ale


    (all-grain recipe for 5 gallons)

    6.5 lb. Belgian pils malt
    0.5 lb. Munich malt
    0.5 lb. Caravienne (20L)
    0.5 lb. wheat malt
    2.0 oz. Saaz (3.1% Alpha Acid)
    1.0 oz. Hallertauer (2.9%)
    Brewtek CL-300 Belgian ale #1 yeast Mash in: 12 quarts at 132F
    Protein rest: 20 minutes at 132F
    Saccharification: 60 minutes at 156F
    Mash out: 10 minutes at 170F
    Sparge with 5.5 gallons at 168-170F
    [Note: Todd adjusts his sparge water pH to5.5 with lactic acid] Boil 90 minutes.
    Hopping: 3 additions,
    1.0 oz Saaz at 45 minutes from the end of the boil,
    1.0 oz Saaz at 20 minutes from the end,
    1.0 oz Hallertauer at 5-10 minutes from the end.
    OG: 1.045

    Extract recipe

    Spencer Thomas

    5 lb. Light Dry Malt Extract
    0.5 lb. Caravienne or 20L crystal malt
    1 oz Northern Brewer hops (9%)
    1 oz Saaz hops
    1 oz Hallertau hops

    Steep Caravienne or crystal in 1 quart of water at 160-170deg.F. Strain into brewpot. Add water to make 2 gallons, heat to boiling, turn off heat and mix in dry malt extract until dissolved.

    Boil 45 minutes with hop additions:
    NB 45 minutes from the end,
    Saaz 20 minutes from the end
    Hallertau 5 minutes from the end.

    Add to cold water in the fermenter to make 5 gallons.

    Cool and pitch yeast.

    If you boil the full 5 gallons, then use the hop schedule from the all-grain recipe.

    Yeast starter

    If you're using Dan's yeast, you should make a starter 2-3 days before brewing.

    Mix 1 oz (weight -- about 3 tablespoons) of dry malt extract with 10 oz (1 1/4 cup) of water and stir to dissolve. Bring to a boil in a medium pot, and boil covered for 10 minutes.

    Cool, still covered, to room temperature, and pour into a sanitized 16-22oz beer bottle (or other suitable container). Pour the yeast from the tube into the starter and cover the bottle opening tightly with a piece of aluminum foil.

    You will probably not see a "krauesen" in the bottle as the yeast grows, but if you swirl it, it should foam. In 2-3 days, activity should slow or stop, and a nice layer of yeast should form on the bottom.

    After cooling your wort to near room temperature, swirl your starter to get the yeast off the bottom and pour it into the fermenter. You should get activity in 12-24 hours, sometimes sooner.

    Commercial examples

    Rubens Gold, Celis Pale Bock (both of which are available locally).

    Taste of the Great Lakes

    The 5th annual Taste of the Great Lakes beer conference will be held on November 5th in Frankenmuth. Featured speakers include Michael Jackson ("The Ungloved One"), author of the Beer Companion and other excellent books; Rainer Nitschke, the brewmaster of the world's largest wheat beer brewery (No, we don't know which one, we're just quoting the flyer); and Fred Eckhardt, author of A Pocket Guide to Beer.

    The conference be held at the Bavarian Motor Inn, and will start at 9AM on Saturday, Nov. 5, and will include lunch and dinner. Registration fee is $75. There will be a "Beer Dinner" with the featured guests on Friday night at 6PM, for an additional $40. Mike O'Brien tells us that Fred Eckhardt will do a "beer and chocolate" presentation; we don't know whether this will be at the dinner or during the conference. Registration forms are below, and should be sent to The Taste of the Great Lakes(TM), 940 Flint D-15, Frankenmuth, MI 48734, checks payable to The Taste of the Great Lakes. No refunds after October 1. For more information, contact Bill Eisenhauer at (517)652-9081.

    Associated with the conference is the Taste of the Great Lakes Homebrew Competition.. Categories are

    Top Fermenting Beers: 1. Pale Ale (5a); 2. Porter (9a); 3. IPA (5b); 4. Wheat (24b); 5. Stout (11a).

    Bottom Fermenting Beers: 1. Traditional Bock (12a); 2. Bavarian Dark (13a); 3. Classic Pilsner-German (15a).

    Specialty Beers: 1. Fruit/Herb beer; 2. Belgian Style-Tripel (2c).

    Mead-Traditional (25a)

    The parenthesized numbers are references to the style descriptions for the 1993 AHA National Competition.

    Entries are $6.50/beer, and must be received by October 11. Each entry will consist of (3) three 12-oz beer bottles. Grolsch or other bottles will not be accepted. No labels should be affixed. Use plain caps or black out identification. A completed recipe form must accompany each entry. A completed registration form shall be attached to each bottle with a rubber band. All entry fees and forms must accompany entries. Make checks payable to The Taste of the Great Lakes. Entries can be dropped off or sent to Frankenmuth Brewery Inc., The Taste of the Great Lakes, 425 S. Main St., Frankenmuth, MI 48734. Winners will be announced at the conference. If you want your score sheets back, you must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with the entry form.

    Some AABG members have expressed dissatisfaction with this competition in the past. Problems alleged include long delays in returning score sheets and erratic judging. We can only hope that these problems will be addressed.

    Taste of the Great Lakes

    Friday Beer Dinner Reservations Only -- Print legibly, this name will appear on your name tag.



    City State/Province

    Zip/Postal Code Country


    Homebrew Club

    Taste of the Great Lakes

    Conference Registration Only -- Print legibly, this name will appear on your name tag.



    City State/Province

    Zip/Postal Code Country


    Homebrew Club

    Spirit of Belgium

    Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP) is pleased to announce the Spirit of Belgium conference and homebrew contest, the first US event ever to focus on Belgian beer and brewing. The conference will be held on November 11 and 12, 1994, with the contest on November 12. Contest entries for the AHA sanctioned competition will be accepted in the following categories:

    1. Belgian ale
    2. Belgian strong ale
    3. White beer
    4. Double
    5. Triple
    6. Oud bruin (Flanders brown)
    7. Oud bruin with fruit
    8. pLambic and Gueuze
    9. pLambic and Gueuze with fruit

    We are making every effort to assure that your valuable Belgian-style beers will get the best judging and feedback possible. We've already held a month-long advanced training course for SOB judges, and will be calling on several of our distinguished conference speakers and visitors to judge Best of Show. Ribbons will be awarded to all winners.

    The deadline for contest entries is October 31, so there's still time to brew something special for the contest.

    For those who might be able to join us in the Washington, D.C. area for the conference, here's some additional information:

    Spirit of Belgium Conference and Homebrew Competition

    Falls Church, Virginia

    11-12 November 1994

    This is the first ever two-day US event focused entirely on Belgian beer and brewing. The Spirit of Belgium is designed to provide technical coverage of Belgian beer styles and how to brew them, as well as an opportunity for participants to experience the rich cultural history associated with Belgian beer and brewing.

    S.O.B. Agenda:

    Friday, 11 Nov. 94

    11:00am-1:00pm Check-in and Registration

    1:00pm-5:00pm Technical Sessions

    Pierre Rajotte, author and brewing consultant, will discuss practical tips and techniques for yeast handling, high gravity brewing, and refermentation in the bottle.

    Daniel McConnell, Ph.D., microbiologist and owner of the Yeast Culture Kit Company, will lecture on yeast metabolism and the contribution of metabolic byproducts to beer flavor.

    Phillippe Perpete, Brewing scientist, Universite Catholique de Louvain Laboratory of Brewing Science, will provide a review of research on refermentation in bottles and kegs.

    Eric Tofte will review Belgian beer styles and discuss recipe formulation. Eric is a Weihenstephan graduate and a former brewer at the Br. de Kluis, which makes the Hoegaarden beers.

    7:00pm-10:00pm Reception featuring beers of Belgium. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served to complement the accompanying beers. Various importers will be represented.

    Saturday, 12 Nov. 94

    8:00am-2:00pm Spirit of Belgium Homebrew Competition Judging (Judges and Stewards only, please. Others may use this time to visit area Microbreweries (Dominion and Potomac River) and Brewpubs (Cap City, Bardo, and a number of new places slated to open soon). The contest is open for all AHA Belgian Beer styles. Entry deadline is Oct. 31, 1994. Anyone interested in entering or judging may contact Phil Seitz at for entry forms and information. Preference for judging slots will be given to experienced judges attending the conference.

    2:30pm-3:30pm Celis Tasting. A tasting of products from the Celis Brewery in Austin, TX hosted by brewery representatives. The brewery plans to have a product brewed with *raspberries* included in the tasting.

    4:00pm-5:00pm Illustrated lecture on the history of beer and brewing in Belgium.

    6:00pm-7:30pm Spirit of Belgium Banquet. A five course, authentic Belgian banquet accompanied by six beers presented by importer Vanberg and DeWulf. Here is the tentative lineup:

    Mesclun served in Dill Crouton with Raspberry Vinaigrette -- Geueze Boon

    Cream of Leek Soup -- Affligem Tripel

    Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Chives -- Saison Dupont

    Carbonnade Flammande with baby vegetables -- Rodenbach Grand Cru

    Chocolate Mousse -- Vintage Framboise Boon

    After Dinner -- Scaldis

    7:30pm-8:00pm Spirit of Belgium Homebrew Competition Awards Ceremony.

    8:00pm-? Hospitality and Beer Sampling

    Cost is $125 per person for the entire event, $50 for the banquet only.

    The venue for the event is the Ramada Inn in Tyson's Corner. The hotel will provide rooms at a special conference rate of $65 (single or double) for Friday and Saturday nights.

    Many other surprises are in the works. We will be mailing out registration packs in the next week or so. Anyone who wants to request one should contact Tim Artz, or Charlie Gow with a mailing address. Attendance will be limited to about 200 due to site and meal logistics, so get your requests for info in soon.


    Charlie Gow: Phone (703)319-9142, e-mail

    Tim Artz: Phone (703)339-8028, Fax (703)339-8028, e-mail

    Phil Seitz: e-mail

    Competition News

    Upcoming Competitions

    The Taste of the Great Lakes (deadline Oct. 11) and Spirit of Belgium (Oct. 31) competitions are described above. Entry forms will be available at the meeting, or call or e-mail Spencer.

    We will try to have entry forms at the meeting, where possible.

    Happy Holidays

    The St. Louis Brews are pleased to announce the return of our Happy Holidays Homebrew Competition! This is an AHA sanctioned event, using the standards and categories provided by the AHA, with the exception of one special beer style, Christmas Brau. This is a winter warmer/kitchen sink type beer.

    Entries are due by 5pm 29 Nov. Judging will be held on the afternoon 10 December, with a banquet and award ceremony following.

    We welcome all entries, and urge everyone interested to come judge with us! Please pass this information along to other brewers who may be interested.

    For additional information, contact, or 314/773-7867.

    Ginger Wotring, HHHC coordinator

    Mt. Clemens

    We'd like to encourage AABG members to enter this local competition. Entry deadline is October 3. $5 per entry. Entries should be dropped off or sent to

    Mt. Clemens Hardware
    67 N. Walnut
    Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

    Hal will collect entries at the September meeting and will hand-deliver them.

    Submit two (2) 12-oz bottles per entry, with a registration form attached to each bottle by a rubber band. No other labels or identifying marks. Categories by color:

    1. Light (Pale) Beers: A. American Light lager. B. Continental Light, C. Weizenbier
    2. Amber beers: A. Pale Ale, B. Oktoberfest/Vienna, C. Steam.
    3. Brown beers: A. Brown Ale, B. Continental Dark, C. Bock.
    4. Black beers: A. Porter, B. Stout
    5. Strong beers: 6.5% or more alcohol.
    6. Specialty beers: A. Fruit beers, B. Others (mead ale), C. Odd Ales.

    Club-Only Smoked Beer Competition

    Here's an early announcement about the AHA Club-Only Smoked Beer Competition to be held next May. The competition will be hosted by the Ithaca Brewers Union. The date is pretty far away, but it sounds like a few iterations are generally needed to get the right level of smokiness.

    November Classic

    The Eighth Annual November Classic, sponsored by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild, will take place on November 19. We will be judging in two categories, "This" and "That." Identify your intended beer style, but enter in either category as you choose. Beers only--no ciders or meads. Complete information and entry forms will be available early in October, but now that the weather is getting cooler in some parts of the country, start your brewing!!!

    For information, write MHTG / P.O. Box 1365 / Madison, Wisconsin 53704

    Dixie Cup

    The Houston Foam Rangers are pleased to announce that the 11th annual Dixie Cup Homebrew Competition will be held on October 14 and 15 in Houston, Texas. For more information, or to have your name put on the list for the mailing, call the good folks at DeFalco's Home Wine and Beer Stuff Place, 1-800-216-BREW.

    It is hoped (feared?) that this year's Dixie Cup will garner 800 entries. Anyone interested in assisting in the judging of these beers is encouraged to call the number above. Starting some of the first round judging on the evening of Thursday, 13 October is being considered. A "Beds for Brewers" set-up is possible if enough qualified judges will commit to arriving on Thursday.

    Any questions about the 1994 Dixie Cup can either be addressed to me via e-mail or called into DeFalco's at the telephone number given above.

    Mazer Cup '94

    The Mazer Cup Mead Competition judging took place on Friday, August 12 at Spencer Thomas's, with the best of show at Dave West's on Sunday. 101 meads, mostly very good, were entered and tasted by 12 judges. Some excellent meads were nudged out of medal places by even better ones. In the Cyser category, the 2 judges couldn't agree among 5 meads for 2nd and 3rd places, and another judge had to help break the impasse. Standouts included a Burgundy-like blackberry mead (a little less sweet, and a bit more tannin, and it would have been nearly indistinguishable from a good Burgundy wine); a Tulip Poplar honey show mead with an amazing honey aroma and flavor; and a Mint metheglin with lots of flavor and aroma, but only 5.5 lb. of honey in 5 gallons.

    Dan McConnell writes: This year we had 101 entries, a 20% increase over last year, very few of which came from our local group. The quality was extremely high, better by far than last year and I would venture to say, better overall than I judged at the AHA National.

    Congratulations to all of the entrants and especially to the winners for making this competition a pleasure to run and an even greater pleasure to taste. This is truly a hedonistic experience of color, aroma and flavor. A special thanks to our electronic friends, especially our e-Stewards and e-Judges (you know who you are).

    Mazer Cup Results

    Category     Place   Meadmaster       
    Show         1       Millspaw, Micah  
                 2       Wolff, Vern      
                 3       Manteufel, Thomas           
    Traditional  1       Pollard, Robert
                         Best Of Show
                 2       Raike, Ronald    
    Melomel      1       Kime, Robert     
                 2       Woodrow, Daniel  
                 3       West, Dave       
    Cyser        1       Davison, Dennis  
                 2       Dempsey, Steve   
                 3       Cypert, Jeff     
    Pyment       1       Miller, Joyce    
                 2       Boucher, Ed      
                 3       Wiley, Michael   
    Hippocras    1       Miller, Joyce    
                 2       White, Elaine    
    Metheglyn    1       Pollard, Robert  
                 2       Miller, Joyce    
                 3       Ferrell, Ken     
    Braggot      1       Menkevich, Joseph           
                 2       Olson, Gordon    

    State Fair

    On Saturday, August 20, about a dozen judges evaluated and ranked 104 beers for the 1994 Michigan State Fair Homebrew Competition. And then, on the 27th, at the fair, a panel of distinguished brewers and brewery representatives chose the best of show. Jeff Renner took notes during the best-of-show judging -- thanks, Jeff.

    Best of Show Results

    Jeff Renner

    Matthew DePerno's Brown Ale was chosen the Best of Show at the Michigan State Fair Homebrew Competition on Saturday, August 27. Panelists were: John Stroh III of Stroh's; Tim Sheehan, Frankenmuth Brewery; John Borlick, Kalamazoo Brewery; Richard Vincent, Traffic Jam; and our Dan McConnell, G.W. Kent and Yeast Culture Kit Co. As they warmed to their task, they became more verbal. John Stroh arrived late, and so didn't comment on the first few. Their comments, as best as I could scribble them down, are as follows:

    Weizen (Jeff Renner):

    Light, clean. Very clean. That's what I like best about it. A good example.

    Pilsner (Dave West):

    Low aroma, good body. Hop aroma.
    Nicely done. Nice nose. I'd like to have made this.
    Medium to big body. Very clean.
    Middle of road. Not wimpy. I like it.

    Lager (Vienna, Kelvin Kapteyn):

    Very cleanly brewed. I like it. A Vienna should scream malt this is a little over the edge toward hops.
    Bock (Doppelbock, Dave West):
    Parameters (in introduction of style) described it closely.
    I'm picking up just a little harshness. More lagering might help. An excellent beer none the less.

    Continental Dark (Munich Dark, Len Lescosky):

    Good dolor, chocolate nose, good middle.
    Delicious, cleanly brewed, a little bitter (hops or roast grain?).

    Common (Steam, Len Lescosky):

    Low hop aroma, not as aggressive hop bitterness as needed.
    A little low body, clean, well brewed. Wrong category, bit too pale.
    Too citrusy. Nice finish, not as full as it needs to be.
    Pineapple, citrus.

    8200 - Pale Ale                       
    1  Tom Dimmer                     Lawnmower Man             
    2  Bill Pankratz  	  	  O' Canada                 
    3  Michael Zemenick   	  	  Spring Ale                
    4  Lawrence Carbary    	  	  # 112                     
    8201 - India Pale Ale     	                            
    1  David & Jon Van Eck 	       	  Worker Bee India Pale Ale 
    2  Kenneth Baker          	  Crackerhead Pale Ale      
    3  Len Lescosky & Bill Holmes     Old Greyhound             
    4  John Alguire           	  Shovelhead IPA            
    8202 - Brown Ale  	  	                            
    1  Matthew DePerno     	  	  Matthew's Amber Ale Best of Show 
    2  Lawrence Carbary    	  	  # 107                     
    3  Jeff Renner    	  	  "C"                       
    4  No Award       	  	                            
    8203 - Porter     	  	                            
    1  Ric Genthner       	  	  Cold Sea Porter           
    2  Len Lescosky   	  	  Porter 106                
    3  Lawrence Carbary 		  # 111                     
    4  Dave West      	  	  Porter                    
    8204 - Stout      	  	                            
    1  Dave & Joel Bussell 	  	  Gingersnout Stout                     
    2  Tom Dimmer     	  	  Stoutability              
    3  Kelvin Kapteyn      	  	  Entirely Yours            
    4  Scott Schmidt  	  	  Kimmy's Ginger Stout              
    8205 - Wheat Beer 	  	                            
    1  Jeff Renner    	  	  John the Baptist Weizen                    
    2  Kelvin Kapteyn      	  	  Double Dark               
    3  Tom Dimmer     	  	  Welcommen Weizen                    
    4  Dave West      	  	  Belgium Wheat             
    8206 - Bock       	  	                            
    1  Dave West      	  	  Dopplebock                
    2  Jeff Holmquist      	  	  Big Bubba Bock                      
    3  Ric Genthner   	  	  Genthner Bock             
    4  Kelvin Kapteyn      	  	  Bock on the Road Again                
    8207 - Common Beer (Steam)                  
    1  Len Lescosky   	  	  Is it Steam?              
    2  Kenneth Baker  	  	  "Beer Man" Steam Beer
    3  Tom Dimmer     	  	  Mosquito Coast Steam Beer
    4  Lawrence Carbary    	  	  # 110                     
    8208 - Lager      	  	                            
    1  Kelvin Kapteyn		  Verily Vienna             
    2  Mike O'Brien   	  	  Maple Lager               
    3  Jeff Renner    	  	  Vienna - Z                
    4  Tom Dimmer     	  	  Holly's Special Lager             
    8209 - Pilsner    	  	                            
    1  Dave West      	  	  Pilsner                   
    2  Mark Thompson  	  	  Pigeon River Pils II                   
    3  Jeff Renner    	  	  Pils - V                  
    4  Chris DePerno  	  	  Pilsner Bohemia                   
    8210 - Continental	  	   Dark                     
    1  Len Lescosky   	  	  It's Dark                 
    2  Ric Genthner   	  	  Cracker Box Dark                      
    3  Tom Dimmer     	  	  Black Gold                
    4  Bill Pankratz  	  	  No. 42                    
    8211 - Strong Ale / Barley Wine
    1  Mark Thompson  	  	  Big Ian's Wee Heavy                 
    2  Bill Pfeiffer  	  	  Fibrilator                
    3  Ken Schramm    	  	  Bob Marley (Kitsch & Zinc) Barley Wine
    4  David & Jon Van Eck 	  	  Worker Bee Old Ale                   
    8212 - Specialty  	  	                            
    1  Jim Selegean   	  	  Framboise                 
    2  Len Lescosky & Bill Holmes  	  Black Raspberry Stout                     
    3  Mike O'Brien   	  	  Coriander - Kumquat - Honey
    4  Ken Schramm    	  	  Stevie Ray Vaughn III

    Pale Ale (Tom Dimmer):

    Beautiful nose. Voluptuous malty body.
    Reminds me a little of Sharon Stone.

    IPA (David and Jon Van Eck):

    It's got the real stuff.
    Pleasant balance, strong bitterness to carry. Plenty of hops.
    This beer goes on a long time.

    Brown Ale (English, Matthew DePerno):

    Nice, sweet malty body. True to style. Nice brown ale.
    Refreshing tartness is unexpected. Pleasant aroma.
    More Kathleen Turner. Really developed.

    Porter (Robust, Ric Genthner):

    Very good. Little high on hops.
    Lacks something in the middle. Nice snappy beginning and finish.
    Has an extraordinary, pleasant roasty coffee aroma. Burnt aroma, not objectionable. Low body.
    Needs to be fleshed out. Not bad, though. Really nice.

    Stout (Sweet, ginger, Dave and Joel Bussell):

    It smells of ginger, all right.
    Low hop aroma appropriate. Body OK, lacking in roast barley.
    Low hop aroma. A little dry.
    Ginger on palate is extraordinary, but it also gives a balance (rather than hops). Has the body expected. An extraordinary drink.
    The ginger is overpowering. Not enough beer here.

    Strong Beer (Scotch Ale, Mark Thompson):

    This smells wonderful. I'll taste it eventually.
    Overall a great Scotch ale. Alcoholic warming as expected.
    Very interesting beer. High alcohol, even more unfermented extract. Lovely aroma, sweeter than expected.
    A little on the flat side (flavor). Sweetness a little overpowering.

    Specialty (Lambic, Framboise, Jim Selegean):

    This tastes like Boon! Very sour.
    Next to raspberry aroma, tartness is most noticeable. I'd like to know how this is made. The raspberry character is a little unpleasant.
    Slight chemical taste. Very clean, I pick out raspberries. A nice example.

    After they tasted all of the beers, the panelists then conferred and come to a consensus. Their final comments preceded the revelation of the Best of Show:

    These are all extraordinary beers.
    I thought this would be difficult. I liked about five; everyone else voted for one or two. One beer was on everyone's list.
    All are extraordinary.
    Each beer is very, very professionally crafted. Great efforts. This is never accidental.
    I liked all of these with a few exceptions. One jumped out--that is the one that is going to win.

    It was a surprise to many that the winning recipe was a kit with only dark DME and finish hops added. The dry yeast that came with the kit was used. It shows that good technique is more important that such things as all grain or liquid yeast when it comes to making fine beer. [Ed note: In fact, the winner was Matt's first-ever brewing attempt!]

    Judging notes

    Thanks to all who participated in the Mazer Cup and State Fair judgings. We couldn't have done it without you.

    Club-only Best of Fest

    This month we will be choosing the club's entrant into the AHA Best of Fest  competition. The styles for this competition are Oktoberfest, also called Märzen, and Vienna. Both are copper to amber colored, predominantly malty beers, but with some hop bitterness and character. As lagers, they should be clean and free of fruity aromas. Without further ado, here are the AHA style guidelines.

    Vienna Amber to deep copper/light brown. Toasted malt aroma and flavor. Low malt sweetness. Light to medium body. Hop bitterness "noble-type" low to medium. Low hop flavor and aroma, "noble-type" OK. No fruitiness, esters. Low diacetyl OK. OG 1.048-55, 22-28IBU, 8-12SRM.

    Märzen/Oktoberfest Amber to deep copper/orange. Malty sweetness, toasted malt aroma and flavor dominant. Medium body. Low to medium bitterness. Low hop flavor and aroma, "noble-type" OK. No fruitiness, esters or diacetyl. OG 1.052-64, 22-28IBUs, 7-14SRM.

    As usual, bring two bottles to taste. The winner will have the entry fee and postage for his or her beer paid for by the club.

    The "judging" will take place following the business portion of the meeting.

    Upcoming Club Competitions

    AHA             AHA             AABG       
    Competition     Deadline        Judging    
    -----------     --------        -------
    Best of Fest    Oct. 3          September  
    Specialty Quest Dec. 5          November   
    Hail to Ale     January         January    
    Bock is Best    March           March      
    Smoked beer     May             May        
    Weiss is Nice   August          July       

    Brewers Anonymous: Oxidation

    Dear B.A.:

    What is oxidation in beer? I understand rust on metal, but how does beer rust?

    - Rusty Chemistry

    Here's a great answer to this question from Martin Lodahl, a California beer judge and brewing expert.

    Oxidation is one of the most major beer-spoilers there is. The best explanation I've seen of redox reactions in brewing is in Dr. George Fix's Principles of Brewing Science; to "tide you over" until you can get your hands on a copy, here's my column on the subject for the Gold Country Brewers' Association newsletter:

    Lodahl's Lowdown, August '94

    I recently judged a contest in another club's area. The contest was well-run, the people were agreeable, but the beers ... In all fairness, I have to say that it was the sort of contest where relatively few of the beers came from the regular brewers who are members of the club; rather more came from people who neither I nor they had heard of, and in a few cases we knew the beers to be from only the first or second batch of that brewer. Almost all were troubled in one way or another, but the problem that seemed to recur the most frequently was oxidation. As this is one that shows up fairly often in our own Beer-of-the-Month tasting, perhaps I should say a few words about it.

    In its classic, fully-developed state, oxidation can taste like cardboard or paper, nut-like, sherry-like (especially in strong beers like barley wines), or in some cases, like tomato plants. A milder case can be diagnosed by some exaggeratedly malt-like notes, a flavor sort of like what you get if you use some home-toasted malt without giving it a couple of weeks after toasting to mellow. Perhaps the most common symptom, though, is the flavor fading away, starting with the hops. Whenever I hear people say that the best thing about homebrew is its freshness, I begin to wonder about their processes. If they're struggling with oxidation, that's exactly how they're likely to feel. For a few weeks the beer will be great. Then gradually, the flavors will seem to become muddy and indistinct. Hop flavors and aromas will vanish, and some of the other symptoms may start to appear, but as a rule it takes somewhat longer for the really nasty symptoms to appear than it does for the best flavors to go away. And this is why it's such an insidious problem: There are no symptoms at the time the damage is done. They develop much later.

    There are many different types of oxidation reactions that can occur in beer. One of the simplest, but not one of the most common, is the oxidation of alcohol to acetaldehyde, and from there to acetic acid (vinegar). Acetaldehyde has a flavor and aroma of green apples; if your beer begins to taste like Bud, this may be the reason. I once tasted a porter where no roast could be tasted despite inky blackness, as acetaldehyde had completely overwhelmed all other flavors. What makes this particular reaction different from all of the other forms of beer staling that I know of is that it's the only one that depends upon the presence of air at the time the reaction takes place. The others are results of events that occurred days or weeks earlier, but this one can be a result of air introduced during the bottling or kegging process, even if no other mistakes were made. Fortunately, it takes a huge amount of air to make this happen, so it's pretty rare.

    Another common oxidation reaction is the oxidation of iso-alpha acids. This is a very interesting reaction, partly because it can only take place if the hops used are fresh (the butyric or cheesy flavors old hops develop are the result of a completely different oxidation reaction), and partly because of the preservative nature of this particular oxidation reaction. It helps in two ways, as it can both inhibit the photochemical reaction leading to skunked or light-struck beer, and also inhibit staling reactions through "donating" electrons to melanoidins, one of the few ways those compounds can be reduced in beer. I'll discuss the importance of this a bit later.

    There are a variety of other, less important oxidation reactions, but all vary in their severity with the degree of hot-side aeration, and many can have an unfortunate effect. The fatty acids in trub, for example, can oxidize to produce soapy, goaty flavors. Polyphenols can oxidize to produce both harsh astringency and haze. Through the Strecker Reaction, amino acids can be oxidized into staling aldehydes. And through aldol condensation, relatively innocent short-chain aldehydes are easily converted to the damaging long-chain aldehydes.

    The most common form of oxidation is the melanoidin-mediated oxidation of alcohols into aldehydes. Melanoidins are pigments formed from a sugar and an amino acid, and are very important throughout the food sciences. They're one of the main reasons, for example, why broiled meat tastes different from the same cut, boiled. In beer they're formed during the malting and mashing processes, and as you might imagine, there are more of them in dark beers than in pale ones. Melanoidins oxidize very easily, and rate of the oxidation reaction is temperature dependent, but there isn't a detectable flavor difference between an oxidized melanoidin and one in the reduced state. Their importance is in the downstream effect they have on another reaction: The oxidation of alcohols into aldehydes. Depending on the yeast used, the temperature of fermentation and on the composition of the wort, beer can contain many possible combinations of alcohols. In the main, ethyl alcohol will be in the highest concentration, but there will be some higher, or "fusel" alcohols present as well. Aldehydes are oxidation products of alcohols, have flavors generally considered to be unpleasant at very low concentrations, and vary in composition according to the alcohol they were formed from. Melanoidins in their reduced state can act as preservatives, blocking the formation of aldehydes by giving themselves up, in effect, to be oxidized first. If they're already oxidized, of course, they offer no protection at all, and in fact seem to speed the reaction. A useful image is of a balance between the air introduced into the beer during the post-fermentation process, and the reduced melanoidins that can protect the beer from the air. If you've already oxidized most or all of the melanoidins by splashing the wort when it's hot, any air introduced will cause oxidation. The more reduced melanoidins you still have available, the more air you can "get away with" introducing.

    It's important to note that once melanoidins are oxidized, the damage is done. If, for example, you splash the hot wort around before the boil and dissolve a lot of air in it, when the boil begins the dissolved air will be driven out, but the damage already done by that dissolved air is all but irreversible, and will lead to problems later. Maddeningly, the most popular books on homebrewing recommend procedures that guarantee this sort of damage, as do the instructions included with most kits. The most amazing recommendation is to pour hot wort through a strainer into a bucket of cold water. If I were to try to devise a way to oxidize the wort, I couldn't do any better then pouring hot wort through a strainer. What happens to it after that is unimportant. I did my first batch that way, and had the tell-tale signs in less than 6 weeks, but with a brown ale, rich in melanoidins, it's hardly surprising. In later batches I've force-cooled the wort right in the kettle, and have never tasted oxidation in my beers again. How the hot wort is handled is critical.

    One question that usually comes up at this point is, "Don't I need to aerate my wort before pitching the yeast?" Absolutely! We homebrewers generally under pitch, and yeast reproduce much more quickly aerobically than anaerobically, so thorough aeration is vital to a healthy fermentation. That aeration should only be done, however, when the wort is cool, and oxidation due to the dissolved air will take place very, very slowly. The yeast should be pitched either before aeration or as soon as possible afterwards, and as they'll consume all dissolved air in under a half-hour, there will be no significant damage done. From that point on, however, any air introduced to the beer will reduce part of its capacity to deal with further additions of air, until the protection system is overwhelmed.

    Because of the damage oxidation causes, brewers have tried many ways to protect their beer. I can think of two very common additives, but neither seems to help all that much. One, potassium metabisulfite, works by dissociating in solution, the bisulfite portion then binding to aldehydes, masking their flavor effect. The problem is that this effect is temporary, and once that bond breaks the bisulfite undergoes further reactions to produce mercaptans and rotten-egg notes. There have also been some health related questions raised about bisulfites. Another common additive is ascorbic acid, vitamin C. No health concerns there, but it's not terribly effective. It requires some 300ppm to block the oxidation of iso-alpha acids, and has no effect at all on the much more important melanoidin-mediated oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes. Further, as it becomes oxidized, it too can act as an oxidizing agent. Oxygen-absorbing agents, like the "Smart Caps" one sees advertised, can't hurt, but are a far less effective weapon against oxidation than good wort-handling practices. Technique is very, very important.

    By the way, Dr. George Fix's Principles of Brewing Science (Brewers Publications, 1989) has a very important place on my bookshelf. I'm glad to hear he's coming out with a new edition of it; the cover's falling off of my copy. If you're interested in what's happening "under the hood," I recommend this book highly.

    Treasurer's Report

    Rolf Wucherer

    Starting balance: $652.17. I received dues and donations from Tim Bellanger, $7, Josh Grosse, $15, Ken Powell, $20, Mike Swanson, $5, Jeff Brown, $5, Michael Tomaszewski, $5, Joe Manning, $10, Todd Beel, $7, and Gene Kraus, $6.25; I received $29 from the July Beer Across America Leftovers raffle, and $24 from the August raffle; and I also received $25 from Dennis Raney for the use of the pico-Brewery. This made for a total of $158.50 taken in.

    Notes: $100 in cash was collected at the Beer -BQ to help defray the cost of the roast pig, a donation from pico-Brewing Systems; this money was turned over to Mike O'Brien and has not been run through the books.

    The pico-Brewery Sinking Fund now stands at $101. The Brewery is not reserved as of this writing. Call me at 663-8196 to make your reservation!

    I bought a bunch of stamps for the club's mailings. This way, I won't have to lay out my stamps and be reimbursed, as of the August mailing. The stamps will be reported as a club asset at the end of the report, below.

    I have paid out $45.90 to Beer Across America for the June and July selections, and another $22.95 for the August selections; I paid $87 to the Postmaster for three rolls of 29cents stamps; I reimbursed Spencer Thomas $76.70 for July and August copies; I reimbursed Tom Dimmer $12.76 for fees and shipping his beer to the Stout Bout Club-only competition, and I received permission to reimburse myself $27.81 for postage for the July newsletters, which made for a total paid out of $273.37. This leaves a balance in the checkbook of $537.30; the club owns 200+ stamps.


    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!

    Upcoming Meetings

    As always, we need volunteers to host the meeting. Call one of your editors or accost us at the meeting.

    Thu, September 15 Bob and Jean Freligh
                      Best of Fest
    Tue, October 18   Brewola
    Thu, November 17  Specialty Quest
    Tue, December 13
    Tue, January 10   Hail to Ale
    Thu, February 9                               
    Tue, March 14     Bock is Best
    Thu, April 11     AHA National

    New Ann Arbor Brewer's Guild Members

        Todd Beel           213 Dhu Varren Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105         668-1374                      
        Tim Belanger        1402 Packard #1, Ann Arbor, MI 48104                                         
        Jeff Brown          1051 Western, Ann Arbor, MI 48103                                            
        Josh Grosse         1451 Catalina, Ann Arbor, MI 48103             769-0906                      
        Gene Kraus          3632 Barryknoll Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108     996-0258                      
        Joe Manning         3461 Simsbury, Pinckney, MI 48169              878-2353       747-9300       
        Ken Powell          3000 Bluett, Ann Arbor, MI 48105               668-2491                      
        Mike Swanson        10764 Treeline Drive, Pinckney, MI 48169       878-2543                      
        Michael             39475 Schroeder, Canton Twp., MI 48038                                       

    New Address

        Len Lescosky        1311 Miller, Ann Arbor, MI 48103               747-6274                      

    The Meeting: How to Get There

    Thursday, September 15, 7:30PM
    1111 Orchard Road, Adrian
    Jean and Bob Freligh: 517-265-5725

    From Ann Arbor: (1) Take US-23 south to the M-12 exit, go west on M-12 about 20 miles to M-52. Meet for carpooling at the Merchant of Vino on Plymouth Rd by 7:00, call Mike O'Brien (482-8565) for details.

    (2) Head south on Main St. to Ann Arbor-Saline Rd to Wagner Rd. and into Saline. Turn left on M-12, 15 miles to M-52, turn left (south).

    Head south on M-52 to Adrian. After entering Adrian from the North, on M-52, with the Adrian Training School on the right, go two traffic lights and turn onto West Maple Avenue. The Judicial Building on the right and the Court House on the left flank Maple Avenue. Go about 8/10 of a mile on West Maple to the stop sign at McKenzie Street, then go two blocks more and turn left on North Scott Street. Continue south for about 3/10 of a mile, and turn right onto Orchard Road. The house is the fourth on the left, with a big willow tree and a brick wall in front.

    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