Feb 13

Brewing! It’s for the Children!

CSI has the opportunity to participate in two charity events. Please see the events calendar for more information.

Knights of Columbus event will be held on 3/22 from 5:30 to 9:30 PM
Location is the Columbia Interfaith Center in the Village of Wildlake
About 160 attendees are expected
MDHB to supply ingredients for 10 gal batches. Brewer keeps 5 and donates 5 to the event.

The event benefits the Tanzanian Children’s Project
Brewers and MDHB get to participate in the event pouring beer, talking to guests, and promoting home brewing and beer appreciation

KOC has already cleared the event with ATBF. Understanding is that beer is donated and there are no sales.

Hampstead Hill Academy Silent Auction on March 29th.
We’re looking for brewers willing to auction off a brewing lesson!

Maryland Homebrew will provide the extract kit, all you need to do is spend an afternoon teaching someone to brew and another afternoon teaching them how to bottle!

The actual silent auction will take place March 29th. Brewing lesson scheduling is up to you and the auction winner.

All proceeds benefit the Hampstead Hill Academy.

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1836

Feb 13

Book Recommendation

Millstone Cellars recommended this book if anyone was interested in getting into cider making.

51anXLV-osL

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1833

Feb 12

Historical Brewing Event

The brewing is historical, the event is in the future.

Ron Pattinson, beer historian and author of the “Shut up about Barclay Perkins” blog is giving a talk at MDHB! He’ll be on a book tour promoting his new book “The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer. We’ve got a handful of the recipes from the new book if anyone wants to brew for the event. If we’ve got enough support we could probably even setup a CSI booth and serve some historic beers. Please let me know if you’re interested in brewing for the event so we can coordinate brews with other invited clubs. It should be a great event!

What: Ron Pattinson talking about his new book and sharing some beer
Where: Maryland Homebrew
When: Sunday, 16 March 2014
Time: TBD (Check the club Google calendar/Facebook event for updates)

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1827

Feb 07

New Events

Please check out the Events Calendar as new events have been added!

The Guild will be having it’s 15th Anniversary Party on February 22nd at Max’s Taphouse (upstairs)! There will be a cash bar with complimentary appetizers. Only 75 tickets will be available for $15/person.

Tickets are now on sale: http://www.mdhomebrewers.com/event/

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1821

Nov 05

2014 Club Officers Needed

homer

Brent MacAloney’s last day on the job

At the November 12th club meeting we will be voting on who will consist of the 2014 set of club officers.  Being an officer allows you some say in the future of the club and gives you an opportunity to improve the club.  In particular this year is an exciting year to be an officer as it is the 25th anniversary of the club.  The positions up for grabs include:

  • President – Runs overall club operations.  Responsible for running meetings, organizing club activities, monthly notes and announcements, and whatever other important club business pops up.
  • Vice President – Assists the President with the tasks listed above.
  • Competition Administrator – Runs the monthly homebrew competitions.
  • Treasurer – Oversees club finances.
  • Webmaster – Works with other officers to post information on the club’s website and Facebook page.  Includes monthly meeting announcements on Facebook, updating website with next meeting information and competition results.
  • Guild Representative – Attends monthly Free State Homebrew Club Guild meetings on behalf of CSI and reports back to the club on decisions being made.

The current set of officers encourage current members to please consider running for one of these positions.  It is a lot of fun and you have your chance to play a role in the storied history of Baltimore’s oldest homebrew club.

If you are interested in running for a position, regardless of if you can make it to the November 12th meeting, or have any questions about any of the positions, please email the current club president, Brent MacAloney.  Deadline for nominations is:  11:59pm on Sunday, November 10th.

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1712

Oct 12

Upgrading the “portable-keg charger”

I coughed up the $20 for the portable keg charger from Genuine Innovations

but I’m not entirely happy with it for a slew of reasons.  First, the instructions say over and over again that you have to fully discharge the keg before attaching this, otherwise the back pressure can break the unit.  That’s stupid because you could pour off of some of that pressure.  Second, you have no idea how much you are really pressurizing the keg when you push the trigger.  I burned through 3 cartridges to pump half a keg the first time I took this to a party.  So I decided to do a DIY upgrade, so now it looks like this:photo

I had a spare pressure gauge laying around, which I wanted to connect up with a check valve so I could hook up the whole system without having to bleed off the pressure.  The gauge has standard 1/4-inch NPT threads, while kegs use 1/4-inch flared threads, so I used a 1/4-inch NPT tee, a 1/4-in male NPT pipe to to 1/4-in barb on the bottom, and to connect the tee to the charger, a 1/4-in NPT check valve connected to a 1/4-in flare to 1/4-in female NPT coupler.  In addition to the gas ball-lock and some thick tubing that I picked up years ago, here is a shopping list from amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007GDX93E
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AZ4D2U
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CEN8CS
http://www.amazon.com/gp/procuct/B00BKFHUPC

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1693

Oct 07

Made in Baltimore: Beer Tap Handles, Beer, and Homebrew

MadeInBaltimore

Click image to see the flyer.

As part of Baltimore Beer Week, the Cross Street Irregulars (CSI) are teaming up with Mark Supik and Company, Maryland Homebrew and Raven Beer to hold a “Made in Baltimore” beer tap handles and homebrew demonstration.  At this event you can see how custom beer tap handles are made by one of the premier woodturning shops in the USA, learn how you can brew your own batch of homebrew, and tour Baltimore’s very own Beer Tap Handle Museum.  You can do all this while enjoy delicious samples of beers brewed by CSI members and the folks at Raven Beer.

This event will take place on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 from Noon to 4pm at Mark Supik and Company (1 N. Haven Street, Baltimore, MD 21224).  The best part about this event is that is FREE!

If you wish to print up a flyer for the event to share with fellow homebrewers or your homebrew club, you can find the flyer here.

The members of CSI hope you can enjoy us in this fun, yet educational homebrewing event.

If you have any questions, please contact CSI President, Brent MacAloney.

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1682

Sep 22

Designing Beer with Dr. Brad Smith (aka the BeerSmith guy!)

BeerSmithEvent

Click image to see the flyer

As part of Baltimore Beer Week, CSI has lined up an awesome opportunity for all homebrewers in the area.  On Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, we will be hosting Dr. Brad Smith, author of the highly acclaimed BeerSmith brewing software, brewer with 23 years experience, host of the BeerSmith podcast, and founder of BrewWiki.com for a talk on designing beer.  The event will take place at Maryland Homebrew at 6770 Oak Hall Ln #108, Columbia, MD 21045 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.

If you are looking to bring your brewing game to the next level, especially those of you looking to get your beers into competitions, this is a great opportunity to bring some homebrew, share it with other homebrewers, get quality feedback, and learn about what you can do to design better homebrew recipes.  Members from CSI will be on hand to talk about homebrew clubs in the area and why joining a homebrew club will also result in brewers crafting better beers.

The event will begin at 6:30pm with a social hour.  Here you can share your homebrew, enjoy samples of beer from other homebrewers in a social forum, talk about brewing technique, recipe design, or whatever you want.

At 7:30pm we will all take our seats and Dr. Smith will give us a presentation on designing beer.  Similar to his presentation at the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference in Philadelphia, PA, he will offer a structured approach to beer recipe design, starting with a target style and walking through research, selection of ingredients and application of brewing techniques to create a great beer recipe. He will review examples of recipe design, as well as cover some of the newer techniques brewers are using to enhance their beer. This presentation is oriented towards all-grain beer design, though most of the techniques could also be used by extract brewers, which he would be happy to explain.  Before he finishes, we have asked him to give a quick demonstration of how all this can be done in the BeerSmith software.  He will wrap up the evening by holding a questions and answers session with those in attendance.

This looks to be a great event and best of all, it is FREE!  In order to attend, registration is required as seating is limited.  Registration can be done at the following URL:  http://goo.gl/DlsRcV

If you wish to print up a flyer for the event to share with fellow homebrewers or your homebrew club, you can find the flyer here.

The members of CSI hope you can enjoy us in this fun, yet educational homebrewing event.

If you have any questions, please contact CSI President, Brent MacAloney.

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1664

Sep 12

Flanders Get Together (Party)

I know there was some confusion about when the whole Flanders gathering kicks off. We would like to have everyone start coming at 4 pm. It would be sort of cool to bring a bottle of commercial Flanders red (they aren’t too expensive) to make it an all around Flanders event. Kids are welcome.

We are going with Pot Luck. Trying to organize food with the brewing folks is like herding cats.

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1658

Aug 17

Group Brew Project Showcasing Unique and Exotic Hops

NHC LogoWith the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference (NHC) being held right up I-95 from Baltimore in Philadelphia, it provided CSI club members who have never been to a national conference with an excellent opportunity to attend one.  In fact, CSI had around 20 members register to attend the event.

In the months leading up to the NHC, as we met to discuss CSI’s presence at the NHC, it became apparent that it would be both fun and educational to come up with a series of single hopped beers featuring rare and exotic hops to serve at club night.  The goal was to allow those tasting the beers the opportunity to really pick up on the characteristics of each hop variety.  It also provided a chance to those in the club who primarily brew with malt extract, to team up with an all-grain brewer, giving them the chance to try out the process.

First, we wanted to come up with a malt bill that provided for a solid drinking base, but did not overpower the hops.  So we went to the club’s resident IPA expert, Matt Barra, for a recommendation.  He brought a very simple, but enjoyable malt bill that he had used several times before.  The malt bill for a 5 gallon batch was:

  • 8 pounds of Pale Malt (UK)
  • 4 pounds of Vienna
  • 8 ounces of Victory
  • 8 ounces of Crystal 80L

Next we needed to find some hops.  We remembered back to the January 2013 club meeting when CSI member Mike Pietropaoli brought an IPA to the meeting that featured Caliente hops.  Prior to that meeting, no one in the club had ever heard of Caliente hops, let alone used them.  The hop profile in the beer was so unique and enjoyable, members immediately started asking where he found this variety.  Mike pointed us all to YakimaValleyHops.com.

Yakima Valley HopsFor those brewers who have not been to YakimaValleyHops.com, you are severely missing out.  YVH is a legit hops super store.  In fact, I’d argue that there isn’t a shop out there with a larger variety.  At any given time, they probably have around 40 varieties of domestic hops and around 30 varieties of imported hops to choose from.  This provided us with an amazing selection of hop varieties to choose from for our project.  After printing up the current stock and reviewing the hop profiles with the club members, we ended up settling on buying a half pound of each of the following varieties for our group brew project:

  • Bravo
  • Caliente
  • Calypso
  • Comet
  • Falconer’s Flight
  • Millenium
  • Sorachi Ace
  • Super Galena

Note:  I was late on putting the hops orders in and the good folks at YVH were more than accommodating in making sure the hops were in my hand in time for the brew session.  Thanks sooooo much to the staff there.  Talk about tip top customer service!!!

Additionally, we had some brewers with Simcoe and homebrown Cascade hops on hand, so they used those for the group brew.

Members of the club got together on Saturday, April 6th in the parking lot behind Maryland Homebrew in Columbia, MD to take part in a group brew.  The rules were simple.  Everyone uses the same malt bill (along with some help from the MDHB staff, we measured the portions out and milled the grains the night before) but we left it up to the brewer to decide how to best use their half pound of hops.  No other hop varieties other than the single hop could be used.  Brewers could use as much of the half pound as they wanted and make their hop additions whenever they wanted during the brew session.  For example, I ended up adding an ounce at 60 minutes, half an ounce every 10 minutes during the boil, and then another ounce at flameout.

In order to serve all of these beers at the Club Night, I built a 9-tap draft box for the club out of spare wood that I had left over from previous woodworking projects.  That way attendees could go down the line and try up to 9 of these beers in a row, allowing them to compare and contrast the characteristics of each hop.  The draft box turned out awesome and is a nice piece for the club to have and use for years to come.

Draft Box

Feedback on the beers and the project from attendees at the NHC was awesome!  On top of many people just swinging by to try all the different beers and enjoying learning about hops they’ve never tried or heard of, in talking about our project with attendees, I had more than one person come up to me and say they wanted to try something like this with their homebrew club.  It is so exciting that our project inspired other clubs to try something similar.

Pouring Beer at NHC

The point of this post is to encourage CSI members and members of other clubs to organize and try a group project like this or something similar.  Below you will find a few other ideas that may be worth trying with your friends or you club, but however, I encourage you to think outside the box, and experiment on an aspect of homebrew that interests you or that you would like to know more about.

  • Large batch of homebrew using the same malt, hops, and yeast, portioned off and fermented at different temperatures.
  • Large batch of homebrew using the same malt and hops, but using different yeasts.
  • Several separate batches of homebrew using different base malts, but the same specialty malts, hops and yeast.
  • Several separate batches of homebrew using the same malt, hops, and yeast, but using different mashing temperatures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to talk to you about setting up a project like this for you and your friends.  The sky is the limit here and the end result is a lot of fun and extremely educational.  Cheers!

-Brent

Permanent link to this article: http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=1611

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