Northern California Homebrewers Festival 2015

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Our Malt Konocti Mashers’ booth on the right with a little waiting area in front of the dispensary.

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This year’s theme was Prohibition. Under the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, doctors could write prescriptions for alcohol. “You’ve gotta fever and the prescription is more beer.”

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Looking toward “Home” (left of photo) where you register and buy tee-shirts.

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Dr. Paul tasting a prescription to see if it meets his exacting standards.

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Patients could choose from a tasty array of medications.

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Next door to our booth was a “barber shop” where one of the aerosol cans of Barbasol dispensed an IPA.

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The D.O.Z.E. ([Mt.] Diablo Order Of Zymiracle Enthusiasts) booth was a Dept of Treasury office with soda up front and samples of forbidden beer in the back.

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Looking to the left of our booth.

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Evidence tags on illegal beer at the GBA booth.

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The Worts of Wisdom booth had soda in the front (self-serve). Word is that they had beer behind the curtain.

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GBA’s serving list being prepared.

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Almaden Brewers prove that tie-die is not dead, though it should be.

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Silicon Valley Sudzers had some cute names for their beers.

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The Silicon Valley Sudzer branch office of the IRS.

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The Doctor is in.

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GBA getting rid of the evidence by drinking it away.

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A wanted poster for Willie the Brewer on a trash can.

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Across from our booth. The lecture tent and stage on the left.

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The checkered awning is the booth for tasting the club competition beers.

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Lecture tent and stage on the right. More booths on the left.

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The “Library” with the faux stone walls had some amazing food.

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Dr. Jon dispensing medicine to needy patients. The sign in front says, “The Amazing Dr. Paul’s Healthful Elixirs: Good for What Ales You.”

These photos are from the Northern California Homebrewers Festival (NCHF).

NCHF was bittersweet this year, landing as it did, during the Valley Fire. When we set up our booth, we knew at least one member had lost his home and two others were not sure. To say it put a damper on our spirits would not be overstating it.

We thought we might just have a pile of burnt rubble instead of any booth. In the end, we set up and made the best of it.

The theme this year was Prohibition. Prior to the event we did some research (okay we Googled it) and learned that prescriptions were written for alcohol. So we ordered some toy stethoscopes and reflective mirrors for our foreheads, and printed up some fake Rx pads. We prescribed many of the following: Dr. Kam A. Sutra’s India Pale Tonic, Dr. Paul’s Chocolate Coconut Porter Elixir, Blanche’s Nutritive Cream Ale Tonic, Dr. Jon’s Mother’s Milk Stout, or Dr. Jon’s Three for the Road Tripel.

Next year’s theme is…wait for it…Belgium. So if you like beer that tastes like a barnyard with cloves and bananas sprinkled about, you’ll love the NCHF in 2016.

Demonstrating how to make beer without taste

Or, at least, demonstrating how to make beer without tastings of already-made home-brewed beer.

Two weekends ago my friend (and prez of the Lake County Homebrewers) Paul and I manned a booth for our homebrewing club at the  Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival in Lakeport, CA. It was the first time in at least five years that the booth for the Lake County Homebrewers’ group did not provide tastings of home-brewed beers. We decided to not pour our beers due to an opinion given to us by local officials of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CABC) that pouring any of our homebrew at public events violates State law (at least as the local CABC interprets their regulations–regulations transform squishy language found in legislation to more concrete, hence more quantifiable language, then officials charged with enforcing the regulations interpret what the regulation’s language actually means). So, our group decided, we just could not risk losing our equipment to a CABC raid of our homes. Some of our group are going pro and will be opening nano-breweries soon and cannot risk pissing off the people reviewing their liquor licenses.

Consequently, Paul and I demonstrated the steps necessary to make an all-grain batch of India Pale Ale called Hoppiness is an IPA. Its (10 gallon) recipe is available here as a PDF.

Technically, we did not have beer until we added yeast. We split the 10-gallons of wort into two 5-gallon fermenters and took our half home where we added White Labs WP005 British Ale Yeast to the cooled wort.

I bottled my portion today (two weeks later). The starting original gravity was 1.061. The final gravity was 1.014 SG. That calculates to an attenuation of 76.5% and an ABV of 6.3% (almost a session beer by today’s IPA standards). It has ample piney bitterness and not citrusy.

Yeast Ranching notes

These are some notes I took when the owner/brewer of the soon-to-be-opened Kelsey Creek Brewing gave a seminar on yeast ranching to some members of the Lake County Homebrewers club.

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To grow and cultivate (aka “ranch”) yeast you want clean clear wort with the trub precipitated out to mix with agar to put on the petri dishes. You will also need inoculation loops and  inoculation needles.

Required for yeast ranching:

Process:

Sprinkle agar over the top of the cooled wort. Do not dump the agar rather sprinkle in around (7g/250ml). No need to stir. Sanitation is not critical yet, since it will go into a pressure cooker which serves as an autoclave. Be sure to add nutrient to your wort.
After it has been used, every time you touch something in the pressure cooker you spray it with isopropyl 70 alcohol.

Pour the agar & wort solution using the “pacman” technique
Make sure the agar sets up ~45min before flipping over to lessen the condensation

Place a drop of diluted yeast solution on the dish with the agar. Then remember the spot and drop sterile saline on the yeast’s spot.

Then use the needle to drag the drop to streak it.

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Nice to haves:

  • Hemocytometer (local veterinary offices may have these lying around)
  • microscope

To check yeast viability a bulb flask is used (9 ml of sterile and 1 ml of yeast and 1 drop of methylene blue) and .0001 ml of of solution is placed on hemocytometer slide

Resources:

Lake County Homebrewers to do a Big Brew for National Homebrew Day – May 5


Are you interested in learning about brewing using malted barley grain? The Lake County Homebrewers will have at least 3 brewing systems set up and will be brewing from 11 AM until 5PM on May 5, 2012 at Mt. Konocti Winery (I know brewing beer at a winery, can you believe that?). Come over and watch us brew beer! Mount Konocti Winery is located at 2550 Big Valley Road, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

We are eager to answer any questions about the brewing process; a process that goes back 10,000 years.

Grain going into the Two Dude Brew mill

The Lake County Homebrewers will be doing this demonstration as part of the nationwide American Homebrewers Association‘s Big Brew on their National Homebrew Day.

This just in (4/24/12 @ 3pm): The American Homebrewers Association says:

Get your request in before midnight on Thursday (4.26) to receive copies of “Zymurgy: An Introduction to Homebrewing” for your AHA Big Brew event! http://bit.ly/ZymurgyIntro

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

We will be brewing a big (high gravity) beer. Last year we brewed a stout that was then aged in a bourbon barrel. This year we are considering :

  • Barley Wine/Imperial Stout – 9.7% aged in Bourbon Barrel Similar to Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Company.

    Boiling the 'wort' (the liquid runoff after steeping--mashing--the grains)

    Using White Labs WLP001 or Fermentis Safale 05 yeast.

  • Strong Belgian Blonde Ale aged in Chardonnay Barrel 10% ABV using WLP500
  • Blonde Wheat aged in Chardonnay 8.5% similar to Blue Moon Chardonnay Blonde could possibly add orange peel and coriander using either a Wit, Hefe, or Belgian Yeast Strain
  • Saison aged in Chardonnay Barrel – 8.5% using WLP566 Saison Yeast or Wyeast 3711
  • India Pale Ale (English style) Using White Labs WLP002 or Fermentis Safale 04 yeast.

Whatever we end up brewing, we would love to see you there.

Related articles

Lake County Homebrewers’ Big Brew Day plan for 2011

The Lake County Homebrewers met Monday night (March 28, 2011) for their monthly meeting. We met at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville (as is our wont). What a great draft of fun this meeting is. And, it comes with beer.

You may search forever and never find a more congenial, enthusiastic, eclectic, off-centered, bunch than homebrewers. Where some folks get wonky about politics and policy, homebrewers wax eloquent about water, grain, yeast and hops and the infinite ways those ingredients can be mixed. Unlike policy wonks, homebrewers can disagree without becoming disagreeable.

The LCH meetings that I’ve attended have been have been–how shall we say it–loosely structured. Roberts’ Rules of Order have not even been suggested as a way of reining in enthusiasm. Such thinking does not belong there. Paul, our club president, has a job resembling cat herder. With twelve of us in attendance (a large number by our club’s standards), the duties don’t overwhelm him.

One of the group, Rick presented what he’s learned about hops, their history and some information on what grows here in Lake County. Rick has a test plot where he is doing a provenance study to find the best variety for growing here. He said that there currently is a demand for locally-sourced, organic hops.

The final item of business was to pick a stout recipe that the club will brew together. The plan is to brew 55 gallons of Stout on Big Brew Day, May 7, 2011, at Guido’s Pizza in Kelseyville. Prior to May 7, one of us, probably me, will pick up the ingredients for the stout recipe at a friendly local homebrew store (MoreBeer in Concord). Everything will be bought at MoreBeer except for the yeast. Ron, who is studying brewing online, will rustle up enough of the critters for the first pitch. After we’ve fermented about 55 gallons of stout, it will be bourbon casked for several months in Joe’s and Daniel’s cool room.

To get an idea of what we wanted to brew, we tasted Deschutes Brewing’s Abyss (Deshutes wants you to be over 21 years of age to view this link) and then three other stouts (okay, one was a heavy porter) brewed by several in the group. After several tastings we voted by secret ballot. I will post the winning recipe if I can get the creator’s permission.

If you are around Kelseyville, CA on May 7 and want to see the beer being made please drop by.

If you have a moment, leave a comment. They are most appreciated.