We’ve had a bunch of great meetings and events so far this year. But, hold on to your brewing paddles. We’ve got much more lined up to close out the year. For our October meeting we’re headed back to Spellbound to help them celebrate the winning of a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The club’s ongoing brewing competition has been building steam. This last round may have more than 15 entries. I know a bunch of us are already looking forward to the competition starting all over in 2018. We’re shooting for a November meeting in the 3rd week of the month to do the tasting for the final round. Stay tuned for the date. Meanwhile, keep brewing!
Yes, that’s right it’s been 20 years since Joe Bair convinced a bunch of his customers to all show up one night at The Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton. We decided the only appropriate thing to do to commemorate the milestone would be to go back to The A&B and raise a pint.
Similar to previous years, we are having our club-only competition this March 17th at Pizzeria Uno in Hamilton NJ at 2 pm! It also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, but I hope to not see any green beer coming out of any competitor’s bottles…
As is typical, I encourage all to come out for the judging and some fun! If you want to judge, please show up a little early so that we can give some brief instructions.
You must drop off either 2 – 12 oz bottles or 1 22 oz bottle at Princeton Homebrew by March 16th. Bottles must be labeled with brewer’s name, email address, beer name, and category number.
Like past years, this is NOT a BJCP style event. There are 5 categories listed below to categorize your beer, and be honest!
Category 1 – Malty beers with a starting gravity below 1.060
Category 2 – Hoppy beers with a starting gravity below 1.060
Category 3 – Malty beers with a starting gravity greater than or equal to 1.060
Category 4 – Hoppy beers with a starting gravity greater than or equal to 1.060
Category 5 – Brett and/or soured beer. No gravity spec.
Thanks to our sponsors: Briess, Wyeast, White Labs, Brewer’s Supply Group, Blichmann Engineering
The rules: Must be a paid member of the PALE ALES. Limit of two entries per brewer. Must drop off either 2 – 12 oz bottles or 1 22 oz bottle at Princeton Homebrew by March 16th, bottles must be labeled with brewer’s name, email address, beer name, and category number. There are more rules, but I don’t feel like typing them now…
Matt and Brandon of Triumph New Hope had the chance to show us around Triumph New Hope. The second brewpub built of the three in total, we got a behind-the-scenes look at what makes this location different in terms of operations. The brewhouse has a great view, but I would guess it gets really hot in there cranking out the 10 barrel batches in the summer sun! Also they had some interesting stories about overcoming a limited glycol chilling unit, grain and supply elevator fun, and of course shuffling bags of grain! And of course, there were some nice brews to sample: a slightly smoked mild on hand pump, a german pilsner that was oh-so clean, and a tasty coffee stout!
A big thanks to Matt and Brandon!
Wade Gerhardt, the vintage ale rep from Goose Island, showed off that although the brewery was purchased by AB-Inbev, they aren’t laying eggs. While many were quick to note they had indeed sold out, Wade also mentioned how it took 9 months for AB-Inbev to get one of the beers correct. That’s right. Every week, 400 barrels of beer were dumped until they perfected the outcome. So much for the idea it’s easy to clone a beer.
The night started off with Sofie, which actually isn’t AB brewed due to the brettanomyces (AB-I refuses to let that in the brewhouse) which is a pleasant farmhouse-y beer, followed by Pepe Nero, an interesting dark ale infused with black pepper that is quite nice. Next was Matilda, a dry and refreshing amber ale, and Pere Jacques a malty dubbel style ale. The one that stole the show was Bourbon County Stout. Aged in bourbon barrels for quite a while, this 14% abv ale had everyone on their toes and tongues sizzling!
A big thanks to Brian from the Firkin Tavern for hosting us!
Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, the capital city of Düsseldorf lays claim to having the longest bar in the world. Walking around casually, you see a modern and efficient German city which looks like what you might expect given that much of the city was rebuilt after being bombed quite thoroughly. But where is such a long bar? Tucked away in the center of the city, you will find the Altstadt (Old Town) which escaped the ruinous bombings. Inside the area of roughly one-half square kilometer you will find ~300 bars and five breweries (Füchschen, Schumacher, Schlüssel, Uerige and the newly opened Brauerei Kürzer). The streets are cobblestone, and the buildings show their age and design with old world charm. The breweries, which are more like brewpubs in that they have full restaurants and bars, all brew a single type of beer: Altbier, and they are quite proud of it. Sitting down outside of Füchschen I asked for a beer, which was met with a stern reply of “No pils. Alt.” This type of somewhat coarse treatment is not rude, but expected. Some of the waiters at the other bars were more laid back, while some dialed it up either further! Served in a 0.25L stange the altbiers of Düsseldorf are refreshing: a somewhat balanced (depending on which brewery you are at, Uerige is quite bitter) amber to brown beer, smoothed by cold lager conditioning, and medium carbonation from a gravity fed (and often wooden) keg. It was an enjoyable time in a place I had only heard about, and has a distinct beer culture that is unique!
Just in case someone is sitting on a couple of bottles of dark lager…
The historic porter group brew in Piscataway had it all – some 9am Pilsners, a stuck mash, and suspicious neighbors doing slow drivebys all day long! Piscataway had never seen the likes of it. Due to a supply chain issue, the brewing didn’t get started right away (hence the 9am pilsners). But once we got started, there was no stopping. That is, until Ryan’s stuck mash! Luckily, that was only a temporary setback. As you can see from the pictures, it was a small group, but in the end all problems were overcome with good helpings of brew, pulled pork (thanks Chef Ryan!) and some post-brewing hobo juice, also known as applejack, aka apple liquor, aka that stuff that Ben brought. The brews are coming along nicely, Ben Bakelaar just racked his tonight, OG = 1.058, FG = 1.028 for a 3.91% ABV beer according to BeerSmith. Dave Rawlins racked his last weekend and got an FG of 1.024. And so the countdown has begun to Monster Mash 3: Princeton vs. Rutgers…. and we all know how that one turns out!
And by “brewyard” I mean the parking lot at Princeton Homebrew where 7 of us did a single mash to produce some 42 gallons of wort.
If you have been by Princeton Homebrew lately, you’ve probably laid eyes on the Monster Mash Tun. Its a 60-gallon, stainless steel homebrewers dream. The only problem is that we needed to create a false bottom to filter the grain from our beer. An effective false bottom is like a fine balancing act. If the filter is too course, grain husk will get through into your beer. If its too fine, all the grain will compact on the false bottom and prevent any water from making its way through the grain bed, resulting in worst of all brewing blunders, a STUCK MASH. So, you’d probably be thinking that we would pick a recipe to test our false bottom design that almost ensured success. Something like the brew we did last year at the Group Brew — a light saison with 9 lbs of grain per 5-gallons. Nahh, over several glasses of Hobo Juice at Princeton Homebrew, we decided the best idea was to Go Big or Go Home! We attempted to mash what will easily turn out to be the most difficult grain bill that this mash tun will ever see.
There were 17.5 lbs of grain for every 5 gallons of beer we were creating. And worse, 15 of them were brown malt — which basically pulverizes into a fine dust when milled. Setting the stage for a stuck mash.
Our false bottom combined high-end metal fabrication and items from the dollar store. Trenton Sheet Metal plasma cut a piece of 1/16 stainless steel and mounted hinges and stainless screen along with some 2-inch feet to keep it up off the bottom of the mash tun. And over drain we put a sink strainer over the top of an egg beater — no lie. Turns out our this last line of defense actually kept a decent amount of grain our of our wort!
A special thanks to Sir Al Buck and his magical box of stainless steel sanitary fittings, tri clamps and gaskets! And of course, this day couldn’t have been possible without the vision, cheerleading and Hobo Juice provided by Joe Bair of Princeton Homebrew.
We’re starting at Monks and wrapping up at the new Frankford Beer Garden. Check out the calendar page for all the details. And for the love of God, start exercising your liver!
Here’s a map of the adventure:
View 2011 PALE ALES Philly Pub Crawl in a larger map