Fellow Homebrewers,

As I was going through my morning routine, besides thinking, “man, I wish today was a bank holiday”, I thought to myself, “oh yeah, BYO magazines come out monthly this time of year” and “it must be time to turn up the temp on my water heater”. What do these two seemingly random thoughts have in common? IT’S BREWING SEASON!! That’s right; no more lame excuses like, “it’s too hot in my garage” or “the water’s too warm to chill the wort”. So, those of you who stowed away your equipment in May, it’s time get down to some serious brewing. Learn to Homebrew Day on Saturday, November 1, would be a great time to rinse off the cobwebs. So, please join me in the Liquor Locker parking lot (Morgan and Stockwell) at around 9:00 AM. With this in mind, please consider the following cautionary tale…

Dear Zymurgy, I never thought this would happen to me. This year’s pumpkin ale brew session ended up being particularly challenging. The brew day started like most others, I fired up the mash tun (having remembered to collect and treat my water the evening before), pulled up the recipe on my iPad, and set about measuring out my grains. This is where my day started going downhill. I thought I had plenty of pale malt, so much so that I had sold a bag to another brewer just days before. “Not a problem”, I told myself, “I’ll just make it a wheat beer”. Genius! So, I simply substituted half of my barley for wheat. Keep in mind that, unlike barley, wheat has no husk, so a grain bill high in wheat may not filter as effectively. Add six pounds of pumpkin and you essentially create cement! Oh, why didn’t I throw in a couple pounds of rice hulls! Idiot! So, after dealing with channels in the grain bed, a stuck sparge, and clogged values and pumps, I finally got the wort in the kettle. Turns out, my efficiency suffered. Of course, I didn’t make this observations until after the wort was in the fermenter. No big deal, right? It’ll just be a bit more “sessionable”? Well, without proper balance, adding two pounds of maple syrup and two pounds of honey can really dry out a beer. Bottom line, remember the eight “P’s” of effective brewing - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Potent Potables!

Thanks to all of you who volunteered at the Evansville Museum’s Brew Ha Ha and the Wesselman’s Wandering Owl events. In terms of attendees, these events are the two smallest on our calendar, but both host organizations are treasures in our community. I expect these events will be held around the same times next year, so plan (there’s the p-word again) your brew schedules accordingly.

So then there was one! The 2014 beer festival season is coming to a close.   The last scheduled event is Tap & Cork at Holy Redeemer on Mill Road. The event runs from 6 PM to 9 PM on Saturday, November 8. As we have been doing recently, a donation of beer AND labor will gain you complimentary admittance to this event. John Mills, the event organizer, may need additional volunteers, so keep an eye on the OVHA chat room. Of course, the purchase of a ticket is always greatly appreciated.

Carson’s Brewery continues to collect the hardware. At the annual Great American Beer Festival held earlier this month, Carson’s Red Dawn, an amber wheat beer, took the gold medal in the American wheat beer category. To my knowledge, this is the third prestigious award that Red Dawn has earned this year following silver medals in the World Beer Cup and the Indiana Brewers Cup. Congratulations (again!) to John Mills and Jason Carson!

This month’s meeting promises to be very memorable. The topic for the meeting is Cooking with Beer. John Mills has managed to wrangle Aimee Blume as our guest presenter. For those of you who don’t know, Aimee is a trained chef, culinary instructor, and food correspondent for the Evansville Courier and Press. I believe that Aimee’s recipes will feature several of the beers from Carson’s lineup including the aforementioned Red Dawn. Yum!

Please remember that this month is the last canned food drive of the year. In order to gain a door prize ticket, you will need to donate a canned good. We will probably also accept monetary donations. With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, please give generously. Sky will deliver the donations directly to St. Paul's Episcopal Church. St. Paul’s runs one of the largest soup kitchens and food pantries in the Evansville downtown area. Thank you!

Well, that’s all for now. See you Wednesday, October 29. Pumpkin Wheat anyone?

Just Brew It!

Jeff

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