The March meeting started out slow and quiet with less than 20 members attending. It was bring your own chair but apparently there were a few who failed to follow the advice given on Facebook that afternoon.
With such a low turnout, we decided to forgo any serious business portion since there were too few members to reach a quorum. While discussing the calendar and upcoming brews Dave questioned how “strict” we were gonna be on the whole SMASH definition.
This led to our first official HOWL presentation, this month given by President Baki. There had been a good bit of discussion on whether you should cold steep your non-mashable grains as it is supposed to yield a less astringent wort/beer. Tolga ran the experiment using identical grain bills from one of his stout recipes.
In the control he mashed all the grains and boiled the wort for 15 minutes. In the experimental batch, he steeped the un-malted grains overnight in lukewarm water. He mashed the remaining grains, like the control and then boiled for 15 minutes adding the cold steeped dark grains during the last 5 minutes of the boil.
Members were given a sample of each and found one was suprisingly crisp but lacked a mouthfeel, while the other was very full bodied. There was clearly a difference but the most surprising thing to me was that I preferred the traditional mash. You can read the full article here. There were some other scientific-y differences, but rather than dwell on that, let’s get to the tastings…
Dave burst out of the gate with his “let’s see what’s left in the brew closet” hybrid Pale Lager. Very crisp, almost pilsner-y in my opinion. A very drinkable brew.
Matt the Elder brought his infinitely “sessionable” Schwartzbier. This classic style was smooth and really drinkable and had that special “lagered in a spring house” marking under the cap. Kudos should be given to the lager beer with almost zero carbon footprint being lagered AND bottled in the spring house sans electricity.
Up next was Chris with his very confusing “first all grain” that was number one hundred plus all grain batches? Chris re-made his first all grain Denny’s Rye IPA batch. The flowery hops were really nice and being a fan of rye, I really liked this beer.
Tolga brought one of his staple IPAs which was typically well made and what we have come to expect.
Following that Tony sent around his super-imperial IPA. (Correct me if wrong, but) I think the story was this was his first foray into all grain and completely missed his intended OG. To compensate he added 2 truckloads of DME and ended up with a really nice American Barleywine. This was actually a killer brew, but I’m not sure how IPA-y it was.
Fresh off a tour in lovely Afghanistan, Wesley brought in the last three bottles of his RIS that he brewed before being deployed. This extract kit beer aged extremely well over the 2 (3?) years and we thank him for his service and for bringing the last of this beer.
About this time Brian piped up and said, “Hey, I brought an IPA” which then got passed around. Interestingly, he used an ESB yeast on this and some other ingredient I aplogize I cannot recall. While the first taste and smell was clearly an IPA, the finish was really ESB like and a really nice twist on an overdone style.
Back on the Stout track, Mike J unleashed his Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout on the group. He used the Chocolate flavored PB2 to add the peanut butter flavor and relied on “every dark grain” he could find to round it out. Smooth beer.
Jennie heated things up with her Smoked Chipotle Stout. The chilis were at the forefront in both the aroma and the afterburn. Great taste to the stout as well.
To wrap up the tastings, in a rare allowance due to the almost historically low brought beers, Wesley busted out his pre-deployment mead. I’m not a huge mead fan but this pre-deployment honey brew was bright and clear and very nice.
If I missed a brought beer or incorrectly classified or described a HOWLer’s beer I apologize.
Special thanks to former Prez Brian to showing up and Jay for bringing the pizza again that I didn’t know was coming so I ate before I arrived. Damn. Next month looking forward to that special “Hop Tease” that I keep hearing that Matt the Elder is running. Prost!