Brewer Profile – Chris Becker

Chris Becker

Name: Chris Becker

Home Brewery Name: Becker Brewing

Brewing Since: September 2012

ZOO Member since: March 2013

Typical batch size: 7 Gallons

Favorite style to brew: Wild ales and Belgian styles.

Brewing Setup: I run a 15 gallon direct-fired RIMS mash tun with a recirculating pump. I don’t have a brew stand at this point, but am planning on adapting my current setup to a two tiered setup with digital control.

How did you get started brewing?

A friend, Keith, suggested we both buy home brewing kits online because it sounded like a fun hobby. I decided to buy one because I’ve always enjoyed beer and cooking, and it seemed like a good way to enjoy both of those hobbies. Armed with a seven gallon pot, a carboy, and some jugs of extract, I made my first batch.

How did you find out about the club?

Keith was looking for feedback on one of his beers and told me about a local competition (Hoppy St Patrick). We entered and both won medals, so we decided to check out the club the next month.

What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer?

Right now, my biggest challenge is time. I go to college full time and have two part time jobs, so I’m very limited by when I can brew. I’d love to brew once a month, but that rarely happens any more.

What was the biggest mishap you ever encountered when brewing? (bottle bombs, broken equipment, big messes, etc.)

Probably the largest mishap I encountered was also one of the greatest mistakes I made. The second beer I brewed was going to be a Belgian dubbel, sort of like chimay blue. I got the extract kit from an online company and read through the reviews. One mentioned using a particular wyeast private collection yeast strain to improve the beer. Not knowing any better, I bought it, brewed the beer, and added the yeast. It wasn’t until later that night that I decided I should google what “brettanomyces” was. Thankfully, the beer turned out excellent, and sparked my interest in mixed fermentation brewing.

Have you ever had to dump a batch? 

Yes. I brewed a Berliner Weisse and used a handful of uncrushed grain to inoculate the beer for a sour mash. During the sour mash, the beer started to smell off, kind of like baby farts and spoiled milk. I finished off the beer and fermented it, hoping that aroma would go away. It never did. While the beer tasted alright, the aroma was just too much to overcome. It went down the drain.

What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer?

Since I got into mixed fermentation brewing, I wanted to attempt a turbid mash, which is a multi-step mash which involves heating a rather protein rich part of the wort during mashing in a separate vessel. It is a traditional Belgian brewing technique, and has a lot of moving parts. In September 2014 I finally had the equipment and ambition to attempt it, and it went extremely well. I haven’t sampled the beer yet, but it is looking great. I expect it to be one of the better beers I have brewed so far.

What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer?

The experimentation and chemistry involved. I love the sciences, so being able to build my own water, tinker with difficult recipes or brewing profiles, and predict outcomes based on the numbers I get during a brew session is extremely fun for me. I love the freedom of designing something that is totally unique, yet at the same time it still works out.

Do you have any other stories, facts, or information about yourself you would like to share with the club?

No, although if you are interested in learning more about brewing with things other than Saccharomyces, please get in touch!

To contact Chris Becker, please register on our forums or comment below. Chris’s forum user name is Becker07.

Tonight’s Meeting is at White River Brewing Company!

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Don’t forget, we have been invited to hold our January meeting at White River Brewing Company. We will not be at The Homebrewery this evening. Meeting starts at 7:30. Thanks!

Ben

Expansion on Perceived Bitterness

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In order to better illustrate the perceived bitterness relationships, I have written a short javascript calculator that does the math.  This way, you can adjust the ratios between Original Gravity, Final Gravity, and IBUs to see how they affect the BU:GU ratio, Apparent Attenuation, and Perceived Bitterness as described by The Mad Alchemist.

I hope you find this calculator helpful.  Have fun brewing!

In the below calculator, we’ll use the estimated IBUs, Original Gravity, and Final Gravity to calculate perceived bitterness using Ray Daniels’ BU:GU Ratio from Designing Great Beers and then using the formula created by The Mad Alchemist, which also factors in Apparent Attenuation.

Brewing Session Beers

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At the August 2014 meeting, I presented a brief educational discussion on brewing “Session” beers.  Below is an edited version of the presentation, including the portion in which I described using math to compare the perception of bitterness between two beers.  If you have any questions,please feel free to comment below.

Read more

Meeting Themes and Mother’s Day

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Hello, Zymurgists!

We’re quickly approaching the Mother’s Day Festival and we still need folks to volunteer to man the booth with Randy.  He’s volunteered to set up, but we have very few people volunteering to sit and drink beer and talk brewing with interested people.

This is one of our highest-profile events of the year, so let’s try and make a good showing of it.  If you plan on being at Mother’s Day, please contact Randy or comment below and plan on spending some time in the booth. Even if you’re not sure when you’ll be available, letting Randy know he’ll have some hands to help talk brew with people will help a ton.

If you’ll direct your attention to the left of this post, you’ll see I have posted the meeting themes for the rest of the year.  This should help you plan ahead to brew for meetings or just prepare for a meeting.  In addition, if you find you’d like to teach a breakout session, contact Mr. Becker through the forums.

Thanks for helping to promote craft beer in Southwest Missouri!

Ben Stange

We need volunteers!

We have two events coming up quickly, and we need some homebrewers to join us in promoting our hobby!

On May 3rd, Todd and the crew at The Homebrewery in Ozark will be hosting an event in honor of the AHA’s Big Brew Day. If you are interested in being a participating brewer, please email todd [at] homebrewery [dot] com and let him know. This event is coming up very quickly, so please email him soon if you are interested in brewing.

On May 17th, Mother’s Brewing Company will be hosting their 4th Ever Mother’s Day Festival in their backyard. ZOO Members who will be at the event should contact me or Randy West and let us know. Randy is organizing our effort at the event, but you can also email me at homebrewzoo@gmail.com if you are interested and I will relay your information to Randy.

The event runs from 2-8pm, but we specifically need volunteers for set-up and tear-down.

For both events, please wear your ZOO gear if you have it. Let everyone know we’re out there.

Thanks,

Ben

Big Brew Day is May 3rd!

If you are planning to brew for Big Brew Day on May 3rd at the Homebrewery, please email Todd Frye (todd@homebrewery.com) and let him know which recipe you’ll be brewing and how much of that recipe you’ll be cooking up.

For information about the recipes, see the American Homebrewers’ Association Website here:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/aha-events/national-homebrew-day/

Have fun brewing!

Ben

April 2014 Meeting Minutes

4-15-14

@ The Home Brewery

11 in attendance

7:50 Open

In order to expedite meetings the old business/treasury report/most updates will be done online, unless there are specific interests in certain subjects.

Also we are asking that home brew be labeled with at least brewers name and style of brew. This can be anything as simple as masking tape and sharpie.

8:05 Mother’s Day @ Mother’s is coming up as well as Big Brew Day. If you have interest in either contact one of the officers.

8:07 Keeping up with the website. This is a tricky one, as we all have lives (somewhat) outside of the club. Ben is working with Keith W. to help bring it up to speed.

8:10 Saison themed education portion and tastings with Chris B.

8:25 Close for social period.

November Member’s Meeting Minutes

November 19, 2013
@ The Home Brewery
17 in attendance

7:49 Open

7:50 Old Business viewtopic.php?f=35&t=339

7:58 Treasury Report

7:59 Competition Update:

“Art of Darkness” should be completely closed out, all awards given, and all information handed out.

Spring Competition: styles have been selected and posted. Working on ideas for the name, also dates (possibly March 15th or 22nd)

8:00 Beerfest:

Working out who will be present and bringing brews with. (After: the event was a success with great ideas on years to come. Generated lots of “buzz” <–Pun intended, and even made the paper with Keith B.’s Cider. Here is Ashton and Bruce displaying their badges http://imgur.com/cIVLduW )

8:05 Barrel project update:

Barrel was filled, but still needs 15 gallons of liquid for top up. If you are interested please contact Chris Becker.

8:11 Honorary Members:

Aside from the guys at SBC we also thought it would be nice to do the same for a few of the people at Mother’s. Also we thought it would be good to present them with the ZOO t-shirt.

8:13 Growing pains and the Educational portion:

We have decided to keep the themes of each meeting, ie. beers to bring for that month ( not mandatory). But, move the educational portions to a different section. So those interested will be less distracted from others that may not be. Also, only having 1/4 of the years meetings containing an educational portion. This will allow them to be more in depth and personable. More to come.

8:16 Amendment to the Constitution:

Passed by well over a 2/3rds vote http://imgur.com/wN6bIYK

8:23 Brief discussion about the newsletter and a Recipe of the Month. More to come on that topic.

8:24 Close for social period:

Good Brews with Good Friends.

October Member’s Meeting Minutes

October 15, 2013
@The Homebrewery
16 in attendance

8:46 Called to open

8:48 Review of old business viewtopic.php?f=35&t=318

8:55 Treasury report

8:56 Competition update: 81 entries total, 10 medals were awarded to Zoo Members with Chris B. earning 5 of them. Emphasis on new competition and competition committee. Score sheets were handed out to the members present.

9:00 Barrel program update with Chris B. w/ bylaws for the project.

9:08 Event stamp has been shelved at the moment. Business cards moving forward.

9:11 Zootoberfest with Tim and Charles 3pm Oct 19th, 2013

9:13 Cider Discussion: Ordering from Murphy’s Orchard, if interested contact Todd Frye

9:15 Beerfest November 23, 2013: Volunteers needed, own ticket will need to be purchased. Working out logistics of brewing for ie. Who and What.
Fermentation Fest Nov 2, 2013: Brewing demo, contests, and fun to be had. Talk to Todd Frye for more details.

9:27 Interclub Brew Off update, draft proposal.

9:28 Business Card update and T-shirt update

9:32 “Growing Pains” We as a club are getting a little large for our means. We have been talking about having another meeting a month, focusing on the educational portion. Also, people wise we might need to think of another venue to fit all of us. We will address this more as a club.

9:45 Close for social period for Good Brews with Good Friends.