Archive for Features

Brewer’s Profile – John Huhn

Huhn


Full Name:
John Huhn

Home Brewery name (if you have one): 

Coop’s Craft Brew

How long have you been brewing?

16 years.

How did you get started brewing?

I became a fan of craft beer in the late 90s shortly after the opening the Springfield Brewing Company. As was the normal in those days, I met up with some co-workers after hours. While there one day, I discovered one of my colleagues was making his own beer at home. I began picking his brain about the process and was eventually invited to his house for a brew day. Turns out it was incidentally the date of the 1st AHA Learn To Homebrew Day in 1999. I was hooked from that day forward.

How long have you been a member of the ZOO? 

August of 2014.

How did you find out about the club? 

I went to the Craft Beer Bash in July of 2014 and saw the Homebrew Zoo booth next to The Homebrewery booth. I talked to Randy West about the club at the booth and decided to give it a chance.

Typical batch size: 

5 Gallons

Huhn Brew Stand

John’s 3-tier brew system uses coolers for the HLT and Mash Tuns.

Describe your brewing setup:  

Currently, my set up is a homemade gravity fed three-tiered brew stand with a 10 gallon beverage cooler HLT and mash tun and a 15.5 gallon Keggle with a propane cooker.

What is your favorite style to brew? 

I’m a fan of UK style Ales, specifically Stouts, Browns, and Porters as well as Irish and Scottish Ales. I’ve made them from the beginning and it’s what I’m most comfortable brewing, but now that I have a dedicated fridge with a temp controller for fermentation, I’m looking to expand into lagers and Trappist style ales.

What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer? 

Space. I have taken up nearly every spot possible in the pantry and closets to store my beer. I’ve wanted to keg my beer for years, but I just don’t have a place to keep the kegs let alone chill them for serving.   

Have you ever had to dump a batch?  If so, what happened?  

Who hasn’t? Early in learning to brew, I had two straight batches of completely different beer (Irish Red Ale and Scottish 70 Shilling) turn out with an acrid-vinegary odor and taste. It was much too strong and made the beer un-drinkable. I discovered the problem was from an infection in my system. It was a painful but valuable lesson to learn about the importance replacing hoses regularly and tightening up my sanitation practices.  

Huhn Keggle

John’s homemade cart allows easy transport of keggles as needed.

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

I’ve had all manner of mishaps over the years. From leaving the valve open on my keggle during lautering and losing about a gallon of the first runnings, to having the bottom of a case of bottled beer tear open and nearly every bottle exploding on the tile floor. But the biggest disaster I can recall was when I had a carboy of an American Blonde Ale fermenting in a swamp cooler and had a power outage while I was at work. With no electricity, the fan I had set up blow on the tee-shirt covered carboy had no chance to use the power of evaporative cooling to keep the beer at acceptable temperatures. It just happened to be an unseasonably hot day and even with the thermal load of the water in the swamp cooler, the temperature of the beer rose into the upper 80s. When I got home from work, I discovered the power outage and tried to bring the temperature down with ice in the swamp cooler. Because of the spike in temps the beer finished fermenting in 3 days and had a strong solvent and banana flavor. To make it somewhat drinkable, I had to dose each bottle with fruit extract to mask the solvent-like flavor. Even then it was barely tolerable.

What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer? 

While winning two gold medals at the 1776 club contest is great validation, I find even more joy in having friends and family ask if I can brew a batch just for them. Of course, all I ask is they help on brew day for payment.

What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer? 

I enjoy the ability to make beer styles that are hard or impossible to find in stores. Being able to have a beer like an English Brown Porter or a Scottish 70 Shilling any time I want without having to face the risk of a poorly handled and oxidized import is one of my favorite parts of this hobby.

Huhn Carboy

The cart also doubles as safety equipment, as it allows John to safely transport full carboys while lowering the risk of breakage.

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

I just completed a project to make the brew day easier and less physically taxing. The plan was make a tool for safely moving a full carboy into my dedicated fermentation fridge and back out after fermentation without having to hoist the carboy and risk sloshing the fermented and conditioned beer or worse, dropping a full carboy.

I designed a four-wheeled dolly at the same height as the platform inside my fermentation fridge. As I worked out the details, the project grew from being a way to transport the full carboy into and out of the fridge to also include the ability to move the kettle full of chilled wort from my brew stand into the garage for racking into the carboy.  The dolly works perfectly and makes the day completely pain free. It’s also much safer, in that I no longer have to penguin walk across the garage with the carboy in a brew hauler between my knees. The only modification I can see making to this would be to add a push-pull arm like a pallet jack.

To contact John Huhn, please register on our forums or comment below. John’s forum user name is Huhnjo.

Brewer Profile – Daniel Routh

Daniel enjoys a beer at Mother's Day 2014

Full Name: Daniel Routh

Home Brewery name (if you have one): Bugger All Brewing

How long have you been brewing? About 5 or 6 years

How did you get started brewing? Like a lot of people, I started with the Mr. Beer kits and went from there.

How long have you been a member of the ZOO? Since 2012.

How did you find out about the club? By searching the internet for local clubs. I was looking for like-minded homebrewers and an organization that would help me grow as a brewer.

Typical batch size: 10 gallons for beer, 5 gallons for cider.

Two tiered HERMS setup.

Daniel’s homemade brew setup is a two-tiered, three-vessel HERMS setup using a stainless steel wort chiller as the heat exchanger.

Describe your brewing setup: A self-built two tier HERMS system with keg vessels, Chugger pump, and stainless coil for the heat exchanger. The HERMS coil is from nybrewsupply.com. It is actually just a 50 foot stainless wort chiller that I put hose barb fittings on and then made a hanging mount to suspend it in my HLT. I figured it would make for easier cleanup and draining if it were removable.

What is your favorite style to brew? Mostly stout and cider.

What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer? Finding time to brew and keeping records.

Why, do you think, it is so hard to find time to brew and how you have overcome that problem?  
It can be hard for me to find time to brew because I am a night shift ICU nurse, so my schedule can be weird sometimes. Now that I am on a set schedule, it will be easier to find time, but right now all but one of my kegs are full, so it can also be a matter of packaging space as well. I hate bottling, so I usually wait to have open kegs before brewing. When I had weird scheduling days, I would usually stay up late and brew the night before I started a run of shifts and then (depending on fermentation and work schedule) rack to secondary or keg when I got home in the mornings. So basically, when I have time I try to use it to the best of my ability.

Have you ever had to dump a batch?  If so, what happened?
I have dumped two batches. The first was an attempt at hard cider, but the cider I bought had preservatives in it, so it wouldn’t ferment. The second was an

attempt at a strawberry pale ale. The two pounds of frozen puréed strawberries sparked another fermentation (of course) and clogged the air lock. When I pulled the air lock it spewed puree and seeds and beer that hit the ceiling! After that disaster, I kegged and carbonated it and it ended up tasting horrible (very vegetal).

What was the biggest mishap you ever encountered when brewing? (bottle bombs, broken equipment, big messes, etc.)  
I once had a CO2 line leak that emptied my tank over the course of a weekend and a stuck fermentation once, but no broken bottles/equipment. Had a few boil-overs too.

What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer? Winning 3rd in specialty in the 1776 competition this Spring (my first competition) and having my beer served at two weddings so far.

What beer won third in the competition, and what beers did you brew for the weddings?

13 gallon HDPE barrels with screw on lids

Daniel utilizes two 13 gallon HDPE barrels with screw on lids he procured on eBay.


My imperial oatmeal coffee chocolate stout, Brunch Stout, (my version of Founder’s Breakfast stout) won third in the specialty category in this Spring competition. As for the wedding beers, I made an Oktoberfest lager for my buddy Nate’s wedding and it was the first brew on my 10 gallon system and only my second lager. It went over well as we went through 5 gallons of it! The other wedding beer was for my friend at work’s son’s wedding. It was a gruit made with rosemary, yarrow, bayberry, lemon peel, sweet orange peel, and coriander. It was kind of fitting because the ceremony was at a Renaissance fair and everyone liked it and were asking for a bottle to take home.

What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer? The technical aspects and science of brewing. I also love brewing with other people and teaching people about the brewing process. And enjoying the end product isn’t so bad either.

Do you have any other stories, facts, or information about yourself you would like to share with the club?
I have two hop plants, a Chinook and a Centennial that I enjoy growing and maintaining.

How long have you grown your own hops?  Have you used them in a beer, and how did you use them?  (bittering, dry-hopping, etc.)  If you used them for bittering, how did you estimate the bitterness they would provide?
I have been growing hops for the past 4 or 5 years. I have had the Chinook that long and have had the centennial for about 3 years now (got it as a container plant from Bachman). I have used my Chinook in two beers so far. I

Two hop plants climbing to the eave of a house.

Daniel grows his own hops at home.

used it in a small batch SMASH beer and also used it in this year’s Mother’s Fest IPA in dry hopping. As for the bittering use in the SMASH beer, I guessed at the alpha and plugged it into BeerSmith as lead hops. I wasn’t too concerned with the IBUs on it because it was just an small batch experiment and there was no way to know the alpha acids in them (short of sending them off for analysis somewhere, which would be a total waste).

Brewer Profile – Randy West

 

Randy West holding a pint glass filled with beer.

Randy West poses with some handmade beer from his 3-tier system.

Full Name:  Randy West
Home Brewery name: The West Family Brewery
How long have you been brewing? About 2 1/2 years.

How did you get started brewing? I’d driven by The Home Brewery in Ozark enough times until it finally occurred to me, “why don’t I brew my own beer?”
How long have you been a member of the ZOO? I joined the month after I first started brewing.
How did you find out about the club?  I took the Intro to Home Brewing class offered at The Home Brewery and it was there I heard about the club.
Typical batch size: 5 Gallon
Randy's three-tier brewing system utilizes a 10 gallon cooler as a mash tun.

Randy’s three-tier system.

Describe your brewing setup:  I use a 3 tiered system, including the standard 10 gal cooler mash tun, and let gravity do as much of the work as possible.

What is your favorite style to brew? Not really a favorite style, but I enjoy brewing any recipe that includes ingredients or processes that I haven’t used in the past.
What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer? Drinking all the beer I make.  I try to brew at least once a month so I usually have a lot beer around.
Have you ever had to dump a batch? The only beer I’ve dumped, was from a Budweiser keg that was given to me… it wasn’t completely empty.
What was the biggest mishap you ever encountered when brewing? I’ve had a leaking connection between my kegs ball-lock connector and the beer line that ended up costing me a couple gallons of beer before I noticed.
Randy's well-stocked Keezer.

Randy’s well-stocked Keezer.

What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer? Having my beer judged by professional brewers and earning medals in competition is great, but I think my biggest success is throwing a party, and having 20-25 people at the house, all drinking a wide variety of the home brews I keep.

What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer? I’m a proponent of always learning something new (one of the reasons I started brewing), and even after brewing for a couple years, there’s plenty to learn, experiment, and improve on.
Do you have any other stories, facts, or information about yourself you would like to share with the club?  I’m always amazed at the number of people I talk to at events, who either brew their own beer, or know someone who does.  For those who brew, I would just recommend attending one of the ZOO Monthly Club Meetings, or finding a local club in your area.  It’s a great opportunity to discuss and learn more about this great hobby.
Want to know more about Randy, his brewing, or why he wears rubber pants to every Homebrew Club meeting? Register for our forums and look him up. His Forum ID is rwestzz.

Brewer Profile – Keith Wallis

ZOO Members at Springfield Brewing Company
Keith adds hops to a pro-am entry during a brew day at Springfield Brewing Company.  He placed 3rd in the GABF Pro-Am with a Rauchbier in 2014.

Keith adds hops to a pro-am entry during a brew day at Springfield Brewing Company. He placed 3rd in the GABF Pro-Am with a Rauchbier in 2014.

Name: Keith Wallis

Home Brewery Name: Hop Pirate Brewing

Brewing Since: September 2012

ZOO Member since: March 2013

Typical batch size: 6-10 Gallons

Favorite style to brew: Pale Ales

Brewing Setup: Cooler mash tun with an 18 gallon brew pot.

How did you get started brewing?

My friend Chris and I really enjoyed craft beer. We wanted to see if we could make our own that was comparable to commercial beers we enjoyed.

How did you find out about the club?

Through a competition that the ZOO was hosting.

What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer?

Time.

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

I dropped a 6 gallon glass carboy. Luckily, I escaped with just a little scratch. But, the scare caused me to rethink my cleaning process

Have you ever had to dump a batch? 

Absolutely.

A cooler mash tun in the foreground with a brew kettle in the background.

Keith uses a cooler mash tun and an 18 gallon pot on propane for brewing his beer.

What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer?

Winning 3rd Place at the GABF with my Pro/Am collaboration with Springfield Brewing Company

What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer?

The end product, of course.

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

Read as much as you can about home brewing. Even if you don’t agree with the information, it is good to see how others are brewing.

To contact Keith, please register on our forums or comment below. If you would be willing to be featured as a brewer, please email homebrewzoo@gmail.com.

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.

Expansion on Perceived Bitterness

card2

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

mugs

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.

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