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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!


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!


Meeting Themes and Mother’s Day


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.



Missouri Passes Homebrew Transportation Law

Good news for home brewers in Missouri and Illinois.  Both state legislatures recently passed laws enabling home brewers to transport their wares, explicitly expanding the “personal or family use” clause beyond the interpretation as “consumption.”

Once they’re signed by the governors, which is expected to happen for both bills, home brewers will be able to share their beer with friends, family, and neighbors outside of their homes, enter homebrew competitions, bring their beer for feedback from homebrew clubs, and pour their beer at festivals.  That’s right.  POUR THEIR BEER AT FESTIVALS.  Nice.

There is no doubt that these bills are beneficial to the home brewing community, but I have two concerns about them.

First, the argument could be made that transporting homebrew wasn’t actually illegal in either state before the law was passed.  These bills weren’t necessary until recently, when the state governments of Missouri and Illinois suddenly began interpreting the words “personal or family use” in a very strict sense, meaning “personal or family CONSUMPTION.”  This very limiting interpretation of the law was a twisting of the language of the law, which mimics federal law exactly.  The federal law has never been interpreted to limit transportation or use, so why should the state law do so?  These bills simply correct that interpretation.  Why our state government suddenly decided this was a problem I’ll never understand, but it is good that the legislatures took decisive action to fix this.  I’d hate to think that “Personal or family use” actually meant “consumption.”  That would mean it was technically illegal to bathe in your beer, water your garden with it, or to even wash your car with it (not recommended).

Second, these bills deliberately limit their verbiage to beer brewers and do not include wine or meadmakers.  This is not an oversight.  It was done deliberately, as the folks creating the bill felt there was no reason to include them.  See my post on this law here.  Senate Bill 121 is actually very close to the Senate Bill 114 I wrote about in that post.  I’ve since changed my view on the law slightly, as I do believe it is a positive thing to explicitly state our rights without question, but I am still disappointed that they did nothing to offer the same liberties to wine and meadmakers.  They’re home brewers, too.

I’m glad to know that we, as the Homebrew ZOO, will be able to participate in festivals in the area to aid not-for-profits and share our beer with folks at beer festivals and at homebrew rallies.  It will do a lot to expand the interest in our hobby and hopefully bring a lot more people into our little world of geekdom.

To read the full press release, click here.

Ben Stange

Homebrew ZOO President

Big Brew Day Recipes

If you’re looking to brew with us on Big Brew Day, you’ll need to select one of the recipes provided on the AHA web site.  There are three recipes this year, and each is available in either extract or all-grain.

If you plan to brew and are a current dues-paying member of the Homebrew ZOO, you need to contact Todd Frye and let him which recipe you are brewing and how much as soon as possible.  You can email him at todd [at] homebrewery [dot] com.  Let him know if you are brewing the blond, pilsner, or mild, if you’re brewing extract or all grain, and how much beer you plan to make.  He will have your kit ready to go on Big Brew Day and current ZOO members will get a discount on these kits.

To review the recipes, click here.

Third EVER Mother’s Day Festival

Title: Third EVER Mother’s Day Festival
Location: 215 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, MO
Link out: Click here
Third Ever Mother’s Day Festival
Saturday, May 18th
“Hard to believe it, but the 3rd Ever Mother’s Day Festival is coming up and we have quite a day planned for all of you fine people. Just like the previous two festivals, we will be focusing on local beer, local food, local art and local music! The event will be held on Saturday, May 18th from 2-8pm (doors at 1:30pm) in your Mother’s Backyard (215 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, MO). $5 at the gate and, as always, kids 15 and under are free. Don’t forget to bring your chairs and blankets so you can get comfy and make yourself at home in Mother’s Backyard.” -Mother’s Brewing

The Homebrew ZOO will be well represented @ this festival, showing off our equipment and maybe even brewing up some beer! Come over to our tent and chit chat with us about beer… or better yet: making your OWN! Hope to see you there!
Start Time: 14:00
Date: 2013/05/18
End Time: 20:00

AHA’s Big Brew Day

Title: AHA’s Big Brew Day
Location: 1967 Boat Street, Ozark, MO
Link out: Click here
Description: Help the Zymurgists of the Ozarks celebrate the American Homebrewers Association’s Big Brew Day. Members from the organization will be brewing one of the three recipes provided by the AHA to promote the love and joy of homebrewing. This will be in conjunction with The Home Brewery’s customer appreciation party. Any and all are welcome!
Start Time: 12:00
Date: 2013/05/04
End Time: 18:00

Happy Birthday, SGF!

Title: Happy Birthday, SGF!
Location: Park Central Square
Link out: Click here
Description: “TAG Media is throwing a birthday party for Springfield like never before. Park Central Square will be filled with games (for kids and grown ups), a birthday cake silent auction, inflatables, local food vendors, live music, city officials, local celebrities, and a whole lot more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.” -TAG

Along w/ local food and games, the Homebrew ZOO will be there brewing up some goodness, taste testing some grains and generally educating Springfield about the awesomeness of homebrewing! Be sure and stop by the tent to say hello!
Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2013/04/27
End Time: 17:00

08-21-2012 Meeting Minutes


The meeting was a very productive one.  We were joined by a couple of gentlemen from the Beerknobbers homebrew club who sat in to see what our club was all about.  I believe they were impressed by our knowledge and dedication to our hobby, and, more importantly, I believe they had a good time hanging out with us.

The meeting began with the educational portion of the meeting being hosted by Nate, as he explained a very well-thought-out experiment measuring the benefits of decoction mashing versus the use of melanoidin malt in the mash.  The result was that melanoidin malt can make a reasonable facsimile if you’re not too picky, but there are aspects of decoction mashing which cannot be replicated by the alteration of the malt bill.

We then proceeded to discuss several different beers which were brought in while Todd Frye made a few copies of the Constitution and By-laws to be handed out for consideration.  We had a period of time to review the Constitution and By-laws, then a discussion period, and they were finally put to a vote.  Special thanks to Keith, Nate, and Ed for working on revising the original by-laws drafted by me in time for this meeting and for all of the work that group put into making sure we got them as right as possible on the first pass.

The members present unanimously passed the Constitution and By-laws, and nominations for Officer Positions were immediately begun.  If you wish to nominate an individual (including yourself) for office, please do so in the “News” forum under the 2012-2013 Nominations forum.

We finished out the meeting discussing the different offices, how to proceed with nominations, and how best to communicate with non-present members the good news and the news on how to nominate.

At the next meeting, we will have the elections including a period at the beginning to continue to nominate individuals.  We want to make sure that everyone who wishes to participate in this process has a chance to do so, so please feel free to nominate prior to the meeting in the appropriate forum or at the beginning of the next meeting.  Please attend the next meeting so that you can vote on the officers, as well.

Next meeting is also our Cereal Challenge meeting.  If you have a Cereal Challenge beer, please make sure and let everyone know when you arrive so we know how many of these beers will be tasted during that section of the meeting.

Please feel free to add other notes from the last meeting or reminders for the next meeting to the Minutes forum.

Ben Stange