Malted Barley Appreciation Society

Malted Barley Appreciation Society Newsletter

Vol. 4 No. 4 April 1997

The March Meeting

by Warren Becker

   Due to circumstances beyond my control, I've been asked to fill in for  our distinguished professional journalist who was not able to attend our club  meeting at mugs. I'll try to remember the highlights, but I drank for two that  night, Lucy.

 The MBAS was honored to have Sebbie Buhler of the Rogue Brewery out of Oregon. Sebbie came prepared, and boy, were we excited when she wheeled in a coffin-sized cooler of the delicious Rogue elixir!

 First up was the Rogue Mo Ale, a two-year-old wheat ale that Sebbie saved. This beer, though tasty, had some apparent oxidation which masked some of the  hop characteristics and earthy wheat flavors.  Sebbie's next ale was the Younger's Special Bitter, not to be confused with the  Scottish Younger's. This is a beer not available here in New York, but is a longtime Rogue brew. As one would expect, this special bitter is heavily hopped in the northwest style, and quite delicious. Brewers Festival Ale was poured next.  This dry hopped red ale version of the Rogue Red was bottled conditioned, and produced as a one-time specialty beer by Rogue brewer John Maier in a 15 barrel batch. Sebbie told us that John enjoys creating small batches to experiment with recipes and satisfy his homebrewing fancy.  Shakespeare stout, deep roasty ale with plenty of the flowery hops Rogue likes accent their beers with. This stout is a mainstay in the Rogue lineup, and available on draft and in their signature 22 oz. bottles. Last up, Sebbie broke out the Rogue Smoke Ale in those cute 8 oz. (what I call inhaleable) bottles. This Rauchbier won the gold medal in the 1996 Great American Beer Festival, beating out the long-time favorite, Alaska Smoke Porter, a beer that John Maier created. This beer is intense, and made the hair on the back of my body stand up.  There were many terrific homebrews circulating after our Rogue tasting. Bill brought his new imperial stout, a hearty brew with plenty of punch. John Naegele told Bill that this will mostly peak in '98, and to be patient. A delicious Dubbel with Westmalle yeast was also brought by Mr. Coleman. Jim showed off his new Porter, toasty & nice, as well as a British IPA that was great. A refreshing German Alt was poured by our Prez George. B.R. & Bob brewed a pleasant pale ale and an outrageous spruce beer, Xmas in a bottle. I enjoyed a Belgian Strong with Duvel yeast made by Andy. Anthony offered an old Scotch Ale that had zing.  And finally, I brought my old Triple that is finally coming its own, after months of being too hot. Well, that's all I can remember. This old boy needs a nap. But in closing, Sebbie Buhler was great! Her beer stories, and vast Rogue experiences made for a outstanding MBAS meeting. Thanks again, Sebbie!  Our beer princess, Lucy will be back next month, so that I can get back to drinking, without worrying 'bout passing out. Cheers! Zzzzzzzzzzz .....burp!

 This Month's Meeting:On Wednesday, April 9, 7:30 PM, the Malted Barley Appreciation is proud to have as our guest Charley Ewen, of the Sawmill River Brewery, in Yonkers, New York. In addition, many good homebrews should be available for the tasting. As usual, it is at Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. See you there! Note to readers: The Malted Barley Appreciation
Society has joined the World Wide Web. Check out our page, courtesy of the New York Beer Guide, at: Malted Barley Appreciation Society. We also have a new home page, under construction, by your editor, at: Malted Barley Home Page Lastly, we have an E-Mail address. Any E-Mail can be sent to the editor at: click here my E-Mail address. Keep those E-Mails coming in!

Brewing Irish Stout

by Jim Simpson

  I brewed my first Irish stout recently but unfortunately it was not ready for St Patrick's Day. I have always been intrigued by stouts and have brewed a nice export version. I wanted to try the Irish style to make one lower in alcohol yet fuller in taste.

 Irish stouts, believe it or not, are very light tasting beers. Beer novices seem afraid of stout.  They say it's too heavy, but this is simply not true. An Irish stout starts at a specific gravity of 1.036 to 1.048 (draught is typically 1.038). It is a full flavored session beer. The driving flavor of roastiness comes from roasted unmalted barley. The aroma and flavor should be of espresso. Fruity esters can be noticeable but not overwhelming. There should be no hop aroma. Hops provide some bitterness (~35 IBU's) but so do the roasted grains. A silky mouthfeel is derived from 20 percent flaked unmalted barley.

 To try this at home I would suggest at least trying a partial mash. The only way you can add flaked barley is to mash it with some pale malt. If you've never tried partial mashing then follow these instructions. Take water and heat it to 160 F. Around one quart per pound of grain. Add your crushed grain and mix thoroughly. Keep this mixture at 148 to 155 F for an hour by either heating on the stove or putting it in the oven on warm. Heat more water to 168 F. Take your mashed grains and put them in a colander or a strainer and put them above your kettle.

 Gently sprinkle the hot water over the grains and collect the runnings in your kettle. Addyour malt extract to this wort and proceed as usual.

Beer Evaluation

by George De Piro, Certifiable beer geek (and judge)

 People brew beer for many reasons. Some brew because they enjoy the product. Others are intrigued by the technical aspects of the process. Other people brew for competition. If you're one of those people brewing for competition, have you ever wondered exactly how your beer gets evaluated? Have you ever cursed a judge because you didn't agree with their comments?

 Well, I have! If you attend a homebrew contest as a judge or steward, though, you may develop some sympathy for the people that judge at these events. While it is fun, it is also quite a lot of tiring work. Proper judging is more than just tasting a beer and saying that it's great (or not); the judge must also provide useful feedback to the brewer to help them improve their beers.

 Beer is a very complex drink. It is easiest to evaluate by examining its different attributes individually. If you have entered homebrew contests before, then you are familiar with this system. First, the bottle is inspected for any obvious abnormalities, like a half-fill or a ring of gook in the neck. The beer is then opened and poured carefully, to avoid disturbing the sediment (unless it gushed to the ceiling when opened, leaving no beer to pour!).

 It is important to immediately "nose" the beer. Many of the aromatic components in the beer's aroma fade quickly, so this must be done first. The beer is nosed several times and comments are written down.

   The next attribute that is evaluated is appearance. Here the judges are determining if clarity, color, and head retention are appropriate for the style. This section is often a sore point with contestants because some judges deduct points from it with no written justification. The best judges avoid such discrepancies between comments and score.

 The beer is then tasted, and its flavor evaluated. The initial taste is often quite different from subsequent sips, due to palate fatigue. This is especially true of the bolder styles, where overwhelming hop flavors can quickly numb the taste buds. Thus, it is important to write down as much as possible based on the first taste.

 Body is closely related to flavor, and is the next attribute to be scrutinized. Like appearance, some judges deduct points from this category for no written reason. This is to be avoided! Body can range from light to full, depending on style.  Finally, the overall impression the beer makes is noted. It is here that the judge has the most leeway to discuss why they did or didn't like the beer. They may talk about balance, flaws, or simply say that the beer was great. Again, it is important that the judge's comments be helpful to the brewer.

 This whole process can take quite a while! Between each beer the palate is refreshed with water and /or crackers. Intoxication is avoided by sampling only small amounts of beer and drinking plenty of water. A drunk judge is not be useful.

 If any of you are free on April 12, our club is co-sponsoring a contest, so sign up to be a judge or steward and see what it's like! Also, if you have beer that you want evaluated, enter the contest! Bring it to the next meeting, and we'll bring it to the drop-off point for you.

Big Apple Homebrew Competition

sponsored by New York City's finest homebrew clubs:

The Malted Barley Appreciation Society & The New York City Homebrewers Guild.

 This year's contest will feature GARRETT OLIVER, head brewer of Brooklyn Brewing Company as a special guest best-of-show judge!!! The event will be held on April 12 at Milan, 1 East 36th Street in Manhattan. Entries are due by April 10th. Call for a list of drop-off/mail-in locations.

 The Best of Show prize is a day of brewing with Keith Symonds at The Westchester Brewing Co., White Plains, NY, and a $100 gift certificate to the Home Brewery (they mail order).

 We also need judges!!! Contact me (George) at the above E-mail address or at (201)305-5074 if you are interested in judging.

Return to Malted Barley Home Page