Malted Barley Appreciation Society

Malted Barley Appreciation

Society Newsletter

Vol. 5, No. 1                               January 1998

Best of Brooklyn Homebrew Competition

Brooklyn Brewery, February 7, 1998!

The big news of the month is obviously our homebrew competition, which is being held at the Brooklyn Brewery on February 7, 1998. We want to thank everyone at the Brooklyn Brewery for their generous donation of space, which will make our contest an especially enjoyable experience. This is another fine example of the Brooklyn Brewery's support of neighborhood activities, and we appreciate it.

Dates for submission to the competition are January 15-30, 1998; entries can also be brought to our meeting on January 14, 1998, and given to Jim Simpson directly; please make sure all your paperwork is ready at that time.

Enclosed you will find entry forms and judging forms; if you are entering several beers (and we hope you are!) just make extra copies of the forms.

We have some last minute updates and additional bits of information not specified in the mailing that we wish to add here:

  1. Each entry should consist of two bottles.
  2. On the entry form, please specify the style number, and the substyle letter
  3. There are additional drop-off points (aside from Jim's store) already added to the list:

An additional source of up-to-date information on the contest is our contest web page, the Best of Brooklyn Homebrew Competition. Any late-breaking information will be posted there. The results of the context will also appear there, with a day or so of the contest.

So send us as many beers as possible, and please show up to judge! See you there!

The December Meeting

By Lucy Zachman

Well, the holidays have finally gotten the best of me. I think in my unorganized approach to job hunting (got a new job, yea!), Christmas shopping and party hopping, I inadvertently lost my notes from the December meeting. I'm sure their laying in the heap of shopping bags and greeting cards and envelopes that litter our living room. Luckily, lots of you attended the meeting and got to experience the festivities for yourselves. First off, we have ourselves a new leader. Bob Weyersberg has graciously accepted the title of president and top salty dog for 1998. (Not that he had much of a choice.) BR signed on as his VP, so watch our for her in 1999! Michelle Mitchell of Belakus Importers was our guest for the evening. Belakus imports a variety of high-quality brews, including Chimay and Samuel Smith. Michelle made quite an impression by handing each of us our own Chimay tasting glass. Mini versions of the traditional Chimay glass, these little sippers were the perfect vessels for the magnum of Chimay Grand Reserve that Michelle poured.

Of course for a few minutes, our conversations revolved around the three different Chimays and what made them different. Just in case you don't know, Chimay Premiere (Red) is a Dubbel, Chimay Cinq Cents (White) is a Triple, and Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue) is a Belgian Strong (dark) Ale. Michelle shared a number of her experiences, gained from traveling in Europe for Belakus, and also told us about a few new beers soon to enter the market. Of course, since I lost my notes, I'm not sure what they are, but keep an eye on your local beer distributor for a new Sam Smith variety and, I believe, one or two new Belgian and German imports.

Following Michelle's presentation, we got into the serious business of homebrew tasting. December's meeting introduced us to a wide range of seasonal delights. Apparently we've all been busy brewing spiced beers, barleywines and other dark and, somewhat, high gravity brews. Both of Bob's spiced ales were real winter warmers -- with just the right amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and the like, to give them a nice flavor without being overpowering. Andrew, a new member recruited from our BJCP class, brought in a very tasty barleywine and John Naegle shared the blackberry barleywine that he, Eric and I concocted.

So there you have it, that's the extent of my recollections on the December meeting.

(Editor's Note: Lucy evidently forgot about our esteemed President Emeritus s brief lecture on homebrew sanitation, to which Jim and I generously donated some funky homebrew for tasting hey, we had to do something useful with it! Thanks, George!)

In conclusion, a reminder to get your entries in for our February contest! Entry forms are enclosed with this issue. The deadline for entries is January 31. So don't delay, drop off your bottles today!

A final note....It's really nice to see our club growing. Thanks to George's BJCP class, as well as friends of friends, we have a number of new faces --Welcome!

Note to readers: The Malted Barley Appreciation Society has joined the World Wide Web. Check out our page at: Malted Barley Appreciation Society Home Page.

We also have an E-Mail address. Any E-Mail can be sent to the editor at:
my E-Mail address. Keep those E-Mails coming in!

On Wednesday, January 14, 7:30 PM, the Malted Barley Appreciation Society will have our next monthly meeting, and the first of 1998. The guest for this month's meeting has not yet been definitely set; however, it should be interesting! In addition, many good homebrews should be available for the tasting. As usual, the meeting will be held at Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. See you there!

Support the NYC Beer Guide at:

Ich Lieber Berliner Weisse!

by Jim Simpson

(Editor's Note: Those of you who have ried my two batches of Berliner Wiess may have thought you had an unusual an eccentric beer. You haven't seen anything yet! Read on, as Jim Simpson explores the boundaries of homebrewing weirdness!)

I didn't always like Berliner Weisse. My first taste came in 1994 when I tried a bottle of Kindl Weisse at Bill Coleman's direction. I was expecting a nice tart refreshing beer. Boy was I surprised. The aroma was strange, sour, somewhat familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The first sip brought me back. It reminded me of stomach acid, kind of like when you have heartburn and you get a taste. Sorry if I made anyone sick with that analogy, but that was my first impression. I figured, no wonder they serve it with some sweet syrup. After trying it at Zum Stammtisch with raspberry shuss, it confirmed my belief that this was the only way to serve it.

I never tried it again until two years later when our esteemed guest speaker, Matthais Neidhart, brought in Shultiess, the other Berliner Weisse. It was a snowy January meeting and only six diehards showed up. He had also brought with him the raspberry and woodruff syrups for all to try. When he poured the beer straight, without syrup, I was a little alarmed. I didn't want to embarrass the club by spitting it out! As I brought the glass up to my nose I was surprised again. Yes, it was familiar but not like the Kindl at all. It reminded me more of a lambic-gueuze. The harsh acrid acid was replaced by more softer lactic and brettomyses (I won't say horsey (okay, B.R.!)) aromas. One sip confirmed this a soft lactic sourness and a brett complexity (very earthy). I could actually swallow this and not offend anyone. Adding the syrups were good but without actually was better.

I didn't go out and brew one right away. Bill did and has made an excellent example. When we had our extract only contest, that is when I decided to make a batch. I started by mashing only one pound of pilsner malt the night before and letting it sit to sour. I then used wheat malt extract to make the rest of the beer. I cultured some yeast from a bottle of Shultheiss (from George). Unfortunately, I boiled the entire wort which killed the lactobacillus from the sour mash. The beer didn't turn sour enough. I let it sit in the fermenter anyway. After a few weeks a pellicle (a white film from bacteria) formed on top. I was bold and tasted a sample of this. It wasn't very sour, but it developed a brett character. Month's later I decided to try again. With the other one still sitting in the fermenter, I figured I could blend the two together.

This time I would do it all-grain. I mashed in on Friday morning and let it sit at 155F for 1 hour. I then cooled it to 122F and added uncrushed pale malt. This inoculates the mash, hopefully, with lactobacillus. I read in Michael Jackson that they also added some leaf hops in the mash. So what the heck in they went! I also read (after the fact) that lactobacillus is hop-sensitive (too late). I then covered the mash with plastic wrap to keep mold from growing on the grain. I mash in a picnic cooler so the temperature was 95F twenty four hours later. When I pulled off the plastic wrap I almost got ill. It smelled like sour ketchup (yuck!). I guess you get more than lactobacillus on uncrushed grain. enterobacteria, I've learned, produce this very distinct aroma and taste.

Well I decided to brew with it anyway. Recirculating helped minimally. I sparged with 122F water—I didn't want to kill any bacteria this time. I only boiled 1 gallon of wort with the hops. I then cooled it and added back to the unboiled wort. After mixing I cooled the wort to 75F and pitched Wyeast 1338 from a previous batch. I didn't bother sanitizing the fermenter, I just rinsed it with some hot water. I put the fermenter near a radiator and let it go for a week. It didn't produce much foam, but what do you expect from a 1.029 starting gravity. After the week I racked to a second carboy. After 2 days a pellicle formed. What was really weird was that about a � inch layer below the pellicle was crystal clear and the rest of the fermenter looked milky. My theory is that whatever formed the pellicle started to digest the suspended starch. Anyhow, I bottled some of it and if you are brave enough you can taste it at this month's meeting. At bottling it was sour and the ketchup thing was there but not as pronounced. It was also getting some fruity notes. I will blend some of this with the brett beer and keep you all posted.

If you are brave, here's the recipe. Good luck, your results may vary (highly!):



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