The Heart of the Valley Homebrewers

2010 OSU Brew Day

The Heart of the Valley Homebrewers held another fantastic club brew day at Oregon State University in February at the Food Science and Technology (fermentation science) lab on campus. An extra special thanks goes to OSU's Jeff Clawson, Pilot Plant Manager of the fermentation science lab, for hosting the event, showing us around the facilities, talking sprouted/malted barley with us, and just being an all around kool kat!

Just over a dozen HOTV club members showed up to participate and we even had a few new members swing by. To take advantage of OSU's equipment, we'd previously decided on brewing a big beer and eventually settled on a big barleywine, patterned after a recipe by Jim Quilter of Sierra Nevada. After unloading nearly 300 pounds of grain, hops, DME and whatnot from our rigs, we got right into the brewing process. As the grains were mashing, Jeff showed us around OSU's new malting system, complete with a tasting of newly sprouted and dried Oregon-grown barley.

After the mash and transfer to brew kettle, specific gravity measurements indicated we still needed to add more sugars (which we knew and anticipated). Some on-the-fly calculations and reworking of the recipe to substitute liquid adjunct brewing corn syrup in place of an additional 70 pounds of DME resulted in a group-acceptable final gravity of 1.112 (the final recipe is included below). All told, it was another wonderful HOTV club brewing experience at OSU and we're looking forward to the next one, which we anticipate will be right after Spring Break (a lager, perhaps?).

I figured I'd include a few things we learned during this brewing session that might be, for posterity's sake, helpful in the future:

  1. Sixty (60) pounds of dry malt extract is a whole frickin' lot (and can easily be substituted by liquid adjunct brewing corn syrup)!
  2. The OSU brewing system can handle a lot, but ~260 pounds of grain is pushing the limits.
  3. Some people are REALLY into chemistry. Others not so much.
  4. Carrying glass carboys several hundred feet in the rain is tempting the fates.
  5. Sometimes you just gotta role with the punches.
  6. Jeff Clawson rocks (but we already knew that)!
As for the barleywine we brewed up at OSU, it came out syrupy thick with lovely color, aroma and flavor. Several club members baby carboys where an extremely vigorous fermentation resulted in many of the only-partially-filled carboys blowing out their airlocks. But after the bulk of the fermentation died down, we amassed the carboys at HOTV club member Joel Rea's shop, Corvallis Brewing Supply (let's be sure to give him a big thanks for cellaring it for us) and set to work transferring it all into the club's new Buffalo Trace Distillery Kentucky bourbon barrel - which, by the way, smelled absolutely delicious!

To help protect against potential contamination, we tasted the beer in each carboy separately to determine if anything funky was growing. Interestingly, the beer in each of them tasted different, some strikingly so. But most were quite delicious and we ultimately decided to monitor the beer in two of the carboys and transfer the rest of the beer to the barrel. Incidentally, a gravity reading after all beer was mixed into the barrel yielded 1.048 so we still have a bit more fermentation to go!

Thanks to Jeremiah for coordinating this event, and supplying this write-up and pictures!

Bill with grain bags

Sterner pouring grain into mash tun

Jeff Clawson and group

Sprouted barley

Gary, Mort, and Patrick

Patrick, Mort, and Jeremiah

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