EDITOR: Mark Taratoot
club home page: http://www.peak.org/~taratoot/hotv.html
January brought us the first meeting under the newly elected Marshall administration. Jen provided comfortable space, yummy candies and snacks, and fine IPA. Other fermented fluids followed. Three new faces were seen at this meeting. Ron Kelly has been brewing about two years and is interested in finding out about our group; Brad Upton recently moved to Corvallis from down in Alabama; and Randy Bender made a triumphant return to HOTV after a short hiatus. Randy is one of HOTV's charter members, and it is nice that he is once again interested in what we do.
We discussed the status of memberships and asked all members to consider paying 1997 dues. Jerry even said that HE would pay dues this year! As of 1/26/97, less than 56% of our members are paid up. Lee reminded everyone that an All-Grain brewing demonstration would take place at his home (see article below). Then, we brought up the taboo. We discussed the upcoming 15th Annual Homebrew Competition and Festival. Later, we finally saw a rebirth of the long missed Beer Style of the Month. Jeff Tobin lead this session with a sampling of several examples of Belgian Beer de Guarde and a LaChoutte. The Beer Style of the Month is a fun and educational activity that we can participate in regularly. Matt Martell will be spearheading the February edition (see article below), and volunteers for future styles are encouraged to come forth!
The address for my house is 1985 SE Crystal Circle.
Directions are as follows:
Highway 20 to Highway 34 (turn right)
Highway 34 (Harrison Blvd) to 4th st (turn left)
4th st (Highway 99) to Crystal Lake Blvd. (turn left at light
- Harley Davidson shop on your right hand side.)
Follow Crystal Lake Blvd. to Crystal Circle (turn right - Cemetary is on your left)
Crystal Circle is a in the shape of a "U". At the bottom of the "U" is a drive way which my house is at the end of, on the Right.
Address is 1985 Crystal Circle. I will post a sign at the end of the driveway.
Get to 4th street follow directions as from Albany.
Philomath Blvd. to 15th street (turn right - go thru Avery Park) Avery Park to Avery Ave. (turn left) Avery Ave turns into Crystal Lake Blvd at Highway 99 (Harley Davidson shop on your left). Follow directions as from Albany.
Parking is VERY limited, so look for parking on the Right hand side of the driveway or on the main road. There are other families that share the same driveway. Better yet, CARPOOL! Call 753-5228(nights) or 715-7516(days) if you need more information.
It is stated In the HOTV by-laws that one of our club's goals is "to learn more about beer ... and brewing techniques." To fulfill this goal, the club organizes occasional education events. The latest such event was the HOTV all-grain brewing demonstration On Saturday Jan 25th. The event was hosted and organized by Lee Smith.
All-grain brewing takes more time than extract brewing, so we started early. We wanted to show both major types of all-grain brewing; decoction and infusion.
I demonstrated the single infusion process, making a basic American pale ale. My goal was to show the simplest way to make all-grain beer. I used 9 lbs of pale malt and 1/2 lb of crystal. I added 2.5 gallons of 170 degree water, and held the temperature of the mash at 153 degrees for 90 minutes. We demonstrated "sparging" (rinsing the sweet liquid from the grain after the mash) in my converted water cooler.
I started at a little after 11:00, and was all cleaned up and had the yeast pitched at 4:30. I took plenty of time for talking, drinking beer, and comparing notes about equipment and procedures. You could easily shave an hour off that time, and you can do other stuff during the "down" periods of the mash and the boil. It's really not very hard!
John Sterner demonstrated decoction mashing, making a Dusseldorf Alt beer. Decoction mashing is quite a bit more involved that infusion mashing. John started before the "official" start time of 11:00, and wasn't quite done with the boil when I left!
In a decoction mash, a portion of the mash is drawn off and boiled. The boiling serves to burst the starch granules making them more available for later conversion. In addition, the process of boiling darkens the beer and brings out the malt flavor and aroma. This is one of the most laborious methods of making beer, but it is difficult to achieve the full malt profile required of certain European beer styles in any other way. You should smell the wort John produced - yummy!
The beer we made will be available at our March meeting for sampling. I plan to keg the pale ale in a couple weeks, and dry-hop it in the keg. It should be just at it's prime!
I would guess that 25 people stopped by during the day. Lee had some great handouts for anyone interested in trying the techniques themselves. Give it a try - you'll enjoy the way you can make great beer starting from scratch!
Supplies for the all-grain demonstraion were provided by our two favorite breweries. Hops, malt, and yeast came from the Oregon Trail brewery of Corvallis and the Oregon Trader brewery of Albany. Thanks for the support!
Beginning in February I will be selecting a different beer style every month. Each style will be described briefly in the monthly HOTV newsletter and sampled at that month's meeting. The beer style this month is one of my personal favorites - Porter.
In the American Homebrewer's Association 1997 Category description of porters two styles of porter are recognized. These two styles are robust porter and brown porter. Robust porters are black in color and have a roasted malt flavor. They are medium to full bodied and have a malty sweetness. Hop bitterness is medium to high (25-40 IBU's) with hop aroma and flavor ranging from negligible to medium. Brown porters are lighter in color and scaled down in the other characteristics as well.
According to popular beer lore, porter was first created at Bell Brewery in Shoreditch, London in 1722. It was made by mixing pale ale, stale brown ale and fresh brown ale. This style of beer was referred to as "entire" which is beer made from the runnings of various mashes, mixed and boiled together. Mixtures of beers were popular at that time. This mixture was especially popular with the porters and the working class, and was supposedly named after them.
The first large scale breweries were the London porter breweries. Although porters made their debut in London in the early 1700's there were none available anywhere in the English Isles for a period of time after 1974. In the late 1970's and especially the early 1980's British breweries again began brewing porters, probably brought about by the Campaign for Real Ale.
In the U.S., porters are a Pennsylvania tradition, especially Celebrated Pottsville Porter from Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, founded in 1829. Anchor Brewing Company makes a delicious, black and sharply bittersweet porter. Other worthy choices are Samuel Smith's Tadcaster Porter, Harvey's Porter from Sussex, England (from an original 1859 recipe) and Bridgeport Brewing's bottle conditioned porter. Another interesting choice is a smoked porter from the Alaskan Brewing Company.
Although many beer drinkers prefer darker beers primarily during the colder, wetter months, porters can (and should) be enjoyed all year long in the London tradition of 200 years ago.
For additional information about porters, check out Randy Mosher's The Brewer's Companion, Michael Jackson's The Beer Companion, Zymurgy, Summer 1996, Charlie Papazian's The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, or Michael Jackson's article entitled "The Dark Side of Winter" in Playboy, March 1992; all references for this article.
Our next litter pick up will be held on Saturday, March 8. We will meet at 11:00 am at Hyak Park and split up into two trash-teams. The teams part ways for a couple hours and return with tales of adventure and excitement, which we share over a pint of ale. Please join us and help Heart of the Valley Keep Oregon Green!
I should probably already know this, but what is the difference between "beer" and "ale?" I gather from reading "Wassail! In Mazers of Mead" by Gayre that, historically speaking, beer was a more alcoholic beverage than ale (though not necessarily fortified with spirits...right?) and that beer was flavored with bitter herbs (hops) while ale was not. But does that distinction have any legitimacy nowadays?
When I go to the supermarket to buy crappy beer, some stuff (like for instance Miller Lite) is described as "beer" (I think) whereas fairly similar stuff (like Miller Lite Ice) is described as an "ale." Is there any real reason for this distinction or is it simply some marketing ploy?
And on a related note...It seems to me that (at least in the recent past), the beverages that described themselves as ales were more likely to print the alcohol content on the packaging while the "beers" were less likely to report that info. Is this my imagination, and if it is not my imagination, then why this difference in packaging?
Yes there is an Ale yeast (Top fermenting) and a Larger yeast (Bottom fermenting), but the term beer has been for centuries a generic term used for all the different forms. It was only later in this century that the terms have found new meaning. Here in the UK, just after the turn of the century the term Bitter, began to be used to describe the ales brewed
from Robert Marshall
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Basically it is a LEGAL difference.
The basic ATF ruling, unless superceded by state law, is:
Anything 4%, or lower, must be labeled as beer. Anything 4%, or higher, must be labeled as malt liquor or ale. If a beer is below 4%, and the producer wants to label it as ale, then he must have some sort of labeling that specifically states it contains less than 4%.
Here in Calif. we've got new labeling laws that come into play this spring.
Anything 5.7%, or lower is beer Anything 5.7%, or higher, is ale or malt liquor.
If you've got a lager, which certainly isn't ale, that's where the malt liquor labeling comes into play.
From Steve C. email@example.com
Basically there is no historical difference between the terms "ale" and "beer", although the saxons who considerred themselves to be gods, choose to call it ale while the Britons beverage was termed beer. Later when England was spit into three kingdoms, more confusion reigned, with each kingdom having it's own language, Mercia and Northumbria used the term beer, while Wessex used the term Ale.There was however no real differences in the drink itself, later on in the 17th an 18th centuries, the term beer became linked to the weaker ales (1.070-1.090!!) while the ales were the more expensive brews made from the first runnings of the brew.