Monthly Archives: October 2012

President’s Message

Back in the day…

Hello Quaffers,

With another fall campout in the books and SDBW just around the corner we still have so many great events in the first of November that choosing one or two will be quite difficult and just when you think the year can’t possibly yield any more momentous events we come to the QUAFF holiday party. Which, as we start to plan, will conjure thoughts of holiday ales and food a plenty dancing in your heads so that, yet again we can talk about what a great event this is for the next year to come until it is time to celebrate this annual holiday revelry once again.

Thanks to Chuck West for giving us a refresher/instructional presentation on holiday ales in September and to Chris Banker for showing the ease and depth that can be achieved through cider and some of his specialty and experimental processes in cider making at our October meeting. Thanks to Stan for bringing his apple pie cider to show the diversity that can be achieved by combining processes of grain brewing and cider making. Thanks to everyone who brought beer, cider and meads.

Next meeting we will have the Fall Strong Ale Challenge results announced. Thanks to all involved for all of their hard work to put on this competition all the while creating a new program to be used in future competitions. I hope that it pays off for QUAFF down the road with our competitions in years to come.

That’s it for now. I hope to see everyone out and about during beer week and remember to stay safe while checking out the many goings on around town. Cheers!

Categories : Presidents Message

Studying for BJCP Beer Judging Examination

Hello QUAFFers,

Having just taken the tasting portion of the BJCP exam I thought I’d put down a few thoughts to help those in the future who want to study and advance within the BJCP world of judging.  After completing the new 200 Q’s/ 60 minutes online entry exam, you’ll want to sign up for the tasting exam right away.  Why?  Because the list is very long and the test is given infrequently. 

I believe it’s about once a year in San Diego.  Hopefully, when the graders have caught up, the exam size and frequency will increase.  You’ll also need 3 to 4 months to prepare for the exam.  Which sounds entirely crazy, but if you choose to do it once a week, it will take that long to get through all the styles. 

Our studying for this most recent exam was two fold: Travis ran a special weekly class to help us prepare for the exam.  Beer review, test mechanics (grading, focus etc…) and practice judging and a practice exam.  The other was 6 to 7  of us met weekly on Wednesdays to supplement Travis’ course with more focused study on beer subcategories.  We’d pick a main cat and attempt to find 2 classic examples of each sub-cat and taste them side-by-side. 
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Categories : Competitions

Smokey and the Brewer

A long way to go…

Every once in a great while, a great idea is born.  Most of the time, those ideas die on the vine, but…occasionally they bear fruit.  A few springs ago I was up alone having a few beers and chatting with my friend George in Portland.  He was telling me that after a year off, the Bill & Bill’s Brewfest was going to take place.  George (Bill) and Jared (Bill) are a few homebrewers with big dreams of going pro.  To build a groundswell of support, they’d been brewing like mad and each summer host a beerfest in their backyard, charged a cover, provided food and live music.  I told him I should drive some beer up and be a guest brewer, he replied “You totally should.”  We left it at that and hung up.

A week later this idea was festering, like a bunch of drunk gummi bears were gnawing on my brain.  If the Bandit and Snowman could go fetch 400 cases of beer in Texarkana and get back in 28hrs, why couldn’t I haul a bunch of kegs to Portlandia and back?  I looked at my keg inventory and the calendar.  I came up with a brew schedule and enlisted two friends to make the drive.  My roommate Jacob and my buddy Brian, then got to work.  I txt’ed George, “Get ready, we’re making this happen!”
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Categories : Beer Travels

Motorizing your Mill

A big advantage of having your own mill at home is you can mill the grain on demand, stock certain grains that the local HBM doesn’t carry, you can set the gap as you’d like, vs. being a the mercy of the store’s mill and it’s kinda cool.
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Categories : DIY

Converting a Mini-Fridge

There are 2 reasons you’d want to convert a mini-fridge:

1) turn it into a kegerator
2) turn it into a temp-controlled fermenter

In either case finding a refrigerator only (no freezer) is the easiest option.  Bending and moving a freezer inside a dorm fridge is not something I’ll cover.  If going the kegerator route the one thing you need to do to serve 2 corny kegs is to drill the top, make sure you don’t drill through the back 1/3 of the top as there is 1 coolant line for Sanyo/Kenmore brands.

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Categories : DIY

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