Monday, November 21, 2011

Red Earth Brewers Rock the FOAM Cup!

FOAM Cup is the state’s largest homebrew competition (626 entries from brewers in 24 states). And I am proud to say that Red Earth Brewers had a great showing.  As a club, Red Earth Brewers finished in third place out of 26 clubs entered. And three of our individual members brought home medals, including four golds and the second-place Best in Show! (Here are the full results.)

This was a great showing for our new club, and I’m really looking forward to building on our success. If you’ve never entered a competition before, I would really encourage you to do so. While awards are nice, even more important is the great feedback you get. Entering competitions and learning from experienced tasters is a great way to improve your brewing. And isn’t that why we’re all here?

The American Homebrewers Association website has a full calendar of all the homebrew competitions going on around the country. I know that shipping can get pretty expensive so, if nothing else, start preparing for Bluebonnet Brew-Off, which will be in Dallas in March. We’ll be driving entries down, so feel free to enter as much as you can brew! (Plus, our vice-president Tony Tielli has a Best of Show trophy to defend.)

Again, thanks to everyone who has helped make Red Earth Brewers so successful and congrats to the guys below who are bringing home FOAM Cup medals.

Ross Harper
GOLD: Category 6 Light Hybrid (Blond Ale)
BRONZE: Category 13 Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)
GOLD: Category 19 Strong Ale (American Barleywine)
2nd PLACE BEST IN SHOW (American Barleywine)

Tony Tielli
GOLD: Category 11 English Brown Ale (Mild)
GOLD: Category 18 Belgian Strong Ale (Belgian Dark Strong)
HONORABLE MENTION: Category 22 Smoke Flavored and Wood Aged (Wood-Aged Beer)

Brandon Jones
BRONZE: Category 21 Spice-Herb-Vegetable Beer
PAPER CUP: Special award for the participant with the most entries

Friday, October 14, 2011

The ABLE Commission Strikes Again

Many of you had planned to attend Saturday's Southern Plains Craft Beer Festival down at Learn to Brew in Moore. Red Earth Brewers was going to have a table set up and several of our members had volunteered to donate some homebrew and pour at the event. The folks at Learn To Brew had gotten everything squared away with the ABLE commission months ago (or so they thought) and it looked like it was going to be a great event.


But in yet another classic government agency example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, the ABLE Commission in its infinite wisdom (be careful not to let any of that sarcasm drip on you) and scuttled the deal.  The ABLE person who contacted Learn to Brew today (not the same person they had dealt with in the past) informed them that they couldn't have homebrewers giving away beer. It basically came down to an interpretation of the homebrew law: under the law that passed a year and a half ago, homebrewing is legal and you can give away samples, but you are not allowed to sell homebrew. ABLE, apparently, is interpreting the definition of selling very broadly. So even though all the proceeds from this event are going to charity and all of the homebrewers were donating their beer, free of charge, because the festival required a paid admission ticket, they are saying that falls under the definition of selling the beer. We debated about showing up anyway, but decided it would be much to big of a risk. Not only could ABLE then shut down the whole festival, but if they really wanted to be sticklers on the law, each individual homebrewer pouring there could be on the hook for big fines and even jail time. So it's just not worth the risk.


I'm not so much frustrated that ABLE Commission nixed the pouring of homebrew--I can kind of see their point (although I disagree with it) on the wording of the law. But I find it asinine that, when they've known all about this event for three months, they wait until the day before to let everyone know, "Oh, by the way, forget everything we've been telling you all this time."


So the short version is that all the Oklahoma brewers will be there pouring, as will a local liquor store that is donating craft beer. But any participation by Oklahoma's homebrewing community will be simply as spectators.


Sigh. Another day, another 1930's era Oklahoma beer law.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August Meeting Wrap-Up

It was a great meeting with a lot going on. So without further ado . . .

Membership Dues Take Effect 10/1
Wes unveiled the results of our Red Earth Brewers survey (see the full results here) and we voted on a couple of items. The most noticeable change will be that, starting in October, we will begin charging dues of $5 per quarter/$20 per year. This will allow us to send our entries to the AHA's club-only competitions, print flyers and newsletters, and otherwise promote our club.

Chase Healey. Leading the charge for good beer
in Oklahoma.
Club Elections
It's hard to believe that we've been up and running for almost a year now. But at our September meeting, we will be holding new officer elections. The positions available are: President , Director of Events, Director of Communications and Treasurer. We appointed an elections committee (Scott Cragg, Thad Burk and Jason MacKinnon) to come up with a slate of officers and conduct the elections at the next meeting. If you are interested in serving as an officer, please email Scott at cragg.scott (at) gmail dot com.

Chase Healey and Oklahoma's Beer Scene
Our special guest this month was Chase Healey, head brewer at Redbud Brewing and the mastermind behind all the great beers at both Redbud and COOP. Chase gave us some great insights into the brewing world and what the future holds for Redbud. He also had some great advice for both novice and advanced homebrewers. We really appreciate Chase joining us this month and all that he is doing to promote the craft beer scene in Oklahoma.


Southern Plains Craft Beer Festival
The Learn to Brew homebrew shop in Moore will be hosting a craft beer festival on Saturday, October 15th. Most of the local craft brewers will be there pouring, and they have also invited us to have a table at the event. If you can donate some homebrew for us to pour that day or can help us pour that day, please email Wes Glinsmann at redearthbrewers@gmail.com.

Also, as part of the festival, they will be hosting a Pale Ale homebrew tasting competition. Entry is free, so if you have a pale ale you would like to have judged, entries are due to LTB by October 1st.

Click here for more information on the festival.

Club Tasting Competition
Bacon and pecans. A winning combination.
Finally, the most exciting part of the night was our long-awaited tasting in the "Specialty/Historical/Experimental" beers category (BJCP #23). We had a lot of really good and very creative entries. The club vote winners were:

First Place: Wes Glinsmann, Imperial Bacon Porter (recipe below)
Second Place (tie): Scott Cragg, Pecan Brown Ale
Second Place (tie): Ross Harper, Pecan Porter


This is definitely a creative bunch, so we really appreciate everyone who brought some beer to sample.

For future planning, here are are upcoming meetings:

September 15: Cooking with beer social. Bring food made with beer--along with your favorite homebrew or craft beer--to share at this social gathering. Location TBA.

October 20: German Wheat and Rye Beer tasting (BJCP #15). Location Thad Burk's house in Bethany.

November 17: Social. Location TBA.

December 15: Winter Warmer tasting. Location TBA

Thanks again to everyone who has helped make Red Earth Brewers so successful over the last year! We're looking forward to even better things ahead.



Pigskin Porter

O.G. 1.074
F.G. 1.019

Ingredients (5 gallon batch)

12 pounds two-row pale malt
1 pound chocolate malt
1 pound crystal 60L
8 oz. cara-pils
8 oz. debittered black malt
8 oz. roasted barley
1 oz Chinook hop pellets (12.2% AA)
1 oz Cascade hop pellets (5.0% AA)
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp Irish moss
White Labs California Ale (WLP001) yeast
Bacon extract (see directions below)

Bacon Extract
Fry one pound of bacon. Pour bacon drippings and crumbled bacon into Tupperware container. Pour in enough vodka to cover. Let sit 5-7 days to infuse. Place container in freezer and grease will separate to the top. Remove the grease layer (may want to repeat this step). Strain the infused vodka through a coffee strainer and set aside until secondary fermentation.

Process
Mash at 153 degrees for 60 minutes.
60 minute boil.
Add Chinook hops at 60 minutes and Cascade at 45 minutes.
Add yeast nutrient and Irish moss at 15 minutes left in boil.
Pitch yeast and let ferment 7-10 days. Transfer to secondary.
While in secondary, begin adding the bacon extract an ounce or so at a time. Let sit for a couple of days, then sample. Repeat as needed until you get the right amount of bacon flavor you are wanting.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Earth Brewers 2011 Survey Results

Last month, we asked Red Earth Brewers to help us plan the future of our organization. This survey was sent out via email and Facebook, and hard copies were distributed at the July meeting. We had a great response, and below are all the responses we got. (Those that received a clear majority are in bold.) 

We will be discussing these results at the August meeting, so hope to see you there!

Q1. To this point, we have moved our meetings around from place to place.  A couple of those places have worked well and could have potential for future meetings. However, we have to pay a nominal rental fee for those spaces.      If we can’t find a regular location that will let us use the space for free:

We should have a regular location for our tastings, even if it means having to pay to rent the space.
74%
We should keep moving our meetings around, even if it means we have to pay some months.
17%
We should have the meeting wherever we can get it for free.
9%


Q2. If we can’t find a regular location that will let us use the space for free:

I support charging annual dues for all Red Earth members to pay for rental costs.
57%
I don’t want to pay annual dues, but I’m OK with charging a cover charge at tasting events to pay for the facility.
43%
Tasting events should be free, even if that means having irregular or less-than-ideal meeting places.
0%


Q3. If the club does eventually decide to charge dues to defray our costs, how much would you be willing to pay per year?

$25-$50
30%
$15-$25
57%
$10-$15
4%
$5-$10
0%
I would not join if I have to pay dues.
9%


Q4. To this point, we've generally had homebrew tastings every other month, with social events in the intervening months. Regarding the number of tastings:

We have too few tastings—we should have them every month!
27%
I like the current rotation of a tasting every other month with a social event in the off-months.
68%
We have tastings too often—we should only have them quarterly.
5%


Q5. At past tastings, we have let everyone vote on their favorite beer of the evening. That method seems to be popular and working well.  However, some members have expressed interest in becoming better brewers “to style” and entering BJCP competitions. Regarding future tastings:

We should keep letting everyone vote for the “Best in Show”, but also have a panel of more experienced tasters rate all the beers according to the BJCP style guidelines to provide feedback to those brewers who want it.
45%
The panel mentioned above won't rate every beer, but anyone who wants their beers judged using BJCP standards can provide a couple extra bottles and have their beers judged.
41%
We shouldn’t worry about “to style” and only have a vote for favorite beer.
14%


Q6. At some meetings, we’ve had educational components (talks with professional brewers, discussions of brewing techniques, talks about certain styles and BJCP guidelines, etc.)  Regarding this educational component:

I like having an educational component. It might help make me a better brewer.
95%
Skip the educational component. The meetings should be for tasting and socializing.
5%


Q7. I get my info about Red Earth Brewers and upcoming events from (check all that apply):

Emails from The Brew Shop
77%
Talking to Gail at The Brew Shop
50%
Facebook (www.facebook.com/redearthbrewers)
73%
Twitter (www.twitter.com/redearthbrewers)
18%
Red Earth blog (www.redearthbrewers.blogspot.com)
27%
Other
4%


Q8. We will continue posting Facebook, Twitter and blog updates periodically, but would you like to see us publish a periodic (probably quarterly) newsletter?

Yes
82%
No
18%

Friday, July 22, 2011

July meeting and tasting recap

Wow, what a fun meeting that was. A lot of new faces and a lot of good beer. Thanks to Tony and Jessica Tielli for hooking us up with a good meeting spot at their community clubhouse (we'll be back there next month). A few notes from the evening's festivities:

1. Every May, the American Homebrewers Association sponsors Big Brew Day, an event aimed at getting experienced homebrewers to invite their friends to brew with them and introduce new people to the hobby. So this month's tasting competition was for all those beers we brewed for Big Brew Day. No specific style guideline--the only requirement was that the beer had to be a tag-team effort between a Red Earth member and someone new to homebrewing.



A few of the entries ready to go

Let the tasting begin
And the winners are . . .

1st Place: Jason MacKinnon and Wes Glinsmann (American Wheat--recipe below)
2nd Place: Daniel Waterburg and Brandon Jones (American Pale Ale)
3rd Place: Chris and Jase (India Pale Ale)

The big winners
 Congrats to our winners and thanks to everyone who entered!

2. In addition to the contest entries, thanks to everyone who brought their homebrews to sample. We had everything from a 13 year old tripel to keg-hopped IPAs to chocolate coconut schwarzbier. I'm pleased to report that the beers keep getting better every month, so be sure you don't miss next month's meeting.

3. Speaking of which, next month's meeting should be very, very interesting. You may recall, our tasting next month is in the BJCP #23 category of "specialty/experimental/historical" beers. So basically the rules are there are no rules. Anything you can come up with--weird styles, crazy ingredients--that doesn't fit into another category is valid. So plan to be there for what promises to be a great tasting. The meeting info is:

Thursday, August 25
7:00 pm
17804 Silverhawk Way
Edmond, OK
(Southwest corner of 178th and Penn)

4. KRXO's Beerfest is scheduled for August 6th, and Red Earth Brewers will be there pouring some of our finest samples. If you would like to donate some beer for the cause or would like to volunteer to pour, please contact Gail at The Brew Shop for all the details. (One catch--if you plan to pour, you MUST have your homebrewer's license from the ABLE Commission. If you don't already have it, I encourage you to print off the form below and get it submitted ASAP. It's free, but it can take ABLE a few weeks to get it processed.)
Oklahoma Home Brew Permit Application

5. Red Earth Brewers is coming up on its 1st birthday, and we want to make sure that the club is giving Oklahoma homebrewers what they need. So if you haven't already done so, please take our quick survey and let us know what you think of a couple of important issues that will determine where we go from here.

6. The American Homebrewers' Association club-only competition for September is mead. So if you are a mead maker who would like to enter one of your meads for consideration, please contact Gail.

7. The future tasting schedule is as follows, so be thinking about what you want to bring to these meetings:

August: Specialty/Experimental/Historical Beers (BJCP #23)
October: Hefeweizen (BJCP #15 A, B, C and D)
December: Winter Warmer (no specific style guidelines, but any high alcohol beer--imperial stout, barleywine, old ale, etc.--for those cold winter nights)
Thanks again to everyone who came out on Thursday! I look forward to seeing even more folks in August.

(Below is Wes' and Jason's winning recipe, along with some more pictures from the evening.)

Wheatcha Doin? American Wheat
O.G. 1.053
IBU 15.3

7 lbs, 4 oz wheat liquid extract (put in half at beginning of boil, and the other half with 5-10 minutes left)
1 lb flaked wheat
8 oz crystal 10L
1/4 oz magnum hops (60 min)
1/4 oz cascade hops (5 min)
1/2 oz cascade hops (1 min)
White Labs California Ale (WLP001) yeast







Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Help Us Improve Red Earth Brewers!

Please take our brief survey and help us make Red Earth Brewers a better group and resource for you and the Oklahoma homebrewing community!

Friday, June 17, 2011

June Meeting and Belgian Tasting

A big thanks to everyone who came out to our club meeting and tasting last night.  A good time was had by all, and thank you to Inca Trail Peruvian Restaurant for hosting us.  (FWIW, the food was amazing--if you haven't had a chance to try it yet, click here for a $14 coupon for $7.) 

Goes great with a cold beer. And since Inca Trail is BYOB, you can bring your favorite homebrew.
Our theme this month was Belgian-style ales and, wow, did we do it up right! A whole lot of variety and some really great beers. Our club tastings just keep getting better and better!  In the end, we actually had a tie for the favorite beer of the night.  Congrats to Tony Tielli, who kept his winning streak going with a Belgian Dark Strong, and Ross Harper, who got his first club win with an excellent tripel.  (I apologize to those at the meeting who heard me announce the results incorrectly. Math was never my strong suit.) Third place went to Rich Brucker for his Dark Strong.

Just a few of the great beers we got to sample.
Also, congrats go out to those who had the "best of style" in each category:

BJCP 16A Witbier:  Wes Glinsmann
BJCP 16E. Belgian Specialty: Nick Slepko
BJCP 18C Belgian Tripel: Ross Harper
BJCP 18E Belgian Dark Strong: Tony Tielli



In addition to the tasting, we also conducted a little business.  Tony gave a brief presentation on the history and characteristics of Belgian beer styles.  Wes reported that we're going to try to have an educational component at each of our future meetings.  Next month, we'll be talking about proper sanitation techniques.  So if that topic (or something else you're knowledgeable about) piques your interest as something you'd like to talk about, let Gail or Wes know and we'll make sure to plug you in.  Also, Bricktown Brewery has given Gail an obscene amount of Perle hops. So if that's something you could use in a future brew, stop by The Brew Shop with a zip-loc bag and Gail will hook you up.

Don't forget--the July meeting (tentatively scheduled for July 21st) is our "pro-am" competition, at which we'll be sampling all the beers we brewed with our friends for the AHA's Big Brew Day last month. So be sure to bring your friends with you and introduce them to our club and the wide, wide world of homebrewing.  We've got a good lead on a location for our July meeting, and we'll let you know for sure once we have that confirmed. 

Hope everyone is able to stay cool this weekend.  Happy brewing!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Army Needs Brewers!

While I'm sure the SEALs who took down Osama Bin Laden will never have to buy themselves another beer as long as they're on a Navy base, I had no idea the military actually made its own.

If you've ever wanted to be a professional brewer, here's your chance:  Fort Sill is hiring a new brewmaster

Here's the job description:
Plans and manages the day-to-day operation of a brewery. Prepares and/or oversees the preparation of beer following and creating recipes. Develops operating budget, identifying labor, equipment and supply cost elements. Controls pricing, beer production methods and techniques. Supervises assigned staff. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY NONAPPROPRIATED FUND INSTRUMENTALITIES ARE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYERS.
Sure they pay's not great ($22,020 a year) and you'd have to move to Lawton. But you get to put "Brew Master" on your resume.  And, as the guy (or girl) making the beer, I'm guessing you'd be pretty popular on an Army base.
 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April Meeting Notes

A big thanks to everyone who came out to our meeting last night at Convergence Collective.  I know several people were out of town and, let’s face it, it’s hard to compete with a Thunder playoff game, so our attendance was down a bit.  But a good time was still had by all.  Some highlights and news from the night:

1.       This month’s tasting was SMaSH (single malt and single hop) beers.  One type of grain, one type of hop, one type of yeast, water . . . and nothing else.  Definitely makes you appreciate specialty grains.  Congratulations once again go to Tony Tielli, whose light but spicy Czech pilsner (recipe below) took first place in the tasting completion. 

First Place: Tony Tielli, Czech Pilsner
Second Place: Wes Glinsmann, Centennial IPA
Third Place: Stephen Law, Amarillo IPA


And, although not entries for the tasting, thanks to Richard Magann (jalepeno ale) and Blaine Stansel (black licorice doppelbock) for bringing some extra beer to the party.

2.       The American Homebrewer’s Association annual “Big Brew Day” is May 7th.  Big Brew Day is designed to be a good day to help introduce new people to the hobby of homebrewing. So here is what we decided to do: every Red Earth Brewer who will be around on the 7th should invite a friend or friends who are interested to come brew with you.  Just do something simple that they can help with—an extract only or extract/specialty grain beer.  Go through the whole process with them. Then, invite them to come with you to our July meeting, where they can get to know us as a club and we’ll have a big tasting event of everybody’s extract homebrews.  This will be a great way to introduce people to the hobby of homebrewing as well as welcome them into our group.


3.       Our future tasting schedule is as follows, so brew accordingly:
June: Belgian Style (BJCP Styles #16, 17 and 18)
August: Specialty Ale (BJCP Style #23).  Here is where the fun starts.  The American Homebrewers’ Association Club-Only competition is a “specialty/experimental/historical” beer. In other words, anything the far reaches of your imagination can come up with.  So this will be your chance to finally brew that one really crazy idea that you’d always wanted to try.
October: Hefeweizen (BJCP Style #15)
December: Those who have a lagering fridge should do a dark lager (BJCP Style #4) to be ready for the AHA’s January club-only competition.  Everybody else should brew some kind of Winter Warmer (i.e. imperial stout, barleywine or other malty, high-alcohol type of beer). 


4.       Our next meeting will be Thursday, May 19th.  We should have a location finalized shortly and will let everybody know where the meeting will be.


Just a reminder: Gail sends out the meeting notices via email, but we post a lot of other information on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Sometimes informative, sometimes humorous, always entertaining.  So be sure you follow Red Earth Brewers on Twitter and Facebook. 

Happy brewing!


Tony’s SMaSH Czech Pilsner

6 gallon batch
Target OG 1.052
Target FG 1.010
Color 4 SRM
IBU - 43
ABV - 5.1

5.36kg (100%) German Pilsner Malt (Wyermann)

68g Czech Saaz - 60 minutes
47g Czech Saaz - 30 minutes
25g Czech Saaz - 15 minutes
30g Czech Saaz - 1 minute

White Labs WLP800 Pilsner Yeast

Mash using the modified double decoction method.  90 Minute boil. Pitch a massive quantity of yeast at 45F and let ramp up to 50F (I repitched slurry from a previous batch). Ferment at 50F for 3 weeks, cold crash and lager for 6 weeks.  Keg, Filter, Carb, Drink!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Celtic Brew-Off Invitation

Slainte Mhath! (Good Health)
       On behalf of the Knights of the Brown Bottle Homebrew Club of Arlington, Texas, We invite you to participate in the annual Celtic Brew-Off Homebrew Competition.  This year will mark the “CRYSTAL ANNIVERSARY” of the Celtic Brew-Off and the Knight’s goal is to make 2011 the best to date.  The Celtic Brew-Off is the largest homebrewing competition in the country devoted exclusively to beers, meads, and ciders with origins in Celtic nations of the world.  In 2010 the Celtic received over 300 entries and 2011 looks to be even larger.  
      Entries will be accepted from Friday May 6th through Thursday May 12th.  First and second round judging will be held May 21st and 22nd at the Coor’s Distribution Center in north Fort Worth.   Judges and stewards of all levels and experience are welcome.    A light lunch will be provided and there will be door prizes for those participating in the judging.  As in years past, the 2011 Celtic Brew-Off will conclude at the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Arlington held the first weekend in June.
       New for 2011 will be 15th Anniversary Commemorative Trophies given to the first place and BOS winning entrants.  Second and third place winners will receive custom ribbons made with Celtic tartan.  Style guidelines, contest rules and on-line registration may be found on the Celtic Brew-Off link at www.kobb.org.   
Cheers,
Richard Graham and Dave Girard, Co-directors
2011 Celtic Brew-Off

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Red Earth Brewer Takes Best of Show at Bluebonnet

Ladies and gentleman, we have a celebrity in our midst!

As you may know, last weekend was the Bluebonnet Brew-Off, one of the nation's largest and most competitive homebrew competitions. Congratulations to our own Tony Tielli, whose American Stout not only won 1st place in the Strong Stout category, but beat out almost 1600 other entries for 1st Place Best of Show!

For those of you who were at our February meeting in Guthrie, you'll remember that Tony's stout took 1st Place in our club stout tasting (proving we have good taste!).

So congrats Tony! This is a huge honor for you, and a great start for our new club.

Here is the recipe for Tony's award-winning stout:

Tony's American Stout
BJCP Category 13E
Target OG : 1.080
Target FG : 1.022
ABV 7.69%
Batch Size: 6 Gallons (at the end of the boil)
Calculated at 70% efficiency.
75% (6.44kg) Pale Ale Malt
9% (800g) Chocolate Malt
5% (480g) Roasted Barley
5% (400g) Crystal 40L
2% (160g) Crystal 80L
4% (350g) White Table Sugar
33g Magnum (13.6%aa) - 60 minutes
20g Centennial (10.0%aa) - 10 minutes
20g Cascade (5.5%aa) - 10 minutes
30g Centennial (10.0%aa) - 1 minute
30g Cascade (5.5%aa) - 1 minute
30g Centennial (10.0%aa) - Dry Hop
20g Cascade (5.5%aa) - Dry Hop
White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale (repitched slurry from previous batch)
Ferment at 65F until complete, dry hop for 7 days following fermentation.