January meeting this Friday

Happy 2013 Sudzers! It’s time for our January meeting!!

7:00 Social Time
7:15 Club Business
7:30 Homebrew evaluations

If you bring homebrew to share, enter it on the whiteboard along with your name and statistics (IBU, ABV, etc. – optional, but helpful in determining tasting order). Also don’t forget your recipe! There will be questions on ingredients, your process, etc!

We’ve been averaging 30 attendees or so per meeting, so if you are bringing homebrew, please bring enough that everyone could get an ounce or two – if you’ve got enough. Some members bring a growler (if they keg), others bring 2 bombers or 4 12-ounce bottles. If you’ve only got a little, we can instruct everyone to take a taste and couples can share. Also let us know if the beer is bottle conditioned so we make sure everyone pours correctly and doesn’t shake up the bottles!

Don’t have any homebrew to share? Please bring a snack to share instead.

Need directions or have additional questions? Please email moresimcoe (at) sudzers.org

See you there!

Los Altos Library Homebrewing Workshop January 6

Derek Wolfgram, past president and co-Chief Communications Officer of the Sudzers, along with Andy Carroll, President of the HeadQuarters homebrew club in Campbell, are presenting an overview of beer history, ingredients, styles, equipment, techniques, and recipes at the Los Altos Library on January 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm. The program also provides sources of additional information on homebrewing, such as local homebrew clubs, homebrew supply stores, books and DVDs available from the library, and online resources. Further informal discussion about beer and brewing will follow the program at Maltby’s at 4:00 pm.

Print or download the slide deck from the program at Los Altos Library.


SlowHand/Slosberg/Sudzers Smoked BBQ Beer Collaboration

On Tuesday, January 1 at 10 am, a few of us will be getting together at Slow Hand BBQ in Pleasant Hill to enjoy some outstanding BBQ and to create our own smoked malt, using Slow Hand’s smokers to smoke the grains along with the barbecue meats. The intent will be to produce homebrewed smoked beers to pair with Slow Hand BBQ at an event during SF Beer Week. If you’re interested in joining in the festivities and lending a hand with the smoking on Tuesday, please email Derek at derek dot wolfgram at gmail dot com. If you can’t come, but might be interested in creating a brew, please also let Derek know that. Read on to learn more…

Slow Hand BBQ

Pete Slosberg introduces the concept:
“One of my good friends, Dan Frengs, used to be a beer sales guy for many years and then decided on a career change and entered the BBQ business.  I am a big proponent of Dan’s BBQ and I unequivocally can say that his BBQ is the best on the west coast.  He started out with a mobile smoker going to events, but now has a permanent restaurant in Pleasant Hill, next to Concord, called Slow Hand BBQ.  I had a craving so I was there this week.  We chatted about things including SF Beer Week for this coming February.  He would love to do something and get people exposed to his goodies. I suggested that he do the obvious, pairing BBQ with smoked beer, but with a twist.  Take smoked beer to the next level.  With his smoker and meats, create special smoked malts the reflect each of his meats, e.g. smoke some malt with the wood smoke, but also the aroma of the smoking BBQ ribs, then another for Brisket, then……. He would then have an event pairing his BBQ with each of the “special smoked” beers.

When Pete’s suggestion went out to the Sudzers, Derek, Chris R., and Tyler all expressed interested in producing beers using the barbecue smoked malts. Chris R. also contributed a significant amount of knowledge of smokers and how to produce the best results in smoking our own malts, even citing Modernist Cuisine in determining how to get the maximum impact based on temperature, wood choice, timing, and technique.

We’re all looking forward to tasting Slow Hand’s barbecue, as well as the accompanying smoked malts we will produce, Derek has tentatively recommended several styles for brewing to pair with the meats, each of which may have different proportions of smoked malts and other specialty grains (some of which we may also create by oven-roasting some of the smoked malts):

  • Brisket Smoked Stout or Porter
  • St. Louis Ribs Smoked Scotch Ale
  • Baby Back Ribs Smoked Brown Ale or English Mild
  • Pulled Pork Smoked Altbier, Amber Ale or California Common

Stay tuned for more information after phase 1 is completed on Tuesday. Happy New Year indeed!

January meeting moved to the 11th

In order to accomodate everyone’s schedules around the holidays, we are moving the January 2013 meeting back one week, so it will be 7:00 pm on January 11. No meeting January 4. Regular meetings will still normally be held the first Friday of the month.

Also, in order to facilitate more exciting club sponsored activities in 2013, annual dues will be increased to $25. Please bring cash with you to the meeting on January 11 if you are interested in being a paid member, which entitles you to a 10% discount at MoreBeer Los Altos, special treats like your own bottles of the 2012 club brew Dark Matter Russian Imperial Stout, and special member prices on club events.

Also, there are still just a few Sudzers t-shirts left if you have a little extra holiday gift cash laying around… $10 for the old skool green-on-black shirts, $20 for the new-fangled beige shirts with the integrated circuit design, and $25 for the new design on a ladies’ shirt.

Look forward to seeing some of you at Harry’s tomorrow for Bruery pint night on Thirsty Third Thursday, and many of you at the meeting on January 11.

Hoppy Holidays to you and yours!

Christmas Party Wrap-Up / Election Results / Homebrewer(s) of the Year

Thanks to all for a fantastic party December 8 at Nick’s – we all enjoyed an impressive selection of food, great commercial brews, and some fine homebrews on the jockey box. We had (at least) 48 people in attendance, and a record 32 participants in the white elephant gift exchange. (Rumor has it that Santiago managed to bargain for the coveted three way manifold after the official fun and games were over.)

Congratulations to the 2012 joint winners (tie vote) of the Homebrewer of the Year award – Keith McKay and Mike Conant. Their names will be engraved on the prestigious Sudzer Cup, which will be presented at the January meeting by our new co-Presidents. Congratulations to Tyler Dassow, Santiago Basso, and Nathan Howell, who were also nominated by their fellow homebrewers for the HBOTY award.

There was some discussion among a few of the HBOTY winners about planning for a collaborative brew in late spring early summer with all of the past winners collaborating together on a beer: Guy Cameron, Dan Rosbrugh, Pete Czerpak, Derek Wolfgram, Nathan Howell, and Keith and Mike. More on this later once we try to get everyone together…

With the incredible growth of the club in the past year and the workload that goes with that growth, we decided to experiment with some shared officer positions in 2013.

Your new club officers are:
Co-Presidents/CEOs: Nathan Howell & Tyler Dassow
VP/Chief Operating Officer: Santiago Basso
Treasurer/CFO: Nick Osborne
Co-Secretaries/Chief Communications Officers: Robin & Derek Wolfgram
Co-Chief Technology Officers: Keith McKay & Chris Ringer

It’s been a fun year, it’s been a busy year, and I look forward to more of the same next year. Happy Holidays to all of you. Cheers!

Dark Matter 2012 Brew Day recap

Keith and Michelle hosted the 2012 Dark Matter Brew Day – this massive imperial stout has been brewed previously in 2006 and 2009, but the hope is that we will make this an annual event, allowing us to hold vertical tastings as the years go on.

Chief brewers for the day were Keith and Derek, who were joined by Sudzers Steve, Susie, Kathy, and Robin, as well as Keith’s friend Ryan.

Knowing that a massive brew done on an unfamiliar system would take some time, we started bright and early at 8:00 am building the improvised brew sculpture and beginning to heat the 20 gallons of water we would need for mashing 82 pounds of grain in the giant cooler mash tun borrowed from Dan from The Grain Trust. After some initial trouble getting the strike water to hold temperature as it ran into the cooler, we were eventually able to hit the target, and we ended up mashing at 154 degrees.

The cooler was completely maxed out, as you can see from the pictures. In fact, despite our best efforts, we were unable to get the last couple pounds of grain in, so we added them later to convert while we began running off the first of the wort. Because of the sheer pressure on the braided tubing in the mash tun, runoff was stop and go – we went through an ongoing ritual of continuing to stir the mash and blowing back into the runoff tube to create channels for the wort to travel. Eventually, removing a few gallons of mashed grains released the pressure and allowed runoff to proceed more smoothly.

As is typical with an epically long and busy brew day, more photos were captured during mash in, and relatively few as the day progressed. (Although we did pause to capture the moment before consuming one of the last remaining bottles of the 2009 Dark Matter!)

We added 1.5 pounds of DME that was on hand to help account for lower efficiency than estimated (about 60%, as compared to the 68% assumed in the recipe) as well as doing a two hour boil to reduce 22 gallons of 1.088 wort down to 18 gallons in the fermenters with an OG of 1.106. A massive amount of yeast was pitched (one pack dry Safale US 05, one vial White Labs WLP 001, and 1/4 of a US 05 yeast cake from an amber IPA Derek brewed last weekend in each of the four carboys containing 4.5 gallon batches) at about 5:30 last night, and by this morning there was already about an inch of krausen in the fermenters.

5 gallons of the stout will eventually go into a used Balcones Distillery bourbon barrel for aging, and the plan is to bottle condition all 18 gallons. Dues-paying club members will all receive at least one bottle some time next year, and the rest will be used for club events and future vertical tastings of this amazing club brew. Cheers!

Dark Matter Brew Day 11/24 (updated)

This will be our 4th annual fall Club Brew Day, and the third that will feature the famous Dark Matter Imperial Stout.

Brew Day will last from 8 am until approximately 3:00 at Keith’s house in Milpitas. Email moresimcoe@sudzers.org for address/directions.

I’m attaching a copy of the (updated) recipe for your enjoyment and future use.



We have borrowed Dan R.’s giant cooler mash tun and 26 gallon brew kettle, so we will be doing one massive brew instead of two separate 10 gallon batches.

Everyone is encouraged to bring food and/or beer to share. You can RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/489051504467747/

Ron’s Beer Blog: Heretic Night with Jamil Zainasheff at Harry’s Hofbrau

Wow, what an unexpected surprise. Heretic night at Harry’s. Met brewer, Jamil, who explained about awesome Evil Cousin IPA. Brewed with Apollo and Columbus, but mega-dry hopped with Centennial, and yes…SIMCOE! Tons of it. Not just once or twice, but almost continuously over the brewing process. As he explains, leaves hops in suspension rather than settling to the bottom. He just checked over at BevMo and they have it refrigerated in bottles with “brewed-on” date. But he says you gotta get it while it’s fresh, effective hops can go from 100 down to 80 over a couple of months. Sudzers bus trip visited brewery shared with E.J. Phair in Pittsburg, but no one from Heretic was there. Jamil was nice enough, though, to leave enough cases of Evil Twin for everyone to take home a couple bottles. Was never impressed with it, but now I have a new respect for Heretic after tonight. Also tasted Torment, served in 8 oz tulip glasses. “Belgian candi sugar notes” is an understatement, very sweet. Not surprised with 10% alcohol.

Beer descriptions from Heretic’s website:

Evil Twin

abv: 6.8%
ibu: 45
srm: 18
This blood-red ale may not be what you might expect from a malty and hoppy craft beer. Evil Twin has a rich malt character, without being overly sweet. It has a huge hop character, without being overly bitter. It is a great example of a bold, rich, balanced craft beer, without being heavy and hard to drink in quantity. Our Evil Twin is only bad because it is too good to resist.

Evil Cousin

abv: 8%
ibu: 100
srm: 4
Evil Cousin is Heretic’s take on a West coast imperial IPA. This beer is a bold, in-your-face hop monster. It has a light, easy drinking malt character that allows the hops to stand out. The hop character in this beer is intentionally on the dank side; big, sticky, and aggressive. This beer is for those of you who can’t get enough hops. Join us on the dank side.

Shallow Grave

abv: 7%
ibu: 33
srm: 33Shallow Grave Porter is dark as night, perfect for a cool evening out in the woods. This a big, dark ale with a complex and rich chocolate and caramel malt character followed by a touch of warmth and light malt sweetness, leaving you ready for more after each shovelful. You will love this so much you won’t have time to dig a six-footer, so make it a Shallow Grave.


abv: 10%
ibu: 20
srm: 17
This 10% Belgian-style dark ale is the dark counterpart to Worry. Torment is a rich beer with lots of caramel, malt, dark fruit, and Belgian candi sugar notes. The luscious fruity character is full of caramel apples, candied pears, and chocolate covered oranges