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The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Co., dedicated to promoting the community of homebrewers and empowering homebrewers to make the best beer in the world.
Heat 1.5 gallons (5.7 L) water to 172° F (77.5° C) and then add crushed grains to the water. Stir well to distribute heat. Temperature should stabilize at about 155° F (68° C). Wrap a towel around the pot and set aside for about 45 minutes. Have a homebrew.
After 45 minutes, add heat to the mini-mash and raise the temperature to 167° F (75° C). Then, pass the liquid and grains into a strainer and rinse with 170° F (77° C) water. Discard the grains.
Add more water to the sweet extract you have just produced, bringing the volume up to about 2.5 gallons (9.5 L). Add malt extract and 60-minute hops and bring to a boil.
The total boil time will be 60 minutes. When 10 minutes remain, add Irish moss. After a total wort boil of 60 minutes turn, off the heat and add the 0-minute hops. Immerse the covered pot of wort in a cold water bath and let sit for 15–30 minutes or the time it takes to have a couple of homebrews.
Then strain out and sparge hops and direct the hot wort into a sanitized fermenter to which 2 gallons (8 L) of cold water has been added. If necessary, add additional cold water to achieve a 5.5-gallon (21 L) batch size. Aerate the wort very well.
Pitch the yeast when temperature of wort is about 70° F (21° C). Once visible signs of fermentation are evident, ferment at temperatures of about 55° F (13° C) for one to two weeks, or until fermentation shows signs of calm and stopping. Rack from your primary to a secondary and add the first dry hop addition. If you have the capability, “lager” the beer at temperatures of 35–45° F (1–7° C) for 3–6 weeks. Seven to ten days before bottling or kegging, add the second dry hop addition.
A step infusion mash is employed to mash the grains. Add 11 quarts (10.5 L) of 140° F (60° C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize, and hold the temperature at 132° F (53° C) for 30 minutes. Add 5.5 quarts (5.2 L) of boiling water and add heat to bring temperature up to 155° F (68° C) and hold for about 30 minutes. Then raise temperature to 167° F (75° C), lauter, and sparge with 3.5 gallons (13.5 L) of 170° F (77° C) water. Collect about 5.5 gallons (21 L) of runoff. Add 60-minute hops and bring to a full and vigorous boil.
The total boil time will be 60 minutes. When 10 minutes remain, add the Irish moss. When boiling is complete, turn off the heat and add the 0-minute hops. Place the pot (with cover on) in a running cold-water bath for 30 minutes. Continue to chill in the immersion or use other methods to chill your wort. Then strain and sparge the wort into a sanitized fermenter. Bring the total volume to 5.5 gallons (21 L) with additional cold water if necessary. Aerate the wort very well.
Pitch the yeast when temperature of wort is about 70° F (21° C). Once visible signs of fermentation are evident, ferment at temperatures of about 55° F (13° C) for one to two weeks or until fermentation shows signs of calm and stopping. Rack from your primary to a secondary and add the first dry hop addition. If you have the capability, “lager” the beer at temperatures of 35–45° F (1–7° C) for 3–6 weeks. Seven to ten days before bottling or kegging, add the second dry hop addition.
Mash grains at 148° F (64° C) for 60 minutes in reverse osmosis water treated with phosphoric acid. Fly sparge at 168° F (76° C). Then raise temperature to 167° F (75° C), lauter, and sparge with 3.5 gal. (13.5 L) of 170° F (77° C) water. Collect about 5.5 gal. (21 L) of runoff. Bring to a full and vigorous boil.
The total boil time will be 90 minutes. Cool to 110° F (43° C) and add yogurt and Lacto culture. Purge kettle with CO2 and seal. Allow wort to sit for 5 days at 90° F (32° C) or until pH reaches 3.4. Bring to a boil, then chill to 67° F (19° C) and pitch English ale yeast. Once fermentation slows, rack onto fruit. Package after secondary fermentation is complete.
A few days prior to brewing, prepare a 1,200 mL starter of 1.030 wort for the Brettanomyces. Mash pale and aromatic malts with flaked wheat and oats at 152° F (67° C) for 60 minutes. Vorlauf and collect first runnings. Add chocolate and Carafa malts prior to sparge as a “mash cap.”
Collect wort, heat to 185° F (85° C), and hold for 15 minutes. Cool wort to 100° F (38° C). Purge wort with CO2, and purge kettle or another vessel to be used for souring to create an anaerobic environment. Add L. plantarum tablets and let stand for 48 hours. Cool wort to 70° F (21° C), aerate, and pitch Brettanomyces. Ferment until terminal gravity is reached. Rack onto thawed raspberries. Condition for 4 to 6 months or until desired flavor is achieved and gravity has dropped to approximately 1.002. Bottle condition with a rehydrated packet of EC-1118 Champagne yeast and sufficient sugar for desired carbonation.
Mash in at 152° F (67° C) for 60 minutes. Collect runoff and heat wort to 180° F (82° C). Cool wort to 115° F (46° C), wash wort with CO2, and purge kettle or another vessel to be used for souring (the key is to create an anaerobic environment until desired pH is achieved). Add yogurt or other Lactobacillus culture to wort. Insulate the vessel to maintain temperature. Conduct boil when pH has dropped to 3.5. Ferment at 68° F (20° C) until terminal, rack to secondary for 7 days, and then bottle or keg.
Due to the lack of an extract equivalent for smoked wheat malt, there is no extract formulation for this recipe.
Mash in at 154° F (68° C) for 60 minutes. Collect runoff and boil for 60 minutes. Add turbinado sugar 15 minutes before the end of boil along with 1 Whirlfloc tablet. Ferment at 68° F (20° C) until terminal gravity is reached. Rack into bourbon barrel for 2 months or add bourbon-soaked oak spiral until desired flavor is achieved. Bottle condition.
Mash grains at 150° F (66° C) and allow to rest one hour. Apply heat or boiling water to increase temperature to 168° F (76° C) over 20 minutes. Hold at 168° F (76° C) for another 10 minutes to mash out. Sparge at 168° F (76° C). Boil 60 minutes. Chill to 65° F (18° C) and oxygenate. Pitch yeast starter. Ferment at 65° F (18° C) for two days, or until high kräusen, and then allow fermentation temperature to ramp up to 68° F (20° C) until terminal gravity is reached. Dry hop 3 days in primary at 68° F (20° C), rack to secondary, and package.
Your American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee representatives play a critical role in developing the benefits and programs of the AHA and providing direction for the AHA staff. We encourage you to help shape the future of the AHA Governing Committee by voting in the 2018 election.
This year there are five (5) available seats on the AHA Governing Committee. Click the button below to get to know the candidates, and then cast your vote.
Drew Beechum is a past president of the Maltose Falcons and a frequent contributor to Zymurgy. This article appeared in the Mar/Apr 2008 issue of Zymurgy magazine.
Ah, that satisfied smirk creeps across your face when pulling the very first pint of beer on your spiffy two-tap kegerator reborn from an old broken down fridge. Gleaming, it stands a monument. What do you do when those few taps just aren’t enough and the party’s calling for more beer?
This issue vexes many clubs. Just how many individual dispense rigs can you have at a club get-together? The need is greater when your club starts pouring 20, 30, even 40 beers for a major homebrew festival party like the Southern California Homebrewers Festival (SCHF) or pouring your beer at commercial festivals like the Carolina BrewMasters Charlotte Oktoberfest (6,000 happy customers and climbing and 36 kegs down). Tales abound of some brewers’ epic charitable house parties cracking these numbers!
How do you clean up the endless tangle of cobra lines and give every beer the presentation it deserves? With a little money and some mechanical know how, you and your club can have a portable bar rig that showcases your efforts with the style they deserve.
How can owning a big party bar make a difference for you or your club? Typically, the Maltose Falcons proudly display our wares at four major shindigs. A few years back, we noticed that the amount of beer brought was dropping off, despite a growing membership and attendance. Turns out, members were frustrated that their beer missed being served from our 13-tap bar and ended up forlorn with a cobra line As our serving capacity has grown to more than 40 different taps, more beer keeps arriving!
Gaining neatness and efficiency from a centralized draft system simplifies the party day, particularly later on. Instead of worrying after myriad CO2 tanks, regulators and ice buckets, monitoring and adjusting any keg is handled easily. Thinking green, massed kegs and large cooler boxes or tubs reduce ice consumption.
Outsiders misperceive us as moonshiners keeping an eye peeled for those darn revenuers. More than one suspicious mind has been set at ease by the shining taps topped with custom tap handles. Watching new party attendees realize the depth and breadth of talents of homebrewers and that we mean business in our little backyard hobby is a great treat. As Kent Fletcher, Falcons builder extraordinaire, and I towed the bar to a beerfest, driving down tony Santa Barbara’s main drag, residents greeted us with gaping jaws and cheers for his masterpiece draft system.
Barley Engineers’ bar disassembled for transport
Barley Engineers’ Bar
Designing a proper bar requires balancing your needs, options, funds and the tools and skills at hand. Where is the bar service happening? How many beers do you plan to serve? How do you plan to move the bar? Where does the bar reside when not in use? In terms of cost, our bars all cost between $200 and $500 to make and equip.
Portability is the primary concern for most of us. Some bars profiled break down into small pieces that fit comfortably in a pickup truck, while others require trailers and brute force to move. Increased setup time at your party site is the tradeoff with an ultra-portable bar, so consider how much time you have to spend assembling your masterpiece. Our older portable “Back Bar” takes a solid three hours from flat-packed to up-and-pouring-beer. Contrast that to the new “Front Bar” pouring beer in under a half hour at the cost of requiring larger transport.
Many beer festivals happen outdoors with loads of happy drinkers wandering around and the occasional over-indulger. Water, sand, dirt, trees, fearless dive-bombing squirrels and the natural leaning stance of the relaxed beer drinker combine with natural wear and tear to grind away that shiny new bar smell. In addition to protecting your bar by keeping it out of direct contact with the ground, you will want to use stout materials for a hoard-surviving bar. Cleaning the bar immediately after use is as critical to the quality of your bar and beer as thorough cleaning of your kegs. Fight the desire to veg after a long beer festival—clean the taps and surfaces and make that bar shine!
Hunting for bar parts is the sort of shopping I can get behind. While I normally advocate purchasing top quality parts, unless the bar is in operation regularly, less expensive rear seal faucets will suffice. Include in your bar “toolbox” a cheap faucet spanner, a stout faucet, gaskets, quick disconnects and markers. The great auctioneer of the Internet, eBay, is a great source for old bar equipment, including draft towers and beer engines. Instead of buying a tower, take a lesson from the Barley Engineers of San Diego and make a modern style “U” pipe from PVC water pipe mounted with shanks and faucets.
At home, we can get away with a single tank, regulator and gas line to pressurize and serve from our lines. Using a single tank and line at a fest leads to foamy or slow pours and the hassle of swapping tanks. The simplest approach is a single regulator that is “tee’d” into multiple gas lines, but you have no capability to adjust pressure for each keg. The black plastic screw-together manifolds are a safe bet. They allow you to restrict the gas flow and are easily expansible. If you plan on serving from beer engines, consider aiding the longevity of the keg by installing a “cask breather” valve (starting at about $80). Fed with 1-31 psi, the breather will blanket the beer with CO2 on every pull and keep your kegs fresh. As a bonus, it can service multiple engines. Steve Jones of Tennessee experimented and now recommends low-pressure propane regulators ($10-30) with added flares as a substitute.
Even if serving only real ale, you need to keep the chill on your beer. Your guests want to taste the cold! The standard answer of large tubs or trashcans of ice work, but thick polystyrene sheets glued together to form custom keg boxes work even better. Hard to find and more expensive than other options, the efficiency of an aluminum cold plate for pouring frosty beer is difficult to beat. Lastly, if you can find power, consider building a refrigerated brew trailer or a masterpiece like Pastor Tom’s “Brewpastor’s Altar.”
Commercial bars know that paying customers only buy what they know you have. They may not be paying, but guests still need to see what you have on tap! Placing erasable signs above every tap handle is a start. An old blackboard backing allows easy labeling of the Brewpastor’s Altar. Large dry erase boards on an easel or suspended with ropes (ala the Barley Engineers) are essential for a crowded environment and reduce dilly-dallying in front of the taps. Use bright fluorescent markers for punch and get the one person with legible writing to do it!
Be prepared for success! Unveil the new setup and discover demand outstripping your tap space. Be wise and plan for additional draft points or spots for mounting new hardware, such as beer engines.
Enough theory—what have your peers created? All of these bars have been featured at large scale festivals or the AHA National Homebrewers Conference and kept crowds happy with flowing suds. Do the world a favor and make your local beer bar blush when you roll down the street with a load of homebrew love.
Maltose Falcons’ Front and Back Bar
Maltose Falcons Front and Back Bars (36 Taps of Chaotic Love)
In the mid 1990s, the club decided we needed a better way to pour our beer at parties. Soon-to-be Falcons’ president Kevin Baranowski volunteered to build a mobile bar for the club. Working from plywood, Kevin fashioned a simple fold-flat design with 13 taps. Complete with signage and drip trays that feed into buckets and decorative Hashell Dammett statues, the bar is a mainstay for the club. The hinged foldout side-wings have flaps that sit on the ground. Four foam keg boxes filled with beer and ice hold the edifice upright. Mounted on short shanks, the faucets feed to labeled ports on the backside of the bar. Setup includes unfolding the bar and attaching the plastic gas manifold and 13 foam-wrapped beer lines. Place the kegs into the boxes and tap and go. (Surprisingly, a fair amount of time is devoted to deciding where to place different beers). Covering the back with a popup canopy helps preserve ice. Small dry erase signboards above each tap allow drinkers to peruse.
Maltose Falcons’ Bar in action
Maltose Falcons’ bar disassembled
An outrageously cheap eBay find of two three-tap brass towers ($80!) inspired Falcons’ “Brewgyver” Kent Fletcher to construct a home for them and our club’s two beer engines. Current Falcon vice president John Aitchison, owner of a tavern service company, donated a six-circuit cold plate to chill the beer. Built of solid furniture grade oak, the bar is heavy enough that it now has its own steerable wheel assembly for movement. Internally, a plastic manifold serves the six taps and a cask breather valve that handles the four beer engines. (Remember, plan for new additions! We gained two engines from the membership). The bar has power distribution to feed lights under the front bar surface and a pump to drain water from the cold plate and boost its efficiency. The six tapped kegs are stored under the bar top with the four beers on cask kept on minimal ice in a tub. Facilitating repairs and movement, the bar top removes from the base and the surface slides out for replacement. Magnets inside the towers allow signs to be “clipped” in front of the taps for the crowd to read. Resident club artist Cullen Davis sculpted resin tap handles in the form of the club mascot. This bar made its debut at the 2003 SCHF and pressed into Hospitality Suite duty for the 2004 Vegas and 2007 Denver National Homebrewers Conferences.
Sculpted resin tap handles in the form of the club mascot
Two RC airplane enthusiast Falcons serve their homebrew annually at their favorite flying festival. After years of using big blue barrels filled with ice and wrapped with blankets, Richard “Beanie” Webster and Craig Frump assembled a wood-fronted 13-tap folding bar. Instead of folding flat like the original Back Bar, Beanie’s Bar folds and latches into a box shape that houses the lines. Replacing the plain foam boxes of previous designs are hearty aluminum-skinned foam-lined boxes with drains. A homemade copper manifold handles gas distribution and power runs little bar lights. Folded down, the bar fits into a small space, but the 15 space keg boxes take up more room. Saving a bunch of money by using scrap materials, Beanie opted for the more expensive and polished forward seal faucets. This bar debuted at the 2007 SCHF and was an instant hit, bring bar capacity to a whopping 40 taps of brew.
Barley Engineers SCHF Bar
The Barley Engineers have a proud tradition of being the first SCHF attendee out the gate with a big bar to show off their wares. Their original design, featured back in the Winter 1996 issue of Zymurgy, was recently retired after realizing they were spending more than a day refurbishing it every year. Recognizing that inevitably all things must pass, they built a new bar featuring 26 beers on tap and two on hand pump.
Like the original bar, the break-apart flat assembly includes thin-walled sides supporting a sturdy top. The tap space and line routing is accomplished by sections of spray painted PVC piping. PVC, the low-cost choice, allows hand tightening and adjustment of the bar elements as assembly occurs. Fixed mounting points off the back edges allow sturdy pulls off the beer engines. A major improvement over their old bar is the use of industrial tubs loaded from behind instead of the front top loading that stopped service on the older bar. [DREW – NEEDS FACT CHECKING!] Drains built from gutter material provide a low-cost means of direct waste flow into catch buckets. Incorporating the past, they added back an original vinyl covering to the base of the bar.
Carolina BrewMasters’ Bar
Carolina BrewMasters Oktoberfest Bar
Carolina BrewMasters’ bar disassembled
Pouring 11 beers and more than 30 kegs in a few short hours is par for the course for the Carolina BrewMasters during their Charlotte Oktoberfest. Tony Profera and his crew built a massive break-flat wooden bar featuring eight Ventmatic faucets, two Stout faucets and the Hopinator, a large custom-built Randall the Enamel Animal. Building their design around two removable old professional Irish Coffin Box towers, the bar is a statement in solidity and ease of use. Chilling each side are large red tubs holding six kegs apiece powered by separate CO2 manifolds with backflow protection. Gas cylinders rest in a wheeled oak box for service. The system breaks down completely, fitting into the rear bed of a pickup truck.
BrewPastor’s Altar (Tom Hart)
Tom Hart, a Presbyterian minister in New Mexico and former president of the Dukes of Ale brew club, made a huge splash at the National Homebrewers Conference in Denver with his BrewPastor’s Altar. Hart jokes, “Every beer drinker has a church key, and I decided I wanted an altar!”
A freezer-based bar with an Irish Coffin top sporting five taps and two hand pumps, the Altar is perfect for self-service situations with available power. Oak board and plywood braced with pine struts form a frame around an old slate blackboard, which serves as the mounting surface for the taps. To ease opening the new heavy top, Hart mounted the taps behind the hinge of the new freezer collar he built. Increasing the “bar-like” appearance of the freezer is an overhanging front oak surface. The CO2 manifold and temperature controller mount on a fold-down access panel behind the taps. Painting the freezer black completes the illusion of the altar and inspires devout worship. Are you contemplating a home bar? For a few dollars and more tool time, Hart’s design is within the reach of anyone building a basic freezer collar.
The local homebrew shop plays an important role in our community, and not just as suppliers of ingredients and equipment. These small businesses serve as advocates for homebrewing and contributors to their local community. Of the countless craft beer success stories today, how many of them started off as aspiring homebrewers with a visit to their local shop?
The Homebrew Shop of the Year Award aims to recognize the integral role that homebrew shops play in any homebrewing community. The annual award will be announced at Homebrew Con.
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2018 Homebrew Shop of the Year award. This form will close at 5:00 PM MT on April 30, 2018.
To win this award, AHA members will nominate homebrew shops that excel in the following criteria:
Local homebrew community support
Customer service & engagement
Promotion of homebrewing to the public
Responsible business practices
No one homebrew shop can win this award twice within a five year period.
How to Enter
Entry form submissions for the 2018 Homebrew Club of the Year Award are due by April 30. Follow the prompts in the form to submit a complete proposal for your local shop.
Entries will be reviewed and voted on by a panel of judges from the AHA Governing Committee. A secondary round of vetting will take place following nomination involving the local shop and local homebrewers.