The night’s meeting opened with planning for their now annual beer event at The Pottstown Public Library where they act as beer ambassadors for the public, offering beer and food pairings.
“Let’s keep it simple,” Josh says. “I was working my butt off pushing that raspberry beer, especially when I began to explain it’s a raspberry beer that only smells like raspberry.”
And then, a deceptively simple assignment was handed out for the next club-only competition: everyone would receive the same ingredients via 5 gallon kits—the same yeast, malt extracts, hops, etc. Only the process and water could vary. The last competition, in contrast, was a pick from a hat affair that saw concord grapes going into one brew, and vanilla in another.
Mike Urban immediately saw an advantage via the heavy water of his native Conshohocken.
Jim Lachman eyed another wrinkle: taking the 5 gallon recommendation down to 3 gallons to make the end result stronger.
“I like it because for better or worse, it shows that different processes create different beers,” Weikert says.
A degree here or there during fermentation can produce either something pleasantly different or horribly off. But if you don’t hit your ideal mashing temperature in the first place, you could be left with a slightly alcoholic, overly sweet concoction, as proper mashing is needed to produce fermentable sugars—simple sugars that the yeast can actually eat.
In visiting the Stoney Creek Homebrewers, another thing that’s readily apparent is that the idea of continuously pushing oneself in brewing hardly has a ceiling.
Adding to that constant push for progress that had Scott Ruddich open Round Guys Brewery in Lansdale, Josh Weikert breaks out what I saw him bottle the previous night: his first attempt at a cider.
It was, by consensus, unequivocally offensive. If you could pinch your nose and forgive the slap that reached you nonetheless, the taste really wasn’t, minus some astringency, all that bad.
Laughing off the barbs, Weikert calmed and, not surprisingly, asked, “Okay, how do I fix it?”
Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer article I referenced at the start.