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Yes, you can mix it with 10-20% glycerol (final concentration) and freeze it solid, but in my experiments it still degrades over time (years) and freezing will kill some no matter what you do. A better solution is to add enough glycerol to depress the freezing point below the level of your freezer (about 0F) so that the mixture doesn't freeze solid, preventing die off. But unless you have a cheap supply of glycerol on hand, adding enough to make it 50% glycerol get expensive fast, especially if you are doing slurries as opposed to the 1.5 ml tubes I use.
Really the best solution for most people is to keep it under distilled water, as cold as possible but not frozen, and then make a starter when you're ready.
This assumes you don't want to play with agar, and you really insist on ranching vs. buying yeast.
I find meeting in commercial space helps bring in new members. People can be reluctant to show up at somebody's house.
I suggest that you look at the mash in two steps within Bru'n Water also. With your grain bill and 5 gallons of water, see what the appropriate mineral additions should be. Then look at the same grain bill with 8 gallons and see what the appropriate mineral additions should be. Add the difference in the mineral amounts to that second step infusion.
One thing to note with respect to the mash is that the only minerals that really matter in the mash are hardness contributors, alkalinity contributors, and acids. Those are the minerals that a brewer would want to concentrate on adjusting for their mash and any steps.
The relative or total amount of sodium, chloride, or sulfate doesn't really matter in the mash. Those ions can be added in the mash or kettle with relatively equal effect.
This is completely based off of what I have seen in my homebrew club, so it may or may not apply to you.
Our club has dues, but they are small, just 20$ per year. This is what our dues go to.
Food/Cups for the meeting
Food and Materials for club brews
Name tags for members (You would be surprised how important this is)
6 tap Jockey Box
This year, some of our dues went to renting a 4 tap jockey box for NHC, so we can have 10 taps.
I also think that the dues are a small way to filter out people who are just coming for beer.
That is my 2cents.
Typical way of doing this is to pull the first 1/2 gallon - 1 gallon of first runnings and boil that until reduced by half.
I would do it for an ESB. Ordinary, maybe not.
As Lennie mentioned, boiling wort down to a caramel is a great way to add depth and complexity to beer. That's my SOP for all British styles (even my bitters).