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Topics - Crispy275

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General Homebrew Discussion / Homebrew Club Insurance - Deadline extended
« on: September 14, 2015, 07:47:09 AM »
The recent enrollment/re-enrollment period for the Homebrew Club Insurance program has come and gone. However, West Insurance Agency recently sent the following update:

Due to the tremendous club participation and interest in the Homebrew Club Insurance Program, the insurance carrier has agreed to extend the open enrollment period until 12/1/15.

Any club that may have missed the initial enrollment date can still enroll in this exclusive insurance program.

Please note: 
*The policy term for any club that enrolls after the initial enrollment date of 9/1/15 will be required to pay the full $3.50 per club member (the premium will not be prorated by the carrier).
*Coverage for all clubs that enroll (from 9/1/15 – 12/1/15) will be effective on 12/1/15 once the premium payment has been accepted and all required documentation is received by the carrier.
*In order to keep the program uniform, as this is a master policy for all enrolled clubs, the expiration date of the coverage for all clubs will remain 9/1/16.

You can begin the enrollment process for your club at

If you have any questions you can contact Jenny Caldwell at or (847) 623-0456.

This is a solid benefit that homebrew clubs should consider. I think the pricing is solid and the peace of mind that it provides is well worth it - Crispy

August is the last month of the open enrollment for both the Homebrewers Insurance Program and the new D&O program option, both with an effective date of 9/1. Any club that wants to renew or enroll for the first time will need to contact Jenny (information below).

Great American, the carrier that provides our Homebrew Club Insurance Program, has offered to put together a D&O Insurance offering for clubs that are interested in securing this additional coverage.  D&O Insurance provides liability coverage for the club’s directors and officers for their decisions they make while serving the club in that capacity.  Individuals can be held personally liable for these decisions while representing their club and the D&O insurance provides coverage which includes costs to defend the directors, officers, and the club against a law suit.

The main difference between the current Homebrew Club Insurance Program and a D&O policy is that the Homebrew Club Program provides coverage for the club’s negligence that causes someone to be physically injured or someone else’s property to be damaged because of a mistake by someone in the club or the club’s activities.  The D&O insurance provides coverage should a director or officer or the club be sued by someone based on the decisions made that someone else thinks is wrong. 

An example would be if someone alleges that they were discriminated against in the declination of their membership in the club or the removing of an individual’s membership status in the club.  Also, another example would be if a fellow club member files a suit against the club’s officers because they are unhappy with the direction of the club or use of funds, etc. 

Pricing Includes:
Clubs up to 75 members – $250 annual premium
Clubs 76-150 members – $350 annual premium
Clubs 151 members and higher – $450
*The average cost for a club to secure this coverage on an individual basis is $750-$1,000.

The D&O limits:
$1,000,000 – Per Club
$10,000,00 – Aggregate – shared by all clubs

Jenny can be reached at or 847-623-0456 with any questions, requests to enroll/re-enroll, etc. This program is a terrific member benefit and should be considered by all clubs. And remember, because Gary and his staff felt it was critical to get these programs out to members at the most affordable rate, the AHA receives no commissions or other payments for this program.

The AHA Research & Education Fund (R&EF) was launched earlier this year, and we now have the results of the first proposal to have gone through the process.

Several members of the QUAFF homebrewers club, led by Stan Sission, did a focused, side-by side comparison of the same cider fermented with different yeast strains. Members can see the results of this study at Or listen to the presentation that was given at this year’s National Homebrewers Conference.

The R&EF subcommittee liked this request from the start because the controls were clear, the objective straight forward and the lessons were going to be easy to understand and impart to the members.

When a member submits a proposal, the sub-committee reviews it as a team and then an individual coach is identified. He or she will take the member and their proposal from start to finish – right up to helping them obtain reimbursement for eligible expenses! Typical feedback provided by the coaches have included requests to tighten up the scope of a research proposal or reduce the variables. Feedback is meant to enhance the end results or to help ensure that the research proposal uses solid research principles. Coaches are there to help a member get their concept approved.

Requests are starting to come in, and we want to encourage AHA members to review the program details at This program is a great member benefit that creates opportunities for members to share learning's while covering significant costs.

Events / Big Brew (celebrated one week early)
« on: April 29, 2013, 09:15:18 AM »
300 homebrewers converged this past Saturday at the Rochester Mills Production facility and collectively brewed 122 batchs for a total of 1012 gallon of homebrew. RMBC has been offering an early celebration of National Homebrew Day /Big brew activities so as not to interfer with local clubs and homebrew supply shop efforts slated for the big day. All ingredients were donated, we had a sunny, mid-70's beautiful day, and all was good.

Many thanks to the fine folks at RMBC and the volunteers that made this such a well run event. Participants can enter their creations into a homebrew contest that will be held June 1st, and the winner gets to have their recipe brewed at thei facility.

Looking forward to more Big Brew activities next Saturday. Here is our early toast

An editorial in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( states that if you think craft breweries are a good force in America, then take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking and support them.

 “It makes a difference. By supporting small and independent craft brewers across the country, we are giving them a chance to thrive in business, create more jobs, boost the economy and compete against the massive corporations that have controlled the market for so long.”

Just two international conglomerates (SAB Miller – London, and A-B InBev - Belgium), control most of the 2nd tier of beer distribution. AB InBev is attempting to expand its reach with a deal that could result in 80% of all U.S. beer distributors being controlled in one fashion or another by these two.

As homebrewers, it may not seem intuitive that we have any “skin in the game”, and perhaps we don’t in the same context of the 2,100+ craft brewers in the US. But as the pipeline for future craft brewers, and as some of the most passionate Evang-ALE-ists, we can and should be concerned about the issues presented in this piece, and we should definitely consider how we support our brethren who wear rubber boots!

If you agree with this sentiment, please read the article and chime in with support. Share it via Facebook, Twitter and amongst your friends and others who you believe this message resonates with.  Make an extra effort this holiday season to visit one of your local, small, traditional and independent craft brewers. Support them and share instagram photos drinking a true indie craft beer. Demand indie craft beer choices at the stores and restaurants you frequent.

I believe that this matters to homebrewers, beer enthusiasts, and to the long term health and diversity of craft brewers here in the US.

Forty two entries from 22 states were entered into the 2012 AHA Club Only November/December Competition that was judged this past Saturday, November 17th at Liberty Street Brewing Company in Plymouth, Michigan. The competition was hosted by the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, and was assisted by The CRAFT Homebrewers Club as well. The Ant Hayes Memorial Burton (Old Ale) competition paid homage to our dear friend, Ant, who himself “went for a Burton”. All entries were 19-A, Old Ale.

Congratulations to the following winners:
•   First Place: Darren Bystrom and his assistant Nick Crabb of Pullman, WA, representing the Homebrewers of the Palouse, with a 19a Old Ale, “Mash of the Titans”.
•   Second Place: Nate Nowak of Cordova, TN, representing the Bluff City Brewers and Connoisseurs, with a 19a Old Ale, “Old Kerfuffle”.
•   Third Place: Roger Masson of Oak Park, IL, representing the Brewers of South Suburbia, with a 19a Old Ale, “Piloncillo Old Ale”
•   Honorable Mention was given to both Geoff Bragg of Livermore, CA, representing the Mad Zymurgists with his “Ye Olde Ale’, and Brian Hoesing of Lincoln, NE, representing the Lincoln Lagers, with his “Old Man River” Old Ale.

During the Best of Show judging, Jeff Renner received a phone call from his friend Llewellyn Janse van Rensburg in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Llewellyn was a friend of Ant Hayes, and the two of them organized the first BJCP exam outside of North America in Johannesburg, which Jeff administered.  Llewellyn wanted to let the AABG that he was thinking of us and of Ant during the judging.  On the anniversary of Ant's death this past May, he impulsively took the day off of work and brewed Ant's "Absent Friends" Burton Ale recipe.  He said that he was about to open a bottle.

It was good to feel that Ant was present in the memories of those across the world who knew him and who miss him.

The November/December Club Only Competition is coming up. In fact, entries from participating clubs are due by November 10th, so if you are interested, here are the details:

I want to thank everyone that ran for this year’s AHA Governing Committee election.

By doing so, they demonstrated their desire to serve the greater homebrewing community. The candidate statements made it is clear that they already do this in a number of ways. From organizing and/or judging homebrew competitions, providing leadership to their local clubs, actively working to change onerous legislation to improve the legislative climate for homebrew legislation, providing retail opportunities for homebrewers and a myriad of other ways, they demonstrate their commitment.

In their candidate statements they shared their life experiences and how they could benefit the AHA GC.  From relevant technical experience and/or skill sets they have picked up over the years, Boards they have sat on, jobs they have held, charities they support, leadership skills they have demonstrated, they explained why they were running and what they felt they could contribute.

Collectively, all of them demonstrated their passion for the hobby and those involved. Along with the explosive growth in both the hobby of homebrewing and the craft brewing community, we have enjoyed an unprecedented slate of candidates filled with depth and experience. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t bring all of them on board and tap the collective wisdom and experience that they all bring to the table.

Debbie Cerda and Ron Price, welcome to the AHA GC; Denny Conn– welcome back. 

And to, Bruce Bueger, Terry Denham Dave Dixon, David Kidd, Terry Parker and Curt Stock - thank you for offering to serve on the AHA GC this year, and keep doing all the good things you do for the hobby and its community!

MI / Ann Abor
« on: October 26, 2011, 04:26:50 PM »
Members from the FORD Homebrew Club, the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild and the Monroe Muskrat Mashers will be brewing several demo batchs at the recently opened Adventures in Homebrewing on 6071 Jackson RD, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

Festivities will begin at 10 and should continue to 5:00. Feel free to bring a homebrew (or 3) if you feel so inclinded, and bring a friend that would like to see the process from end to end.

General Homebrew Discussion / The AHA needs your help!
« on: July 29, 2010, 08:37:25 AM »
We are looking for clubs that currently have insurance who would be willing to share the information with staff and the Governing Committee.

Please PM your contact info to me (Chris Frey), or send me an email to

Specifically, we are looking for requirements that you needed to obtain coverage (incorporation, etc.), types of coverages (events, Directors & Officers, equipment, etc.).

The name of the agent, underwriter, you get the picture. The end goal is to see if we can identify a national carrier that would be willing to offer coverage to AHA clubs.

An amazing 3,265 AHA members took the time to share some information about their homebrewing practices.  Both the AHA Survey Sub-Committee and the AHA staff thank all of you for sharing with us! We hope to use the information gathered to help identify what our members want.

While not a complete run down of every answer, here are some of the highlights.

Responses to the question "How long have you been a homebrewer? " broke down as follows:
1 year or less11.9%
2-3 years25.0%
4-5 years16.0%
6-10 years15.3%
11-15 years14.4%
16-20 years10.5%
21-25 years3.1%
25-30 years1.4%
More than 30 years0.5%
The average homebrewer responding to this survey indicated they brewed almost every month, or 11.04 batches annually.

65% of the batches were all-grain, while 14% were all extract, 16.5% were extract with specialty grains and a little less than 5% were mashed grains with extract (partial mash).

Ales were the most popular style brewed in the last 12 months (almost 88% indicated that they had brewed this style), while nearly 40% had brewed a lager in the last 12 months.

Pale Ales (Cream Ale, Kolsch, Pale Ale, IPA, etc.) were the most common (80%), followed by Dark Ales (Browns, Porters and Stouts) at over 75%. Strong beers (7% ABV or above) were brewed by 64% of the collective. The least popular styles in the last year were the Dark Lagers (American Dark Lager, Schwarzbier, Bock, etc.) with only 16.8% indicating that they had brewed at least one batch in the last year.

Interestingly enough, when broken down by country categories, American Craft-Style beers (52%), Belgian-Style beers (48.2%), British-Style beers (45.6%) and German-Style beers (42.7%) were pretty closely packed together, with Irish (29.4%) and Scottish-Style beers (23.7%) bringing up the rear.

And within all of these responses, 97.5% indicated that they had ever made a beer, 35.7% a mead, 25.5% a grape wine, 14.6% a fruit wine (other than from grapes), 32.5% a cider, 2.5% a Sake and 3.7% must live in New Zealand, as they indicated they had ever made a distilled beverage ;-)

To paraphrase George Thorogood, when homebrewers brew alone, they prefer to brew by themselves (67.3%) versus with one or more persons (32.7%).

30% prefer to brew in the kitchen, 31% in the garage and 33.2% "outside". 5.8% brew in the basement.

65.8% purchase their homebrew supplies from a local homebrew supply shop, 19.3% from an online/mail order shop even though there is a local shop, 10.8% from an online/mail order shop because there is no local shop and a handful (4.2%) had other, creative ways of acquiring their supplies.

The frequency of purchasing from a local LHBS shop made an interesting bell curve, with 3-4 times a year coming in at 16.2%, 5-9 times a year at 25.1% and 10-14 times 16.3 %.

People were far more likely to purchase equipment via online/phone/mail order than they were to purchase ingredients. Quality of ingredients was by far the most important consideration (65.4%) when purchasing ingredients, while price (17.5%) and origin of ingredients (17.2%) were ranked lower in primary consideration.

When purchasing malt extract, branded, unhopped dry malt extract (21.9%) beat purchase preferences for bulk, unhopped dry malt extract (18.4%) by a smidge. However, if you add bulk, unhopped and unbranded dry malt extract (13.9%), dry beat wet by a large margin. 31% of the members indicated that they do not buy malt extract, and 2.5% use hopped liquid malt extract kits.

While 69.1% of you indicated that you choose malt (grain) based on the style of beer you are brewing, 14.9% said that they don't care about the brand of malt that they choose. 6.7% usually purchase a particular brand of malt, and 1.7% always buy a particular brand, 4.8% don't buy any malt grains.

Finally, 44.7% of you state that you always buy luquid yeast, 38.3% primarily buy luquid yeast, but sometimes buy dried yeast, 12.2% primarily buy dried yeast, but sometimes use liquid, and 3.3% always buy dried yeast. That leaves 1.5% who don't buy any yeast. Either they bum some from a local brewer, or thwey allow for spontaneous fermentation!


The 2010 Demographic Survey results are in. From the members of the AHA Survey Sub-Committee and the. AHA Staff, we want to thank all 3,400+ members who responded. This compares with 743 members who responded in 2007, or a +450% increase.

Some of the high level information that we learned from our members include:
In 2007, 13.2% stated they were between 21-29 years old.In 2010 it is 14.5%
In 2007, 31% stated they were between 30-39 years old.In 2010 it is 32.2%
In 2007, 29.9% stated they were between 40-49 years old.In 2010 it is 24.8%
In 2007, 19.8% stated they were between 50-59 years old.In 2010 it is 20.8%
In 2007, 6.1% stated they were between 60-79 years old.In 2010 it is 7.7%
No one indicated that they were 80+ years old in either survey. Apparently Fred Eckhardt doesn't do surveys ;-)

In 2007, 96% of respondents were male. In 2010 95.3% were male. Sigh…makes me yearn for the days when the "Ale Wife" was more prevalent.

In 2007, 70.4% had obtained at least a Bachelors degree. In 2010, 71.3% had at least a BA. In both years, over ¼ of responding members had achieved either a Graduate Level Degree (22.5%/20.5%) or a PhD (6.3%/6.7%).

Overall, homebrewers make a good living:
< than $25K2.8%3.4%
25,000 – 29,9991.6%2.2%
30,000 – 34,9992.6%2.4%
35,000 – 49,9997.4%7.4%
50,000 – 74,99921.9%19.4%
75,000 – 99,99924.9%20.7%
100,000 – 149,00025.2%28.4%
150,000 or higher13.6%16.2%
In 2007 84.5% were married or living with a significant other, versus 82.6% today

In 2007 57.6% had a significant other who was supportive of the hobby, versus 59.5% today. In both surveys only 11% indicated that both were involved in the homebrewing activity.

A new question this year asked "How many years have you been an AHA member?" provides some interesting info.
1 year or less33.3%
2-3 years29.9%
4-5 years13.8%
6-10 years10.9%

The question in 2007 asked "How many years have you been Homebrewing",
1 year or less10.4%
2-3 years17.8%
4-5 years16.4%
6-10 years18.7%
11-15 years21.9%
16-20 years9.0%

Friends and family members continue to be how most people got started homebrewing (34.5% / 39.6%), followed by being given a gift of a homebrewing kit/homebrewing book (21.8% / 19.3%) and through a local homebrew supply shop (18.6% / 17.5%)

Members strongly agree with the statements that they brew beer because:
I enjoy the creative/artistic aspects of brewing74%69.5%
I brew because I can customize the beer to my taste52%50.6%
I brew because I like the scientific aspects44%46.1%
I enjoy the company of those I brew/share with41%39.8%
Fewer members state that they brew beers primarily to enter competitions (36% / 40.3%), or "I brew because it is cheaper than buying beer at the store (23% / 20.5%).

"Is there a local homebrew club in your area?" remained pretty consistent (82.4% / 81.1%), and yet about 35% indicated that they never attend these.

In 2007 65.8% indicated that they had ever entered a homebrew competition, and in 2010 that percentage slipped a bit to 56.6%

In 2007, 30.8% responded that they had entered 2-4 competitions in the last two years (followed by "0" at 29.1%), and in 2010 2-4 garnered 31.6% and "0" received 34.1% of the tally.

Members who have ever shipped entries to a competition has dropped from 48.1% in 2007 to 35.7% in 2010.

An interesting side note. While Almost 98% of respondents indicated that they lived in the U.S., we also received responses from Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Puerto Rico, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.

Kegging and Bottling / Keg, bottle or both?
« on: November 12, 2009, 10:46:59 AM »
Many homebrewers never keg, and many who set up a kegging system never bottle again.

And yet, some of us who do use kegs still bottle a significant amount to provide as gifts and competitions. And some keg exclusively but use a counter pressure bottle filler or beer gun to fill the occassional bottle.

How much do you bottle? Keg?

Other Fermentables / Heat or no heat
« on: November 12, 2009, 10:02:54 AM »
A simple question - do you use heat in making your mead or not?

Beer Recipes / Unusual Session Beers
« on: November 11, 2009, 10:07:26 AM »
We all know that a good session beer is lower in alcohol, yet still satifies the palate. Alts, Kolsch, Mild, smaller Brown's, Dry Irish Stout, Classic American Pilsners, and small ales come to mind.

However i am looking for interesting session beers that are not to style. Beers that start at or below 1.040.

I have been thinking around doing a Belgian Single. But rather than just cutting the grain and hop bill by half and risking an inspid and watery brew, I was wondering if anyone else has ever had success with either this "quasi-style", or other brews that may not be stylistically accurate, but light, refreshing, with lots of good, balanced flavors, but not much alcohol. Recipes would be great, but even just some tips and tricks.

I keep thinking of Belgian style adaptations, because of the wonderful flavor profiles of so many of the Belgian yeast, but I am sure there must be some others out there who may have already either perfected, or are well down the road to creating such satisfying brews.

Additionally, are there particular hops that people find more delightful in a light beer, and others to avoid? I mean, beyond the obvious, such as not using Summit hops. What very low alpha hops shine in the smallest beers?

And finally, what malt additions have you used in a small beer that really gives that brew a satisfying nudge toward this goal?

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