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Topics - wilypig

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CO / Loveland Weiz Guys and Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
« on: August 30, 2011, 05:39:38 PM »
Join the Weiz Guys Homebrew club ( at Grimm Brothers Brewhouse ( for a day of brewing education and appreciation. We will be starting with an extract beer so all can see that 'if you can make macaroni and cheese from a box, you can make great beer'. We will also be making a Parti-gyle full mash for 2 beers so those that are looking to take the leap can get involved in the process. If interested drop me a line (Ric Cunningham - Exact beer styles are not in concrete yet but a Rye PA and Rye porter are in the works for the Parti-gyle mash beers. Bring a friend and some samples if you have them. Prost.

5 November 2011
First beer starts at 8 am, second soon after.

General Homebrew Discussion / Fishy beer
« on: June 03, 2011, 01:28:16 PM »
I recently made a Dunkelweizen with the Platinum strain Weizen Yeast from White labs. When served from the keg and a bit cold the aroma was fine but when decanted to a growler and allowed to warm up a bit the aroma was of freshly cleaned trout. Not quite pleasant. I have seen this once before at a competition and was wondering if anyone has a clue to what may cause the issue. The beer was fermented in a corny keg at 70 deg with a 4 week primary and direct transfer to another keg. I used Atmos 300 as a foam control agent (similar to Fermcap S). The beer as force carbonated at 36 degrees at 12 PSI for 2 weeks. Thanks all.

Homebrew Competitions / Packing and Shipping
« on: May 24, 2010, 03:31:36 PM »
I recently (last weekend) organized the COC for extracts and have some comments about packing and shipping of entries

The use of gel freezer packs should be discouraged as they never last long enough and tend to make the whole package very messy when the leak/break - we had 3 entries that had these packs and they were all blown all over.

Individually wrapped and bagged bottles fair better and do not affect the neighbors if one breaks or leaks. We had 2 leakers and both caused problems with the bottle labels in the box. However the entire packages were double bagged and nothing leaked out to cause delivery problems. Some packages were packed to the extreme with vacuum sealed bags, styrofoam and such. These methods work but add to the waste stream.

Leaking bottles in this case were caused by suspect crimps. One entry the cap was completely off the bottle and could be snapped back on but would spin on the top. Check you bottles prior to shipping.

If you have a highly carbonated style with 3-3.5 volumes or more please bottle in heavy bottles to prevent the possibility of agitated bottle bombs - this was not an issue for us but I felt should be noted.

Please do not use packing peanuts as these provide no protection for the contents in most cases and just fill out the box. Bubble wrap or pillow packing is a much better and less messy solution.

Double check that your paperwork in inside the box. We had 3 entries show up with no entry fee and one show up with no entry form

Verify that the shipper did not fat finger the address for your package. On entry almost did not make it due to a fat finger address on the shipping label, although the correct address was on the package elsewhere

If anyone has any questions or comments about the process I am happy to give my input. Thanks.

Homebrew Competitions / AHA COC Extract May 2010
« on: May 24, 2010, 12:21:11 AM »
Congratulations to the participants in the May 2010 Club Only Competition - Extracts

Of the  61 entries from 29 States, the following winners were chosen:

First Place – Brendan Wehrly of La Verne Ca representing the Crown of the Valley Brewing Society with a Cat 21A Spice/herb/vegatable - Cracked Black Peppercorn Weizen, “Pepperweizen”

Second Place – Bob Peak of Petuluma Ca representing the Sonoma Beerocrats, with a Cat 4A Dark American Lager, “Final Frontier”

Third Place - John Emke of St Louis MO representing the Garage Brewers Association, with a Cat 22C Wood aged beer - Bourbon Barrel Porter

My thanks to all that entered and to those who could make it to the judging.

Ric Cunningham
Niagara Association of Homebrewers

Equipment and Software / Spunding valve experience
« on: November 23, 2009, 03:39:26 PM »
I have been using a spunding valve set up for a variety of ferments and would like to see how many others have used this an get there thoughts. for all you that have no idea what I am talking about I will explain in another post in this thread.

Homebrewer Bios / Brewer profile - Ric Cunningham AKA The Wilypig
« on: November 16, 2009, 04:15:05 PM »
Brewer Profile: Ric Cunningham
Club Affiliation: Niagara Association of Homebrewers
BJCP Status: Certified
Brewing Since: 1997

Ric caught the homebrew bug while serving in the US Navy. During his last deployment in 1996, a fellow sailor gave him of the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing  by Charlie Papazian, one of the best books available for beginning brewers. After leaving the Navy, he took a job in McMinnville Tennessee, a city that's located in a dry county. As a beer lover, Ric had to learn to brew his own.

 The closest homebrew shop was 1.5 hours away. After buying a basic homebrew kit and a large kettle, Ric's brewing  adventures began. At first, his progress was slow, partly because he lived in an isolated area and at the time there were few resources available on the Internet.

Ric moved from Tennessee to Indiana and finally to Niagara Falls, New York, where he was delighted to discover an active and involved homebrew club, the Niagara Association of Homebrewers (NAH). Ric refined his brewing skills as a member of the club and read voraciously about beer and brewing. One of the core books that influenced him was Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels.  

Around that time, Ric began entering homebrew competitions and, like many other brewers, the spirit of competition helped him improve the quality of his beer. He learned about beer styles and began to understand that brewing to style is an important part of the competitive spirit. The first beer he brewed to style was created at "Brew on the River," an annual outdoor event held by NAH where members gather for a marathon brewing session that often involves 20 or more brewers, each using his own brewing equipment. That year, NAH elected to brew all 26 BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) styles, in one day, in one location. Ric's choice was strong Scotch ale, a beer that subsequently won multiple gold medals in homebrew competitions in New York State.

Ric's job required him to travel extensively, both in and outside the US. He spent 3 years in southern Holland near the city of Breda, which isn't far from Antwerp and Brussels. Here Ric learned about Belgian styles firsthand. He befriended a local café owner, which enabled him to sample and study in depth the many fine beers of Belgium, Holland and Germany.

   In 2001, Ric upgraded from a 5 gallon brewing system to a 15 gallon keggle.  Besides Belgian styles, he also explored and brewed English and American ales. Around this time, he also moved from kits to extract recipes of his own. Finally, he switched to all-grain brewing and drew upon all his previous experience to continue brewing medal-winning beers.

In 2004, Ric became interested in historical brewing, including styles, ingredients and processes. The first historically based beer he brewed was a turbid mash lambic style that took 16+ hours to brew. After reading Sacred Herbal and Healing Beers by Steven Harrod Buhner, Ric turned his attention to designing a new group of historical beers. He eventually made over 20 such beers, including gruits.

Also in 2004, Ric decided to pursue BJCP certification to become a beer judge. He organized a study group that met in his basement, a section of which is fitted up as bar --  place with just the right ambiance for studying and sampling beer. All 10 members of the group passed the exam, achieving at least the BJCP rank of "Certified." He organized another successful 12-week study group in 2008.

2008 was a busy year for Ric. He was the organizer of the "Amber Waves of Grain" (AWOG), a national homebrew competition based in western New York state.  The competition receives over 350 entries every year. AWOG has 3 judging sessions held over 2 days. There's also a best of show (BOS) round for both beer and mead and cider. As the BOS referee, Ric was responsible to see that the BOS round was completed in enough time to allow the judges and organizers to complete their task and arrive at the awards banquet on time.  

As a core member of the Niagara Association of Homebrewers club, Ric makes himself available to teach classes, to do brewing demonstrations and to help customers at a local homebrew shop. He is an active member and moderator of the Grow-Hops Yahoo group as well as a member of several other brewing-related forums on the Internet. Ric also travels around the country looking for great beer and other homebrew clubs.

Photo -

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