Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Jeff Renner

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Beer Yeast for Bread?
« on: September 17, 2013, 10:53:51 PM »
Da-da da-da da-da da-da, da-da da-da da-da da-da, Breadman!

Good answers above, but as a baker by trade and a brewer by passion, I do have some thoughts.  Baker's yeast and brewer's yeast (though not lager yeast) are selected strains of the same species, S. cerevesiae.  There are several strains of wet and dry baker's yeast that behave a bit differently in their rehydration needs and speed of fermentation, but all originate from brewer's yeast.  They all have been selected for quicker fermentation than brewer's yeast in a dough medium.

Brewer's yeast certainly does work in bread, but my experience is that it is slower.  It helps to wash it to avoid bitterness, and you need to use more.  One difference between beer and bread is that with bread, you want the other micro-organisms to to grow along with the yeast for a more complex flavor, so using less yeast and letting it take its time makes better bread.  With beer, of course, you don't want those other critters at all.

It's been a while since I baked with harvested brewer's yeast, but my recollection is that it made a bread with a somewhat fruity flavor and aroma.

I suspect that some brewer's would work better than others.  My guess is that a good, top-cropped yeast like my favorite, WLP022 (which I myself brought back from Ridley's Brewery and supplied to Chris White) might be a good choice as it's easy to collect lots of clean yeast from the top.

I also fermented beer many years ago with wet baker's yeast, and I don't recommend this.  It had a definite phenolic, "wild yeast" flavor.  I suspect that it has the same gene as Bavarian weizen and some Belgian yeasts, and which has been selected against in most cleaner brewer's yeast.  But I wanted to replicate the old prohibition recipe - can of hopped malt extract, five pounds of sugar, hot water to five gallons in a stoneware crock.  Float a cake of yeast on a slice of rye toast and as the toast disintegrates, the wort cools and the yeast diffuses into the very warm wort.


Today is the anniversary of the death of Ant Hayes.  See this thread from a year ago for details.

In his memory, the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild will host the November Club Only Competition for BJCP Category 19a plus historic Burton Ales in the style that Ant spoke of at Minneapolis and wrote of in Zymurgy in Jan/Feb 2011.  See for that article.

I will post more details about the Ant Hayes Memorial COC shortly, and there will also be details at the AHA site.

Thanks, Sean.  This is indeed a fitting tribute.  As chance would have it, I am at this very moment wearing my 2003 Tri-Nations tee-shirt that you guys gave me on my trip.


I have been touched by the outpouring of sympathy and grief from brewers literally around the world, on this forum, HBD, BJCP and private email.  He was well loved.

I have been asked for ideas on how to memorialize Ant.  Here is an email from his wife, Leonora, with what I think is a wonderful idea:

"It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I have to do this.  As much as Nicola, Daniel and I have lost you have as well.  Ant touched everyone that he met and made us all feel special.  We will be holding a funeral service for him on Thursday, 12 May at 3 pm. The service will be held at St. John's Church, Foxbush, Hildenborough, TN11 9HT. Tea will follow in the hall.

Thanks for all you messages, condolences and love.  I would appreciate it if you would not send flowers but rather donate to "Holding On, Letting Go". 
This is a charity that specialises in supporting grieving children of Nicola and Daniel's age. Please don't feel obligated to do donate. Your love and support is enough for us. "

I know from my own mother's experience how a parent's suicide can have lasting mental health harm if unaddressed, and I am so glad that this organization is available for Ant's children.

I encourage you to contribute if you knew Ant, and perhaps your local homebrew club can do so as well.  AABG is.

General Homebrew Discussion / In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
« on: May 04, 2011, 01:21:19 PM »

It is with profound sadness that I write that Ant Hayes died Monday. 

He was one of the most popular speakers at the Cincinnati and Minneapolis conferences and a good friend.

Llewellyn van Rensburg phoned me from Johannesburg with the stunning news on Monday.  Tragically, he took his own life.

I first met Ant when he, Llewellyn, and the Wort Hog Brewers organized the first BJCP exam outside of North America in 2003 and they flew me down to South Africa to administer the exam.  We had been email correspondents, and online friends, for years before that, having "met" on HomeBrew digest.  He and Llewellyn each hosted me for part of my stay in Jo'burg.  Ant was my roommate at the two conferences, and my wife and I visited him for two days in the UK, where he moved to in 2005 or so.

I am just stunned and can't imagine that such a bright light has been extinguished.

Several of us AABGers drank a toast to Ant's memory at a local brewpub last evening.  I invite you to do the same.  We must keep Ant alive in our hearts since he couldn't bear to keep himself alive with us.

It is a wonderful hobby that brings so many of us together from all over the globe, but it also opens us to having our hearts broken.  I'll accept the trade-off.

Below are several notes, the first from Jeremy Wallis of the Wort Hog Brewers in Johannesburg.  Llew's eulogy is beautiful and I can't add to it.

I will be posting to HBD and the BJCP forum later in the day.


Hi Jeff,
Many thanks for your kind words, Ant was indeed a great friend & brewer to so many.
When you come to share the sad news with your community that side, maybe some of the links in the message below can be of use for pictures (this is a message sent out to some 1800 people off our club website just now).
Keep well,

Dear Brewers,

I am not even sure where to start, but I am emailing this evening to pass on the sad news around the passing away (in the UK) of our long time brewing friend Antony Hayes.

I cannot even believe the words I am typing, this is really such a shock. Ant was one of our founder members at the Wort Hog Brewers and as the words below from Llewellyn and Andy and the links thereafter show, he was a central and very enthusiastic club member for all the years that we got to share his life. He carried his love for his hobby around the world with him and is the only WHB member I know of who presented a paper at an American Homebrewers Conference, he started the BJCP exams and qualifications here in SA and more recently in the UK (

Ant was was one hell of a brewer, a great friend to so many of us and, most importantly, loving husband to Leonora and dad to their twins. Our hearts go out to his family both here and overseas and I offer condolences on behalf of all his friends at the Wort Hogs, you're in our thoughts & prayers.

Below I include emails from Andy and Llewellyn, received earlier today.

Ant, we'll miss you buddy.

With love,


WHB Member Andy Tasker, Ant's uncle, sent this message to the homebrewer's email discussion group this evening :

Hi Brewers

I apologise for using this forum to convey bad news, but it is the quickest way to contact all club members.  Yesterday Ant Hayes passed away.  Apparently Ant had been suffering from deep depression and he took his own life.  I do not have more details at this stage.

For those of you who don't know Ant, he was a founder member of the WortHogs and an inspiration to everyone he came in contact with.  He initiated the BJCP programme in our club and enthusiastically put in hours of work for the club members.  And for all of you who had the pleasure of knowing Ant you will surely feel and know what a great loss this is.

To me he was a nephew, a close friend and a great brewer.

We can all mourn in our way, but I ask you all to raise a glass to celebrate his life.


Email from Lleweelyn jv Rensburg :

As you know, we have had very sad news.  Ant Hayes died yesterday.

I met Ant at a Wort Hogs evening when we were still meeting in Rietfontein at the thatched roof place.  I was standing outside chatting to this lovely girl, Leonora.  She said her husband was in the hall there and he is also a brewer and an actuary.  What a coincidence!   We became great friends.

We spent many a happy evening at his house, tasting and discussing things beer related.

Do you remember the "Braaipap CAP"?  And his relentless quest to make a clear sorghum beer.  He succeeded!

Ant talked me into doing the BJCP exams.  At first I wasn't too keen.  But he persisted and he got Jeff Renner from the USA to come to South Africa and oversee the exam.

Did we have fun evenings doing the studying.  He would always have some mystery beer that he sourced somewhere.

Ant and I both agreed that the BJCP exams were some of the most difficult exams we had done in our lives.

We wrote the exams and Ant achieved the highest score in our group.  With enough experience points he would be a National Judge.

Ant's twins, Daniel and Nicola were born in 2003.  Ant brewed two cases of Barley wine to be stored for their 21st birthday.

Leonora and his kids were held up in their Bryanston home - this was a very heavy blow to Ant.

We talked a lot about actuarial matters.  Ant was a brilliant actuary we often talked about difficult decisions and advice that he had to give his clients.  He always took the professional and correct route.  I admired him for that.

Ant and his family moved to the UK.  He left the Barley wines in my custody.  It is still in my cold room.  He fetched a case a year or so ago.

Ant and I went to the American Homebrewers Conference in Cincinnati in 2009.  We visited Jeff Renner and stayed over at his place for a couple of days.  We had so much fun!  Ant made two speeches at the conference.  He had a bee in his bonnet that the BJCP guidelines did not reflect the true character of English Brown Ales.  He specially flew in a couple of cases of various Brown Ales for the attendees to sample and make up their own minds.  He was one of the most talked of speakers.  We met all the great guns in the American home-brewing scene - John Palmer, Randy Mosher, Gordon Strong, Al Boyce, David Houseman, etc.

Ant started the London Amateur Brewers club.  He recently held the first BJCP exams in the UK.

I had the fortune to meet a lot of Ant's family - what great people!

Over the years I had learnt so much from Ant.

My heart is broken.  I feel so sad for his family.  I only hope that the great memory of this great man will, over time, overshadow this sad time.

We have lost a great brewer, a great actuary and above all a great friend!

Ant, we are going to miss you!


A few links from our website :

Ant & fellow Wort Hogs with Charlie Papazian at Sun City

Ant's Braai Pap Classic American Pilsner at Big Brew in 2001 :

The First Wort Hog Brewers Summer Beer Festival in 2001 :

At the 2001 SA National Homebrew Competition :

At the 2002 SA National Homebrew Competition :

Ant with his uncle, Andy, at the 2001 SBF :

Shopping At Gil's brewery in Roodepoort :

A very recent one in the UK after the BJCP exams - the story is on the front page of the BJCP site at present :

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest 2011
« on: April 28, 2011, 11:52:52 AM »
Kristen England's yeast chart says that 2487 is the WY equivalent of 833.  Yea/Nea?  Any history behind how WY got it?

I don't see that number at all in the Wyeast yeast chart.

Jeff, you have to look in the Private Strain section, and it was on in Jan-March 2011.

Thanks, Jeff.  I didn't find it even when doing a search on their site for 2487.  I guess their search engine isn't thorough.

One possible difference between the two strains is that Wyeast recommends a diacetyl rest.  I have never had had even a hint of diacetyl from 833, and I am well known in my club to very sensitive to it.  I generally ferment it at 48-50F.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest 2011
« on: April 28, 2011, 02:24:00 AM »
Kristen England's yeast chart says that 2487 is the WY equivalent of 833.  Yea/Nea?  Any history behind how WY got it?

I don't see that number at all in the Wyeast yeast chart.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest 2011
« on: April 28, 2011, 01:53:45 AM »
I think Marc Sedam of Raleigh, NC may actually have been responsible for providing the strain to WhiteLabs a bit before that, but I'm not certain.

Upon further reflection, I don't think that Marc was involved with providing this yeast to WhiteLabs, but rather the Samiclaus and perhaps the Mexican lager.  I may well have sent it to them myself.  I remember sending more than one off by FedEx.

I'm only posting this to provide some history for future researchers. ;-)

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest 2011
« on: April 27, 2011, 09:51:33 PM »
Here are some thoughts on my favorite way to make a Vienna or its bigger brothers.

I use 100% German Vienna malt and use a pseudo-decoction as I described in an article in March/April 2010 Zymurgy.  This involves two parallel mashes in much the manner of an American cereal mash.  A portion of the malt, say 20-25%, is mashed at around 150F for 30 minutes, then boiled for ~ 30 minutes.  I actually use a pressure cooker, with a smaller pot in the bit pressure cooker so there is no direct heat to the malt, and so no need for stirring to avoid scorching.

Regardless of how I boil this smaller mash, I mash in the rest of the malt at ~144F for full fermentability, then after 30-45 minutes, I add the boiling hot smaller mash to boost the combined mash to about 158F and rest it there for another 30-45 minutes.  There is sufficient enzyme action to convert any starches released by the boil.

The advantage of this pseudo-decoction is that it produces lots of tasty, malty melanoidins.  It also works great with all-dark-Munich malt for Dunkels and dark bocks.

For bittering, I like to use one of the Pacific Northwest derivatives of the noble hops such as Mt. Hood.  I find these to be reliably fresher than European imports, and less expensive.

A Vienna (and O'Fest and Martzen) is an elegant beer and should holler MALT! and whisper hops, so keep the bittering in check.  No need for aroma hops.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest 2011
« on: April 27, 2011, 09:26:28 PM »
I know WLP833 is the Ayinger strain; Jeff Renner was involved in obtaining it, so he can confirm.  I know this strain makes good lagers.  I used it in a CAP, and it was great, so it's not just for German beers.

Actually, Dan McConnell, a fellow Ann Arborite and friend, got the Ayinger yeast in the mid 90's (I think) from Germany via Herr Durst (don't know his first name).  Dan owned the Yeast Culture Kit Co. at the time and was producing yeast for GW Kent as well, and Kent was the exclusive distributor of Durst Malts.

When Arbor Brewing Co., our first local brewpub (established July, 1995), started brewing a lager, Dan provided five lager strains and they fermented a small amount of identical Pilsner wort with each at 50F, and then lagered it at 50F.  I was on the taste panel to chose the best along with Dan, the owners, Matt and Rene Greff, and the assistant brewer.  The Ayinger was my clear favorite and was the consensus favorite as well, although it wasn't unanimous.  (Of course, the owners' opinion was final.)  They used this strain until some time a few years ago when they switched to high pressure fermenting and lagering.

When Dan closed the YCKC about ten years ago, he transferred his collection of yeasts (several hundreds, kept at -80C) to WhiteLabs.  I think Marc Sedam of Raleigh, NC may actually have been responsible for providing the strain to WhiteLabs a bit before that, but I'm not certain.  I was somewhat involved with helping to chose its name, since they obviously couldn't call it "Ayinger."  Regardless, it is definitely the source of WLP833.

At first, WhiteLabs was going to distribute it as a Platinum strain two months a year, but I got an email campaign going via HomeBrew Digest (HBD) to convince that Chris White there was enough demand to make it available year-round.  We even had Australian homebrewers sending email!  We convinced them to put it on the regular year-round list and it's stayed there, so I guess Chris thinks it's popular enough to keep it there.

It is absolutely my favorite yeast for most lagers, including CAPs. as Gordon says.  (I think that that is part of the official description by my suggestion.)  It emphasizes malt, which is nice for a CAP since while is is a malt/hop balanced beer, it is not 100% malt, so the malt boost is welcome.  I have a CAP on right now that is fantastic, even though it hasn't lagered enough to be clear yet.  I'm trying to stay away from it for another two weeks.

For malt-driven lagers such as Helles, any bock or Vienna/Martzen/Fest, it is also my clear first choice.

In a separate post I will make some suggestions for putting together a O'fest.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: December 13, 2010, 04:31:48 PM »
Just an aside, Bob.  I don't think the cultures are freeze dried but rather they are kept at -80C (-112F) in a 15% glycerol solution.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: November 08, 2010, 04:32:40 PM »
I did do some research on Ballantine IPA a few years ago and that can be found on HBD.  I think two brewers sent me samples that they brewed based in part on my research, Larry O'Mahoney in 1998 and Beverage Bob in 2005.  Both were very nice IPAs but lacked that pungent hop presence of the original.  Mine did, too.

The old Yeast Culture Kit Company American ale yeast was different from both WhiteLabs and Wyeast, especially in its top cropping.  It threw a big head of yeast.  I think that Dan McConnell, the owner, got the yeast from a yeast bank, and I think he said it was the original Ballantine.  I should ask him.  It was also a little more characterful than either.

Let's see if I can post a photo of yeast skimming at the old Ballantine brewery

Hey, it worked!  You'll never get that from WhiteLabs or Wyeast versions, although in my experience Wyeast does throw a bit more of a yeast head than WhiteLabs.

The site (where this photo is) has a lot of of good history on Ballantine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: De-chlorinate water
« on: October 20, 2010, 02:24:19 AM »
What Tom said.  Thanks for pinch-hitting for me, Tom.  I hadn't checked the forum for a while.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Gelatin
« on: September 23, 2010, 03:13:22 PM »
Add it after the fermentation has stopped.

I use a half a 1/4 ounce packet per five gallons.  I suspend it in about 3/4 cup of cold water, then heat it to near boiling in the microwave, stopping to stir it every once in a while.  If you bring it to a boil, you will get lumps which will be wasted.  Then I dilute it with a bit of beer and stir it into the carboy, stirring with a racking cane.

There are people who say not to boil it because it will denature the proteins.  That is silly.  Gelatin is denatured proteins.  It's prepared by boiling.  Further boiling won't hurt it at all, but it will make lumps that you can't easily get rid of.

It's really cool to watch the beer settle out from the top down, hour by hour.  A flashlight helps.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shelf life of a porter
« on: September 21, 2010, 02:49:14 PM »
I agree with the others, assuming that you are bottle conditioning.  Beer in a keg or especially bottled from a keg might not last as long.  It can be more susceptible to oxidation, whereas bottle conditioning is actually protective against oxidation.

That said, dark beers are in general more resistant to oxidation.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5