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Messages - Crispy275

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Beer Travel / Re: Asheville AHA Rally at Wicked Weed Funkatorium
« on: January 20, 2016, 09:27:04 AM »
Kris and I are really looking forward to our trip in Mid April to check out potential real estate and the vibe - it is high on our list of potential places to retire to.

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.

In the ten years I have been on the Governing Committee, there have been any number of members that have been elected to the AHA GC. Some have had name recognition, others wanted to be on the inside and still others were/are doers. These categories are not mutually exclusive. The AHA Governing Committee serves as a sounding board and advisory panel for the AHA, and as such it needs more doers.
Each year the AHA GC set the objectives and goals for the AHA. It takes feedback from local clubs and suggests directions and identifies where scare resources should be utilized. The GC serves as feet on the ground support during the annual conference, identifying and introducing speakers, responding to member inquires during the member meeting, identifying and vetting future AHA GC nominees and a host of other managerial and advisory roles.
Over the years the GC as a group has become more organized and effective. Through ideation it has identified the need to recognize clubs for more than just good beer and created the Radegast Club award ( to reward clubs for their work on experimenting, learning, educating and performing volunteer work. Exceptional clubs work hard and can make an impact on their community. The award was developed to encourage these sorts of ”good behaviors” that reflect well in the community.
The Research & Education Committee ( ) is another idea that was identified and launched through the AHA GC efforts.
Once proposals are vetted and agreed upon within the annual meeting with the AHA, the AHA GC appointees then goes to the Brewer’s Association Board of Directors and pitch these ideas to secure their place in the objectives for the AHA and to obtain the necessary funding.  It has been the job of the two AHA Board appointees to present any new financial/personnel needs for the AHA and to ensure that its voice is heard. Over the last several years, in part due to the GC’s increased effectiveness, the AHA has been able to add two new employees and has been able to put more funds into member benefits. Now members are serviced faster and staff can support the increased member benefits.
The eight different sub-committee’s ( is where a lot of the work gets done outside of the monthly conference calls and the annual meeting at the conference. Here the AHA really benefits from tangible consultative work from this diverse group of 15 elected volunteers.
Members should take the time to read the bios of those who are running. Consider the skill sets, backgrounds and vision each member that is running provides and keep a score sheet. The AHA GC needs doers, people who can manage processes, give the time necessary and who listen to their fellow members and work toward making the organization more focused, more member friendly and useful.
 Everyone should be able to find candidates that speak to them.
I am exceedingly proud of the work of the AHA GC as a whole, and I am humbled to think that I have had some small part in the AHA’s overall success as well as helping be a part of the renewed direction and focus of the GC as an organization. I anxiously look forward to this years new crop of GC members and hope that as a whole they continue to build upon what already currently exists. That, and the newbies have to bring the beer to the annual meeting with the goal of impressing the current members :-)
So vote if you haven’t already – it really matters. You have until Monday to make your voices heard.

I sent a top of my head sort of response and just got off the phone with William from

Had fun talking about that which I am so passionate about and we will do a Skype session next week. No biggie either way, and I gave him some other "larger than life" sort of characters that I have meet. Denny was on my list but I just read his response so I deleted him :-)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Service Award
« on: October 23, 2013, 08:45:09 AM »
Gary Glass discusses it in the new issue of Zymurgy (p. 9). Additionally it was a recent news story on the AHA webpage. More information is available in the Community Section as well

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.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who's going to NHC?
« on: June 03, 2013, 08:57:17 AM »
OK Drew - thanks for the starters, let's see... My first was in 1997 - what a nob I was! Spent it in a haze.

1997 - Cleveland, OH
2000 - Livonia, MI
2002 - Irving, TX
2003 - Chicago, IL
2004 - Las Vegas, NV
2005 - Baltimore, MD
2006 - Orlando, FL
2007 - Denver, CO
2008 - Cincinnati, OH
2009 - Oakland, CA
2010 - Minneapolis, MN
2011 - San Diego, CA
2012 - Seattle, WA
2013 - Philadelphia, PA

So this will be my 14th NHC and my 12th in a row. Good fun, good learnings, good people. It's all good. Having a water bottle with me at most times (and drinking from it) was one lesson learned, taking power naps helps me as well. Jeff and Sue Rankert also taught me the importance of B vitimans (in the handy Propel powdered packets -easy to carry on planes).  Still haven't learned how to drink less than copious amounts at the Brewing Network parties, but otherwise I am learning...

Well, it hasn't even been a full month since the announcement of the launch of Research & Educational Fund, and we have already received several requests. These cover the gamet of water chemistry and its effects on mead production, cask ale production research, a cider experiment and a proposal involving hop cultivation.

Each proposal is being spearheaded by a specific coach. Coaches are members of the R&EF sub-committee (, and they are responsible for communicating with the applicant from start to finish. Coaches will ensure that requests employ good scientific methodology, answer any questions and provide appropriate feedback.

The initial proposals are creating the opportunity for the sub-committee team to build and structure a better mousetrap as we go along. Some of the early proposals are very broad, and part of the coaches responsibilities include helping members narrow down proposals focus to ensure the greatest possibility of successful outcomes.

These are exciting times for the AHA, and the R&EF is a terrific member benefit. As these proposals grow into outcomes, the results will be shared with AHA members through the Forum, at conferences and possibly even in Zymurgy. We hope to see many more well thought out requests and sharing the results when they come in!

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

Ingredients / Re: Belma Hops?!?!?
« on: January 02, 2013, 02:00:40 PM »
I brewed the 2008 Big Brew recipe (Fill in the Hop Blonde Ale) a few days ago.

For 12 gallons I added one ounce at 60 minutes, 2 ounces at 3 minutes and 2 ounces at knockout. I have found that I get a fair amount of flavor even with the very late additions as my wort chiller takes almost 15 minutes to cool everything down.

I will rack it over in a week and determine at that time if it should be dry hopped, or even just dry hop one of the carboys and not the others.

Will provide tasting notes at that time.

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.

Brewing 12 gallons of Belgian Dark Strong for Learn to Homebrew Day at Adventures in Homebrewing in Ann Arbor. Then, on Monday it is 12 more gallons of a Flanders Red for our annual dump/fill of a club barrrel. Finally, since my employer gives us Election Day off, I will vote then brew 12 gallons of Batch #59 of my Nearly Nirvana Pale Ale (Big Brew recipe back in 2000) to celebrate the last of the political ads! Time to make the doughnuts!

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:

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