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Messages - Crispy275

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Governing Committee Election
« on: April 06, 2011, 08:38:29 PM »
I have served on the AHA GC since 2004, and I always look forward to working with this generous group of men and women. The direction, consultative feedback and feet on the ground support they provide both the AHA and the hobby helps ensure members voices are heard, the hobby grows, and the AHA focuses member resources on critical priorities.

Every incumbent that was eligble to run for another term this year did so. Susan ran again after a mandartory year off after serving three prior terms. I believe this is a testament to how much this team desires to give back to homebewers and the hobby.

I look forward to meeting and working with Tom, and know he has a lot to offer. And I spoke with Ron the other day and hope he throws his hat back in the ring next year and runs again, as he also has the fire and capabilities to serve.

I encourage any member who wants to help shape the homebrewing community at a national level to consider running for a AHA Governing Committee someday in the futue. It is a great way to serve the hobby we are all so passionate about, work with some really great people, and be further connected with some of the nicest people on earth.

Equipment and Software / Re: Electric hot water tank
« on: March 25, 2011, 08:46:15 AM »
I use the same sort of horse trough water heater. I fill my mash tun keggle with 15 gallons the night before and I also make sure to have the March pump left open so that when the timer goes off, it automatically recirculates. I find this helps maintain an even temperature, and with a five hour heat up, I achieve 15 gallons of 170oF water. I transfer whatever i don't need iover to the HLT. This typically drops the temp in the HLT from 170o to 130o because my setup is in a cold garage, but that beats starting at tap water temperature.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The AHA needs your help!
« on: August 20, 2010, 04:46:02 AM »
Thank you for sharing this with the collective on TechTalk. After meeting you and other Beer Barons this past summer at the Minnesota National Homebrewers Association Homebrewers Conference, I knew I had finally meet a club that could provide direction.

I really appreciated your club sharing all of this information that you did with me: the insurance documents and the steps your club went about doing this. Your step-by-step explanation serves as a guide to other clubs who may be contemplating obtaining siilar insurance.

I will to also put your post in the Club Resource section of this website, so that others who are forming clubs, or thinking about taking their club to the next level will be able to find it.

Again, thanks for laying it all out for others to find!


The Pub / Tech Talk
« on: August 11, 2010, 06:39:43 AM »
Over the years I have enjoyed TechTalk at varying levels of participation. When busy, whole weeks would go by without me doing much more than glancing at the topics, and then deleting it. Other times, I would fully engage in reading them, and on rare occasions, responding to specific areas where I felt I had a good knowledge base to do so. I have always felt that TT was a good product, and it wasn't by accident, but by considered and careful efforts of Ryan and the previous moderators.

At the 2010 National Homebrewers Conference, we shared the direction that the AHA was considering with regards to TechTalk and the Forum. Two or three members expressed their displeasure, and we had essentially had one-on-one conversation while 100+ people listened and occassionally chimed in. In the end, the members concerned about this direction were split. A few said that they would try the forum; at least one was still upset and expressed his displeasure. Several members indicated that they were very happy with the new website's look, feel and utility, and concurred that TT's time had come.

In retrospect, there should have been more communications early on that this was being considered. The AHA GC and AHA staff have been discussing this for many months, and not every member of the AHA GC has been in favor. But, if memory serves me correctly, 13 of us (me included) were in favor of taking advantage of the Forum's features, while 2 suggested we try to maintain both.

We delayed any actions with regards to TT while Drew, Denny and Fred investigated features that could enhance the forum, an effort that continues today. Addressing mobile application readability is one such effort, enhanced RSS features is another. During our call last night the response to TT was the primary discussion item, and it had also generated several dozen emails amoung the AHA GC and staff during the last week.

Gary has taken the discussions seriously, and while he hasn't said as much, I suspect he is taken several of the comments very personally. To be accused of being elitist or anything other than impassioned about what he does for homebrewing has to cut him to the quick. To my knowledge, there isn't another soul that I have meet that so embodies what it means to support and build a vibrant, thriving homebrewing culture. In my mind, Gary is the best thing that has happened to the American homebrewing scene and to the AHA.

In the years I have been on the GC, Gary and I have spoken one on one probably a hundred times to bounce things off of each other, provide feedback I have received from my local homebrewing community on any number of topics, to identify, prioritize and establish agenda items for the GC to consider, discuss and vote on. He has been accessable, engaged and always has had homebreers interests as his number one priority. To those who have suggested that he has acted in a vacuum, without consideration of the members wants, I can just say that this has not been so.

With the virtual doubling of membership during the last five years, the AHA still remains essentially 3.5 people: Gary, Janis, Kate and half of Jill, with assistance from other BA staffers. Their workload has been increased significantly. The AHA is far more than just Zymurgy and TechTalk. It includes an increasing amount of time and effort in legislative affairs, protecting homebrewers rights, attempting to get shipping legalized and legalizing homebrewing where it is still technically illegal. Competitions, Big Brew, Mead Day, Teach a Friend to brew, these events contribute to community building and developing awareness. Setting up and communicating AHA rallies, developing and chasing down leads for participants in the Pub Discount program, soliciting authors for topics and articles, creating and soliciting content to make the website better, etc.

Gary and the GC members have heard the concerns voiced by the recent posts and private emails by several members. In yesterday's TechTalk he suggested that any member who could build a better mouse trap to contact him. Last night Drew volunteered to take this charge and will respond on TT today to solicit those volunteers who wish to make this a reality to contact him.

Drew will lay out the necessary parameters, and those who wish to step up and help can contact him directly. I can assure anyone who feels that their voice isn't being heard that this is not the case. The opportunity for those who feel that they can  help improve the AHA with their knowledge and experience is here and now, and I hope this enables those members who currently feel disenfranchised the opportunity to step up and help show us how this can be done.

Respectfully yours,

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.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 7/2
« on: July 01, 2010, 12:06:48 PM »
Time to brew a Flander Red for the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild newest barrel - a recently emptied Red Wine French Oak barrel from 2 Lads Winery in northern Michigan. First we filled it the day after we got it with almost 60 gallons of a Saison (what beer goes better with wine?) to pull out someof th ewine character.

Then 12 of us will be emptying this barrel in late August and letting the Flanders red sit for about one year. I recently brought a keg of a similar beer that was aged in the Fermental Order of renaissance Draughtsmen barrel (conveniently housed in my basement) that I had added tart Michigan cheeries to the national Homebrewers Conference, and I must say with confidence that it was an extremly well received beer.

Using the WYeast 3278, lots of corn and specialty grains along with the pale malt, and just a hint of EKG for bittering.

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.

Wow - great job guys! A nice balance of humor, insight and wonderful quotes and footage!

I shared the link with my fellow club members who could not attend. Their loss!

The Pub / Re: AHA Conference
« on: June 25, 2010, 08:19:17 AM »
Sigh...just catching up with this thread and realizing that Denny was really focused during the meeting  ;)

Yes, it was deliberate that I had a no drink policy until we were over half way through. Denny and the rest of the AHA GC take their duties seriously, and after 5-6 years of attending (and now moderating and leading) these meeting, it is clear that we need to start with sobriety and deal with some issues first before we move on and have some beer.

It has been an interesting balance, trying to keep the GC focused, yet allow for some fun and antics. The GC is made up of very bright, passionate and caring people who devote their time freely to support the AHA. On the one hand, one member said the meeting was far too long while another said that we didn't have enough time to really finsih what we started.

Fortunatly, we have our emails and monthly conference calls, and we focused on what was really necessary during ourone face-toace meeting.

BTW, I am proud to say that the Flanders Red I served both during the AHA GC meeting and then later floated it in my room was one of my best efforts. You have to bring your "A" game when you are serving to this group, and the response was, shall I say, gratifying.

The Pub / Re: I want the ole '50's '60's CARS back!!
« on: June 25, 2010, 08:05:00 AM »
I have worked at Ford for the last 24 years, and I have been bleesed with many new cars as part of the management lease program. Currently have a 2010 Taurus and Fusion with 2011 Fiesta and Edge on order.

That said, when I was a teenager we basically had four cliques - the freaks, jocks, nerds and greasers. The greasers had the best cars, and I somehow managed to straddle friendships with a few (I was a freak/nerd). In the day, I enjoyed many a rgeat ride in other peoples pony cars.

My favorite was Randy Griffith's '67 Super Sport Chevelle. If I recall correctly (and I might be wrong, age has a way of distorting and modifying memories), it had a big block V-8 (427?) and a Hurst shifter on the floor. This thing was wickedly powerful off the line, but topped off much quicker than say my other friend Mike's 1972 Trans Am that could approach 150mph, but took quite a long time to get there.

Back in those days, I drove all manners of Volkswagons, primarily Bettles, with a 1963 mini van that I loved. Man, baby blue and white, peace symbol on the spare tire, shag rug and cheap wooden paneling and curtains. Par-tee! I could take 5 people and a keg of beer to New York City or wherever for concerts. 0 to 60 on a Tuesday with a tailwind going downhill, but space - the final frontier!

One of this year's "themes" for the AHA Governing Committee annual meeting agenda was how to identify and solicit some of its memberships passion and skill sets to help the organization be stronger, more member orientated and to help spread some of the good ideas we have heard from members.

We discussed and agreed that we will try very specific and targeted "asks" of the membership. Two areas that were initially discussed were club insurance and some sort of national homebrew experiement.

I am happy to say that during the AHA member meeting on Friday that one individual from the Beer Barons of Milwalkee (name withheld until something materializes) indicated that their club currently does have liability insurance, is set up as a not for profit, and he has volunteered to share their policy with me. I have 20 years of Insurance experience, so I will be able to disect the policy and perhaps something nationally could become available. Or it may end up being a state specific policy only - we will see.

Another member approached fellow AHA GC member Fred Bonjour and indicated that he had a legal background, and could potentially provide some state reviews of their shipping laws. Here at Ford, a 50 state review is a very expensive and time consuming task. It would be wonderful if we could get more members to share their skill sets and provide the,m with some recognition and appreciation for their efforts.

The biggest concern is having people raise their hands to help out and then not following through. This is why we will focus on specific and targeted "asks" of our membership. Are you a biologist, a chemist, social media guru or have some other talent that you want to help out on? Watch for these asks on the Forum as Gary, his staff (Janis & Kate), the GC and the AHA members respond.

In the end, I have to say after six years on the AHA Governing Committee, the AHA does a bang up job with their limited resources. Could they do more? I believe that they could, but only by reducing their focus on what they are currently doing an excellent job on.

Since I have become chairperson of this august group, I have urged the AHA GC to do more. As you look at who is on the GC, they all do a terrific job of promoting the hobby in their own ways. So perhaps the biggest bang we can get for our hobby is to seek out, identify, encourage and help our members become more involved. Even if we gain only 1/10th of 1% of our members to chip in, that would be an additional 20 subject matter experts. And like Justin, one of our newest GC members has done, we can ally our members to be another "Army" of passionate, involved volunteers. These are indeed exciting times for the GC, the AHA and the hobby.

Events / Re: NHC ever in New England?
« on: June 22, 2010, 09:34:32 AM »
I second what Fred posted. I have been itching for a New England conference for years, and I have sent out appeals through Tech Talk over the last couple to have interested clubs raise their hands. Keep in mind that the AHA has 3 full time employees (Gary, Janis and Kate), and half of Jill Redding (Zymurgy). While they get assistence from other Brewers Association staff for handling the conference, it takes several dozen volunteers to pull off a successful conference.

There are about a half dozen critical factors taken into consideration when a bid is submitted, with about a dozen more prominent ones weighed in as well. Fred and I worked on an unsuccessful 2010 Michigan NHC bid, but we certainkly enjoyed Minnesota, along with the fact we were not hosting. Hosting is a huge committment, and while we were hopeful to acquire the conference (and will likely submit another future bid), we were able to relax and enjoy homebrews much, much more.

So, if you are in the New England area, and want to contemplate hosting a future conference, please let myself, fred, or any other AHA Governing Committee member know. Or Gary Glass. With the size and growth of the conferences, two years is now the normal preparation time to pull everything together. Commemerative brews, 100+ BJCP judges, easy transportation from a major airport, beer-friendly facility that can handle 1,000+ homebrewers, local support from pro-brewers, volunteer cellerman, club night organizers, etc., you get the picture.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2011 NHC
« on: May 13, 2010, 06:10:39 PM »
Drew is spot on - we need a commited local group of homebrewers that can help support the effort.

Gary (and pretty much all of the AHA GC) has a decent document put together over the years that outlines what it takes to pull one of these off. It's about 30 pages, and gives a core team some excellent guidance as what it takes. We should probably put this up on the website - brilliant! Hell, it may already be there - better check  ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Member Surveys
« on: May 11, 2010, 07:07:25 AM »
The surveys have been instrumental in a variety of ways for the AHA. We are especially heartened by this years response. The major difference this year was both the Forum and the direct email that Gary Glass sent. In years past we only requested action via TechTalk, but now with both the Forum and the email, our response rate more than tripled (3,000 responses and growing!) and we have better information of who "we" are.

And Fred, one other "conflict of interest" item that has always bummed me out - we (the Governing Committee) are not eligible for the Lallemand Scholarship that is given away each year at the National Homebrewers Conference. From the website (

 This two-week course (valued at $3,350) is provided at the Siebel Institute of Technology campus in Chicago, America's oldest and most recognized brewing school. The winner also receives $1,000 towards any expenses while in Chicago, one of America's most exciting and vibrant cities.

Members of the AHA Governing Committee, Brewers Association Board of Directors, staff of the Brewers Association, Siebel, Lallemand, and anyone who has previously been awarded any scholarship to the Siebel Institute are ineligible.

I didn't know that the first couple of years, and then Gary spelled it out and I was bummed   :'(

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