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Messages - Bruce B

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: please help.
« on: February 10, 2014, 03:56:30 PM »
If memory serves some experienced the same issue (including myself) when the app was first released.  I recall the resolution being deleting the app and re-installing it.  Log in and all should be good from there.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: January 31, 2014, 01:08:19 PM »
Registration is filling up fast.  Looks like we'll be hitting our limit prior to the Feb 8th cutoff date.  If you're thinking of registering don't wait longer than this weekend.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: January 14, 2014, 12:21:00 PM »
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
That's awesome!  The homebrew will add some character to the event and the brewery won't have to supply all of the beer.  Win-win!  Just be prepared in case your beer is better than the breweries.  That happened at a fest I was pouring at a couple of years ago.  We had a Watermelon Wheat that people were lined up to get.  The brewery next to us also had a Watermelon Wheat but had very few takers.   ::)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Home-brew Club Manhiem/Lancaster, PA?
« on: January 05, 2014, 09:07:36 PM »
Hi Steve,

Have you tried the Find A Homebrew Club page on the AHA website?  I didn't see any listed for Manhiem or Lancaster specifically but you might find something close to where you're at.

Good luck!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: January 05, 2014, 08:59:01 PM »
Registration is now open!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« on: December 29, 2013, 11:52:02 AM »
For our cask night we propped the pins up on some trays so that the water from the ice bags dripped down into them.  We also put some movers blankets on top of the ice bags to provide some additional insulation.  It worked pretty well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« on: December 25, 2013, 12:39:00 AM »
Here are some links to two episodes of Brewing TV that discuss making and serving cask ale.  These along with Steve Hamburg's presentation from the 2010 NHC is what got me going down the cask ale path.  Some of these are how to cask condition and about cask condition along with how to serve.

We also had a cask ale night at our club meeting in August.  I did an overview presentation using these sources and a few others.  The reference page from the end of the presentation also has some additional links in case you're interested.  There is also audio but it is the first one we ever recorded so I apologize for any quirks.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: December 25, 2013, 12:17:55 AM »
This is not an attempt to profit from beer. I am just curious. We have had festivals in MS where both home brew and commercial beer are given away to festival goers who paid an admission fee. So I am wondering if it would be legal for a club to have its own fundraiser involving home brew.

Just to be clear I didn't intend to suggest that you were looking to profit.  Seeking compensation, even in the name of a fund raiser can present issues.  Our club serves brew samples for beer festivals in WI but we always do it for festivals that include professionally made and purchased beer.  We even hold our own beer festival - which the proceeds benefit a professional brewers scholarship fund that we've set up, but the amount of purchased brew far outweighs homebrew.

Equipment and Software / Re: Software
« on: December 22, 2013, 11:36:29 PM »
I've been using Beersmith for several years now and I'm very satisfied with it.  I gave BeerTools a try but the thought of paying a subscription fee is a waste to me.  I don't have a Mac so BeerAlchemy is out.

You can do batches in Beersmith.  There is a version field for each recipe.  One can copy and paste a recipe and then update the version field when they go to make the next batch. 

For backup and web posting I use brewblogger (  It's free but you have to use it on your own web hosted account (  Recipes and brew sessions can be exchanged between the two using BeerXML file exporting and importing.  Additional back ups are done using a backup drive when I do regular backups of my workstation. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: December 22, 2013, 10:12:13 PM »
People had similar ideas in WI after our homebrew legislation changed a year ago.  A lot of people thought they could get creative once the laws were changed.  Not sure if the questions posted are an effort to be creative and indirectly get compensated for homeebrew or if they are first time legal want to know questions.  Regardless, I'm not familiar with Mississippi law or the ins and outs of the new legislation so I would suggest you consult directly with a lawyer or a legislator regarding your questions.

Some things to consider:
  • Remember that professional brewers pay taxes for the product that they produce and sell.  For a homebrewer to produce a product, get compensated for it, and not have to pay taxes it could create some animosity between the homebrew and professional brewing communities. 
  • If your club is pouring homebrew samples at a beer festival where professional product is being served your club members can take turns pouring beer for the fest goers and going to see what the pro brewers brought.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:31:15 PM »
Thanks Amanda.  I would like to second what you said about starting early and establishing relationships.  For Midwinter (February) I started taking to people at NHC.  It takes time to build things up. 

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« on: December 18, 2013, 12:12:58 AM »
Hi Bob,

I don't want to discourage you but it's not easy and there are several factors to take into consideration.  First and foremost when looking for sponsors always try to approach a potential sponsor with a win - win scenario.  The profit margins are not huge in the brewing industry so the more you can make a situation a win for your potential sponsor the more they will want to make the deal a win for you as well. 

How can you make it a win for the sponsor?  You can list them on your competition website as a sponsor for starters.  How many participants, entries, and volunteers are you forecasting to have?  That is your sponsors potential audience.  Can they put a flyer in the score sheet mailing back to the entrant after the competition?  Maybe they can give them a 10 minute blurb about themselves before the competition lunch.  Maybe you can give them some time in front of your club at a future meeting.  Perhaps you have worked with the potential sponsor in the past.  Maybe you can do something for them in the future.  If they are a new brewer maybe you can provide feedback on a distributor that you've worked with before.  Maybe you can hope to arrange for them to host a tasting at a liquor store where you know the manager.  Be prepared to be creative.

When you go to solicit sponsors I've found that how you approach them really depends on what part of the competition you're looking for sponsorship of.  For example, if you're looking for raffle prizes then an initial email or letter is a good start.  If you have a name then send it to that person directly.  If you don't have a name then I'd suggest calling the company you're soliciting directly to make personal contact.  Sending a blind email or letter can be easily ignored.  Regardless if you send something directly to someone or if you send it blind, you'll get some responses but be prepared to follow up with reminder emails and phone calls. 

This kind of scratches the surface a bit and should get you started.  Feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss further.  Good luck!

Homebrew Competitions / Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: December 17, 2013, 10:58:37 AM »

Hello fellow Home Brewers!

The Beer Barons of Milwaukee are very pleased to announce the fifth annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition will be taking place on February 21st and 22nd, 2014. This competition is held in conjunction with the 17th annual Midwinter Brew Fest at the Milwaukee Ale House, and is a circuit qualifying event for both the Master Championship of Amateur Brewers (MCAB) and the Midwest Home Brewer of the Year.  The competition will be limited to 800 entries.  All entries to be judged by at least 2 BJCP Judges, Professional Brewers, or Mead Judges.

Participant, judging, and steward registration for the competition will be coordinated through the web site at  Entries will be accepted January 4th through February 8th at 11 different locations in WI, IL, & MN.  Shipped entries should be sent to Northern Brewer in West Allis, WI.  Please refer to the web site for drop off location cut off dates and addresses.

1st, 2nd, & 3rd place awards will be issued for each category.  Each award will consist of a medal and a gift certificate to Brew & Grow (Gold - $25, Silver - $15, Bronze - $10).  Beer Best of Show, Beer Best of Show Runner-Up, and Mead / Cider Best of Show will receive engraved barrel head awards. 

This year we are very happy to have two professional ramp ups affiliated with the competition.  One of the Baltic Porter entries (BJCP category 12C) will be chosen to be ramped up by the Milwaukee Brewing Company for serving at the Milwaukee Ale House.  Also one Mead entry (BJCP categories 25 A-C, 26A, & 26C) will be ramped up by Moonlight Meadery as a pilot batch.

The awards ceremony will again take place at Revere’s Wells Street Tavern on February 22nd at 6:30 PM central time.  Gordon Strong is scheduled to present Brewing Better Beer: Practical Applications prior to the awards announcement.  Both the presentation and the awards ceremony are open to the public.  Results will be posted to the competition website shortly after the conclusion of the awards ceremony.

Additional details can be found on the competition web site, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.  Information regarding judging and stewarding opportunities can be found on the Volunteers page at Please pass this information on to your fellow home brewing friends and direct any inquiries to the Contact page on the registration page at

Thanks and best of luck to all that enter!
Bruce Buerger - Competition Coordinator

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Dues for Home Brew Club
« on: December 11, 2013, 01:52:11 PM »
No problem.  I hope it helped and goes well for you guys.  The first time I did that our class was in late January and we got about 20 to 25 attendees.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Hospitality suite 2014
« on: November 21, 2013, 01:28:29 PM »
Yes.  In an attempt to get it out of your head read this - Theme from Charlie Brown cartoons.  You should now be hearing piano music.

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