AHA Virtual Big Brew

Today, May 7th, officially marks Homebrew Day. Though, the nation.. err, the world, celebrates it annually on the first Saturday in May by taking part in the American Homebrew Association’s (AHA) Big Brew Day. I have been planning and looking forward to this years event for quite some time. The Missouri Association of Serious Homebrewers was even putting together an event for those who may have had some curiosity about homebrewing but wanted to check it out before making a decision. Though, with the current state of the world, The AHA decided to move the event fully “virtual”… With the exception that you actually brewed some beer, of course. I had originally pledged to brew 5 gallons but decided to do 10 in order to cut down on my growing hop supply.

After reviewing the recipes that the AHA released for this years Virtual Big Brew, I stuck to my tried and true Girl Next Door Pale Ale. The hops may change from batch to batch based on my feeling. screenshot_20200507-1054507994481200176202048.png This brewday was a step towards dialing in my process on a new system, so didn’t want to get very complex either.

The base of my pale ale is 70% 2 row, 26% Munich malt, and 4% C-60. Some say the body of this beer is a little too full. Maybe I will cut back on the Munich malt one day but its taken home a ribbon and I like drinking it. I shoot for about 5.3% ABV, make my water adjustments, First Wort Hop with 15 minute or less hops additions and a 15 or so minute whirlpool aiming for around 50 IBU’s +/- depending on the hop varieties. I typically go with the Chico ale yeast in my pale ales, but I wanted to try something different this time. The second batch is getting Denny’s Favorite 50. The hops I used in the first batch were Pink Boots 2019 Blend with Tohoma and the second batch was just a single hop Godiva.. Not the chocolate. I seldomly dry hop but I heard of a new technique that I am interested in trying out. Maybe my next pale ale brew.

I did make a few changes from the normal I just went over, though. I used some specialty malt I had on hand that was not C-60. 2% C-120 in one batch (kept the other two malts the same weight but reduced the amount of of C-60 I would use) & 4% Aromatic Malt in the other if you noticed theimg_20200502_0027546598895675818551061.jpg color difference above. Also, I’m not sure what happened between moving to Germany and coming back to the US, but everyone hates crystal malts now… I don’t get it.

One of the main reasons that I decided to not brew the original recipe, was due to the use Kveik yeast. Moreso than the difficulty of getting the hops that were suggested for the recipe. While I am not against the use of Kveik yeast, I want to give some beers that use it a try first. I understand that we are going through a time of experimentation, but I am not at the forefront. I intended on using HomebrewCon as an opportunity to try out beers made with this yeast and consider if it was worth a shot in my own process before they sadly announced the cancellation. I have heard a lot of good stuff online, and even some brewers I trust have used it, but is the beer being produced actually good or are people just happy with their personal results? I am sure that there is merit to it. History and all, but recommending to ferment it at 100f for 2 days, etc.. is this something that is really good for the beer? Are we just pushing the envelope? Maybe I am just too much of a “traditionalist”. You often see me walk the other way with the OJ being passed off as beer.. but that is a different story.

Back to the normally scheduled program:

I streamed most of my double brewday to my IG Story, which is now saved to my profile. I thought this was the best way to go about having a “Virtual” Big Brew since we could not be all together. I even went ahead and participated in the toast at the appropriate tiimg_20200502_0901169105215248805652095.jpgme that the AHA leads. Overall, I think it was a fine event… the best we can do anyway. I went through the socials and checked out the different systems and processes people were using. I just got an electric system myself, but it was crazy how may electric systems I saw on this day. Back in 2009 I did not even know this was an option. As time went on, I started seeing them made more and more but they all looked complex and expensive. I bought the Anvil Foundry based on cost and reviews from those all around. Plus it is a lot lighter and more compact in my old age and small apartment vs the 3 Keggle HERMS. Very happy with my first brewday results. Now just to monitor these beers until I get them in the kegs. They are already looking good to be honest, but I think I need to recalibrate my Tilt hydrometers as both those SG’s are considerably lower than calculated.


AHA Virtual Big Brew

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