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Belated Southern California Homebrew Fest Report

On the first weekend in May, Pacific Graviteers gathered at their Fortress of Solitude (Lake Casitas’ Owl Creek Campground) for the 2010 Southern California Homebrew Festival.

Our beer heroes (beeros, much more powerful than winos) led as always by Josh “Beer Viking” Jensen, brought along 22 examples of superbrewing, which included a Maibock (Carl), an Imperial Stout (Bob K.), an English Mild (Bakofskys); a Tangerine Wit (Bob H.) and many others (see photo).  Ian “Safetyman” Fraser kept us extra-safely sustained with a fabulous menu: Friday night we feasted on pulled pork, sausage explosion or Portobello mushroom sandwiches served with coleslaw and broccoli slaw (prepared by Mimi “The Smiler” Bardet); Saturday morning we indulged in two kinds of fried rice (meat and a veggie/fish version) and eggs; Saturday evening we over-indulged on two types of steak, two types of salmon, fresh grilled bluefin and yellowtail tuna (courtesy of Bob “Zenbrewer” Kaisaki), roasted garlic potatoes, salad with blue cheese or green goddess dressing, and enough desserts to choke a legion of superbeeros; Sunday morning we breakfasted on bagels with smoked salmon plus leftover salmon and tuna from the night before, scrambled eggs and an array of fruit.

A few memorable moments: The Hill-Lindsays—Linda “The Gadfly,” Audrey “The Listener,” and Carmen “The Wanderer”—fortifying us Friday night with Powerful Spirits and Rum Balls ; Mike “The Talker”  Steinberg reciting from memory the opening prologue to TVs “Superman”; Vic “Rasputin” Macias sharing with us each morning the home-roasted coffee that makes him, as his superbeero name suggests, unkillable; PG co-president Peigi “X-Mormon” Robinson leading us like the Donner party into the brewfest; Dean “Summerpartyman” Sussman pretending (for about ten minutes) that he’d rather lounge about camp than go to the fest; Bob “The Electrician” Henderson once again generously tattooing young women; Carl “The Chemist” Townsend fooling us all for a moment by pretending not to know the exact recipe of something he was tasting; Terry “El Leprechaun Grande” exhausted after a day pouring too many pots of gold, Tim “Soccerboy” Bardet and Bob “Silentman” Partridge actually talking—a lot!, and Neil “the Durnk” Saund communicating with invisible spirits through a language only he and they understand.

If you have yet to attend the homebrew fest, despair not!  Be assured that next year the beeroic Graviteers will once again stumble forward in their never-ending battle for Malt, Hops, and the Homebrewers Way!

Ladies club meeting next thursday!

Hey ladies interested in meeting other female brewers? Come and check out Pacific gravity’s ladies club Thursday May 13th at 7:30 at the Culver city homebrew supply. We will be brewing and of course tasting beer! Please email Nathalie at [email protected] for more information and to get put on the mailing list.

California State Fair Entries Due by Sunday April 18th

Entries for the California State Fair Homebrew Competition are due at the Culver City shop by April 18th.  Since we need to ship these entries off, your bottles must arrive packaged for shipping.  This means plenty of bubble wrap and packed into suitable shipping boxes.  Cost for each entry is $10, but the club will pick up shipping costs.  This competition uses the BJCP styleguide.  Three 12 oz bottles are needed for each entry.  Make checks payable to: California Brewers Guild, LLC-HBC.  Entry forms can be found at

Do the Dues!

It’s March and that means its time for our annual Pacific Gravity membership dues collection.  All club members need to pay their dues to keep their membership active until March 2011.  Dues are $30 for the year and are prorated for members who joined the club within the last year.

Club Treasurer, Craig Corley will be collecting dues at our March 18th club meeting.  Can’t make the meeting, there are a number of other ways you can pay your dues. You can go old school and send Pacific Gravity a check to PO Box 2451, Culver City CA 90231.  You can drop off your dues the next time you’re shopping at Culver City Home Brewing Supply. And for the ultimate in convenience, you can renew your dues online via Paypal on the club website ( ), just click on Renew.

All current club members should have gotten a renewal notice via email detailing their dues renewal amount and member information on file. This is a good opportunity to update our membership records, so please let Craig know of any changes to your member information (address, email, phone, etc) or include changes with your check/renewal form.

Keep in mind that your dues are the primary way we fund such club activities as club parties, monthly meetings, club brews and much more.  Your paid membership also ensures that you’ll continue to receive the many club benefits available like discounts on your purchases at Culver City Home Brewing Supply as well as access to the club brewing system, various brewing activities and information.

Have questions about your dues or how much you owe? Check with Craig at the March club meeting or by email at [email protected].

How Do I Modify My Tustin Monster Brew?

I hope you are all planning to join us at Tustin Brewing’s Second Annual Monster Brew, on February 27th, hosted by our very own Jon Porter.  We’ll be brewing up a batch of medium-gravity amber wort.  Where it goes from there is up to you!  We’re hoping to have as many variations on the theme as possible for upcoming events such as the Southern California Homebrew Fest, club meetings and other beer venues.

The recipe for the wort is shown below.  This year, we are going with a simple Blond Ale recipe.  Like last year, though, it is deliberately formulated so that you can use your own creativity as broadly as possible.  The wort will have a starting gravity of 1.050, 30 IBUs of bitterness and a color of about 5 SRM.  A lot of different beers can be made out of this.  With a bit of tweaking, you can make just about anything.  Here are some ideas on what to do.

1)  Pick a yeast.  The wort comes unpitched, so at a minimum, you have to get some yeast for brewing day.  If you pitch with the Wyeast 1056 Amierican Ale, or White Labs 001 California Ale yeast, you’ll have a pretty good middle-of-the-road Blonde Ale.  But don’t stop there.  If you have ever though about trying a new yeast, this is a great time to try it.  Just make sure you are set up to use it.  Don’t pick a lager yeast if you don’t have refrigeration for your fermenter.   Also, for best results, make up a starter the day before brew day.

2)  Make it stronger.  Styles such as IPA, Barleywine, Belgian Tripel can be made by adding some malt extract or Belgian candi sugar.  Just boil up a small amount of water and extract and boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, to make sure it is sterile.  Cool, and add to your fermenter.

3)  Make it darker.  Pick a dark grain like roast barley, Special B, chocolate malt or Carafa.  Steep in hot water, then strain out the grains and boil the liquid.  Voila, instant dark beer!   Last year, my Schwarzbier come out terrific.  Another variant is to add some melanoidin malt to make some of the malty German lagers.

4)  Dry hop it.   The recipe this year has no finishing hops, though it does have a healthy dose of American flavoring hops.   You can go American for American Pale or Amber Ale, British hops for ESB, or you can go with Continental Noble hops for something like Saison.

5)  Boost the bitterness or hop flavor.   You’ll have to do this if you want to get to IPA range, and I also recommend it for ESB, Robust Porter, Altbier and several other styles.  Boil up a small amount of water and add hops to make a hop tea.  Boil for at least half an hour with high alpha hops to raise the IBU level.  Boil for 10 to 15 minutes with your favorite hop variety to boost the flavor.  Note that this will boost the IBU level by a smaller amount.

6)  Do combinations of the above.  Suppose you want to make an American Barleywine out of the wort.  Boil up some malt extract, add some hops to boost the bitterness and flavor during the boil.  Cool and add to the fermentor.  Then, dry hop in secondary.

The attached table has a list of some of the interesting combinations you can do.  I came up with 20 variations without even breaking a sweat.  You can probably come up with even more.

You’ll want to pitch your yeast as soon as you get your wort home.  For most of the variations, you should plan of adjusting the wort at the same time, though you could wait a day or so.  Make sure you get it going before primary fermentation is done, since the yeast will need to work on the additional materials.

So, start whipping up your recipe now.   Hope to see you on the 27th.

Got a question for the Brewmaster?  Drop me a line at [email protected].  Also, an archive of prior questions can be found at the Picobrewery website at

Monster Brew 2 Recipe for 16 Barrels (496 gallons):

660 lbs 2-Row Pale  Malt
55   lbs 17oL Crystal Malt
55   lbs 37oL Crystal Malt
55   lbs  3 oL Vienna Malt
32 Oz Chinook 11.4% First Wort/Boil
50 Oz Simcoe 12.2% at 15 minutes
50 Oz Cascade  7.8% at 15 minutes

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.050
FG:  1.012
Color:  5 SRM
IBU: 30

Guidelines for modifying your wort:

Beer Style Yeast Grain/sugar Hops Fermentation
Amiercan Pale Ale Amer Ale Dry-Amarillo Med
American Amber Amer Ale Crystal Cascade Med
California Common CA Lager Northern Brewer Cool
IPA AM Ale or Eng Liquid malt Extract (LME) Tea/Dry Amarillo Med
Altbier German Ale Melanoidin Hallertauer Cool
Porter English Chocolate Med
Dry Strout Irish Roast Barley Med
Export Stout Irish Roast Barley, LME Med
Imperial Stout Irish LME, Roast barley Tea/Goldings Med
Old Ale English LME Tea/Fuggles Med
Barleywine AM Ale or Eng LME Tea/Centenniel Med
Belgian Pale Ale Antwerp Bel Biscuit Warm
Belgian Dubbel Abbey Dark Candi, Special B Warm
Belgian Strong Dark Trappist Dark Candi, Special B, CaraMunich Warm
Tripel Golden Light Candi Warm
Saison Saison Dry-Saaz Warm
Vienna Lager Vienna Munich or Vienna Cold
Oktoberfest Oktoberfest Melanoidin Cold
Munich Dunkel Munich Lager Melanoidin Cold
Schwarzbier Munich Lager Carafa Cold

Tustin Brew 2.0 Pricing Update

There have been several pricing related updates. For full details see the previous posts.
You can now purchase either 5 or 10 gallons using the buttons below. (10 max per member).
If you already paid for 5 gallons and would like 5 more, just use the 5 gallon button once more.

5 Gallons $27.00 ($28.12 total)

10 Gallons $54.00 ($55.92 total)

BJCP Classes Are Now Full

There has been overwhelming demand for the BJCP classes and as a result, they are now full.

I’ve sent an e-mail to everyone who has reserved a spot.  To confirm your reservation, please bring a check for $50 made out to Carl Townsend or cash to the Culver City Shop.  Please also check your information on a sign-up sheet that I have there.   I will send the password for the password-protected area once I have confirmed your registration.

Thank you to those who have already paid.  You should have received the password for the complete reading list at
in a separate e-mail.  If not, or if you have trouble with it, please let me know.

I will take some additional names on a waiting list in case anyone has to drop out.

Carl Townsend
[email protected]
Pacific Gravity Home Brewers Club

BJCP Classes and Exam Scheduled

Pacific Gravity has announced a new set of classes and exam for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).   Here are the details so far.  As more details are available, they will be posted at

We will meet alternating Sundays at 5:00 pm at the Culver City Homebrewing Supply Co at Read more

What type of beer should I leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?

This Month’s Question:  What type of beer should I leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?


I can still remember the days of my youth, or more exactly, at least back to the days when my nephews were young, and they asked their Grandmother if they could leave milk and cookies for Santa.    Their stockings were hung by the chimney with care when my brother piped in, “Don’t you think Santa would rather have a beer with his cookies?” Read more