By Dan Rayner, Education Secretary
Hello fellow lovers of good beer! This year has an excellent line up of events, competitions, meetings, raffle prizes and we have an incredibly enthusiastic President and committee keen to make sure it all happens! For my part as education secretary (and as well as some interesting events and experiments) I hope to bring a few permanent resources to the club for any brewer who feels they need improvement in their brewing methods.
Firstly, like in previous years, we’ll conduct information sessions held during some of this year’s meetings. These will include a few that the club has presented in the past like counter-pressure filling demonstration and calibration of thermometers and temperature controller units as well as a few new sessions. We’ll investigate interesting beers styles and coordinate a mass brewing experiment later in the year to display the differences in recipe formulation, which will be open to any and all who wish to be involved.
We have also organised a few events outside of the regular meetings, the first of which will be an informative brewday hosted by ex-President Stagger. This will be kicking off at 10am on Saturday 12th February at the Stagger Inn, and is sponsored by the Wig & Pen. He is planning an interesting experiment; the same beer brewed on two different systems. Stagger will set up his (older) multi-tiered, gravity brew-rig side-by-side with his (newer) HERMS rig and will brew, with the assistance of a brewer new to all-grain brewing, two batches of beer using an identical recipe; a clone of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Both systems have produced many award-winning beers but he would like to see, as would the rest of us no doubt, if there is any real difference in the quality of the two beers produced. These two beers will then be blind-judged at the Canberra Brewers' March meeting. All club members and their partners are very welcome and encouraged to attend the brewday. The Canberra Brewers will provide a BBQ for lunch and there will, of course, be draft beer a plenty: both Stagger's beer and the Wig & Pen’s who have kindly offered their own as well! It is very much a social event but the focus will be on the processes involved in gravity and HERMS brewing. Please RSVP and confirm your planned attendance on the forum post and if there are any potential new members out there who would like to join us please email me.
The Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) is going to be run again this year and is an excellent way for you to gain experience and knowledge in assessing the quality of beer, which will subsequently improve the quality of beers you are producing. There’ll be formally run sessions which are usually spread over around 12 weeks, where you and a small group will learn to assess the many styles of beers judged at competitions through taste, smell, appearance etc as well as learning about identifying flaws. It does cost a little bit (the beers aren’t free!) but it is incredibly worthwhile in terms of the knowledge you gain from it. I’ll post another website article with more information soon.
This year I also want to establish a series of brewing information FAQ pages to be permanently incorporated into the Canberra Brewers website as an information resource for new members as well as for more advanced brewing techniques. Some of this will be viewable to the public but much of it will be for the sole benefit of members of the Canberra Brewers (join us!). I will no doubt need a fair bit of assistance in this and look forward to working with a few of you on preparing these pages. I’m also excited about designing a brewing water modification calculator on the site, updated with regular ActewAGL water analysis.