The next meeting of the Heart River Home Brewers (AHA Club Number: 000163851) is scheduled for Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at Custom Data World Headquarters, 677 10th Street East, Dickinson, North Dakota at 7:30 PM.

Notes by Jon Stika from presentation at Hoppy Halloween 2014, Fargo, ND by Russ Karasch of Black Swan Cooperage, Park Rapids, MN

White Oak (Quercus alba) is used for barrels because the xylem contains tyloses that are one-way valves that close when the tree dies and prevent fluid from flowing through the xylem pores afterward. White Oak used at Black Swan is sourced from Wisconsin. Rough sawn white oak is shaped into rough staves and allowed to season outdoors for one to three years to reduce tannins in the wood. Staves are then shaped to be narrower at each end than in the middle and beveled. The inside surface of the staves are bored with holes part way into wood to create a honeycomb of end-grain surface area to interact with whiskey. Staves are then immersed in 160F water for 10 to 15 minutes and bent to shape. After the barrel is assembled it is toasted at 365F for 20 minutes to create the flavor profile. The inside of the barrel is then charred as required by law.

Fusel alcohols are larger molecules than ethanol and become trapped in charred wood. The honeycomb pattern bored into wood will allow the ethanol to extract the same amount of flavor (primarily sugars) in six weeks as opposed to 2+ years which is typically practiced by whiskey makers. There are 27 different sugars that can be extracted by ethanol form white oak. 120 proof (60%) ethanol is the optimum concentration for extracting sugars from wood without adversely affecting sugar chemistry. Over time, ethanol links into longer polymer chains. These longer chains are smoother and less “scratchy” going down your throat. Some work is being done with ultrasound to form these longer chains faster so less aging time is needed to achieve a smoother product.

Other woods can be used to flavor whiskey, beer and wine, but they are all too porous for use as barrels and the “angels share” would be very high as the liquid in the barrel would wick through the wood and evaporate. Flavors from these woods can be imparted into alcoholic beverages by inserting wood chips or spirals into the liquid for a period of time instead of aging the liquid in a barrel of that wood.

Scotch was, and still is, aged in used whiskey barrels because the barrels could be had cheaply. Scotch is aged for an extended period of time in used whiskey barrels because it has to permeate the wood to the depth of the original whiskey (~2 years) and then into unsaturated wood to extract flavors and back out again. Hence Scotch whiskey was aged for at least 7 years to give the ethanol time to penetrate deep enough into the used whiskey barrel and back out again to acquire flavors from the wood. This could have been accomplished in half the time if the Scots weren’t so cheap and bought new, instead of used, barrels.

Wooden barrels used to handle beer were made of various species of wood and lined with conifer pitch to seal them from the inside. The beer never made actual contact with the wood, only the pitch that lined the barrel, so the beer did not pick up any wood flavors.

My note: “Beech wood aging” employed by Budweiser is done with Beech shavings in the bottom of their lagering tanks. I asked about this at a tour of a Budweiser facility in CA several years ago. The wood shavings provide additional surface area for the yeast to be in contact with the beer and reduce acetaldehyde and other undesirable flavors during the lagering period of conditioning.

Present: Alan Church, Jerry Ford, Rocky Stoltz, Ryan Jilek, Alicia Erickson, Glen Bruhschwein and Jon Stika.

Discussed beers members are currently fermenting and plan to brew this winter.  Alicia brought some 2014 Blues & Brews glasses.  Discussed new breweries opening in North Dakota, such as Drekker in Fargo.  Discussed holding the December meeting at a local pub or restaurant, but no consensus was reached on the subject.  Jon suggested the next meeting should be scheduled for December 18th rather than the 25th.  Ryan informed the group that he would be brewing on November 22nd and all were welcome to stop by to watch the brewing process or “supervise”.

Jon Stika
Secretary

Present: Glen Bruhschwein, Joel Empter, Rocky Stoltz, Steve Klicker, Jan Heimdal and Jon Stika.

Rocky provided a Treasurer’s report.  Discussed yeast washing, saving and repitching yeast, pepper beers and upcoming judging at Hoppy Halloween in Fargo, ND next weekend.  Joel raised the question of what collective brew should be next for aging in the club barrel.

Jon Stika
Secretary

Present: Ryan Jilek, Jerry Ford, Michael Kreitinger, Steve Klicker, Tyler Benson and Jon Stika.  Supper potluck meeting hosted by Stika’s.

 

http://www.visitdickinson.com/events/SEPTEMBER/AKnightsBrew/

 

Present: Jerry Ford, Glen Bruhschwein, Ryan Jilek, Alan Church, Joel Emter, Jan Heimdal, Paul Ellerkamp, Todd Droval and Jon Stika.
Discussed club representation at the Knights of Columbus “A Knights Brew” event September 20th at the Dickinson Recreation Center. Jon and Ryan will represent the club at the event and each serve beers they brewed. Jon, Ryan and Jerry reported on their respective hop harvests. Jerry reported that he will acquire some malting barley from Elmer Miller later this month after the barley is harvested. Ryan presented an embroidered shirt for inspection with the club name and logo on it. The shirt will be sent to former member Dale Sattler according to a motion passed at an earlier meeting. The logo is on file at Custom Design in Dickinson if members would like to purchase a shirt with the logo. Glen moved that new members wishing to join after July 1st could pay a prorated dues of $12.50, seconded by Ryan, motion passed. Jan paid $12.50 dues to join as a new member. The club potluck was scheduled for Friday, September 26th at Stika’s.
Jon Stika
Secretary

2014BB

Ryan, Jon, Eve and Jerry represented the club at the 2014 Blues & Brews.

Present: Ryan Jilek, Joel Empter, Michael Kreitinger, Glen Bruhschwein, Alan Church, Jerry Ford and Jon Stika.

Jon shared recent correspondence addressed to the club.  Jon shared brewing newspapers brought back from a recent trip to Oregon.  Discussed various homebrew suppliers and new yeasts, etc. that they had to offer.  Discussed Knights of Columbus Beer Taste scheduled for September 20th at the Dickinson Recreation Center.  There will be no formal competition or judging of the beers served.  Mike asked the club if they would be willing to provide and serve beers at the event.  Jon and Ryan agreed to brew two beers for the club to serve.  Jerry talked to Elmer Miller of Raleigh, ND regarding malting barley.  Jerry asked that anyone interested in acquiring some Conlon two-row barley from Mr. Miller provide Jerry with a five-gallon bucket and Jerry will secure some of the barley later this summer.  Discussed club picnic.  Jon will send out list of potential dates in September for members to vote on.  Glen brought some excess brewing equipment (buckets, carboys, etc.) that he acquired at a reasonable price that he made available to club members at no charge.  Discussed several ND and MN start-up and relatively new breweries and their respective beers.  Sampled several home brewed beers brought to the meeting by those in attendance.

Jon Stika
Secretary

Present: Ryan Jilek, Jerry Ford, Alan Church, Steve Klicker and Jon Stika.

Discussed the upcoming Blues & Brews event, Saturday, June 7th at the Biesiot Activities Center in Dickinson, ND.  Several members plan to attend and serve their home brewed beers.  The beers brewed at Hawk’s Point for the even have been kegged and connected to carbon dioxide to carbonate them.  Discussed hopping strategies for bitterness, flavor and aroma.  Several beers were sampled and discussed.

Jon Stika
Secretary

group around kettlesIMG_9037Glen, Alicia, Jerry, Jon and Lindsey watch kettles of boiling wort during the 2014 Hawk’s Point brew session on April 4th in the Hawk’s Point kitchen.  The brew crew (back) Jerry, Ryan, Glen (front) Jon & Rocky.

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