As is tradition, we held our January meetings at Block 3 in St. Jacob’s. And what also seems to be tradition, the weather was less than ideal. But that didn’t stop people from showing – no doubt eager to find out who would be walking away with the Mash Paddle of Destiny!

Mash Paddle of Destiny – probably the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon any brewer. Ever.
Martin providing some other fermented products.
Kevin is slinging suds behind the bar.

Martin brought some fresh sourdough to start things off. And plenty of Block 3 beers on tap being served up by Kevin to wash it down. Troubleshooting corner was also back before we got into the meat of it.

Club announcements were relatively brief.

  • We recapped December’s meeting at Short Finger: we managed to raise $1243 for The Working Center at the meeting. Thanks again to the generous donations from our sponsors to support the raffle.
  • Shipping for competitions on the BotY circuit is going to continue in 2020. The first competition will be for Cowtown Yeast Wranglers – registration is open now! We are moving to standard bottle sizes to help simplify shipping, but for this first competition we will make some exceptions. Check the Club competition’s forum for details.
  • Beer Wars (or Homebrew Wars) will be returning soon – keep an eye open for that.
  • And dues for 2020 are now payable. It’s once again PWYC, with a suggestion of $25. Due paying members have access to bulk buys; internal competitions like Beer Wars and True Brewer; shipping for competitions; access to equipment rentals; and, events like sensory training.

Going through all the True Brewer voting gave Justin a chance to flex his stats muscles. Almost every beer submitted was in someone’s top three. Also, the winning beer, was in the top 3 of almost everyone who received it. Honourable mention went to Scott Sterling’s Down and Out spelt saison; in 3rd place was Jamie Fowler‘s Multiplayer B gin barrel fermented Gose; in 2nd place was Kent Rundle‘s Hopportunity Strikes NEIPA; and, your 2019 True Brewer is… CHRIS KWIETNIOWSKI! with his fruitcake RIS. Time to start planning your brews for True Brewer 2020…

True Brewer for 2019 is Chris K with his Fruitcake RIS.

Ryan gave an excellent presentation on water treatment. The first step is to make sure you’ve removed any chlorine or chloramine from the water you’re using on brew day because nobody likes beer that tastes like band aids. We also have some very alkaline water in the area, so it’s important to adjust your pH for mash efficiency but also for flavour. Lower your mash pH either through lactic or phophoric acid – keep the acetic acid for your French fries. And don’t try to get around water hardness (not the same as alkalinity) by using softened water as it will have increased sodium, and calcium is good for yeast health. If you want to reduce the minerals in your water, try substituting in some RO water. There are some great tools out there like Bru’n Water to help you figure out your necessary water adjustments, and True Grist also keeps a record of local water profiles.

Ryan talks about water treatment and how good water can turn a good beer into a great beer.

February’s meeting will be at Rhythm and Brews in Cambridge on February 12.