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Home » Brews and News
Table of Contents
President : A Mid-Summer Classic
BJCP Exam, A Challenge for Beer Lovers
This Month in Brews & News
Beer Style of the Month : Belgian Abbey Dubbel and Strong Dark Ale
Minutes of Recent Meetings
Other Information
Competition Calendar

August 2000, Vol. XXV, Num. 8
Don T. Knott, Editor
Kevin Baranowski, John Aitchison, Tom Wolf, Rich Schmittdiel, et al.
Contents Copyright 2000 The Maltose Falcons

A Mid-Summer Classic
by Kevin Baranowski ?
    No, I'm not talking about a baseball game. I'm referring to the great Maltose Falcons Sunfest coming up. By the time you read this, hopefully you will have paid your fees to the club, booked your boat ride, and are packing for the fun in the sun. If you aren't one of the lucky ones planning to attend, don't fret because we will probably do this again in the future. I'd like to let everyone know, especially those going to Catalina, that we owe a big thanks to Craig Wickam. Craig is not a Board member, and with Leo Barendse' move to San Diego, we've had to do the Activities Director role as a team. Craig has stepped up to help secure a transportation boat, arrange for campsites, ice, propane, and secure the party area. He has volunteered to ride with the gear & beer over and back. Craig's commitment to this Sunfest has been outstanding, and I hope everyone will be sure to thank him personally when you next see him.

    Commitment problems can affect us in other ways too. In the past, events had to be canceled because of a lack of sign-ups. Sunfest for example was first talked about at the January meeting. The date and or deadline to pay have been published in our newsletter for the past couple of months. When we have events like this, we really need to do a lot of planning and get assurances from the members that all will go well and that the event will take place. I'm probably just like everyone else, with family, friends, work, and other hobbies. It's sometimes a juggling act to put it all together. I'm happy to say that we have around 66 people signed-up for Sunfest. The thought I'm trying to leave you with here is this, if the club decides to schedule an event such as a bus trip and a lot of the membership waits too long to commit either verbally or by payment, then the event seems to be canceled for lack of interest. We are notorious for waiting until the last chance. By committing to club events as early as possible, it helps to make that event a success. Just about all of our events turn out great when all is said and done. So think about it the next time an event is planned, remember it affects the count for the cooks, the count of campsites needed, the size of a bus or van, or if we end up just going at all. Looking ahead at some upcoming events, the bus trip idea to the pubs and or micros of No. San Diego County is still in the planning stages. Seems like we'll looking at Sept. 23rd Saturday, with bus pick-ups at the shop and on the Westside. Pricing and more info will be available soon. The Northern California Homebrewers Fest is scheduled for October 7th at Skyline Park in Napa. Tickets will be available at the shop soon. This event is like Temecula, but on a smaller scale. We had a good turnout last year and hope to have at least that size group or more this year. There is no August meeting due to Sunfest at Catalina, and because of Labor Day, our Sept. meeting at the shop will be Sunday Sept. 10th. To those that we won't see at Sunfest, we look forward to seeing everyone at the Sept. meeting. Have a good summer.

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BJCP Exam, A Challenge for Beer Lovers
By John Aitchison
    When we enjoy beers at the club meetings or other occasions, we all know what we like. Yes, almost all of us are beer experts, compare what you know with what Joe Six-Pack knows about beer. Any one of us can probably name a dozen or more beer styles and tell you what the beer is supposed to taste like. We are all beer judges. If I were to guess what one thing keeps more club members from judging at formal competitions than any other, I'd bet on the BJCP exam and the fear that some feel they aren't qualified.

    I'd like to put the "not qualified" issue to rest right away. You know what you like; you know beers. I can think of dozens of club members who aren't BJCP whose opinions I value on beer quality. When I want a really informed opinion on IPA's for example, Doug Harlan (Mr. Hophead) comes to mind. He isn't a BJCP judge, but if he likes an IPA, it's good every time. Doug King wasn't a judge, who knew more about American Lagers than Doug? How about Cullen Davis and Porters? Steve Keppler and Barley Wines? I could give you lots of other examples, but I won't.

    The other reason I feel we don't have more judges is fear of the BJCP exam. Yes, it's not easy. There are seven essay questions; but they are all about beer. The questions are about beer styles and brewing. We know these things. You only need a 60 out of 100 to pass the exam. It's true no one this side of Bruce Brode gets a 90, but that doesn't mean you can't pass. I'm going to list a couple of questions from past tests so you can get an idea of what is the exam is like. The questions are courtesy of Scott Bickham and others, "BJCP Study Guide".

    S4. Identify, describe and differentiate three top fermenting beer styles with original gravities greater than 1.070. Give commercial examples of each style.

    S5. Describe and differentiate four distinctly different German bottom fermented beer styles. Note that color differences don't count as different beer styles. Give commercial examples of each.

    T18. What are the primary purposes for boiling wort? How does boiling achieve the brewers objectives.

    T4. Describe the hopping schedule for an American Pale Ale and a Munich Dunkel, explaining why you have selected specific amounts and varieties of hops and how your schedule fits the style.

    At first glance the questions look difficult. I'm sure all of you can partially answer all of the above questions right off the top of your head. For example Barley Wines, Old Ales, and Weizenbocks are answers to the first question. One could also include several Belgian strong ales and Dortmunder Adambier (someone brew one and bring it in). You could also name some names easily. Yes, you might not answer the whole question, but the BJCP gives you credit for partial answers.

    Also, remember we will be having a 5 week class to help you prepare. There will be plenty of study materials including the study guide and we'll give examples. For me, the commercial examples are the hard part, for some that might be easy. Anyway, I want to mention again the BJCP class will be starting on Tuesday Oct. 10 at the shop at 7 PM and run for 5 Tuesdays. We'll all have a lot of fun and I'll guarantee you will be a more informed beer drinker when you're done.

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This Month in Brews & News
by Don T. Knott
    Twenty-six Miles Across the Sea
    With a little luck this will be in the hands of all and sundry just as we land-locked Falcons bid bon voyage to our intrepid fellows daring enough to cross the Channel to the far away land of Catalina. Those of us with less daring (and less dollars) are fare likelier to find our way to Catalina by way of a circle of fifths(which is not the same thing as a round of pints.)

    Those of you seafaring men and ladies that have a camera with you whilst you enjoy your island getaway are invited to submit photos, both digital and non to both the Brews & News and to the website.

    I'm sure Webmaster Beechum would agree that our online archive of Falcon photo moments is a little thin. (WebEd : Yup) Your editor would also like to include photos on a regular basis in the Brews & News.

    If you are shooting digital, e-mail your best hi-res frames to either Drew or me. If you are still implementing primitive silver halide based image capturing solutions please mail me (see address on page 5) your best prints fresh from the Sav-On store and I'll scan them, return them and share the files with Drew. We will use our respective media to dazzle the homebrewing community with tales of the Falcons excellence. We want the Falcons to be recognized as the Best Brewclub in the World, hands down and bar none. To do that we have to brew the best beer, enter it into competitions, document our achievements and activities and bring attention and goodwill to the hobby of homebrewing.

    Are you up for it?

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Beer Style of the Month :July :
Belgian Abby Dubbel and Strong Dark Ales
by Tom Wolf
    The Maltose Falcons style guidelines classify these beers, subclass B, Abbey Dubbel (Double) and subclass E, Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale of class 17 Belgian-style strong ale.

    This is one of my favorite styles of beer. In fact until my first chance taste of a Dubbel, I thought that good beer was the typical Pabst/Bud/Miller style lager that we all know and love. That one glass, (actually two), started me on a quest to find out about the wonderful beers of Belgium.

    Dubbel is a relatively standard style of beer and will be similar from one brewer to another. Dubbels are associated with the Belgian Abbeys. In the Middle Ages monasteries were in great abundance in Europe. Normally a monastery included everything necessary for life within its walls. This included fermented beverages as well as food. Many had extensive holdings including land that grew wheat and barley. Most of the monasteries brewed beer for internal use and to raise money. The Trappist Abbeys are the most famous examples of the Belgian brewing monasteries. They are a part of the Cistercian order, a group that sprang from a reform movement wanting a more strict monastic life and the insistence on manual labor. The Belgian Abbeys were completely wiped out during the French revolution due to looting and the subsequent destruction or selling off of their properties. Fortunately many monasteries were revived in the mid-1800s and all of the Trappist monasteries were making beer by 1930. It is only for the last 40 years that Trappist and Abbey beers have been widely distributed for sale.

    By Belgian law, to be called a "Trappist Ale" it must be brewed at a Trappist monastery. The list of legal Trappist monasteries is limited to Westmalle (The standard for Dubbel, try it!) Westvleteren, Chimay, Orval and Rochefort. Many Abbeys also brew excellent Dubbels such as Leffe and Grimbergen.

    A Dubbel is a dark amber-brown, rich, malty, moderately strong ale.

    The aroma of should include a complex combination of rich malt, higher alcohol aromas (peppery, spicy), clove-spice, raisins and other fruity ester aromas. Dubbels are rich malty and fruity ales with the balance toward the malt. Raisin flavors are common along with a slight to moderate clove taste. Hop flavor is low to none. Dark candi sugar is said to contribute a unique dry caramel character. Expect medium-full to full body with warming mouthfeel from alcohol.

    Belgian Strong Dark Ale is a similar beer to the double but is not as uniform and reflects the unique products of the individual breweries. Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ales are Deep burgundy to dark brown in color with full body and a creamy and warming effect. They are similar to the Abbey Dubbel style but are often significantly stronger beers of a wider variety. Ripe fruit flavors, including raisin and plum, are common. Malt usually dominates, but some examples are balanced slightly toward bitterness. Some spicy phenols and fruity esters are typical from a warm ferment and actual spices may be present. Expect a dark, very rich, complex, very strong ale. These ales can also be more highly hopped than the Dubbels.

    Commercial Examples (Dubbel): Westmalle Dubbel. LaTrappe Dubbel. Affligem Dubbel. Steenbrugge Dubbel. Celis Dubbel. Westvletteren Dubbel

    Commercial Examples (Strong Dark): Pawel Kwak. Gouden Carolus. Scaldis, aka Bush.

    Brewing Dubbel:

Statistics:DubbelStrong Dark
OG:1.063 - 1.0801.065 - 1.098
FG:1.012 - 1.0181.013 - 1.024
ABV:5.2 - 7.8%7 - 12%
IBU:20 - 3525 - 40
SRM:10 - 207 - 20

    Ingredients: Two row Pilsner malt is the base grain. Some dark crystal and brown malt including dark Munich or caramel malt is used to get brown coloring and taste. The dark grains used should never be allowed to impart roast flavor. This means none or only a slight amount of chocolate, black or roast barley should ever be used. Belgian special B malt is a good choice of a dark grain to color and flavor a Dubbel. Many references state that dark candi sugar and the darkening during the boil should be responsible for much of the color and flavor of a Dubbel. My experience is that the candi sugar available in the USA will only slightly affect color and that about one half pound of Special B or other grain of equivalent color is required to get the correct color range for five gallons of Dubbel. One half to one pound Dark (caramelized) candi sugar per five gallons is a common and significant addition for correct body, color and flavor of a Dubbel.

    Spices are sometimes added for complexity. Hops are the Germanic Noble varieties, notably any of the Hallertauer varieties as well as Styrian Goldings and Saaz.

    Yeast strains prone to production of higher alcohols, esters, spicy phenols, and clove-spice aroma and flavor are most commonly used. Any of the Wyeast or Whitelab Belgian strains are good choices. Yeast can be grown from bottles of Chimay, a rewarding investment in yeast.

    Wolfmalle Dubbel:

    (82%) 9.0 Lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt
    (4.5%) 1/2 Lbs. CaraMunich
    (4.5%) 1/2 Lb. CaraVienne
    (4.5%) 1/2 Lb. Special B
    (4.5%) 1/2 Lb. Aromatic
    1/2 Lb. Dark Candi Sugar
    OG: 1.065-1.068
    1.5 oz (4.0 AAU) Stryian Goldings or Crystal 60 minutes
    1 oz (3.5 AAU) Hallertaur or Saaz at end of boil
    Boil 90 to 120 minutes

    Pitch with a 1/2 gallon starter of Wyeast Strong Belgian # 1388. Ferment at 70 to 75 F for three or more weeks.

    This beer benefits from age, store for as many years (or weeks) as it lasts!

    Bring some to a meeting!

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A Year of Beer. (A complete list of Styles for the year)
by Tom Wolf
January Imperial Stout : (Bring your Stouts and Porters)
February Barley Wine : (Bring your strong beers)
March India Pale Ale (Bring your big hoppy beers)
April American Lagers (Lawnmower beer month)
May Octoberfest/Marzen/Bock (Bring any type of German Lager)
June Lambic (Bring any fruit, specialty, or soured beer)
July American Wheat / Cream Ale (Bring your heat beers or light ales)
August Belgian Abbey Ales (Dubel and Strong Dark Ales) (Bring any big dark ale)
September Scottish and Irish Ales (Bring Bitters and Pale Ales)
October Wheat, Witbier / German Wheat : (Bring some German wheat beers)
November Spiced Beers : (Bring a spiced beer)
December Old Ales / Strong Ales : (Bring Your Winter Warmers)

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Minutes of Recent Meetings
by Rich Schmittdiel, Secretary
Maltose Falcons Board Meeting, 7/6/2000
    The July board meeting was held at Kevin's house the evening of July 6. The meeting got underway somewhere around 7:30 PM. Attending were Kevin Baranowski, John Aitchison, Jim Moorman, John Rasmussen, Don Knott, Rich Schmittdiel, Tom Wolf, and Drew Beechum. Heather and Jolene arrived just as the meeting was getting underway.

    Jim Moorman presented the club financial statement, including an update on Sunfest tickets sold to date.

    Jolene announced there would be a "guest" Burgermeister at the club meeting the following week, as she and Heather would be recovering from a batchelorette party to be given for Heather the evening prior. Sean from the Pasadena Culinary Institute would be filling in for our two Burgermistresses.

    There followed a brief discussion of business for the next club meeting. Topics discussed included final details for the Sunfest, and the upcoming club elections. Craig Wickham provided an update on Sunfest logistics. Cargo boats to transport band, beer and grub are in short supply. Last resort will be a dive boat based in Catalina. We'll be sharing the picnic and BBQ facilities with a sailing club from Marina Del Rey.

    John Aitchison floated an idea from Steve Casselman for consideration. The Falcons have an opportunity to help host the next AHA convention in June of 2001. We might sponsor a hospitality tent that might produce income. The board agreed to present the topic to the general membership for further discussion at the upcoming meeting. This would be a significant effort, requiring the help from many members, but the rewards could make it worthwhile.

    Kevin led a discussion of a possible San Diego pub-crawl for September. Former Activities Director Leo Barendse has been hard at work, scouting out good drinking establishments in the SD area and is urging the Falcons to come south for a day to see how the locals tip them. Debate ensued over best transportation methods, with two possibilities being a charter bus and the Amtrack. The board will consider this further at the next meeting.

    The meeting adjourned about 9:45 P.M.

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Maltose Falcons Board Meeting, 7/9/2000
    The July meeting was held at the Homebrew Shop in Woodland Hills. There were about 25 Falcons and their guests present at start time. The meeting got underway about 1:40 P.M. Vice president John Aitchison presided in the absence of Kevin.

    This month's tasting session was a good one: we sampled eight beers. Here's the list in the order tasted, along with the names of the brewers:

    Cream Ale: "Mystery Brewer"*
    Kolsch: Tom Wolf
    Heifeweisen: John Aitchison, John Rasmussen, and Bill Heath
    Blueberry wheat: "Mystery Brewer"
    California Common: Martin Carmen
    Red Ale: Tom and Lois Hamilton
    IPA: Jim Moorman
    Swartzbeer: "Mystery Brewer"
    (Mystery brewer revealed as none other than Drew Beechum, who could not be present at the tasting, but arrived later.)

    Following the home-brew sampling, lunch was served. Our guest Burgermeister Sean Donnelly served a fine meal of shepherd's pie, tossed green salad and a fine dessert, which I neglected to record. (It was cheescake, Ed.)

    Steve Casselman held the floor to describe an opportunity for the Falcons to play a role in hosting the AHA convention in LA in June, 2001. A suggestion was made that the club sponsors a hospitality (beer) tent in conjunction with the festival. Steve is seeking indications of interest and commitment among the Falcon membership to serve in some way. The AHA convention will be June 21-23 next year. It is never too early to start planning.

    July is election month for the Falcons board, in case any of you missed all the campaign speeches and commercials with sound bites. Because none of the offices were contested, a motion to elect the nominees by acclamation was made and seconded. Here is a list of the officers who were elected for next year's board:

    Kevin Baranowski, president
    John Aitchison, vice president
    Jim Moorman, treasurer
    Rich Schmittdiel, secretary
    Cullen Davis, membership director
    Tom Wolf, Grand Hydro
    Don Knott, newsletter editor
    Georgeanne Eilers, activities director
    Burgermeister/mistress, Sean Donnelly and Jolene Berganio
    Drew Beechum, Webmaster

    The beer styles of the month were wheat beers and cream ales. Grand Hydro Tom Wolf provided three samples of wheat beers: Anderson Valley High Rollers Wheat Beer, Sierra Nevada Wheat Beer (unfiltered), and Blue Star Wheat Beer. Tom also presented Rogue Oregon Ale and Wexford Irish Cream Ale as examples of the second beer style of the month.

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Events Calendar Check the big events section
    Sundays, Keg Night at Lucky Baldwins 17 South Raymond Ave. Pasadena. First pint is $4.50, keep the glass, refills are $2.50 until the keg runs dry, for more information call (626) 795-0652.

    First Tuesday, BJ's Beer Appreciation, Brea Every month. From 7:30-9:30 PM. $10, includes 10-11 tasters. Call (714) 990-2095 for reservations and directions.

    First Saturday, BJ's Brewery Tour, Brea Every month. Includes tasters, pizza, and souvenir glass for $14. Call (714) 990-2095 for reservations and directions.

    First Wednesday, BJ's Beer Appreciation, Woodland Hills Hosted by Alex Puchner and David Mathis, time 7:30-9:00 PM. Admission: $14 per person includes all beer samples, handouts and a raffle ticket. The schedule for the next few months is as follows : 11/3 Local Microbrewers Night, 12/1 Domestic Winter Warmers.

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Want to make your own beer at home? Get started on the right foot. Check out the Falcon's sponsoring shop, The Home Beer, Wine, Cheesemaking Shop. John Daume, proprietor, has been serving the home brewing and winemaking needs of Angelenos since 1972, over 30 years! (Falcon Members receive a 10% discount on supplies)
Looking for older Falcons' information?, The Westval Maltose Falcons Webpage (Locally cached) (The Original Falcon's Roost, prior to 1999)
Looking for a home wine making club in the Los Angeles area? Check out our sister club, The Cellarmasters, over 30 and still stomping grapes.