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Home » Brews and News
Table of Contents
President : Hoppy New Year We're Winners Again!
AHA Beer Festival Organizing Committee Forming
BJCP Class Graduates 23 Judges
This Month in Brews & News
Shop Brew Report
AHA Club Only Competitions for 2001
Competition Committee Meets, Sets Guidelines
First Shop Brew Of The New Year, 2001.
Judgement Day
McNeil's Brewery, Brattleboro VT.
Minutes of Recent Meetings
Stuffed Sandwich Annual Seasonal Beer Tasting, 12/16/00
Beer Style of the Month : Russian Imperial Stout
Other Information
Competition Calendar

December 2000, Vol. XXV, Num. 12
Don T. Knott, Editor
Kevin Baranowski, John Aitchison, Tom Wolf, Rich Schmittdiel, et al.
Contents Copyright 2000 The Maltose Falcons

Hoppy New Year We're Winners Again!
by Kevin Baranowski
    If you were at the December meeting you heard the good news; we're winners again! It's true, the Maltose Falcons have been voted The Woodland Hills Homebrew Club of the Year for 2000.To celebrate the winning of this prestigious award, we are planning a Micro/Pub Crawl to San Diego.

    The bus will make stops at Alesmith in Mira Mesa, Stone Brewing Co. in San Marcos, and to Pizza Port in Carlsbad. Alesmith, is a small brewery run by former homebrewer Skip Virgilio, and is known for Stumblin' Monk, which earned a Bronze Medal at this years GABF, and Old Numbskull Barleywine. Skip will give us a tour of his facilities there.

    Greg Koch runs Stone Brewing Co. Stone is well known in California for Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard, Smoked Porter, and others. Greg will give us a tour and tasting of all their beers and discounts on T-shirts & pint glasses.

    Pizza Port Carlsbad is a brewpub, and the brewer is Tommy Arthur. Pizza Port won 2 Silver Medals at this years GABF, for Cuvee de Tomme & Shark Bite Red Ale. We'll try the rest of their beers, tour, and eat dinner there before heading home.

    The plan is to have a Valley pick up location such as the Bank parking lot at the Shop or the Van Nuys Flyaway. The Westsiders will get picked up on their side of the hill too. There will be a sign-up sheet at the Shop. You can also sign-up at the January and Febrewary Club meetings. You MUST pay at the time of sign-up. You can mail your check to John at the Shop also. Seats are going fast and we only have space for 50 people.

    There will be beer on the bus, and we are doing a "nobody-can-lose" raffle. Bring 1 bottle of beer, commercial preferred, or your finest homebrew, and you will receive a raffle ticket. Before we arrive in San Diego we'll pick bottles out of an ice chest and call out raffle numbers. Those that bring a bottle will win one. Then we'll pour and raise a toast to the Maltose Falcons for being a winning Club.

    Talk about an all day PARTY with some great people! Just a note, there is NO SMOKING on the bus and the bus fee does not include any additional expenses that will arise such as food, beers bought at any of the stops, or souvenirs. Pizza Port will be the last stop, and the plan is to eat dinner there. Food can be ordered and paid for by individuals or in small groups. The Club will not be covering or ordering for the entire group to avoid conflicts.

    This will be a daylong turn around trip from 8:00 am to after 10:00 PM. So here's the facts;

    Saturday February 17th 2001 $25.00 per person

    Bus Stops at Alesmith, Stone & Pizza Port

    Limited to the 1st paid 50 people to sign-up

    Bus leaves 8:00 am in the Valley 9:00 am on the West Side

    Tours, Tastings, Beer on the Bus, Nobody Can Lose Raffle

    See the Falcons website www.maltosefalcons.com for info or if you want to check out the web for info on any of our stops, go to; www.alesmith.com, www.stonebrew.com, www.pizzaport.com. You can then see all the beers that these fine establishments produce, and any merchandise they sell.

    Sign-up, don't miss the bus! Help us celebrate the winning of the Woodland Hills Homebrew Club of the Year for 2000. Call me if you have any questions or comments

    Even sooner, there is another fun time coming up. The Doug King Memorial Birthday Tasting will be at Steve and MB Casselman's house on Saturday January 20th. The cost is $15.00 per person limited to 35 people. This will include beer tastings and some food. MB has a sign-up sheet and you can call her to reserve you space. Well it's a New Year, hope your holidays were filled with joy, and your mugs were filled with beer! Many competitions are coming up, as is the AHA Convention. Get those kettles rolling & boiling, it's going to be a big year in beer! See you on the 7th. KB

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AHA Beer Festival Organizing Committee Forming
By John Aitchison
    Have you ever wondered how a beer festival gets lots of great beer? Have you ever gone to a festival and wished they had better beer, music, or food? Here is your chance to get on the ground floor of a beer festival and help organize it.

Thanks to major work and lobbying from Steve Casselman, the American Homebrewer's Association is having their annual convention in Los Angeles in June 2001. This is the first time the convention has been in Southern California; to help celebrate we are going to have a beer festival on Friday night. We plan on having lots of breweries and even more beer. There will be lots of real ales and contests for the best beer and the best real ale. We need your help. There are a number of activities we need to organize to make sure this festival is a success. We need to round up volunteers to serve the beer, contact breweries, promote the festival, arrange for food, make sure the beer is in place and equipment is ready, arrange for glasses, and a few other things. If we have enough volunteers, it will be easy for everyone.

The goal is each of the people on the committee will just have one project. That way we'll all be be able to spend most of our time at the festival drinking beer, eating, and listening to the bands. And you'll know that you helped make sure the festival was well run. If you're interested in helping, e-mail me, give me a call, or see me at the January meeting. My e-mail address is john.aitchison@homebeer.com.

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BJCP Class Graduates 23 Judges
By John Aitchison
    We completed a Beer Judge Certification Program Class in November. Our class was one of the biggest ever; we barely fit into the clubhouse. Over a five week period, the students sampled over 70 different beers, learned about most of the world beer styles, ingredients, and may have picked up a few things about defects in beers and what causes them.

    I want to thank a lot of people who made this class so successful. First, I want to thank the students. They had to suffer through five weeks of me, give up their Tuesday evenings, and spend a fair amount of time at home going over materials. John Daume again generously let us use the shop after hours. He always is there to help the club.

    Our guest instructors were an all star list of homebrewers and commercial brewers. At our first class we had Bruce Brode. Bruce is a master judge, former club president, and one of the principal authors of the BJCP Style guidelines. Current president Kevin Baranowski helped out at the second class. We had MB Raines-Casselman talk about yeast, fermentation, and English beers. MB has taught Microbrewers yeast production, is the Brewmistress of the Great Beer Company, and is a former Grand Hydrometer. Steve Casselman taught the fourth class. He was chair of the BJCP Style guideline committee and really explained them to the students. At our last class we had Tom Wolf and Alex Puchner teach. We all know Tom is our current Grand Hydrometer and 1999 California Homebrewer of the Year. Alex is Vice-President of Brewing Operations for the entire BJ's chain. All BJ's Brewmasters report to him; he designs the beers and is the main reason BJ's is one of the best Brewpubs around. Alex also is a National Judge and still is a Falcon. Tom and Alex talked about Wheat beers, hops, and Belgians.

    Finally, I want to thank my wife Pam for being a great sport and being our chief steward. Pam is a Certified Judge in her own right, there aren't too many of us who not only can get their spouses to come, but to help, and give an informed opinion on beer.

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This Month in Brews & News
by Don T. Knott
    This is now the third issue since the great hard drive crash of '00, but things are a little more back to normal. I'm stealing time and space from the computers at work, so I feel right at home.

    We have a very full issue this month. I received reports on the BJCP class, pub reviews, contest news and shop brews. This month's Beer of the Month article is a reprint. Trust us when we say that the style "Imperial Stout" hasn't changed much since last time 'round.

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Shop Brew Report
By Kevin Baranowski
         On Sunday December 10th a competent group of Homebrewers, Kevin Baranowski, Drew Beechum, Cullen Davis, Jim Kopitzke, and Frank Antonowitz, gathered at the Shop to brew the 2000 Falcons Claws beer. Last year was our first attempt, and was mostly a success for both the Clone and the second runnings beer. This year I decided to try and raise the original gravity over what we reached last year 1.120 OG. We felt that the 1999 batch was too full bodied and that we didn't get quite the efficiency from the Shop system that we were shooting for. So this year we added a step mash rest @ 124ˇ and final rest at 154ˇ. We also added an additional pound of Light Malt Extract.

    The Recipe for 5 Gallons was:
    25.75 lbs. German Pilsner Malt
    3.00 lbs. 60' Crystal
    1.50 lbs. Vienna Malt
    2.00 lbs. Dry Light Malt Extract
    1.00 lb. Dark Candy Sugar

    The Hops were:

    1.75 oz Styrian Goldings, 90 minutes
    1. 50 oz Hallertau Mittlefruh, 15 minutes
    .50 oz Hallertau Mittlefruh, 2 minutes.

    Yeast was a 2qt starter of Wyeast #2206 Bavarian Lager

    This was a first runnings only beer, which was run off into my kettle and boiled for 90 minutes. The gravity was much better this year, 1.136 OG.

     We also added some Carafa Malt, Crystal, and another to a grain bag that was added to the shop kettle during the second running sparge. Drew & Cullen added coriander, orange peel and dark candy sugar to the boil. This was bittered with Styrian Goldings hop additions. The yeast was a starter of Wyeast #1214 Belgian Abbey. We ended up with 10 gallons at 1.040 OG.

    This is a fun project that I hope to do each December shop brew. Thanks to all the guys that volunteered. Now we wait until December 2001 for a taste!

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AHA Club Only Competitions for 2001
By John Aitchison
    Once every two months, the AHA has a club only competition. Each homebrew club is only allowed to enter one entry; and only clubs can enter. Each club only competition is for one specific style. Last year we entered 3 of the 6 club only competitions. We couldn't even get one entry for the other three.

    Well, we're going to do better this year. I'm publishing the club only competition list early, so you'll have time to brew for it. All expenses including mailing and entry forms are paid for by the club. All you have to do is bring the beer (and recipe). I'd like you all to pay special attention to the October competition. You'll hear more from me later (especially you judges).

    Late March 2001: Stout. The entire Stout family including Imperial Stout. Had a few good ones at the December meeting. Hosted by the Niagara Association of Homebrewers

    Late May 2001: Bocamalia. Still not too late to brew a Bock or Helles Bock. If you already have a Dopplebock, save a few bottles for this. Hosted by the Cincinnati Malt Infusers

    August 2001: Wit. I had lots of good Wits this year at club meetings. I know we can brew this. Hosted by the Gold Country Brewers

    October 2001: California Common. Hosted by the MALTOSE FALCONS. We'll have a lot of fun judging this one. Let's brew at least one also.

    December 2001: Mild. We know Cullen can brew them. I'd wait until late September or early October to brew this low gravity beer. Hosted by the Brewers United for Real Potables.

    I know I'm early, but put some kind of note around three bottles of your stout to remind you to bring them to the February meeting

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Competition Committee Meets, Sets Guidelines
By Tom Hamilton
    On Tuesday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m., the Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society Competition Committee met at Father's Office in Santa Monica. The purpose of the meeting was to establish competition dates, entry deadlines, entry fees, and related matters for both the 2001 Mayfaire Competition and the 2001 Los Angeles County Fair Homebrew Competition. In attendance at this meeting were John Aitchison, Bruce Brode, Dave Anderson, Brian Vessa, Tom Hamilton, Diana Utech, Cullen Davis, and Drew Beechum.

    With respect to the 2001 Mayfaire Competition, it was decided that the opening date for the acceptance of entries would be March 1, 2001, and that the deadline for the acceptance of entries would be March 20, 2001. Check-in of entries will occur on Saturday, March 24, 2001, and the actual judging will occur two weeks later on Saturday, April 7, 2001, at St. Luke's Church in Woodland Hills, CA. Two weeks after the judging, on Saturday, April 21, 2001, the winners of the competition will be announced at the Maltose Falcons Mayfaire party.

    With respect to the 2001 Los Angeles County Fair Homebrew Competition, it was decided that check-in will occur on Saturday, July 14, 2001, and that the judging will occur two weeks later on Saturday, July 28, 2001, at the L. A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona, CA. The winners of the competition will be announced by L.A. County Fair officials in the usual fashion at the Fair in September, 2001. No official date for acceptance of entries has yet been set, however, it is anticipated that the L.A. County Fair officials will agree to a "window" for acceptance of entries from around the last week in June through July 10, 2001. More on this subject will be published in future editions of Brews & News.

    In addition to the above decisions, the committee decided to retain the six-dollar per entry fee for the Mayfaire Competition. The entry fee for the L.A. County Fair has not yet been determined.

    Also, in the recent past the Maltose Falcons have required all entrants to provide their recipe as a condition of entering a competition. The committee unanimously agreed to eliminate the requirement to provide a recipe; instead, a winning home brewer will be asked, at the brewer's option, to provide a recipe for publication. Home brewers who wish to participate may do so, and those who do not wish to participate need not do so. It is believed that the removal of this requirement will increase participation.

    Finally, the purpose in reporting all of this in Brews & News is to inform the Maltose Falcons of these important dates, and to encourage each and every member to brew and enter these competitions. Right now is not too soon to brew high gravity beers for the Mayfaire Competition. Right now is not too soon to brew barleywines and certain types of meads and ciders for the L.A. County Fair Competition. Remember, members of other distinguished clubs are brewing with the idea to win the coveted Mayfaire Best-of-Show award . . . the Maltose Falcon aka "the Bird." Last year, our own Todd Etzel won Best-of-Show and the "Bird" with his superb rendition of agave mead. Let's keep the "Bird" at home in 2001. BREW FOR IT!

    During the meeting, committee members enjoyed some marvelous, hard to find beers on draught at Father's Office. If you've never been to Father's Office, you owe it to yourself to go there. It's slightly pricey, but what-the-heck, it's for you! Father's Office is located at 1018 Montana Av in Santa Monica.

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First Shop Brew Of The New Year, 2001.
By Cullen Davis
    Among all the ways to make a good start to a new year, brewing up a great, big batch of great, big beer has got to be one of my better ideas. For this New Year in particular, Old Year Old Ale will depart the mash to be followed soon afterward by his child, Baby New Year Mild Ale.

    In other words, we're going to brew an Old Ale, and make a little bit of Mild Ale from the second runnings to give us something to drink while the Old Ale is maturing. The specific recipe will include the addition of some treacle (molasses to us Yanks) to the boil to bump up the gravity and give it a little more complexity and a little buttery smoothness. It will naturally include a fair amount of crystal malts for that rich, malty profile that we look for in an old ale. We'd like to have a big group for this one and if everyone brings a little brew to share, we'll prove once and for all that old adage that says: "The more the merrier." I hope to see you there.

    Sign up at the shop or at the January club meeting.

    Brewmasters: Cullen Davis, Drew Beechum, and whatever other Falcons want to toss their hats into the ring.

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Judgement Day
By Bruce L. Brode
    Saturday, November 18 loomed as "judgment day," as on that day the Beer Judge Certification Exam would be held. As primary proctor of the exam, assisted most ably by David Anderson, I was astonished to find no less than 22 individuals present to take it on that morning at the Shop. This is by far the most examinees we have had at an exam, in many years and perhaps ever. It is certainly a testament to the hard work and dedication of John Aitchison, who organized several preparation classes and nearly all of whose students showed up to take the test. This is a marvelous and impressive change from the normally severe attrition rate we experience.

    The Maltose Falcons have been steady and solid supporters of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) since its inception in 1986 and have sent many judges into the system. The BJCP is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with elected representatives nationwide, dedicated to maintaining this important and rigorous credentialing examination, a comprehensive list of beer styles, and registering of homebrewing competitions. I'm personally very pleased that so many Falcons elected to take the exam for the first time on November 18, and it speaks very well of the continuing interest of many club members in what I often call the "serious" side of homebrewing, that is to say, the detailed and qualitative evaluation of beer in the quest to define the best in beer and to preserve the classic beer styles by doing so.

    Most deserving of mention are the following individuals who took the exam for the first time on November 18: Drew Beechum, Martin Carman, Cullen Davis, Bill Heath, Lois Hamilton, Tom Hamilton, Doug Harlan, James Kopitzke, Dean Lynn, Jim Moorman, Richard Nevarez, Theresa Odelo, Robert Plata, Mark Poliner, Jennifer Rhude, Ken Rhude, Bill Richelieu, Jay Sheveck, Wayne Thiele. Also taking the test for the first time was John Palmer, an experienced homebrewer from Monrovia. Taking the test for the second time to upgrade their scores were John Aitchison, and Carl Townsend from the club Pacific Gravity who organized some preparatory classes for his own fellow club members as well.

    We all owe these people our respect for their scholarship and study in preparing for this exam and for their dedication and courage in taking it. Pour 'em a beer! And congratulations to all.

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    Click Here for Details

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McNeil's Brewery, Brattleboro VT.
By Falcons Grand Hydro, Tom Wolf
     I recently had the pleasure of visiting McNeils. It is very highly recommended on bulletin boards and the reviews on the Pub-Crawler on the Internet so, with a night to kill in the vicinity, it was a natural place to stop.

    NcNeil's is a northern California kind of place. It has the remembered atmosphere of a Haight Ashbury brewpub, north-woods charm and the music of an Amsterdam coffeehouse. Most of the patrons fit in well with the décor. It's a comfortable place with customers reading newspapers, doing crosswords and swapping pictures. On the side wall, I love the 6 ft. by 3 ft. framed historical picture of a stylishly dressed woman in an advertisement for a Paris drinking establishment in big letters "Biere de La Meuse". As I pan the bar there is a ceramic tiger head sporting four beer taps, a stout tap, five conventional taps, three traditional cask ale pumps and three more normal beer taps. That's sixteen taps with a McNeils beer and one more beer in the cooler in 22 oz bottles! Here is the list: Brew Head Brown, Firehouse Amber, Imperial Stout, Blonde Bombshell, Tartan Ale, Yukon Gold, Champ Ale, Alle Lagr Alt Bier, Kolsch, Pullman Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Slop Bucket Brown, Dead Horse IPA and Old Ringworm Old Ale.

    By ordering small glasses I managed to sample about a third of the offerings and can say that they all were excellent! My favorites: Tartan Scottish ale - smooth and not over the top on roast or smoked malts but soft and rich with a dry sweetness. Pullmans Porter - Robust deep ruby colored and complex. Dead Horse IPA - This is the ultimate product at McNeil's. It is a strong British IPA with a deep cloudy copper color and corresponding great malty taste with the best tasting English hops I have tasted. This beer is heavily dry hopped with luscious English hops. This one beer was worth the trip!

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Minutes of Recent Meetings
by Rich Schmittdiel, Secretary
Maltose Falcons Board Meeting, 11/29/2000
    Sometimes it's really great to be a board member! One gets to attend meetings at some great places: the December board meeting was held at the Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake on the evening of November 29. The meeting got underway about 7:00 pm. Attending were Kevin Baranowski, John Aitchison, Jim Moorman, Cullen Davis, Rich Schmittdiel, Tom Wolf, and Drew Beechum.

    Jim Moorman presented the club balance sheet. We're still solidly in the black.

    Kevin volunteered to proved a lunch time tech talk on water types, complete with samples.

    Tom Wolf shared his plans for beers to pour as examples of this month's style: big beers/winter warmers.

    Kevin shared his plans to lead a shop brew in December to brew another batch of "Falcons claws".

    We discussed plans for a Doug King memorial tasting to be held at MB's place sometime in January. Several dates were proposed, including Jan. 27 and Jan. 20. Watch for details soon.

    Some serious discussion took place over the upcoming club bus trip to San Diego for February. We intend to call at three places at least, including Stone Brewing, Alesmith, and Pizzaport, with a possible fourth location, depending upon time. We've firmed up the date of February 10. Departure will be from the shop in Woodland Hills, with a West LA pick up point still TBD. Tickets sold in advance will cover the bus trip only, with each stop being a "no host" type arrangement. The cut off date for ticket purchase will be the February meeting. We're hoping for a group of 35-38 to make the trip.

    The board approved a club grain buy of 200 pounds of pale ale malt to produce beers for upcoming events.

    A proposal for the club to subsidize a big batch of Agave Nectar Mead (using Todd Etzell's award-winning recipe) to be served at the upcoming AHA conference generated considerable debate, but no firm decision.

    John Aitchison spoke about the upcoming Mayfaire, and requested volunteers to serve on the competition committee. Cullen and Drew stepped up, again.

    The board approved a proposal to hold the June meeting off-site, at Stufft Pizza. Details TBA.

    The meeting adjourned about 9:15 P.M.

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Maltose Falcons Meeting, 12/3/2000
    The December meeting was held at the shop in Woodland Hills. As Kevin called the meeting to order, there were about 30 Falcons and soon-to-be Falcons in attendance.

    Once Kevin called the meeting to order, we got down to the serious business of tasting the homebrews that had been brought to share this month.

    We tasted 14 fine homebrews this month:

    (1) Cullen Davis brought a mild ale. This is a 1.038 OG beer that featured 10% wild rice in the mash. Very nice indeed.
    (2) Don Knott shared his Scottish ale. Don has produced a fine beer this time.
    (3) Derek Stepanski poured his Gruit ale, featuring NO HOPS used for bittering, and various ancient herbs instead. It was well received.
    (4) Kevin Prezinowski brought his "5 malt" shop brew, a lager that includes rye malt.
    (5) Tom Hamilton served his "Roast Porter", a beer that couldn't decide if it wanted to be a stout or a porter.
    (6) Rick Burnside brought his sweet stout. This was a nice 1.066 OG beer.
    (7) Chris Bushman poured samples of his Belgian Dubbel, a seriously strong beer, featuring 1.65 lb. of candi sugar.
    (8) Derek Stepanski made an attempt to do us all in with his Belgian strong ale. This monster started as a 1.130 OG, and finished at 1.032.
    (9) Chris Dishman brought an old ale, which had been brewed in 1997 on the shop system.
    (10) Jim Moorman poured his most recent exercise in hop mania, a 1.068 OG IPA.
    (11) Derek Stepanski continued his assault on our palates with his oatmeal imperial stout. This is a young beer, only a couple of months old. We all sincerely hope that he manages to keep some of it for next year, as it should really benefit from some age.
    (12) Martin Carman brought his one year old oatmeal imperial stout. This is another huge beer, having begun as 1.098 OG. A year of age has mellowed it into a nice beer.
    (13) Kevin poured the shop brew of "Falcons claws" from 1999. Another monster, that started as 1.120 and finished at 1.034.
    (14) To conclude, Drew Beechum poured his recent cider experiment.

    After all these beers, a lunch break was definitely in order. Burgermeister Sean served a great lunch of lasagna, baby green salad (with raspberry vinaigrette dressing), and chocolate mousse cake for dessert.

    During lunch, Kevin conducted a demonstration of various kinds of water to be used for brewing, even going so far as to pour samples of several, in case anyone needed to dilute all of the beers sampled earlier.

    The business portion of the meeting touched on several topics:

    The annual Stuffed Sandwich winter luncheon and beer tasting will take place on December 16, at 1:00 p.m. Cost to be $15 per person.

    The first (annual) Doug King Memorial beer tasting will take place on January 20 at MB's house. Cost will be $15, and will also include pizza to eat. Space is limited, so sign up soon if you are interested.

    Steve Casselman held forth on status of preparations for the upcoming AHA Convention next June. Volunteers are being sought to produce and bottle a 45 gallon batch of agave nectar mead which will be served at the hospitality suite for the convention and ale festival.

    A club grain buy was announced. Sign up sheets will be available at the January meeting, for volunteers to brew beers that are needed for club functions upcoming.

    Kevin announced that the Falcons win again! We are the Woodland Hills homebrew club of the year for 2000. Our reward will be a bus trip and pub-crawl to the San Diego area on Saturday, February 10. A sign up sheet will be available at the next two club meetings. Payment in advance is required to secure your place on the bus. The Falcons will be calling at Stone Brewing Co., Alesmith, and Pizzport.

    John Aitchison substituted for Grand Hydro Tom Wolf, and poured out examples of Beer Style of the Month: big ales, and strong ales. We sampled Theakston's Old Peculiar (Yorkshire ale); Pyramid Snow Cap ale, featuring fuggles hops; Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Ale; Anchor 2000 "Our Special Ale"; Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale; Samichlaus ('96); and concluded with Blonde Bombshell, a barleywine produced at Pizzaport.

    The next meeting will be held on January 7 at the clubhouse in the shop.

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Stuffed Sandwich Annual Seasonal Beer Tasting, 12/16/00
By Rich Schmittdiel, Secretary
     Well, if you weren't there, you missed another GREAT time! There were about twenty-five Falcons, friends, Spawning Salmon, and other family who showed up for a lunch and beer tasting. We just about took over the dining room at the place this year.

    As in past years, Sam and Marlene put on a wonderful tasting. The Stuffed Sandwich is located at 413 W. Las Tunas in San Gabriel.

    Following lunch, we got down to the serious(?) business of tasting the assortment of beers which Sam and Marlene had planned. This year we tasted 14 beers, some of which are quite rare. Here's the listing, along with the consensus rating for each: (this year Kevin convinced us to expand the rating system from 5 "Falcons" to 10 "Falcons", to allow for finer evaluations.

    (1) Rogue Honey Cream Ale. 5 Falcons
    (2) Aass Juleol (Norway) 71/2 Falcons
    (3) Rogue Yellow Snow Ale 4 Falcons
    (4) Noche Buena (Mexico) 61/2 Falcons (I was surprised to see this one, as I thought it was extinct.)
    (5) Humboldt Winter Nectar 7 Falcons
    (6) Saison Dupont Les Bons Voeux (Belgium) 6 Falcons
    (7) Stone 4th Anniversary IPA Can you say "hops"? 100 IBU! 8 Falcons
    (8) Marin Happy Holidaze (1999) 61/2 Falcons
    (9) Lindeman's Cuvee Renee Gueuze Lambic (Belgium) Pucker up, baby! 8 Falcons
    (10) Marin Happy Holidaze (1994) 5-8 Falcons
    (11) Alesmith Horny Devil Ale 81/2 Falcons
    (12) Sam's Surprise. This turned out to be EKU28 (Germany). It garnered a whopping 91/2 Falcons. Sam followed this up with his last two bottles of the 1992 version of this same huge beer, so that we might see how well this one tastes when laid down for a few years.
    (13) Le Coq's Imperial Stout (Great Britain) 61/2 Falcons
    (14) Marlene's Surprise. This one was Thomas Hardy Ale (Great Britain). I seem to have neglected to note the group rating for this one, or we were all too far gone to have rated it! It is however, an excellent barleywine.

    This was my third year attending this annual event, and I definitely plan to be back again next year. I surely hope that those of you who haven't made it to one of these events will come out next year, as it is really a blast.

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Beer Style of the Month :January :
Russian Imperial Stout
by Tom Wolf
    These beers are classified by the Maltose Falcons style guidelines in CLASS 11. Strong ale, Barleywine and Imperial Stout as sub-class F. As you can imagine from the other members of the category, Imperial Stout is a potent and flavorful brew - a barley wine for stout lovers. It is a brew suited to Slavic tastes and winter warming in Baltic weather. Imperial Stout has a high alcoholic strength that makes it similar to a barleywine but it has the roast barley character of a stout. It has been described as having a "burnt currant" character to the flavor that is almost "tar-like" in its intensity. Prominent in Imperial Stout are the aromas and flavors of the alcohols and esters from the high gravity fermentation and the roastiness from dark roasted grains. A high hop bittering level is usually present to balance the very full-bodied and roasty beer.

    The history of Imperial Stout is about as murky as the beer it self. As with its lower gravity roasty cousins the dividing line between Imperial Stout and strong porter is blurred. One theory on the origin of Imperial Stout is that it was brewed to withstand shipping by sea from Britain to the Baltic.

    Imperial Stout is usually associated with the Barclay brewery in London which later was acquired by Courage. The London brewery was brewing Imperial Stout at least as far back as 1781. Courage still claims on their label, "Originally brewed for Catherine II Empress of all Russias" and "As brewed for over 200 years. The brewery is no longer in London but Courage still brews the product in Tadcaster at its John Smith brewery. Another family member began brewing a competing product in Tadcaster in the 1980s, the familiar Sam Smiths Imperial Stout. Both of these Tadcaster products are still available today.

    Commercial examples are: Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout (U.K.), Rogue Imperial Stout (U.S.), North Coast Old Rasputin (U.S.), Courage Imperial Stout (U.K.), Sinebrychoff "Koff" (Finland)

    Brewing these beers:

    O.G. 1.074-1.105
    F.G. 1.020-1.035
    I.B.U. 50-100
    Color (SRM) 20-40
    Alcohol (v/v) 7.5-10.5%

    As with most Stouts the basic recipe is simple. For five gallons use 15 lbs. or more of malt. The base malt is Pilsner, two row or pale ale malt alone or in any combination with perhaps some Munich or Vienna malt. The dark color and characteristic taste is the result of 5% to 7% (as little as 12 oz.) dark roasted barley or black patent malt often with some chocolate malt mixed in. Another 6% dark crystal, caramel or other "brown" malt is often used to give a deeper smoother taste. 1.0 to 1.5 lbs. of sugar is recommended in the high gravity versions with original gravity in the 90's and above. Some exotic brewers use dark brown sugar or even a small dose of molasses

    Water type is not important to this style provided it is good to drink.

    Pitch a very large starter, a gallon would be nice, and prepared to wait a long time for the beer to fully attenuate. Irish or American Ale yeast is recommended. Champaign yeast may be required to finish this brew if using Irish Stout or other less aggressive yeast.

    Hopping can be as high as 1.0 IBU per gravity unit. English varieties such as Challenger, Target, Northdown, Goldings of Fuggles are recommended. U.S. varieties such as Northern Brewer, Bullion, Cluster and Nugget are also appropriate.

    Here is a simple recipe for 5 gallons of "Courage" Russian Imperial Stout, adapted from the Grahm Wheeler and Roger Protz book "Brew Classic European Beers at Home"

    Pilsner Malt 5.5 Lb.
    DWC Pale Ale Malt 7.0 Lb.
    Crystal Malt 40-60 L 2.5 Lb.
    Roast Barley 8 oz.
    Black Patent 5 oz.
    White Sugar 1.7 Lb.
    Mash 90 Min 153 F
    Original Gravity 1.098
    Final gravity 1.018
    Hops: Target 1.5 oz 12 AAU 90 minutes

    The authors recommend 50 IBUs, which matches the Courage product, but this brew will support more depending on your taste. Pitch with 0.5 Gallon starter of Sierra Nevada Ale yeast, Wyeast 1056. Bottle conditioning of 6 to 24 months is recommended to develop the proper flavor.

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A Year of Beer. (A complete list of Styles for the year)
by Tom Wolf
January Porter : (Bring your Stouts and Porters)
February Amber and Dark Lager
March Stout
April English Pale Ales and Bitters
May American Pale Ales
June European Pilsners
July American Lagers / California Common
August European Ales
September Mead
October Specialty Beers
November Brown Ale / Mild
December Christmas Beers

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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.