August 16, 2018 @ De Kleine Duivel
July 19, 2018 @ Nepenthe
This weekends sensory tasting panels have been postponed. New dates will be circulated once the event is rescheduled.
In April we distributed homemade yeast capture kits to the club at our monthly meeting. Our goal? To capture and isolate a strain of yeast native to Baltimore and use it to make a fermented beverage!
Members were eager to try their luck. The weather was poised to cooperate. Lows would bounce between 40 & 50 F for the next few weeks, a range said to be helpful when harvesting wild yeasts.
Things were looking up as we grabbed flowers from our backyards & local parks, swabbed out barrels used for coolshipped wort, or left our covered jars tucked safety outside. All that was left for us to do was to sit back and wait for the airlocks to start bubbling. So we waited!
Several members saw no activity at all. Others observed growth of mold or other non-yeast organisms.
As the reports came in it was clear that we were not going to see widespread examples of obvious & vigorous fermentation. So we began to triage the captures. Anything clearly growing mold was disposed of. The few samples that did report airlock activity were shipped off for early plating. The coolship barrel swabs proved more promising and were left to themselves for a month before streaking. When all was said and done the club selected 4 captures from a total of 16 trials:
While not the quantity we were hoping for it was nevertheless time to move this party into...
We're very grateful to Baltibrewer Becky who is doing the detail work on this project. Her first step, check the gravity (all samples stared at a Brix of 6.4 or 1.025 SG):
We found it interesting that two samples did not register a gravity drop. They both showed airlock activity, became turbid, and accumulated a layer of sediment on the bottom as activity slowed.
Did we incorrectly measure the first Brix reading? Was there really no decrease in gravity?
Cultures taken from the samples would tell us more. One drop of medium was transferred to individual Sabouraud Dextrose (Sab) plates. Plates were streaked for isolation and incubated in the dark at room temperature (approximately 68 degrees F). Within days they showed abundant growth.
Based on morphology the following organism were identified:
Success from failure? Possibly.
While the yeast strains are isolated and grown up, it's worth considering what we've accomplished and where we might go from here. The original plan was to isolate native organisms for use in a malt based fermented beverage. We now have at least 2 wild Baltimore yeasts on our plates and 3 more selected from barrels used after coolshipping. Two showed at least moderate attenuative properties in the capture media. Several did not.
Trials will tell us more but it is fair to suspect that these yeasts may not do well fermenting a malt based wort on their own. So is our plan still viable?
Michael Tonsmeire of The Mad Fermentationist blog and Sapwood Cellars (opening soon) stopped by our June meeting to share funky beers and talk about his brewing philosophies. One topic he spoke on was recognizing and embracing your individual strengths and scales.
As homebrewers it can be hard to make an Octoberfest that nails the style as well as commercial brewers. They have first pick of malts, laboratories to grow up strong & pure pitches of yeast, rigorous fermentation & packaging controls, and employees devoted entirely to quality control & sensory evaluation.
On the other hand we are not beholden to the demands of bulk production. This affords us flexibility. For example, we can experiment with secondary additions from local crops, using fruits that aren't grown in large enough quantities to be an option for commercial offerings. Just last month Mulberry Trees in our area started to yield ripe fruit. For anyone not familiar the mulberry is a delicious, mildly sweet & jammy tasting fruit that looks a lot like a blackberry.
Perhaps we won't end up with a yeast that can make a beer. But perhaps we will end up with several capable of producing local fruit wines and ciders! We will stick to our strengths as homebrewers and stay nimble. Cheers and happy brewing!
June 21, 2018 @ Nepenthe
Our application for 501c7 status was denied by the IRS due to the gross receipts from our charity fundraiser. Greg has reached out to Maryland Nonprofits for guidance and we are waiting to hear back.
July 14th/15th - Sensory Classes @ Jon's
Seats are still available. Day 1 will focus on barrel aging flavors. Day 2 will focus on common flavors and faults. 20$ for one session, $35 for two. Talk to Jon to sign up.
July 28th - Union Collective Opening
August 4th - August Brewery Trip
The current plan is to do a local trip, starting at Key around noon the relocating to the Mount Vernon area in the early afternoon to the area of Brew House 16, Charm City Meadworks, The Brewer’s Art, The Brass Tap, & Wet City. We’re exploring options to encourage ridesharing, possibly making a Lyft or Uber credit available to folks who share cars. More to come.
September 1st - Fall BBQ & Brew @ Jacobs
Annapolis Homebrew Club’s Pints for Paws Homebrew and Craft Beer festival, June 22nd (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/
MDHB Beer Education Classes
Recipe Formulation ($10), July 22nd
Mike Tonsmeire will also be hosting a session at MDHB in July.
We will have alternate meeting locations later this summer as Nepenthe is moving to their new space. We will meet at the shop one last time in July. The August meeting is TBD and the September meeting is confirmed for De Kleine Duivel.
Water Wrap Up!
A couple of us visited the Ashburton water treatment plant for a tour. It’s an amazing operation and the staff was very friendly and informative. One items to pass on is that as far as the laboratory chemist was aware there are no changes the chemical protocols when the city pulls from the Susquehanna and the city does not use chloramines to treat the water at this time. We may drop in on the older Montebello plants.
Baltibrew Yeast Capture
Becky has a few captures plated out in the labs and has detected at least one strain of budding yeast that is likely Saccharomyces. We’re not sure about the attenuation properties of any of the organisms. A back up plan to do a local fruit wine is in the works should we strike out on organisms that can ferment malt.