Club Posts

August Minutes

Baltibrew General Meeting

August 16, 2018 @ De Kleine Duivel

  • Introductions

  • 501c7 Application/Bylaw Revisions Update

    • Nothing more will happen on the 501c7 application in 2018.  We will revisit this in 2019. 
  • Discussion of Baltibrew Events

    • September 8th - Fall BBQ & Brew @ Jacobs
      This event has been rescheduled.
    • September 29th/30th - Sensory Panel
      Seats are still available, contact Jon if interested.
    • October 12th - Chilibrew XII!!!!
      • We have one sponsor so far and are seeking a few more. Anyone with a lead on an interested business should reach out to Jacob.
      • Competitor Signup Open we have 17 so far and are hoping for about that many more.
      • (
      • General Ticketing to follow.
      • Volunteering is a great way to attend this event for free.  Caiti will be the volunteer coordinator. Reach out to her if interested.
      • Kris is going to chair the Baltibrew Table, if you are interested in brewing for the table, please reach out.  We are looking for 4 brewers to rep our club at the event.
  • Social/Event Updates - Jacob

  • Other New Business/Member Announcements

    • Nepenthe Update - Things are as busy as ever! They are hoping to open their doors by November!
  • Iron Brewer IPA

    • The Reeds took home the Iron Brewer trophy with their New England IPA!  Congratulations!
  • Ed Topics

    • Yeast Capture Update!
      Becky grew up six yeast isolates from the group captures and they are currently fermenting in one-quart batches.  We will take gravity and pH measurement next week to see how well these solo organisms ferment.
    • May I Have Your Attenuation, Please!
      A discussion on attenuation and the new Brut IPA style.
  • Homebrew Swap!

July Minutes

Baltibrew General Meeting

July 19, 2018 @ Nepenthe

  • Introductions

  • 501c7 Application/Bylaw Revisions Update

    • No new news on the 501c7 application as yet.
  • Discussion of Baltibrew Events

    • Sensory Panel Update - Jon
      Seats still available. Contact Jon if you are interested.
    • August 4th - August Brewery Trip - Greg/Jacob

    • August 16th-18th - MASHOUT

    • September 1st - Fall BBQ & Brew @ Jacobs

    • October 12th - Chilibrew XII!!!!
      If you are interested in brewing for the ChiliBrew table contact Carian.
  • Social/Event Updates - Jacob

  • Other New Business/Member Announcements

    • Thank you to Nepenthe!
    • Upcoming Monthly Meeting Locations
      • August & September - de Kleine Duivel
  • Iron Brewer Call for Challengers - Current Iron Brewer - Will

  • Homebrew Swap!

Tasting Panels Postponed

This weekends sensory tasting panels have been postponed. New dates will be circulated once the event is rescheduled.

Baltibrew Yeast Capture: Into the Lab!

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!

And waited.

And waited.....

Several members saw no activity at all. Others observed growth of mold or other non-yeast organisms.

This doesn't look too good.

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:

  • Open Air Capture - Riverside Park
  • Kwanzan Cherry Flower - Locust Point
  • Coolship Barrel #1 (Big Barrel) - Pikesville
  • Coolship Barrel #2 (Little Barrel) - Pikesville

While not the quantity we were hoping for it was nevertheless time to move this party into...

The Laboratory

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):

  • Riverside Park - 4.4 Brix/1.017 SG
  • Kwanzan Cherry - Negligible change
  • Big Barrel - Negligible change
  • Little Barrel - 4.2 Brix/1.017 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?

A happy capture?

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.

Open Air (Riverside Park) Plate

Kwanzan Cherry Plate

Based on morphology the following organism were identified:

  • Riverside Park - 1 budding yeast & 2 types of motile bacteria
  • Kwanzan Cherry - 1 budding yeast & 2 bacteria morphologies
  • Big Barrel - 2 types budding yeasts & a bacteria
  • Little Barrel - 1 apparent pure yeast strain

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.

Mulberry Fruit & Leaves (Andre Abrahami, May 28th, 2007)

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!

Budding Yeast & Motile Bacteria

June Minutes

Baltibrew General Meeting

June 21, 2018 @ Nepenthe

  • Introductions

  • 501c7 Application/Bylaw Revisions Update

    • 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.

  • Discussion of Baltibrew Events

    • 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

  • Social/Event Updates

  • Other New Business/Member Announcements

    • 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.

  • Iron Brewer Call for Challengers - Current Iron Brewer - Will

  • Ed Updates

    • 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.

  • Ed Topic - Sour Hour feat/ Michael Tonsmeire (Sapwood Cellars, The Mad Fermentationist, American Sour Beer)!

  • Homebrew Swap!