As per tradition, December’s LAB meeting will be an ‘extreme’ beers themed night, held at the Wenlock Arms. Bring along your ‘extreme’ beers and remember, extreme doesn’t just mean strong!
Earlier this year we heard that the London and South East Craft Brewing Festival, which has been held annually in Sutton, was not going ahead.
I am pleased to announce that the London Amateur Brewers have taken over the organisation of this fantastic event and a date and new venue have now been decided.
Key to the aims of the new organisers is to improve the image and quality of home brewed beer by providing quality judging feedback to entrants. The organisers want to continue the social time or festival time which happens after the judging has finished as it is so popular and allows competitors to compare their beers with their friends. The organisers are also encouraging entries in a wider range of style categories this year.
The competition will take place on the 12th November 2011 and the new location in Wimbledon has excellent public transport links for competitors and supporters.
Pre-registration of the competition entries are being encouraged to help the organisers with the administration and setting-out. Information about how to enter and participate can be found on the competition web site:
With the help of the London Amateur Brewers (LAB) and a few web sites I recently made a simple stir plate for propagating yeast. I presented my findings and a demonstration of the stir plate at a recent LAB meeting.
The reason for creating a stir plate is to provide the yeast starter with a continuous supply of oxygen which is critical to yeast growth. You will get healthier and far more yeast growth if you provide a small, continuous source of oxygen, with a stir plate being the most effective method (White and Zainasheff, 2010).
The basis of a home made stir plate is a small fan with two magnets which are used to turn a stir bar (a corresponding magnet) within the yeast starter. Below is a list of components:
• CIT FN12M Silent PC 12V 4 Pin Molex Case Fan 120mm 3000 rpm (www.ebay.co.uk)
• 8mm Cylindrical Stir Bar (www.altecweb.com)
• Sealed ABS Plastic Enclosure 246.5×197.2×95.6mm (www.ebay.co.uk)
• 12V DC adaptor from and old scanner / phone (image here)
• 2L Conical Flask (www.ebay.co.uk)
• 80mm screws with bolts
• 4 x Ex-Pro® Neodymium Rare Earth Super Magnets 12x3mm Disc (www.amazon.co.uk)
The stir bar is cylindrical due to advice on this post which suggests bars with a ring tend to be nosier. I didn’t find that a potentiometer was required with my setup although a number of others have used them.
The end of the adaptor and fan was cut and the two joined with electrical tape. I threaded the screws through the fan and secured in place with bolts.
Four more bolts would allow the height of the fan to be adjusted but I found that this wasn’t necessary. I widened the grooves in the internal mounting pillars with a drill (being careful not to go through the case) so that the screws could sit in to them. This secured the fan in place within the box.
I used a glue gun to attach a jam jar lid to the top of the fan which I packed with three pieces of cardboard to space the fan from the magnets. If the magnets are too close to the fan they interfere and slow it down. I turned the fan on to allow me to draw a circle to use to position the magnets.
The magnets were placed 8mm apart which is the size of my stir bar. I attached the magnets to the bar to use as a guide when gluing. I also drilled some holes in the side of the case to allow air to flow through the box and prevent heat build up (you can see them in the background of the above image).
The key is to find the distance and spacing that works for your setup and to make it as stable as possible. If it’s not stable the bar can become twitchy and jumps off.
Without a method to measure the vitality and viability of the yeast cells present in the home, it is difficult to empirically prove that the stir bar works. However, I can say that in recent brews I have used the stir bar to create starters of around 100ml of yeast overnight. In the past I would make starters up days in advance, now just a day or two before brew day. Recent brews have all fermented without issue in 4-5 days and attenuated well.
White C. and Zainasheff J. (2010). Yeast. A Practical Guide To Fermentation. Brewers Publications
August sees us taking a break from the usual schedule and we traditionally hold our meeting as a social at the Great British Beer Festival.
Join us on Wednesday 3rd August from 6pm onwards. We gather in the seating area by the Real Ale in a Bottle stand. Come along and say hi.
The next meeting will take place at The Wenlock Arms, 6.30pm onwards.
Details in the sidebar –>
This month’s talk is ‘Parti-Gyle’ by Ken Bazley.
Meet at The Wenlock, 6.30pm for a 7pm start, to raise a glass in memory of our founder member, Ant Hayes.
Due to the sad news of the passing of our founder member, Ant Hayes, there will be no meeting tonight. Instead, members are encouraged to come to The Wenlock a week today (16th May) at 7pm to raise a glass to Ant.
We will resume with the usual LAB meeting in June.
Hope to see you next week, Dan
Yes, we’re still here… upstairs in The Wenlock Arms, 26 Wenlock Road London N1 7TA. 6pm onwards.
This month’s talk is an experiment: Is there a noticeable difference in priming sugar types? Ben Fields has had an interesting idea to put people’s palettes to the test… should be fun. There will also be the usual Brewing Q&A and tasting of members’ beers.
All new members welcome from beginners to advanced brewers, just turn up on the night.
In amongst all the stories about how London’s air kills you, you’ve been burgled whilst out at work and your house is now worth 0.01% less than when you left it this morning I spotted some good news.
According to retail giant ASDA, sales of bottled ale are up among the young and more young men are now choosing ale over lager.
There’s now a confirmed subject for Monday’s meeting: Brewing Big Beers. Can’t wait!