Archive for Barley Legal

Barley Legal Big Brew Day 2012 – National Homebrew Day

Posted in Brewing, Fermenting, Good Times with tags , , on May 8, 2012 by Verge

Cinco de Mayo.  An annual event that is usually spent at a Mexican Restaurant eating crappy, over-cilantroed chips and salsa and swilling Coronas, Dos Equis and Sol while wearing a loud sombrero and fake, “dirty-mexican” mustache.  In New Jersey, that is.

Need I say anything?

Barley Legal Big Brew Day (aka AHA National Homebrew Day).  An annual event held by my Homebrewers club in Maple Shade on National homebrew day where a few hundred friends get together in a parking lot, make beer all day, and serve for free to anyone that shows up delicious, home made beer.

In 2012, the two collided last Saturday under an overcast sky at Iron Hill Restaurant in Maple Shade, NJ.

Monika, Craig and I left early because we had volunteered for the first hour of admissions desk duty…taking donations, selling raffle tickets, selling merchandise and id’ing and wrist banding all the brewers.

There were about 30 different stations where people were brewing and serving. Club members are pretty ambitious, so everyone set right up and started brewing as fast as you can.

We met up with Gina and Scott from my homebrew store and we had planned to do a joint 12 gallon brew of raspberry cream ale. President Obama showed up as well, started out with a beer, ended up having a few cigarettes, lost the suit for a Barley Legal t-shirt and caught a serious buzz.

One of the assistant brewer’s got up super early and got to Iron Hill to run a batch of Mash for us in the morning. This cuts brewing time for brewer’s in half. Basically, it cuts out the first step, which is basically pouring hot water on grains and waiting for two hours. This is us all lined up to get our sweet wort.

This is a member getting his “keggle” filled. That’s a converted half-barrel keg made into a brew kettle. The smell inside a brewery while mashing and sparging is simply delicious. No, it does not smell like beer. It’s not beer yet!

This still isn’t beer, but it’s a start. We had previously steeped grains, oats and rice and drained them into our keggle. Got it up to a roiling boil and stirred in some hops.

propane, huge amount of boiling water, and drinking high alcohol content beer. It’s amazing there aren’t any accidents on Big Brew Day.

well, almost none. Mike, from Isaac Budd Farm, brewed all day, then dropped the glass jug it was in, and lost it all.

Kreg keeping a close watch on our two keggles…er, one keggle.

This brewer was doing all the brewing himself, as opposed to having the brewery help out with the first step. As you can see, it get’s a little more complicated. But, it sure is a lot of fun.

We tried to finish up early so we could hang out, have some food, give out some of our beers and try some of the other brewers’. On tap, we had an American Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Magic Hat #9 Clone, and my Iron Brewer Contest entry, a Mint Chocolate Chip Dessert beer.

We mingled for a few hours. Craig, Scott and I smoked a few cigars. Then, the raffles started, and we hung out listening to numbers being announced for an hour or so while prizes were awarded. I didn’t win anything, but I didn’t really try, either.

Kreg found someone with a guitar and jammed on that for a while. I think at this point he was really feeling the scene. Afterwards, we helped clean up the site for about an hour before heading home.

My beer is bubbling away in the kitchen as I type.  Should be ready in about two months.  Just in time for Summer.  Hope it turns out well.  After all, we made it while drinking.  If it does, hope you can try a sample with me!  And, if you weren’t there, try to make it out next year.  It’s always a great time with great people.

Special thanks to Beer-Stained Letter for some of the pictures you see above, and for being the un-official photographer of the day.  And a shout out to Happily Hopped, who kept the first picture up on his blog long enough for me to steal it for mine.

Oh, and another special thanks to the officers of the club:  Evan, Cleteor, Ryan and Devin.  They worked hard as hell to make this all happen.

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