From the Ministry of Enlightenment – October 2016

By Wendy Aaronson & Mike Reinitz, Co-Ministers of Enlightenment

A big shout out and many thanks to Steve Marler for holding a competition to test our knowledge of Oktoberfest beer.  Three German and three U.S. examples were provided to the contestants.  They had to determine which were domestic and which were German.  To make it more challenging, they were given the identities of the six breweries and they had to match the brewery to the beer.  Look for the winner in another post.

October Meeting

Determining Your Diacetyl Threshold – After attending HomeBrewCon 2016 in Baltimore, your Ministers of Enlightenment came up with a few ideas for enlightenment sessions this fall.  Wendy attended several sessions that discussed sensory evaluation, so we decided it would be fun and informative to get an idea about our threshold for diacetyl.  As we know, there is a wide range of sensitivity to diacetyl.  Some folks are intolerant to the substance and will take points off a score and call the beer infected if there is a hint of diacetyl in the flavor.  Others love the flavor and have even described it as caramel until they are trained differently. To determine your diacetyl threshold, we will titrate known quantities of diacetyl into a neutral beer.  You will taste the samples blindly and determine the sample number(s) that you think contain diacetyl.  During the meeting announcements, the sample numbers and diacetyl quantities will be announced.  We will follow this up with a short training exercise to help individuals lower their sensitivity to diacetyl.

Cider and Mead – We would like to combine enlightenment with the Cider and Mead competition.  A cider and a mead judge will lead separate groups in a discussion of their respective styles and work with their group to judge the competition entries.  This is an excellent opportunity to learn and apply what you learned to select the winning entries.

Brewer’s Corner – And of course, we will also have another Brewer’s Corner at the October meeting. If you have a beer that you’re looking for feedback on outside of the monthly competition, bring a bottle or two to share at the Brewer’s Corner…it can be any style!

November Meeting – It’s REAL ALE!!!  Don’t miss the fun.  Tom and Andy will kick off the festivities at noon with a discussion about the flavor and mouthfeel of a perfect pint.

To Be Scheduled – Quick Soured Beers – Dave and Becky Pyle make awesome award-winning lambics, but it takes time and dedication.  Kettle Souring was frequently discussed at HomebrewCon 2016.  It seems simple.  After you mash, lauter, and sparge, you cool the wort to about 100-110F and pitch lactobacillus.  After reaching your desired sourness, you boil the wort.  Seems simple and controlled.  If you have tried this, let us know.  We will schedule something for either the December or January meeting.

As always, if you have suggestions for future education activities, please email us at