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Old 09-09-2006, 01:46 PM   #1
clayof2day
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Default It's been said before, I'll say it again

If you have a local homebrew club, go to a meeting. I just made it to the first meeting for my local club (I've been trying to go for about 6 months now) and it was so much fun! The people were great, the info was great, the feedback on my beers was great! I was lucky to make it to this one for my first I think. 2 local clubs were there together and I got to see the tail end of a noble experiment. One of the club member was able to brew 200 gallons of identical wort on a commercial system from one of the local breweries and it was fermented with 18 different yeasts by the club members. They have been tasting them over the last year, I think, scoring them by BJCP style guidelines. Last night was the last of the tastings. There were at least 2 (I think) BJCP judges in the club and I got to learn a lot about tasting, what to look for etc. Also, I had a chance to try beers with hops I haven't been able to use yet, as I am still a relative newb (8 months in). Amarillo is an awesom hop, man! Now I know what to expect from various things that I can try on my own, but at least with some reference.

If you have a club, go to it!!! You will love it and I guarantee it will improve your brewing!

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Old 09-09-2006, 01:52 PM   #2
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Your mileage may vary. I visited a local brew club and hated it. I also saw no way it could improve my brewing since all they did was pass around bottles and rattle off the recipe as you sampled.

-walker

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Old 09-09-2006, 02:01 PM   #3
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I've been to one twice now. The first time was beneficial, because I got the contact information from the LBHS, so I bought my starting equipment.
However, at the second meeting, I felt like it was a waste of my time (it was an hour drive from me anyway). the group meets at a local brewpub, and the brewer (who is not the club pres) talked in very detail about how his fermenting room was falling apart and how the pub was getting renovated (or something to that effect). the folks there were all nice, and we did some sampling, but overall, as a beginner, I did not gain much at all from the experience.
If it weren't for this forum, I would probably have to attend in order to become a better brewer. But, I've learned a lot more from reading posts here than I think I would from a brewer's club.

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Old 09-09-2006, 02:25 PM   #4
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I don't attend semi-local (nearest is 75 minutes) club meetings to learn about brewing. I go to socalize, sample other people's brews and keep up to date on fests & seminars. I've attended a Wyeast seminar on yeast culturing, a OSU seminar on off-tastes and Barley Daze at one of the major research farms in the world. I wouldn't have known about any of these without going to meetings.

I guess it depends on how your clubs have evolved & how full your social calendar is. For me, part of the hobby is talking (and swapping recipes) about the hobby, face-to-face. It's one thing to read someone's opinion about a new hop, tasting an ale that used the hop is much more useful. Without going to club meetings, I would have never tasted 8 year-old Jelly Belly mead.

Finally, going to meetings and tasting various ales kneecaps the "All Grain & hand-picked hops or you're worthless" attitude. Some of the top homebrewers in the area do extracts exclusively and produce ales that are competitive at the national level. I'm not into competitions myself, but we are talking some very fine ales made with extract.

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Old 09-09-2006, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayof2day
They have been tasting them over the last year, I think, scoring them by BJCP style guidelines. Last night was the last of the tastings. There were at least 2 (I think) BJCP judges in the club
That's probably why I'll never join one. I feel about the BJCP the way a lot of you feel about hydrometers-it is nothing but a source of worry and headaches. I have no interest in having someone I never met before judge my beer and then have the arrogance to say that just because he/she is in some organization that
his/her opinion of my beer (good or bad) is the only one that matters. If i like my beer then it is good. If some self-appointed "expert" doesn't (or does), then f**k'em. I don't need a club- you guys are great and the closest thing to a brew club I'll ever need. Okay. Rant over. Cheers
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Old 09-09-2006, 03:13 PM   #6
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The BJMC guidelines aren't a way to tell people you don't like your beer, it's a way to formalize discussions about the nature of the flavor. Learning those guidelines puts you in a better position to be able to give other brewers specific advice on how to improve and allows you to better identify why you like a specific beer, so that you can find others like it.

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Old 09-09-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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This forum is better than any homebrew club

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Old 09-09-2006, 06:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
This forum is better than any homebrew club
I second that! Which brewpub should we begin meeting at?
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Old 09-09-2006, 06:48 PM   #9
Bernie Brewer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
This forum is better than any homebrew club
That's kinda what I said in my long- winded rant of an earlier post-among other things
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Old 09-09-2006, 07:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ablrbrau
That's kinda what I said in my long- winded rant of an earlier post-among other things

yep, you sure did. I only read the initial post this morning before replying
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