BOTL is a club that was founded as a means for our members to educate themselves and others about brewing beer, ciders and meads. We are all in this hobby as like minded individuals that have a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for an enjoyable time. Most of us are from Holland, MI and the surrounding communities.
We are accepting new members at this time.
For more information about our fine organization please email us at
We meet on the second Thursday of each month at the New Holland Pub. Start time 7 PM.

Please bring 3 bottles of this month's style homebrew that you want to share, OR a different style of your homebrew.
When bringing your homebrew to share, please bring your recipe to tell everyone about your brew.

Styles of each month:
January – Barleywine, Winter Warmer, Strong Ales
February - Belgian/French Ales, Lambics and funky stuff
March – English Ales and Milds
April - Lagers, Kolsch and Hybrids and Alts
May –
Cider, Cysers, Perry and Meads
June - Pale Ale, IPA and Ryes
July – Ambers and Reds
August – Wheat, Wit, Weizens and Fruit Beers
September –
Scottish Ales and Browns
October – Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, and Spiced Beers
November – Stouts and Porters
December – Saturday, Dec. 8 Christmas party, best of cellar and potluck lunch

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Helpful Reading

  Book Review: Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong

Posted by Alan Mcleod
 Gordon Strong is a very accomplished home brewer and judge so I was interested in reading what he admits is a very personal take on making your own beer at a high level of skill.
A few words on what this book is not. It is not really a beginners guide. Look elsewhere for that. My favorite (mentioned also by Strong) remains Homebrewing, Vol. 1 by Al Korzonas even if it does not include all-grain brewing. It is not a style guide and it's also not jam packed with stats and tables. It's more about beer and brewing than a description of brewing. There are recipes to illustrate points being made but it is not a book of recipes. Spaced throughout the book there are sections titled "So What Do I Do?" in which Gordon sets out his personal preferences on the given topic relating them to his own experience and taste.
And that is what I see this book as offering - a way to make your own way into and along a path of skillful and even competitive brewing. And I also see it as useful for anyone wanting to explore skilled and experienced drinking.

Gordon Strong is the current Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) President, as well as the world’s only Grand Master Level V Beer Judge.  Gordon is also an accomplished home brewer, who won the 2009 Ninkasi award as the American Homebrewer’s Association Winningest Brewer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Do You Know When?

BYO asked, “You know you are a homebrewer when . . .” 
• it’s more important to brew than buy Christmas presents.
• your four-year-old is on a first name basis with the owner of the homebrew shop.
• every vacation, road trip or errand turns into a quest for breweries, beer and beer equipment.
• you enjoy smelling bunghole emissions.
• you realize the most organized part of your life is your brewing records.

• you’re looking at a new house and the first thing you’re looking for is the best place to brew.
• in order to get the Christmas decorations out of the closet you have to first move bottles, fermenters, a stainless steel kettle and a wort chiller.
• there are more refrigerators/freezers in your garage than cars.

• you correct the waiter on a style of beer.
• you’re making beer for everything from the fantasy football draft to the company holiday party.
• you measure manhood by how many taps you have on your kegerator.

Washing Yeast for reuse

 There is a way of cleaning up used yeast or washing/rinsing out the spurge material. It is a series of steps that involve diluting the yeast sludge with sterile water and pouring off the foreign debris that rises to the top and that settles to the bottom of the mixture. The middle area of the rinsed solution contains the healthy, viable yeast cells.

In any case, here are the steps to washing your yeast:

Pour off the excess liquid from the top of the container of salvaged yeast

Fill the container with sterile water (in my case I boil and cooled filtered water)
Agitate the jar until completely mixed, don't leave any lumps intact.
 Let mixture rest until there is a clear separation of the three layers (you should be able to see a lighter layer in the middle, that is formed by the healthy yeast)

 Once the separation is clear (20 to 30 minutes) gently pour off (discard) the top layer, then pour the middle layer (yeast) into another sanitized container and discard the bottom layer

A clear seperation of the three areas, the light middle area is the healthy yeast and you can see it congregating at the bottom (light area)

This is a look after a second seperation is complete.

With the yeast now in a new container repeat the process to clean even further. Repeat as many times as you wish.

After a third repeat filling with sterile water and agitating
This is the final result.

Pretty clear liquid covering a healthy yeast cake

You can store the yeast longer under these conditions making it easy to step up a culture from washed yeast to create a very large and healthy colony

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Release The Hellhounds! Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Celebrates 100th Birthday of Mississippi Delta Bl

May 8, 2011 marks the 100th birthday of singer/songwriter/guitarist Robert Johnson -- the archetypal Mississippi Delta bluesman who purportedly sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49 in exchange for uncanny musical prowess. In honor of the Robert Johnson centennial, Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has created "Hellhound On My Ale," a super-hoppy brew inspired by the otherworldly soul and complexity of Johnson's music.
 Produced in a small-quantity-limited run, "Hellhound On My Ale," is 100% dry-hopped with Centennial Hops with sublime citrus notes courtesy of dried organic lemon peel and flesh added pre-fermentation (a taste-bud tribute to Johnson's musical mentor, Blind Lemon Jefferson). "Just as Johnson's unique style was a hybrid of Delta blues, country and even vaudeville," said Dogfish founder and president Sam Calagione, "Centennial Hops are a recently developed variety that is a hybrid of Brewer's Gold, Golding, and Fuggles hop varieties. Centennial Hops grow in the Northwest United States and have wonderful floral and citrus notes." Rounding off the centennial spirit of the ale, Hellhound is brewed at 10.0 abv.
 Coming in early May, Dogfish Head's "Hellhound" will be available in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
 The newly crafted Robert Johnson ale was created, according to Calagione, as a way to "celebrate his artistry and his centennial simultaneously. Johnson's playing was so complex and full that his one guitar sounded like two. His voice and lyrics were as distinct as his guitar playing, and stood out as distinct beyond the other blues musicians of the day. Beyond that you have the legend of Johnson selling his soul to the devil in return for mastery of the guitar. We wanted to make an ale that paid tribute to all that."
 "Robert Johnson is an American treasure," said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings, "and his musical legacy and remarkable folklore are well worth celebrating. In this spirit, Sam and Dogfish Head have brewed an appropriately wonderful and delicious tribute to Johnson and his music."
 Dogfish Head and its "off-centered ales for off-centered people" were the subject of "A Better Brew," an article in The New Yorker (Nov. 24, 2008) examining the rise of extreme beer. "Beer has lagged well behind wine and organic produce in the ongoing reinvention of American cuisine. Yet the change over the past twenty years has been startling," wrote Burkhard Bilger. "Dogfish is something of a mascot for this unruly movement. In the thirteen years since Calagione founded the brewery, it has gone from being the smallest in the country to the thirty-eighth largest. Calagione makes more beer with at least ten per cent alcohol than any other brewer, and his odd ingredients are often drawn from ancient or obscure beer traditions. It is to Budweiser what a bouillabaisse is to fish stock."
 Robert Johnson's alleged contract with Satan brought forth an incandescent guitar technique and a run of 10-inch 78 rpm singles for the Vocalion, Oriole, Conqueror and Perfect labels recorded in San Antonio in 1936 and Dallas in 1937. Those songs have become a cornerstone of 20th century music, and Columbia Records' identity, and will be celebrated on two CENTENNIAL releases from Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
 Over the years, Johnson's influence has resounded in the music of Muddy Waters ("32-20 Blues"), Elmore James ("I Believe I'll Dust My Broom"), Junior Parker ("Sweet Home Chicago"), John Hammond Jr. ("Milk Cow's Calf Blues"), the Rolling Stones ("Love In Vain," "Stop Breakin' Down Blues"), John Mayall ("Ramblin' On My Mind"), Cream ("From Four Until Late"), Eric Clapton ("Cross Road Blues"), Johnny Winter ("When You Got a Good Friend"), Paul Butterfield and Bonnie Raitt ("Walkin' Blues"), Fleetwood Mac and ZZ Top ("Hellhound On My Trail"), Led Zeppelin ("Traveling Riverside Blues"), Keb' Mo' ("Preachin' Blues"), Cassandra Wilson ("Come On In My Kitchen"), and countless others. It is by far the most empowering body of work in American history to emerge from one solitary blues figure.