HOMEBREW Digest #4238 Tue 06 May 2003

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  Fermenter Cooling System ("Dave")
  Re: Subject: re: Extremely high ABV ("-S")
  more re: Hi Alc beers ("-S")
  Re OT the definative history of Rennerian co-ordinates ("Grant")
  mash pH ("Dave Burley")
  high alcohol beers (Marc Sedam)
  re: Faux decoction ("The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty")
  Starch - the big picture (simplified and non-technical) (Jeff Renner)
  re: First Wort Hopping ("-S")
  RE: Cheapest Beer that is Non-screwtop? ("Leonard, Phil")
  galvanized in brewing ("Rob Dewhirst")
  pictures ("Fred Scheer")
  Cheapest Beer that is Non-screwtop? ("Andrew Moore")
  Harshness and water chemistry (Michael)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 4 May 2003 22:14:16 -0700 From: "Dave" <brewingisloving at hotmail.com> Subject: Fermenter Cooling System Hello, I have the basic components of the cooling system for my fermenter up on my webpage. I plan on adding more information in the future. If you were thinking of building a large box to cool your conical fermenter, then you might want to check this out first. http://webpages.charter.net/davesbrew/ Cheers, Dave Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 03:17:51 -0400 From: "-S" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: Re: Subject: re: Extremely high ABV Guy asks about hi alc beers ... > Which strains are known for being particularly sturdy? WY1028 is known to be capable of making good barleywines. If you find a local micro that uses WY1028 you may be able to get enough yeast at the right times to make this feasible. After barleywine ready strains start looking thru any of the hi-alc strains - WY3787, WY1214 ... . Wine strains will generally add unwelcome flavors - too much esters and .... Champagne yeast, S.bayanus gives a rather neutral flavor and will tolerate 17% ABV without breaking a sweat, more if you push it. Actually I've used S.bayanus in brewing a couple times and it can give very nice results on it's own - tho' sometimes tart. > How massive? Massive as in requiring specialized > equipment and special yeast propagation techniques? > How does one determine a reasonable extract > concentration, how often to add it, and how much yeast > to add with the repitchings? OK so let's say you want to make 5(5.3) gal of 20 at ABV beer. If you have wort extract w/ 75% fermentability you'd need the equivalent of an SG 1.200 and an FG of 1.050. You can't start with that high a gravity. 5.3gal(~20 liters) of 1.200 wort has a mass 24kg. The mass is 10.6kg of extract and 13.4liter of water. Back in US units that's 3.55gal of water and 23.33 lb of extract which will make 5.3 gal of hi alc beer. I'd start with 4 gal of 15P wort (preferable all grain). This wort has 3.6gal of water - the full amount - and also 5.3lb of extract. You'll also need another 15lb of DME to add incrementally. You'd pitch this at the conventional rate for 4 gal of 15P wort which is 1billion viable cells per degree plato, per liter (10^9 * 15.12L * 15P = 226B cells). That's 8 fl.oz of thick highly viable ale yeast slurry according to Fix. Before the fermentation leaves the log phase you need to add more extract and more yeast. I'd shoot for the addition of approximately 2.5 lb of DME. At the same time you;ll need to add more yeast and the yeast must be from a well oxygenated environment. With the 2.5lb of extract you'll want to add another 3 fl.oz of thick, healthy, oxygenated slurry. This is effectively adding about 5P to the final beer's fermentables. You can oxygenate the slurry with an air stone (not pure oxygen) for 4 to 6 hours prior to this repitching. Keep the yeast cool during this period. Again - check gravity and before the attenuation is through add more extract and yeast .... You'll have six additions and this will likely take over 30 day. Personally I'd get a slow mechanical stirrer into the fermenter - both the stir up the added extract and to drive off excess CO2. Additions of magnesium (as in epsom salts) are said to have a positive impact on high gravity fermentation. Very tiny amounts of zinc also (<1ppm) too. You really don't want all that dead & slow yeast sitting there for long periods - so I'd rack off the beer from the sediment at least every 2 weeks, leaving some at the end for a diacetyl rest. Although 3 fl.oz of good oxygenated slurry *should* handle the added 2.5 lb of extract, I would expect that later and at high alc levels that this might be very slow. Plan on doubling that figure about half way through. How massive an amount of yeast ? It's gonna take about 1 liter of slurry by my estimates, but you'd better be prepared to bump that up. Also you'll need to have this high quality slurry available every 2 to 6 day for a month or more. That's why you need to get friendly with a microbrewer who can fill a quart canning jar for you every week or so. You'll probably want to start pitching in some champagne yeast along the way when the brewing yeast gets sluggish. I know all the books claim that so-n-so yeast gives up at 7% or whatever, but there have been a lot of recent studied that show otherwise when incremental feeding and enough oxygen is available. Ethanol is a yeast stressor but there is no hard ethanol limit for yeast. BTW I was mistaaken - Boulton & Quain replrt many brewing yeasts can be coddled to 18%(not 15% I mentioned). -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 03:20:52 -0400 From: "-S" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: more re: Hi Alc beers Pete Ensminger writes, >'-S' asks "why do >you want to do this?" Why not? Already made the smoked potato(e) >beer, the wasabi beer, and the vanilla stout. I hope to die from a Clostrium infection before I become so bored that I resort to adding vegetables to beer. Does the AHA sponsor deprogramming for good brewers who are lured to the dark side ? -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 19:17:57 +1000 From: "Grant" <gstott at primus.com.au> Subject: Re OT the definative history of Rennerian co-ordinates Nathaniel wrote >So, can anyone out there beat >[6627.8, 41.1] Apparent Rennerian? ;) Piece of cake, :) don't forget that the HBD is read beyond the U.S. There is even an article on C.A.P. on the Aussie Craftbrewer website. www.craftbrewer.org Just look under featured beer styles. Then Llew wrote >If my calculations are right, I beat you by a few miles! >Llew >Johannesburg, South Africa www.luco.co.za/llewsbrewery [8484.6, 96.8] Apparent Rennerian But the southern part of Australia is a bit further away. Grant Stott [9906, 260] AR (statute miles) or [15942.2, 260] AR [Km] (Geelong, Victoria, Australia) Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 08:33:12 -0400 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave_Burley at charter.net> Subject: mash pH Brewsters: In Marc Sedams' welcome short summary, he forgot to mention a related topic also of a semi-annual nature. The pH of the mash is measured at room temperature even though the mash itself is hot.. Remove the sample of mash and put it into a metal pan cooled by water and when it is at 20C or RT, meausre the pH. Discard the sample. Never put your pH electrode directly into the mash as you risk mercury contamination. Food grade pH electrodes with temperature compensation do exist, but most are not. Should you use such a device, your mash pH guidelines wil be different as pH changes ( falls) with temperature by around 0.2 units in this range, as I recall.. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 09:12:49 -0400 From: Marc Sedam <marc_sedam at unc.edu> Subject: high alcohol beers I have made several attempts at giant beers, many of them employing a three hour mash first suggested by Jim Liddl. The instructions can be found in http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/3522.html#3522-9. It's a mash schedule employed by the brewers of "dry" beer (now called "low carb" beers) with the intent of having very few carbs left in the final product. You can see at the link that this batch lost 99 gravity points (1.116 to 1.017) using a lager yeast. When Jim and I were discussing this some years back he also sent me a bottle of beer with an OG of 1.130 (or greater) that tasted clean and delicious. You'd have never guessed the alcohol content without first noticing that the beer did have 'legs' in a glass. His trick was fermenting a gallon of beer with three packs of EDME dry yeast as an experiment to ensure fermentation was quick and complete. If I recall correctly he said fermentation was done in 3-4 days. For those interested, try the mash schedule above. Use lots and lots of yeast nutrient (boiled in water but added to the chilled wort) with regular blasts of O2 for the first day or two. I would also consider brewing with massive amounts of dry yeast (one package per gallon of wort) and adding infusions of sugar water or honey to get to the gravity you seek. I suppose you could also boil down a regular gravity beer 5 gallon batch into a gallon of concentrated wort and add that to the fermentation in four equal dosings. Just a suggestion. Dr. Cone from Lallemand (sp??) was very clear that most brewing yeasts can handle fermentations of ~20%abv if treated properly. I have to say that I enjoyed my Samichlaus clone greatly. - -- Marc Sedam Chapel Hill, NC Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 09:19:20 -0500 From: "The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty" <mikey at swampgas.com> Subject: re: Faux decoction === In HBD 4237 Brian Lundeen <BLundeen at rrc.mb.ca> writes: [Details of Schmitz Mash omitted] > Back to me: Sounds interesting, and also a little scary. Comments and > details from the experts in here would be greatly welcome. No need to be frightened; I use this method (or an approximation thereof) pretty regularly with good results. I first came across it a few years back, when George DePiro posted a similar method involving a single, very large decoction. Until this last Zymurgy, I didn't realize it had a name. I'm certainly no brewing expert, but then again, I've never let a dearth of qualifications stop me from speaking authoritatively on any OTHER topic, so here's my procedure (all temps in degrees Fahrenheit, God's favorite unit of temperature measurement): === Procedure === 1) Let the entire mash saccharify at whatever temperature suits you. I've used anywhere from 145 to 156. I'll rest at this initial temp at least 30 minutes to an hour. 2) Using a large strainer pull all (or as much as you can reasonably get -- no need to be obsessive) mash solids into the decoct pot (I use my old extract pot). If you kettle mash, you could just drain all the liquor (as recommended in the article) and use the mash tun as the decoct pot, but the end effect is the same. Plus, my Gott doesn't take well to direct heating. As you strain, you'll want to leave most of the liquid behind; this is where the enzymes live, and you want to avoid destroying them by boiling. 3) You want to be sure the decoct is neither too dry, nor too wet. If it looks dry, I add a little brewing water. The idea is that the spaces between the grains should be just filled with water. If it looks too wet, I don't really worry much about it; moisture will boil off as we proceed. Err on the side of wetness, if you must err at all. 4) Next, I heat the decoct to boiling. No need to take it through a sacch rest on the way up. Once at boiling, I boil for 20-30 minutes. I stir frequently, trying to bring the contents on the bottom of the pot up to the top. Should the mash begin to dry, I might add a little brewing water. Note that the mash will darken considerably during the boil If I begin to smell scorching (and you almost certainly WILL get scorching, although a thick-bottomed kettle might help in this regard) I usually end the decoct. Don't worry about a little scorching; the flavor won't make it into the finished beer, and it's actually quite easy to clean (see below). 5) Once the decoct is done, I SLOWLY add it back to the main mash, trying to keep the temperature below 160. This is pretty easy to do. Once everything has been added back, I let it rest for 20 -30 minutes. The idea is to convert any starches liberated during the decoction to sugars. The whole process should take less than an hour, which is a major improvement on most other decoction schedules. === Results == The results you'll get are pretty much identical to a double decoction as far as I have been able to tell, although bear in mind the effects of a decoction are subtle at best, and IMHO, not even particularly noticeable in some styles. I'd wager the effects are the same as a triple decoct, but I've only done that once. I also notice a small but measurable increase in efficiency of up to 5% or so. I have had very minor trouble with the subsequent lauter on occasions (using an EasyMasher-type system, but not with a false bottom), but this was easily cleared up. == Handy Clean-Up Tips == Your decoct pot will probably scorch, although as I mentioned earlier, a thick bottom might help this. An easy way to clean up (if you are using SS) is to get about 1/2 inch water in the bottom of the pot and add a fair amount of lye (I use Red Devil -- "It's Not Just for Poisoning Your Cheatin' Baby Anymore!"). I let the pot soak overnight, pour off the solution in the morning, and rinse. If the scorching is not gone completely, what's left usually comes off with a sponge. CAUTION: Lye is dangerous, nasty caustic stuff. Use gloves and goggles when applying, and be careful of any splashing from the caustic solution. Never eat lye. Do not put lye down your pants, no matter how funny it may seem at the time. Trust me on this last point. Hope that helps -- mikey ==== Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web: http://www.swampgas.com/robotics/rover.html Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 11:47:34 -0400 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Starch - the big picture (simplified and non-technical) Thanks to Marc and Steve for their excellent posts about starch. As an ex science teacher who is always interested in how things fit together (and whose kids always said I couldn't just give the short answer), I thought I'd put these wandering thoughts together. Hope it doesn't belabor the obvious, but I hope it offers insight for some who have never thought about this. Did you ever wonder just why it is that grains have starches in them? And proteins? And enzymes that break them down into their simpler constituents, so we can make beer? If you think it is because God wanted us to have beer to let us know He loves us and wants us to be happy, then PgDn now. If you think evolution had something to do with it, then read on. Seeds are plants ways of making new plants, and of providing food for the baby plants. Starches and proteins are ways of storing the needed energy sources (sugars) and building blocks (amino acids) in forms that are less easily consumed by hungry competing microorganisms. As has been pointed out, many microbes are unable to utilize complex sugars and starches. If the parent stored food for its babies in the form of sugars and amino acids, the offspring would never get to use them. As is it, they are pretty well protected, both molecularly and physically by the seed's structure. Seeds can remain viable and undamaged by microbes for years, possibly even centuries (the reports of viable seeds being found int he Egyptian pyramids are apparently apocryphal). In a germinating seed, the enzymes are exquisitely "designed" to produce just the amount of sugars and amino acids that the growing embryo and baby plant needs at any moment over a period of days. That way there is no excess to be attacked by bacteria, mold or yeast. We speed the process up to a matter of an hour by heating the sprouted barley seed to mash temperatures. In the grand scheme of life, if there is a living to be made somehow, something will probably evolve to exploit that niche. Organisms are in a constant race to evolve protections against other organisms' attempts to eat or otherwise feed off of them. Hosts evolve to fight off pathogens, which evolve to overcome these defences. (There is a great book about this eternal struggle, "The Red Queen" by Matt Ridley, the Red Queen being the character in Alice in Wonderland who has to keep running just to keep in the same place. And see RM Nesse's "Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine" for a look at human disease from this viewpoint). Plants evolve nasty substances to keep animals from eating them, or thorns, or silicates, etc. to keep animals from eating them. Impalas evolve great speed, keen eyesight and sense of smell, and herding instinct to protect against predation from cheetahs, which develop great speed, protective coloration, sense of smell, etc., to overcome these defenses. And, so, some microorganisms have evolved their own enzymes to to to utilize these stored sugars and amino acids. But plants evolve other defenses - such as tannins and phenolics in the outer layers of the seeds to discourage attack. And so it goes throughout the eons. A related matter - did you ever wonder why the mold Penicillium produces an antibiotic? I mean, what was Sir Alexander Fleming thinking that day in 1928 when he bought a moldy melon in a London market to see if the mold would kill bacteria? Was he just testing every possible weird substance? Had he checked out ear wax the day before? No, as you may well know, the antibiotic activity of the Penicillium mold is its way of elbowing aside competing microorganisms who also want a piece of that rotting melon. And while over the eons the bacteria it fought had not yet managed to evolve an effective counter-measure against this, our use (and overuse) of it has resulted in accelerated evolution by the bacteria so that many now are unaffected. Enough rambling. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 13:50:13 -0400 From: "-S" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: re: First Wort Hopping Chad Stevens writes .... >>Perhaps there is some weird >>kind of protein/hop reaction that locks in flavor. > >Steve responds: Just the oils and oxygen. > > have to disagree. Albumin, [...] > >So long story short, there is quite a bit of native albumin at mash-in, less >at sparge, and virtually none upon boil. Further, albumin binds flavinoids >and this complex appears to survive the boil. [...] >Albumin/flavinoid binding is virtually non-existent >once vigorous boil has commenced because of albumin coagulation. I think there is a huge misunderstanding behind Chad's post so let's start from ground zero. The original question by Joel ... to paraphrase ... how does first wort hopping(FWH) work? For those who still don't know FWH involves placing high quality hops in the boiler as the first wort is collected near mashout temp. These hops appear to provide much more characteristic hops flavor and aroma. By characteristic flavor/aroma I am not referring to weedy astringent phenolics nor hop bitterness. Characteristic flavor is the spiciness of Saaz of the appetizing aroma feature of H.Mittelfruh. The very odd thing about FWH is that this characteristic aroma/flavor survives into the beer. The same hops added early in the boil do not express their characteristic aroma/flavor very much, probably because these flavor chemicals have been boiled off. Joel's question was ... how does the characteristic flavor survive the boil ? This has nothing to do with flavanoids or proteins as far as I can tell. BTW mash hopping is a variant of FWH in which hops are added even earlier - in the mash. Hubert Hanghofer posted the technical reasons as to how FWH is supposed to work in 1997, HBD#2479. Volatile hop oils, the aroma factors, oxidize forming epoxides and alcohols in the warm wort and survive the boil and fermentation. Normally these volatile oils (terpenes, sesquiterpenes) boil off or are lost during fermentation, but not the more soluble epoxides & alcohols. These epoxides are quite reactive chemically so there is a whole complex manifold chemistry nugget buried here. Hubert sites L.Narziss, "Abriss der Bierbrauerei". http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/2479.html#2479-8 http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/3294.html#Contents A recent and fairly conclusive paper has points to a set of chemicals as the character flavor in hops. In Q1 2002, JIB published a paper by Goiris et al (Belgian researchers) [JIB 108(1) pp86-93, "the oxygenated sesquiterpenoid fraction[OSTF] of hops in relation to the spicy hop character of beer"]. This paper describes the fractional distillation by supercritical CO2 dissolution of certain oxygenated hops sesquiterpenes from 5 different hops <Saaz, Tettnanger, Hersbrucker, Spalter Select, Perle>. When these combinations of OSTF extracts were added to beer devoid of hops aroma compounds at only 20ppb(!!) it "undoubtedly demonstrated the spicy or herbal properties...". BTW 20ppb is at least an order of magnitude less than had been previously considered. Hubert's reported mechanism is likely still correct, but the list of specific volatile oils involved have been refined to microscopic amounts of specific sesquiterpenes. In brief FWH and mash hopping somehow allows these flavor compounds to survive thru the boil, while early boil hops additions have much of their flavor boiled off, and late hops additions cause significant amounts of weedy phenolic flavors in the beer. To the extent this mechanism works FWH & mash hopping should provide superior flavor. FWH character flavor chemistry appears to have nothing to do with protein-phenolic binding. ==== Chad disagrees with my assertion that the protein-hops reactions are not related to FWH unusually ability to preserve hop flavor thru the boil. Unfortunately I can't understand how his statements change that conclusion in any way. Chad seems to be hinting that removal (or is it binding and later release) of flavanoids (flavanoids are the class of biphenols w/ C6-C3-C6 configuration) to albumin is somehow related the survival of the FWH flavor. That doesn't match any report of hops flavor origin that I've ever seen. Flavanoids at measured levels in beer are below the flavor threshold. Only aout 25% of beer flavanoids come from hops. Flavanoids play a large role in haze formation but that's a different topic. A lot of points in Chad's post are in error or at least in need of proper terminology and explanation. Coagulated proteins DO participate in phenolic weak bonding and several protein fining agents rely on this. There is no evidence presented that "albumin binds flavinoids and this complex appears to survive the boil". Why would they survive the boil when the flavanoid-protein binding cite removal decreases the solubility of the protein ? I expect that flavanoid albumin complexes end up in the break. I could go on but let's first hear from Chad how flavanoid-albumin complexes relate to FWH hops flavor character surviving the boil ... the original question. -Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 14:34:57 -0500 From: "Leonard, Phil" <Phil.Leonard at dsionline.com> Subject: RE: Cheapest Beer that is Non-screwtop? Ryan want cheap non-screwtop bottled beer... Schmitz is the cheapest I know of. In my neck of the woods [612 251.4 AR] this is it. $9.40 a case plus $1.50 deposit (all US$). Philip [612 251.4] Apparent Rennerian Overland Park, KS Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 15:53:43 -0500 From: "Rob Dewhirst" <rob at hairydogbrewery.com> Subject: galvanized in brewing > Don't know where you got your info from but a year or so ago the company I > work for had a rep from a galvanizing company in Cincinnati give a > presentation on the subject. He stated "galvanize is food grade". Galvanize > is just a zinc coating on metal. Zinc is a necessary nutrient. The concern is the galvanized metal will give beer, especially lighter bodied ones, a metallic taste. This has been covered both here and in rec.crafts.brewing many times. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 16:12:47 -0500 From: "Fred Scheer" <FHopheads at msn.com> Subject: pictures HI All: Just finished posting the pictures from Charlie Papazians trip through the area. Also, you can look at the pictures how the Music City Homebrewers celebrated National Homebrew Day at Boscos. www.brewsbrothers.net Fred Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 18:17:01 -0400 From: "Andrew Moore" <abmjunk at hotmail.com> Subject: Cheapest Beer that is Non-screwtop? Ryan writes: "So, whats the cheapest bottled beer that comes in non-screwtop amber bottles? Could it be Amstel light? :)" Ryan: Why suffer? When I was building a supply of suitable bottles, I drank the beer I liked and considered it a worthy cause. My advice is to choose a beer based on: #1 suitable bottles, #2 something you like and finally, #3 easy-to-remove labels (i.e. not Samuel Adams). Andrew Moore Richmond, Virginia Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 23:03:33 -0500 From: Michael <grice at binc.net> Subject: Harshness and water chemistry My last few brews have been marred to varying degrees by astringency and harshness. I believe this is because of my water. I think I have the astringency licked, but not the harshness. Yesterday I made a pale ale. I was very careful to adjust the pH of the mash and all water added to about 5.5 with 10% phosphoric acid (it took 4-5 mL to do it). The grain bill consisted of 9 pounds of Maris Otter, a pound of Belgian aromatic malt and 13 ounces of Crystal, and I batch sparged. After sparging, the wort tasted sweet, and I didn't notice any astringency. I added maybe 10 HBU's of Cascade leaf hops to the collected wort. When I tasted the wort after it came to a boil, it was already extremely harsh. The pH at this point was also still about 5.5. Two things really have me puzzled here. First, up until early in the year I had no trouble with my water supply. For instance, I made a pale ale based on a very similiar recipe in December without treating the water at all that turned out extremely well--no harshness, no astringency, nicely malty. Second, I can't see a real pattern here in terms of the beers affected. I've had a stout (~45 IBU) and an IPA (~ 50 IBU) that were moderately affected, and an ESB (~40 IBU) and a pale ale (~35 IBU, but I'm not all that certain anymore) loosely based on a Fat Tire clone recipe that were heavily affected. Perhaps the roasted barley in the stout lowered the acidity into the normal range, but the IPA frankly was pretty close to the badly affected pale ale. (I still don't know what Fat Tire tastes like, not that my recipe would have been all that close.) It does occur to me, though, that my water softener might be an issue here--depending on the component of my water which is causing the problem. As I see it, there are four potential problems here: 1. Alkalinity (although I've adjusted the pH). 2. Carbonates/bicarbonates (perhaps a problem even after adjusting pH). 3. Sodium. 4. Sulfates (7-13 ppm, but apparently last tested in 1999). If I understand the chemistry, my water softener wouldn't do much besides replacing calcium and magnesium with sodium--and excessive sodium might be a problem. Could my sulfates be excessively high? So: am I crazy? Is my water softener hosed? Should I forget about the thing altogether and use bottle water? Why the heck did my water change on me? I know, I know, I'll have to call the water utility... FWIW, I also live within two miles of a brewery--Capital Brewery, producer of fine German-style beers. I particularly like the Kloster Weizen. I imagine they might treat their water (and I am under the impression they do a lot of brewing up in Stevens Point). Michael Middleton, WI Born in and went to middle school in Ann Arbor, not far from the homebrew center of the universe Return to table of contents
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