What Is a Brew Off?

by Neil Barnett

Hi, I’m Neil, the Dude Undertaking Massive Brewing Operations (DUMBO). For those
of you new to the club, or if you just have not been paying attention, I will describe what Crescent City Homebrewers club Brew Offs are all about.

Our Club has a storage container located on the Deutsches Haus property. It houses our beer serving equipment, along with our 50-gallon brewing system. About ten times a year, we move the gear to different locations, and make a big batch of beer. These events are part educational, part social, and part constructive. The 10 people who sign up as brewers, all bring home five gallons of wort, that’s the constructive part. Guests are also welcome, which is the social aspect. For those new to whole grain brewing, or who are just learning about our equipment, we will instruct and educate.

The 10 brewing positions are:

  • Host: The person whose house we are using. They will supply coffee, water and beer for the event. The Host should have a level area for us to brew in which also has access to a water faucet and electricity. They will coordinate with the Chef, Brewmaster and equipment movers.
  • Brewmaster: The man or woman with the plan. It is their job to come up with a recipe, buy ingredients, and decide on the brewing program. They will be in complete control of the entire brewing operation and will instruct, and organize the Grunts and helpers during the setup, mashing, boiling, run off, clean up, and breakdown of the event.
  • Chef: The Chef supplies, cooks, and serves the food at the event.
  • (4&5) Equipment movers: These two people are responsible for getting the equipment to and from the event. In most cases, we try to move the gear a day or two before. This makes it easier to get a good start at 8 AM. After the event, they will load the gear back up and take it back to the storage container. Equipment movers must have their own truck, van, or trailer to move the gear. They can also come late to the event since they moved the gear the day before.
  • (6 thru 10) Grunts: These five good folks are the muscle of the operation. They work under the direction of the Brewmaster and Host to set up the equipment, brew the beer, clean the gear, and help breakdown the gear.
  • A few important things to keep in mind:
  • Do your best to try to stay within your budget. The Brewmaster will have $250.00 to buy ingredients. If the malt and grain bill is low, it may be possible to supply dry yeast for the event.
  • The Chef will have $100 for the Wort participants and another $10 each for the Guest and Alternates. I will coordinate with you to let know how many people will be there. Again, try to stay within budget.
  • Make sure all the equipment comes back to the storage unit clean, and in working condition. If there are any problems with the gear, or anything breaks, let me know as soon as possible so we can address it before the next BrewOff.
  • All brewers will need to bring a 5-gallon fermenter and yeast, unless the Brewmaster tells you he will supply the yeast. When the Brewmaster gives the word, you will pick numbers to decide the order of wort units.
  • The Host and Brewmaster will work with the Equipment Movers to make sure all the gear is clean and nothing is left behind.
  • All Brewers are expected to work.
  • The Host’s and Brewmaster’s word is Law.
  • These are Homebrewing events and homebrew should be available at these events if possible. If not, the host can buy some beer and submit the receipt. To sign up for any event, or if you have questions, see me at a meeting. As always, I’m your Director Undertaking Massive Brewing Operations, take care and keep brewing.
%d bloggers like this: