Brewer’s Note: MBAA 2011 Conference

MBAA 2011 Conference

This year I became a member of the Master Brewers Association. The MBAA’s annual technical conference was held in Minneapolis this year, of course making it a must do, and extremely convenient.

The speakers were some of the most talented and successful in the world of brewing and brewing ingredients. Here is an outline of the presentations that I was able to take in. I was also able to drink some pretty good beers along the way as well, which I will also outline and give a few highlights.

Conference Sessions :

High Gravity Brewing: The Case for Sustainability and the Challenges
Fantastic presentation on expanding production potential while minimizing capital costs.

Malting Barley Growing Practices and Processes
Shouldn’t we know more where our ingredients come from?

Yeast, Fermentation, and Microbiology I
Two fantastic talks about Brett fermentation, capped off with a lecture on bottle conditioning.

Modern Approaches to Dry Hopping
Bells, Russian River, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Sam Adams talking about hops!

Pilsen Beers- A Malt and Hop Challenge: Making Old World Pilsen with American Raw Materials
Lectures on Pilsner beer from the perspective of each of the main ingredients.

Mostly geared towards the big brewers, but great fermentation profile and process information.

Yeast, Fermentation, and Microbiology II
Microbiology detection, beer quality and fermentation variation reduction.

Myths vs. Science of Aging in Wood
This and the Pilsner talk were the highlights. Very insightful information on barrel aging. Old to new. Wine to Whiskey.

Beer List :

Redhook Pilsner
Kentucky Light – Kolsch Style Ale
Widmer Rotator O’Reiley Ops – Rye IPA
Harpoon IPA
Brau Brother’s Bohemian Soup
MN packaging breweries had a great presence at the conference.
Surly Wet
Schells Hopzenmaltz
Capital Supperclub
Odells 90 Schilling
Deschutes Jubelale
New Glarus Black Top
There is a reason this won a gold at the GABF this year. Absolutely amazing black IPA.
Yungling Traditional
Bells Two Hearted
Pliny The Elder
One of the more special treats of the conference.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Sam Adam’s Boston Lager
New Belgium Ranger IPA
New Glarus Laughing Fox
Bridgeport Kingpin
Miller Gettleman $1000 Beer
A 1860 American Lager recipe using both 6 and 2 Row malts with Saaz and Hallertau hops and Miller’s yeast strain. Not commercially available. Below is an interesting link with some history on the beer. The batch I tasted was not from 2007 : )

Squatter’s 5th Element – Farmhouse Ale / American Wild Ale
Schlafly Barley Wine New Oak Barrels Experiment
A 5 beer flight of Schlafly’s new oak barrel experiment. We tasted no toast first fill, medium toast first and second fills, and heavy toast first and second fills. It is fantastic to taste these differences in one sitting. It really showcases a need for blending talent in a barrel program to achieve consistency. Very cool experiment with the untoasted sample being the most drinkable strait sample, but lacked some of the complexity of the woodier versions.

The conference was a great learning experience, and hopefully it will be a great excuse for me to go to Portland next year!

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