March 2023 Meeting Notes

Great night for an SOB meeting.

Thank you Fifth Ward for hosting our event

Great attendance with roughly 23 active participants as well as a couple very young ladies whom orchestrated a flawless Girl Scout cookie delivery.

We were also blessed with a couple new faces in the crowd

Kevin Noltemeyer representing the Sauk City Bluff Hoppers
Team visit from Al Grumann (former SOB) & Blake Schlaeppi 
Mr. Bill Schwalbach. Long time SOB who we’ve not seen for quite some time. Welcome back, Bill.
And another gentleman of whom I did not catch a name. Prior attendee pre-covid. He appeared happy and that is good.


Travis – A post-Bare Bones Winter Beer Fest Creme Ale Belgian
Mark – American Pale Ale highlighted with Rosemary to celebrate his daughter’s graduation
Al & Blake – 60 (yes 60) gallons of Maibock generated from pure maple sap
Kevin – A Lambic, A Choc Cherry Porter…….. as well as others.
Kurt – He’s doing the finishing touches Lagering for the April 22 HH Hinder Headbutt Homebrew Competition
Brett – In the midst of pre-construction brewing scramble to fill every vessel possible. Has an American Blond, New Zeeland Pilzner, and others in the mix.
Lee – Continues in the never ending fermentables marathon with a Dunkle on deck and a Bohemian Dark Lager in the hole

Beer Share

This evening provided some generous shares by fellow SOBs.

Multi-Grain by Al & Blake
Sounds like they emptied the cupboard on this batch. (2-Row, Munich, wheat, Cara Munich, Rolled Oats, Rolled Rye, Wild Rice) Tasty concoction, fellas………..well done.

American Wheat Berry; compliments of Mr. Nick Tollefson.
His mixed berry adjuncts were a perfect compliment to the cascade & centennial hops. Well balanced!

Brett entertained with his Standard Blonde Abomination Amarillo (by morning) Hops provide a nice hint of a fruity finish.

The Backwoods Ale guys (Al and Blake) prompted round 2 with their German Festival Beer. This is not to be confused with an Octoberfest beer despite the Omega O-Fest yeast used in this recipe. Slightly under 5%ABV could make this a nice head-buzz session beer.

Lee (mega batch) Reiherzer delighted the crowd with a German (French) Altbier reminiscent of ventures to earths alt capital….Dusseldorf. Local water with articulated enhancements propelled this triple malt slurry into a VERY clean and crisp copper beauty.

Scott El Presidente shared some of the delights from round 3 of the Fellowship of the Barrel with his Pear Lambic. Aging this Sour/Lambic on Heritage pears produced a palate pleasing sweet/sour combo.

Nice to see multiple SOBs introducing personality into a baseline barrel brew.

Fox Valley Brewery Tour – April 15

Holy smokes…..seats sold out quicker than account closings at Silicon Valley Banks.

25 knowledge seeking brewing enthusiasts will ramble north to 4 prestigious Appleton breweries.

Bus will leave PROMPTLY at 10:30AM on Saturday, April 15. 10:31AM…………enjoy the walk.

Departure site is the Park/Ride just to the south of Bare Bones Brewery
(County Rd S & County Rd Y)

We will need to coordinate our lunch ahead of time so please indicate on the sign-up (in your email).

Sturgeon Spirits Craft Distillery

Yes, we are ready. Folks we are officially committed; lets get that SOB Whisky going

Here are some key dates:

March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) – Grains available at The Cellar. These are all bagged and ready to go.
April 8th-16th – Brew on/between these dates to give optimal ferment times
April 22nd – 11:00AM we will be distilling our very own homebrew at Sturgeon Spirits Distillery

Procedural guidelines were shared at tonight’s meeting and emails dedicated to brewing participants is in circulation.

Currently 11 SOBs are signed up to brew roughly 50+ gallons of the following concoction:

9# Corn, 2# Mild Malt, 5# Distillers Malt, 2# Wheat, Amylase enzymes to fully convince the starch/sugar conversion during the Mash and then Red Star Dady Distillers yeast will unload its fury into an aggressive ferment.

Club members are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in this distilling process…..and what the heck………check the sign-up sheet and reach out to any participants if you want to also experience the brewing process.

40 gallons is required for the distilling process. Surplus will be hopped and prepped as beer and you can bet your boots this will be shared at an upcoming meeting.

Full progress will be communicated as we progress.

Big Brew Day

This May 6th the AHA (American Homebrewers Association) national event is rapidly approaching.

AHA is proposing  a brew which is called NEARLY NIRVANA PALE ALE which is a clone of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale (See overview below)

Not brewing???? Stop by and mingle with all your SOB friends and catch something to eat via the provisions of The Ginger German’s Gastro-Truck.

Let’s see who’s gonna do what. (sign up in email)


Mr. Kurt Weina provided an overview to Lagering.

A bottom fermenting yeast (SAFLAGER™ W-34/70) will work well in a cooler environment

Mini fridge converted to host a carboy and improved temperature controls works perfect.

Pitch yeast at 55-60°Fdirectly onto wort
Cool temps to 48-50°F for two weeks
Cold crash for 4-6 weeks to acquire a clean/crisp brew
Further question to be directed to 1-800-Lager-God

Retired Equipment

Mr. Chris Julson has elected to exit the homebrewing hobby

In appreciation of SOBs assisting in liquidating many of his assets he has elected to donate a couple items for raffle, silent auction or whatever we please.

The following items were rapidly secured/purchased by some lucky SOBs

Seth: PH metering system
Bill: Vacuum Sealer.

February 2023 Meeting Notes

Key Observation: It seems discussion, collaboration, and camaraderie tend to be heightened while surrounded by the wares of brewing and plenty of high quality fermented malt. Thank You Fifth Ward.

This month’s meeting fell absent of our fearless leader, Scott Westpfhal, however Mr. Travis Sullivan took the reins and flawlessly led us from start to finish.

Our 7:00PM meeting began promptly with Lee Reiherzer sharing some of his Czech Dark Lager (non lager)

New Faces
While sampling this fine beverage we met two fine gentlemen who find interest in our club as well as brewing. Seth who has recently moved to Oshkosh. He rightfully owns the title of being an Okee from Muskogee Jacob. This gentleman habitually attends meetings and we welcome him aboard

Who’s Brewing What
Kurt W. will be competing in his 2nd venture to H.H.Hinder Brewing Company for their annual HEADBUTT HOMEBREW COMPETITION. He will be making a Vienna Lager. We wish him all the luck and suspect he will do well. There is still time for more entries……..check out the link above.

Lee R has sights set on brewing a Red Lager this Sunday. Special Note; This will be Lee’s 500th batch of beer he has brewed. Holy cripes!!!! Congrats, Lee, on this huge milestone.

Fondy Brewfest Summary
Participating clubs was, to say the least, impressive and attendees had opportunity to sample 120 various suds. One of which was supplied by our very own Kurt Weina who scored a 4th place with his IPA. Rock on, Kurt. SOB attendees stumbled onto a “FREE” flyer opportunity which our club will explore to promote the SOB or activities there of.

Fox Valley Brewery Tour
All systems go for this quadruple event!
Plan is to initiate our learning at roughly 11:00AM at the Hop Yard Ale Works followed by subsequent visits to McFleshman’s Brewing Company, Appleton Beer Factory, and buttoning things up at the Stone Arch Brewpub. We continue to diligently explore transportation options so please stay tuned.

This is likely to be described as a Mega Hoot so please consider and sign up. See emails for link.

Time for another sampling………….ZERO objections.

Kurt offered up a pleasant IPA which incorporated some 2-Row base malt, 40L Crystal, and the ever so popular 8 ounces of Centennial Hops. Multiple supportive reviews to this 5.5 ABV pallet teaser.

Quick review of SOB events
Check out the calendar of events

Brews on the Bay
Once again….we will not participate in scheduled events which unfortunately conflict with timing of our scheduled meetings. None-the-less we would like strong representation at all other “available” events.

Please sign up if you would like to participate/donate to any of these activities.
PS…………they are lots of fun.

Time for another sampling………….Bring it, Travis.
An Imperial Lager seasoned in a 10 gallon barrel for 1 year proved more than worthy when highlighted with a plumb adjunct for 6 weeks. Yum!!! Strong barrel influence despite this being the 4th he’s brought to this boozy oak cavity.

It should also be noted that upon adjourning of tonight’s meeting…………Travis offered up a nice selection of sours which were sourced during the Fondy Brew Fest

What the heck is SMaSH??? It is a brew made with a Single Malt and a Single Hop. Here’s a link to a little background info on SMaSH

So the latest discussion is taking advantage of the generous offering from Jody Cleveland of Bare Bones Brewery to share some surplus Malteurop Pale Ale. Quite the offering as this equates to 8 – 55# bags.

We could, in turn, coordinate multiple members doing multiple concoctions on May 6th’s AHA Big Brew Day.

In addition to this offering…………Ryan Walejko has offered up some of his successful home-grown Chinook/Cascade hops to further compliment the May 6th home-brew national event.
Thanks, Dudes.

We will soon have a sign-up available.

And………so that we stay hydrated with free water and fully nutritiotioned..we will utilize the gracious parking facilities of The Cellar for this annual event as well as the scrumptious provisions of Ginger German’s Gastro Truck.

Distilling with Sturgeon Spirits
We continue to narrow the details of successfully pursuing this fascinating venture.
Please sign up using the email link if you so-happen to have interest. As we learn more………so will you.

Treasurer’s Report
Per Kurt’s summary we have the following funds
Club Savings: $$$
Cask & Caskets: $$

2022 Christmas Party

We had our yearly Christmas Party on December 21, 2022 at Fifth Ward Brewery. Many beers were drank, delicious food eaten, and gifts exchanged. Here are a few pictures showing a great night!

November 2022 Meeting Notes

In November, the SOB’s gathered at the newly opened Sturgeon Spirits in Oshkosh.  Another great turnout for our meeting!  First and foremost, we’d like to thank Karl Loewenstein for hosting us and giving us a sneak peek before he opens!

Business first, spirits second. 

We had a new member and a few guest come to check out the club as well as Sturgeon Spirits. 

Paul & Barb Reed like beer and Travis said, hey, I know just the thing to do Wednesday night. They used to be annual attendees at Cask & Caskets and wanted to come see what we were up to these past couple of years. Aside from beer, Travis and Scott can vouch they also enjoy a bourbon here and there. 

Ryan and Jessica Waljeko were shown our way by Mike. Ryan grows some hops and likes craft beer. Another easy fit with us! While we were joking around about morning beers, Ryan admitted he has no issue with a buzz at 10am, the buzz off a beer and not the alarm! He has 24lbs of chinook and cascade hops that he’d be willing to part with, if interested check with the board.

Jason Melstrand is neighbors and friend of Travis and Scott and Scott “coerced” him to join. Beer may have been involved. He used to home brew so that’s better than a few of us.

Travis will be reaching out to them to give them the official new member invite.

What’s brewing? 

Brett Hintz has a Christmas Ale brewing for his family Christmas. 

Chuck has an Irish red fermenting. His last brew of the year before he shuts down for winter. 

Dick has an English porter going.

Travis didn’t get yeast but was going to do a Belgian quad. May do a Red IPA yet.

Brett did a cranberry edition to his sour. Took three hours to do and was glad when it was over.

Keven has a Weisenbock fermenting. A new variation of his 16 year old recipe. May be doing an Imperial Pilsner in the next few weeks with an updated recipe. Plans on putting it in Fond du lac Brewfest with a cider he has as well.

Doug and Spencer (Sunken Paddle Cidery) have a Rhubarb Dry Cider going for March and just pitched a Perry, a cider with just pear juice. It’s their first. They also have 500lbs of regular cider fermenting right now and freezing some ciders to last the year for them so they can hopefully avoid running out. They want to do an Apple Brandy with Sturgeon Spirits someday.

Mark Stanek has a Helles almost done. Two variations ready to keg next weekend. Also has a Jalapeño Mead in bottles that Chuck has sampled and approves of. 

Scott’s Pear Wine is three weeks out yet for bottles. Has a Great Lakes Xmas Ale clone for the Christmas Party if it gets done in time. 

Beer Shares

Brett brought a Vienna lager. It was brewed with a four year old who had some fun incidents that lead to an extra hour of mash rest. Despite that, it was good!

Christmas Party

Our regularly scheduled December meeting will be our SOB Christmas Party!  It will be on our normal Wednesday meeting night, December 21st. It will be at Fifth Ward Brewing Company and it will start at 6pm. We will do the gift exchange like in the past. If you would like to participate please bring a gift in the $20-25 range. We’ll do a potluck again, so bring a dish to pass and the club will provide the meat. Beers to share are always encouraged.  If you plan to attend the Christmas party, please sign up HERE.  As a side note, Scott is working on getting the club competition trophies updated to bring to the Christmas Party. 
A few club positions are coming up for elections in January so we will use the December Meeting/Christmas Party for nominations. President, Secretary, and New Member Coordinator are up for nominations. Scott would like to say he will not be seeking re-election to President nor will accept nominations for it. He wants everyone to know there is nothing to read into, he committed to Mike when he left that he would help transition the position for two years and then got us through COVID. He isn’t going anywhere and will still be brewing!

Barrel Club

The Barrel Club will be getting together on December 18th for the members participating. Tentatively at 1pm (subject to change). Logan will be back from the fatherland to participate!

Fond du Lac Brewfest

The SOB’s have signed up to be part of Homebrew Alley at the Fond du Lac Brewfest. If you want to take part, get brewing and let us know! There will be an award for best Homebrew Club Booth. People’s Choice Homebrew winner will be brewed by Ooga in Beaver Dam!
The Board is working on the calendar for next year. If members have ideas for topics or field trips let us know. Speaking of, Jody is open to doing a wort share again at Bare Bones. It’s been a good time in the past and to see everyone’s variations. We’ll keep you updated as to when that will occur. 

Sturgeon Spirits Tour 

Karl Loewenstein is a professor in Russian/Soviet history. Six to seven years ago he started playing around with a still in the garage. His wife was afraid he’d blow the house up, so the garage was next best. He enjoys bourbons as well as making them. Since Karl is a state employee he can retire at 55 and he’s 54. His kids are grown and he’s ready to do something new. A new retirement hobby! Oshkosh doesn’t have a Craft Distillery yet and he loves all the experimentation of distilling. It’s been almost a year since he closed on the building and getting everything all setup. He was planning to do this before COVID but that blew everything up, fortunately not literally. He was looking for a building and found this building that still has a cabinet maker in a small part. The whole structure is concrete, walls, floors, joists, which is great for when the Fire Marshall came to visit. It also helps when making spirits in case there was an accident. The size of the building worked out great, around 5500 sq ft. It leaves some room to scale up. His spring break this year was tearing down walls. Sledge hammers were flying. Equipment was ordered in November 2021. Has three stills and is running into some supply chain issues. For example, the garage door is supposed to be glass but they gave him a sympathy door for now to use that is just a standard one. Right now he has vodka and gin at the distillery. He will have more but as we all know it takes time for the rest. Karl said that craft distilling is growing and spirits are set to overtake beer in market value over the next few years. Craft Distilleries are starting to take a bite out of the big guys just as smaller breweries have to the large ones.  The bar top was new as of our visit. The boards/beams came from the old Appleton Tractor Factory that helped hold it up. Karl is a big proponent of reuse. The tin under the bar is an old shanty he stripped down. The hall has boards from the Waite Grass Carpet Company that was on Custer Ave and is now apartments.

Karl himself is not a sturgeon spearer but has always admired the experience and took his kids out to watch fish come in for weighing. His house was built by sturgeon poachers. They ran an ice business but always had more fish than ice according to the neighbors. The house used to get raided but they had an insider in the Oshkosh Police Department who would tip them off. It was a nice house built in 1932, which who builds a nice new house in the middle of the depression? Criminals obviously. 

Up front is his 40 gallon still he plans on using for education classes on Saturdays. Something he wants to work with people like us potentially. Keep an eye or ear out for that.

Karl to report to the TTB all his plans for the building and every lock and all, anyone who has had to deal with them understands this. Has a cool water tank and hot water tank as well as a mash tun. He uses mostly corn but also barley and ryes. When that is done mashing he pumps it over to one of his three fermenter tanks. He has a control panel to circulate water to the tanks. From there it goes into the still. He boils the mash and it goes up through the copper top and into the condenser. This goes through the baskets to get up to 95% alcohol and then reduces it down. He uses a reverse osmosis system for his water. For storage he has an H3 room which is fire proof to put all his 50%+ alcohol in. This allows him to not need sprinklers overhead.  For his barrels and aging he plans to use an old shipping container. Apparently it’s good for expansion and contraction here in Wisconsin with our temperature swings.

All of his equipment is electric. Karl helped personally design all of his equipment and even traveled to China to work with the manufacturer on it. He wanted to get something made in the states but again, with supply chain issues he had to go where he could get it. Along those lines, while looking for bottles he had to buy 5000 bottles sight unseen just to get some on time. Fortunately, they have worked out.

For production, he can do 800 bottles a week if needed but would probably need more fermenters. However, he said he’d be going nuts if he was producing that much! Karl has been talking to distributors about distribution. He can’t self-distribute like some of the smaller breweries can.

Karl mentioned he would be open to doing whiskey with beers with us. Possibly hire out the equipment and do educational things and experimentation. 

Right now he is looking for some bar help. Tasting Room hours will be 12-8pm, Wednesday to Sunday once staff is lined up. May just be weekends until then. He doesn’t want to be open later and come across as more of a bar. Wants the type of crowd who enjoys coming to taste the spirits and drinks, not just to get rowdy. 

Currently has a sturgeon photo contest running to win a bottle, see his Facebook page if interested. 

Lastly, here’s a look at our upcoming meeting locations:
December – Fifth Ward (Christmas Party)
January – Fifth Ward
February – Fifth Ward

If you’ve made it this far, please give a big thanks to Matt Saunders next time you see him for taking exceptional notes during the meeting while Michael was out of town!

Happy Thanksgiving!  See you in December!

October 2022 Meeting Minutes

The SOB’s gathered together in October at their new home base, Fifth Ward Brewing!  We’re very excited to be invited by Fifth Ward to hold our regular meetings at the brewery.  The SOB’s once again feel at home.

New faces in the crowd!  Ken from 8th Day Brewing company joined us. Ken informed us Fifth Ward is helping them out brewing their first batch, a cream ale. Also, Nick has joined the club after attending the SOB picnic.  Welcome to the club guys!

Shareables during the meeting included:
Mark Stanek’s Avocado Saison, aged 2 weeks on avocados 
Al’s Beet Wine in an old, green, magical bottle. Was a flashback to the 90’s as that’s how long it’s been in Al’s care!
Kurt’s Centennial IPA that he made with his own homegrown centennial hops.  Kurt has lots of hops from his harvest!  Reach out to him if you would like some.

What’s brewing?!
Kurt picked a few pecks of apples and made a hard cider.  He’s also got a Colonial ale with smoked and rye malt with spruce tips fermenting. Kurt promises to bring this one to the next meeting. Planning to brew a big breakfast stout in the near future as well.
Brett brewed a Schwarzbier recently. He also made a base sour beer to be able to add cranberries as soon as he can get a supply. Do you know of a source of cranberries for Brett?
 Nick brewed an American Wheat with berries added at the end of the boil. 
Kevin participated in the Fond du Lac clubs apple pressing. He’s using his 5 gallons combined with maple and date sugar to make a hard cider. 
Lee has a Bohemian Dark Lager, a Vienna Lager fermenting and will be brewing a Dunkel soon. The Dunkel will be his 42nd beer this year!
Mark is brewing some mead using honey Mike Engel had from about 20 years ago. Using buckwheat honey that is super pungent. Also making a mead using orange blossom honey and pears.

The club proposed the idea of having an SOB sign to place at Fifth Ward to show it’s the home of the SOB’s. We need to consult Zach and Ian to get their thoughts. Club is aligned to spend some club funds to create a sign to hang at Fifth if they’re on board. 

Now that we have a new home, we may do more home base meetings than away meetings.
The SOB Christmas party is proposed to be during our normal meeting date and time in December and would be at Fifth Ward.  Need to double check with Zach and Ian before we can officially lock this in.

Fond du Lac Brew Fest is coming up Saturday February 4th. SOB’s are invited to homebrew alley.  Sounds like there is interest to brew and participate in this event so the SOB’s have officially registered to attend! The theme is Oktoberfest and encouraged to decorate our booth to win best booth.  If you are interested in brewing and serving beer at FDL Brew Fest, please reach out to a board member.

Logan will be back in December and the barrel program members plan to pull the sour out of the barrel and keg.  Should be really good!

Scott demonstrated to us how to use a tilt hygrometer that is also a thermometer. You drop it straight into the beer, leave it there, and it connects to an app to tell you the gravity and temperature whenever you would like to know. Displays the data real time.  Pretty slick!

Elections are approaching!  December is nominations for President, New Member Coordinator, and Secretary. January is the election month!  Start thinking of who you would like to nominate or if you have interest in a position yourself.  If you have any questions about the positions, please reach out to the current board members! Lastly, here’s a look at our upcoming meeting locations:

November – Sturgeon Spirits Distillery
December – Fifth Ward (Tentative Christmas Party)

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