The Newsletter, March 2018.

The Newsletter, March 2018.

From the club President 

Since our February newsletter we have seen the results of the hard work put in by the committee making Beerfest another successful event for the club.  A excellent number of entries were received and were  well spread over the categories which was pleasing.

Hayden Henderson, a brewer without a club won Champion Brewer for his American Brown Ale with points of 127. Hayden also cleaned up by winning the best novice brewer as well as he had not previously been placed in any VicBrew competition. Congratulations Hayden, and we look forward to meeting up at this months' meeting so that you can pick up your winnings.

Club of Show was Bayside Brewers who were helped along the way by Bryce van Denderen who was Champion Brewer . Congratulations to Bryce and to Bayside.

Our own club saw John Keske win Pale and Bitter Ale with his Kolsch and Roger Cheeseman with a second placing for his Weissbier in the Wheat and Rye category. Well done boys.

At the last meeting which was at Foragers  Drop, Hawkers Brewing CEO Mazen Hajjar was on hand to introduce Hawkers  IPA produced with the South African hops. Also on tasting was two saisons and a stout brewed by members of our club. Mazen has such an interesting story to tell as delivers it in such a down to earth knock about way. We hope to pay a visit to Hawkers and be given the tour.

Roger Cheeseman and myself visited Merri Mashers to present members of their club with their Beerfest prizes. We were made more than welcome and enjoyed their club night.

Steinbrew weekend was made a little more difficult this year to brew beer in the bush with a TOTAL FIRE BAN day declared. The numbers attending were down, however a beer was brewed although the hot rocks treatment had to be given a miss. The success of the brew will be tasted at the dinner later in the year.

The dinner is to be held in July and so it is time to think about brewing a batch that will be paired and enjoyed by fellow members at that dinner.

There will be inducements to encourage members brewing a batch for this advent and a monster brew day is also being organised to help the process.

This months' meeting is back at Pete's warehouse and we have an in house competition with Belgium Style beers.

Hope to see you there on Wednesday 28th March.

Ian Bennett


The next meeting.

Wednesday 28th of March at the usual haunt of Pete's warehouse in Ferntree Gully. Don't forget to bring down a Belgium style beer for the in house Competition.

 Brewer of the month.

This months member is....

Chris Duckworth               AKA              Duck




Tell us a little about who you are.

I was born in Box Hill, but I have lived all over the place, including country NSW, Sydney, New Zealand, the USA, China. Fortunately, working IT, my skills are portable and have permitted me to live in all these places for various amounts of time without many issues of finding work, except post 9/11 in the US, when getting work as a foreigner sucked badly !!

I have 2 teenage kids that keep me busy and I am studying for a masters degree in my spare time.

When did you join the Melbourne Brewers and what do you like about being in the Club?

I can't really recall when I joined the club… but I'd say at least 8 years ago now as a guess. What I like about the club is the collected wisdom within the club. There is almost nothing you can't find out if you ask around. Even better is that brewing is constantly evolving, with new kit, ingredients, methods etc and our ever inquisitive club members are constantly exploring these things and bringing that back to the clubs collective knowledge. That and lots of us could get a gig on Junkyard Wars with what we use to brew on
When and why did you decide to give brewing a try?

My wonderful family bought me the ubiquitous Coopers Kit as a Fathers day gift (Something my wife has been kicking herself for ever since) about a year or so before I joined the club. Initially it was to reduce costs.. then it was because I could make things to my own liking, rather than what was allocated to me.

Do you brew kit, extract, all grain or a combination?
I brew whatever I feel like, using whatever I feel like. I sometimes still throw a kit in for things like the clubs "Get Your Kit Off" comp and occasionally, someone will throw me a kit they had lying around. Sometimes I need to bump my gravity up on bigger beers, so I throw in some extract. Don't judge me !!

How many batches are you up to?

I've lost count but Brewtoolz says I have done 111 but if you throw in the pre Brewtoolz era and the few I have not recorded, it’s probably a few more than that ?

What’s your favourite style to brew?

Pales, IPA's, IIPA's and the occasional Saison and Russian Imperial Stout.

Is that also your favourite style to drink?

Yep.. I'd go a Saison, then Pale, IPA, IIPA and RIS.. in that order 😊

Do you have a favourite commercial beer?

I tried the Dainton's Cherry Wood Smoked Rye Baltic Porter the other day and I'm in love !!

What system do you brew with?

I have a BIAB setup that utilises 2 vessels to speed my brew day up. In summer, if I am organised, I can crank out 3 batches in a day in the longer days in Summer and still be cleaning up in daylight.. but I emphasise ORGANISED… that an no stuff ups 😊 Otherwise, I can still get 2 brews through in winter using my setup.
What’s your favourite brewing gadget/tool?

Hmmm.. I have a couple: my Refractometer for measuring gravity at any stage in the brew process and my pumps for moving stuff around between various places.

What’s been your best highlight since you started brewing?

Scoring a first place in VicBrew for a Doppelbock

What about your biggest disaster?

Hah..the same beer, 2 different disasters. First disaster was only ending up with about 8-10 litres because I was doing decoction mashing for the first time and not doing it properly (or was I….). Second disaster was running out of bottled versions to submit to the National comp and sending in a bottle drawn off the last litre or so in the keg and it ending up flat as a tack and finishing pretty much last in the category.. Ce La Vie
What would be your best tip for others?

If in doubt ask someone. Use the wisdom in the club to help you on your journey. And don't forget to pay it back later !

What do you love about brewing that keeps you picking up the paddle?

The infinite variety I can achieve in every brew.. even doing the same brew over and over yields a slight variation in some way.. sometimes better, sometimes not so much.

When you’re not brewing, how do you spend the rest of your spare time?

Renovating, home maintenance, Uni study, tinkering with stuff etc.


Beerfest, 24th-25th of February.


Our sponsors have put up some fantastic prizes this year in support of the Home Brewing Community. Lets show them some love back and get behind them when you next do your shopping or recommend a store to a new brewer. It's these sponsors that keep our competitions running so lets return the favour and support them any way you can!

Our major sponsors:

Champion Brewer - $500 voucher for Grain and Grape
Beer of Show - Prize package from Home Make It ($100 voucher, 2 x bags Viking Pilsner Malt, 2 x Fresh Wort Kits, 2 x White Labs English Ale Yeast, 2 x White Labs German Pilsner Yeast.
Best Novice - Fermentasaurus with pressure kit from Keg King
Best Club - 10 x bags Malt from Cryer Malt.
Our category sponsors:
Pale Lager - $100 pack of malt, hops and yeast from Beerco
Wheat and Rye - $100 voucher from Brewers Choice
 Dark Ale and Lager - $100 voucher from Clever Brewing
Strong Ale and Lager - $100 voucher for Grain and Grape from Spiedel
Porter and Stout - Malt and Yeast from Bintani 
Pale and Bitter Ale - Malt and Yeast from Bintani 
American Pale Ale - $100 voucher from The Brewers Den 
Farmhouse and Wild - $100 voucher from Greensborough Home Brew
Speciality - $100 pack of malt, hops and yeast from Beerco
Some pictures of the weekend.
 Clint Bee (right) from Merri Mashers taking the award In Wheat and Rye from Roger who he only just knocked off.

Bryce Van Denderen from Bayside taking out the "Champion Brewer" award.

Lame beer joke of the month.

A man walks into a bar and orders three beers.

The bartender brings him the three beers, and the man proceeds to alternately sip one, then the other, then the third, until they're gone.

He then orders three more and the bartender says, "Sir, I know you like them cold, so you can start with one, and I'll bring you a fresh one as soon as you're low."

The man says, "You don't understand. I have two brothers, one in Australia and one in the Ireland. We made a vow to each other that every Saturday night, we'd still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three beers, too, and we're drinking together."

The bartender thinks it's a wonderful tradition, and every week he sets up the guy's three beers. Then one week, the man comes in and orders only two. He drinks them and then orders two more. The bartender says sadly, "Knowing your tradition, I'd just like to just say that I'm sorry you've lost a brother."

The man replies, "Oh, my brothers are fine -- I just quit drinking."


The Old Dick.

Since 1999, the Club Brewer of the Year trophy has been an unusual mechanical device, affectionately known as “The Old Dick”.

The trophy was built about 22 years ago by former Member Dick Seville who was a popular and eccentric Member of the Melbourne Brewers and the ABAV which preceded it. “The Old Dick” is designed to hold a 750ml bottle of beer and to gradually tilt it in order to pour the contents without disturbing the sediment, thereby obtaining a crystal clear beer.

Dick an engineer by trade would regularly take the device with him when dining at BYO restaurants and drinking his own beers, mostly bottle conditioned brown ales.

Longstanding Members will remember Dick as the quietly spoken gentleman who would bring a large plate of cheese and onion sandwiches to every club meeting which would be unveiled late at each meeting after the standard Club nibbles had been consumed. These would rapidly be devoured and were a traditional part OF Club meetings for many years.

Dick was an inventive guy having a hand in building one of the first commercial washing machines ever built in Australia. Unfortunately, Dick passed away several years ago but much of his brewing equipment was donated and subsequently auctioned by the Club so many current Members have equipment designed and built by Dick and his legacy lives on.

The Old Dick was donated by Dick’s family and Colin Penrose. So next time you see “The Old Dick” remember that it, like our Club, has a rich history built on the efforts of eccentric good blokes like Dick Seville.


A special reminder needs to be put out for everyone to get their Annual fees paid if they still haven't. 

Your membership comes with these great benefits plus many others so support the club and help keep it going.
BYO Magazine
All members receive the BYO magazine as part of their yearly subscription.

(This is a great saving over an individual subscription)

Monthly Meetings
Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month at different locations. They are a great place to socialise, listen to talks, participate in Club competitions, BBQ's and of course taste lots of beer plus many other things.

A monthly newsletter outlining upcoming Club events and competitions as well as general Melbourne Brewers information and photos.  This gets distributed by email a few days before Club meetings.

Members are also advised of upcoming events by email. Our member email distribution is also used as a forum to discuss topics of interest and to provide brewing information amongst members.

Brew Days
Periodically, Members volunteer to have a Brew Day at their brewery and invite Club Members or guys who may be interested in brewing to have a look at how they brew, equipment used etc. Brew Days are a good way for novice brewers to learn how to make all-grain beer.

Activity Days
Every so often, days are organised for a group of members to build or assemble equipment e.g. convert kegs to boilers, make immersion chillers, yeast stir-plates, counter pressure bottle fillers, temperature controllers.

Events & Excursions
Periodically the Club organises events/trips e.g. trip to Maltings, Melbourne microbreweries, weekends away at country pubs, fishing trip.

Annual Club events include the Annual Dinner, Xmas party, Steinbeer weekend and Beerfest weekend (Club run comp).

Club Buys
Club buys (Bulk buys) of equipment offer significant savings to members.

Club Library
There is a large range of brewing books and equipment available for loan by members.

Things to keep you busy.

Upcoming club events.

Cider day.

Monster Brew Day.

The Annual Dinner.

Get a brew happening for:

Merri Mashers IPA Comp on 25th of March.

28th of March, Internal comp on Belgian Ale.

21st of April, Belgian Beerfest.

30th of May, internal comp on Stouts. 

Grafton Brewing Competition entries close 6th of April.

1st of July, Stout Extravaganza by Westgate Brewers.

25th July, Internal Competition on American Pale Ale.

Pale Ale Mania by Worthogs, date to be confirmed.

Vicbrew 2018, date to be confirmed.

26th of September, Internal Competition on Bitter Ale.

Octoberfest by Bayside, date to be confirmed.

28th of November, Internal competition on Pale Lager.

Go to our Calendar and sync it with your own so you never miss an event.

Get some reading done after you buy some books through our book depository link.

Last but far from least, help keep the Club alive and don't forget to pay your membership fees for this financial year!