The Newsletter, October 2019

The Newsletter, October 2019

The next meeting, 30th October. 

Will be back once again at Petes warehouse in Ferntree Gully. Don't forget to bring in your Lager entries for the internal competition.

Meet the Brewer.

This months brewer is James Christiansz.

Tell us a little about who you are.

I'm 35 and Melbourne raised. In 2011 I went over to London to get married and spent 6 years there before heading back with my wife and son (5 years old). We are looking forward to welcoming a new baby into the family in December. I work in a sales role, helping organisations of all sizes with payroll strategies. If you come across anyone who needs to look at their payroll options please pass on my details.

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

I joined last year after attending Brewfest. I was impressed by the friendly people and the brewing demonstrations going on at Brewfest. It's great to get out once a month and catch up with a great group over a brew. There have been times when I've felt too tired to attend, however, I've gone and always been glad I did so. There is much more to life than work and the club is a great way to decompress from the pressure of work. The candid feedback, tutoring and encouragement from club members keep me striving for a better product.

When and why did you decide to give brewing a try?

I started brewing in 2018. It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time but due to lack of space in London, it had to be put on hold. After paying reasonable prices for beer in London, it hurt paying Australian prices for a high-quality beer, so I decided to brew. It wasn't just for economic reasons that I started brewing, I also like to tinker around (I used to make sourdough bread, I make bone broth from scratch and like to try cooking many different things. 

Do you brew kit, extract, all-grain or a combination?

I started on kits and have just graduated to all-grain. I'm grateful that Roger spent the time teaching me all-grain brewing using his Robobrew. 

How many batches are you up to?

The Caltoria IPA was my 14th beer. I've had mixed results and there is nothing worse than a bad batch.

What about your favourite style to drink?

I love drinking IPA and stout in winter. Both need to be full-bodied and full of flavour. I'm also partial to many other types of beers.

Do you have a favourite store bought beer?

The IPA and Pale Ale's from The Kernel Brewery - Bermondsey, UK are my favourites ( If you can find this brand in Australia I highly recommend them. Recently in Queensland I tried Black Hops Brewing. The Pale Ale was brilliant. (

What system do you brew with?

I bought a 40L Guten. I'm two brews in and looking forward to doing my next.

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

Apart from my first brew which was a fresh wort kit, I was first in the 'get your kit off' competition. I think I was quite lucky with my result.

What about your biggest disaster?

I've made a kit Imperial Stout and it's awful. There seems to be a taste of liquorice or iron. I'm not sure if I should pour it on the plants? The only other disasters have been the bottling wand falling off and the fermenting vessel tap leaking. I'm open to suggestions on better fermenters.

What’s your favourite brewery to spend some time at?

I really enjoyed Moon Dog in Abbotsford. I love the smell of malt and you get plenty of it there.

What would be your best tip for others?

I'm fairly new to brewing, so I'll save the tips for when I have more experience. As the membership representative on the committee, I'd ask that you consider inviting your friends who brew to check out the club. We all enjoy the club for our own reasons, whether it's great from a social, learning, weeknight drinking, fun perspective. Something this good should be kept as a secret! 

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

I keep brewing in the hope of turning out an A-grade beer that I can share with friends, family and club members. 

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

The rest of my time is enjoyed with family and friends. Apart from brewing, I enjoy mountain biking, swimming, Bunnings, projects around the house and my additional new hobby - cooking on the Weber kettle.

Christmas Party.

Ian Bennett is hosting at his house in Fingal on December 7th from 3pm.

Put it in the calendar!

Beerfest 2019.

Our sponsors  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!

Major Sponsors: Champion Brewer - $500 voucher for Grain and Grape   Beer of Show - $200 Brewers Pack from Beerco   Best Novice - Fermentasaurus with pressure kit from Keg King   Best Club - Bulk Malt from Cryer Malt.

  _________   Our category sponsors   Pale Lager - $100 store voucher to Greensborough Home Brewing   Wheat and Rye - 25kg JW Signature Malt, 25kg Simpsons Golden Promise, 500g Cashmere Hops from Bintani   Dark Ale and Lager - $50 Keg King Voucher and $50 Point of Difference Voucher   Strong Ale and Lager - $100 voucher for Grain and Grape from Spiedel   Porter and Stout - $100 Store voucher to The Brewers Den   Pale and Bitter Ale -25kg JW Signature Malt, 25kg Simpsons Golden Promise, 500g Cashmere Hops from Bintani    American Pale Ale - $100 store voucher from Brewers Choice   Farmhouse and Wild - $100 store voucher from  Clever Brewing   Speciality - $100 store voucher from Home Make It

Club News.

There will be no meeting in December as we have our Christmas party instead but we will be back to normal in January with the next meeting.

The Club is planning a case swap in Easter.

November meeting will involve a taste comparison night of all the IPA beers brewed during the Caltoria brew day event.

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.

The Old Dick is a prestigious award given to the Club Brewer of the Year, based on all the members points tallied from all competitions entered. First, Second and Third all generate points to determine who gets to be this years Brewer of the Year.


  The club's preferred method of payment is online. New members: If you believe you are not on the club mailing list, send the committee an email or bring it up with someone at a meeting to make sure we add you in.

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.

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.