News & Announcements

Announcement: TRASH VP

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Monday, October 15th, 2018 @ 6:07pm


Just a quick announcement:  Alex Szokolyai has stepped down from his role as TRASH Vice President. Alex's job has been keeping him away from Pittsburgh (and TRASH) and he's not able to continue as VP.   Thank you to Alex for his service as VP.

Fred Mullner has been appointed to complete the term as Vice President.  Fred is a BJCP Master Judge and one of the BJCP Mid-Atlantic Assisstant Representatives. He been a TRASH member for a couple of years now, and regularly flies the TRASH flag while judging at regional competitions.   Congratulations, Fred!



Recipe Creation Tech Talk Notes

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 @ 8:49pm

Below are my notes from the tech talk I gave at the last meeting.  Happy Reading!


Recipe Formulation: The Creative Side of Brewing


My Philosophy

What’s the Big Idea?

Build Your Flavor Profile

Practical Example: Imperial Stout

Caveat: My Philosophy

I'm a problem solver, an engineer. I am  technical, detail-oriented, and methodical.  

·         Strive for Consistency in my processes.

o    Recipe Development Process

o    Wort Production Process

o    Fermentation Process

o    Packaging process.

·         Change one thing at a time.  Or control for multiple changes.  

·         Take intelligent notes.  

o    Track both target and reality to improve reliability.

o    Focus on what's important.   

·         Complexity is good, chaos is not. Thus, I tend towards simpler recipes:

o    Base malt or two.

o    Couple character malts

o    2 or 3 hop varieties.

o    1 yeast.

What’s the Big Idea?

Start High Level

·         Write a menu description.

·         Instead of Flanders Red or Imperial Stout, How about:

o    A complex, malty red ale, with dark fruit character, mild oak, pie cherry Brett funk, and a refreshing acidity.  

o    A thick and luscious black ale with prominent bittersweet chocolate flavor,  undertones of mocha and french roast coffee and notes of dried cherries and plums, with a deceptively high ABV.

·         For competitions, this should be based on overall impression and supporting sensory descriptions from BJCP guidelines.

Build Out Your Flavor Profile: Add Some Detail to the Big Idea

·         What flavors? What intensity?  This guides ingredient selection

·         Learn ingredients.  

o    Descriptions are helpful, but no substitute for individual experiences.

·         Keep intelligent notes.

·         Taste your malt.

o    Chew test

o    Malt teas

·         Smell your hops.

·         Yeast is a little trickier.

o    Sample beers made with the yeast

o    Ask people what yeast/temp they used.  you might be surprised.

o    Note: Don't judge a yeast by its starter.

·         Eventually, you can reach a zen stage and “taste” a beer by looking at a recipe.   


·         Base Malt: Neutral (Graham Cracker)? Saltine Crackery? Bready?  

·         Toast/Roast: biscuit, bread crust, mocha, marshmallow, chocolate, coffee

·         Crystal:  toffee, candy apple, burnt sugar, dark fruit, raisin

·         Brewing Sugar: corn, cane, range of invert, range of Candi syrups


·         What level/type of bitterness?  Bite-y?  Smooth? 

·         What type of flavor? Citrus? Earthy? Herbal? Fruity?

·         What intensity of flavor/aroma?  Background complexity?  Olfactory overload?


·         What character?   Geographic? 

·         Clean? Expressive?  

·         Fruity? Phenolic? Funky?  

·         Malt or Hops-forward?

·         Highly variable depending on:

o    Strain,

o    Pitching temperature,

o    Fermentation temperature,  

o    Pitching rate


Water manipulation is whole other discussion.

Dechlorinate always.  Chlorine does nothing good for your beer's flavor.

Practical Example - NHC Gold Medal Imperial Stout

Big Idea: A thick and luscious black ale with prominent bittersweet chocolate flavor,  undertones of mocha and french roast coffee and notes of dried cherries and plums, with a deceptively high ABV.  

Aside: I am decidedly a fan of the what I call the British interpretation (smoother, maltier, less attitude).  Sierra Nevada Narwhal is a good American example of this interpretation of the style.

Full Disclosure: My NHC Gold beer was not an original recipe of mine.   It was...heavily the 1914 Courage Imperial Stout recipe from the Shut Up About Barclay Perkins blog [

].  It appealed to me because it's a fairly simple grist (like my own recipes often are), and showcases a couple of rather underappreciated malts.  

Flavor Notes

Bittersweet chocolate - British Black Patent Malt, NOT CHOCOLATE MALT. Maltster matters.   For British BP, Muntons is commonly available, but has a predominant ashy, italian roast coffee note that takes seemingly forever to smooth out.   I much prefer Baird’s, which has more of a bittersweet chocolate flavor, with french roast coffee undertones, and some dark fruit notes. If you brew this, seek out the Baird’s (note: Farmhouse Brewing Supply).   Big Stout needs big flavours, so lots of specialty malts. 9% of the grain bill was BP. That was like 2.6 lbs.

Mocha - British Brown Malt.  Crisp Brown Malt seems most common, although Simpson’s is also available.  From this malt, I tend to get things like mocha, diner coffee with cream, and maybe walnuts.  Brown provides a “middle roast note” that can add complexity to darker roast flavors. Lots of BP needs lots of brown malt.  16%, or 4.7 lbs

Maris Otter.  Base malt is a background player in a beastly beer like this.  With the other malty flavor, they need a strong base. Thus: Maris Otter.  Rich, Bready, with a touch of biscuit. I favor Fawcett and Crisp Gleneagles.  If you’re doing the math, that leaves 75% of the grain bill, or 22.2 lb.

In this beer, hops just provide a supporting bitterness. I had a bunch of UK Challenger and UK First Gold that needed to be used up.  Both provide a fairly smooth bitterness, and have a lot in common, flavor wise, with the archetypal EKG, herbal, earthy, maybe a slight orange marmalade note.  None of the pine/grapefruit that’s common in US hops.

Yeast- Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire, plays up malt, while finishing on the dry side.  Produces nuttiness and stone fruit esters. If you can find fresh Samuel Smith, this is their yeast.  It is a favorite English yeast of mine. For this yeast, in a closed up carboy, I like the flavors I get at 68 F or 20 C.


Know your ingredients

Start with a Big idea

Fill in the Details

Additional Resources

"Brewing on the Ones". Drew Beechum.  Zymurgy/NHC archives.

“Brewing from the Inside Out.”   Randy Mosher. NHC archives

“Mastering Homebrew” by Randy Mosher

“Brewing Better Beer” by Gordon Strong

Announcement: Cider Buy October 6

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 @ 8:06pm

The 2017 TRASH Cider pickup will be held at 8:00 AM sharp on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 at Soergel Orchards in Wexford. Like last year, they will be pressing the cider for us the day before from a blend of apples well suited to making hard cider. It will be cold-stored and unpasteurized or treated. Like last year, we need to get in and out as quickly as possible since this is their crazy-go-nuts busy season. If you've seen Soergels at noon on a Saturday in October, trust me - you want to get out of there early. Timur Snoke has graciously agreed to coordinate the cider buy again this year.

To get in on the group buy you must be dues-paid TRASH or TRUB member. (You can join now if you really want in on the action at!) Cider will be $4.00/gallon and you must pay for it in advance via PayPal. To purchase cider, just send us an email at and we'll respond with how to pay. All orders and payment must be received by 8:00 PM on Thursday, September 27th.


If you purchase cider and do now show up to pick it up at 8:00 on October 6th, your cider will be forfeited and divided up among those in attendance, and you will be burned in effigy.

You must bring your own containers to the cider pickup. Any large-mouth vessel is fine - a fermenter bucket, a corny keg, a Big Mouth Bubbler-type carboy. Heck, bring your conical if you want. Just do not bring standard-mouth carboys, whether they're plastic or glass. The reason is the hose doesn't fit and filling them requires a funnel and throttling of the juice - it's a hassle. Buckets with lids or kegs are probably the best & easiest vessels to use.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to post to the TRASH Facebook group to start a discussion.  



October 2018 TRASH Meeting - Oktoberfest Picnic - Daren's House

  • Saturday, October 20th, 2018 at 4pm - 9pm
    Location: 1015 Chaulk Hill Drive, Moon Twp, PA, 15108

    Our October meeting will be a mashup of a couple of annual events:  Our club picnic and our…

    • 10 people are attending

September TRASH Meeting - East End Brewing

  • Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 at 7pm - 9pm
    Location: East End Brewing Company, 147 Julius St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

    Our September meeting will be mixing things up a bit. We'll be at East End Brewing on a…

    • 12 people attended

Reminders and Announcements

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 @ 8:18pm


Meeting at VooDoo Homestead this Saturday at 1.

Shirt Orders
The clock is ticking on ordering TRASH shirts.  There's multiple styles and colors.   I, for one, will be rocking a TRASH hoodie when the weather cools off.   Please see Daren's email for some additional info.  

Upcoming Beer Events

August 11: Vecenie Distributing is looking for volunteers to pour at the 12th Annual Millvale Brew Fest.  There are two sessions, 1 to 4 and 5 to 8.  I understand you get to eat food and drink beer for free.  TRASH Member Armand Houle is the contact.  If you're able to help for a session, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Armand.

August 25: 10th Annual Brewer's Fest at Coopers Lake. Several TRASH members go this festival every year and have a great time. There's a Brewer's only competition/fest Friday night, and the public are allowed in the next day.

September 15: Steel City Big Pour. TRASH has a big presence there every year. We'll be looking for people to both pour and/or donate kegs for the event. Please keep this date in mind.

Septemer 22: Brewing Up A Cure. BUAC is an annual fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation put on by our friends in TRUB. It's a fest put on by homebrewers for a good cause. Tickets are available at



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For additional events, check out our full calendar.

Contact Us

Don't let the "Serious" part of our name scare you off. If homebrewing interests you, come to a meeting.  We'd love to meet you!

If you have any questions please fill out the contact form.



Competition Facebook


President: Sean Kinnas
VP: Alex Szokolyai
Treasurer: Paul Fisher
Secretary: Daren Szakelyhidi
Past President: Jack Smith

Club-Only Comps

10/23/2016: Fall Beer
Winners: TBD

07/23/16 - Cider & Big Brew Beer
Winners: CMG, Timur Snoke

01/17/16 - Porter
Winner: Paul Fisher

12/05/15 - Mystery Grist
Winner: Tom Bosak

09/19/15 - Malty German Beers
Winner: Armand Houle

06/13/15 - Light Hybrid Beers
Winner: Mike Beattie

03/15/15 - Dry Stout
Winner: Brian Robbins

01/18/15 - Holiday Ale
Winners: Mike Beattie, Brian Robbins

09/20/14 - Festbier
Winner: Chris Brunetti


TRASH Homebrewers

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