News and 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



Order TRASH Apparel NOW (you have 10 days)

E-mail sent by Member 1c2600e, Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 @ 11:37pm

ORDER TRASH SHIRTS NOW! (You have 10 days to place an order)

Check out the website below to order a trash shirt. We have only a few options and a 10 day order period for shirts. We wanted to get an order in prior to Beer and Sweat.

Pay attention to the NOT ship the shirts if you need them prior to B&S, we can't guarantee delivery. If you want one for B&S there will be an option for "pick-up" which means you can stop by my house the Thursday/Friday before B&S or Sean Kinnas (or someone else) will take the orders to Cinci.

For non-B&S orders - if you don't want to pay for shipping I will get orders and then distribute at upcoming meetings OR you can swing by my place (Robinson/Moon).

Shout out to PGH Shirt Co for setting up the website. (

Don't be picky about the options we have either 


TRASH Announcements

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 @ 7:27pm

Just a few quick announcements.

This Saturday morning, July 14, there is a BJCP Beer tasting exam at Helicon Brewing. If you've passed the online entrance exam or are already a judge, then you are eligible to take the exam. We've got 4 open seats, and it'd be shame for them to go to waste. If you want to sit for the exam, please let me know.

After the Exam, at approximately 11 AM, BJCP President Gordon Strong will be giving a talk on the new BJCP styles that were recently added to the 2015 guidelines.

Upcoming Meetings

The August TRASH Meeting will be August 7 from 1 to 3 at Voo Doo in Homestead. Be sure and bring homebrew to give the new judges something to practice on.

The September Meeting will be an Oktoberfest Picnic (a combo of our traditional picnic and Oktoberfest parties). Details are still TBD, so stay tuned.

Upcoming Beer Events

Beer and Sweat is the weekend of August 18th down in Cincinnati. Beer and Sweat is the world's largest keg only competition and TRASH brings its A-game every year. This weekend is an absolute blast (more fun per hour than HomeBrewCon), and you should go. Ask anyone who has gone. This year, they've added a technical talk from Fermentis in between the judging and the awards ceremony. The competition website is and has links to the event hotel.

If you're not going to Beer and Sweat, the Carnegie Science Center is hosting its 5th annual 21+ Science of Beer night on August 17, 2018. TRASH has been invited back again this year to get in on all the science of beer fun. If you're not going to Beer and Sweat, this would be a fun way to spend a Friday evening. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll get the info to you.

Steel City Big Pour is Saturday, September 15. 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.

Brewing Up A Cure is the following Saturday, September 22. 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


August Meeting - VooDoo Homestead

  • Saturday, August 4th, 2018 at 1pm - 3pm
    Location: VooDoo Homestead, 205 E 9th Ave, Homestead, PA 15120

    Our August Meeting will be at VooDoo in Homestead.  Bring out some homebrew to give our newly…

    • 5 people attended

Any TRASH Web Developers?

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Monday, July 9th, 2018 @ 8:05pm


It appears that we'll be needing to migrate the TRASH website over to a new hosting service.  We'd need to retain some features on the new website such as email distribution lists, events calendar, accepting money, etc.   Are there any web developer types in the club that are willing to volunteer their services to help us out?  

Please contact Paul Fisher ( if you can lend a hand.

Your help is much appreciated.


July Meeting - BOS Release at Helicon

  • Saturday, July 14th, 2018 at 12pm - 2pm
    Location: Helicon Brewing, 102 Union Ave, Oakdale, PA 15071

    Come on out and celebrate the Helicon release of Chris Staub's BOS winner from the TRASH…

    • 12 people attended

Home Brew & Chill - Home Brewers Competition during Greensburg Craft Beer Week

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Thursday, June 21st, 2018 @ 6:07pm


Please see attached information on the "Home Brew and Chill" competition that will be a part of Greensburg Craft Beer Week this year.

Home Brewers Packet 2018 (1).pdf 


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jessica Hickey <>
Date: Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM
Subject: Home Brew & Chill - Home Brewers Competition during Greensburg Craft Beer Week

Hi there!

I'm Jessica, the Founder and Director of Greensburg Craft Beer Week, which is held September 21-29 this year. We have a home brew competition, Home Brew and Chill, scheduled for September 23 at All Saints Brewery and would love to have some of your home brewers attend if they are interested. I do know that there's a competition the day before, I didn't realize that until after we had released our info. Our event it more festival style with a Brewers Choice and People's Choice winners. Hopefully in the years to come we can expand on that.  

I have attached the home brewers information packet in this email and also included a link to our registration form. Once you register via the form, you will receive an approval email from us saying you are on our list for the event! Make sure to share this info with any other home brewers you know that may be interested! Please register by August 20, the earlier the better, we will be capping this event for home brewers. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask!

Thanks and hope to see you or some of your members at Home Brew & Chill on Sunday, September 23 and taste your brews!

Registration Link:

Jessica Hickey

Founder | Director

Greensburg Craft Beer Week | Downtown Greensburg Project

Cell: 724-640-1677

Announcements from June Meeting

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Monday, June 18th, 2018 @ 6:57pm


Just a few announcements from the meeting over the weekend.

First of all, many
thanks to Kerry Diehl for opening his home to us for the June meeting.  

Upcoming Meetings

July 21 - Tentatively at Voodoo in Homestead, Awaiting Confirmation. Invites will be send after we get things confirmed.

August - TBD. Likely August 7th or 8th. Hopefully, somewhere with A/C.

September - Oktoberfest Picnic. The last few TRASH picnics have seen a decline in attendance, and, due to heavy Beer and Sweat participation, we've had a decreasing number of kegs brought to compete for the coveted TRASHy Award. So we're moving the picnic to September, after Beer and Sweat. September is when we have our annual Oktoberfest party, and combining these two events just made good sense. Stay tuned for details.

Upcoming Beer Events

BJCP Beer Tasting Exam July 14 - There are still a couple of open seats. Please contact me or Chris Staub if you're interested in taking the exam or learning more about it.

Beer and Sweat - August 18 - World’s Largest Keg-Only Competition.  Trust me, this is an event that you don't want to miss. Friday night, there is a Bottle Share for the Ages. Saturday, you set up your kegs in the morning, and judge or steward a single flight in the afternoon. This year, there's a tech talk given by Fermentis some time prior to the Awards ceremony. Speaking of which...TRASH and the Bloatarian Brewing League have a decades long (friendly) rivalry based on competing for the King Swanky Award (Club with Most Points). The Bloats won last year, we won the year before. We need to bring King Swanky back to Pittsburgh, where it belongs!  Judge/Steward Registration is open now, and you can register entries starting July 4.

Steel City Big Pour is September 15. TRASH usually has center stage, and we'll be looking for volunteers for help pour. There's two shifts, and the requested amount is 1 keg per brewer per shift. We'll provide more details as the date gets closer.

Brewing Up A Cure - September 22.



Shirt Order Interest?

E-mail sent by Member 1c2600e, Thursday, June 7th, 2018 @ 4:28pm

Hey! For those of you NOT on the TRASH Facebook page this will be new. We are trying to see if there is interest in placing a shirt order. We are also trying to determine if people would like something other than a traditional black logo shirt. If interested please reply with a general idea of color, size, style and quantity. 

Here is an example of a shirt that was made for the TRASH competition prize pack. 



Reminders and Announcements

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 @ 8:38pm


I just sent a reminder about the meeting on June 16 at Kerrry Diehl's house.  Please buy a ticket to the meeting ($10/family) to help us get an semi-accurate headcount and help us reimburse Kerry for the food and supplies he's purchasing.  Anyone that wants to bring a dish to share is welcome to do so. Desserts and veggies would be much appreciated. 

There's a local brewery in need of a few extra jockey boxes for an event on July 14th.  If you have a jockey box and are willing to loan it out for a weekend, please let me know and I'll put you in touch with them.   

I'm administering a BJCP Beer Tasting Exam on Saturday, July 14. 
I'm currently looking for homebrew donations for the exam. Anything from categories 1 through 26 of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines is fair game. Homebrew is preferred over commercial beer, since that is what judges typically judge. Frankly, if it has some, uh, impefections, that's all the better. If you have or think you will have beer to donate, please contact me privately. Thank you.


Judges Needed for Ohio State Fair and BJCP Exam Seats

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 @ 6:13am


The Ohio State Fair homebrew competition needs a few more judges. Judging in Saturday, June 2 in Columbus, OH. If you can judge, please contact Brett Chance at to sign up. Or sign up on the website

We pull a number of judges in from OH for our competition. This is good chance to return the favor.


There are two open seats in the July 14 BJCP Beer Tasting Exam that Chris Staub is sponsoring.  If you're interested in testing your beer judging skills, or raising your score,please contact Chris to grab a spot.



Fresh Fest Beer Fest Plus Free Equipment to a Good Home

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Monday, May 21st, 2018 @ 7:37pm

Some additional announcements...

Fresh Fest Beer Fest - August 11

Day Bracey from The Drinking Partners Podcast is planning a beer festival for August 11 -  They are doing collabs with 20 breweries around Pittsburgh as well as 10 other breweries.  He offered for one TRASH member to do a homebrew collab with a local artist/business owner/person of interest that he would let TRASH have a table at the festival.   Someone would need to brew at least 10 gallons, if not 15, to have available for the August 11 event.  It would have to be a new beer designed in collaboration (if you didn't pick up on collab above) with the person/people they are partnered up with, not something someone has laying around.  I could also see a couple of TRASH members potentially getting in on the collaboration if they're feeling like getting a bit crazy...If you're interested, please contact TRASH Treasurer Paul Fisher ( if interested. 

Free Equipment to a Good Home

Local Homebrewer Mike Escourt is looking to part with some equipment.  He has 2 1/2 Bbl Kegs (could be good for building a RIMS system). He also has a converted beer fridge with CO2 bottle, a few corny kegs, and some fittings/parts. All stuff is free.  Please contact Mike at




E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Thursday, May 17th, 2018 @ 8:29pm

Just a few quick announcements:

Next Meeting - June 16 at Kerry Diehl's house from 11AM  to 330 PM.  Please see the invite I just sent.

Upcoming Events

Beer and Gear - June 16 

We've been invited back to the annual Beer and Gear event at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle on June 16Club Member John Rozborksi has been going for some time, and always has a blast.   Please see my note from April 30 for more details.  If you want to coordinate with John, let me know and I'll get you his contact info.

BJCP Exam - July 14 - Beer Needed
TRASH member Chris Staub is sponsoring a BJCP Beer Tasting Exam on July 14.  I am administering the exam.   I'll be looking for homebrew donations for the exam.  Anything from Categories 1 through 26 of the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, be it a world class example of a given style or something with room for improvement.   If you think you might have beer to donate, please contact me directly.  Thank you.


Sean Kinnas
TRASH President.

June Meeting - Kerry Diehl's House

  • Saturday, June 16th, 2018 at 11am - 3:30pm
    Location: 1802 Murdstone Road, 15241

    For our June 2018 meeting we'll be heading to the home…

    • 9 people attended

Beer and Gear at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle on June 16.

E-mail sent by Sean Kinnas, Monday, April 30th, 2018 @ 8:08pm


We've been invited back to the annual Beer and Gear event at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle on June 16

Club Member John Rozborksi has been going for some time, and always has a blast. 

Please see his note below.  If you want to coordinate with John, let me know and I'll get you his contact info.


Hello Sean, Chris, et al:
writing to confirm that TRASH is again invited to the annual Beer and Gear event at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle on June 16. Here is a link:

I have always loved this event. truly fun.  They typically allow up to 6 people to come into the event for TRASH.  They do offer a pass for WW rafting anytime in the season, which is a pretty awesome perk for pouring beer.  They also print pint glasses that include every brewery and TRASH's name, which is a neat memento. 
Many of the pro-brewers camp up the hill, and BBQ, play music, drink special private cellar beers both Friday and Saturday night. TRASH members are free to also camp there. It is primitive camping. 
At the moment, I am intending to go, with at least one companion.

Would you please post and announce a "pouring opportunity" to the club so everyone knows and can also have fun? as usual, 1 keg per slot - up to 6 slots. 
Thank you! 


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Next Event

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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