Pellet vs Whole Hops Experiment

In the January MUGZ meeting I had attendees sample two different beers without any prior knowledge of what they were drinking (our members are pretty gullible that way, but I like ‘em!). Fortunately for them, the samples were totally safe. In fact, the only difference between these two beers was that one was brewed with whole hops and one was brewed with pellet hops.

I’ve wondered the benefit of brewing with whole hops over pellets since I began homebrewing. No brewing resource really seemed to settle on one being better than the other, so I eventually decided to find out for myself. I took the “Ordinary Bitter” recipe from Jamil Zainasheff’s excellent “Brewing Classic Styles” book and split the wort into two kettles on the same stove. From there, I boiled them simultaneously, taking care to keep the boil rates and stirring as close as possible to rule out any other variables beyond hops. I also made sure the hops came from the same retailer with the same alpha acids.

1/2oz of whole EKG on the left and a 1/2 of pelletized EKG on the right. What a difference!

1/2oz of whole EKG on the left and a 1/2 of pelletized EKG on the right. What a difference!

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Travel Journal: Beer in Ireland

The incredibly windy Cliffs of Moher.

The incredibly windy Cliffs of Moher.

There are a handful of beer destinations on my bucket list and last week I was lucky enough to cross Ireland off that list. We spent most of the trip in the rural west coast, but also made sure to spend some time in the cities of Galway and Dublin. That juxtaposition of rural and urban, of traditional and modern, is what Ireland is all about and it carries all the way through their beer.

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Arts & Draughts

Hi Everyone,

The German American Heritage Center is holding a fund raiser, and the MUGZ club is a big part of it!  The GAHC is only serving German styled home brewed beer, donated by our club.  If you are not donating beer and helping serve, please consider purchasing a ticket and helping to support this great organization preserving local culture and history.


You can purchase tickets here. They also have a FaceBook Event.

Hope to see you there!

MUGZers: Advertise Your CR Homebrew Festival Beers

Those of you who attended last year’s Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival will remember the brilliant beer list app used to advertise what beers are on tap. Each club gets a QR code sign to hang on their booth so attendees can scan it with a smartphone and bring up the details on the beers poured there.


The app returns this year so those bringing beer should add their beer as soon as possible. Those not bringing beer can check it out to get a preview of what samples they can expect to find at the festival.

The app can be found here: First-time contributors should register in the upper-right corner and veterans from last year’s fest can sign in (granted they remember their password). Adding the beer takes just a couple minutes once signed in.

Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival

The second annual Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival, hosted by fellow club CR Beer Nuts is less than two weeks away! Last year’s festival was a ton of fun and this year should be even better as they’re increasing the attendee count. Unleash your homebrew to the unsuspecting public and geek out with fellow brewers. Non-brewers will find a deluge of unique homebrews you just won’t find at a commercial festival.


$20 in advance or $25 at the door. Proceeds go to Pints for Prostates. Details can be found on the event webpage at or through the MUGZ calendar.


Welcome to the new website for the MUGZ Homebrew Club. It’s not quite finished yet, but don’t let that stop you from exploring. The rest of the content will be coming in soon and we’re open to suggestions on what else you’d like to see.

You’ll notice a few changes from the old site. The first is here on the front page – we’ve changed from a static landing page to a blog style. We’re going to start with allowing officers to write these blog posts, but may consider opening it up to all members as well.

The calendar has been upgraded and now lists the next three upcoming events on the home page. You can click on each event for more details.

The most exciting change, however, is the addition of social networking to our site. If you look in the bottom-right corner of this page you’ll see a login box. With this, you can manually create a new account for this site or automatically create an account by registering using your Facebook account. Either way works, but the Facebook method will synchronize your avatar with your Facebook profile picture and you won’t have to worry about having to remember another password. There will be a few sections of the site open only to members such as the member list and member profiles. In the future we will make the profiles with a brewing focus and allow recipe sharing.