Homebrewing blogs

The Best Home Brewing Books – Four of my Favorites

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 04/19/2019 - 6:54am

This week I’ll give you my picks for top home brewing books. As you might expect I have a pretty extensive library of brewing books, and I also know many of the top authors well.

I’ve included Amazon associate links for each book which you can use if you want to support this site. Many of these books are also available in your local brew shop or book store.

1. How to Brew – Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time

This substantial book by my friend John Palmer is considered by many to be “the book” for home brewing. Updated in 2017 to its 4th edition, and weighing in at 582 pages this in-depth book covers almost every possible brewing topic. It is a more technical read than some other brewing books, and can be a bit overwhelming at first read if you don’t have a technical background.

Nevertheless John does walk you through everything from basic brewing to more advanced topics like brewing at altitude or managing your mash pH. There is a reason you will find this book in just about every serious home brewer’s library.

2. Mastering Homebrew – The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer

Though not as popular or well known as Palmer’s How to Brew, this book by graphic artist and brewer Randy Mosher is lavishly illustrated and very approachable even for a first time brewer. It is not quite as technical as Palmer’s book, but it does an amazing job of covering the vast majority of brewing techniques, terminology and equipment used by home brewers. I also like how Randy approaches beer from a flavor perspective rather than simply looking at it as a technical endeavor.

Even as an experienced brewer, I found Randy’s insights into topics like “harsh zone malts” and flavors of various ingredients to be both unique and valuable and they gave me further insight that has helped me improve my own recipes.

3. Designing Great Beers – The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles

An older book by Ray Daniels who now runs the Cicerone program. This book walks you through a number of classic beer styles and attempts to analyze the ingredients used in award winning recipes for each style. I found this book very useful early in my brewing career as it gave me a reasonable place to start when building my own recipes for many of my favorite styles.

While I don’t often directly use the book these days, the methodology of dissecting and comparing the ingredients used in top beer recipes for a particular style is something I do extensively to this day. In fact I usually start the development of a new beer recipe by first looking up related recipes.

The book can be criticized because it has not been updated to reflect newer beer styles, or new brewing techniques and it only contains a limited number of styles. However I feel the content is solid and the technique can be carried over to newer recipes and styles with ease once you understand the book’s approach to recipe design.

4. Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass

Randy Mosher has a second book in my top five list, again in no small part because of his artistic approach to beer. What I like most about Radical Brewing is that it gets you thinking in new and unique ways. Randy goes well beyond the traditional four brewing ingredients and conventional techniques to explore the sublime.

While Palmer’s How to Brew provides an in depth technical approach to brewing, Randy’s Radical Brewing dives deep into the artistic side. The book is packed with ideas and examples of brewing outside the box to create beer with unique flavor combinations. If you need inspiration or a way to expand your brewing horizons I do recommend Radical Brewing.

While those are my four personal favorites, I want to also mention the Brewer’s Association series on ingredients. This four book series consists of the books: Yeast, Water, Malt and Hops (Amazon links) and each one is written by an expert in the series. These four books are excellent if you want to do an in-depth dive into brewing ingredients.

Leave a comment blow if you have other books you have enjoyed. Thank you for joining me this week on the BeersSmith blog – please subscribe to the newsletter or listen to my video podcast for more great material on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Dark Funky Saison - A Retrospective

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 6:52am
Since 2008 my friend Alex and I have been brewing dark funky saisons. Each year we come up with a new concept, usually involving dried fruit and/or spices. We've been a bit lax the last couple years, the ninth iteration was brewed a year ago, and neither of us has bottled our share yet.

For my birthday a couple weeks ago, Alex came over to the brewery and we opened bottles of all the versions (including a few variants). I shot a video of our discussion, enjoy!




Recipes:

2008 Dark Orange Rosemary Saison
2009 Funky Dark Saison with Black Cardamom

2010 Fig Honey Anise Dark Saison

2011 American Farmhouse Currant Dark Saison

2012 Dark Saison with Quince Paste

2013 Cranberry Dark Saison

2014 Dark Saison Etrog

2016 Dark Saison Date and Pomegranate
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Dry Hop Creep, Over-Carbonation and Diacetyl in Beer

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 03/31/2019 - 1:50pm

This week I take a close look at the effects of Dry Hop Creep in highly hopped beer styles like IPAs and what can be done to limit the problem.

For some time now, brewers of IPAs using very high levels of dry hopping have been aware of stability issues with their finished beer including diacetyl, over attenuation and even carbonation issues.

However not until 2018 were researchers able to explain the problem in some detail. Oregon State University published a paper in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and also presentations were made by Caolan Vaughan at Brewcon 2018 in Sydney and another was done at the Oregon Beer Summit.

The term “Hop Creep” or “Dry Hop Creep” was coined to describe the problem which occurs when high levels of dry hops are used. Ironically, the problem was described by Brown and Morris way back in 1893 including the cause, but that knowledge was largely lost over the last 126 years.

What is Hop Creep

At its core, hop creep is continued fermentation in the bottle or keg after the finished beer has been packaged for distribution. Symptoms include overcarbonation of bottles and kegs, over-attenuation of packaged beer, and diacetyl off flavors. It can occur in any unpasteurized or unfiltered packaged beer. Warm storage of the packaged beer can make the situation worse.

The root cause of hop creep is high levels of dry hopping. Hops actually contain trace amounts of both alpha and beta amylase as well as limit dextrinase enzymes. After dry hopping these enzymes can continue to convert a small amount of starch into sugars even at room temperature. If yeast is still present the sugars will ferment, lowering the final gravity of the beer and also creating carbonation.

The net effect can be as much as a 1-2 Plato drop in final gravity over a period of 40 days, which leads to a 5% increase in carbonation levels and 1.3% increase in alcohol (Kirkpatrick and Shellhammer). There tests were done at 20 C, and higher storage temperatures can result in even more attenuation. This means the bottles and kegs will be overcarbonated, and the increased attenuation can also affect the malt-hop balance and body of the finished beer – big problems for commercial breweries.

In addition the fermentation will raise the diacetyl levels of the beer, and there will likely not be enough yeast to clean that diacetyl up resulting in a buttery off flavor in the finished beer.

Preventing Hop Creep

There are a variety of techniques that may reduce the effects of hop creep though they may not completely eliminate it. Some of these also have limited hard experimental data behind them:

  • Filter or Pasteurize the Finished Beer – Really the only way to completely eliminate hop creep, filtering or pasteurizing will remove live yeast from the equation, stopping further fermentation.
  • Reduce Dry Hop Levels – Shift some dry hops to the whirlpool (before fermentation) where they are less likely to create enzyme problems.
  • Cold Store you Beer – Hop creep is temperature dependent, and if you can ensure that the finished beer is stored cold, it will significantly reduce the enzyme and fermentation activity.
  • Design “Creep” into the Recipe/Process – Some brewers purposely under-attenuate and also under-carbonate their beers, assuming hop creep will occur in finished bottles/kegs. While this won’t solve potential diacetyl issues, it can help with over-carbonated/over-attenuated beers. It can be difficult to determine how much “creep” to expect however.
  • Dry Hop Earlier – Though not much reasearch has been done on this, some brewers believe dry hopping closer to fermentation will give the hop enzymes and yeast time to act before the beer is packaged, reducing the scope of the hop creep problem.
  • Use Sulfites/Sulfates to Reduce Yeast Activity – While not an option for naturally conditioned bottles, you can consider adding potassium metabisulfite (and possibly potassium sorbate) to kegs to inhibit further fermentation. These additives are widely used in the wine/mead industry as a preservative and also to inhibit further fermentation.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s article on hop creep. Thank you for joining me this week on the BeersSmith blog – please subscribe to the newsletter or listen to my video podcast for more great material on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

That Time I Color Corrected My Dry Stout

Brew Dudes - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 5:13am

Did I ever tell you about the time that I brewed a Dry Irish Stout and the color came out more brown than black? If not, let me type it up here. Even though the beer missed on color, I planned a way to fix it so that when it poured from my tap it […]

The post That Time I Color Corrected My Dry Stout appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #33

Brew Dudes - Thu, 03/21/2019 - 4:21am

Hey – this beer swap is special because this is the first one that has homebrew in cans! The Crafty Neighbor Brewing Company have been getting together on a weekly basis to brew and can their beer in preparation of going pro. The guys gave us a few cans of their specialty stouts for us […]

The post Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #33 appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Hops and IPAs with Stan Hieronymus – BeerSmith Podcast #189

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 03/16/2019 - 2:20pm

Stan Hieronymus joins me to discuss cutting edge hop research, hop creep, New England IPAs and unique farmhouse ales.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:39)
  • Brad had a slight cold today – I apologize if my voice sounds a bit scratchy.
  • Today my guest is Stan Hieronymus. Stan is the author of For the Love of Hops, Brewing Local and Brew Like a Monk (Amazon affiliate links).
  • Stan shares some of the recent research done on hazy IPAs including the New England IPA style.
  • We discuss where the haze comes from as well as new findings about extensive dry hopping and active fermentation hopping.
  • We discuss Thiols and the role they play in hopping. We also covered this topic earlier in Episode #172.
  • Stan introduces the problem of “Hop Creep” and how excessive dry hopping can lead to diacetyl and also carbonation issues in finished beer.
  • We discuss some possible solutions to “Hop Creep”
  • Stan provides his advice for the best hop schedule for a New England IPA.
  • Stan talks about his recent travels to meet Lars Gershol as well as the new book Lars is writing for the Brewer’s Association.
  • He talks briefly about some of the unique “farmhouse” techniques and yeast strains Lars has been exploring.
Sponsors

Thanks to Stan Hieronymus for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Citra SMaSH Tasting Notes

Brew Dudes - Thu, 03/14/2019 - 3:36am

After our comparison session with the Mosaic SMaSH beer, we decided to do a full examination of the Citra SMaSH beer. In the long series of hop evaluations, these Brew Dudes did not get to brewing a Citra focused beer until now. We didn’t get to it because Citra seemed to be used a lot […]

The post Citra SMaSH Tasting Notes appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Citra Vs. Mosaic Hops – SMaSH Beer Tastings

Brew Dudes - Thu, 03/07/2019 - 6:35pm

We have brewed some Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH) beers in the past to examine hop flavors and aroma of certain hops varieties, but typically we examine them (taste and pontificate) one at a time. This time, we have two SMaSH beers to try side by side in a triangle test. With three beer […]

The post Citra Vs. Mosaic Hops – SMaSH Beer Tastings appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Creating an Ingredient or Profile Add-on in BeerSmith 3

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 11:25am

I often get emails from BeerSmith 3 users and companies asking how to create an add-on for BeerSmith. It turns out it is relatively easy to create your own ingredients or profiles and export them to a BSMX file for use as an add-on.

Add-ons in BeerSmith 3

The add-on feature lets you download specific sets of additional ingredients or profiles to use in the program. Literally thousands of hops, malts, equipment profiles, even styles are available as addons. The add-on dialog was updated in BeerSmith 3 to make it easier to tell which add-ons are available

Add-ons are stored online on a BeerSmith server, but can be easily accessed from File->Add-ons from the desktop or the main Add-ons button near the bottom of the mobile version. The desktop version also lets you organize them by type so you can display a list of just hop add-ons using the drop down at the top of the dialog. To install or uninstall an add-on you simply click on it and click the Install or Uninstall button. After installation the new ingredients or profiles will show up in the respective list.

Creating or Updating an Add-on

If no add-on exists for a particular malster or equipment setup (for instance) you can create your own. The first step is to go to the Ingredients or Profiles view and enter the data.

For example if I’m creating a new add-on for a particular craft malt house, I would go to Ingredients->Malt and enter the new items there. Wherever possible, use the specific data from the malt house web site such as color, dry grain fine yield, moisture, etc…to fill in the ingredient dialog.

If updating an existing add-on you would follow the same process except you would want to download the add-on first, then update or add new items as needed before exporting.

The final step is to export the items needed for the add-on. You can do this by individually selecting all of the items. The easiest way to do this is to use the search bar (top right area) first to find all of the items first, then select them using either Ctrl+click or Shift-Click.

Once all of your ingredients are selected, use the File->Export Selected command to export the selected items to a separate BSMX file. You can then go to File->Open to open the file you just selected and verify that it is complete and has all of the items you intended.

While the example above was for malt, you can do the same for any ingredient type including yeast, water profiles, etc or for any profile type such as equipment profiles, carbonation or aging profiles.

There is one special consideration when creating beer style add-ons. After creating the first entry for your style guide, you need to go to Options->Brewing and set the style guides to be displayed. Unless you select the new style guide you are adding (after the first entry was added) you won’t see the new styles listed.

Submitting an Add-on

Once you have the exported BSMX file containing your add-on data, simply use the contact-us page on BeerSmith.com to contact me and include the fact that you have a new add-on. I will send an email in reply and you can then attach the new BSMX file in response.

Once I’ve reviewed the BSMX file for completeness I will post it on the main add-on server for anyone using BeerSmith to use. I typically do this a few times each month to keep items up to date.

That is the basic process for creating an add-on if you either work with a smaller supplier or want to contribute to the BeerSmith community. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

The Economics of Opening a Brewery

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 4:31am
The excitement over hazy/NE IPA is the best thing that has happened for local breweries in a long time. They are expensive to brew, difficult to package, a nightmare to distribute long distances, and get beer drinkers excited! When we put a juicy Double IPA on tap it flies. Our recent 7-barrel-yield of Snip Snap lasted less than three days, while an IPA might last three weeks, and a pale ale five. Having a beer that draws increases growler sales, and helps sell all of our other beers as people end up trying other similar beers when they come in.


Here is a graph of the scores of 13 of our hoppy beers (pale ales, IPAs, and DIPAs) showing the Untappd score compared to the ABV. The formula for the trend line is y = 3.2008+.1392*x. That suggests if we brewed a 0% ABV hoppy beer it would score a 3.20 and to get a score of 5 would require 14.31% ABV. The R-squared value of the correlation is .71, so the most important factor in the consumer's opinion of our hoppy beers is strength (granted that typically comes with a higher dry hopping rate, sweetness etc.).

Driving business to your tasting room is job #1 for a small brewery because that is where the profit is highest. When you buy a beer at a bar or restaurant, most of the money goes to them rather than the brewery. While a ½ bbl keg of a pale ale might sell to a bar for $150-175 (a portion of which might go to a distributor), at even $5 pint the bar makes $620 in revenue. At our scale, it is almost impossible to make a profit only  selling beer at wholesale. It requires a tight reign on expenses with a premium price point, not to mention low overhead.

It is no coincidence that local brewery booms seem to follow when a state or city allows production breweries to serve/retail their own beer. In the case of Maryland this has created backlash from distributors, and a lesser extent bars and liquor stores who see more consumers cutting them out.

Ingredient Cost

We aren’t doing a great job controlling ingredient costs. We don’t reuse our yeast nearly as much as we "should" (3-4 batches per pitch), we pay as much as $35/lb for hops that are difficult to get on the spot market, we buy our malt pre-milled by the bag, we use expensive “real” ingredients for our variants (and usually don’t up-charge over the base beers) etc. That said, having a tasting room that is busy covers all of those sins.

10 bbls – Pillowfort
$484 – 2-row
$137 – Malted Oats
$40 – Chit Malt
$50 – Milling Fee
$11 – Glucose
$.80 - Whirlfloc
$.06 - Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate
$1 – Calcium Chloride
$1 – Gypsum
$.25 – Epsom Salt
$2.00 – 350 ml 75% Phosphoric Acid
$125 – Liquid yeast
$150 – Dry yeast
$77 – Columbus
$99 – Centennial
$396 – Citra
$264 – Azacca
~$100 – CO2/Gas/Electric/Chemicals
 ($1950/batch - $1.11/pour)

Let’s say we put more effort into yeast management and that gives us confidence to reuse the yeast for 20 batches. Bringing the proportional cost down from $125 to $25 per batch. The net savings to us would be $.05 per pour. What if we moved to a silo for 2-row, and cut our base malt cost down to a third and added a mill? $.14 per pour. That would make Pillowfort ~$.92/pour. Granted these recurring costs add up over the course of a year and both might yield improvements to the consistency and quality of our beer. But selling just one 1/2 bbl keg to a bar, even charging $250, loses us more money per batch then we’d save from making those moves. It also speaks to how important yield on these heavily dry-hopped beers is.

Most of our IPAs and DIPAs work out to $100-150 per ½ bbl keg. Self-distributing these beers for $200-250 there would be no way to make enough to cover rent, pay ourselves, and fund expansion. However, being a retailer of our own beers means we get $800-900 for that same keg sold by the glass and growler. It makes sense for us to charge a reasonable price ($7-8 for a 14 oz pour in a 17 oz glass) and have consumers return rather than charge a dollar or two more and end up having to self-distribute kegs (with the added effort).

When we do send kegs out, we try to get as much of a push out of it as we can (fests, tap-takeovers, beer dinners etc.). We don't pay for any traditional advertising, but we view the "losses" from self-distributing as a form of marketing. That also means not always sending beer to the same bars, as we want people to feel like they have to come to us to try our beers regularly.

Most bars use a flat percentage markup to price their draft. If a beer costs twice as much for them to purchase, they’ll charge twice as much to the consumer. That means that they’ll make a much larger dollar-per-ounce profit on more expensive beers. The same isn’t true at most breweries, an IPA with Nelson Sauvin or Galaxy is easily twice as expensive as a session wheat beer (especially considering the lower yield with high dry-hop rates), but we don’t double the price. Still, charging $7 for IPA and $6 for the session wheat makes the IPA more profitable per pour. When you visit a brewery and buy beer, you’re allowing them to spend more money on the ingredients and make better beer. Not to mention that the brewery will care more about their beer and have better control over the product.

Overhead

After ingredient cost, our next biggest expense is rent. Scott and I debated where to open and toured spaces with a wide range of looks and costs. While a beautiful rustic plot with room for outdoor events and a small orchard was appealing… either running on a septic or paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a municipal sewer connection was not. Conversely, opening in a vibrant downtown with plenty of foot traffic would have meant easier retail sales, but would have tripled our rent. Brewing is a space-intensive manufacturing business (especially with barrel aging), it is difficult for me to justify paying $30+ sq ft for the parts of the business that aren’t customer facing.

If we are able to brew enough to outstrip tasting room demand, we’ll look into opening a small taproom someplace other than an industrial park. For the time being, our location is close enough to residential for the tasting room and inexpensive enough for 4,000 sq ft of production. Luckily the power of Google Maps, Untappd, and social media has been enough for us to draw people in.

In addition to the ability to sell beer by the glass, a tasting room opens up the way for merchandise sales, private events, packaged beer, and even food sales (working on that now). It has been essential for us to have a space and offerings that attract customers, even those who aren’t beer nerds. A fantastic staff, and enough of them working for short waits also improves the customer experience.

Salaries are the third big expense. Scott and I have done 100% of the brewing, tank cleaning, kegging, and keg washing up to this point. Financially speaking, our labor has been free, but we certainly could have kept our day jobs and paid less-per hour than our lost wages to hire brewers and cellar-people. That said, it didn’t seem right to trust something we’d worked so hard for to other people. As I learned from consulting, the people who are physically there have the biggest effect on the results. We’ll be looking to hire someone in the brewhouse soon, but we’re still trying to figure out what the role will be (cleaning and cellar duties, or someone who already has the skill-set to be a lead brewer eventually). We were willing to pay for front-of-house, as that is where we didn’t have experience (or the time to learn).

Other Income Streams

I posted about Brewery Clubs a few months ago. As a brewery that didn’t take on outside loans or investors, the extra money we brought in from club sales was essential. It gave us the breathing room to buy more expensive equipment, ingredients, not to mentions barrels for beers we won’t sell for months or years, and dump most of a batch that we didn’t love. Padding in the bank account helped with our sleep those first couple months too.

We’re now “paying” some of that money back. We made it through the club holiday events, for which we created 16 sixtels of variants that we didn’t sell a drop of. Not to mention paid employees to work (and at $15 an hour as tipping was light without tabs). Most of that cost was in our time, but we’ll continue to incur costs as we give bottles, decanter baskets (below), and events that club members paid for last year. Not only do we want to ensure that customers (and many friends) are happy they joined, we’d like to over-deliver so many consider re-upping for 2020!

The rest of this year our biggest focus will be on packaging. Direct sales of canned and bottled beer should give us the chance to increase total revenue, but it will also lower our per-ounce revenue. While many people are willing to pay $8 for a 14 oz pour of DIPA... $5 for a 16 oz can of the same DIPA is about the top of the market. Cans have higher costs associated with them as well, both in terms of labor and materials (especially when you don't own a canning line). That really slims down the margins, and will dictate which beers are more likely to be canned (e.g., Pillowfort with Azacca rather than Snip Snap with Galaxy). The most important thing for us will be avoiding turning draft sales into can sales. Ideally cans are an add-on to tabs or an additional trip for a release rather than a replacement for draft consumption and growlers.

What makes sense for a brewery will depend on the types of beer they brew and their goals as a company. If you want to be a large production brewery, it may make sense to start fighting for draft accounts early. We don’t have any resources dedicated to outside sales, in fact we turn down most offers to put our beer on tap. We’d rather have an excess of demand, and be in strong position rather than fight for a limited number of tap handles with an ever-increasing number of breweries.

Having the huge catalog of homebrew recipes between the two of us has been a big advantage too. On Saturday we tapped a scaled-up version of Atomic Apricot. The price difference on the apricot puree was particularly stark, $1.71 per pound at the commercial scale vs. $7.84 for the same product (Oregon Fruit/Vintners Harvest). I haven't been doing much homebrewing or test batch brewing so most of my social media posting has moved to the Sapwood Cellars Facebook and Twitter accounts (Scott does Instagram because I usually avoid posting from my phone).
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Celebrating 20 Years Of Homebrewing – Tips for First Timers

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 12:40pm

Mike has been brewing beer at home for 20 years now. To celebrate, he picked up an extract beer kit that was similar to the first one he ever brewed. We captured every part of the brew day on camera from the unboxing of the kit to the pour of the concentrated wort into the […]

The post Celebrating 20 Years Of Homebrewing – Tips for First Timers appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Designing Beer with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #188

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 02/23/2019 - 4:25pm

John Palmer, the author of the book How to Brew joins me this week to discuss beer recipe design

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:14)
  • Today my guest is John Palmer. John is the author of the top selling home brew book in the world How to Brew as well as Water and Brewing Classic Styles (Amazon affiliate links for books). He has an extensive web site on brewing at HowToBrew.com
  • John tells us his starting point when he is designing a new beer recipe.
  • He shares how to determine the right mix of grains for a recipe and also how to avoid overdoing it with specialty grains.
  • We talk about some of the flavor characteristics of different grains.
  • John explains the harsh zone malts and why they must be used sparingly.
  • We talk about malt balance and how you achieve a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • John discusses the bitterness ratio and why it is important to achieve the right hop-malt balance for a given style.
  • We also talk about why every beer should not be brewed as an IPA.
  • John shares his thoughts on a variety of hop groups and the types of flavors those groups share.
  • We discuss the extensive use of whirlpool and dry hopping in beer to preserve hop aroma and also how this can affect the balance of the finished beer.
  • John tells us about some considerations that come into play when working with water including overall mineral content, mash pH and the sulfite/chloride ratio.
  • John shares thoughts on yeast and how to choose the appropriate yeast for a given style.
  • We briefly discuss carbonation and packaging, and John provides his closing thoughts.
  • We also talk briefly about the upcoming BYO bootcamp in Asheville NC where John and I will both be presenting all day seminars. There are still a few slots left if you would like to attend in March.
Sponsors

Thanks to John Palmer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Using the Cloud Folder Features in BeerSmith 3 Brewing Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 02/21/2019 - 4:16pm

This week I present a short video tutorial on how to use the new cloud folder and move/copy features in BeerSmith 3 software for beer brewing, mead, wine and cider making.

 

You can find additional tutorials on the main tutorial page and download a free trial copy of BeerSmith from BeerSmith.com.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting – Redux

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 10:57am

Mike brewed a black plum sour beer back in 2017 so we open up a bottle to see how it aged. Sour beers can change pretty dramatically over time so we wanted to see how it was now after several months. Take a look at this video where we compare tasting notes of this experimental […]

The post Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting – Redux appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Cleaning and Sanitation with Rick Theiner – BeerSmith Podcast #187

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 02/17/2019 - 12:29pm

Rick Theiner, maker of the Eco-Logic series of cleaners joins me this week to discuss cleaning and sanitation for beer brewing.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:41)
  • Today my guest is Rick Theiner. Rick is the President of Logic, Inc, makers of the Eco-logic line of cleaning and sanitation products including One-step, Straight-A and San-Step.
  • Rick explains the difference between cleaning and sanitation and why they are separate steps using different chemicals. He also explains the more stringent disinfecting and sterilizing terms.
  • We discuss the cleaning process which removes dirt and biofilms and how the material/surface being cleaned makes a big difference.
  • Rick tells us why the soil/biofilm types also matter and it often takes a different combination of chemicals and action to remove them all.
  • We discuss the four basic elements of cleaning: Time, temperature, mechanical action and chemical action.
  • Rick also explains the many different phsio-chemical reactions going on when we clean a surface.
  • We talk about sanitizing agents and why they are different from cleaning agents.
  • Rick provides his basic rules for cleaning for home brewers.
  • Rick tells us why household cleaners may not be a great substitute for cleaners and sanitizers designed for home brewing.
  • He walks us through the products his company offers including Straight-A, One-Step and San-Step NS and how each are best used.
Sponsors

Thanks to Rick Theiner for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Am I a Better Craft Brewer or Homebrewer?

The Mad Fermentationist - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 4:09am
We're doing pretty well at Sapwood Cellars so far. Our most recent batch of Snip Snap (Citra-Galaxy DIPA) only lasted 2.5 days on draft, about 200 gallons drained by the pour and growler fill. Ratings on Untappd were stellar. Is this how good Scott and I were at homebrewing or is our new 10 bbl brewhouse and temperature controlled fermentors making our beer better than it was?

I shot video of the big batch of Snip Snap and brewed a small batch at the brewery with my old pots and fermentor. We tried to keep them as identical as possible, using malt/hops/yeast from the same bags for both batches. I sampled both beers blind, and we served them to 49 customers in the tasting room to see which they preferred for this Video!



Categories: Homebrewing blogs

English Pale Ale Malt Experiment

Brew Dudes - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 4:12am

Mike's English Pale Ale Malt experiment

The post English Pale Ale Malt Experiment appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Correcting Imbalances In Home Brewed Beer

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 5:12pm

This week I take a look at various types of imbalances in beer as well as how to correct them. Imbalances are flavor, appearance and carbonation flaws in your beer not explicitly defined as an off-flavor.

A few weeks ago I covered the 17 major off-flavors in beer as well as their main causes. These are the identifiable off flavors defined on the BJCP score sheet, used for rating beers in competition. However there is another category of flaws in your beer that do not have defined off-flavor labels, and this is what I’ll cover this week.

What are Imbalances?

Imbalances are flaws in your beer that are not tied to a specific defined off-flavor. Examples include problems with color, appearance, clarity, malt-hop balance, or even just the incorrect flavor balance in the finished beer. If you submit a beer to a competition for judging, these flaws will often appear in the overall impression, appearance or notes section on the score sheet rather than checking a specific off-flavor box on the score sheet.

Imbalances include:

  • Wrong Hop-Malt Balance – While recent trends have been towards ever-hoppy beers, for most beer styles the hop and malt flavor balance is critical. If you have issues with hop-malt balance you may want to consider learning more about the bitterness ratio as well as review your hop and malt selections to make sure they are appropriate to the style.
  • Improper Carbonation Level – Carbonation actually plays a key role in the flavor perception of the beer. A flat beer will appear lackluster and dull in flavor while an over-carbonated beer can be sharp or difficult to enjoy. Fortunately this is one area that is easy to correct in subsequent batches by adjusting your carbonation sugar or keg pressure levels.
  • Poor Clarity – Clarity is a significant factor in the appearance of lighter color beers. While haze does not generally impact the flavor of the beer, it can ruin an otherwise perfect beer. If you have problems with clarity you might want to take a look at my in depth series on how to improve clarity in beer.
  • The Wrong Color – The color of the beer should be appropriate for the style. A pale ale should not be opaque, stouts should not be light brown, etc… Fortunately this is an area that is relatively easy to correct by adjusting the malt bill slightly. Software can also help you in estimating the color of the beer in advance.
  • Flavor Imbalances – You can get the color, clarity, carbonation and hop balance right and still have a beer that does not taste right. Usually this comes down to your selection of ingredients. Either you picked some ingredients that are not appropriate for the style or used them in the wrong proportions. Some examples might be using an English ale yeast to make a light continental ale, or using an excess of malts near the harsh zone, or using the wrong hop variety for the style. If you run into this type of issue, go back and take a close look at your recipe and how it compares with recipes from the same or similar style of beer.
  • Improper Technique – Brewing techniques have an impact as well. Using the wrong mash schedule, hop techniques, fermentation temperatures or other process issues can have a significant impact on your beer. For example you probably should not be dry hopping your Bavarian Weiss beer, or fermenting your lager at room temperature, or rushing to bottle your barley wine after just a few weeks of aging.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it may give you a good starting point to correct flaws not specifically identified as a named “off flavor” in your beer. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Hops Filter Screen Review

Brew Dudes - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 12:06pm

We received a comment on YouTube asking us to reveal the hop filter screen that Mike uses in his keg to dry hop. Every time we thought of making a videos about it, the darn thing was in the keg. With a better plan in hand, we figured out a time when the hop screen […]

The post Hops Filter Screen Review appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Modifying Cider Post Fermentation

Brew Dudes - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 12:58pm

Mike took his simple cider and tried his hand at adding ingredients to it after it was finished fermenting to try to get a few different flavored versions out of it. We tasted the results of his attempts at modifying cider post fermentation and made this video. 3 Ciders With 3 Flavor Profiles Before us, […]

The post Modifying Cider Post Fermentation appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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