Homebrewing blogs

Fifteen Years of BeerSmith – Our 15th Anniversary

Homebrewing from Beersmith - 4 hours 43 min ago

In late October of 2013, I published version 1.0 of BeerSmith. Now 15 years later, the BeerSmith community has grown and through the software, newsletter, articles and podcast to reach hundreds of thousands of brewers worldwide. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for your continued support.

A Brief History of BeerSmith

BeerSmith was originally designed as a personal beer brewing tool for my own use. In early 2003, a few people from various forums and news groups helped me refine it from a relatively primitive collection of tools into the first release. The first version was released in late October of 2003. The program included the basic recipe builder and a number of brewing tools and was only available for Windows.

BeerSmith 1 was followed by 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 in the following years, but still remained a bit of a niche tool until about 2008. In 2008, I took major steps to revamp the web site, and also started the weekly BeerSmith Blog, which now has over 500 articles on brewing. I also started working on social media and a bit more marketing which resulted in a slow increase in traffic and sales over the next few years.

The Cake is a Lie

The next major milestone was 2010, when I made the choice to leave my day job and take on BeerSmith full time. I started the BeerSmith newsletter as a way to share articles that Spring. That Fall, I started the BeerSmith podcast and also started working full time on BeerSmith 2. A collection of my articles was published in book form in November as Home Brewing with BeerSmith. BeerSmith 2 was launched in June of 2011, right before that year’s Homebrew convention. BeerSmith 2 added the tabbed browsing interface many are familiar with, letting you work with several tools and recipes at once. It also included support for the Mac and eventually Linux as well.

In 2012, I added the BeerSmith cloud at BeerSmithRecipes.com which has since grown to over 800,000 recipes. In 2013, BeerSmith mobile was added for Android, iPhone, iPad and the Kindle Fire. In 2014, John Palmer and I shot and published two full length videos on brewing: How to Brew Extract and All Grain, which were also well received. In the years to follow versions 2.2 and 2.3 were published.

Finally on June 15th of this year, I published BeerSmith 3 which added mead, wine and cider support to the BeerSmith recipe program, along with a number of advanced beer brewing functions like mash pH estimation and better whirlpool hop support. The updated mobile version followed a little over a month later bringing many of the same features to phone and tablet users.

A Few Statsistics (as of October 2018)

BeerSmith is used worldwide, and the software and articles have been translated into many different languages:

Thank You All

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for your continued support of BeerSmith, along with my family who make it all possible. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to pursue home brewing full time, as well as having the opportunity to meet and exchange messages with thousands of brewers who share a passion for beer. Best wishes to you and thank you again for everything!

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

2018 Community Brew Day – Brew Session Notes

Brew Dudes - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 5:49am

On October 20th, 2018, these Brew Dudes brewed up a Brown Ale as a part of our Community Brew. If you missed our live stream, here is the video: John’s Brewing Notes I tried to follow the recipe as best I could. There were a few items I could not get in time for the […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brut IPA Brewed From An Extract Kit

Brew Dudes - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 3:54am

Have you heard of this style yet? According to a few Google searches, Brut IPA originated from a brew dude named Kim Sturdavant, the head brewer of San Francisco’s Social Kitchen and Brewery. Mike and I had heard of the style and we were interested in brewing it ourselves. When I saw a kit was […]

The post Brut IPA Brewed From An Extract Kit appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Creating a Mead Recipe with BeerSmith 3 Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:05pm

Here is a short video tutorial on how to create a mead recipe using BeerSmith 3 home brewing software. BeerSmith 3 is software designed for creating beer recipes, but it also now has support for mead, wine and cider recipes. Total run time is 8:17.


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

US Homebrewing Industry 2018 with Jake Keeler- BeerSmith Podcast #179

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:21pm

This week Jake Keeler joins me to discuss the state of the US homebrewing industry and this year’s industry survey as well as how to make homebrewing fun again!

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 (42:49)
  • Today my guest is Jake Keeler. Jake is a former AHA governing committee member, and he is chair of the current Industry panel. He also works at BSG, a major wholesale provider of beer brewing equipment and ingredients.
  • We discuss the 2018 Homebrew Industry survey which is published annually – it is a survey of mainly retail home brewing outlets in the US.
  • Jake provides a few highlights from the survey
  • We discuss some of the long term trends in US homebrewing including the slow decline in sales which started a few years back.
  • Another trend we cover is the substantial move from extract to majority all grain brewers which continues.
  • Jake explains the sale of beginner kits and which have been declining a bit, but also how many brewers are coming directly into all-grain.
  • We talk about the “Amazon effect” and the continued growth of large online retailers at the expense of some small suppliers.
  • We cover a few other topics such as wine making kits from the survey and Jake provides his summary.
  • Jake shares his thoughts on another topic – which is simply “making homebrewing fun again”.
  • He gives his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Jake Keeler 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

Homegrown Cascade Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

Brew Dudes - Fri, 10/12/2018 - 3:27am

All told, between these Brew Dudes and one of the Dudes’ brother, we have 7 different hop varieties growing in our yards. The 2018 harvest was a bountiful one and it has given us the opportunity to brew beers with just one hop in them. A few weeks ago, I brewed a SMaSH with Chinook […]

The post Homegrown Cascade Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Yeasty Flavors in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 10/10/2018 - 2:53pm

This week I take a look at yeasty off flavors in beer as well as their cause and how to prevent them. Yeasty flavors are common in many home brewed beers, especially those who are young.

Yeasty Off Flavors in Beer

Yeasty off flavors can appear bready, yeasty, doughy, or be the flavor of a Vegemite sandwich. Most brewers are familiar with this “green beer” flavor having tasted their beer when it is still young. Those who have sampled Hefeweizen which is served with the yeast also have some idea of the flavor of yeasty beer.

Not surprisingly the main cause of yeasty beer is simply that the beer is too young. Beer goes through changes as it matures including the mopping up of off flavors like diacetyl and also a critical process called flocculation where the yeast slowly falls out of the beer.

Flocculation occurs at different rates depending on the beer and also the yeast strain used. You can, in fact, look up the flocculation rate for the yeast strain you are using by referring to the yeast data sheet. Yeast strains with high flocculation rates will usually clear much more quickly than those with slow rates. Some strains also produce more yeasty character than others.

The main mitigation for yeasty beer is simply time. Certain yeast strains as well as lagers take additional time to flocculate and clear, so you need to account for the extra time needed before bottling or kegging your beer. A simple way to do this is to sample the beer periodically until the young “yeasty” flavor fades before packaging it.

A second source of yeast in naturally bottled beer as well is kegs is the sediment at the bottom of the keg or bottle. When pouring from a bottle, avoid disturbing or pouring out the sediment. For kegs you may need to discard a few pints until the sediment is pushed out.

Those are some tips on reducing yeasty off flavors 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

2018 Community Brew Swap Details

Brew Dudes - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 6:11am

Are you getting pumped for this year’s community brew? What’s that? You don’t know what that is? Well, let me tell you. It’s a chance to brew a beer with other homebrewers around the world and have a chance to swap it. If you want to get caught up – here’s the announcement and here’s […]

The post 2018 Community Brew Swap Details appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Scaling the Size of a Recipe in BeerSmith 3 Brewing Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 1:54pm

This week I present a short video tutorial on how to scale a recipe to match your equipment profile in BeerSmith 3. BeerSmith 3 has a great scaling function that lets you download and scale a recipe to match your equipment in minutes, or even scale recipes up from homebrew to commercial batch sizes. Total run time is 4:01.

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

Rings of Light - Hazy Pale Ale

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 3:51am

My homebrewing-rate has slowed dramatically the last couple months, not coincidentally we brewed our first batch at the brewery around that time (House Saison brew day). Part of that is brewing 10 bbls about twice a week, the rest is how much time I spend at the brewery doing other stuff. My plan for The Mad Fermentationist is to keep up the same style of post, with recipes and tasting notes for occasional Sapwood Cellars beers. I'll still document homebrew batches when I can, mostly test batches or experiments with impractically weird ingredients.

The first beer I wanted to cover is my favorite of the initial four clean batches, Rings of Light. For those interested the name, is a subtle The Fellowship of the Rings reference: "They watched the pale rings of light round his lanterns as they dwindled into the foggy night." It is exactly the sort of beer I love drinking, moderate alcohol (4.8% ABV), but with a huge hop flavor and aroma and a surprisingly luscious mouthfeel. Luckily Untappd reviews have been pretty positive, and it is our tasting room's top seller so far!

You'll likely recognize most of the elements of the recipe as things Scott and I have been doing for years. Golden Naked Oats, Chit malt, Boddington's yeast (RVA Manchester), moderate-high chloride and sulfate, less expensive hops in the boil (Cascade and Columbus), and Citra dry-hopping. We added mid-late fermentation additions to several of our other batches, but this one was soft-crashed to 58F before dry hopping so we could harvest the yeast for re-pitching into an IPA (Cheater Hops) and DIPA (Uncontrollable Laughter). 

The process tweaks have mostly been to account for the differences related to the physics of working at scale. For example, usually I'd add a small dose of hops at 15 minutes to up the bitterness, but in this case the extended contact after flame-out makes that unnecessary (between whirlpool, settling, and run-off near-boiling wort is in contact with hops for more than a hour). In fact, we added one barrel of cold water at flame-out to lower the whirlpool temperature to reduce isomerization. Beersmith 3 includes the capability to specify the average temperature of the wort during the whirlpool, still the estimate seems to be wildly higher than the perceived bitterness. I wonder if the hops settling, mixing with the proteins in the trub-cone slows the isomerization rate?

It has taken a little time to dial in our Forgeworks brew house. We achieved slightly lower efficiency and attenuation on this batch than expected for example. We've made a few mistakes and miscalculations along the way, but given neither of us had brewed frequently at a commercial scale I'm happy to report that things have been relatively smooth. Our biggest issues have been with the durability of the equipment itself. For example the rakes in the mash tun detached from the motor twice, and our burner shorted after a boil-over. What is taking the most effort to optimize is our cleaning and sanitation regimen. 


Thanks to everyone who came out to our grand opening last weekend! I didn't expect as many fans of the blog to drive from an hour or more away to try the beers and say hello. Either Scott or I will be there most of the time we're open, so let us know! Happy to show you around and talk brewing. For those further away, I'm also running the brewery's Twitter and Facebook accounts for now (Scott took Instagram because I couldn't figure it out).

Rings of Light

Smell – Pleasantly mango-melon hop aroma. As it approaches room temperature I get a slightly toasty-vanilla-richness thanks to the yeast playing off the Golden Naked Oats. Otherwise a pretty clean/fresh aroma.

Appearance – Pleasantly hazy yellow, glowing in the right lighting. I guess we did an adequate job avoiding oxygen pickup during transfers and kegging as it hasn’t darkened! We certainly pulled some hop matter into the bright tank, but it mostly settled out and stayed behind when we kegged, as I don’t see any particulate in the pour. Head is really thick, but could have better retention.

Taste – I really love the flavor on this, really saturated with juicy hops. Similar to the aroma, the tropical flavors from the Citra dominate the Cascade and Columbus. We were surprised how hop-forward it was even before dry hopping (perhaps thanks to the deep kettle slowing the evaporation of the oils?). Bitterness is pleasant, but restrained. Well below the estimated 70+ IBUs, more like 40-50 to my palate.

Mouthfeel – Full bodied, especially for a  sub-5% beer. That is thanks to the oats, and low attenuation (which allowed for more malt for the given alcohol). As usually the substantial texture of the head from the chit malt really enhances the perception of creaminess.

Drinkability & Notes – Glad this beer ended up as an early-fall release. It is a little full for a quenching summer pale ale, but it is perfect for temperate weather. The hops are well balanced, and provide enough interest to demand each additional sip. The malt mostly stays hidden, while providing adequate support.

Changes for Next Time – We’ve already got a new batch of this fermenting with the same grist and kettle-hops, although given the tweaks (higher original gravity and different yeast: Lallemand New England and S-04) it may receive a different name.

Recipe

Batch Size: 315.00 gal
SRM: 4.9
IBU: 73.7
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.018
ABV: 4.8%
Final pH: 4.54
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
75% - 495 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
16.7% - 110 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
8.3% - 55 lbs Best Chit Malt

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 153F

Hops
-------
11 lbs Cascade (Pellets, 7.20% AA) - Steep/Whirlpool 75.0 min
11 lbs Columbus (Pellets, 15.70% AA) - Steep/Whirlpool 75.0 min
22 lbs Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) - Dry Hop Day 10

Other
-------
40 g Whirlfloc G @ 15 mins

Water
-------
200 ml Phosphoric Acid 75% @ Mash
1.00 lb Calcium Chloride @ Mash
0.70 lb Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
50 ml Phosphoric Acid 75% @ Sparge
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 120 150 100 20 5 100
Yeast
-------
RVA Manchester Ale #132

Notes
-------
Brewed 8/29/18

Collected 315 gallons of water.

All salts and 100 ml acid right after mash-in. Ran rakes for 15 minutes, started recirculation 10 minutes after mash in. After 10 min of recirculation, measured temp at 152.8F.

Measured mash pH at 5.42, add 50 mL more acid. 5.39, add 50 mL more acid. 5.34.

Sparge water 183F, pH 6.47 with acid addition - more next time

Start of boil with 11 bbls of 1.055 runnings.

Added 1 bbl of cold water at the start of the whirlpool. Combined temperature 196F, added hops.

Run-off started at 66F. .5L/min of O2 through in-line stone.

Ended up with a wort temperature of 64F. Set tank to to 66F. By the next morning the glycol chiller had popped the breaker and the tank was at 69F... Reset and lowered to 67F.

10/31 Raised set-point to 69F to ensure finish.

9/3 Fermentation appears nearly complete from lack of CO2 production. Tastes good, better hop aroma than expected. Up to 70F to ensure it is done before soft crashing.

9/6 Harvested yeast. Left blow-off open so no dissolved CO2.

9/7 Dry hopped with 22 lbs of Citra through the top port while running 25 PSI of CO2 and blow-off arm closed. Closed everything and add 5 PSI as head pressure.

9/8 Pushed 15 PSI through racking arm for 1 minute to rouse, 18 hours after dry hopping. Dropped temperature to 54F.

9/9 Pushed 15 PSI through racking arm for 1 minute. Dropped temperature to 50F.

9/10 Crashed to 36F.

9/12 Moved to bright tank. 3 L/min of CO2 set to 16 PSI got to ~11 PSI at 36 F. 2.6 volumes of CO2 prior to kegging.

9/15 Kegged, 17 kegs with the last almost full.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Provisional Beer Styles with Gordon Strong – BeerSmith Podcast #178

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 11:00am

This week Gordon Strong joins me to discuss the new provisional BJCP beer styles including New England IPA, Burton Ale and Catharina Sours along with his travels in South America.

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 (54:57)
  • Today my guest is Gordon Strong. Gordon is President of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), a three time Ninkasi award winner as top home brewer, the top rated beer judge in the world and also author of the books Brewing Better Beer and Modern Homebrew Recipes (both Amazon affiliate links).
  • We start with a discussion about the new provisional beer styles including what a BJCP provisional beer style is?
  • Gordon explains the three new styles, starting with the New England IPA style.
  • We discuss the second provisional style which is Burton Ale – and captures an older version of Burton Pale Ale
  • Gordon tells us about Catharina Sour, which originated in Brazil.
  • We talk about the final new style which is New Zealand Pilsner.
  • Gordon and I discuss how the BJCP style guide is now being used worldwide.
  • We talk about his recent travels in South America as well as what type of beers are being brewed down there.
  • Gordon provides his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Gordon Strong 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

2018 Brew Dudes Community Brew Recipe

Brew Dudes - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 6:40pm

If you been following this blog and watching our YouTube videos, you know that we announced our 2018 community brew! We put out three choices of beer styles for the community brew and we let you choose one of them. You voted and we noted. The winner is: British Brown Ale! The Community Brew Recipe […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Kilned vs Caramel/Crystal Malts in Homebrewing – Understanding Malt Flavors

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 2:04pm

This week I take a look at Caramel/Crystal malts and how it is different from kilned specialty malts from a flavor perspective. While most homebrewers are very familiar with caramel and crystal malts, few have a well developed understanding of the flavors provided by kilned malts.

The Malting Process

Malted barley starts by taking raw barley grain and germinating it by soaking in water. The barley seeds begin to sprout and are allowed to grow for a few days sprouting tiny leaflets and an internal sprout called an acrospire. When the acrospire is approximately the length of the grain, the grain is dried slowly in a kiln down to about 10% moisture.

If dried slowly you can make pale or Pilsner malt. Darker colored base and kilned malts are made by heating the grains to a higher temperature part way through the drying process which can create grains of various darkness depending on the temperature used. This process can produce malts like pale malt, mild, vienna, munich, amber, bisciut, melanoidin and even brown malt.

Crystal malts go through a different process. Instead of being dried and then lightly toasted they are left wet and heated close to mash temperatures where the temperature is held. This effectively mashes the sugars grain husk, converting them into a simpler, sweet form, They are then dried and if desired heated to higher temperature to produce the range of crystal malts from the very light Carafoam to very dark crystal like Special B. They are inherently sweeter, have more dextrines and produce very different flavors than the comparable kilned malts.

Flavor Profile of Caramel/Crystal vs Kilned Malts

Because of the different processes used, the two malts produce a very different flavor profile. Crystal malts in general produce many fruity flavors that are characteristic of English styles including caramel, apricots, raisins, fig and prune flavors. In contrast the kilned malts tend to be malty, bready, cookie-like, biscuity, toasted and sometimes a light caramel but they lack the fruity/raisin flavors.

As we get to the dark caramel and kilned malts near the harsh zone (above 70 L), both malts take on a toasted and even burnt character but again the caramel malts will add dark fruit flavors, while something like a brown malt will tend to be more mocha-coffee like. I do urge you to avoid using harsh zone malts in large quantities for the reasons outlined in this article.

Here’s a flavor summary for the major Crystal/Caramel malts:

  • Cara-Pils (1.8-2.5L) – ◦Neutral flavor – mainly adds body/foam
  • Pale Caramel/Crystal (10-30L) – Intense caramel aroma, apricots, raisins, figs
  • Medium Caramel/Crystal (40-80L) – Intense toasted, caramel, burnt sugar, toasted marshmallow, dried fruit (raisin, fig, prune)
  • Extra Dark Caramel (100-140L) & Special B – Intense roast sugar, toasted raisins, Turkish coffee, bitter (use sparingly)

And also the major kilned malts:

  • Pale Ale Malt (2-4 L) – Clean, malty aroma with slight hints of toast. Variants like “Maris otter” offer a bit more character.
  • Pilsner Malts (1.4-2.2 L) – Clean, malty aroma, white bread or cracker qualities
  • Mild Ale Malt (3.5-5.5 L) – Dry, caramel like aroma, the British version of Munich malt
  • Vienna Malt (3-4 L) – Clean, caramel character without toastiness
  • Munich Malt (6-12.5 L) – Malty, caramel with a cookie bite, sweet
  • Amber Malt (20-30 L) – Amber biscuit with a sharp toasty, brown chocolate flavor – but lacks caramel notes
  • Melanoiden Malt (15-33 L) – Soft cookie/cake maltiness, not toasty, light caramel notes but without fruity/raisin flavor of caramel malt

I encourage you to get more familiar with the flavors these malts produce. One great way to do this is by doing sensory analysis of your malts using the new ASBC method outlined here. It is a fantastic project for a brewing club meeting, or you can do a few at a time at home.

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

BeerSmith 3 Fall Sale – Get a Free Month with any Gold or Above Purchase!

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:17pm

I just opened a sale on BeerSmith 3 – get an extra month for free with any Gold or above software purchase! The sale runs through 30 September 2018.

Get BeerSmith 3 on Sale!
If you are looking to upgrade from BeerSmith 2 to BeerSmith 3 or want to get an amazing piece of software at a great price, I highly recommend you take advantage of the sale.

If you would like to learn more about BeerSmith 3 features or give it a test run you can download or learn more from the main BeerSmith web site here.

I do encourage you to take advantage of the sale as we’ll be going back to regular pricing at the end of the day (Eastern time) on 30 September 2018!

Thanks for your continued support,

Brad Smith, BeerSmith LLC

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brew Dudes Community Brew 2018

Brew Dudes - Thu, 09/20/2018 - 3:13am

Hey – we have an announcement to make. Since we had a good time doing it last year, we are doing the Community Brew thang again in 2018. What’s the Community Brew? Well, the concept started when we reflected on the brew videos we were posting. We do a lot of drinking our own beer, […]

The post Brew Dudes Community Brew 2018 appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Solvent Flavors in Beer – Off-Flavors in Homebrewed Beer

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 09/19/2018 - 11:11am

This week I’ll cover the symptoms and causes for a solvent-like off-flavor in your home brewed beer. While not common, even a slight solvent-like flavor can ruin an entire batch of beer.

Solvent Off-Flavors in Beer

Solvent off flavors include hot, paint-thinner, nail-polish remover, turpentine, wood-finish or other harsh flavors and aroma. The intensity can very from a slight hot finish to the beer to a very strong turpentine flavor. Fortunately it is fairly rare in home brewing.

The main cause of solvent off-flavors is a compound called Ethyl Acetate which is also widely used in glues, nail polish remover and other household solvents.

Ethyl acetate is actually an ester produced by the “esterfication” of alcohol during fermentation. It is a very common by-product of fermentation, and it comes from an enzyme called Acetate Transferase (AAT). The enzyme AAT is yeast specific, but is common for many ale yeasts, particularly for English ale yeasts which are high in esters.

In small quantities, ethyl acetate produces a pear-like, fruity or rose flavor and aroma that we associate with esters in many beer styles. However if the production of ethyl acetate is not controlled properly you can get an excess produced, leading to solvent flavor and aroma.

So basically solvent off flavors are caused by out of control ester production. Ester production is increased at higher fermentation temperatures so often we will find solvent off flavors when a beer is fermented too hot.

To mitigate solvent-like off flavors you need to choose a yeast that has your desired level of ester production and also control the fermentation temperature to make sure it does not rise too high. Keep in mind that often the temperature in the center of your fermenter is higher than the surface, so it is best to monitor fermentation temperatures using a thermowell or similar device so you know what the actual fermentation temperature is.

That’s a quick summary of the main cause of solvent-like off flavors as well as how to control it. 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

Hoppy-Spicy Rye Golden Ale

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 09/19/2018 - 4:39am

I have nothing against brewing to-style. You can make magnificent and delicious beers by using ingredients from a single region with the goal of a classic balance. That isn't who I am as a brewer though. The recipe for Sapwood Cellars' False Dragon is the sort that I'm passionate about. We selected ingredients from all over the globe to create a flavors and aromas that aren't authentic to any one tradition. What I wanted was an earthy-crisp malt flavor, a white-winey hop aroma (for less money than Nelson Sauvin), and a subtle spicy and fruity-boost from the yeast without getting in the way. That required malts from America and England, hops from America and Germany, and yeast from England and Belgium.

I'd been experimenting with the hop bill for a few months to get the ratio right, and eventually settled on 2:1 in favor of Mosaic. After a few test batches, Scott and I have embraced adding less expensive hops on the hot-side (Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, Centennial etc.) with the more aromatic and expensive varieties saved for the fermentor. I wanted to split my homebrewed test batch to compare S-04 alone against S-04 with 8% T-58. As with Ziparillo, dry yeast is cost-effective especially if you can't repitch thanks to early or mid-fermentation dry hopping. Belgian strains have shown heightened biotranformation abilities is some studies, so it seemed like a good candidate for double dry-hopping.

For the 10 bbl batch we decided to fill-in a gap in our range when the first batch of Rings of Light (our Citra dry-hopped hazy pale ale) came in under-alcohol at 4.8% thanks to lower-than-expected efficiency. In effect the two recipes switched places with False Dragon becoming the "bigger" pale ale at 5.3% rather than the 4.7% of the test batch. Our attenuation has been lower than expected across the board for our first five batches too. We're still trying to figure out the cause given it has happened with multiple yeast strains - likely mash related. Luckily our hop flavor and aroma have both been wildly better than either Scott or I have been able to achieve at home, I'm sure surface-to-volume ratio plays a role.

Your first chance to try this beer is at the Sapwood Cellars grand opening, Noon-10 PM on Saturday 9/29. We'll be open Thursday-Friday 4-10 PM and Saturdays Noon-10 PM from then on. Stop in, drink a beer, say hello!

The name False Dragon come from The Wheel of Time series of books by Robert Jordan. My commute has gone from 20 minutes on the subway to my desk job to ~40 minutes by car. Audio books are my new friend. While I'm sure brewing podcasts would be a more productive use of my time, after 12 hours brewing it is nice to have a little escapism.

False Dragon S-04

Smell – Had to go for a fresh pour after taking photos as it had gone a hint skunky after five minutes in the sun… Nose is a fresh “true” hop aroma to the Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc. White wine, but also some blueberry and green/herbaceous. Certainly Nelson-reminiscent, but a unique character as well.

Appearance – Pale yellow, pleasantly hazy. Good head and lacing, but the foam itself feels airy on the tongue. I guess I’ve gotten used (and miss) to the contribution of chit malt.

Taste – A firm amount of bitterness in the finish, but it doesn’t linger. Light and bright with the tropical-fruity hops starring. Rye doesn’t really make a strong showing, although I’ve always found it more subtle than some others taste.

Mouthfeel – The rye helps prevent it from being watery, but it is a summery pale ale. Glad we ended up a little higher OG/FG on the big batch. Medium carbonation, nice for a lighter beer.

Drinkability & Notes – A pleasant session IPA. The Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc work better together than apart.

Changes for Next Time – 10% chit in place of the base malt wouldn’t hurt. Could certainly up the rye too for a bigger contribution.

S-04 and T-58

Smell – More rounded, less grassy-distinct hop aroma. Tropical, juicy, inviting. The green flavors are now more honeydew melon. Impossible to say how much of that is actual hop chemical reaction, or synergistic between the hops and esters. Lightly bready.

Appearance – Looks similar in terms of head, color, and clarity.

Taste – Lower perceived bitterness. A more saturated/integrated fruity hop flavor. Passionfruit especially. I think this is the more approachable and interesting beer, and distinct from the other English-only fermentation we are doing (using RVA Manchester). Slightly elevated phenols, but much lower than from the WB-06 in Ziparillo.

Mouthfeel – Slightly creamier (perhaps just the lower perceived bitterness?), identical carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – I was able to identify these pretty easily in a blind tasting. It is amazing how much impact such a small amount of yeast can make.

Changes for Next Time – We decided to back down the T-58 4.4% of the blend to allow a bit more of that fresh/distinct hop character through. Other than the higher gravity, the recipe was otherwise unchanged for the 315 gallon batch! We’ll probably up the rye for batch #2 now that we know we can handle higher percentages of high beta-glucan huskless grains.

False Dragon - Test Batch

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 4.1
IBU: 30.0
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.010/1.010
ABV: 4.7%
Final pH: 4.43/4.49
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
75.6% - 17 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
14.4% - 3.25 lbs Briess Rye Malt
10.0 % - 2.25 lbs Crisp Floor Malted Maris Otter

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 156F

Hops
-------
8.00 oz Centennial (Pellet, 7.20%) @ 30 min Steep/Whirlpool
6.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Dry Hop Day 3
3.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 10.50%) @ Dry Hop Day 3
6.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Dry Hop Day 7
3.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 10.50%) @ Dry Hop Day 7

Other
-------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

Water
-------
18 g Calcium Chloride
12 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
6 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10%
Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 150 150 150 15 10 90
Yeast
-------
11.5 g SafAle S-04 English Ale
or
11.5 g SafAle S-04 English Ale
1 g SafBrew T-58 Specialty Ale

Notes
-------
Brewed 8/19/18

Mash pH = 5.44 (at mash temp) after acid additions.

Collected 14.5 gallons of 1.046 runnings.

Added heat to maintain a whirlpool temperature of 200F.

Chilled to 64F. Half with 1 g of T-58 and 11 g of S-04, and half with only 11 g of S-04. Left at 62F ambient to begin fermentation after shaking to aerate.

69F internal temperature during peak fermentation.

8/22 Dry hopped each with 3 oz of Mosaic and 1.5 oz of Hallertau Blanc.

8/27 Second dry hop for both.

9/1 Kegged both, 1.012, moved to fridge to chill.

9/2 Hooked up to gas and tapped to remove sludge. S-04 batch clogged poppet a few times.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!


Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Homebrewing Fermenters with Chris Graham – BeerSmith Podcast #177

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 09/14/2018 - 4:33pm

This week Chris Graham from MoreBeer joins me to discuss the wide variety of new fermenter options available to home brewers including everything from a simple bucket to a temperature controlled stainless conical.

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (56:38)
  • Today my guest is Chris Graham. Chris is the President of MoreBeer and MoreFlavor Inc, one of the top online suppliers of homebrewing equipment and ingredients. Chris is also an instructor at the World renowned Seibel Brewing Institute.
  • We start with a discussion of beginning fermenter options including the plastic bucket and also the glass carboy.
  • We discuss additional options including the newer foodsafe plastic carboys and plastic bucket style fermenters.
  • Chris shares some of the advantages of a conical fermenter which lets you harvest and separate yeast as well as enhances fermentation activity.
  • We also discuss other shapes including the flat bottomed brew bucket style of fermenter.
  • Chris talks about materials used in homebrew fermenters including glass, plastics and stainless steel and advantages of each.
  • We discuss the new crop of high end fermenters that include conical stainless steel systems for both 5 gal (19 l) and 10 gal (38 l) batch sizes.
  • Some new fermenters also include temperature control options – so we discuss briefly how these systems work.
  • He explains pricing of fermenters which go all the way from a $10-15 bucket to potentially thousands of dollars for a glycol chilled stainless fermenter.
  • Chris shares his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Chris Graham 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

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

How to Back Up and Recover Data in BeerSmith 3

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 09/14/2018 - 2:51pm

This week I cover how to back up your data in BeerSmith 3 as well as automatic data storage and archive options. I’ll show you how to recover a large amount of data or even just an older recipe if needed.

Data Storage and Backup in BeerSmith 3

BeerSmith stores most of its data locally on your hard drive in the Documents/BeerSmith3 folder (or ~/.beersmith3 on Linux). All of the recipe data in My Recipes as well as any changes you’ve made to ingredients or profiles as well as your program settings are stored in this folder. The only exception to this is recipes in your cloud folder which are stored on the recipe server at https://beersmithrecipes.com

Since the bulk of your brewing data is locally stored, it could be lost if you have a hard drive crash, stolen computer, hardware failure, fire, or other disaster. This is why I strongly recommend periodically making a backup of your Documents/BeerSmith3 folder. An even better idea is to use backup software that either backs your data up offsite or to a network archive.

If you have a complete copy of your BeerSmith3 data directory it is very easy to copy the entire directory to a new computer or alternately open the BSMX data files within BeerSmith to recover selective data. For example your recipes are stored in a file called Recipe.bsmx which you can easily open using the File->Open command within BeerSmith, and then copy/paste data back to My Recipes to restore recipes. You can do the same for other data like the Equipment.bsmx or Hops.bsmx files.

I do not recommend moving/storing your BeerSmith 3 data on an external or network drive or service like Google Drive or Dropbox for daily use. While a number of users have tried this to share data between machines, there is nothing in BeerSmith that will prevent one copy from overwriting another on the shared drive if you run two copies on two computer. The result in this case will most likely be data loss. Instead, it is best to periocally back up your local BeerSmith3 directory to your backup or network drive for archive purposes.

Automatic Backup Features in BeerSmith 3

In addition to the basic data storage there are a number of automatic backup features in BeerSmith 3 which can help you recover data if needed. For example BeerSmith makes a copy of your recipes after major operations like edits and deletes in the “Recipe Archive” and also has an automatic bulk backup of your recipes and ingredients stored separately for easy recovery if you have significant data issues.

The Recipe Archive

For recovering individual recipes such as one you changed or accidentally deleted you can use the Recipe Archive feature. Go to View->Recipe Archive to view the archive. It stores copies of every major change you make to your recipes for a period of time, so you can easily search by recipe name and see all of the changes you made to a recipe. It also saves recipes before deleting them so you can recover deleted recipes from here.

Within the recipe archive, the recipes are shown by date and folder. To view a recipe just double click on it, and on any viewed recipe you can use the Save a Copy button on the ribbon to recover it. You can control how long recipes are retained in the archive by going to Options->Advanced Options and setting the Keep Archived Recipes for option near the bottom of that dialog.

Bulk Data Recovery

In addition to the recipe archive, BeerSmith also stores bulk backups of your recipes, ingredients and profiles. You can access these complete backup files from the File->Recover from Backup dialog. Five copies of each major file are stored and the older files are rotated more slowly so you can access older data. Also in BeerSmith 3 these files are stored separately from your Documents/BeerSmith3 data so you have some additional insurance if you accidentally delete your Documents/BeerSmith3 directory.

From the recovery dialog you can select the data type as well as any of the data files by selecting them. I recommend using the button to Open File in a New Tab to view the data before doing a full recovery to make sure you are recovering the data you want. You can also use the view in a tab option to view older files where you may want to recover just a few items.

The Recover from Backup Selected button will do a full replacement of your data with the selected file, wiping any data you already have in place so it should only be used after you have verified you have the correct bulk backup file.

Those are some of the new backup and recovery features in BeerSmith 3 as well as the important data to back up to avoid data loss. You can learn more about the features in BeerSmith 3 here or purchase a copy from the main order page here. 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

Homegrown Chinook Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

Brew Dudes - Fri, 09/14/2018 - 6:36am

I have been growing hops in my backyard for many years now. Although I need to dedicate time and effort to make sure the plants survive and produce cones, I feel it’s worth it. In years past, I have harvested hops from many different plants and used only the best ones for a “harvest ale”. […]

The post Homegrown Chinook Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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