Homebrewing blogs

Giving BeerSmith 3 as a Gift

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:23am

I’ve had quite a few people write recently asking how they can give BeerSmith 3 software as a gift to a friend, relative or loved one for the holidays.

Fortunately there is a simple way to do it – you can purchase a BeerSmith 3 gift code here which is redeemable online for a BeerSmith 3 license.

The BeerSmith Gift Code Process

That’s it – thanks again for supporting BeerSmith and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Fermented Acorn - Sour Brown

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 3:57am
The first week of October, DC posted a notice on our front door informing us that an arborist deemed the oak tree in our front yard hazardous. Up until that moment, it would have been illegal to cut down as a "heritage" tree (over 100" in circumference). They gave us 10 days to apply for a permit and have it removed. The tree had obviously been on the down-slope for the last 10 years, but this summer a large swath had gone brown mid-August and the rest in late-September.

I was sad to see the tree go, but glad I got to brew a beer with acorns foraged from it before it went!


Last fall, inspired as usual by The Homebrewer's Almanac, I collected acorns over a few afternoons. While fresh acorns are loaded with tannins, fermented they are said to take on a wonderful aromatics reminiscent of bourbon, Madeira, and plums. The various parts of any plant usually contain shared compounds (and flavors). It has become fashionable to cook with the "garbage" parts of plants (and animals) usually thrown away. While it takes more effort to prepare collard green stems or pork feet, it can be well worth it. While oak wood is used to age thousands of beers, its acorns, leaves, and bark are not nearly as popular.

I inspected each acorn to remove any that were cracked, or otherwise marred. I briefly rinsed them, and then arranged in a single layer on a shallow baking dish in the basement to allow them to dry.

Apparently my inspection wasn't thorough enough as I missed several small blemishes (example below) that indicated an acorn weevil had laid an egg inside.

A week later, after discarding those where a larva bored out, I moved the acorns to five lightly sealed pint mason jars. I didn't add water, microbes, or anything else.

Over the next nine months in my 65F basement the acorns slowly fermented on their own. First producing carbon dioxide and the pleasant aroma of ethanol. Then slowly a more complex aromatics of apricot, chocolate, and bourbon. Exactly which microbes are responsible is a mystery to me.

When I visited Scratch Brewing last November (on my drive from St. Louis to Indianapolis for the BYO Boot Camp... next one is March in Asheville) I had the chance to assist Marika on a batch at Scratch, and see their jars of fermenting acorns. Luckily for them, Aaron told me weevils haven't been an issue!

By the following summer, my acorns were smelling like a combination of whiskey distillery, apricot orchard, and old library. While their exteriors were unchanged, the interior transformed from beige to leathery brown. Non-enzymatic browning, that is to say the Maillard reaction may be at work as with black garlic? While these processes are accelerated at high temperature, they still happen when cooler.

I thought an oud bruin-ish base would provide a solid foundation for those darker flavors. I added flaked rye for body and fermented with East Coast Yeast Oud Brune (which contains no Brett, only Sacch and Lacto). ECY Flemish Ale is still hard at work on the other half of the batch. Once the Oud Bruin was finished, I added a tube screen with one cup of the cracked (with a hammer) acorns. After a few weeks I added another cup to increase the flavor contribution.


I'm hoping to use the remaining fermented acorns in a small batch at Sapwood Cellars, but the TTB isn't going along with my plans... yet. They've directed me to contact the FDA. It's amazing how many weird chemicals are approved, when a food that people have eaten for thousands of years is not.

Requiem for an Oak

Smell – Even at the higher rate the acorn character doesn’t leap out of the glass. It does have a richer, more woody-fruity aroma than any other quick sour I’ve brewed. I get some of that old book smell mingling with the Munich maltiness. There is also a brighter stonefruit aroma that prevents it from being too heavy.

Appearance – Pretty amber-brown color. Mild haze. Retention of the tan head is OK especially for a sour beer, although nothing remarkable.

Taste – Firm lactic acid, snappy without being overwhelming. The fermented acorns add leathery and fruity depth to the flavor without stepping all over the malt. I’m pretty happy with this as a lower alcohol oud bruin.

Mouthfeel – The flaked rye really helped considering this is a low alcohol sour beer. Doesn’t taste thin or watery.

Drinkability & Notes – For such a unique beer, it is pleasant to drink. The flavors meld nicely and the acorns help to simulate in a way the effect of barrel aging and Brettanomyces.

Changes for Next Time – I’d probably go even more aggressive with the acorn-rate, really to show them off. The beer could be bigger, but more malt might obscure the acorns even more.

Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 18.0
IBU: 2.0
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.010
ABV: 4.7%
Final pH: 3.43
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
60.4% - 16.00 lb Briess Pilsen Malt
22.6% - 6.00 lb Weyermann Munich I
11.3% - 3.00 lb Flaked Rye
3.8% - 1.00 lb Castle Special B
1.9% - 0.50 lb Weyermann Carafa Special II

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 157F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz - 8 Year Old Willamette (Whole Cone, 1.00 % AA) @ 85 minutes

Water
--------
11 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 100 110 50 15 10 90
Other
-------
Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins
2 Cup Fermented Acorns @ Fermenter

Yeast
-------
East Coast Yeast Flemish Ale
East Coast Yeast Oud Brune

Notes
-------
9/29/17 Harvested five pints of acorns from the White Oak in my front yard. Allowed to dry open in the basement.

10/6/17 4 larvae of an acorn weevil hatched. Tossed any acorns with exit holes, and tried to identify all of those with small entry holes to toss. Moved remaining acorns to one-pint mason jars, attached lids, and returned to the barrel room for fermentation.

Brewed 7/9/18

7/29/18 Added 1 cup of acorns (split and in a mesh tube with marbles) to the Oud Bruin half.

8/18/18 Added another cup of acorns, loose, as the flavor wasn't there yet.

8/28/18 Racked Flemish half to secondary in glass.

9/9/18 Kegged acorn half.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations/Love2Brew!
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Vegetal Flavors in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 12/08/2018 - 1:30pm

This week I take a look at vegetal off flavors in beer as well as their cause and how to prevent them. These include a variety of vegetable flavors and aroma found in some beers.

Vegetal Off-Flavors in Beer

Vegetal off-flavors cover a wide range of potential problems in beer. These include corn, vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, garlic or scallion flavors and even the odor and taste of rotten vegetables. Each may have a slightly different origin.

First we’ll cover the cooked or creamed corn off flavor which is also called DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide). This off-flavor is actually covered in a separate article on DMS here and is often caused by an insufficient boil.

Scallion and garlic-like flavors are often caused by certain hop varieties in the boil such as Summit. Often a different hop variety can resolve this type of flavor. Excessive dry hop contact times can also result in some off flavors particularly those of a more grassy kind.

Finally using old, stale or ingredients that have been exposed to moisture can also impart rotten vegetable or moldy off flavors to your beer. In many cases this will taste of stale or old vegetables. It can happen from spoiled hops, old or spoiled malt or other stale ingredients.

Those are the main causes of vegetal off flavors in 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

East Kent Goldings Vs. Fuggles SMaSH Showdown

Brew Dudes - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:46pm

We are excited to share with you this comparison. Mike made a SMaSH beer with some noble hops some time ago. When we tasted,  it was hard to give a good description of the flavor because it was so, for lack of a better word, hoppy. They didn’t have wild flavors, they just tasted like […]

The post East Kent Goldings Vs. Fuggles SMaSH Showdown appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Perception and Reality in Beer Flavor with Randy Mosher – BeerSmith Podcast #182

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:13am

This week Randy Mosher joins me to discuss cutting edge research into beer sensory perception and how our brain uniquely perceives and distorts the flavor, aroma and taste of beer.

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 (55:34)
  • Today my guest is Randy Mosher. Randy is author of many of my favorite home brewing books including Mastering Homebrew, Radical Brewing and Tasting Beer (Amazon affiliate links). He is also a certified beer judge and faculty member at the Siebel institute as well as partner in two Chicago area breweries: Five Rabbit and Forbidden Root.
  • Randy explains why each person’s perception of beer really is an individual experience
  • We discuss some of the factors affecting taste and smell as well as the fact that an average person can distinguish a huge number of flavors.
  • Randy explains some of the complexities of taste even though it is probably one of our simplest senses.
  • We discuss the basic taste senses as well as why bitterness is special
  • He explains the nose and how it is a much more sophisticated device.
  • We talk about how our brain actually processes taste and aroma as well as memory to get something we perceive as flavors.
  • Randy also discusses how our mental state, food history and “flavor warning” patterns all play a role in the processing of flavor patterns.
  • We discuss how the sights, sounds, mood, foods we’re eating and other external factors also play a role in beer flavor.
  • Randy shares his thoughts on judging beer including ways to make the process easier.
  • We talk about “The Dopamine Rush of Whales”.
  • Randy shares some final tips on tasting beer.
Sponsors

Thanks to Randy Mosher 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

Wine Yeast Sour Red (Again)

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 7:06am
So odd to get one of my favorite and least favorite sours out of the same wort (recipe). The half with cherries was magical, the half without is bland and listless. In addition to no cherries, this half had BM45 red wine yeast and Wyeast Roeselare in place of 58W3 and dregs from a De Garde bottle. I had reasonable results with BM45 in this Red Wine Yeast Flemish Ale, so I don't think it is to blame.

It seemed like a good time to revisit this batch because the scaled-up version went into barrels on Saturday. For the 10 bbl batch we used 58W3 for primary fermentation in stainless steel. We procured three Pinot Noir barrels plus two bourbon barrels for aging. My hope is that the spirit barrels provide a nice vanilla character to mingle with the cherries. Each will get a dose of microbes, East Coast Yeast Flemish Ale, Wyeast Roeseleare, and maybe additional microbes from our collection. Two of the barrels got 25 lbs of dried sour cherries. Next summer, when fresh sour cherries are available, we'll select barrels and blend into a tote for additional fruiting.


Wine Yeast Sour Red

Smell – Spice, caramel, apple sauce. A weird mix that doesn’t really remind me of a Flemish red. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if the flavors were enticing or synergistic.

Appearance – Pretty thick head. Nice reddish-brown color with abundant chill haze (judging from the clarity of warmer pour previously). Pretty beer at least!

Taste – Interesting spice notes as in the nose. Cinnamon especially. The fruitiness reminds me of quince paste, sort of apple, but not quite. Tart, but not really sour. The malt is one-dimensional, toasty. Not impressed by Roeselare as the sole source of microbes.

Mouthfeel – Thin, a bit watery despite finishing at 1.016. Solid medium-carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – A real meh beer. Not off in any specific way, there just isn’t anything to carry the beer.

Changes for Next Time – For the scaled-up version, we swapped the Briess base malts for equivalent Castle malts. Other than the variety of microbes and barrels, we'll be sticking pretty close to the script for the cherry version.


Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Cheap and Easy Cider That You Can Make At Home

Brew Dudes - Sun, 11/25/2018 - 4:42am

These Brew Dudes are believers in expanding skill sets and exploring other fermented beverages. If you share that same mindset, we have a method of helping you spread your wings beyond brewing beer at home. This method knocks down a couple of the barriers of entry to the new world beyond beer: effort and monetary […]

The post Cheap and Easy Cider That You Can Make At Home appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale and Asheville Boot Camp in March!

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 12:06pm

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale Up to 33% Off!

The BeerSmith Black Friday sale is open now and runs through Cyber Monday. Get up to 33% off on BeerSmith 3 upgrades and new licenses here. Get the worlds top selling software for beer, mead, wine and cider used by hundreds of craft breweries worldwide at a great price.

This is a great opportunity to upgrade to BeerSmith 3 if you have not done so already – and its the last time this year I’ll be offering sale pricing.The sale ends on Tuesday 27 Nov, 2018.

Join me for the BYO Boot Camp 20% Off – 22-23 Mar 2019

I’ll be teaching two full day sessions on Advanced Recipe Design at the BYO Boot Camp in Asheville, NC from 22-23 March 2019. The class is limited to 35 people per day, and you can also attend a class taught by other top brewers like John Palmer, Chris White, Gordon Strong and Michael Tonsmeire on the opposite day.

This is a great opportunity to learn about beer brewing, ingredients and recipe design in a small class environment as well as meet some outstanding brewers. You can sign up for the BYO Boot Camp here and get 20% off the Boot Camp or anything in the BYO store if you use the discount code ‘CyberBYO20’ through Cyber Monday on their website.

Thank you again for your continued support and have a great Thanksgiving and Holiday season!

Brad Smith, BeerSmith.com

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Creating a Wine Recipe with BeerSmith 3 Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 5:36pm

Here is a short video tutorial on how to create a wine recipe in BeerSmith 3 as well as as a demonstration of some of the wine making features supported.

Support for wine was added in BeerSmith 3. BeerSmith 3 is software for creating beer recipes which also has support for wine, cider and mead makers to let you create, record and make great wine.

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

2018 Brew Dudes Community Brew Tasting Notes

Brew Dudes - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 7:30am

The 2018 Brew Dudes community brew has progressed nicely since our announcement back in September. Both Mike and I brewed a version of the Brown ale, following the recipe that we posted for the most part with some small changes based on ingredient availability. The beers were ready for the most part and we tasted […]

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

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Bringing Back The Porter Beer Style WIth Tips For You

Brew Dudes - Sun, 11/11/2018 - 4:41am

Mike is a keeper of the beer style flame. He does not want other types of beer to die off under the weight of IPA Mania. Here we taste a porter that he brewed, chat about it, and discuss tips that you should follow to brew a great one. Mike’s Porter Recipe Here’s the recipe […]

The post Bringing Back The Porter Beer Style WIth Tips For You appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Craft Cleaning: Cylindroconical Fermentor CIP

The Mad Fermentationist - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 8:13am
Brewers often joke that they spend more time cleaning than on any other aspect of the job. That isn't quite true at Sapwood Cellars, but the cleaning aspect has been the biggest change from homebrewing. By comparison, wort production hasn't been that difficult or different. Sure it took a few batches to acclimate to the efficiency and losses on our 10 bbl Forgeworks brewhouse (as with any new brewing system), made more challenging by an unreliable flow meter. Even 15 batches in despite hitting our target mash temps, wort fermentability seems to be lower than expected. We're also still dialing in hop utilization given the thermodynamics involved with large wort volumes. Still, the concepts, ingredients, and techniques are all pretty similar to homebrewing.

When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing though, we've had to relearn the entire process. You really can't fill a fermentor with 360 gallon of Oxiclean Free and soak overnight or swirl and scrub... I miss those days. First, let's talk about chemicals and what they do. Our main supplier is AFCO, but Berko, Five-Star, and Loeffler all have fans. Prices seemed similar, we just didn't think about ordering until a couple weeks before we started brewing and picked the one with the quickest turnaround time. We buy most of the chemicals in 5 gallon jugs, and pump them into beakers to measure and dose.


Chemicals

Caustic (5229 Caustic) - Caustic is the primary cleaner used by most breweries. Usually sodium hydroxide based and heavily alkaline. It is ideal for breaking down and removing organic deposits (e.g., krausen rings). You can do a bit of trading-off between time, temperature, pressure, and concentration. That said, 2-3% caustic at ~150F (66C) for 20-30 minutes through the sprayball has been a pretty good place to start for us. Caustic is dangerous because it is capable of breaking down your skin (the lye used in soap making is similar). We started with a powdered caustic (Wash-It), but given the price and efficacy we transitioned to liquid.

Phosphoric-Nitric Acid Blend (5397 Microlex Special 30) - Acid helps to remove inorganic deposits, i.e., beerstone (calcium oxalate). It also helps to neutralize any residual caustic (not that there should be any with adequate rinsing) and to passivate stainless steel. Acid blend is used at similar temperatures and cycle lengths as caustic, although slightly cooler, ~130F (54C).

Five Star Peroxyacetic Acid (PAA) - While there are many sanitizers available, PAA is the most popular for breweries. At the right concentrations it is a robust sanitizer with high effectiveness. It breaks down to acetic acid, so it can be used no-rinse. It is a powerful oxidizer, which makes it important to drain any residual before fermented beer enters a tank or keg. Our bucket was leftover from the old brewery in our space, so we bought a pack of test strips and it still reads the expected concentration after dilution.

Five Star PBW - We have a bucket of this alkaline powered cleaner for soaking hot-side equipment and other gear where we don't want to have to be as careful as we would with caustic. We both used it at home, so were more comfortable with it than the Chlorinated Manual Cleaner we started with.

Iodophor (4330 Spark I2) - Similar to the PBW, it is nice to have a less hazardous sanitizer for spraying ports or soaking fittings. It is only effective on clean surfaces, so it is important to remove of detritus before expecting it to work.

Grain Alcohol - Given its quick kill times and evaporation ethanol is the ideal sanitizer for spray bottles and any surfaces that are highly sensitive (e.g., yeast culturing). Isopropyl alcohol is another option.

General Concepts

Pre-Heating - At this scale a tank has so much thermal mass that you can't simply put 15 gallons (57 L) of hot water to a tank and expect it to still be hot after circulating. As a result if you want the caustic or acid to stay hot, you need to pray hot water into the tank. A tank with an electric element (like our keg washer has) helps too.

Sprayball - Most tanks have a port that leads to a sprayball, a small metal orb that spins and sprays when liquid is forced through. These aren't always perfect, and can have blind spots, especially in ports and above it. In addition, it isn't effective at cleaning its own exterior.

Passivation - This is what makes stainless steel stainless, a thin layer of chromium atoms at the surface that prevents iron from rusting or leeching into the beer (which weakens the equipment and shortens its lifespan). With a pristinely clean surface, the oxygen in the atmosphere is enough to accomplish this, but acids (especially nitric) are more effective.

Safety

These chemicals aren't anything to joke about. Many brewers have scars gained from caustic or acid dripping onto their skin . Safety glasses, long gloves, chemical resistant boots and pants are a must when handling them. Read the safety data sheet for each chemical you are using and know what to do if some gets on your skin or in your eyes. I don't get to drink as much beer as I used to because the end of the day is usually the most dangerous time.

Scott and I prefer to have all of the tank's arms connected from the start, allowing us to use valves to direct the flow of the cleaning and sanitizing solutions. We started off using a manifold coming off the pump, but have changed to daisy-chained T's between the arms. Many brewers prefer to simply move a single output line from the pump between the arms. This requires less setup time, but more active effort once cleaning begins (moving the hose from arm to arm ~10 times through the process). It also carries additional risks if you move the hose without closing a valve.

Our Fermentor CIP Process

1. Once the beer is out of a tank, we turn off the glycol jackets and open the dump valve. We then shoot high-pressure cold water through the sprayball to remove most of the hops/yeast struck to the sides and bottom.

2. We use our on-demand hot water heater to generate 130F (54C) water to spray through the sprayball and manually through a hose to dislodge the bulk of the crud stuck to the sides/top of the fermentor. We'll run it through the pump to get good coverage.

3. We briefly remove the lower fittings on the tanks (including manway, racking arm, thermometer, sample port) to spray out the trub caught in them.

4. We blow compressed air through the sprayball at ~30 PSI with the bottom valve open for 30 minutes. CO2 neutralizes caustic, so best to remove as much as possible before proceeding. This long is likely overkill for a 10 bbl tank, but can't hurt.

5. We assemble our cleaning rig, usually a pump running to the sprayball, with a T to connect it to the racking arm and another to the blow-off.


5. We preheat the tank for a couple minutes by spraying 160F (71C) water in and letting it drain. We hook the water line in right before the pump so we can immediately go to cleaning once it is preheated. Our goal is to get the tank to read ~130F (54C).

6. We then use the hot water heater's built-in meter to send 10-15 gallons of 160F (71C) water into the tank. We dose in 3 oz of caustic per gallon (2.3%) using a stainless steel elbow on one of the ports (chasing the caustic with water to ensure it get in). We then turn the elbow down to allow that port to equalize the pressure inside the tank, while preventing caustic from spitting out.

7. I like to send a little flow through the blow-off and racking arm first to soak them during the 20-25 minutes sprayball at full pressure (60 hz on our pump - or a bit slower if it cavitates). Then five minutes through the other arms, before a final five through the sprayball.

6. Dump the caustic. Rinse each arm with hot water, then burst rinse 10 times for 10 seconds at 130F (54C) through the sprayball, allowing it to drain before each successive rinse. I'll often put 10-15 gallons (38-57 L) into the tank once or twice and recirculate at the end to make sure there is enough pressure to spray all the surfaces. You can check the pH of the drained rinse water to ensure it has returned close normal before proceeding.

2. We then take off all of the fittings (including the sprayball itself), soak them in PBW or caustic. We inspect the fittings and gaskets, rinse and put into a bucket of iodophor. For the ports we spray, scrub and spritz with iodophor before reassembling. We also take the chance to inspect the interior with a flashlight to ensure there are no deposits.

7. We run acid blend at 2 oz per gallon (1.5% by volume) using roughly the same process and times as the caustic. Significantly higher concentrations should be used on new equipment and once a year to ensure adequate passivation.

8. Usually we'll air-dry at this point unless we need the tank the following day. In that case we'll rinse and then sanitize with peroxyacetic acid in cool water at 200 PPM using the same rig, and pressurize the tank to 4 PSI of CO2 to ensure it holds. The next morning we'll dump any residual sanitizer from each port before running wort or beer in.

The whole process including sanitation takes three hours, but most of that time isn't active (just waiting for a purge, or cycle). Going longer on any of the times isn't a big deal, so it is easy to run while working on other things if you keep track of your progress and don't miss a step.

We haven't gotten a CIP cart with dedicated vessels and pump, so our biggest issue currently is that it is difficult for one of us to clean a tank while the other person brews because they require some of the same equipment. Luckily our current schedule of two batches a week doesn't make that too much of an issue.

I am by no means holding this up as a perfect or ideal process. It'll likely be viewed as overkill by some, and inadequate by others. But if you have constructive suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I'd rather err towards overkill because we're dealing with several yeast strains (including killer wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus, not to mention Brettanomyces and Pediococcus in a dedicated tank), although we do have the advantage of only dealing with kegs stored cold.

Other Pieces

We addition we'll pump the same chemicals through our heat exchanger and carbonation stone. For the heat exchanger we also heat pasteurize by running 180F (82C) water for 20 minutes inline once we assemble our knock-out rig (we discard the water until we see wort before sending to the fermentor). Our keg cleaner automatically does the same process on our sanke kegs, including air and CO2 purges to recapture the caustic and sanitizer.
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl – BeerSmith Podcast #181

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 8:04am

This week John Holl joins me to discuss the Craft Beer revolution and also his new book “Drink Beer, Think Beer”.

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 (49:36)
  • Today my guest is John Holl, author of the new book Drink Beer, Think Beer (Amazon affiliate link). John is also senior editor at Craft Beer and Brewing magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook (Amazon affiliate links) as well as a beer judge.
  • We discuss his work as editor at Craft Beer and Magazine as well as introduce his new book “Think Beer, Drink Beer”.
  • John explains a bit of the history of the modern beer renaissance (craft beer revolution) and also how critical home brewing was to it.
  • We talk about the role of big breweries and how the line between craft beer and big beer is increasingly blurred by the complex ownership relationships now.
  • We discuss beer flavors and how flavor has a significant role in craft beer.
  • I bring up the dominance of IPAs and we discuss whether it will continue to force other styles off the shelf.
  • We discuss judging and tasting beer.
  • John talks about some of the down sides of the craft beer revolution (shadows in beer).
  • He explains how the way we enjoy beer in tasting rooms has evolved and contrasts that with beer at home.
  • We talk about the “death of subtlety” in beer.
  • John discusses the leveling off of growth in craft beer and how it may be part of the normal business cycle.
  • He shares his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to John Holl 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

Sulfur and Rotten Egg Aromas in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 8:42am

This week we take a look at sulfur and rotten-egg aromas in beer and how to troubleshoot and mitigate it. This is part of my ongoing series on off-flavors in home brewed beer.

Sulfur or Rotten Egg-Aromas in Beer

A sulfur or rotten-egg aroma is common for fermenting beer with many yeast strains, particularly lagers. The most significant source of rotten egg smells is hydrogen sulfide gas which is often produced during active fermentation as a byproduct of the yeast processing sulfur. Sulfur itself comes from several sources including kilned malts, as some sulfur is produced when the malts are kilned or roasted. Hops also often contains some sulfur compounds and aromatics, and certain water profiles are high in sulfur. Yeast itself may also contain some sulfur, and certain yeast strains such as many lagers produce higher levels of sulfur gas during fermentation.

Unfortunately humans are extremely sensitive to sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide gas. Because sulfur compounds plan an active role in many decay processes like stagnant water and rotting foods, humans have developed a very high sensitivity to them. Some sulfur based compounds can be detected at a parts per trillion threshold.

The two most common sulfur compounds found in beer are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur dioxide has the aroma of a early burning match or gunpowder, while hydrogen sulfide has the strong rotten egg or volcanic gas aroma to it. Fortunately these gases are also very volatile so they will evaporate out of the beer in a fairly short time period. It is very common to smell both of these during active fermentation and as I mentioned they are more frequently associated with certain yeast strains including many lagers.

Mitigating Sulfur Aromas

To reduce the sulfur aroma in your finished you first want to consider your yeast strain as certain strains are far more prone to sulfur production than others. Selecting the right strain, particularly for lagers, is important. Also avoid high sulfur content in your brewing water.

If you detect sulfur gas in your finished beer, the best thing to do is give it more time. Lagers, in particular, often require extended aging periods and the sulfur aromas and flavors will fade with time. It is important to age your beer in a fermenter, if possible, to allow the gas to dissipate, as prematurely bottling or kegging a sulfuric beer will often just trap the sulfur gas in the bottle or keg.

That’s a quick summary of the cause and mitigation of sulfur/rotten egg aromas 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

What Is A Homebrew Beer Batch Size?

Brew Dudes - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 11:59am

You’d think with over 33 years of collective homebrewing beer experience, we would know definitively what a batch size is when reviewing a recipe. Sadly, it’s not true. The good thing is that this measurement can mean different things to different people. In this post and video, we discuss what a homebrew beer batch size […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Seasonal Beer Styles with Conner Trebour – BeerSmith Podcast #180

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 10/30/2018 - 1:27pm

This week Conner Trebour joins me to discuss making pumpkin beer for the Fall as well as holiday ale for the upcoming winter holidays.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (32:11)
  • Today my guest is Conner Trebour. Conner is CEO of Sensorshare LLC and maker of the BrewPerfect digital hydrometer. He is also an avid home brewer.
  • We start with a discussion of pumpkin beers beginning with what makes a great pumpkin beer.
  • Conner shares what kinds of pumpkins work best in pumpkin beer as the typical “Jack-O-Lantern” variety is not ideal for beer.
  • We discuss preparing fresh pumpkin as well as how to use canned pumpkin.
  • He explains some of the difficulties in brewing with pumpkin including its sticky/messy nature as well as how to contain the pulp.
  • Conner shares his thoughts on a base beer recipe to use for pumpkin ale as well as use of hops and malts.
  • We discuss spices that belong in a pumpkin beer and reflect the flavors of the season.
  • We next move on to holiday or Christmas ales which a strong ales that reflect the flavors of the holiday season.
  • He shares some of his favorite flavors to use as well as what to look for in a base recipe.
  • We discuss the use of seasonal fruits like cranberry.
  • Conner shares his thoughts on spices for a holiday ale.
  • We spend a few minutes at the end discussing his BrewPerfect business and some upcoming changes.
Sponsors

Thanks to Conner Trebour 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

PLAATO Digital Airlock and Fermentation Monitor Review

Brew Dudes - Sat, 10/27/2018 - 3:53pm

Back in the summer of 2017, a Kickstarter campaign caught my eye. It was for this interesting piece of homebrew tech called Plaato digital airlock. After pledging my money, the project was fully funded but it took a while for the product to get manufactured and sent out. My device arrived in October of 2018, […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Fifteen Year Anniversary Sale on BeerSmith 3 – Get Up to 33% off!

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 9:29pm

In October of 2003, I launched the very first version of BeerSmith. This month we’ve reached our 15 year anniversary! To celebrate, we’re having a sale on all BeerSmith 3 desktop packages. If you have not yet upgraded to BeerSmith 3, this is your chance to get BeerSmith 3 desktop at our very lowest price Gold licenses start as low as $9.95/year, and the non-subscription basic option is also on sale. The sale ends 31 October 2018.

Get BeerSmith 3 on Sale!

BeerSmith 3 Sale – Our Best Price Ever!

We launched BeerSmith 3 desktop back in June and added a ton of new features including integrated water tools, better whirlpool hop support and support for mead, wine and cider plus cloud folders and much more. Since it was launched in the summer season, many brewers missed the chance to upgrade during our discounted upgrade period.

So today, we celebrate our 15th anniversary by offering the same “introductory” discount on BeerSmith with 20-33% off all packages. This includes the “basic” non-subscription option which is similar to the BeerSmith 2 license terms as well as our Gold and above packages which offer additional cloud space.

If you have not upgraded to BeerSmith 3 yet, you can download the trial version today and give it a try, but be sure to purchase your upgrade by halloween, as we’ll be ending the sale at midnight (11:59 pm Eastern time) on 31 October 2018.

Thanks again for all of your support these last 15 years!

Brad Smith

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Fifteen Years of BeerSmith – Our 15th Anniversary

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 6:03pm

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

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