Homebrewing blogs

Homegrown Sour Beer: Cherry, Raspberry, Blackberry, and Mulberry

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 3:41am
I've brewed a surprising number of beers with ingredients grown on our .1 acres of Washington, DC. Including hops, cherries, juniper, ground ivy, mulberries... and recently fermented acorns! Rather than showcase a single ingredient though, I wanted to brew an estate beer with five ingredients grown and harvested on our land!


The extent of the influence of aged hops on sour beer is still a bit underestimated. While the generally stated goal is preventing rapid souring by Lactobacillus in a traditionally fermented lambic, what they add to the flavor and what particular characteristics of the hops best serve this isn't widely studied. There are a few studies that oxidation can boost certain fruity aromatics. Which has lead Scott to threaten to use old hops on the hot-side for a NEIPA... he promised to do a test batch before brewing a 10 bbl batch on the new Sapwood Cellars brewhouse.

I thought it would be fun to brew with aged Cascades from the bines in my backyard, especially because fresh they didn't have a huge aroma. They'd been sitting open in my basement since they were dried a few years before. 

I don't have the space or effort to grow or malt grain, so I took the easy way out and brewed with wheat malt extract (a blend of 65% wheat malt 35% barley). I'd had good results from extract lambics previously, but this time in addition to maltodextrin I added wheat flour slurry to the boil. Mixing the flour with cold water prevents it from clumping when it touches the boiling wort. A turbid mash pulls starch from the unmalted wheat into the boil, which eventually feeds the various microbes in the late-stages of fermentation. The microbes must have enjoyed it as the resulting beers are completely clear.

Fruit was provided by our four berry trees/bushes. Sour cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and mulberry. To keep things easy I added roughly equal amount of each (other than the raspberries). I briefly froze most of the fruit, but I added the raspberries a small handful at a time as they ripen slower than the rest. I only had enough of each for one gallon of beer, as most of the rest of the fruit was spoken for. The leftover beer went onto local plums!

Video Review



Backyard Berries

Smell – Cherry and raspberry lead, not surprising as they are more distinct than the blackberry and mulberry. There is an underlining wine-iness that likely comes from the rest of the fruit. The base beer behind the fruit doesn't make itself known other than a subtle maltiness.

Appearance – Clear garnet on the first pour, a little haze when I emptied the bottle into the glass. Alright head retention thanks to the wheat.

Taste – Reminds of the nose with raspberry up front and cherry jam into the finish. Not as bright and fresh as it once was, but still reasonably fresh. The malt and hops don’t add a huge amount of character, but they support the fruit. The Wyeast lambic blend similarly stays mostly out of the way, adding edge complexity without trying to fight through the fruit.

Mouthfeel – Not a thick beer given the relatively low OG, and all of the simple sugars from the fruit. Solid carbonation, CBC-1 did a good job despite the acidity.

Drinkability & Notes – The combination of four berries works surprisingly well to my palate. They play together without becoming generic fruitiness. The base beer is unremarkable, but that’s fine in a beer where the fruit is the star.

Changes for Next Time – Would be nice to brew more than a gallon, but otherwise my only real changes would be to go all-grain.

Plum-Bus

The rest of the batch went onto a two varieties of local plums. I've brewed with plums before in a dubbel. I wasn't sure about plums in a pale beer, but after trying spectacular examples from Tilquin and Casey I was convinced!

Smell – Clear it isn’t a kettle-soured fruit-bomb, lots of lemon pith and mineral along with the moderate fruit contribution. Plums aren’t nearly as aromatic as the more common sour beer fruits, but they add a depth without covering up the base beer.

Appearance – Beer is more rusty-gold than purple. Clear despite the flour. Thin white head, but this bottle appears less carbonated than the last few I’ve opened.

Taste – Tangy plum skin, apricot, and lemon. Beautiful blend of fruit and beer. Wyeast Lambic Blend with dreg-augmentation again does a really nice job. Strong lactic acid without any vinegar or nail polish. Finish is moderate funk, hay, and overripe stone fruit.

Mouthfeel – Light, but not thin. Carbonation is too low, maybe the cap-job on this one wasn’t perfect.

Drinkability & Notes – Delicious. The plum could be a little juicier and fresher, but it works well. Sad I didn’t leave any of this half unfruited for comparison.

Changes for Next Time – I’d like to keep experimenting with other plum varieties in beer. Glad the pale base worked out well. Despite “plum” being a common descriptor for darker Belgians, actual plums don’t shine with all of that malt.

Recipe

Batch Size: 10.00 gal
SRM: 5.5
IBU: 5.3
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.006/1.006
ABV: 5.25%
Final pH: 3.45/3.45
Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
----------------
92.3% - 9 lbs Breiss Bavarian Wheat DME
5.1% - .5 lbs Maltodextrin Powder
2.6% - .25 lbs King Arthur All Purpose Flour

Hops
-------
2.50 oz - Homegrown Cascade: Aged 3-4 Years (Whole, ~1.00% AA) @ 90 min

Yeast
-------
Wyeast Belgian Lambic Blend
or
Omega OYL-218 - All The Bretts
Omega OYL-057 - HotHead Ale

Notes
-------
Brewed 1/15/17

Hops were homegrown and aged open over several years.

Fermented and aged in 6 gallon BetterBottle without transfering. Added some various dregs over the course of fermentation.

7/21/17 Filled a 1 gallon jug with the Wyeast half onto 6 oz each homegrown sour cherries, blackberries, and mulberries (plus maybe an ounce of raspberries - maybe 4 oz total over a couple months). The remainder went onto 3 lbs of methly plums.

8/24/17 Added an additional 1.75 lbs of Castleton plums to the plum portion

12/14/17 Bottled the 2.75 gallons of the plum with 61 g of table sugar and rehydrated CBC-1. Bottled the .8 gallons of backyard fruit with 21 g of table sugar and CBC-1.
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

BeerSmith 3 Mobile and Ubuntu Linux Versions Released

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 5:08pm

This week I published the BeerSmith 3.0 update for BeerSmith Mobile on Google Play, iTunes and also the Amazon app store. In addition the Ubuntu Linux versions of BeerSmith 3 are also now available.

BeerSmith Mobile Version 3

BeerSmith Mobile version 3 adds mead, wine and cider support to the mobile platform as well as a number of enhanced beer features. The update is free for existing BeerSmith Mobile version 2 users who previously purchased the full version. As I mentioned in a previous message I am planning to discontinue the “lite” version of BeerSmith mobile in the future so it will not be updated.

The Android and Amazon app store releases are done and available now for purchase from the Google Play or Amazon app stores. The iTunes/iPhone/iPad version has also been released but is being staged over the next few days so it may be a day or two before your device updates. BeerSmith mobile is a separate purchase from the desktop version of BeerSmith as you must buy it through one of the mobile app stores.


BeerSmith on iTunes
BeerSmith on Google Play
BeerSmith on Amazon Apps

The changes to BeerSmith Mobile version 3 match many of the new features available in BeerSmith 3 desktop. These include:

  • Support for mead, wine and cider recipe types and many new ingredients and styles to support them
  • Addition of a new water profile tool (from the edit recipe page) for adjusting water profiles
  • Mash pH estimation and adjustment that is integrated with the recipe builder and water profile used
  • The addition of both local folders and also folder in the BeerSmith cloud
  • New juice, fruit and honey ingredient types to support the use of these ingredients in beer as well as cider, mead and wine
  • Boil adjustments for high altitude brewers
  • Temperature adjustments on a “per hop” basis for whirlpool hop additions
  • An improved interface with pop up menu for recipe editing

If you don’t have BeerSmith 3 mobile you can purchase it from either the iTunes or Google Play store.

BeerSmith 3 for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04

This week I also released BeerSmith 3 builds for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 in a Debian package. BeerSmith 3 for Linux is the full desktop package with all of its features on the Ubuntu Linux platform. BeerSmith 3 may also work on some other Linux platforms though it may require additional dependencies to be downloaded first. You can see a complete list of package dependencies by running “dpkg -I BeerSmith*.deb” against the downloaded debian package.

The desktop version for Linux is available as a free 21 day trial which you can download below.


Download BeerSmith 3
Buy BeerSmith 3

I hope you enjoy using the many new features in BeerSmith 3! 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

Session Mead with Steve Piatz- BeerSmith Podcast #175

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 12:37pm

This week Steve Piatz joins me to discuss how to make a low gravity session mead including mead nutrients, backsweetening and how to spice or accent your mead. Using modern techniques, you can make a great session mead in as little as a few weeks.

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 (38:57)
  • Today my guest is Steve Piatz. Steve is the 2008 Mead Maker of the Year and also the author of the book The Complete Guide to Mead Making (Amazon affiliate link).
  • We start with a brief update of some of Steve’s mead making activities since his last podcast.
  • Steve explains what a “session mead” is and how it is different than other types of mead.
  • We discuss sweet vs dry finish, and agree that most meads need some sweetness (i.e are not best totally dry) or spices to balance them.
  • We talk about a variety of methods for finishing a mead sweet including cold crashing, halting fermentation through filtration and backsweetening.
  • Steve explains applying potassium sulfite and sulfate at the end of fermentation and also how to backsweeten.
  • We discuss methods for adding fruit, spices, hops and other flavors, including why it is best to blend these in at the end.
  • We talk a bit about the importance of nutrients, aeration and especially regular degassing during active fermentation
  • Steve explains how you can ferment and finish a session mead in just a few weeks using modern nutrients and degassing
  • He speaks for a few minutes at the end about his book on mead making (link above).
Sponsors

Thanks to Robert Keifer 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

Brewery Clubs: Both Sides

The Mad Fermentationist - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 5:36am
The first beer club I joined was Lost Abbey’s Patron Sinners in 2008. It was a relatively novel idea at the time, essentially a CSA for beer. It was the easiest way for me to get bottles I’d heard such wonderful things about. Clearly the concept has caught on. For breweries it is an easy win, money months before the beer is ready. For consumers it can be a win, access to limited beers without the need to wake-up early or wait in line.

It’s an easier ask if the beers offered already have a good reputation. Signing up for Lost Abbey's club meant an opportunity to try "whales" like Cuvee de Tomme for the first time. It also gave me access to their microbes… those Red Poppy dregs colonized our first wine barrel for the group Flanders Red.

For Sapwood Cellars, Scott and I are in a bit of a unique situation. Many more of you have read about our homebrew-exploits, listened to us talk brewing, and brewed recipes based on ours than have actually tasted anything we’ve personally brewed (although you may have tasted something I collaborated or consulted on). Although I've been surprised how many people who signed-up mentioned tasting our test batches at festivals as a deciding factor!


With the barrel program we have planned there is a bunch on money required now: barrels, racks, microbes, equipment, and wort-production. All for beers that we won’t be able to sell until 2019 or even 2020. If you choose to join, your money will go directly to allowing us to get more beer into barrels in the next few months. That will in turn provide a greater variety of stock available for blending, fruiting, and dry hopping. Our goal is to extend our homebrewing roots as long as we can, producing weird and wonderful beers… and dumping beers that aren’t up to our standards!

I completely understand if you don't want to spend $200-500 to buy beers that we haven't brewed or even named yet. I don't want anyone angering a spouse, or blowing their annual beer budget. Most of our beers will be readily available at the taproom, and I'd guess that there will be extra club slots available for 2020. Honestly I see the Wood club as good for someone who lives a less-than convenient trip to the brewery and can only visit a few times a year (but wants to know they can go home with a variety of sour bottles). The Sap club is good for someone local who plans to be a regular and loves fresh hoppy stuff.

We take the trust that people are putting in us seriously. We'll do our best to make sure that not only do you get beer, but it is the best possible beer we can create. That said, there is certainly a chance timelines will be slower than we expect and I'd rather have the final allocation of great beer in early 2020 than rushed bottles with carbonation issues in late 2019.

If you'd rather an experience over beer, today we launched opportunities to join me for a web chat about our sour beers, blending session, commercial brew day, and homebrewing. Most of these are permanently gone once the stock hits zero. There are also a couple slots for a group or anyone who has recently won the lottery to have us design a sour beer or hoppy batch to your tastes, we'll likely do a few of those each year. We still have plenty of merch available as well (shirts, glasses, and inscribed copies of American Sour Beers) for people who can't make it to the brewery!

We should be able to finally brew our first 10 bbl batch in the next few weeks. The last major piece of equipment to arrive is our glycol chiller, scheduled for next Wednesday. All of the piping is run for it already and the concrete pad it will sit on is curing. Other than that, a gas-meter upgrade and a tweak to the usage listed on a 1979 site development plan are the only things between us and opening!

Our first batch is going to be a kitchen-sink brew using the leftover ingredients from the brewery that was previously in the space. It was crushed 18-months ago… we’ll be giving away the wort to anyone interested! Of course, club members will get first dibs... but I'm guessing there will be second and third dibs at least!

I'm shocked at how amazing the response has already been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has helped give us a little extra cash buffer, the beer (and our sleep) will be the better for it! We started with 50 memberships for our Founders Club... and they are all gone! Still plenty of the two individual clubs available for the time being, and we'll leave them up until the 2018 (unless they sell-out first).

---------------------------------
Sap Club 2018-2019

Sap Club Membership entitles you to $1/off each full pour or growler at our tasting room with a sweet membership card. It also allows you to purchase growler fills of any fresh hoppy beers, even the special kegs and weird experiments that no one else can bring home - in your club exclusive 1 L growler. Includes admission for two to our annual holiday party (December 2018) and pre-release access to canned IPAs (when that finally happen). This inaugural “year” of the club will run from opening through the end of 2019. First-year members will have right of first refusal for membership in the club's next year.

Wood Club 2019

The Wood club is for sour and funky folks. Membership grants you two .5L bottles of each of our first eight barrel-aged sour/funky bottle releases. This will include at least two releases exclusive to club members - using fruits and other ingredients too rare or costly for large batches. We won’t have a set release schedule as the beers will tell us when they are ready, but we'll allow semi-annual pickups. Plus $2 off and priority access to pre-purchase limited sour beers before the unwashed masses! You’ll also receive a Sapwood decanting basket. 2019 members will have right of first refusal for membership in the club's next year.

---------------------------------
In news closer to the blog, Mad Fermentationist T-shirts are available again, this time print-on-demand style. I've also got posters of the updated Brewery Connections graphic... which will feature prominently in the Sapwood Cellars bathroom decor!


Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Adjusting Hydrometer Readings for Temperature when Beer Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 11:18am

A lot of brewers may not be aware but when you take a hydrometer reading you do need to adjust for the temperature of the sample. Hydrometers are calibrated to work at a certain temperature, and readings taken outside of that range can be low or high depending on the temperature.

Hydrometer Calibration Temperature

Hydrometers are used to measure the density of dissolved solids in our wort or beer. Most brewers use the specific gravity scale which is actually a dimensionless number that is a ratio of the density of the liquid to that of pure water which is defined to have a specific gravity of 1.000. Alcohol has a lower specific gravity than water which is one reason why your gravity goes down as wort ferments.

Hydrometers are calibrated to work at a specific temperature. Most hydrometers are calibrated for a temperature of either 60 F (16C) or 68 F (20 C). The calibration temperature is usually printed on the scale of the hydrometer so it is important to check this when using your hydrometer.

If you measure pure distilled water at the calibration temperature it should give you a reading of precisely 1.000. In fact its not a bad idea to check the calibration of your hydrometer as some inexpensive models are not well calibrated.

Measuring Hot or Cold Liquids

If you measure a sample that is not at the calibration temperature with your hydrometer you will need to make an adjustment of the reading to compensate for the cold or hot temperature. This is particularly important when measuring hot wort like that from the mash, pre-boil or even post-boil. Your “into the boiler” raw measurement for gravity is very far off from the actual value. It can also be important for fermenting lagers.

In BeerSmith (mobile or desktop) you can do this by going to the Hydrometer calculator on the Tools menu. Here you can enter the measurement and temperature as well as set your hydrometer calibration temperature and BeerSmith will give you the corrected gravity. The measured gravity and sample temperature go at the top while the calibration temperature is at the bottom of the dialog. After you enter the values the Corrected Gravity field will show the adjusted reading.

So that is a quick overview of how to measure hot or cold liquids using a hydrometer and BeerSmith. 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

Whirlpool, Steeped and No Chill Hops in BeerSmith 3 Beer Brewing Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 8:09am

This is a short video tutorial on how to use the new whirlpool and steeped hop features to make amazing IPAs, as well as how you can use the same features for no-chill beer brewing. BeerSmith 3 has one of the most sophisticated engines for estimating hop bitterness in beer including the ability to have multiple whirlpool hop additions at different times and temperatures. Run time: 4:16 minutes.

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

Why Low ABV Beers Are Great

Brew Dudes - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:39am

Everybody loves strong in alcohol beers or, at the very least, a large number of people rate them very highly on beer evaluation sites across the internet. But what if you’re brewing for a party-sized crowd? What if you’re looking to enjoy more than two beers? That’s when low ABV beers are needed. We discuss […]

The post Why Low ABV Beers Are Great appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Rye NEIPA with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 07/23/2018 - 4:39pm
If you've followed this blog, you've likely picked-up on my my interest in low-alcohol hoppy beers. For example 3.6% ABV Vienna IPA2.3% Session NEIPA, all the way down to this 2.1% Nelson Wheat-IPA. I'm always looking for new techniques to shoehorn the body, malt flavor, and balance associated with IPAs into a smaller package.

This batch was inspired by a couple of rye-heavy table beer that James Spencer shared with me (video of his process). Rye malt is a powerhouse of mouthfeel, and meshes well with hoppy beers. I paired it with Golden Naked Oats in an attempt to infuse more malt flavor and perceived sweetness.

For a grain bill with more beta glucan than husk the only option is brew in a bag (BIAB)... or start buying rice hulls by the sack. I further enhanced the malt flavor by using a 165F (74C) mash to allow me to add more grain without increasing the ABV. Add to that a quick 30 minute boil, and it was an easy brew day.

I've used Mosaic many times, but Hallertau Blanc only once in this Alsatian Saison. I've always associated the flavors I get from these two varieties with that of Nelson Sauvin. It all made sense when I read all three contain the same thiol 3S4MP, which is also a signature of Sauvignon blanc wine and provides a grapefruit-rhubarb aroma. With the increasing demand for Nelson, it made sense to see if the other two in combination could serve as a passable replacement.

As if this beer didn't need another twist, it was my first time attempting to use sound waves to speed dry hop extraction. I'm not the first one to pump decibels into beer (Cambridge Brewing, Green Man, and Baladin all have), but I'm not aware of anyone doing it specifically for dry hopping. When you add pellets they have a tendency to either float, or sink to the bottom. Either way it isn't ideal for extraction. Playing 80 Hz through an old USB speaker  vibrated the BrewBucket pretty well, hopefully increasing the beer-hop contact. Hard to know how much it accomplished without a control...

Look for my Brew Your Own article about Table Beers in the October issue where I go more into depth on this batch and an ESB that I mashed at 70F!

Rye Table Pale Ale (RTPA) 

Smell – Good Nelson-reminiscent gooseberry Sauvignon blanc wininess from the hops. Herbal notes too from the Hallertau Blanc. Without the alcohol as a vector for the dry hops, the aroma doesn’t pop - or maybe the sound waves drove out CO2 and aromatics with it. A light graininess fills in the gaps in the hop aroma.

Appearance – Hazy without particulate after three weeks cold. Ultra-pale, almost looks like a cloudy Berliner weisse. Head retention is pretty good for such a small beer, but the bubbles are bigger and less stable than the dense foam of my NEIPAs.

Taste – Hop flavor is stronger than the nose. Similar white wine flavors, but with a subtle berry flavor from the Mosaic. Mid-palate is a tad lacking in terms of malt flavor, but the hops linger into the finish covering for it. Bitterness is present, but restrained, just about right for this lean beer. Tastes like beer rather than a malt soda.

Mouthfeel – The body is remarkable for a beer under 2% ABV - a friend called it "creamy" in a blind tasting. Moderate carbonation doesn’t disrupt.

Drinkability & Notes – I’m not sure I’ve brewed a beer that I want to drink more of in a session. One of those that doesn’t wow unless you know what is special about it.

Changes for Next Time – Would be interesting to add some light crystal malt and/or Vienna to try to increase the malt flavor. The body is there. For the hops I might go 2:1 in favor of Mosaic and add a second dry hop to try to enhance the aroma.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 5.6
IBU: 44.5
OG: 1.029
FG: 1.015
ABV: 1.84%
Final pH: 4.52
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73%
Boil Time: 30 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
72.4% - 5.25 lbs Briess Rye Malt
27.6% - 2.0 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 165F

Hops
-------
2.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellets, 10.50% AA) @ 185F for 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellets, 12.25% AA) @ 185F for 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Hallertau Blanc (Pellets, 10.50% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellets, 12.25% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 2

Water
-------
10 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
3 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 100 170 30 10 5 40
Other
-------
.5 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

Yeast
-------
SafAle English Ale S-04

Notes
-------
Brewed 6/9/18 with Spencer (Sapwood's tasting room manager)

BIAB.

Mashed with 4 gallons distilled, 2 gallons of DC tap.

Topped up with 2 gallons of DC and .5 gallons of distilled.

Cool to 185F for 30 whirlpool addition.

Chilled to 75F. Moved to fridge set to 45 for a few hours to cool. Pitched at 62F, set to 68F to allow to warm.

Dry hopped after 48 hours. Hit with 80 hz for 24 hours immediately after adding hops.

Kegged 6/15/18 FG 1.014, 52% AA (1.84% ABV).

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

Judging Beer with Mirella Amato – BeerSmith Podcast #174

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 07/21/2018 - 8:37pm

Mirella Amato joins me this week to discuss the BJCP beer judge program as well as developing skills as a beer judge to improve your homebrewing.

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 (46:46)
  • Today my guest is Mirella Amato. Mirella is a certified National Level BJCP Beer Judge and one of just a handful of Master Cicerones in the world. She is also the author of the book Beerology: Everthing you need to Enjoy Beer…Even More (Amazon affiliate link) and runs a web site where she provides a variety of beer consulting services at Beerology.ca
  • Mirella starts off with a brief discussion of the Canadian craft beer scene which has been rapidly expanding and seen growth similar to the US.
  • The topic for today is judging beer as well as the BJCP beer judge certification program. Mirella explains first what a “National level” beer judge is and how a combination of knowledge and experience differentiates beer judge levels.
  • We discuss why it is important for a brewer to be able to judge beer and find flaws as well as ways to improve beer.
  • Mirella provides us with an insiders view of what a typical beer competition looks like from the judging perspective.
  • We discuss how beer panels work and how each beer is judged against comparable beers in the same style/category.
  • Mirella explains how you submit your beer to a competition as well as providing a few tips including the critical issue of selecting the right category to compete in.
  • We talk about how the winner of a competition is determined as well as how judges determine the best of show.
  • She discusses the BJCP style guide and how judges often will review the actual style guide when comparing beers. You can find the style guide and sample scoring sheets on the BJCP web site at BJCP.org.
  • Mirella explains how an average homebrewer can gain experience in developing both the palate and vocabulary needed to identify and judge flavors including off flavors in beer.
  • We talk about Mirella’s book “Beerology” and what sets it apart from other beer books
  • She also provides a quick summary of the services she provides on her web site at Beerology.ca
Sponsors

Thanks to Robert Keifer 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

Mash pH Adjustment Tools in BeerSmith 3 Software – A Video Tutorial

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 2:29pm

A video tutorial explaining the new mash pH tools in BeerSmith 3. BeerSmith 3 now has mash pH estimation and adjustment built into the recipe builder. You can calculate unadjusted mash pH as well as estimate and add mash pH acid adjustments to your ingredients list so you get a proper adjusted pH. The video also explains how to use the acid calculator to either adjust your mash pH or make a final adjustment after taking a pH reading using lactic acid, phosphoric acid or acid malt.

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

The Great Pilsener Redemption

Brew Dudes - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 11:00am

Hi there, fair reader. Thanks for checking out this post. With homebrewing beer, like life, rewards are achieved with the simple act of getting up and trying again. When I brewed that Czech Pilsner earlier this year and wasn’t happy with the results, I knew I had to learn from my mistakes and try it […]

The post The Great Pilsener Redemption appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Craft Beer Connections - Brewery Influence Web

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 4:00am
On Friday I posted a visualization of the connections between the ownership of American breweries, both craft and macro. I was inspired by this graphic of American food companies and leaned heavily on existing aggregations. The response was enthusiastic. Between Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit it was viewed ~150,000 times, plus being featured in a Paste Magazine article.


However, it's the Internet so of course there were complaints:

- You're missing (insert recently sold or Canadian brewery)!

- You're lumping in total ownership with partial!

- List the rest of the 124 AB InBev owned breweries!

- That brewery is closed now!

- That logo is for the 7 Bridges in Da Nang, not Jacksonville!

I spent far too many hours over the weekend correcting, tweaking, and expanding the graphic to address many of those issues. Thanks to those who created other sources I could use as source material (/u/Hraes' spreadsheet, Craft Beer Joe, Philip H Howard, and of course Wikipedia).

Any visualization is a balancing act of information and intelligibility. My first version was likely too simple to provide any deep understanding of the complex web of brewery ownership... while the updated version may be so complex that it is overwhelming (and that's still without 108 AB Inbev brands).

Feel free to let me know if I missed anything. I intentionally left-off private equity firms that own a piece of a single craft brewery (e.g., BrueryStone). I'm sure that there are other conglomerations outside the US that didn't come to mind. It's already starting to look like one of those crazy conspiracy diagrams, so I'm not sure how much more I could add.

With this many complex relationships it is difficult to be completely accurate while maintaining legibility... especially when it comes to unique situations and convoluted relationships. So here it is without distinguishing different levels of ownership.


If you're reading this after July, 2018 don't expect the graphic above to be up-to-date. Obviously no rights other than fair-use claimed on the brewery logos.

I didn't start working on this with the goal of changing what beers people drink. I don't refuse to buy beer from "sellout" breweries... but all-else equal, I'd rather my dollars didn't go to a company that uses its size to muscle small craft breweries off the store shelf or tap list (for example). It's the same reason I stopped shopping at Northern Brewer and Midwest. In that regard there is a big difference between breweries owned by AB InBev, and to a lesser extend Molson-Coors, compared to those owned by CANarchy and Duvel-Moortgat. Even with those though, I'd rather support a small brewery where the money goes back into the brewery, rather than a private equity firm or international conglomerate.

Independent craft beer isn't always delicious. Wide-scale distribution of delicate beers takes both skilled brewers and a level of packaging and distribution channels that many small breweries don't have funding for. That said, I'm not going to buy an insipid or uninspired beer simply because it has a low-level of DO (dissolved oxygen) and an absence of diacetyl and acetaldehyde. There are enough great beers available that I don't need to sacrifice on quality or consistency!

Here is an interesting piece on the Old Dominion-Fordham relationship with AB InBev. Jim Lutz, CEO: "In the years I’ve been here I’ve only met with the AB InBev people twice..." I was fond of Old Dominion before they were acquired in 2007. The first noticeable change was that the tasting room went from smoke-free to smoking permitted. Pretty quickly they closed the brewery in Ashburn, VA and moved production to Fordham's facility in Delaware. The old head brewer didn't follow (he, along with the equipment, became Lost Rhino). I may be out of the loop, but I remember Old Dominion producing a few interesting beers (like their Millennium barleywine aged in barrels... and even a version with Brett). Now all I see from them are pin-up girl logos and uninspired beers. Whether that is the result of AB InBev or the brewery itself doesn't change many of the reasons I don't buy their beers.

While the Brewers Association had to draw a line somewhere for what is craft, I don't find anything special about the 25% non-craft brewery ownership definition. What really matters is the relationship between the brewery and ownership. How much control of the beers is put into the hands of marketing or accounting? What sorts of incentives/investments are there for brewing innovation versus sales growth. Are resources primarily used to increase consistency/quality, or reduce costs? In the past BA has been all too happy to raise the barrels-per-year cap for Boston Beer, even though producing ~4,000,000 bbls/year as a publicly-traded company owned by a billionaire puts their trade-group needs much closer to a macro brewer than it does mine as a ~1,000 bbl/year start-up brewery.

We're at an interesting time in the growth of craft beer, hopefully the visualization helps illustrate that! 
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Buckwheat Saison with Cashmere Hops

The Mad Fermentationist - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 3:59pm
The Bootleg Biology isolated version of my house Brett-saison culture is available for the next few days, so I decided to hustle to write this post featuring my OG blend... especially because after I just quit my day job of the last 12 years with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gotta get that yeast money until Sapwood Cellars is up and running!

I'm a bad microbe owner. I don't do well when I have to keep a culture going with regular feedings. Whether it was kombucha, ginger beer plant, or sourdough eventually whatever the yeast or bacteria it ends up in the fridge, ignored until I toss it. My house saison culture was getting close, having sat in a growler for nearly seven months since the Juniper-El Dorado Saison. Luckily, years of neglect and mistreatment have selected for only the hardiest bugs...

This batch was a bit of a cupboard raid. I had two bags of Arrowhead Mills buckwheat flour that I impulse-bought on sale. A few years ago, I brewed a sour amber ale with buckwheat (milled and pre-boiled) with good results. Buckwheat contains caprylic acid, which there is some chance Brett converts to pineapple-scented ethyl caprylate. It also seems to have the same beer-darkening effect as oats when I left this batch exposed to the air (despite much lower oxidation-catylizing manganese - 1.3 mg/100g vs. 4.3 mg for oats). On the mouthfeel-side, the two contain a similar amount of beta glucans according to this study.

I didn't love the "whole wheat dishwater" gray color of the wort, but it looks great now that it is finished!

I also had a pound of Cashmere hops in the freezer untouched from my last bulk order. They are a relatively recent hybrid of Cascade and Northern Brewer. They seemed like a potential candidate for a NEIPA hop-blend, with positive descriptors of tropical, citrus (including lemongrass), peach, and coconut. I've enjoyed several hop-forward beers with this blend (e.g. New Zealan' Saison). So I added a large dose at flame-out as the sole hop addition.

Despite pitching the yeast directly from the fridge (to avoid gushing), the they woke up in a hurry. By the next day the head was thick enough that it looked more like bread dough than beer. Even if you don't need the culture immediately, clearly it can handle a few months in your fridge!

I decided to leave half the batch as is (currently naturally conditioning in the keg) while the Cashmere dry-hopped half is on tap force-carbonated.

Indian-Subcontinent Saison

Smell – Nice blend of citrusy top-notes plus earthy base from the buckwheat and saison yeast. I don’t get coconut specifically from the hops, but there is richness to the aroma. At less than a month old the Brett isn’t bold, but it doesn't smell completely clean.

Appearance – GLOWING. The ultra-pale base really lets the light into the hazy body. Anti-gravity head retention.

Taste – Grapefruit, melon, faint spices, and a hint of pancake batter. Slight bitterness from the whirlpool addition, no real acidity. The yeast pepperiness isn't as strong as a classic saison, which is one of the things that makes this culture work well with fruitier hops. Not as dry as saisons (including this blend) usually are, not sure if that is poor conversion of the flour or unhealthy yeast.

Mouthfeel - Saisons around 5% ABV are often thin, but thanks to the high FG and the beta glucans from the buckwheat this one has some of the softness of a NEIPA. The carbonation is still a little low, which contributes to that impression as well. That will likely change with more time on gas.

Drinkability & Notes – Saturated with a diverse array of flavors and aromas. Despite the haphazard construction it all actually works. The yeast is subtle enough not to get in the way, and interesting enough to connect the hops and grain. The bigger body makes me forget it is a session beer... especially next to the 2.2% and 1.9% ABV beers on tap now. I'll have to try Cashmere in a cleaner base beer, but a great first impression!

Changes for Next Time – I’ll be interested to taste the non-dry hopped half with more time warm to develop fermentation character. Hopefully the Brett doesn't generate too much carbonation while it is sitting warm. I might go back to whole buckwheat next time to see if that removes some of the "raw" grain notes.



Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 2.8
IBU: 31.2
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.0%
Final pH: 4.42
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
87.8% - 18 lbs Briess Pilsen Malt
12.2 % - 2.5  lbs Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 150F

Hops
-------
Whole Batch
8.00 oz Cashmere (Pellets 8.50 % AA) - 30 min Steep/Whirlpool Hop

Half Batch
3.00 oz Cashmere (Pellets 8.50 % AA) - Dry Hop @ Day 3

Water
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
10.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 120 100 140 15 10 90
Other
-------
3.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient  @ 10 mins
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

Yeast
-------
Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

Notes
-------
Brewed 6/16/18

All DC tap water, carbon filtered. Wort looked a little gray and gloppy thanks to the buckwheat initially. Cleaned up pretty nicely with the boil.

Chilled to 75F, shook to aerate, pitched decanted house saison blend straight from the fridge (harvested seven months earlier... from the juniper El Dorado saison).

Left at 75F ambient to ferment.

6/19/18 Dry hopped half.

6/30/18 Kegged at 1.010. Force carbed for the dry hopped half, 2.5 oz of table sugar for the non-dry hopped half.


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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

An Overview of BeerSmith 3 Software for Beer, Mead, Wine and Cider Making

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:38pm

Here is an overview video of some of the mead, wine and cider features included in BeerSmith 3 software.

BeerSmith 3 adds a variety of new features for beer brewers including in-recipe water tools, mash pH adjustment and updated data as well as support for mead, wine and cider recipes for the first time ever. Run time: 3:49 minutes.

You can view more videos on my video tutorial 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. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Dumping Trub From Catalyst Fermentation System

Brew Dudes - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:27am

After the first brew session with the Catalyst Fermentation System, it was time to test out one of its primary features and benefits. In this video, we see how this valve works as we open it up to dump the trub out of the primary fermentation of Mike’s Belgian Witbier. Let’s see how much better […]

The post Dumping Trub From Catalyst Fermentation System appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Fixing a High or Low Original Gravity in Beer by Adding Malt Extract or Water

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 5:11pm

Filling Fermenter

Today I’m going to give you a tip on how you can adjust your original gravity up or down using the BeerSmith 3 Adjust Gravity tool.

It is not uncommon for a brewer to occasionally miss their target original gravity. It can happen for a variety of reasons including changes in equipment, very large grain bills, missing your volumes, etc…

So lets assume you brew a great beer, transfer it into the fermenter and you are ready to pitch your yeast, but the measured original gravity is too high or too low. What can you do?

BeerSmith has a little known tool designed for this exact situation – it is called the “Adjust Gravity” tool and you can find it on the tools menu in BeerSmith. After you realize your gravity is off, just open this tool in BeerSmith and enter your measured Original Gravity, Measured Volume and Target Original Gravity.

If your original gravity is too high, BeerSmith will calculate how much water you need to add to dilute your beer down to the target gravity. I recommend using distilled or sterile water to avoid any risk of contamination.

If your original gravity is too low, BeerSmith will estimate how much dry malt extract or liquid malt extract you need to add to raise the original gravity. I generally used liquid malt extract if I have any available again to avoid contamination. You can use dry malt extract as well, but you may want to boil it in a bit of water instead of adding it directly to sterilize it.

So that’s a quick summary on how to salvage your original gravity if the brew session did not go perfectly. 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. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

First Catalyst Fermentation System Brew Session

Brew Dudes - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 11:46am

Hi home brewing friends, A few weeks ago, we got a Catalyst Fermentation System that we unboxed and now we have the time set aside to try it out. To document this momentous event, Mike brought his video camera and recorded his brew session. Many people have asked us for more brewing process videos, so […]

The post First Catalyst Fermentation System Brew Session appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

BeerSmith 3 Sale Pricing Extended Through 5 July!

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 07/02/2018 - 8:49pm

I’ve extended the sale pricing on BeerSmith 3 for a few more days through the 4th of July holiday until end of the day (Eastern US time) on 5 July 2018.

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 5 July 2018!

Thanks,

Brad Smith, BeerSmith LLC

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

A Tale of Two Sour Beers — But Really It’s Four

Brew Dudes - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 6:17am

Mike brewed two batches of beer. He made 10 gallons of wort each time which he split into two equal 5 gallon batches to have four different beers for us to enjoy. Even though I quote Charles Dickens, this is a tale of not just two sour beers but really four of them. Watch this […]

The post A Tale of Two Sour Beers — But Really It’s Four appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer and Food Pairing with Sean Paxton – BeerSmith Podcast #173

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 06/26/2018 - 10:51am

Sean Paxton joins me this week to talk about beer and food pairings including hot sauce, BBQ and beer flavors in food.

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

The video will be posted shortly…

Topics in This Week’s Episode (43:40)
  • Today my guest is Sean Paxton, AKA “The Homebrew Chef”. Sean is a professional chef and expert in food-beer pairings and he has a large food-beer recipe site at HomebrewChef.com.
  • We start with a discussion of the many new projects Sean has been working on.
  • He spends a few minutes talking about hot sauce, mole and how hot sauce and hot foods pair with beer.
  • We discuss another hot sauce “Yellow Thai Racer” and how it is different than the mole sauce. We also talk about food pairings.
  • Sean shares some of his new projects including the upcoming “pepper festival”.
  • We talk about a documentary he’s been working on
  • Sean spends a few minutes talking about his beer-food recipe site at HomebrewChef.com
  • We finish with a discussion on BBQ and pairing picnic foods.
Sponsors

Thanks to Robert Keifer 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

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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