Homebrewing blogs

Historic English Imperial Stout Revisted

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 4:40am
Any long-time readers may recall my interest in the original Russian Imperial Stouts – brewed in England with four malts (pale, amber, brown, and black) plus caramelized sugar. Fermented with English ale yeast and Brettanomyces. They bear about as much resemblance to modern pastry stouts as the original English-brewed IPAs do to today’s hazies and milkshakes.

Of the many recipes from this blog that we’ve adapted to the big system at Sapwood Cellars (Atomic Apricot, Cherry Wine, Tmavé Pivo, Scottish Stout, Cheater Hops, Saphir Pilsner, Berliner etc.) my Courage RIS-Inspired is probably the one I was most excited about! We closely followed the original recipe from 2007 (which I preferred to the 2016 rebrew). Last summer we released the base beer (Lord Rupert Everton), followed last fall by Lord Rupert Barrelton which had a quick dip in barrels that held Cognac Finish Rye Whiskey from Sagamore Spirits.

After refilling the barrels from kegs of the same base beer, we pitched the same strain of Brett I used for the original, WY5110 Wyeast Brett anomalus. It's been out of production since 2007, but I asked everyone I could think of (starting with Wyeast) and no one had the strain available… French microbiologist Christopher Pinchon to the rescue! We’d already gotten “his” Willner Brett strain second hand for our gose (Salzig). The culture he sent started up quickly and I pitched half of an active 2L starter into each 80 gallon barrel in September… then not much happened. The Brett didn’t produce any CO2 or reduce the gravity over six months. Originally, we planned to bottle the beer once it stabilized, but without any apparent fermentation we decided we were better off kegging the beer as Sir Rupert Barrelton.


Sir Rupert Barrelton

Smell – Loamy, with fresher notes of Tootsie Roll (from the malt) and coconut/vanilla (from the barrel). I really have a hard time figuring out it that earthy note is Brett, or just mild oxidation from time warm in the barrels. The spirit-character is relatively subtle, but is enough to immediately make it clear this isn’t an authentic take.

Appearance – Black with chestnut edges. Pretty good dark brown head. Solid retention.

Taste – Smooth flavor without any sharpness from the roast. The Maris Otter and Amber malt help to fill-in the background of the black malt. Plenty of baking soda prevents the roast-acidity that can cause stouts to become acrid. The dark candi syrup brings a subtle dark fruitiness without being obnoxiously raisin/plum like dark crystal can be.

Mouthfeel – Not as thick as stout drinkers are used to (I’ve seen some stouts finish above 1.080 now… and I used to think Dark Lord’s 1.060+ was absurd)! Low carb, just how I like by big/dark beers.

Drinkability & Notes – It’s a unique beer compared to the other more “modern” stouts we brew. The “reasonable” FG of 1.026 makes it easier to drink than the typically sweeter ones. I like the depth of the combination of barrel-character and malt. The age/Brett give it additional complexity. If you are in Maryland and want to try the beer we'll have it available in crowlers the next month or so.

Changes for Next Time – Maybe it was the alcoholic boost from the barrel that prevented the Brett from doing more? Better to use more neutral barrels, or stainless with oak barrel-alternatives. We refilled the barrels with a riff on my Big Funky Ale and pitched additional microbes. It would be fun to try making our own invert no.4 to replace the dark candi syrup.

Courage RIS Inspired 2016

Smell – Brett (cherry, funk, dusty). The Brett C really covers up the malt almost completely in the nose. Blind I suspect I’d lean towards calling it an Oud Bruin.

Appearance – Black with dark-brown edges. Big tan head that is held up by the carbonation for a few minutes before deflating.

Taste – Stout-ier than the nose, with some cocoa notes. However, the Brett is still the primary flavor. Some nutty (almost peanut brittle) flavors from the malts. Moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Carb is similar to what I remember, higher than I’d prefer. A little thin, although once the carbonation is swirled-down it improves.

Drinkability & Notes – It’s a bit beer with a lot of funk, plenty of alcohol, and a bit too much carbonation, not exactly a beer I (or many) would drink quickly.

Courage RIS Inspired 2007

Smell – Oaky. Unlike Sir Rupert, it is the wood rather than spirit coming through. Not damp basement, and not Home Depot lumber aisle either. Just a pleasant vanilla-sugar cookie woodiness. A hint of licorice. The roasty-toasty malt is there, but is subtle. Like Sir Rupert the Brett is restrained, honestly makes me more confident that the Brett really did do “something” in the fresher beer.

Appearance – Black with chestnut highlights. Head pours small and drops quickly.

Taste – Every bit as good as it was 10 years ago. Cookie-toasty, vanilla-oaky, cocoa-roasty, and leather-earthy. It is relatively dry for a beer this big, but the bitterness is mostly gone too. I don’t get any wet paper, or any other signs of detrimental oxidation.

Mouthfeel – The body a bit thin, but considering I brewed it when I was 24 and I’m 37 now I can’t complain! A testament to my beginner's luck… and metabisulfite. Carbonation is low, but I wouldn’t mind if it was even lower.

Drinkability & Notes – What can I say about a beer I brewed more than 1/3 of my life ago? The other two are good beers that I enjoy, this one is something special. A huge range of flavors that all work in unison. Sadly this is my last bottle.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Mead Making with Steve Piatz – BeerSmith Podcast #214

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 05/08/2020 - 2:52pm

Steve Piatz, the author of “The Complete Guide to Making Mead” joins me this week to discuss mead making techniques.

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

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:23)
  • This week my guest is Steve Piatz. Steve is the author of the book The Complete Guide to Making Mead (Amazon affiliate link). Steve joins us to cover a variety of mead topics.
  • We first discuss some of Steve’s recent activities and meads he’s made.
  • Steve provides us with a brief overview of modern mead making which can be done with equipment on hand by most home brewers.
  • We discuss mead nutrient additions as well as degassing which play an important role. Steve has been experimenting with not degassing some of his meads.
  • Steve shares his thoughts on stabilizing meads including how and when to use sulfites and sorbates in your mead.
  • We talk about how to determine the correct amount of sulfites to add, as well as how to backsweeten.
  • Steve talks about some new fermentation adjuncts he’s been working with including yeast-derived adjuncts.
  • He also talks about using tannins and acids intended for wine making to enhance the body and structure of his meads.
  • We discuss blending which is widely used in wine making. Steve tells us why blending is a very important technique for the mead maker to achieve the correct balance and structure in a mead.
  • I bring up the topic of managing the pH of a mead including how to balance the pH during active fermentation.
  • Steve gives us his closing thoughts on mead making techniques.
Sponsors

Thanks to Steve Piatz 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

Comparing Crystal 40°L & 60°L Malt

Brew Dudes - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:46am

Mike got his malt experiments going. Here he brewed three beers to make a video where we get to learn more about the differences between Crystal 40°L and Crystal 60°L malts. Take a look at this video! Malt Experiment Thoughts Even though we were comparing two malts, Mike brewed a base beer as a starting […]

The post Comparing Crystal 40°L & 60°L Malt appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Cloning Hoegaarden From Bottle Dregs – The Tasting

Brew Dudes - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 2:59pm

The process of brewing this beer was discussed a few weeks ago – the cultivating of yeast from a six pack of Hoegaarden. If I believed what I read online, I would have not tried this experiment. “Probably not the same yeast they use for fermentation.”, they said. “The brewery pasteurizes the bottles before shipping […]

The post Cloning Hoegaarden From Bottle Dregs – The Tasting appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Perfecting Your Brewhouse Efficiency in BeerSmith

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 3:06pm

This week I take a look at how you can use BeerSmith brewing software to adjust the brewhouse efficiency for your individual equipment setup.

Understanding Brewhouse Efficiency

Brewhouse efficiency is simply a measure of how efficient your all grain brewing system is at converting pounds (or kilograms) of grains into Original Gravity (OG) points going into the fermenter. Each malt you mash in your system has a theoretical yield or potential, usually listed as the fine grain dry yield, which is derived under laboratory conditions.

Real world brewing systems don’t typically achieve the laboratory yield due to various losses, but they do achieve a percentage of the ideal number. That percentage, as measured by the OG going into the fermenter, is the overall brewhouse efficiency. Typically this is a number between 70-80% though some systems are outside that range.

As a side note the brewhouse efficiency is different from the mash efficiency. Mash efficiency only measures how efficient the mash process is and not the rest of the system.

Brewhouse Efficiency in BeerSmith

In BeerSmith, the brewhouse efficiency is set as part of your equipment profile and also appears near the name on the main recipe design screen as “BH Efficiency”. If you don’t know the efficiency of your system you can guess to begin with – starting with a number around 72% should get you close. You also want to make sure the rest of your equipment profile reflects the actual volumes and losses used in your system.

Next you need to brew your beer, recording the volumes and gravities as you go. If you open your recipe and go to the session tab, there are spaces to enter the measured values. The most important ones are measured volumes (pre-boil, batch size) and measured gravities (measured OG, measured pre-boil gravity).

If you have entered these measured values you can now compare them to the volumes you had from your equipment profile. If the volumes and gravities are accurate you can also compare your efficiencies under the Brewhouse Efficiency title on the Session tab. Here you will find out how close your measured efficiency was to the number you had estimated in the equipment profile.

Before you brew again, you can go in and adjust your brewhouse efficiency to match your measured. However, I would also urge you to check the measured volumes vs estimated. If your volumes are significantly off it will have a large effect on your efficiency, so you may need to adjust the volumes first and brew again before making a final adjustment to your brewhouse efficiency. Your goal is to brew a few batches and slowly adjust your equipment profile until both the volumes and efficiency numbers match up!

So that is a quick summary of how you can adjust your equipment profile and brewhouse efficiency to match your equipment in 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) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brewing Yeast with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #213

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 04/20/2020 - 9:55am

Dr Charlie Bamforth, Professor Emeritus from the University of California at Davis joins me this week to discuss beer brewing yeast.

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 (56:16)
  • This week my guest is Dr Charles Bamforth, Professor Emeritus from the University of California at Davis. Charlie joins us this week to discuss beer brewing yeast and its effects on beer flavor.
  • We start with a short discussion of Charlie’s recent retirement of UC Davis as well as his current work with several major brewers and providing online courses.
  • Charlie explains the difference between lager and ale yeast.
  • We talk about how choosing the correct yeast strain affects the flavor of the beer, as well as how to choose yeast for a particular style.
  • Charlie talks about the flavor profile for different yeasts and what some of the major flavor differences are.
  • We discuss yeast variability and how to produce consistent beer despite the fact we are working with single cell organisms.
  • Charlie explains how you can reuse/repitch yeast from one batch to another as well as how many times you can reuse a yeast.
  • We discuss wild yeast as well as Brettanomyces and other bacteria.
  • Charlie talks about his work on a yeast called Lachancea which produces both alcohol and also lactic acid at the same time during fermentation.
  • We discuss the difference between dry and liquid yeast cultures.
  • Charlie gives us his closing thoughts on yeast.
Sponsors

Thanks to Dr Charlie Bamforth 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

The BeerSmith Podcast Index

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 04/17/2020 - 8:18am

I received a lot of positive feedback from the BeerSmith Blog Article Index that I sent out last week featuring about 360 free articles on brewing.

So last weekend I indexed all 212 BeerSmith Podcast episodes by subject so you can find the ones you are most interested in:   BeerSmith Podcast Index
The BeerSmith podcast is a 40-50 minute show featuring interviews with top home and professional brewers on a wide variety of beer brewing topics.

The podcast is available on iTunes Audio and Video, Google Play, and many other services as well.  I hope you enjoy catching up on any articles or podcasts you missed and perhaps get a chance to reconnect with home brewing while we work through the COVID-19 crisis.

Again my thoughts and prayers are with millions of people suffering due to the current pandemic. I hope we can rapidly arrive at a vaccine or cure.
Thank you again for your continued support!

Brad Smith
BeerSmith.com
Follow BeerSmith on Twitter and Facebook

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Mosaic SMaSH Showdown – Cryo vs. Regular

Brew Dudes - Wed, 04/15/2020 - 2:18pm

Here’s something that you haven’t been waiting for but you may still be interested in learning more. This post gives us the showdown between Cryo vs. Regular hop pellets. We brewed two simple beers the same way with the only difference being the hops. Check out this video to see and hear our thoughts: What […]

The post Mosaic SMaSH Showdown – Cryo vs. Regular appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Alcohol Free Beer with Ted Fleming – BeerSmith Podcast #212

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 04/15/2020 - 1:52pm

Ted Fleming joins me this week from Partake Brewing to discuss how to brew alcohol free beer at home.

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

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (42:13)
  • This week my guest is Ted Fleming. Ted is the owner of Partake Brewing in Toronto. Partake specializes in producing high quality non-alcoholic beers.
  • We discuss a bit about Ted’s story and how he got into making non-alcoholic beers.
  • Ted tells us about his experience with the commercial non-alcoholic beer market and how he started originally with a web site selling non-alcoholic beers.
  • He explains some of the factors that motivated him to start producing his own non-alcoholic beers.
  • Ted shares his early days home brewing in an effort to perfect recipes for his brewery.
  • We discuss briefly Ted’s use of “Gypsy brewing”, which is a specific brewing term (not related to Gypsies) which means that he sources his brewing to an existing commercial brewery where they produce Partake’s recipes on their equipment.
  • We talk about some of the methods a homebrewer could use to produce non-alcoholic beer at home including arrested fermentation and also alcohol separation.
  • The simplest method involves heating the beer to a temperature below the boiling point of water, but above that of alcohol so the alcohol will boil off. Unfortunately heating the beer also affects the flavor.
  • We discuss how you can try to maintain the right flavor balance in the beer in the absence of alcohol.
  • We briefly discuss bottling options, though most non-alcoholic beer makers will force carbonate (keg) their beer.
  • We discuss the styles that work best for non-alcoholic beer and challenges working with the delicate flavors.
  • Ted finishes with a bit more about Partake brewing including how much beer they produce and where you can find their products online.
Sponsors

Thanks to Ted Fleming 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

Muntons BIB Update

Brew Dudes - Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:47am

Now that we’re two weeks into fermenting with the Brewery In A Bag from Muntons, Mike thought it would be good to provide an update. Here we are with the check on how the bag is progressing with this video: That Bag is Swole So after adding water and sealing up the bag, the yeast […]

The post Muntons BIB Update appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Yeast Harvesting Hoegaarden White For Clone Recipe

Brew Dudes - Wed, 04/08/2020 - 1:52pm

I love White Ales in the spring time. They taste like victory. Even though 2020 has been a weird year, I still wanted to brew one of my favorite styles. Because I have not been happy with the Belgian Wit yeast strains available commercially and I have more time on my hands, I decide to […]

The post Yeast Harvesting Hoegaarden White For Clone Recipe appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

A Few Hundred Free Brewing Articles to Enjoy

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 8:06am

With so many of us in some form of lock-down, I thought I might offer my fellow brewers some light reading to pass the time.
So I spent the weekend indexing the roughly 360 articles from my blog over the last 12 years. I’ve organized them by major topic, and they are all available for free to enjoy: 

BeerSmith Home Brewing Article Index

I’m working to index the 211 BeerSmith Podcast Episodes by subject, but you can enjoy them all here (or on iTunes or Google Play) also for free.

My thoughts and prayers do go out to everyone affected by the current COVID crisis, especially those of you who are ill, have lost a loved one, are working on the front lines in the medical field, those who have lost a job or a business, or are now struggling to pay the bills. The entire world is working through many of the same problems, and I hope we will quickly find a way back to our normal lives together.


Thank you again for your continued support!

Brad Smith, PhD
BeerSmith.com

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Muntons Brewery In A Bag Review

Brew Dudes - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 11:44am

Way back when we could go outside our house and congregate with people, we got a product from the Muntons booth at the NHC. It’s been sitting in Mike’s basement for a while. In these uncertain, unprecedented times, Mike decided to give us all a walkthrough and review of their Pale Ale Brewery in a […]

The post Muntons Brewery In A Bag Review appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

British Brewing in World War II with Ron Pattinson – BeerSmith Podcast #211

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 9:39am

Ron Pattinson joins me to discuss his upcoming book on British beer brewing during World War II. Ron has done extensive research on how commercial beer production and recipes evolved during the war.

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

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:19)
  • This week my guest is Ron Pattinson. Ron is the author of dozens of historical brewing books primarily focused on the UK. Ron also runs a blog titled Shut Up About Barclay Perkins where he regularly publishes articles on historical beer brewing.
  • We briefly discuss Ron’s return from Thailand last week as the Coronavirus breakout began.
  • Ron introduces the new book he’s working on called “Blitzkreig!” which covers the history of British beer brewing in WWII.
  • Ron explains how beer brewing was much different in WWII vs WWI where we saw a drop in production.
  • We talk about the drop in beer gravity combined with rising production of beer during the war.
  • Ron explains beer taxes, which rose during WWII but not nearly as much as they did during WWI.
  • We discuss the role Churchill played in maintaining beer production.
  • Ron tells us how recipes evolved in response to ingredient supply including large changes year-to-year in brewing recipes.
  • We discuss hops, which largely were kept in supply during the war though hop content did drop slightly in recipes.
  • Ron explains shortages in new equipment, coal and other items which also made brewing a challenge.
  • Demand for beer remained high during the war which was good for breweries.
  • Ron talks a bit about bombing around London which hit many breweries, but also how the breweries often had fire brigades which helped them manage the damage.
  • We talk about his blog and where people can learn more about beer brewing in WWII.
Sponsors

Thanks to Ron Pattinson 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

White Labs Yeast Production with Chris White – BeerSmith Podcast #210

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 10:28am

Chris White joins me this week to discuss how White Labs produces yeast for commercial brewers and home brewing. We discuss everything from his yeast bank to production and packaging.

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 (53:36)
  • This week I’m pleased to have Dr Chris White, President and founder of White Labs as my guest. White labs is one of the largest producers of brewing yeast worldwide, and Chris oversees operations at two locations in the US and one in Europe.
  • We start with a brief discussion of the COVID-19 virus and how it has impacted commercial brewing and Chris’ yeast production.
  • Chris starts by explaining the white lab yeast bank which is stored at cryogenic temperatures to assure there is no change to the core yeast cells.
  • We talk about how cells drawn from the yeast bank are grown in the laboratory up to useful sizes and also how purity is maintained along the way.
  • Chris explains how they use 10x the volume of sterilized wort every two days to increase each generation by approximately 5-6x until they reach a reasonable starter size.
  • We talk a bit about his yeast production equipment which at one time was stainless steel but now uses a polymer film much like that used in the pharmacy industry.
  • Chris discusses how low gravity wort is used to grow yeast, and also how his wort is sterilized in an autoclave to assure purity.
  • We talk about the critical importance of yeast packaging as well as some of the advantages of White labs pure pitch packaging.
  • Chris explains how he harvests and concentrates yeast for packaging as well as the difficult challenge of separating the trub.
  • We discuss what the commercial packaging looks like compared to the smaller homebrew packets. Apparently the 2 liter packs are the most popular commercial size.
  • Chris gives us his closing thoughts on producing yeast.
Sponsors

Thanks to Chris White 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

Polaris Hops SMaSH Beer Review

Brew Dudes - Wed, 03/25/2020 - 2:34pm

This week, we taste a SMaSH beer brewed with 2-row American pale malt and Polaris hops. I have been wanted to brew with this variety for a long time. In the current era of social distancing, we finally got a chance. Here’s our profile of German Polaris hops: What Do Polaris Hops Taste Like? Aw, […]

The post Polaris Hops SMaSH Beer Review appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Light Struck Beer is SKUNKY – Off-flavor Experiment

Brew Dudes - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 11:07am

We have all had skunky beer in the past, right? What we wanted to do is really understand the effects of direct sunlight on a beer. Check out another one of Mike’s off-flavor experiments. This time, it’s light struck beer! Light Struck Beer Experiment Details So Mike took a liter and a half of his […]

The post Light Struck Beer is SKUNKY – Off-flavor Experiment appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Enzymes in the Mash and Mash Temperatures for Beer Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 11:26am

This week I take a look at major enzymes in the mash and how you can leverage these using various mash temperature strategies for beer brewing.

Chemistry of the Mash

The mash process in beer brewing is done primarily to break down longer start changes present in barley grains into simpler sugars like glucose and maltose that can be fermented by yeast.

For barley malt, there are two major malt starches that need to be broken down. The first is amylose, and the second is called amylopectin. These are both composed of long chains of sugars, and neither one is fermentable in its raw form.



Src: https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/58080/bonding-between-amylopectin-and-amylose

Fortunately malted barley, particularly pale malt is packed with natural enzymes that can break these long sugar chains into much shorter fermentables. The two major enzymes in malt are alpha amylase and beta amylase.

Alpha amylase has high concentration in pale malt and even higher for six row barley varieties. It chops starch molecules randomly into longer glucose chains. In particular it will break the 1-4 bonds (shown above) in both amylose and amylopectins. Alpha amylase reaches peak activity at a higher temperature of around 70 C (158 F) in the mash, and a pH of between 5.3-5.7.

The other major enzyme is beta amylase. Beta amylase is the main producer of fermentable sugars. It chops individual maltose molecules from the non-reducing end of both amylose and amlypectin starches. It also limits dextrines by breaking the alpha 1-6 bond in amylopectin which reduces the body of the finished beer. Beta amylase has peak activity at a temperature of 60-65 C (140-149 F) and a lower pH range of 5.1-5.3.

Though both enzymes have an optimal temperature range, they are also active outside of those temperature ranges which is why we still get fermentable sugars even if we are outside the ideal ranges for alpha or beta amylase.

Src: http://www.nutrientsreview.com/carbs/disaccharides-maltose.html Mash Temperature and pH Strategies

So now that we understand the major enzymes active for mashing, lets look at some approaches for varying both mash temperature and pH to create a desired effect in the finished beer:

  • Full Body Mash 70 C (156-158 F) and 5.3-5.6 pH – A full body mash exploits the peak alpha amylase range by hitting its sweet spot. This leaves a higher percentage of dextrins and longer starch chains and less fermentables. This gives lower attenuation and a higher final gravity for a fuller bodied beer for something like a stout or porter.
  • Light Body Mash 60-65 C (140-149 F) and 5.1-5.3 pH – This optimizes the activity of beta amylase, which will result in shorter sugar chains that are highly fermentable and fewer unfermentable dextrins. This gives you a high yeast attenuation rate and lower final gravity for the beer. This will give a light refreshing body for lagers and other lighter beers.
  • Medium Body Mash 67 C (153 F) and 5.2-5.5 pH – At this temperature both alpha and beta amylase will be active to a moderate degree, producing a medium body beer with plenty of fermentables but also some dextrins.
  • Lager Style Mash – Steps at both 63 C (145 F) and 70 C (159 F) with 5.2-5.5 pH – This is a two step mash profile that hits both the low and high end of the typical sugar conversion range. By activating both the alpha and beta amylase in their optimal ranges, this type of profile generally results in even lighter bodied beer than the light bodied mash above. It is often used for light body lagers for this reason.

By adjusting both the mash temperature and pH of the mash as described above you can gain more control over the body and character of your finished 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) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

American Wheat Ale Tasting Notes

Brew Dudes - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 10:51am

I like American Wheat ales. There, I typed it. Let’s all watch this video together and learn about my version of this classic style. Tasting Notes The grain bill on this beer was 5 pounds of white wheat malt along with 5 pounds of 2-row American Pale malt from Rahr. I added a pound of […]

The post American Wheat Ale Tasting Notes appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Creating a Cider Recipe with BeerSmith 3 Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sun, 03/08/2020 - 3:30pm

Here is a short video tutorial on how to create a cider recipe using BeerSmith 3 software. BeerSmith is software designed for beer brewing but it now also supports cider, mead and wine makers with extensive features and ingredients.

You can find additional tutorials on the main tutorial page.

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

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