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.

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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

Dry Hopping With Amarillo Cryo Hops

Brew Dudes - Wed, 03/04/2020 - 11:39am

I brewed a NEIPA a few weeks ago using a pound of Southern Passion hops. There are on sale and I decided to use them, all of them, in a 5 gallon batch. The resulting beer was good but I thought it could be improved. Taking that thought and connecting it to an experiment with […]

The post Dry Hopping With Amarillo Cryo Hops appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

American Sour Beer Update with Michael Tonsmeire – BeerSmith Podcast #209

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 02/28/2020 - 7:32am

Michael Tonsmeire joins me this week to discuss some of the things he’s learned about Sour Beers in the years since his American Sour Beers book was published.

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 (49:52)
  • This week I welcome Michael Tonsmeire. Michael is the author of the book American Sour Beers (Amazon affiliate link), as well as author of the blog The Mad Fermentationist.  Michael is also an award winning brewer, certified beer judge and founder of the brewery Sapwood Cellars in Columbia MD.
  • We start with a few words about Michael’s experience with his brewery “Sapwood Cellars”.
  • Next we talk a bit about Michael’s book “American Sour Beer” and some of the new developments since he wrote the book.
  • Michael shares some of the new research as well as resources for sour beer brewers.
  • He tells us two things he believes he got wrong when he wrote the book.
  • We talk about his two concerns with the book, the largest of which was lacto-only primary fermentation.
  • We discuss some of the new topics he’s considering for a next edition of the book.
  • Michael shares a new development in lactic producing yeast strains which are heavily being researched at the moment.
  • We discuss the explosion in Kettle souring and how it has evolved.
  • Michael explains “acid shock” in sour beers, which is a particular concern for those seeking to bottle sour beers.
  • He talks about how to acclimate yeast to acid both professionally and how you can do it at home.
  • He shares his final thoughts on sour beers as well as some of the new developments at Sapwood Cellars.
Sponsors

Thanks to Michael Tonsmeire 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

Mike’s First Brew In A Bag Session

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/26/2020 - 5:36am

Mike goes nuts (well, sorta nuts) and is all proud about following a brewing method that has been in practices for several years now. Since this hobby is all about learning new things, we sit down and discuss his first time brew in a bag (BIAB) session and the outcome, a nice crisp Kölsch: What […]

The post Mike’s First Brew In A Bag Session appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brewing Oud Bruin (Flanders Brown) Beer Recipes

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 02/25/2020 - 6:37pm

The Oud Bruin or “Old Brown” (also called Flanders Brown) beer style is a dark Flemish beer from Belgium. It is a well aged beer style, often with a slightly sour flavor to it.

History of Oud Bruin

Leifmans Brewery, founded in 1679 has been brewing Oud Bruin since at least the 1600s, though the historic version was likely considerably more sour and wild than modern versions. The beer has its origins in the Eastern side of the Flemish region of Belgium. Its cousin, Flanders Red comes from the Western portion.

Out Bruins were traditionally barrel aged for an extended period of up to a year, frequently picking up bacteria from the barrel and giving it a sour character. It was also traditionally fermented in open fermenters, again sometimes picking up a wild character.

The Oud Bruin Style

From the BJCP 2015 Style Guide here is a description of the beer profile:

Aroma: Complex combination of fruity esters and rich malt character. Medium to medium-high esters commonly reminiscent of raisins, plums, figs, dates, black cherries or prunes. Medium low to medium high malt character of caramel, toffee, orange, treacle or chocolate. Spicy phenols can be present in low amounts for complexity. A sherry-like character may be present and generally denotes an aged example. A low sour aroma may be present, and can modestly increase with age but should not grow to a noticeable acetic/vinegary character. Hop aroma absent. Diacetyl is perceived only in very minor quantities, if at all, as a complementary aroma. Appearance: Dark reddish-brown to brown in color. Good clarity. Average to good head retention. Ivory to light tan head color. Flavor: Malty with fruity complexity and typically some caramel character. Medium to medium-high fruitiness commonly includes dark or dried fruit such as raisins, plums, figs, dates, black cherries or prunes. Medium low to medium high malt character of caramel, toffee, orange, treacle or chocolate. Spicy phenols can be present in low amounts for complexity. A slight sourness often becomes more pronounced in well-aged examples, along with some sherry-like character, producing a “sweet-and-sour” profile. The sourness should not grow to a notable acetic/vinegary character. Hop flavor absent. Restrained hop bitterness. Low oxidation is appropriate as a point of complexity. Diacetyl is perceived only in very minor quantities, if at all, as a complementary flavor. Balance is malty, but with fruitiness and sourness present. Sweet and tart finish.

BJCP 2015 Style Guide Brewing a Oud Bruin

Oud Bruin has a wide alcohol range from 4-8% which means the starting gravity can vary from a mild 1.040 up to a robust 1.072. Final gravities are very low, with high attenuation much like other Belgian styles leading to an FG or 1.008-1.012. Color varies from a dark brown 15 SRM up to an opaque 22 SRM. Carbonation is moderate.

Oud Bruin starts with a base of Pilsner malt. Typically a blend of darker Caramel malts are added to provide complexity, color and depth as well as some of the fruity raisin, fig, and date flavors. Very dark caramel such as Special B and Caramel 100 should be used sparingly to avoid excessive harsh/burnt flavors. Roast malts are frequently added for roast character and dark coloring. Maize/Corn is often used as a fermentable to increase attenuation.

A lager style of mash schedule is often used to increase fermentability. This involves a low temperature conversion step at around 145 F (63 C) and then a second high temperature step at around 158 F (70 C). This type of mash schedule will activate both alpha and beta enzymes to increase fermentability and reduce the final gravity of the beer.

Low alpha acid continental hops are used in the boil to balance the malt, though hops are not a central flavor of the beer. Belgian yeast strains are used at fairly warm temperature like many Abbey ales to provide complexity and depth to the beer. It is also not unusual to add some Lactobacillus to aid in souring the beer during aging, particularly if you are not barrel aging it.

Oud Bruin has an extensive aging period to develop a sherry-like finish. The beer may be barrel aged or you can add oak chips. Some Oud Bruins are a blend of both old and newer beers to develop the exact balance desired in the finished beer. Traditionally the beer is bottle conditioned after an extended aging period under moderate carbonation.

Here are some of the top Oud Bruin Recipes on BeerSmithRecipes.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) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Forced Beer Oxidation Experiment

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/19/2020 - 3:11am

We have often talked about this subject off-camera and maybe a little on-camera too, but a way to understand off-flavors is to produce them yourself by doing all the things you were told not to do in homebrewing because you’d cause off-flavors. Mike did just that with this forced oxidation experiment with one of his […]

The post Forced Beer Oxidation Experiment appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Belgian Dark Strong Ale Recipes with Gordon Strong – BeerSmith Podcast #208

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 02/18/2020 - 1:33pm

Gordon Strong joins me this week to discuss the Belgian Dark Strong beer style including how to brew it, which ingredients to use and some commercial beer examples to enjoy.

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 (49:24)
  • This week I welcome Gordon Strong. Gordon Strong is the President of the Beer Judge Certification Program, its highest rated beer judge, and author of the books Modern Homebrew Recipes and Brewing Better Beer (Amazon affiliate links).
  • I apologize – we did have some issues with noise on Gordon’s audio, especially near the end of this episode.
  • We briefly discuss some of Gordon’s recent travels.
  • Gordon talks a bit about the Belgian Strong Ale category which includes Dubbel, Tripel and Single abbey styles.
  • He tells us a bit about the history of Belgian Dark Strong ale.
  • We talk about the finished beer including what it tastes like and some characteristics.
  • He describes the basic style stats such as OG, bitterness, gravity, ABV.
  • Gordon talks about some commercial examples of Belgian Dark Strong ales available.
  • We discuss brewing a Belgian Dark Strong starting with the grain bill and hops used.
  • We talk about the importance of using the right mash schedule to get high attenuation for the beer.
  • Gordon tells us his preferred yeast style and also fermentation of this beer.
  • We talk about aging for this style which can be extensive and include barrel aging.
  • He explains packaging of the final beer and shares a few final tips on brewing the perfect Belgian Dark Strong.
  • Gordon mentions his course coming up and also where to sign up for the March BYO Boot Camp.
  • I also mention that I will be teaching at the BYO boot camp. I’m presenting both an intermediate and advanced recipe design class.
Sponsors

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

Thoughts on the Podcast?

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

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

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

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

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Why Are Brewing and Winemaking so Different?

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 02/18/2020 - 5:00am
On their surfaces the fermentations of beer and wine seem like they should be similar. A cool, sugary liquid is inoculated with Saccharomyces cerevisiae (or a close relative) and the eventual product is packaged with a goal of minimizing oxidation. Why then are the two approached in such fundamentally different ways from yeast pitching rate to the use of oxygen scavengers?

I’ve only made a handful on wine kits over the years so I’m by no means an expert vintner. That said, I’ve been thinking about cider while I wait for TTB-approval to begin production at Sapwood Cellars. The question is, do we approach it like a beer or a wine?


Wine yeast has a different history than beer yeast. Where ale and lager strains have been domesticated for centuries, most wine strains were at best semi-domesticated until the last few decades. A big reason for that is the seasonal production differences between the two products. Dried grain and hops store and ship easily compared to grapes, so harvesting and repitching yeast was common in beer long before wine (which relied on an annual spontaneous fermentation).

Wine strains are still less domesticated (more wild) and thus tend to be more “competitive” than beer yeast, producing kill factors and generally being able to bootstrap up from low cell counts. As a result, suggested pitching rates for wine are usually much lower than for beer. A typical pitching rate for a 1.080 beer might be 3 grams of dried yeast per gallon, where wine is usually 1 g per gallon. This is also reflected in the package size for the strains (5 g vs. 11.5 g).

For home winemakers anyway, it is difficult to find best-practices for things like pitching rate and oxygenation. We can certainly debate the credibility and accuracy of the advice, but homebrewers have widely referenced formulas and targets for these based on original gravity and type of yeast (ale vs. lager).

Wine must isn't boiled to avoid destroying its fresh fruit flavor, so without chemical intervention there is no “clean slate” to begin fermentation. Even pitching a pure culture of yeast wouldn’t guarantee a product that doesn't eventually sour or go off. That helps to explain the common uses of antimicrobial sulfite and sorbate (which winemakers have widely referenced formulas for dosing rate). Chemical stabilization also allows the packaging of sweet wines, where brewers have mash temperature to control fermentability.

Most of the analysis of wine, must, and fermentation has happened since the 1970s. Where some of the earliest work on microbiology (not to mention scientific measurement) was from breweries a century earlier. Beer became science-ified first thanks to the earlier industrialization of brewing (again a result of the differences in ingredients). 

Modern breweries are built upon keeping oxygen out of the beer post-fermentation. Much of this is accomplished with purging with carbon dioxide or nitrogen and transfers and packaging under pressure. Conversely, conventional wine production relies on dosing with metabisulfite (a potent oxygen scavenger) to neutralize oxidation while the process doesn’t do as much to avoid it.

Part of this is that breweries may make 25 or more batches of beer in a given fermenter each year, while seasonal wineries don’t have this luxury. This means even smaller breweries can afford to spend more on their equipment allowing for transfers under pressure rather than pumps. Dealing with force-carbonation makes pressure vessels a requirement. There are also stages of winemaking, like punch-downs or separating the skins from the fermented wine, that are nearly impossible to do without introducing some oxygen. There is also an expectation of stability and ageability with wine.

Traditionally beer was naturally carbonated, which allows the yeast to scavenge oxygen introduced during packaging. Combine that with typical quick consumption and oxidation wasn't as large of a concern until recently.

Natural wineries that avoid the addition of sulfites do take some cues from brewing in limiting oxygen, but this is currently a growing but still niche winemaking approach.

Beer has always been a recipe: grains, water, and herbs at a minimum. Sugars, fruit, spices etc. all have a historic precedent in brewing. It is no big surprise then that brewers are more likely to add 100 different ingredients than vintners who can make wine from crushed grapes alone - although adulteration had a historic place. Most of the wines I see with a "flavor" addition (e.g., chocolate, almond etc.) are inexpensive gimmicks. The lone exception is herbs in wines like vermouth. Where most of the expensive highly sought-after beers contain additions that fall outside of the core ingredients.

Modern wineries add all sorts of processing aids, acid/sugar adjustments, nutrients etc. but generally with the goal of balancing, showcasing, or heightening the fruit expression. Wine strains are now carefully selected to have specific interactions to increase aromatic compounds (e.g., the ability to converts the thiol 3MH to 3MHA). Wine yeast blends are also popular with one strain freeing a compound and another converting it. All things that are rarely considered for brewing.

Brewers have only relatively recently begun to embrace aging in oak barrels, something many wineries never gave up on when stainless steel became the standard. Brewers have very much relied on the secondhand barrels from wine and spirit production rather than buying new or directly supporting coopers.

This goes after the larger point that brewers are currently less tethered to their industry's recent past than wineries. The most popular craft beers of today don't look or smell like any beers that were produced 30 years ago, while wines have remained relatively unchanged. Much of the American craft beer boom was based on taking dead or dying styles, ingredients, and techniques and resurrecting them. It is great to see the same becoming more popular in wine with the resurgence of orange wine, obscure varietals, and natural winemaking.

I’m not here to argue that either brewers or vintners are better. I think there are things that each side could learn from the other. Why don’t we see dry hopped wine? Why don’t brewers add 5 PPM of metabisulfite as insurance for the hazy IPAs? Why don’t we see more wineries reduce their sulfite usage by purging their tanks and bottles? Why don’t we see more brewers celebrate the terroir of local ingredients? I even wrote an article for BYO about using wine yeast in beer.

Someone could likely write a similar article about distilleries, cideries, sake-producers, etc. The point is to get out of your box, and see what other experts suggest in their chosen domain. Determine if any of it is useful to what you do!

I've talked to cidermakers who operate just like a winery in terms of their fermentation and highlighting of the apples, while others are clearly more influenced by craft beer (take Graft). We'll likely take a hybrid approach for our ciders, using our best low-oxygen transfers along with winemaking techniques that make sense to us. Celebrating the character of the apples, but still sometimes having fun with additional flavors.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Southern Passion Hops NEIPA Tasting Notes

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 3:08am

So there was a deal on South African hops from Yakima Valley Hops where I could get a pound of Southern Passion hops for a nice price. With a pound of hops, I was in for a penny and in for a pound. I thought it was silly just to make a one gallon batch […]

The post Southern Passion Hops NEIPA Tasting Notes appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

The BJCP Provisional Beer Styles and BeerSmith

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 12:44pm

Pale Ale

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has issued several provisional beer styles in the years since the last major 2015 revision of their style guidelines. BJCP style are used in most home brew competitions here in the US.

Note that these styles are available as an add-on in BeerSmith under File->Add-ons. Install the add-on titled “Provisional BJCP 2015 Beer Styles.”

The Four Provisional Beer Styles

Since the 2015 BJCP update, several styles have emerged and are now brewed widely enough to be recognized by the BJCP as separate provisional styles. The four new styles are:

  • Catharina Sour (X4): A Brazilian kettle soured beer that incorporates fruit. From the guide: “A light and refreshing wheat ale with a clean lactic sourness that is balanced by a fresh fruit addition. The low bitterness, light body, moderate alcohol content, and moderately high carbonation allow the flavor and aroma of the fruit to be the primary focus of the beer. The fruit is often, but not always, tropical in nature.”
  • New Zealand Pilsner (X5): A cleanly fermented, golden pilsner that highlights the fruity, tropical and citrus flavors of New Zealand hops. From the style guide: “A pale, dry, golden-colored, cleanly-fermented beer showcasing the characteristic tropical, citrusy, fruity, grassy New Zealand-type hops. Medium body, soft mouthfeel, and smooth palate and finish, with a neutral to bready malt base provide the support for this very drinkable, refreshing, hop-forward beer.”
  • Burton Ale (17A): A rich, malty, bitter and historic strong ale from the Burton-on-Trent area in England. From the guide: “A rich, malty, sweet, and bitter dark ale of moderately strong alcohol. Full bodied and chewy with a balanced hoppy finish and complex malty and hoppy aroma. Fruity notes accentuate the malt richness, while the hops help balance the sweeter finish. Popular in Burton before IPAs were invented, widely exported to the Baltic countries. After 1822, reformulated to be less sweet and strong. Most popular in the Victorian Era, with several different strengths available in the family. The strongest versions evolved into English Barleywines. Became less popular after WWII, eventually dying out around 1970.”
  • New England IPA (21B): A cloudy American IPA with intense juicy fruit flavors and aroma. From the style guide: “An American IPA with intense fruit flavors and aromas, a soft body, and smooth mouthfeel, and often opaque with substantial haze. Less perceived bitterness than traditional IPAs but always massively hop forward. This emphasis on late hopping, especially dry hopping, with hops with tropical fruit qualities lends the specific ‘juicy’ character for which this style is known.”

Again, you can use all of these provisional styles in BeerSmith by just installing the “Provisional BJCP 2015 Beer Styles” add-on from the File->Add-ons menu item 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

Kentucky Common Beer – First Attempt

Brew Dudes - Wed, 02/05/2020 - 3:02am

Mike brewed two beers. As he has done in the past, he brewed a 10 gallon mash run and then made two 5 gallon batches from it. One was a Cream ale but the other one was a new style for us both. Here’s our examination of Mike’s first attempt at a Kentucky Common Beer. […]

The post Kentucky Common Beer – First Attempt appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Going All Grain with John Palmer and John Blichmann – BeerSmith Podcast #207

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 4:43pm

John Palmer and John Blichmann join me this week to discuss All Grain Essentials and the upcoming BYO Boot Camp in Denver where they will be presenting hands-on classes in all grain brewing.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (49:41)
  • This week I welcome John Palmer and John Blichmann. John Palmer is author of the best selling homebrew book How to Brew as well as Water and Brewing Classic Styles. (Amazon affiliate links)
  • John Blichmann is President and CEO of Blichmann Engineering, a top supplier of innovative homebrew and professional brewing equipment.
  • For simplicity I’ve used their last names below as both have the same first name.
  • John Blichmann starts with a description of the upcoming BYO Boot camp event where they are both teaching as well as a brief overview of their course designed to aid those transitioning to all grain.
  • John Palmer talks a bit about malt and how the malt you choose is important for your all grain brew.
  • Blichmann talks about the importance of a perfect grain crush, what it looks like and how to get it.
  • Palmer walks us through the basic mashing process and talks about some of the enzymes critical to converting sugars during the mash.
  • Blichmann describes the top level equipment options you can use for all grain brewing including BIAB, single vessel, three tier and hybrid brewing options.
  • Palmer talks about single step mashes as well as some of the other mash step options available to home brewers.
  • Blichmann tells us how he knows that the mash is complete and walks us through the lautering process.
  • Palmer talks about mash and brewhouse efficiency and why it is important for developing future recipes.
  • They both cover some common all grain troubleshooting including if the temperature or gravity is off.
  • Palmer describes what happens once the mash and lauter are complete.
  • They both share their closing tips for all grain brewers as well as where to sign up for the March BYO Boot Camp.
  • I also mention that I will be teaching at the BYO boot camp. I’m presenting both an intermediate and advanced recipe design class.
Sponsors

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

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Doctoring Beer With Brewing Salts

Brew Dudes - Wed, 01/29/2020 - 11:05am

Yo – do you remember that lager I brewed with homegrown Magnum hops? Well, if you do remember, I brewed that beer using water right out of my tap. Mike wanted to try something. He said we could doctor the beer with brewing salts to see if we could learn something about their effects on […]

The post Doctoring Beer With Brewing Salts appeared first on Brew Dudes.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

PLAATO Keg Management System Unboxing

Brew Dudes - Wed, 01/22/2020 - 10:56am

Although we received a prototype of this product a while ago, it was great to get the official product so we could unbox it here. Take a look at the sleek look of the PLAATO Keg Management System. Unboxing And Review The final device has a nice smooth outer covering. The prototype that we got […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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