Homebrewing blogs

Brow Brau Porter Brew Session

Brew Dudes - Wed, 01/06/2021 - 10:10am

To start off 2021, we put together this video capturing a brew session. I haven’t brewed a porter in a long time and a recipe in the January/February 2021 issue of Brew Your Own Magazine caught my eye. Seeing the call for Brown Malt inspired us to take time to coordinate our schedules so we […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Craft Brewery Operations with Michael Tonsmeire – BeerSmith Podcast #228

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 11:00am

Michael Tonsmeire from Sapwood Cellars joins me this week to discuss some of the less glamorous aspects of running a small craft brewery.

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Your browser does not support the audio element. Topics in This Week’s Episode (57:45)
  • This week I welcome back Michael Tonsmeire. Michael is the founder of Sapwood Cellars in Columbia, Maryland as well as author of the book “Sour Beers” (Amazon affiliate link) and also the blog The Mad Fermentationist.
  • We start with a short update of how Sapwood Cellars has been adjusting during the pandemic, as we last talked shortly before it started.
  • Michael next moves to discussing some of the less pleasant aspects of running a commercial brewery which include complying with a web of taxes and regulations.
  • We talk about the daily logs he maintains to comply with state and federal excise tax laws on alcohol, as well as what is expected in terms of record keeping.
  • Michael also explains the dozen or so taxes he pays for payroll, income taxes, social security taxes, workman’s compensation and more.
  • I ask Michael how he was able to learn about all of the various compliance and tax issues that come up in opening a brewery?
  • Michael switches gears to talk about an article on his blog titled “The economics of opening a brewery”, which explains why the tap room is so important to remaining profitable.
  • We talk about labeling and packaging and how there are strict requirements for labeling as soon as you start to distribute across a state line.
  • Michael talks about unusual ingredients and how recipes using certain ingredients need to be approved by the government.
  • Michael explains where people can learn more about craft brewery startups.
  • He gives us his closing thoughts on running a brewery day to day.
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

Drinking Cellar Aged Stouts

Brew Dudes - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 5:38am

For our last post and video for 2020, we go into our basement stashes to taste beers we brewed years ago. If you get into this hobby, make sure you brew a beer that will age well so that you have something to share in the cold, dark days of winter. Take a look at […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

How To Do A Closed Transfer

Brew Dudes - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 2:17pm

These Brew Dudes have learned something during these New England IPA-crazed times: Oxidation can really ruin your beer. Maybe not at first but in a few short weeks, what was a light colored hop bomb is now a brown-purple, lackluster beer. Because of the level of volatile hop oils in this style of beer, it’s […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Staggered Mead Nutrients and BeerSmith 3

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 9:56am

This week we take a look at some alternative strategies for adding nutrients to your mead for proper fermentation. I also explain the TiONSA and TONSA 3 models which are implemented in BeerSmith.

Staggered Nutrient Additions

A key part of modern mead making techniques is the staggered addition of mead nutrients. Prior to the adoption of staggered nutrients, mead making was a very slow process, as it sometimes took up to a year for raw honey and water to fully ferment due to lack of nitrogen and other key nutrients.

The modern technique involves adding typically 4 nutrient additions at key points during early fermentation to provide the nutrients needed for a rapid and complete fermentation. Typically these are added at 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours and then at either the 7 day mark or 1/3 sugar break (when 1/3 of the sugars have been fermented).

Using this technique, fermentation even on a high gravity mead can be completed in as little as two weeks, and the mead can be aged out and consumed in about 60 days. Lower gravity meads can be completed much faster.

TiONSA and TONSA 3 Additions

The two most popular methods are TONSA and TiONSA. TONSA 3.0 which stands for Tailored Organic Staggered Nutrient Addition is the most recent incarnation. It uses Fermaid-O, which is an organic form of nitrogen as the main nutrient. This method was popularized by the Mead Made Right blog.

TiONSA is a slightly older method using the “inorganic” (and slightly cheaper) Fermaid-K nutrient. Some older nutrient schedules also use DAP (Diammonium Phosphate) as a nitrogen source. Using inorganic DAP or Fermaid-K can lead to a faster fermentation up front, but also can lead to potential off flavors and aroma, so most mead makers have moved to the organic Fermaid-O TONSA method now.

Calculating Mead Nutrient Additions

The long form equation for calculating the TONSA addition is:

Tot_grams_ferm_o = (Brix * 10 * batch_size_gals * yeast_factor)/50

where the yeast factor is: Low=0.75, Med=0.9 and High=1.25 depending on the strain of yeast you are using. This equation gives the total grams to add which is then divided into four equal additions to be added at 24, 48, 72 hours and at the 1/3 sugar break. You also may need to adjust for the percent of honey if using large fruit additions.

BeerSmith 3 or higher also will do this calculation for you. You can go to Tools->Mead Nutrients on the desktop or mobile version or access it from a Gold+ account under Tools->Mead Nutrients after logging in at BeerSmithRecipes.com. If you build a Mead recipe on the desktop version you can also go to the Starter tab in the open recipe for easier access as items like the OG and percent honey will be automatically calculated for you.

For the standalone tool you will need to enter your original gravity, percent honey and batch volume. From the recipe builder these are calculated from your recipe and ingredient list. After that it is simply a matter of choosing the method (TONSA or TiONSA) and then the yeast nitrogen requirements for your yeast strain. Most of the popular dry yeast strains are listed on the right in the calculator. For example the popular Lalvin 71B Narbonne yeast strain is a low nitrogen yeast strain.

The output from the program includes both the total and individual Fermaid-O or Fermaid-K additions as well as a description of when to add each, typically in four equal parts.

Using modern yeast nutrient additions, any beer maker can make great mead at home in as little as 30-60 days.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s article from the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Please subscribe for regular weekly delivery, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send this article to a friend.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

No Dry Hop American IPA

Brew Dudes - Thu, 12/24/2020 - 6:56am

IPA recipes, especially New England IPA recipes call for a lot of dry hopping. The thing about dry hopping is that it introduces air to the beer which can cause color and flavor degradation. Mike wanted to see if he brew an American IPA without any dry hops but with a larger than normal whirlpool […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Does Batch Size Make A Difference?

Brew Dudes - Tue, 12/22/2020 - 3:54pm

When I brew for myself, I brew 5 gallon batches. When I brew for “The Dash”, which is code all the Brew Dudes out there in Internet Land, I brew 1 gallon batches because those beers are for learning purposes, mostly. I mean, I still have beer in the end, which is always a good […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Sweet Potato Holiday Beer

Brew Dudes - Thu, 12/17/2020 - 6:29am

In the spirit of holidays past and brewing special beers for the season, Mike presents his 2020 entry. When explaining his thought process behind this ale, he notes that holiday beers are either big (high in alcohol) or weird. Mike’s beer sits comfortably in the latter category. Learn more about this sweet potato holiday beer! […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Craft Malting with Jeff Bloem – BeerSmith Podcast #227

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 12/15/2020 - 2:59pm

Jeff Bloem joins me from Murphy & Rude Malting to discuss Craft Malting and brewing with Craft Malts.

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Your browser does not support the audio element. Topics in This Week’s Episode (46:26)
  • This week I welcome Jeff Bloem to the show. Jeff is the founder and head malster at Murphy & Rude Malting Co located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Started in 2018, Murphy & Rude is Virginia’s first dedicated commercial malt producer, now making over 25 malts for regional brewers and distillers.
  • We start with an introduction to how Jeff got into the business of craft malting.
  • Jeff explains the malting process and the type of equipment he uses to malt raw barley
  • We talk about Jeff’s Mill Fresh program which promotes the use of fresh local ingredients in brewing.
  • Jeff explains how to integrate craft malts into existing recipes for both craft brewing and home brewing.
  • We talk about the ASBC sensory method for evaluating malt flavors and aroma.
  • Jeff discusses some considerations that come into play when using craft malts for your recipe design.
  • We talk about how craft malts cost a bit more than bulk commercial malts, and how businesses can leverage and market their investment int craft malts and local ingredients.
  • Jeff talks about distilleries and how their requirements are a bit different than a typical brewery.
  • We discuss some of Jeff’s home brewing experiments with his malts and how those developed.
  • Jeff shares is closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Jeff Bloem 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

NUKATAP Faucet Demo

Brew Dudes - Tue, 12/15/2020 - 6:10am

We got a new tap to install on the old fridge door. This is a forward sealing faucet, which is, as you probably can guess, is different from a rear sealing faucet. Mike takes us through a demonstration of this tap versus his regular tap and then disassembles each tap to showcase the differences. Watch […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Olive Nation For Your Beer Flavoring Needs

Brew Dudes - Thu, 12/10/2020 - 5:31pm

These Brew Dudes are always looking for great resources for our audience and ourselves. When OliveNation reached out to us, we asked for a few different flavorings for a brew in the near future and something for next summer (if we make it to next summer). Check out this video about this home state provider […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Golden Stout Beer Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 12/08/2020 - 2:39pm

Though not a recognized beer style, Golden Stout has been popularized by many craft breweries as a bit of a novelty beer. This week we take a look at how to brew one.

What is a Golden Stout?

A golden stout is technically a beer that tastes like a rich dark stout, but without the color. Most have a blonde or perhaps amber color. It is certainly a novelty or niche beer, but interesting from a brewer’s perspective because the beer is brewed without the dark roasted grains we associate with traditional stouts.

The illusion is pulled off by brewing the beer using traditional stout ingredients, but without the dark roast malts. Often flaked oats or barley are used to add a rich body to the beer. To get the “roast” flavors, coffee beans and cacao nibs (chocolate) are used.

While there is no defined style for Golden Stouts, most attempt to approximate the flavor of a traditional English or American Stout. This would place it in roughly the 5-7% ABV range with a starting gravity between 1.050 and 1.075. Depending on the overall goal, bitterness could be as low as 25 IBUs up to perhaps 60-70 IBUs for a bitter American example. To maintain the illusion, color should be in either the Blonde (3-7 SRM) or perhaps into the Amber (7-11 SRM) range.

Designing a Golden Stout Recipe

Most Golden Stout recipes start with a 75-85% base of Pale Malt, though I’ve also seen some use Pilsner malt for up to half of that portion to lighten the color even more. I prefer Maris Otter as it provides a good malty base. To this, we typically add 15% either flaked barley or flaked oats to provide the deep rich body needed for a stout.

I’ve also seen some recipes use Munich malt or light (10-20 L) Caramel malt to provide additional sweetness to the base. This can be important for sweeter stout styles.

For hops, you would use a traditional English hops like East Kent Goldings (or your other English favorite) for an English style and hop to a level where you get roughly a balanced bitterness ratio – perhaps around 0.5-0.6. For the American variant you can choose your favorite American bittering hop and bump the hops up a bit to perhaps a bitterness ratio of 0.6-0.8.

To brew the beer, use a “full body” mash schedule by bumping the mash temperature up to the 154-156 F (68 C) range. Ferment using either an English or American ale yeast and let it ferment to completion. Dry hopping may be appropriate for the American style.

The final step, of course, is to add the critical coffee/chocolate flavoring without significantly changing the color of the beer. This is done by steeping a combination of coffee beans, cacao nibs, and sometimes also vanilla in the secondary. Achieving the right balance can be a difficult process and I’ve had several brewers say they went overboard on the coffee flavor.

The direct approach is to add the coffee beans, cacao nibs and either vanilla extract or vanilla beans directly to the fermenter and leave them there for up to 7 days. The problem with this is if you have the balance of ingredients off slightly you will end up with an unbalanced beer that does not taste like a stout.

An alternate approach is to steep the coffee beans and cacao nibs separately in something like diluted vodka for a week or two first, and then use the vodka along with vanilla extract to achieve the right balance. You do this by drawing off a known volume of beer and then adding carefully measured volumes of the various extracts until you achieve the flavor balance you are looking for. Once you know the volumes needed, scale them up to the full batch size proportionally and add them.

This approach will get you the right flavor balance up front. I would start with a pound (455 g) of coffee beans (medium roast) in just enough vodka to cover the beans, 6 oz (170 g) of cacao nibs in separate vodka and perhaps 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract for a 5 gallon (19 l) batch. Steep the beans and nibs for at least 7-14 days, though you can go much longer. Those are rough numbers but should provide you with enough flavor extract to achieve the right balance using the method above.

For reference, here are some Golden Stout recipes from the BeerSmithRecipes.com site. I hope you enjoyed this week’s article from the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Please subscribe for regular weekly delivery, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send this article to a friend.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer Off-Flavor: Astringent

Brew Dudes - Tue, 12/08/2020 - 6:03am

In our continuing series of making off-flavor beer, we put together another experiment to learn more about the Astringent issue that can occur in your beer. Mike has seen this flaw marked off on a few of his scoresheets from competitions, but never fully understood the problem. In this video, we explore the topic of […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer Off-Flavor: Metallic

Brew Dudes - Thu, 12/03/2020 - 5:19am

From time to time, Mike likes to torture me. It starts off with a nice invitation to have a beer in a socially distant environment and it ends up with me tasting some of the worst beer I have ever encountered. We are producing these posts/videos as a part of our Beer Off-Flavor Series. How […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Common Sense Brewing with John Blichmann – BeerSmith Podcast #226

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 3:42pm

John Blichmann joins me this week to discuss ways to simplify your brew day with “common sense brewing”, beer brewing and intelligent use of your equipment.

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (46:56)
  • This week I welcome back John Blichmann. John Blichmann is President of Blichmann Engineering.  Blichmann is the innovative creator of innovative home brewing equipment like the Anvil Foundry, BrewEasy, and new RipTide brewing pump.  John is a lifetime brewer, frequent guest, sponsor of the show, and good friend.
  • We start with a short discussion of how John’s business has been doing with the recent growth in home brewing.
  • John tells us a bit about his overall concept of “common sense brewing” and approaches for simplifying the process.
  • We talk about carbonation, and how some brewers make it a bit more complex than needed.
  • John shares his thoughts on bottling from the keg including various methods for doing so.
  • We discuss “low ox” brewing and how some brewers go overboard trying to reduce oxygen before fermentation.
  • John and I discuss transfers and ways to minimize risk when transferring beers after fermentation. We also talk about pressurized transfers.
  • We talk a bit about pressurized fermentation which John discussed back in episode 163.
  • We discuss how too much complexity in brewing can spoil the fun, unless complexity happens to be the part of brewing you enjoy.
  • We talk about the growing popularity of “all in one” brewing systems including several Anvil and Blichmann systems.
  • John gives his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to 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.

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

Contaminated Fermentor Fix

Brew Dudes - Wed, 11/25/2020 - 5:43pm

When in the course of your homebrewing adventures, your equipment can get contaminated. It can be a bummer, especially when it ruins all your hard work to brew a beer. Thankfully, it’s not the end of the world and it can be resolved. Watch this video about how Mike took measures to turn around a […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Chill Vs. No Chill SMaSH Showdown

Brew Dudes - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 2:58pm

Have you ever wondered about the “No Chill” method of brewing beer where you don’t quickly chill the wort after the boil to fermentation temperatures? Rather, the no chill method calls for transferring your kettle to a cooler environment and letting the wort chill itself via ambient temperatures before racking to a fermentor and pitching […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Low Calorie Beer and Seltzer with Mitch Steele – BeerSmith Podcast #225

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 1:04pm

Mitch Steele joins me this week to discuss brewing low-calorie and low carbohydrate beer as well as seltzer.

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

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (53:22)
  • This week I welcome back Mitch Steele. Mitch is the COO and Brewmaster at New Realm Brewing Company and former brewmaster at Stone. He is also the author of the book on IPAs called “IPAs: Brewing Techniques and the Evolution of India Pale Ale.” (Amazon Affiliate Link) Mitch holds a degree in fermentation science from the University of California at Davis.
  • Mitch shares with us some of the challenges they’ve faced running New Realm during the pandemic and how they have adapted.
  • We start with a discussion of Seltzer – specifically what it is and a brief overview of how it can be made.
  • Mitch provides us with the ingredients he uses and how it is fermented and finished.
  • We talk about some of the challenges that come with making Seltzer including removing color and haze that can form during fermentation.
  • Mitch shares his thoughts on flavors to use for Seltzer as well as which flavors have been selling best for him.
  • We discuss the fact that many beer brewers look down upon seltzer, but why it can make sense from a commercial perspective.
  • We next move on to low calorie and low carbohydrate beers.
  • Mitch explains how you need to use enzymes to achieve low carb/low cal beers and discusses what he uses. We also talk about the best time to use these enzymes (in the mash).
  • We talk about the challenges in achieving proper balance in a beer that is very low-carb/low-cal.
  • He shares his thoughts on creating other styles in a low carb format.
  • Mitch shares his thoughts on the popularity of these beers as well as his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Mitch Steele 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

Lotus Hops SMaSH Beer Review

Brew Dudes - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 2:54pm

One of the recent issues of BYO Magazine had a list of hop varieties that you just gotta try. One of them was Lotus hops. As per usual, when we want to learn more about a hop outside of reading the short description on the side of the packet, we add them to a simple […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Overnight Mash Cream Ale

Brew Dudes - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 3:47am

These Brew Dudes love their cream ale. Mike brews up a good one at least once a year. Each time, he brings something a little different to showcase. Sometimes it’s a change in hops or an increase in adjunct to the grain bill. This brew features an overnight mash and a yeast strain that he’s […]

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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