Homebrewing blogs

Working With Percentages – Homebrew Beer Recipes

Brew Dudes - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:24am

Homebrewing is a great community and one way we share ideas is through recipes. For this post, we thought it would be good to discuss expressing recipes in a way that helps another brewer translate your formulation as closely as possible to what you brewed on your system. Let’s learn about how to present homebrew […]

Read the original article Working With Percentages – Homebrew Beer Recipes and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Mashmaker and Craft Malts with Michael Dawson – BeerSmith Podcast #165

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 8:11am

Michael Dawson joins me to discuss his new book “Mashmaker” as well as the emergence of some unique craft beer malts.

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 (45:30)
  • Today my guest is Michael Dawson from BSG. Michael is the author of the new book Mashmaker, and founding member of the original “Brewing TV”. Michael is an editor for BYO magazine, BJCP certified beer judge and writes for the “Growler Magazine”. He just published his new book “Mashmaker – a Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home”.
  • We start with a brief discussion of what Michael has been up to since last appearing on the podcast.
  • Michael gives us a brief overview of his new book “Mashmaker”
  • We discuss the main topic for this weeks’ show: malts and craft malting. Michael starts with a description of the basic groups of malts and how they are used.
  • He explains the malting process and how the four major groups of malts are malted and then kilned.
  • We talk about barley varieties and how a few major barley varieties dominated the US market for many years.
  • Michael explains heritage malts, many of which disappeared over the last 100 years, and how some growers and malsters are trying to introduce long lost malts to the craft beer industry.
  • We discuss a few specific heritage varieties that are now available to home brewers: Crisp Plumage/Archer and Crisp Chevalier.
  • Michael tells us about his experience brewing with heritage malts.
  • We discuss the concept of “terroir” and how the flavor of a malt reflects the region it is grown in. Michael shares one malt specifically grown in Northern Italy as an example: Weyermann Eraclea Pilsner.
  • Michael gives us his thoughts on craft malting as well as small barley farms that are driving a “buy local” trend in beer ingredients.
  • We spend a few minutes at the end talking about his book “Mashmaker” and Michael shares a few of the stories in the book that go with his many beer recipes.
  • Michael shares his closing thoughts on completing his first brewing book.
Sponsors

Thanks to Michael Dawson 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

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #25

Brew Dudes - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:13am

Hey – we got some beer mail filled with homebrewed beer. We get homebrew from time to time, been doing this for a while since this is our homebrew exchange number 25! Let’s see what we have on the menu for this go around. Dessert Porter Tasting Notes Brian from Ohio sent us this beer […]

Read the original article Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #25 and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Reiterated Mash Experiment – Russian Imperial Stout

Brew Dudes - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 10:14am

Last year, I tried to make a couple of high gravity beers and I wasn’t able to hit my targeted original gravity. You can see some of trials in these previous posts. In an attempt to fix this issue, we tried a reiterated mash experiment with a Russian Imperial Stout recipe. If you have the […]

Read the original article Reiterated Mash Experiment – Russian Imperial Stout and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer Blending Strategies for Home Brewers

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 8:11pm

This week I take a look at the often overlooked topic of blending two beers either to correct a flawed beer or make a more complex finished beer.

Why Blend Your Beers

The vast majority of beers are made in a straightforward way – you brew a recipe, ferment, age and enjoy it. While this is great when everything in your recipe works perfectly, life is not always perfect.

Many wine makers, by contrast, are master blenders. The “Bordeaux” style, for instance, is crafted from a number of different wines blended after fermentation. Blending the wines produces high quality but also consistency in flavor from year to year.

Blending beer lets you correct minor and even major flaws in a brew, and in some cases also lets you produce a beer that would otherwise be very difficult or time consuming to create using traditional methods. So rather than dumping a brew that did not turn out just right, I encourage you to think outside the box and blend your way to a better beer.

Blending to Correct a Flawed Beer

One of the first applications of blending is to correct a flawed beer. You can do this either by blending in a beer you already have on hand or brewing a beer to specifically address the flaw in your first beer.

Lets look at brewing a beer specifically to blend with a flawed beer. This is easiest to do when the beer has an obvious imbalance such as too much or two little bitterness, a thin or overly heavy body, or an obvious flavor issue such as too much roast flavor. In this case the antidote is obvious – brew a beer that will correct the flaw. If the original is over-hopped, then you under-hop the second beer. If too thin, then make another with the same recipe but too much body. The goal is to generate a beer that, blended with the original, produces a balanced finish.

A second strategy is to brew a “cover-up” beer. This approach can be used to “cover up” flaws in the original beer, and can be used to correct more extreme off-flavors. Usually this means brewing a dark, heavy beer who’s flavors will mask any flaws in the original beer. For example a pale ale with an obvious flaw like DMS (a cooked corn flavor) could easily be corrected if I blend it with a heavy stout to produce a blended porter. You could take a light lager with flaws and make a dark bock beer to produce a dark lager. A light beer that has some souring from an infection could be blended with a heavier sour beer to make an intentionally soured beer to make a sour style.

Blending to Create a Particular Flavor

A third strategy I use for blending beer is joining two beers to create a specific desired flavor. Here we may not be correcting a flaw but instead simply adding a flavor to make an otherwise dull beer interesting. You can blend two beers you already have on hand – such as an Imperial Stout and a Sour, or brew a beer to blend. This can also be done with fruits, flavorings, sours, hop extracts and spices.

For example you could blend a sour beer or directly add lactic acid into an otherwise normal ale to create a sour ale. Add fruit flavoring, or fermented fruits to taste to make your own fruit beer. Add a spiced tea with your favorite spices to taste to spice your beer to the exact level you like. You can use isomerized hop extracts to add hop flavor after your beer is completely done to get a different finish or bitterness level. Add liquors or bourbon to the finished beer to give it a fruit, spiced or even bourbon barrel aged finish without the barrel. Add mead to a beer to create a braggot.

For this approach I find it best to start with a fixed amount of beer, say 100 ml, and then add a measured amount of the flavoring (or flavored beer) until I get the precise flavor balance I want. Once you have the right mixing proportions simply scale it up to the size of the batch you’ve made to get the right balance up front.

So the next time you brew a beer that did not come out perfect, don’t dump it – blend it! Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Comparing Homebrewing Mash Tuns – Plastic Vs. Stainless

Brew Dudes - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 8:25am

I was out of town so Mike took on the challenge of doing a solo post. We are a homebrewing blog so it makes sense every once in a while to profile the equipment we use. When you go from brewing extract kits to all grain recipes, you need a mash tun. Mike has two […]

Read the original article Comparing Homebrewing Mash Tuns – Plastic Vs. Stainless and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Yeast and Beer Flavors with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #164

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 8:20am

Dr Charlie Bamforth joins me this week to discuss how brewing yeast and yeast health affects flavors in beer.

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

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (53:15)
  • Today my guest is Dr Charles Bamforth, Professor of Malting and Brewing Science at the University of California at Davis. Charlie specializes in the study of wholesomeness in beer including beer perception, polyphenols, foam stability, oxidation and flavor stability. Charlie is the author of over 20 books on beer including the ASBC Practical Guide to Flavor (Amazon affiliate link) mentioned in this episode.
    • I do apologize for the video quality this week – we were unable to get a solid video connection.
  • We discuss Charlie’s pending retirement as well as some upcoming courses he is teaching through the University of California at Davis and also in Nottingham.
  • We talk about how yeast is the primary cause of some 10 of the 16 commonly referenced “off flavors” in beer according to the Beer Judge Certification Program score sheet.
  • Charlie starts with some off flavors from his book on “Flavors” (linked above) starting with sourness – which he ties closely to beer acidity.
  • We discuss the current trends in “sour beers” as well as ways to introduce sourness and manage it.
  • He next moves on to talk about diacetyl and VDKs including pentainedione, as well as their cause and how to reduce them.
  • Charlie and I discuss esters and how they come from “esterfied” alcohol especially higher order alcohols. We also talk about ways to manage and reduce them.
  • Next we move on to alcohol itself which can be an off flavor or “feature” in certain high gravity beers.
  • We discuss acids – in particular excessive fatty acids that can build up in a wort that has not been properly aerated before pitching your yeast.
  • We finish with a discussion on sulfur and a few other off flavors.
  • Charlie provides his summary on how to reduce off flavors that are caused by yeast.
Sponsors

Thanks to Chris White 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.

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

American Oat Ale: Brew-Day Dry Hop Experiment

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 2:31pm

When we open sometime this summer, Sapwood Cellars' clean beer program will be focused on
hops... but don't mistake that to mean we'll have eight IPAs on tap at all times! One recipe-concept I'm working on is a hoppy beer for people who don't like IPAs. The idea of low bitterness, a little extra yeast character, and integrated citrusy aromatics from the hops. A gateway hoppy beer for the sort of craft beer drinker that usually orders a wit or shandy.

We'd like to keep our yeast situation simple to start. I'm a big fan of Allagash Hoppy Table Beer, which is fermented with their house wit strain. While that is appealing (and I've brewed a few delicious hoppy wits before) we likely wouldn't get enough use of a liquid yeast to justify it. There isn't a dried wit strain available, but I was inspired by a post about a supposed blend of dry yeasts used by Treehouse: S-04, T-58, and WB-06. I kept the fermentation temperature at 60F ambient to restrain the yeast expression; I just want subtle fruitiness mingling with the hops... no banana-boat. Although I have had good luck with hoppy hefeweizens as well...

For the rest of the recipe I revisited an old favorite, Simpsons Golden Naked Oats, in hopes of providing a creamy mouthfeel in this moderate-gravity beer. For hopping, I opted for partial-chilling to 185F before the whirlpool addition to reduce alpha acid isomerization imparting more hop aromatics with less bitterness. I used Citra and Amarillo through-out, a callback to one of my all-time favorite recipes that I helped develop: Modern Times Fortunate Islands!

The big question I wanted to answer with the a split-batch was: how valuable is a brew-day dry hop compared to a now-standard late-fermentation addition? I added 2 oz of Citra and 1 oz of Amarillo to one fermentor immediately following the yeast, while the other had to wait for the same dose until day four of fermentation. The resulting difference is relatively subtle, however everyone I served the beers to blind has identified the late-dry hop as more hoppy/aromatic... but that isn't necessarily what I'm looking for in this beer! In terms of measurements, the timing of the dry hop did not appear to have an effect on the FG or pH.

After my first attempt at filling a keg through the dip-tube resulted in a clogged poppet several people suggested adding a Bouncer Filter in-line between my SS Brew Bucket and the liquid-out post. I bought one, and it worked like a charm catching the hop particulate large enough to cause problems. No complaints!

Here's a video of this batch from brewing to drinking!



Sapwood Session

Brew Day Dry Hop

Smell – Fruit salad, banana and melon. Mild toastiness from the oats.

Appearance – Hazy yellow. Not cloudy or murky, but not as hazy as many NEIPAs. The Golden Naked Oats didn’t add much color compared to my standard recipe. Head retention is OK, lacing is better.

Taste – Strikes a good balance between yeast and hops, with fruity flavors mingling from both to create something vaguely tropical. No big phenolic spiciness from the T-58 or WB-06, but I can taste a touch of clove as it warms. Not as bitter as the 40+ calculated IBUs would suggest thanks to the lowered whirlpool temperature.

Mouthfeel – Surprisingly thin considering the chloride, oats, and moderate attenuation. Carbonation is medium, where I like it for hoppy beers.

Drinkability & Notes – Really pleasant blend of styles and flavors. These are my favorite arguments against holding too closely to styles, even relatively new and broad ones.

Changes for Next Time – Still need to find a solution to the body being thin, but otherwise it is pretty close to what I envision for this beer. A good technique for adding more hot-side-type aromatics without additional iso-alpha.

Late Fermentation Dry Hop

Smell – Hops jump out more, vibrant and a little green. The two beers have converged a bit as they’ve sat on tap, but are still distinct to me. The Amarillo helps to temper the Citra, but

Appearance – Similar, although just a hair hazier. White head is the same.

Taste – The yeast is more obscured thanks to the outsized role the hops play, no clove. The Citra and Amarillo really shine: melon, orange, and tropical. The malt is also relegated to the background, preventing the beer from tasting like “hop water” but without a really distinct contribution.

Mouthfeel – The body is similar, although the later hops provide slightly more tannic bite. Identical carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This one kicked first, but I also shared a few more growlers of it. I enjoyed it a bit more, even though it wasn’t exactly what I was going for!

Changes for Next Time – This is the better timing for a classic hoppy beer. It provides a more vibrant aroma, and there was no issue with oxidation despite being at the tale of fermentation.

Recipe

Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 5.3
IBU: 41.9
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.017/1.017
ABV: 5.4%
Final pH: 4.33/4.31
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
48.0% - 12 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
25.0% - 6.25 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
17.0 % - 4.25 lbs - Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
10.0 % - 2.5 lbs BestMälz Chit

Mash
-------
Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 156F

Hops
-------
Whole Batch
6.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min 185F Steep/Whirlpool Hop
3.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ 30 min 185F Steep/Whirlpool Hop

Brew Day Dry Hop Half
2.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 0
1.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 0

Late Fermentation Dry Hop Half
2.00 oz Citra (Pellets, 12.00% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 4
1.00 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 9.20% AA) @ Dry Hop Day 4

Water
-------
17.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
12.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
3.00 tsp 88% Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 150 150 150 15 10 90
Other
-------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins

Yeast
-------
2.0 pkg SafAle S-04 English Ale
0.2 pkg SafBrew T-58 Specialty Ale
0.2 pkg Safbrew WB-06 Wheat Beer

Notes
-------
Brewed 12/17/17

Mash pH measured at 5.2 at mash temperature. Collected 14 gallons of 1.049 runnings.

All 2017 crop hops.

Cooled whirlpool to 185F before adding whirlpool hops. Added heat to maintain that temperature approximately.

Chilled to 64F and pitched the yeast (Each got: 11 g S-04, 1 g each T-58 and WB-06). Half got 2 oz of Citra and 1 oz of Amarillo with the yeast.

Left at 60F ambient to ferment.

12/21/17 Dry hopped the second half with the same amounts. Fermentation appeared nearly finished. Warmed both to 65F.

12/29/17 Kegged both halves, first time using the Bouncer filter. Smooth filling into the purged kegs. Attached to gas in the kegerator. Both measured FG 1.017, Brew Day Dry Hop 4.33, Late Dry Hop 4.31.

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

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #24

Brew Dudes - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 8:29am

The most wonderful homebrewing swap club on the internet has another entry, number 24. This time, we get a Red Ale from Kyle from Florida. He brewed a small batch of beer and sent us a bottle to try it out. Take a look below to learn more about how he brewed it and what […]

Read the original article Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #24 and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Pressure Fermentation with Chris White, John Blichmann- BeerSmith Podcast #163

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:16pm

Chris White and John Blichmann join me to discuss their experiments in pressurized fermentation of beer in a quest to produce lager-like beers at room temperature.

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 (52:36)
  • Today my guests are John Blichmann and Chris White. John is CEO of Blichmann Engineering, a premier inventor and producer of home and professional brewing equipment. Dr Chris White is CEO of White Labs, one of the largest US producers of beer brewing yeast and also is co-author of the “Yeast” book (Amazon affiliate link) and 2013 winner of the AHA governing committee award.
  • Today they join me to discuss the results of a joint experiment they did on fermenting beer with lager yeast under pressure in an attempt to produce lager-like beer at room temperature.
  • John discusses his “Cornicle” fermenter which is a combination keg/fermenter that allowed him to ferment beer under elevated pressure.
  • Chris explains the different between ale and lager yeasts as well as how temperature has a significant effect on the flavor profile the yeasts produce.
  • He also tells us how esters play a major role in developing lager and ale flavor profiles.
  • John explains his research which indicated that commercial breweries using very tall fermenters ran into issues with flavor changes on their lagers.
  • Chris shares some of the changes that go on within the yeast cell when you ferment beer under pressure.
  • John tells us about the experiment they designed to split a batch into four parts and ferment one portion at lager temperature, and the other three at room temperatures but with varying pressures of zero, one and two bars (technically at standard pressure, then one bar which is 14.7 psi or 10 kilopascals above standard pressure, and two bars above which is 29.6 psi or 20 kilo pascals).
  • Chris explains some of the laboratory analysis they did and how the ester levels were indeed lower on the pressure fermented beers.
  • We discuss which pressure worked best overall – about 1 bar (14.7 psi or 10 kilopascals) above standard pressure.
  • Chris explains that the analysis indicated no significant ill effects from the pressure fermented beer.
  • John and Chris share their “qualitative” analysis both from a personal perspective and small group experience.
  • John tells us about judging the beer at the Indiana State fair and what experienced beer judges found there.
  • Chris and John share their final thoughts on whether this is a viable (and faster) method to brew a “lager-like” beer at room temperature.
Sponsors

Thanks to Chris White 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.

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

RIMS and HERMS Brewing with BeerSmith Software

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 10:09am

Today I take a look at how to handle RIMS and HERMS brewing systems in BeerSmith brewing software. I’ve had quite a few people ask me how to incorporate these systems into BeerSmith, so below is a quick overview.

What Makes RIMS and HERMS Systems Different?

Lets start with what makes a RIMS or HERMS brewing system different than a traditional home brewing system. Both of these are recirculating mash systems which means that they incorporate a recirculating pump and some type of heating element to cycle warm water through the mash tun during the mash stage.

RIMS stands for Recirculating Infusion Mash System (RIMS) and these systems incorporate the heating element into the recirculating line. So basically as water is recirculated by a pump from the bottom to the top of the mash tun, the water can be heated using a heating element in the recirculating line. The temperature of the wort is controlled by cycling the heating element on and off.

HERMS stands for Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System which incorporate some form of heat exchanger or coil. The most common HERMS design has a hot liquor tun with hot water in it that is heated directly for use in the later lauter stage. In the hot liquor tun is an immersion coil that acts as a heat exchanger. The wort is circulated from the bottom of the mash tun, through the coil and back to the top of the mash tun. In this case, the pump’s flow rate is regulated to manage the temperature of the wort, or alternately the pump is cycled on and off. You can find additional info on RIMS and HERMS here.

When comparing RIMS or HERMS to a traditional home brew system, the main difference is the use of a recirculating pump and heat source during the mash phase. The rest of the brewing process is the same – so RIMS or HERMS do not handle the boil or fermentation any differently, though a pump is available to make it easier to transfer wort around. So when we talk about using a RIMS or HERMS system for brewing with BeerSmith, we’re really talking about changes only to the mash phase.

Finally, I will note that most RIMS or HERMS systems use a simple water infusion for the first mash step. Typically the water needed for mashing is added to the mash tun and then recirculated and heated until the mash in (infusion) temperature is reached. Then the grain is added just as you would with a conventional brewing system.

The key difference comes in second and later mash steps. Here instead of adding additional hot water, a RIMS or HERMS system will heat the wort directly as it is recirculating. So really the only difference for RIMS or HERMS is that the later mash steps are direct heat steps instead of infusion steps.

Setting Up a RIMS/HERMS Equipment Profile

Since we’ve established that the only major difference between RIMS/HERMS and a traditional infusion mash system is how the wort is heated, you will probably not be surprised that you set up your RIMS/HERMS equipment profile in exactly the same way you would for a regular brewing system in BeerSmith.

I won’t rehash how to build an equipment profile in BeerSmith here, but you can read the following article which walks step by step through the process, or watch the video here. The key is knowing your equipment volumes. Also because the RIMS/HERMS system preheats the water and mash tun, you don’t need to adjust temperatures for the mash tun being hold so you can actually uncheck the “Adjust Temp for Equip” box next to the mash profile name in your recipe.

Modifying Your Mash Profiles for RIMS/HERMS

If you are using a single step mash with no mash out, you can simply use any of the the “Single Infusion, No Mash Out” mash profiles that come with BeerSmith and don’t need to change anything. Since the first step in a RIMS/HERMS system is an infusion step, using this mash profile will let you calculate the infusion temperature for the mash-in and will work just fine. Again you want to uncheck the “Adjust temp for equip” box since your mash tun is already pre-heated.

If you want to use a multi-step mash profile or profile with a mash-out step, then you do need to alter the stock BeerSmith mash profiles slightly. The best way to do this is go to Profiles->Mash and make a copy (copy then paste) of the one you want to modify. I recommend starting with any of the infusion mash profiles as these provide a good basis for RIMS/HERMS systems. Then double click on the profile to edit it.

Once the profile is open, rename it by adding “RIMS” or “HERMS” to the name so you can differentiate it from the stock profile. Next you want to double click on the later mash steps. Leave the first mash step alone, as it will remain an infusion mash step, but you want to edit the second and later mash steps by double clicking on them.

For each of these second and later steps, you want to change the Type of the step from “infusion” to “temperature”. A temperature mash step setting means that direct heat from the RIMS/HERMS system is used instead of a hot water addition to raise the temperature. You also want to change the Water to Add to zero, as you won’t be adding more water after the initial infusion. Do this for the second and later steps, since all of these steps will be done by direct heat from your RIMS/HERMS system. When you are done editing the name and mash steps, click Ok to save your mash profile.

Finally, once you have the mash profile edited you can go back and create a recipe using this profile. On the Design page for your recipe be sure to pick your equipment profile, the new RIMS or HERMS mash profile you just created and again uncheck the “Adjust temp for equip” box next to the mash profile name since your mash tun will already be preheated.

That’s it – now you can brew your recipe on your RIMS/HERMS system by first adding the water, bringing it up to the first mash step infusion temperature, then mixing in the grains. Later mash steps can be reached by directly dialing the various step temperatures into your RIMS/HERMS temperature controller.

I hope this article helps brewers who use RIMS/HERMS systems with BeerSmith. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Comet Hops Profile and Analysis – SMaSH Brew

Brew Dudes - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 3:53am

In case you saw Comet hops on the shelf in your local homebrew store or if you saw them on a product page in your favorite homebrew supply website and you didn’t think the descriptors helped you out enough, well, you’re in the right place now. We brewed a one gallon SMaSH (single malt and […]

Read the original article Comet Hops Profile and Analysis – SMaSH Brew and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

10 Year Old Courage RIS Clone

The Mad Fermentationist - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 3:48pm
A torch passing of sorts. With the bottles of my 2007 batch of Courage Russian Imperial Stout clone running out I rebrewed the recipe (with a few tweaks) in 2015. I’ve labeled the caps from 2017 to 2050, so this marks the extension of my now decade-long Christmas tradition!

Watch me drink the two beers, or read my thoughts below. If you've got any comments on the videos (other than my microphone induced v-neck) let me know!



Courage RIS 2007

Smell – Fantastic mixture of deep/dark Port-like fruitiness and rich caramel. Roast is subdued, more coffee than a Quad or Belgian Strong Dark, but not by much. Brett provides subtle leathery notes, but it isn’t obvious with everything else going on. I could pass it off as "age" if I hadn't brewed it.

Appearance – The head is soap-sudsy, the bubbles are larger than expected. Nearly pitch-black body. When I returned for a second pour it came with hard bits of desiccated yeast. Should have poured it all to start!

Taste – Similar to the nose, rich and full of plums, figs, caramel, and light roast. The Brett lingers softly in the finish. Leather, and maybe a little cherry. Harmonious, really balanced thanks to the added attenuation by the Brett. Minimal hop bitterness thanks to the aging. Still tastes remarkably fresh compared to big stouts I’ve brewed more recently, thanks to the metabisulfite.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and full, without being sticky. Low carbonation, perfect for a big dark beer.

Drinkability & Notes – Would have opened another bottle if it was an option. One of my favorite batches of homebrew to date.

Changes for Next Time – As close to perfection as I can imagine creating in a big-dark-funky-fruity-historic stout! I don’t know what Courage Russian Imperial Stout tasted like 100 years ago, but I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t this good!

Courage RIS 2015

Smell – Fresher and more apparent English-maltiness. That brown malt provides a coarse toasty note that clashes with the bolder Brett funkiness. Comparatively mild caramel and dark fruit.

Appearance – Darker, denser, creamier, longer-lasting head. Part of that is higher carbonation, and the rest is likely freshness.

Taste – Coarser, with burnt toast, Brett-funk, and oak competing for attention. There are some nice flavors there, and the fresher-brighter-cleaner biscuity and roasty notes are pleasant. Hopefully with time the oak will mellow and the Brett and malt will balance.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation disrupts the smoothness, especially when combined with rough tannins from the oak. Hopefully the latter will mellow, and swirling helps with the former. Not sure if I was unsuccessful at killing the Brett, or if I simply over-primed (or had attenuation from the bottling strain).

Drinkability & Notes – It’s OK, but still young, rough, and discordant. It has a lot of time to improve, and I'll be disappointed if it doesn't!

Changes for Next Time – Hopefully time is all that is needed, but would be hard not to revert to the original recipe if I were to brew this again… especially on a larger scale!


Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Brewing Considerations for Very High Gravity Beers

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 12:33pm

Brewing high gravity beers like barley wines, tripels, and imperial stouts present some challenges unique to high gravity brewing. This week I provide a few tips and considerations that come into play when brewing high gravity beers.

Big Beer Challenges

High gravity beers which start at around 1.080 original gravity and can go as high as 1.120 present serious challenges that may surprise the average homebrewer. You need to consider the fact that you may get much lower mash and brewhouse efficiency, may overflow your mash tun with the grains needed, and also need to take several factors into effect when selecting yeast. I’ll cover the major items below.

Mash Considerations for Large Beers

First, you need to understand that you will almost certainly get lower mash and brewhouse efficiency for a high gravity beer than you would get from your system for an average beer. The reason for this is quite simple. You will be using a lot less water per unit of grain when mashing and sparging. Consider a typical 5 gallon (19 l) batch where you may have 10 lbs (4 kg) of grain. To make this beer you are running about 11-12 gal (23-27 l) of water through the grain bed between the mash and sparge or a bit over 1 gal of water per lb of grain.

A high gravity beer may have 15 lbs (6 kg) of grain for the same 5 gal (19 l) batch which means only about 0.73 gal of water for a pound of grain. As a result fewer sugars will be extracted per pound of grain, and you will get lower brewhouse and mash efficiency. So when you brew a large beer you probably need to lower your brewhouse efficiency by 10% or more to compensate for this.

A second item to consider is how much grain and water you can fit into your mash tun. A 5 gal (19 l) Gott style cooler, for instance, will only hold about 13 lbs (5.9 kg) of grain, which is not enough for a very high gravity beer. I highly recommend you calculate the space needed for grain and water (BeerSmith does this on the mash tab) so you know if your mash tun is large enough. If its not you may need to either split your mash into two vessels or add malt extract during the boil to raise the gravity up to your target.

Yeast Considerations for High Gravity Beers

I made a series of very high gravity meads this year, some starting as high as 1.160, and I learned a tremendous amount about high gravity fermentation.

High gravity worts can put significant stresses on your yeast. When selecting a yeast, for example, you need to consider the alcohol tolerance level of the yeast strain. Many typical beer yeasts have tolerance levels only in the 8-10% range, which means they will stop fermenting if the alcohol level gets higher than 8-10%. If you are brewing a 14% alcohol barley wine with regular beer yeast it will stop fermenting around 10%, and you’ll end up with a very high finishing gravity and a very sweet barley wine. Make sure you select a yeast strain that can tolerate the alcohol level you are targeting, and use wine or champagne yeast if brewing a very high gravity beer.

Another consideration for very high gravity beers is called osmotic shock. This is primarily an issue for dry yeast, though most of the high alcohol wine and champagne yeasts used in high gravity beers come in a dry form. The basic problem is that dry yeast cells are not able to properly regulate their cell wall until they have been hydrated. Also high gravity yeasts have a very high sugar concentration. So if you add dry yeast directly to a high gravity wort or must, the osmotic pressure from the sugar can breach the cell wall membrane before the yeast cell wall is in a state to regulate its flow, resulting in a high fatality rate. While its unlikely to kill all your yeast in a beer, it can result in a less than optimal pitch rate.

To avoid osmotic shock with dry yeast it is important that you properly hydrate the yeast before adding it to your wort. The method I recommend is to add lukewarm water at about 104 F to some GoFerm first. When the GoFerm is mixed in then add your yeast and allow the mixture to sit. Slowly add small amounts of wort until the mixture is down to within 10 degrees (5 C) of your wort temperature. You want to take time when doing this as you don’t want to alter the temperature of the mixture more than about 10 degrees in 10 minutes to avoid shocking the yeast. The combination of hydrating the yeast and slowly adding some wort will minimize the effects of osmotic shock and give you a healthy fermentation going forward.

Fermentation and Aging Considerations

Not surprisingly, big beers take longer to ferment out and age. Most big beers take several months, and some like barley wine can take a year or more. Though fermentation may be extremely rapid at first, often it will slow to a crawl as the alcohol level rises and the beer nears completion. As a result, patience is needed when fermenting a big beer. I generally allow extra time both for the primary and secondary fermentation and, even then, give it a bit more time before I consider bottling a big beer.

Even after fermentation is complete, it can take some time for the higher alcohols (fusels), yeast and other flavors to age and mellow out. Some beers like barley wines and big braggots take a year or more to reach peak flavor.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you plan your next high gravity beer. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Starting Off 2018 Right And Setting Some Goals

Brew Dudes - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:12am

The calendar flipped over from 2017 to 2018 and we recall all the things we did in the past year to set a course for the new one. We talk about all the achievements and the failures and figure out what we would like to do for the next twelve months on the blog and […]

Read the original article Starting Off 2018 Right And Setting Some Goals and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

The Right Way to Hydrate Dry Yeast for Beer Brewing

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 8:31pm

This week I take a look at the proper method for hydrating dry yeast for beer brewing to maximize your viability and produce a healthy fermentation.

Dry Yeast for Home Brewing

While dry yeast does not offer quite the selection of liquid yeast, it does have some significant advantages as it is much easier to store, can be stored much longer, and is easier to prepare. I like to keep several packets in my fridge for the times when my schedule changes to let me brew, but I may not have several days in advance to prepare a yeast starter.

Though you don’t usually need a starter when working with dry yeast, proper hydration is important and there is a process I use every time to get the best results from my dry beer yeast.

Hydrating Dry Yeast

When hydrating dry yeast, I like to use GoFerm, which is a yeast nutrient from Scott Laboratories specifically designed to aid in the hydration of dry yeast. GoFerm has micronutrients that the yeast cells soak up that will aid in re-hydration and also the viability of the cells.

Scott Labs recommends adding GoFerm at the rate of 1.25 parts GoFerm per 1.0 part of yeast. This works out to 14.4 grams of GoFerm for a 11.5 g brewing yeast packet or 6.25 g of GoFerm for the smaller 5 g packets often used for wine. They recommend using 20x by weight of water to hydrate the GoFerm. If you do the math this is about 280 ml (9.5 oz) of water for the 11.5 g packet of yeast or 125 ml (4.2 oz) of water for the smaller 5 g yeast packets.

The process I use is as follow with all amounts scaled to fit a typical 11.5 g yeast packet. If you are using smaller packets or a multiple packets you may need to scale the numbers as outlined above.

  • Add 280 ml (9.5 oz) of luke-warm water (for 11.5 g yeast packet) at 104 F (40C) to a sanitized bowl or beaker. Mix in the 11.5 g of GoFerm until it is well blended.
  • Next add the dry yeast packet and mix well.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then add small amounts of wort to slowly bring the temperature down.
  • I will repeat this process every 5-10 minutes or so – mixing in small amounts of wort to being the temperature of the mixture down. However you want to avoid changing the temperature by more than 10 degrees F within a single 5 minute period.
  • During these breaks, I will aerate my wort thoroughly with an oxygen wand.
  • Once the temperature is within 10 degrees F (5 C) of the temperature of the wort, you can pitch the yeast-GoFerm mixture and begin fermentation.

The above process will give you the best results when working with liquid yeast. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Fresh Juniper Saison with El Dorado

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:18pm
I really enjoy beers brewed with local ingredients, but local grains and hops have never been at the top of that list. In both cases local usually doesn't mean fresher, higher quality, or more variety. Often the opposite is true, and for double the price. Conversely, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs are naturally advantaged over their nonlocal competition. They are at their best immediately after harvest and include varieties not suitable for shipping. Buying fresh in these cases is often less than the shelf-stable versions (although that means more processing for the brewer).

For this batch of rye saison I opted for a blend of hops and grains from around the world, paired with freshly harvested juniper (Eastern Red Cedar) from my backyard. This was my second batch using trimmings from that tree, after the more traditional Summer Kveik earlier in the year. The other half of this batch went on to be a rye pale ale, dry-hopped with Galaxy and I didn't want juniper in that beer. To avoid splitting the boil I added the juniper as a tea, rather than directly to the mash or wort.

I wanted a more complex and substantial malt backbone to counter the aromatic hops and juniper, so pale malt and rye made sense. Big quality-of-life upgrade from my old Barley Crusher to my new Monster Mill 2Pro-SL. Not far from this saison brewed a few years ago, but with spelt flour replacing the wheat malt. Fermentation was carried out by my house saison culture.

This batch also has my second video, a bit abbreviated compared to the first and with slightly better audio thanks to a new microphone!



Fresh Juniper Saison

Smell – Nice mixture of generic American-hop-fruitiness and saison yeast pepper. Mild Brett-pineapple, but still fresh. Juniper comes across more naturally piney, no big apricot as I’ve tasted in a few beers brewed with boil-addition Eastern Red Cedar. Maybe has to do with an interaction with the malt? Seasonal flavor-change?

Appearance – Nearly flawless saison; glowing gold with a luscious white head. Leaves rings of sticky lacing with each sip.

Taste – The hops and juniper meld beautifully, reinforcing each other. Slight maltiness in the finish, thanks to the rye malt. Juniper comes out most in the finish, especially towards the bottom of the glass. Woody, green, not like toasted oak (no vanilla or toasted nuts).

Mouthfeel – The extra proteins and beta glucans from the rye and spelt combine to provide some substance to the body. Carbonation is a little low, would have been fun bottled. At first it had sort of a resiny harshness to the finish, thankfully that has dropped out.

Drinkability & Notes – Weird, but not too weird. Surprisingly drinkable with a good balance of hops, herbs, and funk.

Changes for Next Time – Would like to try it with juniper in the mash/boil to see how it changes the expression.


Recipe

Batch Size: 5.75 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 36.3
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.9%
Final pH: 4.12
Brewhouse Efficiency: 79%
Boil Time: 60 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
68.2% - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
22.7% - 2.5 lbs Weyermann Rye Malt
9.1% - 1 lbs Arrowhead Mills Spelt Flour

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 154F

Hops
-------
1.50 oz Amarillo (Pellets, 6.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
1.50 oz Citra (Pellets, 9.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
1.50 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 10.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
0.50 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 11.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 15.00% AA) Dry Hop

Water
-------
7.00 g Calcium Chloride
5.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1.50 tsp 88% Lactic Acid

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 130 100 170 15 10 90
Other
-------
1 Pint Juniper Tea:
    1 gallon of Water
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 60 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 30 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 10 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 0 mins

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

Notes
-------
All DC Filtered water for mash and sparge. Mash pH 5.29 at mash temp. Collected 6.75 gallons of 1.050 runnings. 1 gallon of distilled water added pre-boil reduced gravity to 1.045.

For the juniper infusion, brought a gallon of water to a boil with 40 g of Eastern Red Cedar. Boiled for 60 minutes with 40 additional grams at 30, 10, and flame-out. Allowed to chill naturally with the juniper still in there. Added 2 cups to the saison half (~25% of the resulting amber liquid).

Amarillo/Citra/Simcoe in the boil was all 2014. Galaxy was 2016.

Saison with my house culture, directly from fridge (honey saison).

Left both at 68F to ferment.

11/26/17 Dry hopped the saison with El Dorado. Still in primary. Warmed to mid-70s ambient.

12/7/17 Kegged the Saison and started force carbonation in kegerator.

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

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #23

Brew Dudes - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 5:10am

We put out a call to other homebrewers to send their beers to us for evaluation and review. Since then, we have had many different beers sent our way. This one is number twenty three of the ongoing series of homebrew swaps. We tasted this Russian Imperial Stout from Brian in Texas and posted our […]

Read the original article Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #23 and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Cream Ale with Curt Stock- BeerSmith Podcast #162

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:03pm

Curt Stock joins me this week to discuss brewing the perfect Cream Ale and a little bit about fruit meads.

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 (34:12)
  • Today my guest is Curt Stock. Curt is a former American Homebrewer’s Association Governing Committee member and was also the 2005 mead maker of the year. Curt is a member of the St Paul Homebrewer’s Club and last appeared way back in episode #20.
  • Curt begins with a description of the Cream Ale beer style – it is a very drinkable light ale similar in some ways to a Koelsch.
  • We talk about Genessee Cream Ale from Rochester as well as a few other commercial examples like Spotted Cow.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on the history of Cream Ale and how it evolved as a pre-prohibition response to the rise of light lagers. It was once called “present use” ale and also has some roots back to Koelsch.
  • We talk about the grain bill extensively which includes typically pale ale and as much as 20% corn or rice adjuncts.
  • The corn/rice really don’t add much of a creamy finish (which comes from the yeast) but instead will lighten the beer and add alcohol but not much flavor.
  • Curt tells us his own formula for cream ale which is about 80% pilsner malt and 20% flaked corn.
  • We discuss the best mash schedule. Curt prefers a low temperature mash while I suggest a “lager” mash where you have steps both at low and high temps to maximize fermentability.
  • We talk about hop schedules and the low IBU level (usually around 15 IBUs) for a cream ale, as well as why whirlpool and dry hopping may not be appropriate for this style.
  • We discuss the importance of yeast. Curt recommends Wyeast 1056, while I explain my experiments with White labs Cream Ale yeast in cider.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on fermenting out and finishing a cream ale including a fairly high carbonation level. Curt also likes to filter his cream ales.
  • We talk about bottling/aging a cream ale though it is intended to be consumed quickly after finishing.
  • Curt shares his final thoughts on cream ale.
  • We spend a few minutes talking about big fruit meads as well as how those lessons may be applied to making fruit beers.
Sponsors

Thanks to Curt Stock 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

Tasting An Aged Braggot – Did It Improve?

Brew Dudes - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 5:01am

It is true that some beer does get better with age. When I brewed this braggot three years ago, I thought I had a winner but the end result was a little strange and deemed “yucky”. In this video, we harken back to a time where beer and mead hybrids were brewed with no clue […]

Read the original article Tasting An Aged Braggot – Did It Improve? and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Pages