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Cleaning and Sanitation with Rick Theiner – BeerSmith Podcast #187

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 12:29pm

Rick Theiner, maker of the Eco-Logic series of cleaners joins me this week to discuss cleaning and sanitation for beer brewing.

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:41)
  • Today my guest is Rick Theiner. Rick is the President of Logic, Inc, makers of the Eco-logic line of cleaning and sanitation products including One-step, Straight-A and San-Step.
  • Rick explains the difference between cleaning and sanitation and why they are separate steps using different chemicals. He also explains the more stringent disinfecting and sterilizing terms.
  • We discuss the cleaning process which removes dirt and biofilms and how the material/surface being cleaned makes a big difference.
  • Rick tells us why the soil/biofilm types also matter and it often takes a different combination of chemicals and action to remove them all.
  • We discuss the four basic elements of cleaning: Time, temperature, mechanical action and chemical action.
  • Rick also explains the many different phsio-chemical reactions going on when we clean a surface.
  • We talk about sanitizing agents and why they are different from cleaning agents.
  • Rick provides his basic rules for cleaning for home brewers.
  • Rick tells us why household cleaners may not be a great substitute for cleaners and sanitizers designed for home brewing.
  • He walks us through the products his company offers including Straight-A, One-Step and San-Step NS and how each are best used.
Sponsors

Thanks to Rick Theiner 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

Correcting Imbalances In Home Brewed Beer

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 5:12pm

This week I take a look at various types of imbalances in beer as well as how to correct them. Imbalances are flavor, appearance and carbonation flaws in your beer not explicitly defined as an off-flavor.

A few weeks ago I covered the 17 major off-flavors in beer as well as their main causes. These are the identifiable off flavors defined on the BJCP score sheet, used for rating beers in competition. However there is another category of flaws in your beer that do not have defined off-flavor labels, and this is what I’ll cover this week.

What are Imbalances?

Imbalances are flaws in your beer that are not tied to a specific defined off-flavor. Examples include problems with color, appearance, clarity, malt-hop balance, or even just the incorrect flavor balance in the finished beer. If you submit a beer to a competition for judging, these flaws will often appear in the overall impression, appearance or notes section on the score sheet rather than checking a specific off-flavor box on the score sheet.

Imbalances include:

  • Wrong Hop-Malt Balance – While recent trends have been towards ever-hoppy beers, for most beer styles the hop and malt flavor balance is critical. If you have issues with hop-malt balance you may want to consider learning more about the bitterness ratio as well as review your hop and malt selections to make sure they are appropriate to the style.
  • Improper Carbonation Level – Carbonation actually plays a key role in the flavor perception of the beer. A flat beer will appear lackluster and dull in flavor while an over-carbonated beer can be sharp or difficult to enjoy. Fortunately this is one area that is easy to correct in subsequent batches by adjusting your carbonation sugar or keg pressure levels.
  • Poor Clarity – Clarity is a significant factor in the appearance of lighter color beers. While haze does not generally impact the flavor of the beer, it can ruin an otherwise perfect beer. If you have problems with clarity you might want to take a look at my in depth series on how to improve clarity in beer.
  • The Wrong Color – The color of the beer should be appropriate for the style. A pale ale should not be opaque, stouts should not be light brown, etc… Fortunately this is an area that is relatively easy to correct by adjusting the malt bill slightly. Software can also help you in estimating the color of the beer in advance.
  • Flavor Imbalances – You can get the color, clarity, carbonation and hop balance right and still have a beer that does not taste right. Usually this comes down to your selection of ingredients. Either you picked some ingredients that are not appropriate for the style or used them in the wrong proportions. Some examples might be using an English ale yeast to make a light continental ale, or using an excess of malts near the harsh zone, or using the wrong hop variety for the style. If you run into this type of issue, go back and take a close look at your recipe and how it compares with recipes from the same or similar style of beer.
  • Improper Technique – Brewing techniques have an impact as well. Using the wrong mash schedule, hop techniques, fermentation temperatures or other process issues can have a significant impact on your beer. For example you probably should not be dry hopping your Bavarian Weiss beer, or fermenting your lager at room temperature, or rushing to bottle your barley wine after just a few weeks of aging.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it may give you a good starting point to correct flaws not specifically identified as a named “off flavor” in your 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.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Sharing Beer Brewing Data Using BSMX Files in BeerSmith

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 12:16pm

While the cloud features in BeerSmith are great for sharing data, there are times when you want to send some recipes, ingredients or profiles to a person via email or on a thumb drive. The BSMX file format in BeerSmith makes this easy to do.

Some web sites also provide BSMX files as downloads for their recipes, ingredients and profiles and the below tutorial will explain how to work with these.

Creating a BeerSmith BSMX File

Fortunately it is very easy to export recipes, ingredients or profiles in BeerSmith. I’ll start with a recipe. From My Recipes view, simply select the recipe, folders or recipes you want to export. You can hold down the Control (Cmd on Mac) key while clicking to select multiple items, or if you hold down the shift key you can select a range of items. You can also go to Edit->Select All to select everything.

Once you have the recipes selected, go to File->Export Selected which will bring up the familiar save dialog so you can give the BSMX file a name and save it to a location on your drive. This BSMX file is the one you want to mail or put on a thumb drive to share or import the data on another computer. You can also select the File->Export All command if you want to save evertying in the current view.

While I used the My Recipes view as an example above, you can actually export ingredients and profiles as BSMX files as well. The process is the same, except you need to start from one of the Ingredients or Profile views and select the ingredients or profiles you want exported. These also get saved as BSMX files and can be imported into the respective Ingredient or Profile view on another computer.

Importing a BSMX file in BeerSmith

After you’ve transferred the BSMX file you exported above to another computer either via email, a thumb drive or network, you need to open it in BeerSmith and save the data for further use.

To open a BSMX file in BeerSmith, go to File->Open File and navigate to the file you want to import. When you open the file, it will open in a separate tab within BeerSmith with the name of the file shown on the tab. Within that open file tab you can view and edit the data, but if you save changes they will only affect the BSMX file.

In most cases you want to copy the recipe or other data into BeerSmith for later use. To do this, navigate to the open tab with the name of the file on it. Next select the folders or recipes you want to copy from that tab and use the Copy button to copy the data to the clipboard.

Next navigate to your own personal My Recipes view and Paste the data. This will create a permanent copy of the recipes you just imported. Once you have copied the data over you can close the BSMX file tab. BeerSmith will ask if you want to save the data back to the BSMX file, which you rarely need to do unless you are trying to edit the BSMX file itself.

The same process works for importing Profiles and Ingredient BSMX files. Simply open the file, select the data you want to retain, and copy it to the appropriate Ingredient or Profile view for that data type. So if I was importing a BSMX file containing hops data, I would want to open the file, select the hops I want to keep in that file tab, and then Copy/Paste the data to my Ingredients->Hops view which would store it permanently for future use.

Directly Editing a BSMX file

Though rarely needed, you can actually open a BSMX file in a separate tab and start editing items in that tab. So, for example, I could open a BSMX file (using File->Open) and then copy/paste another recipe I forgot into it. Keep in mind that changes made in an open file tab will only be saved to that BSMX file. Also when you close the file tab you do need to tell BeerSmith to save the data back to the BSMX file (it will prompt you) or it will be lost.

I hope the above tutorial gives you additional options for sharing your BeerSmith data. I also encourage you to read this article on cloud sharing which is a simpler way to share data with other BeerSmith users via the BeerSmith cloud.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.


Categories: Homebrewing blogs

The Craft Maltster’s Guild with Jamie Sherman and Jen Blair – BeerSmith Podcast #186

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 6:36pm

Dr Jamie Sherman and Jen Blair join me to discuss the Craft Malster’s Guild, their upcoming conference and the craft malt industry in general.

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:47)
  • Today my guests are Dr Jamie Sherman and Jen Blair. Jamie Sherman is a barley breeder at Montana State University since 2014 where she oversees the newly created malt quality lab. Jen Blair is executive director of the North American Craft Malster’s Guild, and also a member of the AHA governing committee. She is also an advanced Cicerone and certified BJCP beer judge.
  • We start with a discussion of the definition of Craft Malting and what makes it different from traditional large malsters.
  • Jen, who is Executive Director of the Craft Malting Guild, explains what the Craft Maltster’s Guild is and what it does for its members.
  • Jamie discusses craft malting in Montana as well as the work ongoing between Montana State University and both barley growers and malsters.
  • Jen explores how growth in craft malting is following the craft beer industry’s needs for unique products and focus on locally grown ingredients.
  • Jamie tells us what features craft brewers are looking for in new malts.
  • Jen explains how the craft malting guild works to connect small barley growers with craft malsters.
  • Jamie tells us about the research efforts ongoing at Montana state in barley breeding to product new barley breeds with unique characteristics and flavor.
  • Jen tells us about some of the challenges that craft malsters face when trying to compete with large malt houses.
  • Jamie tells us a bit about her presentation with Hanna Turner at the Craft Malting conference next month.
  • Jen tells us a bit more about the craft malting conference to be held in February as well as the guild.
  • Both guests share their closing thoughts on where craft malting is going in the future. We also briefly discuss how home brewers can get craft malts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Jen Blair and Dr Jamie Sherman 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

Off Flavors in Homebrewed Beer – Troubleshooting Off Flavors

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 2:31pm

This week I take a look at the 17 off flavors in home brewed beer found on the BJCP beer judging score sheet.  These are the major off flavors you will encounter when home brewing beer, and I’ve also provided links to my more detailed summaries of the causes and correcting each flavor.

Off Flavors in Beer

For those of you unfamiliar with the Beer Judge Certification Program at BJCP.org, it is the worlds largest program for certifying beer judges who evaluate beers for most of the beer competitions here in the US.  They also publish a style guide of standard beer styles along with a number of other references on judging and tasting beer.  Even for those who are not into competing, their standards are a great reference.

Along with judging materials they also publish the BJCP score sheet which is a scoring sheet used by beer judges.  I don’t compete with my beer, but I have used the score sheet on many occasions to evaluate my beers.

On the score sheet is a short summary of 17 off flavors found in beer, and it is a useful guide.  While it won’t cover other problems like imbalances in your beer, it is very useful to know the off-flavors as well as how to troubleshoot them.

I’ve written articles on all of the major off flavors, so I’ve provided a link below to the major article on each off flavor so you can bookmark this page and use it if you are trying to troubleshoot an off flavor in your beer:

As I mentioned this is a summary article – so if you are interested in learning more about any of the off flavors above and getting to root cause, just click on the links above.

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

Growing Wet Hops Year-Round with Kyle and Greg Stelzer – BeerSmith Podcast #185

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:31pm

Kyle and Greg Stelzer join me from 24 Hour Hops where they are growing hops year-round in greenhouses in Arizona and providing wet hops to home brewers!

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

Topics in This Week’s Episode (43:19)
  • Today my guests are Kyle and Greg Stelzer from 24 Hour Hops. Kyle and Greg have started a unique business growing hops year-round in greenhouses with the goal of providing fresh wet hops throughout the year to home brewers.
  • We discuss how they decided to start a hop business in the desert of Arizona – an area not often associated with hops.
  • Kyle tells us about their decision to focus on the homebrew market and delivering fresh wet hops directly to homebrewers right after they are picked.
  • We talk about the challenges of growing hops in a greenhouse versus a more traditional outdoor location as well as the flexibility it provides. For example they can produce several crops from a bine in a single year.
  • Kyle tells us how large the operation is and the varieties of hops they are focused on.
  • Greg explains the use of hydroponics rather than traditional soil for growing hops, and the advantages of having complete control over the nutrients provided.
  • Kyle shares the hop cycle and how they are able to simulate winter to get multiple hop cycles from a single plant in a year.
  • We discuss brewing with fresh wet hops and some of the challenges it provides. Kyle also explains how they pick and ship fresh wet hops directly to homebrewers within a day or two.
  • Greg shares some of the things they have learned diving into hop growing over the last few years.
  • They share their web site 24HourHops.com where you can order hops or learn more about working with wet hops.
  • Both provide their closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Greg and Kyle Stelzer 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

BeerSmith Cloud Recipe Privacy and Sharing Explained

Sun, 01/06/2019 - 12:33pm

This week I present a short overview of the cloud sharing, privacy and folder features available in BeerSmith 3 home brewing software. The cloud features in BeerSmith let you share recipes between your computers and phone, share with other users or just use as an online private backup for your recipes.

The BeerSmith cloud is an online server located at BeerSmithRecipes.com which currently has some 850,000 beer, mead, wine, and cider recipes. Access to the cloud is integrated into the desktop and mobile versions of BeerSmith software as a “cloud folder”, which reach back to the server to access recipes stored there. In BeerSmith 3 a secure connection (SSL/Https) is used.

Some potential uses for the cloud folder:

  • Sharing recipes privately between your computers and mobile devices. All recipes are private by default.
  • Sharing recipes with others (if you mark them as shared)
  • Storing recipes offline in the cloud for backup purposes
BeerSmith Cloud Privacy Options

You can add items to your cloud folder by either moving/copy/pasting new items to the folder or by creating a new recipe in the cloud folder area. On both the desktop and mobile version the cloud folder is a separate selection to differentiate it from the locally stored “My Recipes” folder.

You can add items to your cloud folder by either moving/copy/pasting new items to the folder or by creating a new recipe in the cloud folder area. On both the desktop and mobile version the cloud folder is a separate selection to differentiate it from the locally stored “My Recipes” folder.

On the desktop you click on the large “Share” icon (looks like a large lock) from Cloud view to change the privacy settings for the selected recipe. On the mobile version, there is a selection on the menu that lets you alter privacy. On the mobile if you open a cloud recipe there is a “Sharing State” button just under the section with the recipe name that lets you adjust privacy.

Private: By default, anything you add to your cloud folder is marked as private which means that only people logged in with your cloud login can access them. They are not publicly listed or accessible unless you take action to share them. Private recipes can be reached from your other mobile or desktop devices, but only if you are logged into your account.

Shared: On both the mobile and desktop version there is a button that allows you to share a selected recipe. If you opt to share the recipe, it will now be accessible from both the BeerSmithRecipes.com search page as well as the cloud search functions within BeerSmith desktop and mobile. Shared recipes can be found and downloaded by any other BeerSmith user.

Unlisted: If you mark a recipe as “unlisted” it will not show up in general search results, but it can be accessed using the sharing ID shown. The idea behind an unlisted recipe is that you can give the sharing id to a friend so they can access the recipe without having it listed in search results for something you may not want shared with the whole world.

It is important to note that each recipe has its own privacy setting, so you can choose to either keep all your recipes private, or select just a few recipes to share or mark unlisted.

That is a quick overview of the recipe sharing options available in BeerSmith and the BeerSmith cloud. 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

Quality in Beer with Dr Charlie Bamforth – BeerSmith Podcast #184

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 4:00pm

Dr Charles Bamforth joins me to discuss ensuring quality in beer and how it applies to both professional and home brewing. We also explore aspects of quality 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 (49:52)
  • Today my guest is Dr Charles Bamforth.  Dr Bamforth is a Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California at Davis.  He specializes in beer perception, polyphenols, foam stability, oxidation and flavor stability in beer.
  • We start with a discussion of Dr Bamforth’s pending retirement, though he plans to continue writing about beer and soccer.
  • Charlie defines quality and what it means in beer, as well as the difference between quality assurance and quality control.
  • We talk about the basic components of a quality assurance program.
  • We discuss how quality goes well beyond just monitoring the brewing process, but actually includes the ingredients back to their source as well as the product packaging, delivery and storage.
  • We discuss the cost of quality and how to balance that.
  • He explains some of the common measurements taken to control quality including the critical sensory analysis.
  • We discuss how quality applies to the average homebrewer.
  • Charlie explains some of the details involved in the control process.
  • We mention some of Dr Bamforth’s recent books as well as his closing thoughts on quality.
Sponsors

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

Thoughts on the Podcast?

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

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

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

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

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Alcohol Tolerance in Beer Yeast and BeerSmith 3

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 1:40pm

Some brewers don’t realize that beer yeast, like all yeast has a limited alcohol tolerance.  In fact many some beer yeasts reach their limit below 8% ABV which can be a real problem for high gravity beers.

Yeast Alcohol Tolerance

Yeast is a one cell living creature.  As such it can only reproduce and grow within certain conditions.  One of those conditions includes the presence of alcohol.  Each yeast strain has a limit, called the yeast’s “alcohol tolerance” that indicates the level at which yeast cells start to go dormant and stop fermenting.  By convention, the alcohol tolerance is expressed as a percent Alcohol by Volume (%ABV).  Most major yeast suppliers do provide alcohol tolerance numbers for their yeast strains, though you may have to dive deep into the spec sheet to find it.

Alcohol tolerance varies depending on the type and specific strain of yeast. Most beer yeasts fall into the 8-12% ABV range for alcohol tolerance, though some English ale yeasts go as low as 7% and some high gravity Belgian and ale yeasts can tolerate 15%. Wine yeasts generally have an alcohol tolerance between 14-18%, though some specialty wine and Champagne yeasts can reach as high as 21% alcohol.

Alcohol tolerance is not a fixed number, as there is some variation depending on yeast strain, yeast health, nutrients and sugar available and other factors.  However fermentation will start to slow considerably as a yeast approaches its alcohol tolerance level and will stop completely within a percent or two of the published number for most strains. This can be a real problem if you brew a high gravity beer with a low tolerance yeast strain, as the result will be a very high finishing gravity and overly sweet beer.

The fact that yeasts stop at a certain point is widely used in beverages like sweet and fruit meads where you want residual sugar in the finished mead.  Some mead makers accomplish this by using a very high starting gravity with a known yeast, so that the yeast reaches its alcohol limit before all of the honey is consumed leaving a high finishing gravity and residual sweetness in the mead.  The same can be done with fruit beers and dessert wines to create a beverage with residual sweetness to accent the fruit.

Alcohol Tolerance and ABV in BeerSmith 3

With the version 3.0 release of BeerSmith, the software now recognizes and uses the ABV limits of various yeast strains.  Each yeast strain in the program now has an alcohol tolerance field you can display and edit that is also used to estimate final gravity and ABV.

For most of the major yeast producers the BeerSmith 3 yeast database has the alcohol tolerance already populated under Ingredient->Yeast.  If you build a new recipe in BeerSmith 3 it will use this number to estimate the final gravity, so if your final gravity seems very high on your high gravity beer you may want to examine the yeast strain used.

Also because the alcohol tolerance field did not exist in BeerSmith 2 some users have run into problems importing recipes from BeerSmith 2.  In this case the program will set the alcohol tolerance to an “average” rate of 10% for your yeast imports, but this can create problems for older recipes.  If you are building or editing an older BeerSmith 2 recipe, and the ABV won’t go above 10% then this is most likely the cause and you need to either edit the details of the yeast strain you are using in the recipe or select a new yeast strain from the BeerSmith 3 list to get the updated data.

Those are some tips on understanding alcohol tolerance for your yeast in BeerSmith 3. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Burners and Heating Elements for Beer Brewing – BeerSmith Podcast #183

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 5:06pm

This week John Blichmann from Blichmann Engineering joins me to discuss gas burners and electric heating elements for beer brewing.

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 (58:12)
  • Today my guest is John Blichmann.  John is CEO of Blichmann Engineering a premier developer and supplier of both home and professional brewing equipment.
  • John explains some of the characteristics of an ideal heat source for brewing.
  • We start with a discussion on gas burners including the basic gas options: propane vs natural gas.
  • He explains how gas burners are rated and also why some of the BTU numbers published by manufacturers are somewhat misleading.
  • John walks through the basic pieces of a typical gas burner.
  • He tells us how to adjust your gas burner for best overall performance.
  • We switch to electric heating elements, and he explains the three basic types: surface, immersion and induction.
  • We talk about power ratings and the basic power requirements for typical home brewed batches.
  • John explains the basics of electrical safety including why you must have a GFCI circuit breaker to brew safely, and how to get one installed by a professional.
  • We discuss control options for maintaining temperature both with electrical and gas systems.
  • John briefly explains some of the typical controllers you will find in a homebrew system.
  • He gives us his closing thoughts and also mentions an upcoming controller that Blichmann is releasing soon.
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

Giving BeerSmith 3 as a Gift

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 11:23am

I’ve had quite a few people write recently asking how they can give BeerSmith 3 software as a gift to a friend, relative or loved one for the holidays.

Fortunately there is a simple way to do it – you can purchase a BeerSmith 3 gift code here which is redeemable online for a BeerSmith 3 license.

The BeerSmith Gift Code Process

That’s it – thanks again for supporting BeerSmith and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Vegetal Flavors in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Sat, 12/08/2018 - 1:30pm

This week I take a look at vegetal off flavors in beer as well as their cause and how to prevent them. These include a variety of vegetable flavors and aroma found in some beers.

Vegetal Off-Flavors in Beer

Vegetal off-flavors cover a wide range of potential problems in beer. These include corn, vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, garlic or scallion flavors and even the odor and taste of rotten vegetables. Each may have a slightly different origin.

First we’ll cover the cooked or creamed corn off flavor which is also called DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide). This off-flavor is actually covered in a separate article on DMS here and is often caused by an insufficient boil.

Scallion and garlic-like flavors are often caused by certain hop varieties in the boil such as Summit. Often a different hop variety can resolve this type of flavor. Excessive dry hop contact times can also result in some off flavors particularly those of a more grassy kind.

Finally using old, stale or ingredients that have been exposed to moisture can also impart rotten vegetable or moldy off flavors to your beer. In many cases this will taste of stale or old vegetables. It can happen from spoiled hops, old or spoiled malt or other stale ingredients.

Those are the main causes of vegetal off flavors in 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.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Perception and Reality in Beer Flavor with Randy Mosher – BeerSmith Podcast #182

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:13am

This week Randy Mosher joins me to discuss cutting edge research into beer sensory perception and how our brain uniquely perceives and distorts the flavor, aroma and taste of 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 (55:34)
  • Today my guest is Randy Mosher. Randy is author of many of my favorite home brewing books including Mastering Homebrew, Radical Brewing and Tasting Beer (Amazon affiliate links). He is also a certified beer judge and faculty member at the Siebel institute as well as partner in two Chicago area breweries: Five Rabbit and Forbidden Root.
  • Randy explains why each person’s perception of beer really is an individual experience
  • We discuss some of the factors affecting taste and smell as well as the fact that an average person can distinguish a huge number of flavors.
  • Randy explains some of the complexities of taste even though it is probably one of our simplest senses.
  • We discuss the basic taste senses as well as why bitterness is special
  • He explains the nose and how it is a much more sophisticated device.
  • We talk about how our brain actually processes taste and aroma as well as memory to get something we perceive as flavors.
  • Randy also discusses how our mental state, food history and “flavor warning” patterns all play a role in the processing of flavor patterns.
  • We discuss how the sights, sounds, mood, foods we’re eating and other external factors also play a role in beer flavor.
  • Randy shares his thoughts on judging beer including ways to make the process easier.
  • We talk about “The Dopamine Rush of Whales”.
  • Randy shares some final tips on tasting beer.
Sponsors

Thanks to Randy Mosher 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

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale and Asheville Boot Camp in March!

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 12:06pm

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale Up to 33% Off!

The BeerSmith Black Friday sale is open now and runs through Cyber Monday. Get up to 33% off on BeerSmith 3 upgrades and new licenses here. Get the worlds top selling software for beer, mead, wine and cider used by hundreds of craft breweries worldwide at a great price.

This is a great opportunity to upgrade to BeerSmith 3 if you have not done so already – and its the last time this year I’ll be offering sale pricing.The sale ends on Tuesday 27 Nov, 2018.

Join me for the BYO Boot Camp 20% Off – 22-23 Mar 2019

I’ll be teaching two full day sessions on Advanced Recipe Design at the BYO Boot Camp in Asheville, NC from 22-23 March 2019. The class is limited to 35 people per day, and you can also attend a class taught by other top brewers like John Palmer, Chris White, Gordon Strong and Michael Tonsmeire on the opposite day.

This is a great opportunity to learn about beer brewing, ingredients and recipe design in a small class environment as well as meet some outstanding brewers. You can sign up for the BYO Boot Camp here and get 20% off the Boot Camp or anything in the BYO store if you use the discount code ‘CyberBYO20’ through Cyber Monday on their website.

Thank you again for your continued support and have a great Thanksgiving and Holiday season!

Brad Smith, BeerSmith.com

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Creating a Wine Recipe with BeerSmith 3 Software

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 5:36pm

Here is a short video tutorial on how to create a wine recipe in BeerSmith 3 as well as as a demonstration of some of the wine making features supported.

Support for wine was added in BeerSmith 3. BeerSmith 3 is software for creating beer recipes which also has support for wine, cider and mead makers to let you create, record and make great wine.

You can find additional tutorials on the main tutorial page and download a free trial copy of BeerSmith from BeerSmith.com.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl – BeerSmith Podcast #181

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 8:04am

This week John Holl joins me to discuss the Craft Beer revolution and also his new book “Drink Beer, Think 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 (49:36)
  • Today my guest is John Holl, author of the new book Drink Beer, Think Beer (Amazon affiliate link). John is also senior editor at Craft Beer and Brewing magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook (Amazon affiliate links) as well as a beer judge.
  • We discuss his work as editor at Craft Beer and Magazine as well as introduce his new book “Think Beer, Drink Beer”.
  • John explains a bit of the history of the modern beer renaissance (craft beer revolution) and also how critical home brewing was to it.
  • We talk about the role of big breweries and how the line between craft beer and big beer is increasingly blurred by the complex ownership relationships now.
  • We discuss beer flavors and how flavor has a significant role in craft beer.
  • I bring up the dominance of IPAs and we discuss whether it will continue to force other styles off the shelf.
  • We discuss judging and tasting beer.
  • John talks about some of the down sides of the craft beer revolution (shadows in beer).
  • He explains how the way we enjoy beer in tasting rooms has evolved and contrasts that with beer at home.
  • We talk about the “death of subtlety” in beer.
  • John discusses the leveling off of growth in craft beer and how it may be part of the normal business cycle.
  • He shares his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to John Holl 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

Sulfur and Rotten Egg Aromas in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 8:42am

This week we take a look at sulfur and rotten-egg aromas in beer and how to troubleshoot and mitigate it. This is part of my ongoing series on off-flavors in home brewed beer.

Sulfur or Rotten Egg-Aromas in Beer

A sulfur or rotten-egg aroma is common for fermenting beer with many yeast strains, particularly lagers. The most significant source of rotten egg smells is hydrogen sulfide gas which is often produced during active fermentation as a byproduct of the yeast processing sulfur. Sulfur itself comes from several sources including kilned malts, as some sulfur is produced when the malts are kilned or roasted. Hops also often contains some sulfur compounds and aromatics, and certain water profiles are high in sulfur. Yeast itself may also contain some sulfur, and certain yeast strains such as many lagers produce higher levels of sulfur gas during fermentation.

Unfortunately humans are extremely sensitive to sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide gas. Because sulfur compounds plan an active role in many decay processes like stagnant water and rotting foods, humans have developed a very high sensitivity to them. Some sulfur based compounds can be detected at a parts per trillion threshold.

The two most common sulfur compounds found in beer are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Sulfur dioxide has the aroma of a early burning match or gunpowder, while hydrogen sulfide has the strong rotten egg or volcanic gas aroma to it. Fortunately these gases are also very volatile so they will evaporate out of the beer in a fairly short time period. It is very common to smell both of these during active fermentation and as I mentioned they are more frequently associated with certain yeast strains including many lagers.

Mitigating Sulfur Aromas

To reduce the sulfur aroma in your finished you first want to consider your yeast strain as certain strains are far more prone to sulfur production than others. Selecting the right strain, particularly for lagers, is important. Also avoid high sulfur content in your brewing water.

If you detect sulfur gas in your finished beer, the best thing to do is give it more time. Lagers, in particular, often require extended aging periods and the sulfur aromas and flavors will fade with time. It is important to age your beer in a fermenter, if possible, to allow the gas to dissipate, as prematurely bottling or kegging a sulfuric beer will often just trap the sulfur gas in the bottle or keg.

That’s a quick summary of the cause and mitigation of sulfur/rotten egg aromas in your 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.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Seasonal Beer Styles with Conner Trebour – BeerSmith Podcast #180

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 1:27pm

This week Conner Trebour joins me to discuss making pumpkin beer for the Fall as well as holiday ale for the upcoming winter holidays.

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 (32:11)
  • Today my guest is Conner Trebour. Conner is CEO of Sensorshare LLC and maker of the BrewPerfect digital hydrometer. He is also an avid home brewer.
  • We start with a discussion of pumpkin beers beginning with what makes a great pumpkin beer.
  • Conner shares what kinds of pumpkins work best in pumpkin beer as the typical “Jack-O-Lantern” variety is not ideal for beer.
  • We discuss preparing fresh pumpkin as well as how to use canned pumpkin.
  • He explains some of the difficulties in brewing with pumpkin including its sticky/messy nature as well as how to contain the pulp.
  • Conner shares his thoughts on a base beer recipe to use for pumpkin ale as well as use of hops and malts.
  • We discuss spices that belong in a pumpkin beer and reflect the flavors of the season.
  • We next move on to holiday or Christmas ales which a strong ales that reflect the flavors of the holiday season.
  • He shares some of his favorite flavors to use as well as what to look for in a base recipe.
  • We discuss the use of seasonal fruits like cranberry.
  • Conner shares his thoughts on spices for a holiday ale.
  • We spend a few minutes at the end discussing his BrewPerfect business and some upcoming changes.
Sponsors

Thanks to Conner Trebour 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