Do you have a stuck fermentation? A beer that stopped fermenting and you don't know why? Maybe it was active for a day or two and stopped all together for a week or more? In that case, you need to take a sample with your wine thief, and measure the gravity of the beer in a test jar with a hydrometer. If you do so and the hydrometer reads something that is very high in gravity, or brixx/balling, you may have a "stuck" fermentation. Something happened to halt fermentation in your beer, and … [Read more...] about How to deal with a “stuck” fermentation
The second installment in our sour series is going to focus much more on the bacteria that is used to produce the wonderfully tart Gose. Today’s homebrewer has an embarrassment of options available to them in regards to types of lactobacillus, sources of lacto, and methods they can use to employ it. This was not always the case. Historically, Gose was produced using sources for lacto that were much less reliable than ours and methods that would take much longer than today. However, the … [Read more...] about Gose Pt. 2: Sour is the Prize
The American craft beer scene has experienced a recent surge in interest for sour beers, and the ensuing explosion of innovation has left few beer enthusiasts unaffected. A number of breweries are participating in this ever-growing trend, and many are experimenting with various bacteria, fruit additions, brewing processes, and more. One particularly intriguing and exciting side effect of this movement has been the resurgence of a number of styles that were previously in danger of slipping into … [Read more...] about Gose Pt. 1: Sour on the Rise
Brewing during the summer presents a unique set of issues for home brewing enthusiasts, especially those in the southeastern United States. The ambient temperatures are conducive to only a select few yeast strains, high humidity plays with your boil off rate, and ground water temperatures make chilling your batch a huge pain. So, with summer upon us, get ready to crank the AC, play the guesstimation game, and pull out the ol’ wort chiller. Whether you’re working with a classic immersion chiller, … [Read more...] about Wort Pre-Chillers: How effective?
Liquid yeast is simultaneously one of the more rewarding and frustrating products that homebrew retailers work with. On the one hand, carrying liquid yeasts allows brew shops to offer their customers an extremely diverse selection of fermentation options, cater to very specific needs, and greatly expand the potential for batch-to-batch experimentation. On the other hand, liquid yeast is a low margin product, has a relatively short ideal shelf life, and it's difficult to stock what everyone would … [Read more...] about Liquid Yeast: How old is too old?
It never ceases to amaze me how reticent many brewers are to use whole cone hops when presented with the option. In the era of IPAs and heavily hopped beers, every brewer should have the full repertoire of hop products available to them and at their disposal. That being said, I felt it would be helpful to discuss some of the differences between pellet hops and whole hops, so that deciding between the two doesn’t have to be challenging. Regardless of whether you’re considering whole cone hops … [Read more...] about Hop Pellets vs. Whole Hops
One of the biggest benefits that homebrewing affords the brewer is the ability to produce an infinite variety of beers with little to no concern for cost. Professional breweries have to focus on producing large amounts of a single product, sourcing ingredients in scale and contracting out the hops and malt they need. Homebrewers aren't bound by this constraint, allowing them to garner more experience and variance in flavor from a single brew session. Personally, I often grow tired of a beer by … [Read more...] about Split Batches: More bang for your buck!
This is the first in a series of posts on homebrew hacks, tips and tricks for improving your brew equipment. Rubber Carboy Hood This Big Red Rubber Carboy Hood is a great alternative to a stopper or bung for your carboys. They snuggly fit over the mouth of your glass carboy and prevent anything from collecting near the opening. However, I bet you didn't know that they have another, even craftier … [Read more...] about Homebrew Hacks: Rubber Carboy Hood, Carboy Dryer
The recent surge in US craft beer culture has been fueled, in part, by an avid interest in heavily hopped styles from both beer aficionados and casual drinkers. The push for more hop-centric beers has forced breweries to up the ante with their bittering additions, hopping techniques, and nomenclatures. Hop breeders have responded by producing a number of new varietals that defy what we had come to expect from this modest plant. These new hops are highly prized for their exceptional and unique … [Read more...] about Citra: A brief history of an exceptional hop
A properly aerated wort is crucial to ensuring a clean, rigorous, and complete fermentation. Yeast cells generally need about 10 ppm dissolved oxygen in the wort in order to function properly. A lack of oxygen can negatively impact your brew in a number of ways. First, some background. Yeast cells need oxygen in order to reproduce. The oxygen is a critical component in the production of cell membranes, organelles, and various compounds the yeast need to produce in order to survive. In … [Read more...] about Oxygenation when your brew needs it most!