Homebrew Water Treatment: An Introduction

What started with a free book for renewing my American Homebrew Association membership has turned into a two-month long quest to learn about homebrew water treatment.

What follows is my best attempt to share what I have learned. I will say now, some of this may be wrong, but it’s the best I can understand now and I’m relatively confident that it is correct. If I misstate something please leave a comment and I’ll get it corrected.

Water Treatment

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The Session #111: Succumbing to a Beer Midlife Crisis

The Session is a monthly group writing prompt for beer bloggers to share their thoughts on topics. Oliver J. Gray of Literature and Libation put forward the topic this month, Surviving a beer midlife crisis. He prompted us with a simple question:

Do you find it hard to muster the same zeal for beer as you did a few years ago? Are you suffering through a beer-life crisis like I am? If so, how do you deal with it?

My answer to the first question is a clear yes, the second question requires contemplation, and the third question requires explanation.

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10 Types of Malt You’re Not Using and Should Try!

The nature of homebrewing is very comparable to one’s search for an answer to the age-old question: Why are we here? Many seem to think they have the exact answer to the question, but no one knows for sure. The answer and the question also mutate as time moves on. It’s on that note that we begin.

As a homebrewer goes down this path, we tend to find ourselves forming habits. The longer we walk down the road, the more ingrained these habits become and we grow unwilling to change or try new things. The most common of these being a fondness for a single base malt. The most common of these is 2-row, which there is nothing wrong with but there are so many more malts out there to try.

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[Guest Post] 4 Ways To Save Money Homebrewing

There are many reasons we all first took that first step down the path to homebrewing,  a want for a hobby that would get you drunk,  a desire to customize beer to your palate, or perhaps you started to save a few bucks. Regardless of your reason for starting, we are all here. In this article that I will cover ways you can save money and get more out of your homebrewing beyond just beer.

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[Guest Post] Brewing With Probiotics

[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Jhon Campbell a.k.a The Wandering Beerd. Jhon’s a longtime homebrewer who wants to get into blogging so I offered to help him out. For more info on anything here you can email him at johnathon.a.campbell@gmail.com. If you’d like to write about beer or homebrewing then email me at Tom@QueenCityDrinks.com]

In brewing, I have found that some people put too much focus on what one can’t do and not enough focus placed on what one can do. It is through this blog that I intend to attempt to share my experimentation with all things strange and unusual. With that said let us begin our journey together with one of my recent experiments.

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Book Review: Modern Homebrew Recipes by Gordon Strong

Modern Homebrew Recipes is the book homebrewers have been waiting for. At least it’s the book that this homebrewer has been waiting for! Click that link to go buy it now or keep reading to find out why I think it’s so great.

Modern Homebrew Recipes by Gordon Strong

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Book Review: Brewing Porters & Stouts

Brewing Porters and Stouts

Brewing Porters & Stouts: Origins, History, and 60 Recipes for Brewing Them at Home Today is a new book out by Terry Foster offering and in-depth look at porters and stouts. Like my last book review, of Farmhouse Ales, this book offers a very thorough look in a very narrow field. While the book does talk a fair bit about stouts it’s got a stronger tilt toward porters. Still, if you’re a lover of porters or stouts it’s worth reading, especially if you want to master brewing them at home.

The book starts by wading into the murky history of porters. It covers the common tale of a bar blending three ales together and that being enjoyed by a group of people who carried goods around London, those people being known as porters. What this section really covers is the slow, continual, development of a number of technologies that allowed creating stronger and darker beers. Unfortunately, the author does fall into the common trap of paragraphs full of “X brewery produced # barrels in year.

The following is a complaint about many books involving brewing history: I don’t know why so many books do this when covering beer history, but it gets tedious to read. It doesn’t really add much to the overall story of porter/stout development but does show, somewhat, the extent to which breweries were making these beers. I really don’t enjoy reading these paragraphs of facts. But enough of that rant, back to this book.

Now we move into a breakdown of the plethora of sub-categories of the porter and stout styles. Flavor, aroma, malt bills, ABV, original gravity, and commercial examples are available for every style. Something interesting Brewing Porters & Stouts does that I haven’t seen before is the IBU/OG ratio. Instead of saying exactly how many IBUs a style should have it lists the number of IBUs in relation to the OG. So if you have a starting gravity (aka original gravity, hence OG) of 1.040 and an IBU/OG ratio of .5 then you should have an International Bitterness Unit (IBU) level of 20 IBUs. Why the author doesn’t just come out and say 20 IBUs I’m not exactly sure of, but it’s still a cool system.

Now we get to the real meat of the book. However, this is where anyone who doesn’t brew yet will lose interest. From here on out it’s all about bringing these beers to life. Beginning with wide coverage of the different malt varieties used in porters and stouts, along with what flavor and color contributions they add plus what percentage of the grist they represent. While the malt coverage is great the hops, water, yeast, and finings coverage is as basic as the first few pages of any introductory homebrewing book. If the malt section was wide then the recipe section is massive. 63 pages of recipes for every kind of porter and stout imaginable. Sure, all you need to do to find a homebrew recipe is spend 10 seconds Googling but this book provides a repository of recipes that is nice to have on hand.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I reached out to the publisher who was kind enough to hook me up with a free copy. To our readers, and any companies interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 2 ways. That I will do my best to review it in a timely fashion and that and I will write a blog post about that review. Giving me free stuff does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it.