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American Homebrewers Association releases recipe guide containing instructions to make iconic brews

American-Homebrewers-Association-LogoEveryday I receive emails from around the beer world that keep me informed on what is happening within the industry. From time to time I come across a story that I share with you, my faithful readers. Today, I came across a press release from the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) touting its inaugural 50-State Commercial Beer Clone Recipes Guide.

Now, I know there are a few homebrewers out there that have always wanted to try their hand at cloning some of the countries most iconic craft beers like Pliney the Elder from Russian River Brewing, Two-Hearted from Bells Brewing or Belgian Red Ale from New Glarus. Well, the AHA guide supplies the recipes to these and 47 other brews scaled down to five- to 10-gallon batches.

“With both the craft beer industry and the hobby of homebrewing continuing to expand nationwide,” said Gary Glass, Director, American Homebrewers Association in the press release. “These recipes offer beer lovers the opportunity to make their favorite local brews at home.”

The AHA reached out to breweries across in every state across the country and asked them to contribute a recipe for the guide. The result was a collection of iconic and up-and-coming recipes ready for homebrewers to create on their next brew day. Among the recipes collected is Unholy Trippel for Florida’s own Coppertail Brewing Company.

See the entire guide at the link below.

50-State Commercial Beer Clone Recipes Guide

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Homebrewing a rewarding labor of love

The May 2015 edition of BUZZ Magazine features an edited version of this article in my regular Brew Time column on Page 49. But, since that column was so space restricted, I decided to publish the article in its entirety here. I hope you enjoy both the abridged version in BUZZ and this full version. Be sure to pick up a copy of BUZZ monthly to read my columns that explore the historic aspects of the world’s third favorite beverage (behind tea and water).

Checking_WortHomebrewers are passionate about their hobby. Get in to a conversation with one of them and you will likely get an earful of terms like attenuation, specific gravity and Saccharomyces. Within the community of homebrewers it is not at all unlikely to hear that they spend entire weekends sweating over boiling pots of wort and adding hops to their latest attempt at cloning Pliney the Younger (a mythical and extremely rare beer that every serious beer lover aches to taste).

Until 1979 it was illegal to brew beer at home. President Jimmy Carter, whose infamous brother Billy lent his name to a short-lived beer brand, put an end to the Prohibition-era ban on homebrewing when he signed a bill in February of that year. The new law set limits on how much beer could be brewed at home (100 gallons per year) and how old one had to be to brew it (21-years-old). In the last 30 or so years, homebrewers have come a long way to advance the methods used to create tasty beers. Some have been so successful that they have gone on to found their own breweries and brew pubs. To those enterprising souls, the art of homebrewing was a labor of love that led to a new career in the ever-expanding craft beer industry.

Homebrewing is about two things: ingredients and process. Knowledge of both is critical to creating a drinkable and enjoyable brew.

Ingredients

Water – Tap water is fine, but if you live in an area that has distinctly hard water, you may want to opt to purchase bottled spring water. Since beer is more than 95-percent water, whatever your source, it will affect the finished product.

Malt – The most common malt used to brew beer is barley malt. Malt is any grain that has been allowed to germinate, but not sprout. Malting changes the chemical composition of the grain to convert its sugars and make them more palatable to yeast. This in turn facilitates brewing. Malts provide sweetness to beer that offsets the bitter flavors provided by hops.

Hops – These cones are the flowers of the hops vine. Hops are used to impart bitter flavors to beer and offset the rich sweetness provided by malt. Depending on the type of beer being brewed varying amounts of hops are used. IPAs are generously hopped for a bitter wallop of flavor while Belgian styles generally use a less substantial application.

Yeast – Before the mid-1800s, no one really knew how the alcohol in beer occurred. But, after Louis Pasteur studied the little beasties, it was understood that the single-celled organisms digest the sugars provided by malts and excrete alcohol and carbon-dioxide. In brewing there are two main types of yeast; lager yeast that ferments at cooler temperatures and ale yeast that ferments at warmer temperatures.

BoilTypes of Home Brewing

In homebrewing, there are three primary methods to create a batch of tasty suds: extract, partial mash and all-grain. The best place to start is with extract and then, as your skill grows move on to partial mash and all-grain.

Extract Brewing – This method, as the name implies, uses canned malt extract rather than the actual grains. Because the extract is simply added to boiling water and hops are added, this is generally considered the easiest way to homebrew.

Partial Mash Brewing – This method incorporates using malt extracts with some actual grain. Because of the addition of loose malt, this method requires more skill and is an excellent intermediary step to mastering the art of homebrewing.

All-Grain Brewing – This is the method that craft breweries use and requires the most skill to master. Grains are steeped in water at a specific temperature range and for a designated amount of time to achieve the desired results.

The Brewing Process

The brewing process itself consists of several distinct steps each building on the one before to reach the ultimate goal of a refreshing adult beverage.

Step 1: Sanitation – Beer is extremely susceptible to contamination therefore, to reduce the chance of rogue bacteria from imparting off flavors, all equipment must be sparkling clean. The best way to achieve this is with a commercial sanitizing agent, but a partial bleach solution will work, too.

Step 2: Mashing –During this process malt extract or actual malted grains are added to hot water to convert complex sugars to simple sugars. To achieve the best results, the water often must be held at a specific temperature range. The liquid that results from this stage is called wort.

Step 3: Boiling – In the boil, hops are added to impart bitterness and balance the maltiness of the wort. Depending on the style of beer you are making, you may need just one hop addition or, for hoppier styles, you may have a hops schedule that has hope additions occurring over a period of time.

Step 4: Cooling – One of the biggest mistakes made by new brewers is adding the yeast too soon. Yeast is very delicate and requires a certain environment to survive, if the wort is too warm the yeast will perish. Many brewers will put their wort in an ice bath to cool it rapidly. Ideally ale yeast should never be added to wort that is warmer than 75-degrees. Once cooled, the wort is transferred to a primary fermentation vessel.

Step 5: Pitching – When yeast is added to the cooled wort it is referred to as pitching the yeast. Yeast may come in either dry or liquid forms. Dry yeast should be rehydrated with warm water before pitching while liquid yeast can be added as is.

Step 6: Fermentation – Once the yeast and wort are combined, the process of fermentation begins. Most brewers use a device called an airlock to monitor fermentation; as long as bubbles continue to rise through the airlock, the beer is fermenting. After a week or two the bubbles begin to slow and secondary fermentation can begin if desrired. During this second process, additional sugars and flavorings may be added to create unique characteristics in the finished beer.

Step 7: Bottling – Finally, after all fermentation is complete, beer is transferred from fermentation vessels to bottles or kegs. Often a small amount of sugar is added at this stage so that when the bottles are capped fermentation will start again and carbonate the beer.

Step 8: Enjoy – After several weeks of bottle conditioning, your beer will be ready to drink. Put a few in your fridge, invite some friends over and reap the rewards of your labors!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Beer Education

 

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Robot brews beer in your own home

zymaticJanuary in Las Vegas means the Consumer Electronics Show and plenty of interesting new products to keep gadget nuts entertained. From Ultra-HD televisions to beer-brewing robots there is something for everyone. Yes, you read that correctly, this year there is a vendor hawking a robotic beer brewing device that automates the homebrewing process. The machine, dubbed the Zymatic, connects to the Internet, downloads a recipe and, after you add the required ingredients, brews 2.5 gallons of tasty, satisfying beer.

The machine was developed by two brothers who were frustrated with the hassles inherent in the homebrewing process. The brothers, Jim and Bill Mitchell, formed Picobrew, Inc. and set out to refine the process and create a device that would brew quality, all-grain beer with a minimum of fuss. Each brother brought different skills to the table, but both of their skill sets complimented the process. Jim was a food chemist & physicist, with a desire to incorporate more control in the process of beer brewing on a small scale. Bill, was skilled in building software, boards, and appliances. The two joined with Avi Geiger, an engineer with 24 US Patents under his belt, and set out to build a better machine.

After two years of tinkering, trial and error, the group finally had a product that did indeed solve the age-old problem of how to brew beer easily and with fewer headaches. With the robot created, the group needed a collection of recipes to use with it. They enlisted the help of Master Brewer Anne Johnson — the first woman to receive the American Homebrewer Association’s prestigious Homebrewer of the Year award — who created dozens of recipes for the system. The company has over 100 recipes available to brewers or ambitious hobbyists can formulate their own concoctions.

“Our mission,” said Bill Mitchell, PicoBrew CEO. “Is to get the whole world brewing great craft beer, and realizing that goal calls for a lot of product innovation.”

The hard work put in on the project paid off when Picobrew was named a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoreen for the Zymatic. The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the producer of the International CES, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology. The CES has been recognizing product design and engineering achievements since 1976.

The system costs $1699 by itself or $1799 with one keg. Systems can be ordered directly from Picobrew at their website: http://www.picobrew.com.

You can also learn more about the system in the video below from Fox News.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3978292771001/brew-your-own-craft-beer-in-your-house/?#sp=show-clips

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Beer News

 

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Secret Service Nixes Sierra Nevada Gift

Hop cone in a Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Image via Wikipedia

If you didn’t know it already, President Obama likes to toss back a couple of frosty ones every now and then. Not only that, but the president is a supporter of craft brewers and has even been seerved a home brew on occassion.

So, the fine folks at Sierra Nevada thought sending him some hops in the hopes they would make it into a White House home brew.

Unfortunately, the Secret Service played the part of party poopers and stopped the shipment because the rhizomes came packaged with dirt. Um, OK.

Read the whole article at the link below.

http://www.craftbeer.com/pages/stories/craft-beer-muses/show?title=oregon-hops-take-on-the-secret-service

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery

 

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The Perfect Friday Evening

Let me ask you a question; what is your idea of a great, relaxed evening? I’ll tell you mine; a cool, Florida Friday night, sitting in the backyard of good friends, eating hoagies (their from up north and that’s what they call subs), and drinking cold beer. Not just any beer, mind you. Bold City Brewing’s Killer Whale right out of a keg soaking in a tub of ice.

That, my friends, is a good evening.

Cheers!

 

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