While there is a plethora of information on homebrewing (and just about everything else) available for free on the internet, including online calculators, discussion forums, and clone recipes, I’m a bit of an old-fashioned student that prefers referencing printed textbooks. To me, I prefer to thumb through the pages of a well-worn brewing book that is peer-reviewed rather than scour the forums for the answers to my questions, often wondering if those well-intentioned responses are trustworthy. I also like to have comprehensive information all bound under one cover rather than consulting six different websites to cover my daily ponderings.
Gluten is a troublesome protein found in cereal grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. Approximately 1% of the world population is affected by celiac disease which is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and affects nutrient absorption. Gluten sensitivity is a recognised condition affecting about 6% of the US population, and involves other, less serious reactions from ingested gluten. Since the primary source of sugar in brewing comes from cereal grains, most people with celiac disease and gluten intolerances avoid beer altogether, but craft brewers have gotten creative over the years in trying to offer gluten-free options that still taste great. This post will introduce you to the basics of gluten-free brewing.
As an American living in Hong Kong, once you make it to November and are finally rewarded with a drop in temperature then you can't help but start thinking about the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays on the horizon. Over the past several years my wife and I have been fortunate to host or attend Thanksgiving gatherings with friends which always include staples of turkey, breaded stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, vegetables, and pumpkin pie. This holiday always reminds me to reflect on what I'm thankful for, and beer is definitely on that list! In the past I've never brewed a beer for a specific holiday, but in this post I will share a few recipes that I brewed for this year's Thanksgiving celebration!
All-grain brewing opens up a huge realm of possibilities for the malt profile of your beer. Of course it comes with the cost of an extra step of complexity with the "mash". Mashing is a process that is described by John Palmer in "How to Brew" as "the hot water steeping process that hydrates the malt, gelatinizes its starches, releases its natural enzymes, and converts the starches into fermentable sugars" (p.141). More simply put, it's like making barley-sugar-water through steeping - just like tea. In this post I will discuss the choice of the mash temperature and how it will affect the wort that you produce.
In this age of West Coast IPAs and East Coast Juicy IPAs, when developing recipes it's easy for home brewers to focus their attention on selecting new and interesting aroma/flavor hop varieties. However, the malt profile is equally important to provide the supporting base underneath those hop flavors. In this post I will share a basic approach to calculating the grain bill for your target beer style.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs) often show up on packaged craft beer and just as often in conversations involving IPAs. In this post I will share how home brewers can easily calculate the amount of IBUs in their recipes.. As a home brewer you must know how to calculate these if you hope to make consistent recipes.