DIY Home Brewery Sign

Soon after I started brewing, it began to pop into my head from time to time that I should have a proper name for my home brewery (though admittedly it seems a little heavy handed to call a picnic cooler and a big pot a “brewery”).  In The Perfect Keg (my review here), Coutts mentions the beard of the barley, or awn, the little spiky hairs on the head of the barley plant.  Thus the name “Barley Beard Brewing” was born. Read more of this post


Brewing Belgian-Inspired Beers at Home

I have always been a bit infatuated with Belgian beers.  I (finally!) got my hands on a copy of Brew Like a Monk, and there were numerous “ah-ha!” eureka moments that stuck out to me for brewing a proper Belgian-inspired beer.

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How Much CO2 is Produced from Brewing?

Off-week bonus post!  Ever wonder how much CO2 is actually produced when you ferment your favorite bubbly beverage?  I’ve often found myself staring at my air-lock or blow-off bucket thinking it must be a lot.  I finally decided that I should just go ahead and calculate it; as turns out, I was right. Read more of this post

Reader Question: Beer Recipe Formulation

Off-week bonus post!  A while back I got a reader question in response to my article on How to Build a Beer Recipe.  In a nutshell, Mark was a little fuzzy on how much of each ingredient to actually use, something I glossed over in my more conceptual treatment of recipe building.  I thought I would share my response here: Read more of this post

Open-air Fermentation and a Recipe

Open-air fermentation?  You mean fermentation with no lid?  NO AIRLOCK!?  Yes.  Its time to take the top off.  I know what you’re thinking: the beer will get infected.  You’re also thinking: that’s crazy, why would you even bother with such non-sense?  This is the 21st century, not the dark ages; we use lids in century 21, sir! Read more of this post

Yuletide Photo Contest

Off-week bonus post!  This year I entered the Yuletide beer photo contest over at A Good Beer Blog.  These are my entries (click to enlarge the photos)- wish me luck! Read more of this post

Brewing Session Ales and a Rye Recipe

I love the idea of session ales: you can have a few without falling out of your chair.  But, they’re devilishly hard to brew without tasting like you just added carbonated water to an actual beer. Read more of this post

Sour Mash Sour Beers and a Recipe

Do you want to make a sour beer but don’t want to worry about contaminating all of your equipment with spoiler microbes?  The sour mashing technique might be for you, even if you are an extract brewer.  In a nutshell, the wort is allowed to sour during the mash, then the beer is boiled, killing any spoiler microbes before they can get to the rest of your equipment. Read more of this post

Molecular Gastronomy for Brewing

I recently finished up a free molecular gastronomy course (basically, the science of delicious things) offered by the University of Hong Kong through the website  The focus was on food, but some of the things were applicable to beer as well.  Here, I would like to share some useful things you might want to consider for your next brewing or tasting session. Read more of this post

Alternate Priming Sugars

Most people use either table sugar or corn sugar as their primer when bottling beer.   Others venture a little further out of the box and use things like honey, various semi-refined sugars, or sugars sourced from plants other than sugar beets.  I’ll cover some of these briefly, but another interesting alternative, and a way to add yet another layer to your beer, is just about any fruit juice. Read more of this post

How to Build a Beer Recipe

Building a recipe is a large part of the craft of brewing, which means there will be even more opinions than on the scientific portion of brewing.  And opinions are like, well… lets just say everyone has one.  Here’s mine (my opinion, that is): Read more of this post

DIY Belgian Candy Syrup 2: Experiments

[Miniseries part one, two]

In part one, I went in to some of the science behind making syrup from sugar.  Here, I’ll go into some of the experiments I tried before coming up with something I felt worthy of risking five gallons of brew over. Read more of this post

DIY Belgian Candy Syrup 1: Sugar Science

[Miniseries part one, two]

A while back I wanted to make a belgian trippel; traditionally this style is brewed with up to 20% simple sugars to lower the final gravity.  Naturally, I looked first at belgian candy (candi?) sugars,  but found that they were basically just crystallized table sugar, with the darker varieties having some mystery darkening agent, some leftover of the refining process which presumably somehow added to the flavor of the final product.  As far as I can tell, the only products that lend any real flavor are the golden-brown to molasses-colored candy syrups.  In fact, the flavors normally associated with the common varieties of candy sugars are actually from the yeast, as revealed on a Brew Strong episode (part one and two) when the guys visited White Labs and did some side by side tastings of identical worts fermented with different yeasts.  And yes, I realize that using such a syrup will not actually result in a trippel (its far too dark), but I was already on my way down the rabbit hole. Read more of this post

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