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Setting Up Your Homebrewing Space

If you’re interested in homebrewing, then it’s important to have a space that’s dedicated to mixing, fermenting, and bottling. At Brew Perfect, we’re here to provide you with outstanding micro brew equipment, such as a digital hydrometer, but the creation of your homebrew space is up to you. Above all, it should be a place that you enjoy spending time in, and where you can create amazing beer whenever you want!

Storage and Shelving

You’ve invested time and money into acquiring the equipment you need, such as buckets, carboys, sanitizers, and more, but where are you going to keep it all? You don’t want your brewing space to become cluttered, and that’s where storage and shelving come in handy.

Plastic storage bins can be your best friends, especially because you can rinse them off, should anything spill inside of them. You can also stack these bins, which means they take up less space in the room.

Your shelving should be durable, since you may be placing heavy items on them from time to time. You don’t want them to take up too much space, but putting several against the wall will provide the storage you need from floor to ceiling.

Create an Organized Workflow

It’s important for your brewing space to be organized, and nothing is more important than making sure everything is set up in the proper order. You want your workflow to be smooth, so if your keg and bottle filler is between the mash tun and the storage tank, then things can quickly get confusing. Setting up your space in the order that your beer is mixed, fermented, stored, and bottled will help you stay organized, no matter how many times a year you brew.

Make the Space Your Own

While you may be setting up in the garage or the basement, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the space your own. You want the room to be clean and free of clutter, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t hang your favorite beer signs on the wall or have a table and a set of chairs in the corner for those tasting sessions with your friends. Think about your favorite taprooms or pubs and what they have in terms of decor, and use that as inspiration for your space.

Homebrewing can be challenging, but it should also be fun, and having a dedicated space that reflects your tastes and your personality can make the process that much more enjoyable. At Brew Perfect, we’re here to make sure that you can make the most of your space with the best digital hydrometer and other micro brew equipment so that you know exactly where in the process your latest batch currently sits.

If you’re just starting to brew, or you’ve been doing it for years and you’re looking for ways to make the process easier, then order your new homebrewing products today. We know you’ll love how well they work, and how they help you create the perfect beer for any time of the year!

The Best Summer Beers

Summer is now only a week away, and with it will come more opportunities for sitting outside and enjoying a nice, cold beer. If you’re a homebrewer, you probably already have some summer beer recipes in mind, and you may already have some fermenting or ready to bottle. Whatever the case may be, Brew Perfect is here to help you create the perfect summer beer. With our digital hydrometer, temperature probe, and innovative app, you can keep track of exactly how far along your beer is, and when it’s ready to go into the keg or the bottle.

In this post, we’ll look at some summer beer varieties that you can try this year!

IPAs

We know, you may be getting tired of all the IPAs that you’ve seen at bars and liquor stores in your area, but the fact remains that they’re still one of the most popular summer beers out there. If you like them, then brewing one of your own should be a welcome challenge. If you want, shoot for session IPA that has a lower alcohol content and that balances the hoppiness and bitterness that is found in most traditional IPAs.

Blondes

A blonde ale may have been your introduction to craft beer all those years ago, and with their moderate flavors and low alcohol content, they’re very accessible for casual beer drinkers. There are plenty of blonde varieties out there, and you can make yours with more hops or more spices, and create a unique beer that you can still sip easily while you sit on the front porch this summer.

Saisons

We talked about saisons in a previous post, and if you started brewing one this spring, then it’s likely ready to go for summer. The spicy and fruity flavors of traditional saisons can be perfect for summer, and you’ll love pouring one into an ice-cold glass after you finish mowing the yard on a hot July afternoon.

Shandies

There are many pre-mixed shandy beers out there, but it’s fairly easy to make your own by mixing your homebrewed summer ale with lemon, lime, or another fruit-based beverage. You can use traditional lemonade, but the result could be a beer that’s too sweet for your tastes. You can also use ginger ale to give your beer more bite and to take the edge off of the sweetness.

These four beer styles are just a handful of the options you can try this summer. With the right approach, you can create the perfect summer beer, and you’ll be able to spend the next three months sharing it with friends and family. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue or relaxing after a hard day’s work, you’ll have a great beer on hand at all times. If you have our digital hydrometer and other homebrew equipment, you’ll know exactly how far along your beer is in the brewing process, and when it’s ready to be bottled and shared.

Look through our online catalog today, and please let us know if you have any questions!

Planning Your East Coast Brewery Tour, Part Three

In our last two blog posts, we’ve gone from Virginia to Massachusetts, finding the best breweries along the East Coast. We hope that as you’ve read our posts, you’ve found some inspiration for your next trip, or at the very least, inspiration for the next beer that you’re going to brew at home. At Brew Perfect, we want to provide you with the very best micro brew equipment, whether that’s a digital hydrometer or our innovative brewing app.

In this post, we’ll conclude our brewery tour along the eastern shoreline of the United States by visiting Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine!

Vermont

The Green Mountain State is home to many breweries, and there are some gems nestled among the lush hills and acres of mountain terrain.

Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Located in Shelburne, VT, near the shores of Lake Champlain, sits Fiddlehead Brewing Company. Their beer selection often rotates, but you can always find well-balanced beers that provide a unique taste experience. They offer a Belgian-inspired Witbier, a double IPA, and an unfiltered session ale that pairs well with pizza. If you find yourself in Shelburne, stop by and try a few pints!

New Hampshire

If you’re making your way up the East Coast, and you find yourself in New Hampshire, then you might have a hard time deciding which brewery you will visit. There are plenty to visit, and you could spend a week traveling around to all of them!

Oddball Brewing Co

This brewery located in Suncook, NH, is only open Friday through Sunday, so if you want to stop by, you’ll have to plan accordingly. Their Suncook Lager is a pre-Prohibition style lager that is made with corn instead of rice, which gives it a crisper flavor. The Nymph Belgian Blonde using New Zealand and Japanese hops, and the Albino Moose IPA is a bit of a different take on a traditional India Pale Ale. They also have some seasonal beers, so depending on when you’re there, you can try a few different types.

Maine

Once you’ve reached Maine, you’ve reached the end of the line when it comes to the East Coast, and the only thing you can do is turn around and head back, or continue on into Canada. While you’re in Maine, why not find a craft brewery and enjoy a tasty beer or two?

Orono Brewing

Situated in Orono, ME, Orono Brewing Company is open seven days a week, so no matter when you’re there, you can try one of their beers. The Thelma Cabernet Barrel-Aged Saison is made with Belgian DuPont Saison yeast, and the primary fermentation takes place in stainless vats. The secondary fermentation occurs in California cabernet oak barrels, and the flavor offers fruity, spicy, and jammy notes. You can also try the Tiger Style Fierce Pale Ale, the Bog Monster DIPA, and many other varieties.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our trip of the East Coast and all of the breweries that we’ve noted over the past couple of months. If you’re ever near any of these spots, we hope that you’ll stop in and try some of their beer. Who knows? You may taste something that inspires you to go home and brew something you’d never thought of before.

At Brew Perfect, we love helping people achieve their homebrewing dreams, and if you’re looking for a digital hydrometer that can provide you with accurate readings during the brewing and fermentation processes, then order one online today. We’re here to answer any questions that you may have and offer any support that you may need.

We look forward to helping you!

Planning Your East Coast Brewery Tour, Part Two

At Brew Perfect, we’re proud to support homebrewers around the country, and we love hearing about what kinds of beer you’re brewing out there. Whether you’re starting your first batch, or you’ve been homebrewing for years, our micro brew equipment can help you create delicious beers that you’ll love drinking and sharing with your friends. Our hydrometer, temperature probe, and app can help you know exactly when your beer is ready to ferment and bottle.

In our last blog post, we looked at breweries in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. In part two of our East Coast brewery tour, we’ll take a look at breweries in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts!

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to many, many breweries, so if you find yourself in the Keystone State, be sure to stop by at least one of them.

Abjuration Brewing

Abjuration is located in McKees Rock, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. It was started by two friends who began their journey with homebrewing, and you can taste the results of their experience in beers such as the Chai Milkshake Ale or the Blackberry Belgian Ale. They’re only open Friday and Saturday, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly!

New York

You can find plenty of breweries in New York City and on Long Island, but there are many more to choose from as you travel upstate.

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery

Lake Placid is of course famous for hosting the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and the subsequent “Miracle on Ice,” but it’s also home to Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. In business since 1996, this brewery produces more than 1500 barrels per year, and you can try some of their flagship brews such as the Ubu Ale (an English-style Strong Ale) or the Ubu’s Golden Ale. Be sure to pick up a pair of pint glasses or a custom cooler!

New Jersey

New Jersey doesn’t take that long to drive through, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of places to stop for an amazing beer.

7 Mile Brewery

Located in Rio Grande, NJ, just off the Garden State Parkway, 7 Mile Brewery has the motto of “Great Beer for Great People.” Their flagship beers are available year-round, and you can taste them at the brewery on Thursday through Sunday. Their 7 Mile India Pale Ale is a session IPA that blends hops and citrus, and the American Beauty offers malty caramel flavors. They also have seasonal brews, so depending on what time of year you’re there, you may be able to try something out of the ordinary!

Massachusetts

If you find yourself in Massachusetts, then you’re likely there for the history and the landmarks. While you’re in the state, why not try a beer or two?

Buzzards Bay Brewing

Located in Westport near Buzzards Bay, this brewery boasts “American Farmed, Fresh Ale.” Every beer is brewed by hand, and you can try the Buzzards Bay IPA or the Moby D altbier year-round. They also created limited releases such as the Swamp Yankee, which is a dark hoppy ale, and the Lizzie’s Famous “81 Whacks” Red IPA (named for Massachusetts’ own Lizzie Borden). The taproom is open Tuesday through Saturday, and you can fill up a bomber or growler to go, and choose from a great selection of brewery swag.

If you’re planning to visit the East Coast any time soon, then be sure to add some of these breweries to your list of places to visit. Who knows? You may just find some inspiration for the next beer you’re going to brew, and with micro brew equipment from Brew Perfect, your beer should turn out amazing.

Be sure to come back next time for Part Three of our blog series!

Planning Your East Coast Brewery Tour, Part One

As a homebrewer, you’re always looking for new inspiration for your next batch of beer. You might have a favorite brewery that you frequent, and that can be a great way to get ideas for new flavors and varieties of beer. However, it’s always good to expand your horizons and visit other breweries, and speak with other brewmasters and patrons who love all types of beer. At Brew Perfect, our digital hydrometer and temperature probe, along with our innovative app, can help you monitor your beer throughout the entire fermentation process. In this post, we’ll look at some East Coast breweries that you should add to your list of places to visit for new ideas!

Virginia

Brew Perfect is located in Richmond, VA, so we figured we’d start with our home state and some of its famed breweries.

Starr Hill Brewery

This award-winning brewery is nestled in the small town of Crozet, VA. It was founded in the late 1990s, and it is well known for its Front Row Golden Ale, Northern Lights IPA, and JOMO Vienna-Style Lager. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by and try a beer or two!

Lost Rhino Brewing Company

Lost Rhino Brewing Company is located in Ashburn, VA, just under an hour outside of D.C.. They have a great lineup to choose from, including the Rhino Chasers Pilsner and the Meridian Kolsch. Their seasonals include a Dark Czech Lager and a Session IPA. You can also find limited release beers, and be sure to ask about their Genius Loci Series.

North Carolina

Heading south from Virginia, we take a look at some of the best breweries in the Tar Heel State.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Nestled in the northern part of the state in Boone, NC, Appalachian Mountain Brewery has an outstanding selection of beers. The Boone Creek Blonde Ale is named for the creek along which the brewery is built, and the Spoaty-Oaty is perfect for anyone who loves American-style Pale Ales. The head brewer, Nathan Kelischek, is an alumni of Appalachian State University’s Fermentation Sciences program, and the brewery sponsors students who are interested in brewing through internships and collaborations with the university.

Fullsteam Brewery

Located in the heart of Durham, NC, Fullsteam Brewery buys ingredients from local farmers for their brews. The results of these local ingredients are beers such as the Paycheck Pilsner, the Humidity Pale Ale, and the Working Man’s Lunch Brown Ale. They pride themselves on their Southern-style beers, and if you’re ever nearby, why not stop in and try one or two?

Maryland

Now heading north of our home state, let’s look at some of the best breweries in Maryland.

Jailbreak Brewing Company

Situated in Laurel, MD, Jailbreak Brewing Company has a 16,000 square-foot brewing facility that is in full view of the tasting room. Founded in 2013 and getting fully up and running in 2014, Jailbreak has been making delicious beers like the Big Punisher Double IPA, the Feed the Monkey Hefeweizen, and the Poor Righteous American IPA for nearly four years.

1812 Brewery

The 1812 Brewery in Cumberland, MD lives up to its name, as it’s housed in a repurposed barn that was built in the year 1812. It’s also the first and only farm brewery in Allegany County, and with a lineup that includes the Maddy Golden Ale, the Pack Saddle Double IPA, and the Wheeler’s Irish Stout, there’s a choice for every taste.

At Brew Perfect, we love helping people brew their next batch of beer, no matter if it’s their first or their fiftieth. Our digital hydrometer lets you keep an eye on everything as it’s fermenting, and you can check your beer’s status wherever you are through our integrated app.

If you’ve been thinking about taking a trip up and down the East Coast in the near future, visiting as many breweries and trying as many beers as you can, then hopefully this list will help you get started. Be sure to check back soon for Part Two, where we’ll look at breweries in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts!

Which Beer Will You Brew First This Spring?

Spring is finally here, and with it, the time has come once again for sitting outside and enjoying a cold beer with your friends. You might be hanging out at your favorite microbrewery, or you may invite friends over to sit on your deck and enjoy your latest home brew. Whatever the case may be, you likely have your favorite springtime beers, and as a homebrewer, you probably have your favorites that you love to brew once the warmer weather returns each year. At Brew Perfect, our WiFi Digital Hydrometer gives you access to live readings for your new brew’s temperature, alcohol by volume, and much more!

Choosing Your Springtime Brew

You spent the time and money to get your homebrew setup exactly how you want it, and once you’re ready to brew this spring, you want to create a tasty beer that will last throughout the season. Here are a few of the more popular springtime beer styles, and hopefully you’ll find one that suits your tastes.

1. Maibock – This beer is particularly popular in Germany, and even though it’s name means “May bock,” you can still brew it in March or April. A maibock is a higher-gravity lager, but it tends to be a bit more paler and bitter than traditional bocks. A mix of Pils and Vienna malts will give you a great golden color, and the inclusion of Sterling hops and Bavarian-style yeast will create a delicious beer you’ll love drinking all season.

2. Tripel – The Belgians know how to make a tasty beer, and the Tripel, with its bright, fruity effervescence, is a perfect fit for spring. A Belgian ale yeast is a must for this Trappist-style beer, and you can find different kits with different styles of hops and grains. Keep in mind that these Tripels can end with a higher alcohol content, so yours could make a great sipping beer on a spring afternoon.

3. Saison – Another Belgian-style ale that is known for its fruit-forwardness and sometimes spicy finish, a saison can be a great choice for spring. You can brew your own with different varieties of hops, and some homebrewers add spices like coriander or orange zest to change up their brew. The carbonation and acidity of your saison can make it amazingly refreshing, which makes it a great choice for that first really warm day in April.

There are a number of beers that are great for springtime, and if you’re a homebrewer, you may want to try them all! You know what your tastes are, but if you’re brewing to share with friends and family, you might ask them what their favorite spring beers are. As the weather warms up and you spend more time outside, you’ll love pouring a brew from your home-tapped keg.

If you want to know exactly how your spring brew is coming along, then order your Brew Perfect digital hydrometer today. You can also pick up a temperature probe, and be sure to download our app so that you can keep an eye on your beer the entire time it’s fermenting.

We look forward to helping you brew the perfect beer!

“I’m a Girl and I Love Beer:” A Look at Females in the Homebrewing Industry

The beer industry has been historically dominated by men.  However, the Brewers Association, a non-profit organization of American brewers,  revealed a growing popularity of beer among women.  According to their 2014 report, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer by volume.

Another research project demonstrated that women are not only increasingly drinking beer, but are also brewing it. A 2014 study conducted by Auburn University found that women account for 29% of brewery workers in the United States and are beginning to play a much larger role in the craft brewing industry.

In 2014,a study by Stanford University found that out of 1,700 active breweries surveyed, only 4% had a female head brewer or brewmaster.

 

Some have said that the brewing industry as a whole isn’t as inclusive as it should be. In Milwaukee, there are only two female homebrewers in the greater metro area amid a span of 31 breweries.

Women drinking beer isn’t a new concept and isn’t an idea that seems very far-fetched. The question arises when you look a bit more closely into beer and gender. Are women drinkers marketed to differently than male drinkers? Should breweries be doing more to reach out to a broader demographic?

There are definitely more and more women branching out in the homebrewing world and are loving every minute of it. They are following their passions. And people who own their own breweries do a lot of heavy lifting. It’s not a job for the light-heared, no matter who you are. It’s a demanding job which requires a lot of time, effort, and elbow grease. More women are breaking barriers and proving that they hold a spot in this homebrewing world.

We hope that whoever you are and whatever type of beer you love, that you follow that passion. Fortunately, our Brew Perfect hydrometer enjoys all who use it!

Beer Pairings for Girl Scout Cookies – A Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine Article

Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us! Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine has released the 2018 cookie-and-beer pairings and we are thrilled to share them! For the original article go here: Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine

 

S’Mores

S’Mores comes in two versions based on local availability. One is a graham cookie that’s been dipped twice in a crème icing before it’s covered in a delicious chocolate blanket, and the other is a graham cracker sandwich filled with chocolate and marshmallow filling. While you could complement the chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow with a sweet or roasty stout, we recommend going with a contrasting pairing of a tart, fruity sour.

Caramel de-Lites /Samoas

Match the toasted coconut of these cookies with even more toasted coconut and the roasted caramel flavors in these beers.

Thin Mints

These dark and roasty stouts deliver a mouthfeel that pairs well with the crisp, minty crunch of the wafer cookie (especially if you keep your Thin Mints in the freezer). Consider yourself warned, though, as these beers range from 9—20 percent ABV and you’ll likely find yourself reaching for a second sleeve of cookies in record time.

Lemonades

The shortbread texture of the cookies and lemon flavors in the icing make an excellent contrasting duo for these citrusy IPAs and pale ales.

Shortbread/Trefoil Cookies

Stick with tradition by pairing these classic cookies with traditional beer styles such as Baltic porter’s cheek-warming notes of dark fruits and coffee or a Scottish ale with notes of cocoa and coffee and a dash of smoke.

  • 21st Amendment He Said
  • Uinta Brewing Company Sea Legs
  • Fat Head’s Brewery Battleaxe Baltic Porter
  • Founders Brewing Co. Backwoods Bastard
  • Surly Brewing Simpson’s Scottish Ale
  • Alaskan Brewing Smoked Porter

Do-Si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich

Let the flavors of the Do-Si-Dos dance with the balance and rich texture of these malty lagers.

  • Karbach Brewing Mother In Lager
  • Mikkeller American Dream
  • Great Lakes Eliot Ness
  • Devils Backbone Brewing Vienna Lager
  • Kansas City Bier Company Dunkel

Savannah Smiles

Push aside that lemon wedge you occasionally put in your beer and, if you must add a wedge, consider accenting your beer with a Savannah Smiles instead. The lemon-flavored cookie wedges have been dusted with powdered sugar and pair well with these witbiers and bières de miel.

  • To Ǿl Wbeer Witbier
  • Door County Brewing Big Sister Witbier
  • Avery Brewing Liliko’I Kepolo
  • Casey East Bank
  • Side Project Brewing Bière Blanche

Cranberry Citrus Crisps

Try these bières de garde for toffee notes and a subtle spice from farmhouse ale yeast that plays nicely with the cranberry inundated cookies. Make sure to let these beers warm up a little for maximum intensity.

  • Ponysaurus Brewing Co. Bière De Garde
  • Funkwerks Tropic King
  • Jack’s Abby with Stoneface Brewing Friend Request
  • Scratch Brewing Chanterelle
  • Creature Comforts Before the Wood

Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties

The vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter flavors from the Tagalongs sound like adjuncts in a stout. So grab these flavor-filled stouts to heighten the insanity of this pairing.

  • Funky Buddha S’mores Stout
  • Belching Beaver Brewery Peanut Butter Milk Stout
  • Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
  • Horse & Dragon Brewing Sad Panda
  • Founders Brewing Lizard of Koz

Rah Rah Raisins

You’ll definitely be cheering when you pair these oatmeal cookies loaded with raisins and Greek yogurt–flavored chunks with these complementing sour brown ales filled with dark fruit flavors.

Thanks-A-Lot

These shortbread cookies have had one side dunked in chocolate fudge. Keep the two-faced theme going by pairing with a contrasting beer such as these imperial IPAs.

Or reinforce the cookie flavors with the roasted goodness and creamy mouthfeel of these milk stouts.

Trios

These gluten-free whole-grain cookies are made with oats, chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Pair these with a gluten-free or a gluten-reduced beer for a gluten-less spectrum of flavor.

  • To Ǿl Reparationsbajer
  • Wicked Weed Brewing Gluten FREEk
  • Ghostfish Brewing Company Peak Buster
  • Brasserie Dupont Foret Libre
  • Shubrew Glutenous Maximus with Ethopian Espresso

Toffee-tastic

These gluten-free butter cookies, offered only in select areas, are loaded with bits of toffee, and beer lovers can harmonize with the bread and toffee flavors of the cookie.

Or they can stray away from full-on gluten abstinence with these beers.

Suggestions from The Beer Chicks include these pairings:

Central Track’s Melissa Mackaly suggests these pairings:

Suggestions from the Brooklyn Brewshop include these pairings:

And finally, Flying Dog Brewery includes the following pairings with its own beers:

  • Trefoils with Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
  • Do-Si-Dos with Lucky SOB Irish Red Ale
  • Samoas with Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA
  • Tagalongs with Gonzo Imperial Porter
  • Thin Mints with Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

All About Hops

 

For those interested in a more in depth view or for those who are just starting out in the homebrew world, we wanted to share some background and information on those wonderful, sticky little cones called hops.

Hops are the delicate female flower of the Humulus Lupulus plant, or hop vine. Considered the spice of beer, hops contribute flavor, aroma and bitterness. The bitterness is there to balance beer’s malty sweetness. Without the bitterness you would have a cloying, overly-sweet drink.

The first solid evidence of hops being used was in northern Italy. They also showed up in medieval records (around 800 C.E.) as being used in beer. They seemed to really become popular in Germany and quickly spread to cities around the country. Only a few places in the world have just the right conditions to produce truly delicious hops.

Once dried, hop cones are wither packed “whole” without further processing or formed into pellets. Dried hops are finely ground into smaller pellets and held together by resins. Some people think using whole hops gives a richer flavor over using smaller pellets but that can be a trial and error exercise or just based on your taste. The “whole” hops aren’t very compact and they don’t store as well and only a few varieties are available to homebrewers. The pellets also dissolve into the boil faster, making them the preferred choice for additions at the end of the boil. Whichever type you select, we strongly recommend using fine mesh, nylon Hop Bags to minimize the amount of the leftover hops that enter your fermenter.

Hops are vital to beer and contribute many things. They provide pleasant aromas and bitterness as stated above, but also provide some antibiotic affect against bacteria that can spoil beer. They also contain tannins that are attracted to proteins in the boil, helping clear the wort of unwanted, long-chain proteins. The result of this process is a clearer beer in the end.

Alpha acid is the chemical component in hops that creates bitterness. The higher the alpha percentage the more bitter the hops. But don’t be afraid to use hops with higher AA ratings; simply use less per batch. For example, when added at the beginning of the boil, 2 oz of, say, Northern Brewer hops with a 7.5% AA will yield the same bitterness as 1 oz of Magnum hops with a rating of 15%AA.
Brewers divide hops into three categories:
1. Those used for bittering and bought on the basis of the quantity of alpha acid
2. Premium low-alpha hops used exclusively for aroma
3. Hope that are considered dual-use meaning used for aroma and have moderate alpha levels

For a more advanced look at the types of hops, you can visit here:

 

 

Holiday Beer Brewing and a Festive Brown Ale Recipe

With the holidays approaching, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with a festive beer. Spices, fruits and hop additions can all be combined to brew the perfect holiday ale or lager. It’s important to choose your base beer before moving forward. For a spiced beer, it is often moderately dark and is well hopped to provide warmth and some complex flavoring. In contrast, fruit based winter beers often use a light wheat base and low hop rates so the flavor of the fruit comes through to be properly accented. You really want to choose a beer that complements the other ingredients.

 

Have a goal in mind in terms of what flavoring you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want to brew a beer reflecting flavors of a sugar cookie, you might start with a robust body ale and then add sugar or even a small amount of lactic acid or maple sugar to provide warmth and sweetness. Adding a bit of nutmeg would also help in highlighting the flavor of a cookie.

 

It’s also important to keep things simple and moderate when using adjuncts. Some first-time homebrewers tend to go overboard on the spices and that makes for an overwhelming outcome of taste. You want to accent your beer with these festive flavors without bogging it down.

 

One of the holiday recipes we enjoy comes from the American Homebrewers Association and we’ve included it below. Happy Brewing this holiday season and stay tuned for more seasonal recipes!

 

Christmas Cinderella Double Brown Ale:

Not quite your classic English brown ale, this Christmas Cinderella double comes in at about 6.2% ABV. It has the smooth, sweet caramel malt character of an English-style brown that is perfectly balanced with the flavor and aromatic character of chocolate malt. Wheat, special roast, and Belgian aromatic malts combine to contribute a rich, toasty, biscuit-like aroma and flavor, while the small addition of black malt adds color and assertiveness to balance the higher profile of alcohol.

INGREDIENTS

  • For 6 gallons (23 L)
  • 3 lb. (3 kg) cans EDME Maris Otter malt extract
  • 5 lb. (1.13 kg) Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) 75° L English crystal malt
  • 75 lb. (340 g) wheat malt
  • 5 lb. (225 g) special roast malt
  • 33 lb. (150 g) black patent malt
  • 33 lb. (150 g) Belgian aromatic malt
  • 5 oz. (14 g) English Kent Golding whole hops, 2.5 HBU (60 min.)
  • 1 oz. American Willamette hop pellets, 5 HBU (60 min.)
  • 6 oz. (17 g) American Cascade whole hops, 3 HBU (20 min.)
  • 25 tsp. (1.2 mL) powdered Irish moss (10 min.)
  • 1 oz. (28 g) American Cascade whole hops, 5 HBU (steep after boiling for 3 min.)
  • Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley ale yeast
  • 1 cup (237 mL) corn sugar/glucose (to prime)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Original Gravity:060–1.064
  • Final Gravity:013–1.017
  • ABV:2%
  • IBU:25
  • SRM:32
  • Boil Time:75 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Use a single-step infusion mash for the 3 3/4 lb. (2.6 kg) of grain. Add 6 quarts (5.7 L) of 172° F (78° C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize, and hold the temperature at 156° F (69° C) for 60 minutes.

After conversion, raise temperature to 167° F (75° C) and sparge with 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of 170° F (77°C) water. You should have about 3.5 gallons (13.3 L) of sweet wort. Add malt extract, English Kent Golding and Willamette hops, then bring to a full and vigorous boil. Boil for 75 minutes. Ferment between 63 and 65° F (17 to 18° C) for 10 to 14 days. For best results, cellar at 50° F (10° C) for 2 to 5 weeks.