Oxygen in beer is undesirable except at one point (and only one point) in the brewing process. That lone point is when the post-boil wort has been chilled down to fermentation temperature, but before the yeast has been pitched into it.
Oxygen dissolves into wort as a function of temperature and specific gravity. As such, the colder and less concentrated the wort, the more oxygen will be able to enter into solution. All the bubbling and splashing that occurs during the boil drives most of the oxygen out of solution because the wort is too hot while boiling. Therefore, oxygen must be replenished after the wort is cool and able to retain the oxygen in solution again.
Oxygen is essential for yeast growth and reproduction. Yeast must grow and reproduce first, before actually fermenting the wort to make beer. Yeast needs oxygen to synthesize the material for expanding cell walls; namely sterols and fatty acids. Overlooking proper wort aeration can lead to problems such as long lag times before the start of fermentation, stuck or incomplete fermentation, or excessive ester (fruit flavor) production, any of which would produce less than desired results.
Happy IPA Day 2018!! We wanted to bring you some awesome information about the India Pale Ale. This information comes from a great article via bon appétit. You can visit their website here for more awesome articles and information about all things food and drink: https://www.bonappetit.com.
Those are the two most common things I hear people say about IPAs, and neither of them are really true. Not all IPAs are bitter, and not all IPAs have a ton of booze in them. You can’t throw a blanket statement over an extremely broad style of beer. It’s an unfair simplification. But whether you fall on the love or the hate (check yourself) side of this relationship, there’s one thing we can’t deny: IPAs are here to stay.
But what do you actually know about IPAs? IPAs come in a range of styles, and the modern approach to hoppy beer isn’t a declaration of bitterness, but a beer that explores the world of fruity flavors that can also come from hops. Here’s everything you need to know about the IPA, from vocabulary to style breakdowns to the breweries doing them right.
The IPA Vocabulary
These are terms that can applied to any style of beer, not just IPAs. For instance, you can have a session West Coast IPA and a session Belgian IPA.
Session: Less alcohol! Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your lifestyle. Modern session IPAs usually fall below 5% ABV (although historically, the style is 4% and below). With lower alcohol comes a thinner body, so these are the types of beers you can drink on repeat.
Double/Imperial: Double and imperial IPAs are essentially the same thing: IPAs with a higher hop concentration. To balance all that hop flavor, the brewer uses more malt, which results in a higher ABV (usually over 7%). It’s an IPA on steroids, and in the stoic words of Dave Chappelle (as Samuel L. Jackson), “This shit’ll getcha drunk!”
Dry-Hopped: Dry-hopping is the process of steeping hops in fermenting beer, instead of adding them while the liquid is boiling. The process creates an extremely strong aroma, amplifying the fruity/piney/candy-sweet notes of the hops. It makes the beer smell better, without adding any bitterness.
Double Dry-Hopped: A lot of brewers say IPAs are “double dry-hopped.” And while this sounds self-explanatory, it’s actually meaningless. There’s no real definition for “double dry-hopped.” It could be a dry-hop with twice the amount of hops or the addition of a fresh batch of hops halfway through the process. Regardless, it’s more of a marketing ploy to sound like you’re getting an over-the-top hoppy-ness/dose of hops than a quantifiable word, so no one knows exactly what it means.
Triple Dry-Hopped: Seriously. No one knows what this is.
Single-Hopped: Brewers combine multiple hop varieties for the same reason you’d put multiple seasonings in a marinade—to bring different flavors to the table. A single-hopped IPA, however, is brewed exclusively with one hop variety. That means that in a Citra single hop IPA, Citra hops are used in the boil, on the finish, and in dry-hopping (if dry-hopped). This is great news if you’re a member of the Citra Hop Fan Club.
Fresh-Hopped: Fresh-hopped IPAs, also called wet-hopped or harvest ales, only come around once a year, at the peak of hop harvesting season in late August and September. To qualify as a fresh-hopped IPA, the hops have to leave the vine, travel to the brewery, and end up in the boil in under 24 hours. The closer to the brew date you drink it, the more intense the brilliant, fresh flavor of the hops will be.
These are classification categories for IPAs. A “style” means that an ingredient in the brewing process or technique (or both) lends a certain flavor, mouthfeel, or appearance to the beer that is always true for the style.
The IPA was invented in Britain. Here’s the abridged version: British sailors, while sailing to India, loaded up barrels of beer with hops, because hops were a preservative. The hops hung around in the beer for so long that they lost their fruity flavor and left a bitter tasting beer. So…British IPAs are malty, bitter, and one-noted. They aren’t the most popular style today, but it’s important to know one when you see it. These are best consumed on some kind of a cliff with sea mist spraying in your face.
The West Coast IPA was the beginning of the fruity hop explosion. This style gets credit for exploring the rowdy, fruity flavors in hops, while shedding some of the bitterness. That’s not to say that West Coast IPAs aren’t bitter; they are. But that bitterness is balanced with an exceptionally clean, crisp body, higher carbonation, and big tropical fruit notes (It is a “West Coast” IPA, after all). Early classics in the style were brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Stone Brewing Company.
The New England IPA is what people are drinking right now. This IPA is unfiltered (which makes it hazy) and has extremely low bitterness from using blends of hops that lend intense, fruity flavor. New England style IPAs are often dry-hopped and tend to be fermented to have lower carbonation. These beers look like orange juice, smell like fruit salad (sprinkled with weed), and taste like fresh fruit cobbler. This is the IPA for the “I don’t like IPAs,” person in your life, which might be why they’re so popular right now.
Although this isn’t necessarily an “official” style of beer (according to the beer lords over at Beer Advocate), there’s something to be said for the East Coast style IPA. It’s the stepping stone between the British and West Coast IPA, with an emphasis on piney hop flavor and a solid malt backbone. It’s not as bright as a West Coast IPA, but more complex in flavor than a British IPA. Dogfish 60 Minute and Victory Hop Devil are good examples.
“Soft” is a word that’s becoming a lot more common when talking about IPAs, and that’s thanks to oats. While West Coast IPAs are crisp, clean, and sharp, IPAs brewed with either flaked oats or oat milk have a lazy, lethargic, cozy mouthfeel. They’re soft in the way that the blanket you keep on the couch for extended stays is soft. You can get lost in there, with the bonus of fruity hop flavors.
Milkshake IPAs (also called cream IPAs) do not contain milk, and you should not shake them. Lactose IPAs get the nickname “Milkshake” because of the sweetness the milk sugar adds to the beer. It’s common (but not mandatory) to see fruit or vanilla added to these IPAs to take the effect even further. With a low carbonation, these usually end up drinking like a fruity milkshake, super smooth like a milk stout but much lighter in flavor and color.
The driving flavor in a Belgian IPA comes Belgian yeast, which provides sweet, bready, warm notes to the beer. These usually end up tasting like a British IPA mixed with a Belgian tripel. These get better and better the closer you get to a fireplace.
Adding fruit to beer is a risky procedure, but IPAs handle it pretty well. Brewers intensify all that fruit flavor coming from the hops by adding puréed fruit to the beer while it’s brewing. With fruited IPAs, you want fruit purée added to the beer, not fruit juice. It creates better flavor and shows that the brewer isn’t taking shortcuts.
In a perfect world, a sour IPA would be equal parts tart, juicy, and fruity, but the sour IPA is still largely uncharted territory. Some brewers will call a dry-hopped sour beer a “Sour IPA,” but it isn’t the same. The body of a sour beer is generally lighter, so adding the bold flavor of hops directly to that beer doesn’t always work out. There’s really only one brewery making sour IPAs the right way. Hudson Valley Brewing Company blends sour ale with a separately brewed IPA to create one sour, fruity, cohesive beer.
Brettanomyces. So hot right now, Brettanomyces. This yeast strain (also seen in winemaking), added in the primary fermentation of the beer, gives a funky, melon-y quality to beer. Brett is showing up in IPAs more and more frequently, adding an underlying aroma of musty fruit salad and boosting ripe fruit flavors. That’s a good thing. Promise. And you say it like this: Brett. Uh. Nom. Mih. Seas.
“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.
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 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.
Modern Times Beer Monsters’ Park (Bourbon Barrel w/ Coconut & Cocoa Nibs)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holiday Beer Brewing and a Festive Brown Ale Recipe
Dec. 9, 2017
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.
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)
Boil Time:75 minutes
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.
Three Basic Tips for Brewing Beer At Home
Dec. 6, 2017
Brewing craft beer at home is an enjoyable pastime shared by over a million Americans. Homebrewing not only serves as a fun hobby to enjoy on the side, but it provides you with a tasty beverage to enjoy when the process is over. Even the White House joined in on the homebrewing movement in 2012!
Whether you have just started making a beer brew at home and are on the search for some more helpful tips to take your brew to the next level, or you are wanting to start brewing your first batch, we’re going to provide you with a few homebrewing tips today. Brewing delicious beer at home comes with practice and we want to help you as you start your homebrewing journey. Read along to learn a few important tips that will take your homebrewing skills to the next level.
Invest In Fresh Ingredients, Especially Malt
You want to make good beer, right? Then you’re going to want to invest in the best ingredients possible. Brewing beer requires only a few ingredients, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t choose quality ones.
Malt, which is grain that is used to make beer, is an especially important ingredient to pay close attention to. Make it a point to find the freshest possible malt extract you can. You don’t want malt that has passed its prime. Avoid brown hop pellets and yeast.
These small, green buds is what provides your beer with those sweet and malty flavors. Selecting fresh hops is going to make a big difference in the taste and aromas of your beer, so make sure you purchase quality hops. Plus, you can store hops in your freezer for about six months for reuse.
Without water, you can’t make beer. This ingredient isn’t as important as the others. However, if you are wanting to fine-tune the taste of your brew, you might consider using bottled water instead of tap water. Tap water contains chlorine, which can affect the taste of the beer in the long-run. Ensure a clean taste to your beer by using purified bottled water.
Yeast is the magic ingredient in the wort that turns into the beer you’ve been dreaming of. There are different kinds of yeast available, depending on which beer you are homebrewing, like ales or lagers. Be mindful of this as your collect your beer brewing ingredients. With fresh ingredients, your beer is going to taste that much better.
Chill The Wort
Pouring hot wort into cold water in a fermenter is often the brewing practice of choice to chill the wort down. However, there is a better method for chilling wort that will not compromise the flavor of the final product. Instead of mixing the hot wort with the cold water, place the hot wort in a pile of ice to cool it down. Once the temperature decreases to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can transfer it to the cool water in the fermenter. This way of chilling the wort decreases the chance of oxidation, which will produce a tastier beer in the long-run.
Stay Clean And Sanitized
While this may seem like a no-brainer, sanitizing your homebrew systems and beer equipment, especially during the wort cooling process, is an important tip for creating a clean tasting, delicious beer. The last thing you want is to contaminate your brews, so be sure to soak the equipment in a no-rinse sanitizer.
Hopefully these three simple tips will assist you in your homebrewing endeavors. Focusing on fresh ingredients and sanitizing your equipment, as well as properly chilling the wort, will ensure that your final product is a delectable beer that you and your friends and family will enjoy. Check out our homebrewing systems at Brew Perfect today.
The Homebrew Mashup: Kegging versus Bottling
Nov. 18, 2017
We found a great article from Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine regarding some specifics details on Kegging. You can read the article here
Below we will look at bottling versus kegging and the advantages and disadvantages you may come across as you choose one route or the other.
Perhaps you are thinking about changing things up and switching from bottling to kegging. The great thing is that both result in BEER. We’ll look at some different elements to both bottling and kegging and see how they fare.
Some key components to the kegging process are as follows:
Kegs: homebrewers tend to use five-gallon Cornelius stainless steel kegs, which come with either a ball-lock or pin-lock fitting.
Connectors: Kegs have two connectors. One is for pushing CO2 and the other is for dispensing beer.
CO2 Tank: Homebrewers tend to use five-pound tanks because they are easier to transport, but if that isn’t an issue and you are planning on dispensing a lot of beer, you can attain a 20-gallon tank for only a few dollars more.
Regulator: A regulator is needed to provide safe levels of CO2, as a full CO2 tank holds a pressure of 800 PSI, which is way more than necessary for carbonating and serving beer.
Faucet/Tap: A tap is needed to control the flow of the beer when serving it.
Tubing: Food—grade tubing is needed to connect the CO2 and tap to the quick-disconnects.
O-Rings: These are rubber circles used to seal areas like the hatch of a keg. If you have purchased used kegs, it’s a good idea to replace the O-rings.
Refrigerator: You will need a refrigerator to store your keg.
It’s rare that you move a keg once it’s in the refrigerator so not only does this mean that you don’t have to keep moving it around, but because it stays sedentary, it lowers the chances of disturbing the yeast sediment after it has settled.
A bit of a downfall on the kegging side of things is that if you want to enter a homebrewing competition, the way to go is bottling. It is possible, however, to bottle from a keg using a counter-pressure filler.
Some people opt for kegging because bottling can be time consuming so that really comes down to a personal choice and how much time you have and want to spend. We’ve seen the process take from 60 minutes (super speed) to five or six hours.
Kegging takes the lead when it comes to carbonation as it lets you precisely adjust carbonation to a level that’s just not possible with bottles. Also, if you do happen to over-carbonate a batch, kegs can handle many times the pressure of bottles.
Portability can obviously be pretty easy with bottles if you are looking to take your masterpieces with you. However, if you have a counter-pressure filler for the keg, it evens itself out.
And lastly, some people just enjoy popping a top off of a bottle rather than flipping a tap switch but all-in-all, both are great ways to get some great homebrewed beer!
The NEW Brew Perfect Digital Hydrometer is Here! Pre-Order Now!
Oct. 30, 2017
Better brewing is just a click away with the NEW Brew Perfect WiFi Digital Hydrometer! Pre-order yours now and get four pint glasses for free, too!
Plus, you’ll be entered to win your Brew Perfect device for free if you’re one of the first 100 purchasers!
The presale has started and shipping will begin in early December!
The All New Brew Perfect Apps are Ready!
Oct. 25, 2017
The all new Brew Perfect apps are READY! iOS and Android are both supported and available in the Apps and Play store. All you need to do is download the new app and log in with your current account information. You can find the app under “brewperfect.” Download today! Links are included below:
To get started, please setup your new accounts with BrewPerfect by registering your email and password, going to your email to confirm, and signing in. Then go to add your device(s) on your profile page.
We will be selecting users to beta test with us before our move to production next week!
Brew Perfect's WiFi Digital Hydrometer connects you with the inner workings of your brew during the fermentation process. Track and record your brew's standard gravity, temperature, and alcohol by volume. Everything you need to know about your brew with real-time updates. Brew, share, and repeat!