6 Tips For Making Your Beer Sweeter

3 Sweeter Craft BeersThough in some instances you might appreciate a dry beer, it’s nice to mix things up once in a while and have a sweeter beer on hand. Or, when trying to dial in a beer recipe, you may find yourself wanting to increase the sweetness of the beer in order to balance out the bitterness of the hops. But you can’t just add simple sugar to a beer to make it sweet – the yeast will just consume the sugar and turn it into alcohol. So what are some ways that homebrewers can make their beer sweeter?


6 Tips for Making Your Beer Sweeter

  1. Mash at a higher temperature – For all-grain and partial mash homebrewers, it’s possible to control beer sweetness by adjusting the mash temperature. Generally, mashes at the lower range of the acceptable range (144-148˚F) allow the enzymes to break up more of the starches into fermentable sugars, making them easier for the yeast to consume, thereby resulting in a drier beer. Conversely, a mash at the higher end of the range (152-160˚F) does not break up as many of the starches, so those sugar chains are harder for the yeast to consume and they remain in the finished beer. Mashing high also increases body and head retention.
  1. Use more caramel malt – Caramel malts are excellent for making beer sweeter. Caramel 20L and 40L offer a malty/caramel/toffee character, whereas darker caramel malts bring in flavors of raisins and burnt sugar. Caramel malts should be used sparingly to avoid over-sweetening the beer. Usually 1-2 lbs. at the most is sufficient.
  1. Boil longer – A longer boil promotes the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction often confused with caramelization. Though the Maillard reaction will primarily promote color formation and bready, toasty flavors, an especially intense boil can produce some sweeter caramel flavors.
  1. Add unfermentable sugar – Unfermentable sugars can also be used for making your beer sweeter. Lactose sugar is one of the most popular, and it’s a key ingredient in milk stout. Use up to a pound for a milky smooth stout, or in smaller amounts to lend your beer a little extra sweetness.
  1. Use calcium chloride Shop Barley Grains– For all-grain brewers working with soft water, increasing the amount of chloride in brewing water can enhance the maltiness of a beer. As an experiment, try mixing a solution of calcium chloride in water and using a dropper to dose small amounts into a finished beer. This will give you an indication of how it affect beer flavor and mouthfeel.
  1. Use a less attenuative yeast strain – In brewing, attenuation is the degree to which yeast convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. A highly attenuative yeast strain will consume a large proportion of available sugar, whereas a less attenuative strain will leave some sugars in the beer. Examples of less attenuative yeast strains include many of the English strains, for example Wyeast 1084: Irish Ale, Wyeast 1099: Whitbread Ale, Wyeast 1187: Ringwood Ale, and Wyeast 1968: London ESB. That said, remember that yeast selection is only one factor that affects attenuation. Yeast health, pitch rate, mash characteristics, and fermentation temperature all come into play.


Do you have any tips for making a beer sweeter? Have you tried any of the above methods?

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Homebrew Hacks: Maximizing Brew Kettle Output With High-Gravity Brewing

Man Pouring Wort Into PaleSooner or later we all reach the limit on our brewing equipment. When it comes to brew kettles, standard procedure is to start with a 5-gallon kettle for partial mash brewing, then eventually upgrade to an 8-, 10-, or 15-gallon kettle in order to advance to all-grain brewing and brew bigger batches.

But brew kettles can be a big investment. To bridge the gap between your current kettle and the next size up, you can utilize high gravity brewing to brew more beer with less space. In other words, you can brew 15 gallons of beer with your 10-gallon kettle. This will allow you to maximize your brew kettle output before moving to a larger size kettle.

So how does this work?

Think about your typical 5-gallon, partial mash recipe kit. Usually what we do is mix the ingredients into a 3- or 4-gallon boil, then add water (preferably clean, chlorine-free water) to the fermenter to bring up the volume to five gallons. This can also be done with your own homebrew recipes and on a larger scale.


Scaling the Beer Recipe to Maximize Brew Kettle Output

Scaling the grain and/extract side of the recipe is pretty straightforward. As a homebrewer, all you need to do is increase the malts and malt extracts in proportion to the batch size. Say for example the five-gallon recipe you usually make in your 7.5-gallon kettle uses 6.6 lbs. of malt extract. To brew a ten-gallon batch, still use the same amount of water for the boil, but double the malt extract. After diluting in the fermenter, your original gravity should be pretty close to what it is when you brew the five-gallon batch. (Things are a little more complicated when brewing all-grain, but the same principles apply.)

The tricky part with scaling recipes into high gravity versions is controlling hop bitterness. IBUs are directly influenced by hop utilization, which is a factor of boil gravity and boil time. The higher the gravity of the boil, the lower the hop utilization. To compensate for the lower hop utilization, we need to do more than double the hops to arrive at the same IBUs.

Shop Brew KettlesTo figure out how much hops to use, work backwards. Say we want the finished beer to have 40 IBUs. We’re planning to brew five gallons of a 1.080 beer, which will be 1.040 after diluting with five gallons of water. That means the IBUs of the brew pre-dilution should be 80. As an example, it may only take 1.5 oz. of hops to reach 40 IBUs when doing a full-volume boil, but it will take 4.3 oz. of the same hops added at the same time to impart the same amount of bitterness in the higher gravity brew. These calculations can be tricky – use an IBU calculator to help you sort it out. In some cases you may want to add half the malt extract at the end of the boil (a late addition) in order to maximize hop utilization.


Limitations of High Gravity Brewing

To simplify the calculations above, I’ve used a 1:1 ration for dilution (one gallon dilution water for every gallon of wort). In reality, this is about the upper extreme of how much you’d want to dilute a homebrew. Diluting a high gravity boil can certainly be effective, but you want to avoid creating a beer that tastes watered down. Diluting before fermentation will help to avoid this.

Have you every tried brewing high-gravity beers to maximize your brew kettle output? How did it go?

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Oak Aged Imperial IPA: No Barrel Needed!

Imperial IPA made from a homebrew beer recipeWe Americans tend to like everything bigger and better – even our beer. For those of us who enjoy big hop bombs, a regular India Pale Ale doesn’t always cut it. Let’s take it to the next level with an IMPERIAL IPA.

Imperial IPAs are sometimes known as Double IPAs. All the word “imperial” or “double” means is that they have more of everything: more hops, more malt, and more alcohol. The color remains in the light amber to copper color range. Malt flavor should be present, but hops are the main event, usually American hop varieties. Most Imperial IPA beer recipes will have a substantial amount of late addition flavor and aroma hops, often with a decent to aggressive amount of dry hops for even more hop aroma. Alcohol content typically ranges from about 7.5-10% ABV.

The Imperial IPA beer recipe below goes one step further by incorporating oak flavor. In no way should the oak dominate the flavor of the beer. It should just be a subtle note that supports all of the other flavor elements.

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6 Ways to Recharge Your Homebrewing Mojo

Homebrewer With Mojo2I get it – we all get bogged down by the rhythms of modern life. Sometimes, it’s hard to make time for homebrewing, and before long, it’s been months since your last brew day.

That’s when you remember, “but I love brewing!” and ask yourself, “how do I get back into it?” Well, here are six ideas to get back into the swing of homebrewing:


  1. Brew your favorite beer – What’s the best beer you’ve ever tasted? How would you like to have five gallons of that beer on hand? Whether it’s a commercial beer or a homebrew, chances are you can make a clone. Create your own clone recipe or choose from some of these awesome clone recipes or clone recipe homebrew kits.
  1. Make it social – Brewing’s more fun with others. Invite some homebrewers you know over for a brew day, or maybe introduce one of your friends to the hobby. Make a party of it. Serve some food, some beer, watch the big game. More hands on deck means less work and more fun.
  1. Go to an AHA Rally – The American Homebrewers AssociationShop Steam Freak Kits has been hosting homebrew rallies at craft breweries all over the country. Take a little road trip, try some homebrews, make some friends. Want to take it a step further? Go to the National Homebrewers Conference.
  1. Try something different – If you’ve been stuck in a homebrewing rut, maybe it’s time to mix things up. If you’re an extract brewer, maybe it’s time to give all-grain a try. Or maybe experiment with brewing a lager, mead, sour beer – maybe even give winemaking a try. Try something different and you may revive that curiosity that got you into homebrewing in the first place.
  1. Get a new toy – Nothing inspires quite like a new homebrewing gadget. Maybe it’s time you got yourself a propane burner, a stir plate, or a pH meter.
  1. Enter a competition – Sometimes, the best motivation is a deadline. Search for homebrew competitions in your area and sign up. Plan out how much time you’ll need to brew, ferment, and age the beer before sending it in. Read these tips for succeeding in homebrew competitions and put that brew date on the calendar!

Shop Temp Controller

Have you ever found yourself in a homebrew funk? What did you do to get out of it?

David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

Homebrewing: By the Numbers

The 411 on home brewing measurements.Home brewing doesn’t require you to take a whole lot of measurement or to know a whole lot about the science side of the hobby. After all, people have been making beer for thousands of years, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that anyone really understood the role yeast played in the brewing process. But in order to make good beer predictably and consistently, knowing how to control the numbers is critical.

Below, find a breakdown of the most common home brewing measurements and figures used when making beer. Learn how to work these numbers, and your homemade beer will be all the better!


Common Home Brewing Measurements:

  • Volume – One of the most basic calculations you’ll need to keep track of is volume – the amount of space your beer takes up. Overshooting or undershooting your volume measurements can have a huge impact on beer color, flavor, alcohol content, mouthfeel, and more.
  • Weight – Homebrew ingredients are typically measured out by weight. A digital scale is an important tool for your home brewery.
  • Temperature – Measuring temperature comes into play in several parts of homebrewing. We often try to hit a specific temperature when steeping or mashing grains. Having good control over fermentation temperature can “make or break” your beer.Shop Accurate Scales
  • Gravity – Specific gravity is a measurement of the density of a liquid. Pure water has a specific gravity of 1.000. In brewing, gravity tells us how much dissolved solids there are in wort and in finished beer. We usually measure gravity with a hydrometer. By taking the original or starting gravity and subtracting the finished gravity, we can figure out how much sugar was consumed during the fermentation process and calculate the alcohol content of the finished beer. You’ll often hear beers called “high-gravity” or “low-gravity” (As in, “Man, I had way too many high-gravity beers last night!”). This refers to the original gravity of the beer, and by extension, the alcohol content.
  • ABV – “Alcohol by volume.” Using the gravity measurements from above, we can figure out the alcohol content of beer. Take the original gravity (let’s say 1.050) and subtract the final gravity (1.010). Take that number (0.040) and multiply by 131.25 to get the alcohol content (5.25%). There are ABV calculators that can help with the math, but I find it’s easy enough just to plug the numbers into my phone.
  • IBUs – “International Bittering Units.” In Europe, these may be listed as EBUs – they’re the same thing. IBUs are a figure that relates how much bitterness is contributed to a beer by hops. You can do IBU calculations by hand, but for these I usually use an IBU calculator. But in general, know that the more hops you use, the higher the alpha acid content of the hops, and the longer they are boiled in the wort, the higher the IBUs.
  • Alpha AcidsShop Temp Controller – Alpha acids, which are found in hops, are what make beer bitter. They’re expressed as a percentage of the total weight of the hops. For example, Cascade hops are typically 4.5-6% AA. You’ll often see recipes that call for a specific number of AAUs or HBUs. These stand for alpha acid units or homebrew bittering units. These are an easy way to develop consistency when alpha acids may change from batch to batch. To calculate AAUs or HBUs, take the weight of the hops (say, 1.5 oz.) and multiply by the alpha acid content of the hops (5%). That adds up to 7.5 AAUs.
  • SRM – SRM stands for standard reference method and is a measurement of beer color. The palest beers, like wits and pale lagers, are in the 2-5 SRM range. Anything over about 35-40 is a very dark beer. (In Europe they use the EBC scale – it’s roughly double SRM.)
  • Lovibond – Lovibond is a measurement of malt color, the main contributor to beer color. Very pale pilsner or pale ale malt is usually below 5 degrees Lovibond. Some of the mid-range malts that give beer an amber or copper range from about 20 to 100˚L. The darkest malts – the chocolate malts and heavily roasted malts – tend to be in the 300-500 range. A good recipe builder will help you with the math of predicting beer color.


Other Home Brewing Measurements and Calculations

These are just some of the primary figures used in homebrewing. As you advance in the hobby, you’ll also start paying more and more attention to things like efficiency, pH, pitching rates, and attenuation. But if you have firm control over the numbers above, you’re well on your well to brewing some excellent beer!

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Summer Beer Recipe: Making Radler Beer

Radler BeerHow would you react if someone suggested that you cut your beer with lemonade or soda? Would you raise your eyebrows in shock? Gasp with horror? Well, that’s how you make a radler beer.

In many parts of the world, mixing beer is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, many years ago in the US, it wasn’t uncommon to hear of people drinking shandy – a mix of beer with soda or another non-alcoholic beverage. Though shandy all but disappeared in the late 20th century, in recent years it has made a comeback as beer drinkers continue to search out new and exciting alcoholic beverages.


What is a Radler Beer?

In Germany, one of the popular beer-soda hybrids is known as radler. Radler means “cyclist”, and legend has it that radler was invented by an innkeeper who when faced with a beer shortage, blended his beer with a lemon soda and marketed it as a thirst-quenching, low-alcohol alternative for bicyclists who passed by his establishment.

Making radler at home is a fun experiment for blending homebrew. There are a couple ways to do it:

  1. Brew a beer and a lemon soda, bottling them separately, and then blend them together in the glass, or:
  2. Brew the beer and the lemon soda, blending them in secondary and bottling or kegging them together.

If you’re just starting out with radler, I’d recommend the first option. This way, you can control the ratio and blend the two together just the way you like it. But if you’re serving for a large group, the second option may be more convenient.

Traditional radler is made with about a 50/50 blend of pilsner beer and lemonade or lemon soda. A popular variation is made with hefeweizen in place of the pilsner.

To make your own radler beer, follow the instructions below.


How to Make a Radler Beer Shop Steam Freak Kits

  1. Brew a batch of your favorite pilsner or hefeweizen. Some beers you might try include American Platinum Lager, High-Flyin’ Derwitzer Wheat, or Pilsner Urkel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try using a pale ale or IPA as your base beer.
  2. Bottle or keg this beer as you normally would.
  3. When the beer is finished and you’re ready to make a radler, brew up a batch of sparkling lemonade:

Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Mix in 3/4 cup lemon juice. Cool the mixture in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, mix in 1 can club soda. (If you have a draft system, you can also force carbonate your lemon soda. In this case, you can scale up the batch and force carbonate like you would any homebrew.)

  1. When ready to serve, blend the beer with the lemon soda into a glass at about a 50/50 ratio. Adjust to taste. Optionally, serve with ice and a slice of lemon and enjoy your delicious summer sipper!

This is just a basic radler beer recipe. There are many ways to make a radler beer. The options are only limited by your imagination. Shop Draft Systems


Have you every tried a radler beer? How do you make your radler beers? Do you have a favorite radler beer recipe? Share it in the comment section below…

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

How and Why to Brew With Yeast Nutrient

Glass Of Homebrew Sitting In GrainsIf you’ve ever thought about using yeast nutrient in your beers but haven’t, then you may want to reconsider. There is little-to-no downfall in doing so and the additional costs are minuscule.

Yeast is the magical microorganism responsible for turning sugar into alcohol. Without yeast, we would have no beer, wine, or cider. And in order to do their jobs well, those billions of yeast cells have certain requirements. They’re not about to do all the hard work of fermenting your beer without a little something in return!

Though yeast are happy to eat up a bunch of sugar in just about any situation, there are some conditions that affect just how well they thrive. Temperature, for one, is important. Yeast can be killed when either too cold or too hot. When it comes to beer yeast, they tend to do best within a relatively narrow temperature range. Luckily for homebrewers, the ideal temperature for ale yeast is right around room temperature.

Another important factor in yeast performance is yeast nutrition. Since malt provides most of the nutrients yeast needs to ferment a batch of beer, yeast nutrition is usually covered when homebrewers progress beyond the basics.

In order to thrive, yeast need not just sugar, but also elements like nitrogen, fatty acids and sterols, amino acids, and vitamins. When yeast lack these ingredients, such as when brewing with large amount of adjunct grains and sugar, we begin to think about using yeast nutrients in the beer. Personally, I’ve found that yeast nutrient is a worthwhile addition to every batch of beer I brew.Shop Yeast Nutrient


Types of Yeast Nutrient and How to Use Them

  • Brewer’s Yeast Nutrient – One of the chief contributors to a healthy fermentation is nitrogen. It is most often lacking when brewing a beer with a high proportion (more than 10%) of sugar or rice. Nitrogen-based yeast nutrients are usually added to a beer before fermentation, though they may also be helpful in resolving stuck fermentations. Typical dosage for beer is 1 tsp. per three gallons.
  • Yeast Energizer – Yeast energizer is specifically designed for enhancing and speeding up fermentation. It has a slightly different mix of ingredients than yeast nutrient, providing what yeast needs a little later in the fermentation process. So, it is often added part way through fermentation and is especially useful in a stuck fermentation situation. Typical dosage is 1/2 tsp. per gallon.

Shop Yeast EnergizerProperly using yeast nutrients when brewing beer will frequently reduce fermentation time and produce cleaner tasting brews. Many brewers are in the habit of adding yeast nutrient to every batch.


Are you in a habit of using yeast nutrient in your beers? Why or why not?
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Fermentation Vessels: Buckets vs. Carboys For Homebrewing?

Homebrew Fermenting In CarboyIf you’ve ever shopped around for a new fermenter, you’ve probably asked yourself this question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of fermentation buckets vs. carboys?

As a beginning homebrewer, it may be hard to find a definitive answer to the question. Ask other brewers, and you’ll probably get a range of opinions. It seems that everyone has their preference.

But there’s a reason that homebrew equipment kits include a bucket fermenter for primary fermentation and a carboy for secondary fermentation. It all comes down to a few pros and cons:



  • Wide mouth offers easy access – The design of a fermenting bucket makes it easy to pour into from the boil kettle – you don’t have to mess with a funnel. It’s also easy to open the lid to pull hydrometer samples or add dry hops or other flavorings.
  • Lots of headspace – Buckets offer lots of room for krausen during primary fermentation.
  • Plastic is lightweight and unlikely to break – Buckets are easier to move than glass. Plus, if you drop one, it won’t shatter and send you to the ER.
  • Easy to clean – It’s easier to get inside a bucket to clean the insides. If you need to, you can really get in there and scrub.



  • Great for bulk aging – With carboys, it’s easy to minimize headspace. Reducing the amount of beer that comes in contact with air greatly reduces the chances of oxidation and infection.
  • A window to your fermentation – Carboys are clear, so you can see what’s happening inside.
  • They come in glass and plastic options – Some brewers feel like they get better flavor when fermenting in glass.Shop Fermenters
  • Don’t provide much space for primary fermentation – To give the krausen room to grow, you may need to rig up a blowoff tube.
  • Can be difficult to clean – Since the opening at the top is so small, it can be hard to get inside for a deep clean. We recommend using a carboy brush or an automatic carboy washer to really get inside.



Though both fermentation buckets and carboys work well for fermenting beer, buckets tend to be best for primary fermentation and carboys for secondary fermentation and aging. If you anticipate needing to get inside the fermenter during fermentation (to add dry hops or to stir a mead), a bucket may be your best bet. If you plan to age a beer for a long time after primary fermentation, consider using a carboy to minimize headspace. So as you can start to see there is some commonsense arguments for using a fermentation bucket vs using a carboy.

Which do you prefer: fermentation bucket or carboy?
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Belgian Abbey Single Recipe (Extract with Specialty Grains)

Glass Of Home Brewed Abbey SingleIf you’re a fan of Belgian Abbey beers, you’ve probably heard of dubbel, tripel, and witbier. But what about Belgian Abbey single? If you like these beers you’ll love brewing the Belgian Abbey single recipe below.

You may have a hard time finding a beer in Belgium called single. You’re more likely to hear it referred to as table beer or just Belgian ale. But with the stronger Belgian ales referred to as dubbel and tripel, many American brewers have grown accustomed to calling the most sessionable one a single.

These Belgian pale ales are routinely brewed for daily consumption, often by monks. They are usually about 5% ABV, pale or light amber in color, and very complex and aromatic due to fruity and spicy characteristic from Belgian ale yeast. A single is the type of beer you might enjoy with lunch. As such, it shouldn’t be too heavy or alcoholic, but still features the aromatic complexities of Belgian ale yeast. Two of the best American interpretations I’ve come across are made by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Starr Hill.
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8 Tips for Taking First Place in a Homebrew Competition

Judges in a homebrew competition.Those homebrewers with a competitive mindset will naturally be drawn to participating in homebrew competitions. Those that aren’t should still consider participating. Not only is it a great way to get feedback on your beers, it’s a fun way to interact with other beer lovers and an opportunity to have some pride in your hard work.

If you’re ready to compete with other homebrewers, consider these tips for winning in a homebrew competition. Use these 8 pieces of advice to improve your chances at winning top prize.


Know Your Competition

  1. First, keep in mind that there are generally two kinds of homebrew competitions: Those that are judged by the BJCP Style Guidelines, and those that aren’t. Your approach may vary depending on what kind of competition your participating in.


Tips for BJCP Homebrew Competitions

  1. Brew to style – This is one of the most important tips for a homebrew competition I can give you. Judges will likely be reading directly from the style guidelines as they’re judging your beer. To be successful in these types of competitions, it’s crucial that your beer is an exceptional example of a given style. Designing Great Beers is a good starting point for developing recipes according to style guidelines. If you have a beer that just kind of fits in a category, you’re better off submitting it in the Specialty Beer
  1. Plan aheadShop Steam Freak Kits – Ideally, you’ll have plenty of time before the competition to formulate a recipe based on the style guidelines. Better yet, brew the beer more than once so you can really dial it in.
  1. Watch out for the 2014 Style BJCP Guidelines – The BJCP announced changes to the BJCP Style Guidelines, that went into effect in 2015. Some competitions may be quicker than others to transition to the new guidelines, so be sure to check with your competition organizer. Review the changes at BJCP.org.
  1. Become a BJCP Judge – Learning to become a beer judge will help you become very familiar with how these competitions work. It will also expose you to a wide range of styles and improve your sensory skills.


Tips for Festival Style Homebrew Competitions

  1. Be creative – For non-BJCP homebrew competitions, you can throw the style guidelines out the window. Sometimes the competitions will have other qualities they’re looking for: best beer with local ingredients, best beer name, best IPA, best Belgian beer. The goal here is to simply make the best beer you can make. Many of these types of competitions will also have a People’s Choice Award or a Best In Show decided by celebrity judges. In this case, it often helps to showcase an unusual technique or ingredient that will make your beer stand out from the crowd. So, the number one tip in these types of homebrew competitions is to be creative.
  1. Market your beer – Colorful, easy to read signs are eye catching and let people know what you’re pouring. Creative, tongue-in-cheek names will often get people’s attention.
  1. Market yourself – Smile and invite people to come taste your beer – the more people try your beer, the better your chances at a People’s Choice Award. Above all else, have fun!Shop Beer Growlers


For many, homebrew competitions are one of the most enjoyable aspects of homebrewing. Hopefully, these tips for winning a homebrew competition will make it even more fun. Have you participated in homebrew competitions before? What tips would you add to the list?
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.