A Quick Guide To American Hop Varieties

American Hops With American FlagAmerican hop varieties display a wide range of flavor and aroma characteristics, from citrus and floral to piney and resinous.

Hops are generally categorized as bittering, finishing, or dual-purpose hops. Higher alpha-acid hops usually lend themselves to bittering, whereas the lower alpha-acid hops are preferred for flavor and aroma. Dual-purpose hops work well in both situations.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular American hop varieties:

  • Amarillo: Amarillo is one of the relatively new American hop varieties that has become very popular among craft brewers for its fruity hop character. Similar to Cascade, it features strong fruity notes when used as an aroma hop, often described as “tropical”.
  • Cascade: Perhaps the most popular American hop of all, Cascade is well known for its use as a finishing hop in Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale and countless other American ales. It has a distinctly spicy, citrus character that gives very fragrant grapefruit notes when used in later additions.
  • Centennial: Generally considered a dual-purpose hop (meaning it works well both early and late in the boil), Centennial has a citrus and floral character that makes it work well when combined with Cascade and similar hop varieties.
  • Chinook: Chinook is a dual-purpose hop with distinct piney and spicy hop notes. Maybe you could try an all-Chinook IPA?
  • Cluster: According to Ray Daniels, Cluster “is believed to be the oldest of all the American hop varieties still grown today.” It’s a dual-purpose hop with alpha-acids in the mid-range. If you want to brew a pre-Prohibition style American lager, Cluster may be a good choice.
  • Columbus: High alpha-acid content makes Columbus an excellent bittering hop, but it also works well for later additions and dry hopping. Oskar Blues’ award-winning Deviant Dale’s IPA is dry-hopped with Columbus.
  • Fuggle (US): US Fuggles are a low alpha-acid hop derived from the English variety of the same name. When used as a finishing hop, it gives beer a pleasant woody hop aroma.
  • Liberty: Liberty is derived from the Hallertau strain of the German noble hops. It’s a lower alpha-acid hop that works well as a finishing hop in American-style pilsners and lagers.
  • Magnum: US Magnum is a clean, high alpha-acid bittering hop comparable to the German Magnum.
  • Mt. Hood: Mt. Hood as another aroma hop comparable to the German noble hops, named for the region in Oregon where it’s grown.
  • Willamette: Willamette (“Will-AM-ette”) is a low alpha-acid aroma hop bred from the UK Fuggles. It works well in a wide variety of American ales and lagers.

For more great resources on other hop varieties, check out Ray Daniels’ Designing Great Beers.

What are your favorite American hop varieties? Are there any you’d like to see us carry?
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He is a graduate of the Siebel Institute of Technology’s “Start Your Own Brewery” program and the Oskar Blues Brew School in Brevard, NC.

Recipe of the Week: Hennepin Clone by Brewery Ommegang

Hennepin BeerAmong the best Belgian-style brewers in America, Brewery Ommegang stands out as one of the first breweries of the modern craft beer movement to specialize in brewing Belgian beer. Founded in 1997 in Cooperstown, NY, it produces such amazing beers as Rare Vos and Three Philosophers, as well as a series of beers inspired by the hit HBO show Game of Thrones.

Named for the first European to “discover” Niagara Falls, Hennepin is a farmhouse saison, bright gold, dry, and spicy, with an alcohol content of 7.7% ABV. It uses Belgian candi sugar to increase the alcohol content while maintaining a dry finish, and exotic spices like ginger and orange peel to create a complexity that might cause one to compare it to a dry, floral, white wine.

If this sounds like something you’d like to brew, read on for a recipe! This Hennepin clone recipe comes from the October 2002 issue of Brew Your Own Magazine.

 

Hennepin Clone Beer Recipe
(5-gallon batch, extract)

OG: 1.070
FG: 1.008
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 24

Ingredients
6.6 lbs. Muntons light malt extract syrup (use two 3.3 lb. cans)
0.5 lb. light malt extract powder
2 lbs. light candi sugar (use two 16 oz. packages)
1.25 oz. Styrian Gold hops at :60
1 tsp. Irish moss at :15
1 oz. dried ginger root at :15
1 oz. bitter orange peel at :15Shop Beer Flavorings
0.5 oz Saaz hops at :2
Wyeast 1762: Belgian Abbey ale yeast or Mangrove Jack’s Belgian ale yeast
0.75 cups priming sugar

 

Directions

Dissolve the malt extract and candi sugar in three gallons of hot (not boiling) water. Bring to a boil, then add the Styrian Gold hops and Irish moss. Boil for 45 minutes, then add the ginger root and orange peel. Boil for 15 more minutes, adding the Saaz hops during the last two minutes of the boil.

Cool wort to 80˚F or below and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Add enough clean, filtered water to make 5.5 gallons. Stir well to mix and aerate, then pitch yeast when wort is about 70-75˚F. Ferment at 68-70˚F until complete. Optionally, transfer to a secondary fermenter after about 5-7 days.

On bottling day, dissolve priming sugar in two cups hot water, allow to cool to room temperature, and pour into a clean, sanitized bottling bucket. Transfer wort to bottling bucket, leaving behind any yeast sediment in the fermenter. Fill bottles and cap, then condition for 2-3 weeks. Serve in a stemmed goblet or chalice glass.

 

All-grain directions:

Substitute the malt extracts with 7 lbs. pilsner malt and 2 lbs. pale malt. When mashing, perform a step mash: 30 minutes at 122˚F and 60 minutes at 152˚F. Sparge and lauter, mixing candi sugar into the wort in the boil kettle. Reduce the first hop addition to one ounce, then proceed with recipe above.

 

What makes this Hennepin clone recipe so special is that it is a little off the beaten path. It a unique beer that is produced in a unique style. This makes it a fun brew to make. Oh, and did I mention it tastes outstanding!

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David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, 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.

How To Make Your Own Root Beer (Two Recipes)

Mug Of Homemade Root BeerIf you grew up in the US, chances are you have fond memories of A&W and Barq’s – there’s just nothing like the woody, spicy taste of root beer.

Think of the name “root” beer – traditionally it is actually made with a variety of roots, herbs, and spices that contribute flavor and color to the concoction. Among the common ones are wintergreen, vanilla, ginger, licorice, anise, birch, burdock, and sarsaparilla, to name a few.

When making your own root beer, trial and error will help you figure out what methods and ingredients you like best.

 

How to Make Homemade Root Beer

This version of root beer is a soda. Due to the fact that the root beer is bottle conditioned, there’s a small amount (less than 0.5% ABV) of alcohol present in the beer, but not enough to get much of a buzz.

The flavoring in this root beer recipe comes from Zatarain’s Root Beer Extract and makes the brewing process very simple. The most important thing is to halt the fermentation when the carbonation is correct by refrigerating the root beer. Otherwise, bottles could explode.

Feel free to scale this root beer recipe for a larger or smaller batch.

 

Zatarain’s Root Beer Recipe
(5-gallon batch)

Ingredients
1, four-ounce bottle Root Beer Extract
5 gallons of warm, filtered water
3-4 lbs. sugar
5 grams dried beer yeast dissolved in warm water

Directions
Fill a bottling bucket with five gallons of warm (not hot), filtered water. Dissolve sugar in water, then add root beer extract and hydrated beer yeast. Mix well, then bottle in about 53 cleaned and sanitized 12-oz. beer bottles. Cap securely and age bottles at room temperature for 24 hours. Open a bottle and check for appropriate carbonation. If more time is needed, check again every 8-12 hours until desired carbonation is achieved. When desired carbonation is reached, store bottles in a refrigerator to prevent further fermentation.

 

How to Make Alcoholic Root BeerShop Root Beer Extract

For those who want to make a “grown-up” or more traditional version of root beer, the technique gets a little more interesting. Instead of a root beer extract, this recipe uses a mix of herbs and spices to achieve the right blend of flavors. Many of them can be found at natural or health food stores in the bulk section. And instead of large amounts of sugar remaining in the root beer, we’ll use malt extract and brew like we would a normal beer. Just keep in mind that because we’re allowing the beer to ferment, hard root beer won’t taste as sweet as what you buy from the store. However, lactose sugar, caramel malt, and Carapils malt help keep the residual sweetness on the higher end.

 

“Hard” Root Beer Recipe
(5-gallon batch, partial mash)

Specs
OG: 1.068
FG: 1.023
ABV: 5.9%
SRM: 28

Ingredients
6.6 lbs. dark LME
1 lb. dark DME
1 lb. caramel 90 malt
1 lb. Carapils malt
1 lb. lactose sugar
4 oz. dried sarsaparilla root
2 oz. dried burdock root
2 oz. dried spikenard root
1 oz. dried wintergreen leaves
1 oz. vanilla extract
0.5 oz. dried licorice root
1 oz. hops (any variety)
1 pack ale yeast

 

Directions
Steep crushed grains in one gallon of water at 155˚F for one hour. Strain out from wort, then mix in malt extract and enough water to make 2.5 to 5 gallons of wort, depending on the size of your brew kettle. Add herbs, spices, and hops and boil for 30 minutes. Strain out herbs and spices and mix in lactose sugar. If needed, top off with enough clean, filtered water to make five gallons. Cool and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter and ferment until complete. Bottle or keg as you would otherwise.

That’s how you make your own root beer. As you can see either of these recipes are not all that difficult, and the first recipe would be great to do with the kids.

Interested in trying other homemade root beer and soda recipes? Check out the book Homemade Root Beer Soda and Pop.
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David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, 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.

5 Tips For Getting More Beer from Every Batch

Pellet Hops In Muslin BagWhen homebrewers make a five-gallon beer recipe, they expect to end up with a full five gallons of beer. To avoid the frustration of ending up with less beer than you bargained for, check out these five ways you can be sure to end up with your proper allotment of homebrew — to minimize the loss and maximize the beer:

  1. Pour all the trub from the kettle into the fermenter. Many homebrew books call for creating a whirlpool in the brew kettle during the chill-down phase, making it easier to leave behind the hops and protein material in the kettle. The thing is, depending on your beer recipe and your equipment, you could easily leave a half-gallon or more of wort in the kettle. To maximize the amount of beer you end up with, try pouring everything into the fermenter, where the hops and the protein will eventually settle out. (I highly recommend reading the Great Trub ExBEERiment to see how this might affect your finished beer.) If you still want to keep the trub out of your kettle, try pouring the wort into the kettle through a strainer to minimize your beer losses.
  1. Top up to 5.25 or 5.5 gallons in the fermenter. Many extract beer recipes call for adding enough water to make five gallons of wort prior to fermentation. But it’s important to remember that the trub in the fermenter can take up as much as half a gallon of wort or more. To account for these losses, add enough clean, chlorine-free water to the fermenter to make a total of between 5.25 and 5.5 gallons of wort. Remember, you are not trying to have more than 5 gallons of liquid, you are trying to make up for the volume the trub is displacing.
  1. Boil your hops in a straining bag. This can be particularly effective for your hoppier homebrews like IPAs. Instead of pitching the hops directly into the boiling wort, try putting them into a muslin bag This way they can be easily removed from the wort post-boil. This works well for dry-hopping, too.
  1. Cold crash. shop_brew_kettlesDropping the temperature of your fermented beer prior to bottling will help yeast, hops, and other material settle into a compact layer at the bottom of the fermenter, maximizing the amount of beer you get from every batch. When fermentation is completely, drop the temperature to 30-40˚F for a few days or longer. This cold maturation phase also helps improve beer flavor. Bottle condition at room temperature as usual.
  1. Use a refractometer. Every time you use a hydrometer to test your beer’s gravity, you lose about a half-pint. With a refractometer, all you need is a couple drops. Please note that a refractometer works best before fermentation. After fermentation begins, you will need a calculator to compensate for the alcohol present in the beer.

What are some ways you maximize your homebrew yields? Do you have any quick tips on how to lose less of your homebrew beer?

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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.

How Patience Makes for Better Homebrew

Man watching home brewing timeline and fermentation times It was a rookie mistake.

I was excited for my latest batch of homebrew – a saison – and paid more attention to the timeline and fermentation times than the beer itself. After two weeks in primary and two more in secondary, I figured it was ready to carbonate, so into bottles it went.

Then I opened a bottle a week later and noticed a lot of foam. I waited another week, and half the beer was gone by the time I poured it into my glass. It was a gusher, forcing ounce upon ounce of white foam up the neck of the bottle and into my sink.

That’s when it really hit home: patience is a virtue for everyone, but for homebrewers, it’s a necessity.

In most cases – especially this one – it’s a matter of paying attention to the beer instead of any preset home brewing timelines. Forget about fermentation times; focus on the beer. Yes, you can have expectations for the length of a brew day, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and take stock of how time – or lack thereof – can impact your beer.

 

Time is more than the calendar

In the case of my saison, it was important for me to set aside my own expectations. The lesson? Ignore human timeframes when it comes to home brewing.

Even if you’re making a batch for a special event or occasion, build in extra time for unforeseen problems, or just to allow the beer to do its own thing. The best way to confirm that a beer is finished is to take your hydrometer and check its final gravity. Taste the sample to add another layer to your test.

To be extra thorough, give it another day or two after it has reached final gravity just to be safe.

 

Slow working yeast

Another aspect to consider is the yeast doing the work inside your carboy. While some yeasts offer fast attenuation like Safale S-04 or Lallemand’s Nottingham, several need more time to offer the depth of flavors you seek from your brew.

If you’re making a porter or bitter, Wyeast 1028 (London Ale) is a great option. It’s even flexible enough to build up a beer to as much as 11 percent ABV, but requires plenty of time to get there. Other slow-moving options include Wyeast 1728 (Scottish Ale) and Wyeast 1099 (Whitbread Ale). All these strains can enhance the layer of flavors in your beer, but let them take their time in doing so. The fermentation times will typically be longer.

 

Wait on your bottles

While I suffered the impact of bottle bombs with my saison, one hidden truth I’ve found with many of my batches is that the best tasting beer usually comes when I’ve almost run out.

Even when I’m lucky to have a fully carbonated homebrew after one week in the bottle, I’ve started a habit of setting aside at least a six-pack to drink later than I normally would. Drinking an IPA as fresh as possible is a good idea, but a porter or honey-basil ale probably won’t get hurt by resting for a few more weeks. Remember to consider the temperature of your storage area and ingredients you’ve used in the beer, including yeast, when setting aside bottles to age longer than the rest of your batch.

There are many lessons to learn when it comes to home brewing, but one of the most important I’ve taken away is to not get hung up on having a beer ready in an absolute set timeframe. Don’t focus on whether or not your home brewing timeline is what was expected. Don’t worry if your fermentation times are longer than they should be. The beer will be ready when it’s ready.

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Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his award-winning blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth.

The Perfect Beer Recipe for Spring: Honey Blonde Ale (Partial Mash)

Homebrew made from a Honey Blonde Ale recipe.With spring already here, it’s time yet again to start thinking about the summer brew schedule. Want that homebrew ready for the canoe trip in June? Better start brewing by the end of April or early May. One good candidate for a warm weather beer is a honey blonde ale.

A blonde ale is simply that – a beer that’s golden straw in color, and for BJCP purposes, includes such styles as Kölsch and cream ale. Blonde ales are typically low to moderate in gravity, often resulting in an ABV of about 4% to 5.5%. Bitterness is usually on the low end, around 15-25 IBUs. Flavor wise, blonde ales feature notes of pilsner malt, often serving as a good backdrop for flavor additions. I’ve had a few good strawberry blonde ales, but in this case, honey offers the suggestion of sweet floral character, while the beer remains crisp and dry — perfect for warm weather.

The honey blond ale recipe below yields a brew that’s very pale in color, light in body, yet supported by malty flavor and notes of honey. Bitterness is fairly low at just 20 IBUs, with just a little hop flavor and aroma from the English classic, East Kent Goldings hops. This is a low alcohol brew that will be perfect for lounging outdoors or enjoying on the boat. (If you’re looking for something a little stronger, you might try this imperial blonde ale recipe kit.)

As for the honey, the best thing to do is to add at the end of the boil. The idea is to preserve some of the delicate aromatics and flavor components in the honey (same idea as adding hops in at the whirlpool). The honey flavor is supported with half a pound of honey malt in the mini-mash. Feel free to also use honey for priming.

Be sure to ferment this one within the temperature range of the yeast, maybe giving the beer a little extra time at cooler temperatures to help it clean up. Kölsch yeast is a good alternative to the Ringwood ale yeast in this particular beer recipe.

Ready to brew? Go get ‘em!

 

Honey Blonde Ale Recipe (Partial Mash)
(5-gallon batch)

Specs

  • OG: 1.044
  • FG: 1.013
  • ABV: 4%
  • IBUs: 20
  • SRM: 5

Ingredients

Directions 
shop_home_brew_starter_kitThis is a partial-mash recipe, so start off my mashing the crushed grains in about 4 qts. of clean water for 60 minutes at 148˚F. Strain wort into the brew kettle and sparge with about half a gallon of 170˚F water. Add enough clean water to make about 3 gallons. Bring wort to a boil, remove kettle from heat, and mix in the liquid malt extract. Return to a boil and boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. At end of boil, turn off heat and mix in the honey. Cool wort and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenting bucket. Mix in enough clean, chlorine-free water to make 5.25 gallons. Pitch yeast when wort is at 65-70˚F. Ferment at 65-70˚F for about three weeks, then bottle or keg.

Do you have a favorite beer recipe you like to brew in the spring? Do you have a Honey Blonde Ale recipe? Share them in the comments below!

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David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, 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.

Brewing Beer With Herbs: Workin’ Your Green-Thumb!

Beer With HerbsWhen focusing on flavors in beer, hops and malt usually get the most attention, often followed by fruit, chocolate, vanilla, and wood. But creating delicate layers of taste and aroma can be as easy as brandishing your green thumb. Try brewing beer with herbs!

For me, I’ve found success with two herbs I’m able to grow in my backyard: rosemary and basil. Summers are hot here in North Carolina, but with a little daily attention, it’s been easy for me to grow more than enough of these herbs to use as late additions to the boil. Remember: the key to unlocking the highest quality flavors from these ingredients is to use them as fresh as possible, so brewing beer with herbs you’ve grown yourself just makes sense.

Here are a couple ways to utilize these easy-to-grow herbs for a new beer recipe.

 

Homebrewing with Rosemary

There are many varieties of rosemary to choose from, but the easiest for homebrewing purposes may be the “common” varietal, which does well in many climates and is sun-tolerant. If you’ve ever used rosemary for cooking, you’ll recognize it’s piney characteristic. That makes it a good complement to certain kinds of hops, especially ones with spicy or piney characteristics.

If you want to enhance piney flavors of your hop bill, consider using some rosemary with Chinook or Columbus hops. Alternatively, the piney aspect of rosemary can supplement citrus characteristics – think of how well rosemary works with lemon when preparing food dishes. In that case, rosemary can work well with Cascade, Citra, and Simcoe hops. About half an ounce of freshly cut rosemary will do the trick. You don’ t want to over-do-it. Balance is a big part of brewing beer with herbs.

I’ve only used rosemary with IPAs, but pale ales or even saisons might be a good recipe option. Here’s an IPA extract beer recipe to try with rosemary:

 

Recipe: Piney the Elder IPA
(5-gallon batch, extract with specialty grains)Shop Beer Flavorings

Specs
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 55
SRM: 10

Ingredients
1 lb. Caramel 40 malt
9 lbs. Golden light liquid extract
1 oz. Columbus hops at :60
1 oz. Chinook hops at :15
1 oz. Columbus hops at :5

0.5 oz. freshly cut rosemary at knockout
1 oz. Chinook dry hop (optional)
Wyeast 1056: American Ale yeast

Directions
Steep the grains in 2.5 gallons of water at 150˚F for 30 minutes. Remove the grains, mix in liquid malt extract, and bring wort to a boil. Add hops and rosemary according to schedule. At end of boil, cool wort to 70˚F or below and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Add enough clean water to make 5 gallons of wort. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes and pitch yeast. Ferment at 70˚F.

 

Homebrewing with Basil

The basil you grow at home or find in the store offers a delicate sweetness and a twinge of spice, a flavor combination that often pairs well with wheat beers. I’ve found great success mixing the flavor of basil with honey.

Shop HopsOnce again, when brewing beer with this herb think of using it in terms of cooking in the kitchen. Its sweetness mixes well with Italian dishes, cuts some of the heat of Indian food, and enhances the pleasant, savory feeling of meat. Similarly, using basil in home brewing should enhance the beer rather than dominate it.

The trick with basil is to focus on using it at the knockout/flameout stage of the boil or as a dry-“herbing” option. If it’s boiled too long, it will bring unwanted bitterness to your beer.

I’ve had success with this beer recipe adapted from the July/August 2011 issue of Brew Your Own magazine, which balances some of the basil flavor with medium-range alpha acid of Cascade hops.

 

Recipe: Honey Basil Ale (Bison Organic Beer Honey Basil clone)
(5-gallon batch, partial mash recipe)

Specs
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 19
SRM: 6

Ingredients
3.3 lbs. Briess light, unhopped, liquid malt extract
2 lbs. light dried malt extract
1 lbs. two row pale malt
0.75 lbs. Crystal malt 20 L
0.7 lbs. Carapils malt
1 oz. Cascade hops at :60
0.6 oz. basil leaves at :10
0.5 to 1 lb. honey at :5
0.6 oz. basil leaves at :0
Wyeast 1056: American Ale yeast

Directions
Steep the grains in 2 gallons of water at 148˚F for 30 minutes. Remove grains from wort. Stir in liquid and dry malt extracts and begin boil. Add hops, basil, and honey as detailed above. After boil, add the wort to two gallons of cold water in the fermenter and top off to make five gallons. Stir well to aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 70˚F.

Interested in brewing beer with herbs? Check out Brew Your Own Herb Beers!
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Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth.

Is Reusing Yeast Cake From A Homebrew Fermentation Okay?

Reusing Yeast Cake When Homebrewing.After bottling a batch of beer, many homebrewers have looked at that inch-deep layer of yeast and wondered, “Hey, isn’t there something I can do with all that yeast?” As a matter of fact, there is!

When we think about reusing yeast cake, our natural inclination is to pour another batch of wort right onto it and let ‘er rip. Why not save a few bucks, right? While it is possible to be successful with this strategy, there are a number of factors to consider when reusing yeast cake. Among others, these include:

 

  • Is the style of homebrew appropriate for the yeast being used? If pitching wort onto an existing yeast cake, the styles of the two beers should be relatively similar. Many American and English ale yeasts can be used interchangeably to produce a variety of ales, so you could probably get away with using an ale yeast to make another ale. The same thing with many of the European lager strains. The main exception is with very distinctive yeast strains,Shop Conical Fermenter especially those for Belgian ales and German hefeweizen. You’d be safe if reusing yeast cake from an English pale ale to ferment an American stout, but you obviously wouldn’t want to use a Belgian strain to ferment an English pale ale (though you may end up with a very tasty Belgian pale!).
  • How long has the beer been sitting on the yeast cake to be reused? The longer the beer has been sitting on the yeast, the greater the number of yeast cells that may be mutated or dead. Dead and mutated yeast cells can contribute off-flavors to your beer, so if you plan on reusing yeast cake, use one that has only been in primary for a short amount of time (7-10 days).
  • What was the gravity of the original beer? High gravity fermentations and the alcohol produced from them stress yeast more than lower gravity fermentations. And yeast stress leads to – you guessed it – off-flavors. You’d be better off pitching a high gravity wort onto the yeast cake from a low – to mid – gravity fermentation.
  • How hoppy was the original beer? The amount of hops in the first beer can influence the second. You generally want to pitch a hoppier beer onto a yeast cake from a less hoppy beer (e.g. pitch an IPA onto the yeast cake of a pale ale), otherwise you may end up with excessive hop bitterness or flavor.
  • What color are the two beers?Shop Liquid Beer Yeast As with hops and bitterness, the color of the first beer can influence the second one. To avoid a change in beer color, pitch a darker wort onto the yeast cake from a lighter beer. For example, pitch a stout onto the yeast cake of an amber ale.

 

Other issues that come into play when reusing yeast cake include accurately predicting the number of yeast cells being pitched and whether there was any infection in the original batch. For these reasons, it may be worth starting with a batch of fresh beer yeast. If you really want to reuse yeast cake, consider harvesting and washing the yeast to reduce the impact of dead yeast cells, beer color, and bitterness, and then use a calculator like Mr. Malty to get an estimate of how much yeast slurry to pitch into the second beer. And as always when working with beer yeast, practice impeccable sanitation techniques to avoid contaminating the yeast.

Have you ever pitched onto an old yeast cake? How did it work out? Shop Temp Probe

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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.

Spring Forward with These 3 Single Hop Beer Recipes

Making Single Hop Beer RecipesAs temperatures rise, spring offers a great time to transition away from malty stouts and porters and towards beers that suggest the beginnings of the growing season. As an ode to the flowers and the trees starting to bloom this month, consider paying tribute to every brewer’s favorite flower: the hop with these 3 single hop beer recipes!

If you’re a hop aficionado, you’ve likely come across some single hop beers in your drinking explorations. Making beers that showcase a particular hop variety is a great way to learn the strengths and weaknesses of different hops. The warmer temperatures of spring suggest a lighter, paler beer, the perfect backdrop for experimenting with different hops.

 

Choosing Hops for Your Single Hop Beer Recipes

If you’ve shopped around for hops before, you’ve probably noticed that they are often labeled bittering hops, flavor/aroma hops, or dual-purpose. Single-hop beers will give you the chance to put these conventions to the test.

Super alpha hops have been developed to highlight their bittering potential, but you might be surprised how many of them work well aromatically. Bravo, Magnum, and Simcoe come to mind. Use restraint with these hop varieties in your single hop beer recipes – a little can go a long way.

Conversely, low alpha and noble hops are often celebrated for their aroma characteristics, but some brewers find that they provide a clean bitterness. East Kent Goldings is a versatile hop in this regard, often used as the single hop in traditional English beer styles.

 

Tips For Formulating Your Single Hop Beer Recipes

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules for single hop brewing, but you might want to consider the following as you develop a recipe for your single hop brew:

  • Select a beer style that really showcases the hops. A golden ale, pale ale, or IPA are often good choices.
  • Develop a simple grain bill that won’t cover up or distract from the hops. Try a base malt plus small amounts of one or two specialty grains for color and/or flavor.
  • Choose a clean yeast strain, like Wyeast 1056, that will let the hops shine through.
  • If brewing multiple single hop brews, consider using a constant base recipe, simply changing the hops for each one.
  • You may wish to brew small batches to get the most experimentation out of your raw materials.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw all these suggests out the window – feel free to try a single hopped stout or Belgian IPA!

 

Single Hop Beer RecipesShop Hops

Ready to try some single hop brewing? Give one of these recipes a try!

 

East Kent Bitter
(five-gallon batch, all-grain)

Specs
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.4%
IBUs: 31
SRM: 9

Ingredients
8 lbs. Maris Otter malt
1 lb. Crisp Crystal 45L
1 oz. East Kent Goldings hops at :60
.5 oz. East Kent Goldings hops at :30
.5 oz. East Kent Goldings hops at :15
1 oz. East Kent Goldings hops, dry hopped for 5 days
Wyeast 1099 or Safale S-04 Shop Barley Grains

 

Bravo IPA
(five-gallon batch, extract with specialty grains)

Specs
OG: 1.058
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 51
SRM: 8
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Boil Volume: 6.5 Gallons

Ingredients
6 lbs. light dry malt extract
1 lb. Munich 10L malt
.5 lb. Caramel 40L malt
.33 oz. Bravo hops at :60
1 oz. Bravo hops at :15
.67 oz. Bravo hops, dry hopped for 5-7 days
Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast or Safale US-05 Shop Bazooka Screen

 

Amarillo Wheat Ale
(5-gallon batch, extract with specialty grains)

Specs
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.25%
IBUs: 23
SRM: 5
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Boil Volume: 3 Gallons

Ingredients
3.3 lbs. light liquid malt extract
3.3 lbs. wheat liquid malt extract
.5 lb. torrified wheat
.5 lb. caramel 10L malt
.5 oz. Amarillo hops at :60
1 oz. Amarillo hops at :15
1 oz. Amarillo hops, dry hopped for 7 days
Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast or Safale US-05

Shop Hop BagsDo you have any favorite single hop beer recipes? We’d love you to share in the comments below!
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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.

Ready? Start Brewing Summer Beers Now!

The result of brewing summer beers.It’s helpful as a homebrewer to always be thinking ahead. Laying out a brewing calendar and deciding what beer styles would be best for the upcoming season.

Now that summer’s just around the corner, do you have your brews lined up for the warmer months? Do you know what summer beers you’ll be brewing?

To help get your mental brewing calendar flowing, here are twelve beer recipe kits that will quench your thirst in the summer heat! These are excellent kits for brewing summer beers

 

Best Beer Styles For Brewing Summer Beers

  • Blonde Ale – In the same ballpark as cream ale, blonde ale is a great beer for the beach. Subtle sweet malt notes support a very light dose of hops, making this beer very easy-drinking.
  • Witbier – Belgian witbier is a wheat-based ale that uses orange peel and spices to give it a citrusy flavor. The wheat gives the beer a bit of sweetness, making it an easy drinker. If you like Hoegaarden or Blue Moon, this one’s for you! This is a beer style that’s always in my plans for brewing summer beers.
  • Weizenbier – German weizen is a wheat beer with notes of tropical fruit and cloves. These characteristics are derived entirely from German weizen yeast, and may also feature notes of vanilla or bubblegum. The wheat gives the beer a somewhat creamy texture, but the light body keeps the beer from being too filling.
  • Kölsch – This German-style ale is a clean, crisp, golden-colored ale with a touch of light malt flavor and a hint of apple or pear. Though similar in appearance and mouthfeel to light lagers, German noble hops give the beer a more assertive bitterness and a decent amount of hop flavor.
  • American Pale AleShop Beer Recipe KitsGood old American pale ales are always in season. APAs tend to feature some notes of caramel malt, but the main feature is always the hops. American hops tend to showcase flavors and aromas of pine, citrus, and spice and usually a bracing bitterness as well. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the benchmark.
  • American Cream Ale – Cream ale is a great beer for the summer. It’s very similar to light lager, but it’s fermented at ale temperatures, making it easier to produce for the average homebrewer.
  • English Bitter – If you like hops, but find American Pale Ale a little too aggressive, try an English Bitter. This English Pale Ale is a little more balanced between the malt and hops, and tends to have a slightly lower alcohol content as well.
  • Light Lager – Here’s a good option for tailgating, a cookout, or any event with red plastic cups. Also makes a great lawnmower beer!
  • PilsnerGerman lager is somewhat more refined, with more pronounced hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Dry and crisp, pilsner works well in just about any summertime situation.
  • Saison – Saison features a fruity, citrusy aroma with some floral and spicy notes – definitely a flavorful option for summer drinking! It’s usually an enticing, bright orange color with lots of carbonation. Saison usually finished dry with a touch of refreshing acidity.

 

Shop Chugger PumpWhat are some of the beer styles you’re thinking about putting on your summer brewing calendar? Are any of the above fit into your plans for brewing summer beers?
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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.