3 Reasons Why A Wine Can Turn Cloudy

Clear White WineI am new to making white wine (past 3 seasons). I have made red for about 10 years. I use fresh California grape wine juices in Sept. I have not figured out how to keep my whites from clouding after bottling. I rack several times then cold stabilize and rack several more times and the wine is clear. Any suggestions on where I might be going wrong.

Name: Jerry
State: NY
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Hello Jerry,

There are only three ways that a white wine can turn cloudy once it has already been clear. I will go over them in some detail, but it will be up to you to determine which one or which ones are responsible.

  1. Sediment From The Original Fermentation:
    You mentioned that you have racked the wine several times, and that the wine was clear at bottling time. This is all well and good, but it is important to understand that a wine can look perfectly clear and still have a lot of wine yeast cells still floating around in it. This is why that once you rack a wine off its sediment you may want to give it some additional time, like a day or two, to make sure that sediment is still not occurring before actually bottling the wine. This same hold’s true for red wines.
     
    Using a fining agent can help with dropping out stubborn sediment. A good one for white wines is Isinglass. And lastly, never bottle your wine directly off the sediment. Always bottle your wine from a sediment-free fermenter. That means racking the wine off the sediment before starting the bottling process.
  1. A Re-Fermentation In The Wine Bottle:
    If the wine decides to ferment again while in the bottle, it is going to turn cloudy from the new yeast that is created. A re-fermentation can occur if the original fermentation did not complete. It can also occur if you added sugar at bottling time without adding potassium sorbate to stabilize the wine.
     
    AShop Wine Clarifiers quick check with a wine hydrometer to confirm that the fermentation has completed before bottling should always be done. Doing so will eliminate this type of issue, and always use potassium sorbate when sweetening a wine before bottling. Fortunately, it is easy to determine if this is the reason your wine turned cloudy. You will also notice pressure building up in the wine bottle. This is the CO2 gas from the re-fermentation.
  1. Precipitation From The Wine:
    Precipitation occurs when particles are created within the wine itself — out of thin air, so to speak. There are two major kinds of precipitants that can be created by a wine. The first is acid, primarily tartaric acid. The second is protein, primarily tannin. Tartaric precipitation is normally associated with white wines. Protein precipitation is normally associated with reds.
     
    Precipitation happens because more of the substance is in the wine than the wine can hold in a saturated form. Given time, either of these substances can form sediment in the bottle and cause your wine to turn cloudy. Acid precipitation will look like tiny crystals, similar to a fine salt. Protein precipitation will look like a fine dust or flour. In the case of your white wine, the color would be beige to brown. In a red wine it would be dark red to black.
     
    Precipitation is even more likely to occur if the wine is being stored too cold or too hot. Chilling the wine may induce the creation of acid crystals; heating the wine may induce the creation of tannin particulates.You mentioned that you cold stabilized the wine, but if you see crystals forming in the bottom of the wine bottle, it is very likely that you need to chill the longer.Shop Potassium Sorbate

Jerry, there are really no other reasons why a bottle of grape wine would turn cloudy. If you where adding water to the wine must then you would want to consider too much iron in the water as the problem. This could form a condition called ferric casse. But since you are making wine from wine grapes, I am assuming that you are not adding water.

I would suggest reviewing your steps and see if any of the above 3 could possibly apply to your situation. Another blog post that you may want to read that answers your question in a different way is, Sediment In My Wine Bottles. This may be something that you may want to take a look at as well.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Simple Style Guide: Brewing Irish Stout

Irish Stout With Clovers An Irish stout is a dark, robust ale, technically considered a dry stout. (Other types of stout include sweet stout, oatmeal stout, American stout, and Russian Imperial stout.)

We can’t talk about Irish stouts without mentioning Guinness. Since the late 1700s, Guinness has been brewing dark, flavorful ales in Dublin. They now distribute their famous stouts all over the world. Murphy’s is another example of Irish stout. It’s somewhat less bitter than Guinness. Try both, as well as a stout from your local brewery, to get a sense of the flavor characteristics that you enjoy in an Irish stout.

 

Brewing Irish Stout

The easiest way to go about brewing an Irish stout is to use a beer recipe kit. Brewers Best has an excellent Irish Stout Recipe Kit, as does Brewcraft.

For the more adventurous brewers, follow these guidelines to build your own beer recipe.

 

Grain Bill and Fermentables

An Irish stout gets its dark color and dry, bitter flavor from roasted barley. When brewing Irish stout roasted barley is a “must”. Roasted barley is not malted. Instead, it is steeped in water and then kilned at a high temperature, giving the grain a very dark brown, nearly black, color. This will affect the color of the beer, and can also give the head on the beer a nice tan color. Roasted barley also imparts the dry, bitter flavor of coffee that stouts are known for. It doesn’t take much – Briess recommends using roasted barley for just 3-7% of the total grain bill.Shop Steam Freak Kits

Replace a portion of the roasted barley with black malt or chocolate malt to reduce to dry bitterness. Try Murphy’s, Guinness, and other Irish Stouts to judge how much bitterness you would like.

These ingredients can be combined with mild ale malt or light malt extract to form the majority of your grain bill. Your original specific gravity shouldn’t exceed 1.050.

One defining characteristic of Irish stouts is their creamy mouthfeel. Sometimes this is achieved through the use of flaked barley (Guinness uses about 25% flaked barley in their Guinness draft). Sometimes these Irish stouts are given an extra creamy mouthfeel by using nitrogen instead of CO2 to “carbonate” the beer. Nitrogen forms smaller bubbles than CO2, so they’re less prickly on the tongue. It can be difficult to accomplish this as a homebrewer, though if you’re set up to serve your beer on draft, it can be done with sanitary nitrogen instead of CO2.

 

Hops

English hops work best when brewing Irish stout. The majority of hops in Guinness is Kent Goldings, while Murphy’s uses mostly Target. Shoot for 30-45 IBUs. Since hop aroma is low to none, emphasize the early additions.Shop Home Brew Starter Kit

 

Yeast

Irish stouts typically have some mild fruity aromas, which come from esters produced by the yeast. Wyeast 1084: Irish Ale is the best option here. Prepare a yeast starter to achieve a complete fermentation and the dry finish you’re looking for.

With these basics, you’ll brewing Irish stout fit for the pub in no time. What tips do you have for brewing a stout?
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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.

Making Wine Without Sulfites

A Wine Made Without SulfitesI have a sister who has a serious bronchial reaction to drinking wine made with sulfite. I have a neighbor who’s making wine without sulfites to kill the yeast at the end. He simply waits until it dies of starvation. My sister has no reaction to his wine. I have discovered that boiling the must before starting the yeast without using sulfite is sufficient to start the process. Now I would like to find a method of killing the yeast when I want to stop the process. I thought perhaps I could use a high temperature to kill the yeast at the end, but I don’t know how high that temperature would have to be. Can you help me?

Name: Frits D.
State: Arkansas
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Hello Frits,

There seems to be a little bit of confusion. The reason that sulfites are added to any wine after the fermentation is to keep the wine from spoiling – to keep it fresh – not stop a fermentation. A fermentation should run its course until the sugars are all gone, starvation as you say. Sulfites can slow a domesticated wine yeast, but it can not consistently stop it completely, and therefor is not dependable for this purpose.

With that being said, making wine without sulfites is simple. The hard part is keeping the wine from degrading or spoiling after it has been made.

To start off the fermentation, I do not recommend boiling the juice or wine must. When you heat a juice you are promoting oxidation. This can cause the wine to turn color, usually orange or brown. It can also affect the wine’s flavor by adding a caramel to raisin note to it.

The one time I think you should add sulfites is before the fermentation — even if you are making wine without sulfites. Any free sulfite that is in the wine at this point will be long gone by the time the fermentation has completed. The sulfite will readily dissipate as a gas. Why not take advantage of that fact?Shop Wine Kits

This applies to making wine from fresh fruits and juices. If you are making wine from a juice concentrate, then no treatment or sulfite is required at all. For this reason, you may want to consider taking this avenue. Currently, we have over 200 different juice concentrates to choose from.

As for keeping the wine from spoiling after the fermentation, one solution is to always keep the wine refrigerated. It’s simple and effective. The bad part is you need to dedicate most, or all, of a refrigerator to this method. This is one reason why hardly anyone is making wine without sulfites.

A second option that will significantly reduce the risk of spoilage is filtering the wine with ultra-fine filtration. This mean filtering down to 0.5 microns. This is a lot finer than letting the wine drip through a coffee filter. That would only be 20 to 25 microns. Filtering down to 0.5 microns requires the use of an actual wine filter, one that can force the wine under pressure through extremely fine pads. You are literally filtering out over 99% of the wine yeast along with mold spores and bacteria.

The MiniJet wine filter would be the way to go for this purpose. It is important to realize that before using any wine filter, the wine should be finished dropping out sediment, naturally. It should look visually clear before filtering.

Shop Mini Jet Wine FilterAlso, keep in mind that you will want to be vigilant towards keeping the winemaking area sanitary. All the equipment and anything else that comes into contact with the wine needs to be as clean and sterile as possible. There are a whole host of cleansers and sanitizers you can use to do this safely. This is a critical part to making wine without sulfites.

As a final note, there is no such thing as making a wine without any sulfites at all. In part, because sulfite is actually produced during the fermentation. It’s a natural byproduct of the fermentation. The best you can do is to keep the sulfites to a level low. You can expect to see a fermentation produce a wine with 10 to 15 PPM (parts-per-million). When adding sulfites as normally directed the wine will end up with 50 to 75 PPM.

As you can see, making wine wine without sulfites can be easily done. It’s the extra care that needs to be taken to keep the wine fresh and free from spoilage that makes it difficult. But, if you are willing to be sanitary, filter the wine and/or store the wine under refrigeration… it can be done!

I hope this information helps you out.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Special Interview: Dan Bies Of Briess Malt

Dan Bies 4Today we have an extra special guest! In this exclusive interview, Dan Bies of Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. shares his tips for brewing with Briess malts and malt extracts, as well as some insights into the Briess product development process. This is great information for brewers of all levels! We hope you enjoy!

Dan works in the technical service department at Briess. He is their pilot brewer which essentially means he gets to have a lot of fun doing test batches of beer with vast array of products that Briess has to offer.

 

1. Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with us today. For starters, can you tell us how you came to work with Briess, how long you’ve been with the company, and what you do there?

The day I started working in the Briess malt analysis lab is the day I became determined to start home brewing. I’ve been at Briess for six years now and my current position is as a Pilot Brewer, Technical Services Representative, and QA Chemist. I help to commercialize new extract products and assist customers with application-related questions on our existing products. I also do recipe and finished product development on a variety of beverages including beer, Malta, and Flavored Malt beverages.

 

2. Part of the fun of home brewing is developing your own recipes. Can you share with us some of things you think about in terms of malt and malt extract when developing a new beer recipe?

Dan Bies 5When formulating with malt and extract my first consideration is a target style. Once I have this I try to think of what is traditionally used in its formulation and what attributes the ingredients bring to the character of the beer. Next I consider possible substitutions; this usually results in chewing on malts and making malt teas. Lastly, I brew. I typically use extract and grain interchangeably, but I almost always find myself steeping additional grain into extract brews.

 

3. What are some of the main differences between wort made from extract and wort made from grain? How do these products differ in the their effects on the final beer? Are there any additives in malt extract?

There’s almost no difference when using extracts Briess makes. We brew all of our malt extracts from the same Briess malts used by breweries and home brewers, using traditional brewing techniques in a 500-barrel brewery. By the way, it’s the second largest brewhouse in Wisconsin. Malt and water, that’s all that goes into our extracts. Absolutely no additives are used. Plus, all of our extracts are made using specialty malts to achieve full color and flavor. Some malt extract producers use the boil to develop color and flavor.Dan Bies 2

Extract brewers who use Briess extracts can achieve the same results as an all grain brewer, however they must take care in choosing their ingredients. Liquid malt extracts will develop color and some flavor if they’re not stored properly and exposed to heat. Time can do the same thing, but heat is the worst offender. So it’s really important that malt extracts are properly stored from the time they leave the Briess warehouse. Using the freshest possible liquid malt extract from a reliable distributor is key. You can tell the date a Briess malt extract was produced by reading the lot code. For example, 130521 would be May 21, 2013. The first two digits indicate the year, the middle two the month and the last two the date of production.

If you’re not sure of the freshness we recommend that you use dry extracts. These do not darken or develop flavor defects over time because the products are simply too dry for the negative reactions to occur.

 

4.  Have you found a ratio of malt extract to grain that works well for you?

Depends on style and desired character. Not all Briess malts are showcased in the CBW® [Brewers Grade Malt Extracts] line. If I ever want to go heavy on specialty malts, but don’t have time for all-grain, I will formulate with specialty malts to match a flavor and color target, steep the malt, then add the remaining fermentables with a light malt extract. I feel that almost any style can be made with a large inclusion of light malt extract and steeped grains. A small amount of Munich 10 or Bonlander® Munich Malt steeped with Pilsen Light extract is a great substitute for Pale Ale Malt.Shop Malted Grains

 

5. OK, now let’s switch gears and talk a little about product development. I’ve noticed that Briess releases a new variety of malt from time to time. How does Briess go about developing a new malt or malt extract product? What is that process like?

When we determine a new malt or malt extract we would like to add to our standard product list, the first thing we do is bring in all competitor products of the same or similar style. Then we conduct blind sensory, analyze the results and decide the target flavor, color and other attributes it should have. Then we produce pilot batches until the target product is met. Some of the recent introductions only took one try. Then a second blind sensory is held to see how our new malt fits into the category. That process is repeated, if necessary, until we are entirely happy with the results. Then we make several productions, use the new malt or extract in our pilot brewery, develop recipes that showcase it, and then brew at a number of breweries before officially releasing it. Our sensory panel includes our maltsters, brewers, experienced GABF judges, food scientists trained in sensory analysis, and other staff members.

 

shop_home_brew_starter_kit6. Are there any new products in the pipeline you’d like to share with us?

We recently started producing a high maltose yellow corn syrup for use in gluten-free beers and food. Produced from corn grits, this product is the equivalent of the wort brewers would get if they used corn in their brews; however, it is in a convenient liquid form. This makes brewing with this popular grain easy and avoids the needs for long separate grain cooking and boiling cycles. Because it’s made from grain and unrefined, this type of corn syrup has a pleasing corn flavor, yellow color and some of the vitamins and nutrients needed for yeast nutrition. We made this syrup using Organic Corn so it is all-natural and non-GMO.

Did you enjoy this post? Please take a moment to share it on your favorite social network! Thanks and cheers!
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He is a graduate of the Oskar Blues Brew School in Brevard, NC, and founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Is Rehydrating Wine Yeast Really Necessary?

Rehydrating Dried Wine YeastYou mentioned once that you don’t recommend rehydrating wine yeast, but I couldn’t find a follow-up or reasons why. My supplier in the KC area says they always rehydrate as do most wine yeast packs. I’ve tried both ways and haven’t noticed a difference other than rehydrated yeast usually starts working quicker. I am confused….

Name: Lynn T.
State: KS
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Hello Lynn,

There is nothing wrong with rehydrating the dried wine yeast. Just as you have stated, the fermentation will start off more quickly by a few hours. Some winemakers will refer to this rehydration process as waking up the wine yeast. But if someone came up to me and asked, is rehydrating yeast necessary? My answer would be a definite, no.

The reason I don’t generally recommend rehydrating dried wine yeast in passing is because of the potential for accidentally killing the wine yeast during the rehydration process. We run into this issue quite often, particularly with beginning winemakers.

It is usually because the water was way too hot and not checked and controlled with a thermometer, or the dried wine yeast was left in the warm water way too long because they didn’t use a timer. Both temperature and time are critical to the rehydration process.Shop Thermometers

Some of the yeast cells will die off while in the warm water, even if the correct temperature is used. If the wine yeast is left in for longer than directed, then an excessive amount of yeast cells will die. If the water is a hotter than directed, then the wine yeast will start dying off faster than the directions intended. Either issue can cause a significant amount of yeast cells to die – potentially all of them. The result is a fermentation that doesn’t start at all.

The point here is go ahead and rehydrate the wine yeast – your fermentation will start off more quickly and more vigorously – but follow the directions, exactly. That means using a thermometer to get the water to the right temperature and using a watch or timer to make sure your yeast does not have an extended stay in the warm water.

If you don’t want to bother with rehydrating the dried yeast along with the thermometers and timers, don’t worry about it. Rehydrating yeast is not a necessity. Your fermentation will start just the same, but it might take a few more hours to do so.Shop Wine Yeast

The blog post How To Add Yeast To A Wine Must discusses 3 different methods you can use to add your wine yeast to the wine must. You may want to take a look at this to see which method suits you best.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

 

The Anatomy Of A Hop Cone

Look at anatomy of hop conePrized by brewers far and wide for its bittering, flavor, and aroma qualities, the hop is an integral part of beer. But what is a hop? What’s inside the hops? What’s the anatomy of a hop cone?

Hops come from a perennial plant called Humulus lupulus (lupulus as in wolf, so named for the voraciousness of the plant’s growth), which sends vines up from a rhizome in the ground. These vines (a.k.a. bines) have been known to climb to 20 feet or higher in a commercial hop field. Hops, the part of the plant used in brewing, are the flowers of the plant. It is the hop flowers’ essential oils and resins that make it so valuable as a beer brewing ingredient.

A hop flower looks like a miniature green pine cone. The resins, commonly referred to as alpha acids, are contained at the base of the hop cone in the lupulin glands. When boiled, these alpha acids are isomerized, a quick shift in molecular structure that makes them soluble in wort.

The alpha acids are what make beer bitter. A simple calculation allows brewers to figure out the IBUs (international bittering units) of their beer and compare their beer to others using a universally accepted scale. The two primary chemicals within the alpha acids are called humulone and cohumulone.

But also within the anatomy of a hop cone are other components that contribute to flavor and aroma. These characteristics are derived from hop oils. Because they’re more delicate than the alpha acids, the hop oils will evaporate if they’re boiled for too long. For this reason, they’re added to the wort late in the boil or afterwards. Commercial brewers may use a hop back, but homebrewers will usually put the hops directly in the secondary fermenter (this practice is called dry hopping).

There are several different types of essential oils within the hop cone, each contributing different flavor and aroma characteristics:

  • Myrcene – floral, citrus, and piney
  • Humulene – spicy, herbal, European
  • Caryophyllene – herbal, European
  • Farnesene & other oils

(If you’re interested, Ray Daniels’ book, Designing Great Beers, is a great source for more info on the different hop oils.)Shop Hops

After being harvested from the hop plant, hop cones are usually processed into pellets. Specialized machinery removes the extraneous vegetative material, preserving the resins and oils. The processing results in higher hops utilization (a measure of how many alpha acids are dissolved in the wort) and makes for easier storage. Some brewers, like Sierra Nevada, still use whole hops, but hop pellets have become the industry standard.

When buying hops for home brewing, fresher is always better (unless brewing a lambic, which is made with aged hops). It’s best to purchase your hops right before you use them. If you will be using the hops within a few days, store them sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Otherwise, keep them in the freezer, preferably vacuum-sealed, until you’re ready to brew.

This is the basic anatomy of a hop cone and why it is used in beer. Here’s where you can find more information about hops: (Nearly) Everything You Need To Know About Hops.
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He is a graduate of the Oskar Blues Brew School in Brevard, NC and founder of the Local Beer Blog.

How To Sweeten Wine With Honey

Honey For Sweeten WineI’m getting ready to bottle a 12-gallon batch of California Connoisseur Pinot Noir. As always, everything went off without a hitch. I like my wine semi-dry, and would like to try sweetening with commercial store-bought honey this time, following the same Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate protocols for sugar. Any cautionary words of wisdom?

Name: Putnam J.
State: New York
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Hello Putnam,

I see that you’re up for a little adventure. You are correct in your assumption that potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulfite will need to be added to the wine kit at bottling time along with the honey. It’s no different than sweetening the wine with cane sugar or any other sugar that potentially provides food to the wine yeast.

All I can really say about sweetening a wine with honey is that you should take your time. Be sure-footed in what you do. You can always add more honey later to the wine, but taking it out is not an option. This is true for almost anything you add to a wine to adjust flavor.

For the most part, honey will sweeten the wine just as well as cane sugar. The sweet part is mostly the same. It’s the additional character that honey brings along with the sweet that makes it more adventurous. Depending on what the bees spun the honey off of — wildflowers, cherry blossoms, buckwheat, etc. — Shop Potassium Metabisulfitethe subtle notes and aromas added can vary from herbal, to fruity, to citrus. You may like it and consider it an improvement on the wine, but you may also decide you can’t stand it. Don’t assume that the honey will make the wine better. Try it out on a sample and see.

Bench testing is the best way I know to sweeten a wine with honey. Take a measured sample of the wine, like a gallon or half-gallon, and start adding measured doses of the honey. Taste the wine between additions and see what you think. If you’re not sure, stop and come back to it another day.

If you decide that you don’t like what the honey’s done to the wine, switch back to cane sugar or something else. If you like the honey, but have added too much, blend the sample back in with the rest of the wine. Collect a new measured sample and start all over.

Once you establish a dosage, apply that dosage to the rest of the wine. This is the safest way I know to sweeten a wine with honey.

shop_potassium_sorbateTake your time. Sweetness is a major component of a wine’s flavor profile. For example, when I think I know what I want to do, I like to wait and come back later that day, or even the next day, and taste the wine again before moving forward.

Putnam, I hope this was the type of information you was looking for. It’s fun to play around with a wine, but it can also be a little nerve-racking at times. Hopefully, these little tips and insights on how to sweeten a wine with honey will keep you on a good path with your wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Style Guide For Brewing Brown Ales

Home Brewed Brown AleGenerally speaking, brown ales are relatively mild and malt-forward beers that pair well with many different foods. Sometimes brown ales are nutty. This is from the character of the malted barley being used. Whether you prefer the classic, English version or the slightly more hoppy and robust American-style, brown ales make for good drinking. And without a doubt, brewing brown ales is well worth the effort.

You could try brewing an English brown ale from a kit, or follow a brown ale beer recipe, but sometimes it’s fun to develop your own beer recipe. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for brewing your own brown ale:

 

Style Guidelines For Brewing Brown Ales

  • ABV: Brown ales tend to be fairly sessionable, usually 4.2 – 5.4% alcohol by volume. American brown ales go as high as 6.2% ABV.
  • IBUs: English brown ales range from 20-30 IBUs. Again, American versions tend to push the envelope a bit, reaching 40 IBUs or higher.
  • Color: Northern English versions are copper to light brown in color, 12-22 degrees on the SRM color scale. Southern English and American brown ales reach as high as 35 SRM.

 

Water Treatment For Brewing Brown Ales

If brewing English brown Ale, try to recreate the hard water of the UK. To simulate a beer from Burton-on-Trent, use some gypsum and calcium carbonate, or Burton water salts. A brew from London will be high in sodium (100 ppm) and fairly high in carbonate (160 ppm). Note: You should know the mineral content of the water you’re brewing with before you start amending it.

 

Typical Grain Bill For Brewing Brown Ales

  • All-Grain: As with many beers, a standard 2-row malt will be the foundation (70% or more) of your brew’s grain bill. A US 2-Row Malt will work, or try using Maris Otter for an English Brown. Chocolate Malt is the next most important component of the grain bill and will lend the beer a somewhat roasty, slightly bitter chocolate flavor. You don’t need a lot: 4-8 oz. for a 5 gallon batch should be sufficient (less if using other kilned malts). You may also wish to use up to 1 lb. of Crystal Malt, and maybe a pinch (2 oz. or less) of Roasted Barley if you’d like a more roasty beer.Shop Steam Freak Kits
  • Extract: If brewing with extract, use a combination of light and dark malt extracts or 100% Amber Extract. Definitely consider steeping a little chocolate malt with some lightly kilned crystal malt. Note: Steeping even a little chocolate malt will add a lot of color. To keep your beer brown and not black, steep at most about 4 oz. of chocolate malt.

 

Adjuncts For Brewing Brown Ales

You may want to consider using a pound or so of brown sugar or a ½ pound of molasses for color and complexity.

 

Hops For Brewing Brown Ales

If brewing an English brown ale, stick with the classics: East Kent Goldings or Fuggles. For American brown ales, use primarily US-grown varieties. Consider finishing with Cascade, America’s most popular hop.

 

Yeast For Brewing Brown AlesShop Liquid Malt Extract

For an English Brown Ale, consider using Wyeast’s #1098 British Ale or #1028 London Ale. Nottingham is a good dry beer yeast. If brewing an American brown ale, try Safale US-05 or Wyeast’s #1056 American Ale. Or, if you want to get really creative, use a Belgian Ale Yeast to make it a Belgian brown ale!

So do you have a good Brown Ale recipe? What flavors do you look for when brewing brown ales?
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

What About Using Corn Sugar In Your Wine?

Cane Sugar For Wine Making… I was looking for different ways to sweeten my wine and came across this corn sugar in your beer section of your catalog. I read that some use corn sugar in their beer instead of cane sugar. The article said it would give the beer a crisper taste. How do you think this would affect the wine? Is it possible that I could use corn sugar in my wine making?
Thanks

Name: Patrick Davis
State: GA
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Hello Patrick,

It is true that most beermakers will never add regular cane sugar to their beers. Cane sugar will give a cidery, winey taste to the brews. Instead homebrewers will add corn sugar, which ferments much more cleanly.

In the case of making wine, a “cidery”, “winey” flavor is not really an issue. These flavors actually fit in with the flavor profile of wines in general. The effect is fairly subtle as well. Even though it can become evident in a homebrew, in a homemade wine it hides very nicely. This is even more true with fuller-bodied wines.

There are some that use corn sugar in all their wines, religiously, and some that will only use it in certain situations, But most winemakers elect to never use corn sugar, at all. My personal opinion is that corn sugar can make a difference in some wines, mostly white wines with very little body — for example, a Pinot Grigio or a Riesling. But, the change is not necessarily for the better, it’s just different. And, the change will be very minor.

Some might notice a crisp, “mintiness” coming through in these lighter wines made with corn sugar but only very slightly. If the wine is already known for an herbal, fresh finish it might become more accentuated by the crispness/cleanness of the corn sugar, but beyond that you won’t notice too much, if anything.

So to sum it all up, you can try corn sugar in your wine making, but don’t expect too much difference in the resulting wine, and don’t expect to notice anything at all if you are using corn sugar in a fuller-bodied wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

3 Ways To Become An All-Grain Brewer!

Brewing Using One Ot The All Grain Brewing MethodsIf you’re new to all-grain brewing, you may have heard about infusion mashing, step mashing, and decoction mashing techniques and wondered what all the fuss is about. Don’t let the jargon confuse you. These are just 3 all grain brewing methods you can use to mash your malted grains to extract fermentable sugar. (If you’re not ready for brewing all-grain yet, you may want to check out our Introduction to Partial Mash Brewing.)

Let’s see if we can shed some light on the three mashing processes:

Single Step Infusion Mash

A single step mash is the most basic style of all grain mashing. It simply involves soaking the crushed grains in water at a steady temperature for a specified period of time. Most homebrewers mash for about 60 minutes, though in theory 30 minutes should do the trick.

This process, called conversion, allows naturally occurring enzymes in the grains to break down the starches into fermentable sugar. One of the cool things about mashing is that by controlling the temperature of the mash, you can change the fermentability of the wort. By mashing in the lower end of the temperature range (around 148°-152°F), you achieve a more fermentable wort, and ultimately a drier beer. Mashing your grains in the upper end of the spectrum (152°-158°F) creates a less fermentable wort and a sweeter beer. Since I don’t have a very advanced brewing system, I’m usually happy just keep the mash in the 150°-154°F ballpark.

Brewers have the option of raising the mash at the end for the mash out. Bringing the mash up to about 170°F will stop enzymatic activity and make it easier to run off the wort.

Multiple Step Infusion Mash

Shop Brew KettelsThis all grain brewing method is often used when brewers need to break down proteins in the malt. This is only necessary when using under-modified lager malts. Because under-modified haven’t germinated as much during the malting process, a protein rest is used to allow enzymes to break down proteins in the grain. In a protein rest, the mash is usually held at around 122°F for 15-30 minutes, and then the mash is raised to conversion temperature (the temperature at which starches are broken down into fermentable sugars). The protein rest generally improves head retention and reduces haze when brewing with under-modified malts and unmalted adjunct grains.

Once again, brewers may want to raise temperature for mash out at the end of the multiple step mash.

Decoction Mash

Of the 3 all grain brewing methods mentioned here, decoction mashing is the most traditional brewing technique. It was developed by brewers who had a lack of temperature control. Brewers would remove a portion of the mash, boil it, and add it back into the mash. They might repeat this up to three times. These brewers found that the decoction process allowed them to bring the mash through each of the various rests and end up with a fermentable wort.Shop All Grain System

Today, since we have thermometers and other methods of temperature control, decoction mashing isn’t really necessary, though some brewing still use decoction mashing for brewing certain traditional styles.

So there you have it: Ales use single step mashing, lagers use multiple steps, and decoction mashing is an option for brewing certain traditional styles.

Which of these all grain brewing methods do you prefer?

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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 of the Local Beer Blog.