No-Bull Directions For Using One Step No Rinse Cleanser

One Step No Rinse CleanserThe directions on the container of One Step No Rinse Cleanser simply say to rinse your equipment with the solution. Is there a minimum amount of contact time one must allow for the solution to work prior to using the sanitized equipment? The results of an online search stated anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. I know the safe route would be to let it sit for at least 2 minutes, but I’d rather not stand there waiting if I don’t have to.

Name: Paul
State: Missouri
Hello Paul,

The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is actually an oxygenating cleanser. This means that it uses a burst of oxygen from the solution to do the sanitizing. This high oxygen level actually destroys any unwanted microbes.

The great thing about any oxygenating cleanser is that it gives the biggest burst of oxygen while the solution is evaporating off the surface of what is being sanitized. In other words, the contact time with the solution is not what really matters. What matters is that the solution be allowed to evaporate without interruption after being taken out of the solution. The amount of time in the One Step solution is not critical. This is way the directions seem so vague.

The only situation when the length of time would matter is if you are treating a piece of equipment that has a lot of tight spots, or has a surface that is complex and Shop Basic A Cleansernot smooth. A couple examples of this would be a nylon brush or a straining screen. In both cases you would want to give “some” time for the solution to work its way in between and onto the surface of each nylon bristle or into the corner of each square of the screen. This could require a few seconds due to the surface tension of the solution.

The flip-side of this is when sanitizing a surface that is smooth, like glass, no time is required in the solution at all. Just dip or apply with a rag and allow to evaporate. Again, the evaporation from the surface is what’s key, not the time in the solution.

If you want to get the most out of the One Step No Rinse Cleanser you would allow your equipment to dry completely before using. However, I understand that following such directions would not be practical in a lot of situations, since it would make things way too time consuming. So as a matter of practicality, I would follow these directions: dip or or wipe with a rag the equipment with the solution of One Step No Rinse Cleanser, then allow to dry for 5 minutes.

One final not I’d like to make is that the One Step No Rinse Cleanser is not a Shop Sanitizerssoap or detergent in any way. It is not designed for or intended to release grime from your wine making equipment. This is something that needs to be done with a dish soap or similar, beforehand. The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is strictly for sanitizing your wine making equipment. It is designed to kill any molds, bacteria, etc.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

How To Test For Diacetyl In Your Beer

Two Men Testing for DiacetylYou’re brewing a beer and it tastes just fine after primary fermentation. You move it to secondary, bottle it, and when you go to taste it…butter bomb! This sounds like a problem with diacetyl.


What is Diacetyl?
Diacetyl is a natural byproduct of fermentation. A small amount of diacetyl is acceptable in certain beer styles, most notably in a variety of ales and a handful of lager styles, but most lagers should not present any diacetyl. Excessive diacetyl in any beer can be a defect.


Causes of Diacetyl in Beer
Diacetyl is produced when beer is fermented. Diacetyl can be produced in excess when yeast is stressed, such as when fermentation temperature is too high or wort isn’t sufficiently aerated. Diacetyl can also be caused by bacterial infection.


Determination of Diacetyl in Beer
Diacetyl is detected as a butter taste in the beer’s flavor and aroma.

The challenge is that there may be a diacetyl precursor in a sample of beer that you can’t taste or smell: acetolactate. So how do you test for diacetyl when it isn’t actually present in your beer? How do you catch the diacetyl before it’s too late?


How to Test for Diacetyl in BeerShop Stir Plate

  1. Using cleaned and sanitized equipment, pull two small (~2 oz.) samples of wort from the primary fermenter and cover them with aluminum foil.
  1. Place one in the refrigerator and the other in a hot water bath. The heated sample should rest at 140-160˚F for 20 minutes.
  1. Place the heated sample in the refrigerator with the other sample (or in an ice bath).
  1. When both samples are chilled, take them out for a taste. If you can taste diacetyl in the unheated sample, there is diacetyl in your beer. If you can taste diacetyl in the heated sample but not the unheated sample, your beer has acetolactate, which was converted into diacetyl by the high temperature. In either case, do a diacetyl rest. For an ale, this may just be a couple extra days in the primary fermenter. For a lager, you should increase the temperature of the beer to about 60˚F, which will help the yeast “clean up” the diacetyl in your beer.


Tips for Preventing Diacetyl in Beer

  • Clean and sanitize equipment thoroughly to prevent infection.
  • Shop for beer yeast depending on diacetyl production – check the manufacturer’s website.
  • If brewing with a high amount of adjuncts, consider using supplemental yeast nutrient.
  • Aerate wort well, using pure oxygen if possible.
  • Pitch an adequate amount of healthy, viable yeast.
  • Keep fermentation temperature within the yeast manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Perform a diacetyl rest after primary fermentation. In the case of lagers, raise the temperature to 60-68˚F for 2-3 days before transferring to secondary and cold conditioning.


Have you ever had issues with diacetyl or a butter taste in your beer? What have you done to remedy the situation?
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.

I Put Too Much Sugar In My Wine!

Sugar In Wine MustTo keep a long story short, while mixing ingredients for the first fermentation, instead of 2 pounds of sugar called for in the wine recipe, 4 pounds made it into the bucket. I let it go for the first fermentation. The hydrometer reading is 1.106. Could I add water to lower sugar concentration for the fermentation?
Thank you.

Name: Jan R
State: Ohio
Hello Jan,

Adding an additional 2 pounds of sugar to the wine must is not as serious as you might think. Assuming this is a 5 gallon batch, the extra sugar will raise the final alcohol level by about 2%, so while you may have put too much sugar in the wine, it is far from being a disaster.


The general rule-of-thumb is for every pound of sugar you add to a 5 gallon
batch of wine, you increase the potential alcohol by 1%.


Based on your beginning Specific Gravity reading of 1.106 you took with your hydrometer, you have a beginning potential alcohol right at 14%. That means you have enough sugar in the wine must for the yeast to ferment 14% worth of alcohol content. If you can live with this, then doing nothing is your best course of action. Just finish the fermentation as you normally would.

If you would like, you can dilute the wine with water, but this will bring up another problem and that is the wine’s acidity or its tartness. Diluting the flavor profile of a wine with water is one thing. You can get away with reducing the intensity of the flavor without having too much noticeable overall affect on the wine. But you are diluting the acidity at the same time. Acidity is something that is very noticeable when it’s diluted. Because of this, an adjustment would need to compensate for the lowering of the acid level. This can be done by adding Acid Blend to the wine must.Shop Hydrometers

Now the question is: how much water and Acid Blend should you add? Again, I am going to assume this is a 5 gallon batch of wine.

You can use something called a Pearson’s square to calculate how much water to add to bring the potential alcohol down to its intended level, but I’ll do that for you, now. You need to add .83 gallons of water to the entire batch to bring the potential alcohol down from 14%  to 12%. This works out to 3 quarts and 8.5 fluid ounces of water.

Now, you need to figure out how much Acid Blend needs to be added to compensate for the addition of .83 gallons of water. This leads me to my second rule-of-thumb:


For every teaspoon of Acid Blend you add to a gallon of liquid,
you will raise the total acidity by .15%.


With a target range of around .65% to .75% TA, this means you would want to add between 4.33 and 5 teaspoons of Acid Blend per gallon of water. You would be adding .83 gallons — not a whole gallon — so this would adjust the range of Acid Blend needed for the batch to somewhere between 3.6 and 4.1 teaspoons. You could also use an our Acid Test Kit to take an acid reading after the water has been added and adjust according.

Shop Acid Test KitYou can add both the water and Acid Blend anytime you like during the winemaking process. The effects of both are immediate on the wine. The only thing you need to know is that if you add the water after the fermentation has completed, it needs to be distilled water. Using tap or bottled drinking water at this time would be introducing free oxygen into the wine and promote oxidation. Distilled water has no free oxygen.

As I’m sure you can start to see, there is a lot to be said for just leaving the wine alone and let is go as is, but if you feel that 14% alcohol is something you can’t live with, there are options. As I mentioned before, while you did put too much sugar in the wine must, the total effect on the resulting will not be disastrous or out ruinous. Either way I’m sure you wine will come out just fine.

Accidentally putting too much sugar in a wine must is something that happens from time to time. I know I’ve added to much sugar to my wine before, and I know lots of others have. Just realize that regardless of how bad the situation, there is usually a solution to remedy the problem.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Torpedo Extra IPA Clone Recipe (All-Grain & Extract)

Seirra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA CloneIf you’re a fan of India Pale Ales, you’ve probably had Torpedo Extra IPA from Sierra Nevada. At 7.2% ABV and 65 IBUs, it’s a fairly aggressive IPA that showcases American ingredients.

When searching for a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe, I stumbled upon this thread on The original poster contacted Sierra Nevada and got some details on the beer recipe. (If there’s ever a beer you’d like to clone, many commercial brewers are willing to help you out!)


Grain Bill

The grain bill is straightforward with about 90% American two-row malt as the base. Caramel 60L malt provides some malty sweetness to support the hops and some color. A small amount of Carapils malt will contribute some body. The grains should be mashed around 155-156˚F, which will help make for a full-bodied brew. Err on the lower side for good fermentability.



Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo features three types of American hops: Magnum, Citra, and Crystal. Magnum provides most of the bitterness, while Citra and Crystal join in for flavor and aroma additions.

The key to producing a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe is the dry hops. Torpedo is named for a dry-hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada in which beer is circulated through a “Hop Torpedo,” sometimes called a hopback or Randall. There are many ways to build your own hop torpedo, but for best results you should have a pump to force the beer through the torpedo. If you want to forgo the hop torpedo, traditional dry hopping procedures will work fine.


YeastShop Steam Freak Kits

As for yeast, a standard American ale yeast will do the trick. In fact, Wyeast 1056 and Safale US-05 are often referred to as the “Chico” strain. They’re reportedly the same yeast used by Sierra Nevada in their American ales. If using liquid yeast, I recommend preparing a two-liter yeast starter from two packets of yeast to have enough yeast cells to do the job.

Ready to give it a try? Here’s an all-grain recipe, with an extract option below! Good luck!


Torpedo Extra IPA Clone Recipe (All-Grain)
(5.5-gallon batch)

**recipe assumes a mash efficiency of ~70%

OG: 1.073
FG: 1.018
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 65
SRM: 10

14 lbs. American two-row malt
1 lb. Caramel 60L malt
.5 lb. Carapils malt
.75 oz. Magnum hops at :75 (11 AAUs)
.5 oz. Magnum hops at :30 (7.3 AAUs)
.5 oz. Magnum hops at :5 (7.3 AAUs)
1 oz. Crystal hops at :5 (4.3 AAUs)
.5 oz. Crystal hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
.25 oz. Citra hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
.25 oz. Magnum hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
2 packets Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast or 1 packet Safale US-05


Directions:Shop Home Brew Starter Kit
Mash the crushed grains in about five gallons of clean water at 156˚F for 60 minutes. Sparge to collect 7.5 gallons of wort. Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. Whirlpool, chill wort, and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Pitch yeast at 70˚F or below. Ferment at 65-70˚F. Add dry hops to the secondary fermenter and allow to sit for 7-10 days. Bottle or keg for ~2.3 vols CO2.


Extract Option: Replace the 14 lbs. of two-row malt with 8.4 lbs. light DME. Steep the specialty grains for 30 minutes in clean water at 156˚F. Add half the DME and enough water to make a three-gallon boil. Proceed with the recipe above, adding enough clean, chlorine-free water to the fermenter to make five gallons.

Do you have a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe you’d like to share? We’d love to see it. Just post it in the comments below.
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.

5 Tips For Using A Wine Press

Using A Wine PressHere are five tips for using a wine press. This are basic tips that will help you get the most out of your press. Learning how to make wine using a wine press is very straight-forward. Even so, this tips should help you avoid the pitfalls we see most often.

  1. You Can Press More Than Just Grapes With A Wine Press:
    While wine presses are sold with the intent of being used for making grape wine, they work perfectly fine for pressing other fruits. Everything from tiny elderberries on up to apples can be pressed with a wine press.
  1. Before Using A Wine Press, All Fruits Must Be Crushed:
    While you can press a variety of fruits with a wine press, it is important that the fruit be crushed beforehand. This is true whether you are pressing grapes, blueberries or pears. Depending on the amount of fruit you are dealing with: you can crush the fruit by hand; you can use a blunt object such as the butt end of a 2X4; or you can get an actual grape crusher to do the work for you.
  1. Before Using A Wine Press, The Stems Should Be Removed:
    This primarily applies to pressing grapes. Some stems are alright, but excessive stems left in with the pulp can cause your resulting wine to have excessive tannin. This can give it an astringent flavor. The astringency can age-out over time, but the result of that would be a dark, dusty sediment forming in the bottom of your wine bottles. To remove the stems you can pick the grapes from them, but if you have a larger amount you may want to invest in a grape de-stemmer that does the process for you. A grape de-stemmer typically will crush the grapes as well, so you can handle both process with one piece of wine making equipment.
  1. Whites Are Pressed Before Fermentation, Reds After:
    Shop Wine PressesThis one often throws a lot of beginning winemakers off. Many assume that the grapes are always pressed before fermenting. In the case of making a white wine, they would be right. The grapes are de-stemmed, crushed, pressed and then fermented. However, when making a red wine, you want to de-stem, crush, ferment and then press. Having the pulp in during the fermentation is what gives a red wine its ‘red’. It is also what gives these wines more body than most whites. If the pulp were not in a fermentation you would end up with a blush wine.
  1. Choose A Wine Press That’s The Right Size For You:
    Wine presses come in all sizes. In general, they all press with the same amount of pressure and extract the juice with the same amount of efficiency. It is simply a matter of how much wine press do you need. Too much press and you won’t be able to fill the pressing basket all the time. Not enough press and you’ll be using a wine press all weekend. All the wine presses we list on our website also have listed how many pounds of fruit they will hold and the approximate number of gallons of juice you can expect with each pressing.

I am sure there are others, but these are the main tips for using a wine press. If you have a tip on how to make wine using a wine press, please leave it in the comments below. We’d love to hear your ideas.
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.

Choosing the Right Beer Glass Types for Your Homebrew

Beer In Assorted GlassesDoes it matter which type of beer glass you serve your beer in? Well, often times, no – no one wants to be a snob – but once in a while you want to get the full effect of your brew. This is where the different beer glass types come into play.

Proper beer glassware enhances the positive aspects of your homebrew, with different types of beer glasses highlighting different qualities.

Try this: take a very fragrant beer like an IPA or barrel-aged stout and pour some of it into a regular pint glass and some into a tulip or wine glass. Smell the two and compare the aromas – you’ll probably notice a significant difference. This experiment also works with wine and liquor.

So what are some of the different beer glass types and their uses? Below we’ve put together a somewhat comprehensive list of the glasses you’ll run across when drinking your brews. This is a menagerie of glasses that you may want to consider having on hand when serving you your own homebrews.


Goblet Beer GlassGoblet – Ideal for Belgian ales and Berliner weiss, the goblet features a wide mouth for easy access to the beer’s complex flavors and a structure that supports head retention.



Flute Beer GlassFlute – A flute is a narrow beer glass that tapers towards the bottom. The shape gives the viewer a good look at carbonation and helps release the pleasing aromas of gueze, lambic, swarzbier, and Vienna lager.


Pilsner Beer GlassPilsner – The pilsner glass is similar to the flute, but it has a wider mouth. The change in shape showcases color, supports head, and encourages aromatics of – not surprisingly – pilsners, but also blonde ales, bocks, and witbier.Shop Homebrew Starter Kit



Pint Beer GlassPint Glass – Of all the beer glass types, this is the all-around go-to glass. It is versatile as it is common and is ideal for many of your favorite beers, including amber ale, altbier, English bitter, brown ale, IPA, porter, and pumpkin beer.



Snifter Beer GlassSnifter – The snifter, just like what you would use for brandy or cognac, is a smaller version of a goblet with a lip that turns inward, capturing desirable aromatics. Snifters are smaller than most other glasses, making them a good fit when drinking higher gravity beers. Use a snifter when enjoying barley wine, Belgian dark strong ale, double IPAs, imperial stouts, and tripels.


Stange Beer GlassStange – A stange is a relatively narrow beer glass type with no taper. It concentrates aromas into a narrow channel and gives the drinker a good look at the beer. Stange glasses are appropriate for a number of styles, including altbier, bock, gose, lambic, and rye beer.Shop Steam Freak Kits



Stein Beer GlassStein – In German, “stein” means stone. For years prior to the widespread use of glass, these large mugs were made of stone. Go to Germany today and ask for a “Mass stein” – they’ll give you a full liter of suds. Steins work great for Oktoberfestbier.



Tulip Beer GlassTulip – The tulip is on of the great all-around beer glass types for evaluating your homebrew, regardless of style. The glass’s shape gives a good sense of color, enhances aromas, and holds a big head. The tulip works especially well for saisons and other Belgian styles.


Weizen Beer GlassWeizen Glass – The weizen glass is designed for wheat beers. Its size allows for a large serving of the refreshing beer and a big, wheaty head while also helping to enhance aromas. Use a Weizen glass for all types of wheat beer.Shop Malt Extract Kits



So there you have it, the different beer glass types and their uses! Don’t get too hung up on choosing the appropriate glassware – and definitely don’t shame other people for using the “incorrect” beer glass. The most important thing is to always appreciate the beer!
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.

Tips For Clearing Wine With Clearing Problems!

Clearing WinePlease give me any advise on clearing wine. I have a Red wine not clearing?

Name: Bruce K.
State: CA
We get asked this quite often: how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine? Clearing wine can be a big concern for the first-time winemaker, especially after they see just how cloudy a homemade wine gets right after fermentation – not to worry, though.

If given enough time, it is most likely that the cloudy wine will clear up and stabilize completely on its own. Gravity will take over and eventually everything will settle to the bottom as a deposit. But there are still some things you can do to speed things along and make sure it happens and to avoid any wine clearing problems.

If the wine has just completed its fermentation, it is typical to add a dose of bentonite. This is a wine clearing agent, also referred to as a fining agent. Adding bentonite to a wine will help the proteins in the wine (including yeast) to clump together and drop to the bottom more readily. After a few days you can then rack the wine off all the sediment.

Most winemakers would stop at clearing wine with bentonite, but if you wished you could also add Sparkolloid. This is another wine clearing agent. It was designed to compliment the bentonite. While bentonite will collect and drop negatively charged particles, Sparkolloid will collect and drop out positively charged particles. Again, you would wait until the sediment stops accumulating and stabilize, then rack the wine off of it.

One could then follow up by treating the wine with a polish fining agent before bottling. This could be something like isinglass, Kitosol 40 or gelatin. Either of these will add a brilliant clarity to the wine. Just like the others, it works by dropping sediment out of the wine, so racking will be necessary before bottling the wine.Shop Bentonite

Beyond these things you could use filtration for clearing wine. There are filtration systems specifically designed for filtering the finest of particles from a wine. So fine, that you can not see them with the naked eye.

These wine filters are not at all effective in clearing a cloudy-looking wine. They work so good that the filters would clog very quickly. The wine needs to look clear before filtering it. That’s what you can use the bentonite or other wine clearing agent for.

What wine filters are good at is adding a luster to the wine that can at times bring astonishing beauty to the wine. A wine filter can take a perfectly clear looking wine and make it look like a solid hunk of glass in the wine bottle.

Now that you know all these ways you can clear a cloudy homemade wine, here’s the bad news: it is possible to over-treat a wine. In fact, if you did all the things mention above to the same wine, the wine would suffer. It would lose more body and color than necessary. The character of the wine would be diminished, leaving you with a flatter, more uneventful wine.

So, how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine without ruining it? Treatment for clear wine must be used in moderation and with a plan.


  1. Shop SparkolloidAs mentioned earlier, you could do nothing. Just wait and see if the wine will clear up sufficiently on its own. Most of the time it will clear to some successful degree and stabilize.
  1. You could do everything possible to make sure you have the clearest, most beautiful wine possible, but nothing you can really enjoy.
  1. Or you could do what most winemakers do and hit a happy-medium. Many wine makers are happy with clear their wine with bentonite and be done with it. Another typical course of action would be something like clearing the wine with bentonite after fermentation. Then clearing the wine with gelatin before bottling. Or one might: bentonite after fermentation; then filtration, then bottle. Or, bentonite, Sparkolloid, bottle.


As you might be starting to see there are many possible answers to the question: how do you clear a cloudy homemade wine? Any of the courses of action in number 3 above, will get you a wine that is not cloudy, but what is the best way for you is something you’ll need to figure out. There is some art to clearing wine. You need to be able to know when to hold back, and you need to be able to choose with method is right for you situation at hand.Shop Mini Jet Wine Filter

Bruce, to answer you question more directly, since you are indicating that the wine is having problems clearing, I would start by treating the wine with bentonite. If the wine does not clear, then I would try Sparkolloid. At minimum, one of these two wine clearing agents should show improvement. After that you will need to decide if you want to stop there, or possibly treat the wine with gelatin before bottling or maybe even filter the wine. The choice is yours.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

7 Reasons For Boiling A Wort

Boiling A Wort BWHave you ever wondered what was the reason for boiling a wort?

The boil is an aspect of homebrewing that can be taken for granted as a step simply for throwing in the hops, but there are actually several reason for boiling a wort:

  • To sterilize the wort
  • To stop the enzymatic activity of the mash
  • To concentrate the wort
  • To boil off unpleasant aroma compounds
  • To coagulate proteins so they will drop out
  • To extract bitterness from the hops
  • To adjust wort color and flavor


All these reasons play a significant part in the final outcome of the beer. It’s color, bitterness, flavor, intensity, over all character are partially a factor of the boil. Let’s briefly cover each reason for boiling a wort.

  1. To sterilize the wort
    As homebrewers, we want as much control over our beer as possible. Beer yeast is (usually) the only thing we want growing in our beer. Boiling the wort kills off any microorganisms that may be in the wort or other ingredients. Sterilization requires a minimum of about 20 minutes of boiling.
  1. To stop enzymatic activity
    A brewer can control the ratio of fermentable and unfermentable sugars, mouthfeel, and other factors by their command over the mash. Changes in temperature and pH can make a big difference in the enzymatic activity during the mashing process. By heating the wort to a boil, the enzymes in the mash stop their activity and the mix of sugars in the mash is fixed.
  1. To concentrate the wort 
    Shop Brew KettlesThe wort collected after the mash is never the brewer’s intended original gravity. By boiling the wort and knowing one’s boil-off rate, a brewer can execute a precise original gravity for their beer. In many cases a 60-minute boil is sufficient for reaching a desired gravity, but sometimes a longer boil will be required.
  1. To boil off unpleasant aroma compounds
    Dimethyl sulfides, commonly referred to as DMS, are compounds produced while boiling a wort and their presence in beer is considered a fault. You might recognize DMS as an aroma similar to cooked vegetables. One of the major reasons for boiling a wort is to get rid of these offensive compounds. A long, vigorous boil will vaporize the DMS. For this reason it’s important to boil the wort uncovered. Aldehydes can also be boiled off.
  1. To coagulate proteins
    There are a number of materials in malt, particularly protein, that are suspended in wort. The boil helps these proteins coagulate into larger chunks, which form during the hot break and will settle out during the cold break. Irish moss can aid in this process.
  1. To extract bitterness from hops 
    The part of hops that are responsible for bitterness are called alpha acids. In order to contribute bitterness to beer, these alpha acids must be isomerized (a change in chemical structure), which only happens during boiling of the wort.
  1. To adjust wort color and flavor shop_home_brew_starter_kit
    In some cases, boiling wort can help achieve a darker color and a rich, caramel flavor in the wort. The chemical process responsible for these changes is called the Maillard reaction.


So there they are, 7 reasons for boiling a wort. Can you think of any other reasons we boil wort? Please share them with us!
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 To Siphon Wine Without Disturbing The Sediment

Man Siphoning Wine From CarboyCan I add potassium sorbate to individual bottles as I fill the bottles with wine. I am making cyser and want to back sweeten with a little more honey and add the potassium sorbate to individual bottles. It is a 5 gallon recipe and was started in November. I want to bottle now, readings are telling me its safe. There is no residue of yeast at the bottom, but I really don’t want to siphon the wine into the carboy and stir anything that I cant see up. What say you.

Name: Suzanne K.
State: Virginia
Hello Suzanne,

I understand your concerns about disturbing the sediment when siphoning, but what you are thinking of doing is not very is not very practical.

The amount of potassium sorbate required for each wine bottle is such a small amount that it would be very hard to measure it accurately enough for each single bottle. You would be much better off by siphoning into another fermenter, off any sediment (also referred to as “racking”), then mixing in the potassium sorbate to the entire batch along with any sweetening.

The fact that you are not seeing any sediment at the bottom of the fermenter is a very good sign, and makes me think that there isn’t any, since sediment is easy to spot in a lightly colored wine.

But if you are worried about disturbing the sediment when siphoning – seen, or not – the trick is to siphon gently. That’s how to siphon when without stirring up sediment. Have someone hold the siphon hose into the top half of the wine as someone else starts the siphon. Always draw your siphon from the upper part of the wine. As you get towards the end, you may want to tilt the container so as to corner the last bit of wine.

If you want to learn how to siphon wine without disturbing the sediment, the first thing you have to is understand that it’s not so much about a siphoning technique or experience as it is having the right pieces of equipment. There are several items on the market that will make racking the wine or wine much easier to do than just using a plain piece of hose. These handy little items are the key to siphoning the wine without stirring things up.


  • Racking Canes:
    One of them is called a racking cane. It is a rigid piece of tubing that allows you to point to where you are drawing from. It attaches to the end of your siphon hose like a wand. At the very bottom end of the tube is a diversion tip that makes sure that you do not draw from the very bottom of the container. On the top end is a hook or curve that points down toward the fermenter being racked into.The Auto Siphon
  • Auto Siphon:  
    Quite often, starting the siphon is what causes a lot of the sediment to get stirred up. This is when most of the fumbling around happens, and consequently, the unintentional disruption of the sediment. One great invention for resolving this issue is The Auto Siphon. It allows you to start a siphon with virtually no movement at all. It’s like a racking cane and pump all in one. You just attach it to the siphon hose like a racking cane, and then slowly slide the inside tube up one time and then down one time to start the siphon.
  • Racking Tube Clamps:
    Auto Siphon ClampAs an extra precaution, to make absolutely sure you do not disrupt any of the sediment when racking, you can use a racking tube clamps. These act as a third hand to keep things secured, in one position, and not moving around. You can get a Auto Siphon clamp or a racking cane clamp, depending on which you are using to draw the wine.


Suzanne, use these items and you’ll never have any problems with sediment getting stirred up.

How about anyone else. Do you have any tips or ideas on how to siphon a wine without disturbing the sediment?

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

Using Torrified Wheat For Head Retention

Homebrew With Torrified WheatI’ve been home brewing for just over a year and I’ve heard that adding torrified wheat as an adjunct can improve the head retention in beer and lace work within the glass. However, not once in my circle of friends has any experience of quantity and outcome. I generally brew all grain pale ales using Maris Otter as the base. Is there a recommended amount of torrified wheat to use that will add a creamy head without causing any degradation in clarity?

Name: Kevin Holmes
State: Essex, United Kingdom
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your homebrewing question about using torrified wheat for head retention in brewing!

In the context of homebrewing, a good torrified wheat definition would be a type of brewing grain that has been heated in order to break down its cell walls. The idea is that this gives water and enzymes in the brewing mash fast, easy access to the wheat’s proteins and starches, resulting in a quick conversion and a higher yield of fermentable sugars. It’s worth noting however that torrified wheat does not have any diastatic power of its own.

You are correct in your understanding that using torrified wheat in your homebrews can improve head retention in a beer. The torrified wheat percentage needed in a grist is approximately 5-10%. This amount can make a big improvement in head formation Shop Barley Grainsand retention. Briess recommends using up to 40% torrified wheat in a beer recipe, with the upper limit being for a weizen, Belgian witbier, or other wheat beer. If mashing with a significant proportion of wheat, rice hulls are recommended in order to avoid a stuck mash.

Please note that these same benefits can come from brewing with malted wheat, instead of torrified wheat. Both the red wheat and white wheat varieties are great alternatives for producing head retention. But unlike torrified wheat, malted wheat also has a significant amount of diastatic power (160-180 DP), worth considering if using a high proportion of wheat in a grain bill. Again, as little as 5-10% can improve head formation and retention. Personally, I have had good results using as little as half a pound of wheat malt in a 5 gallon pale ale recipe. The improvement in head retention was certainly noticeable.

If you’re looking for ways to improve head performance, other than using torrified Shop Barley Crusherwheat or malted wheat, you may also want to look into using Carapils malt (sometimes called dextrin malt). If for some reason you want to avoid using wheat, this is the way to go. Briess recommends using 1-5% of Carapils in your grain bill for improved body and head retention, without significantly impacting your beer’s color or flavor.

Kevin, thanks again for your great question about using torrified wheat in brewing for head retention. Anyone else have suggestions for controlling head retention in their beers?
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.