Why Is My Beer Not Carbonating?

Pouring Flat Homebrewed BeerI made a batch of Mexican beer that I primed with 1 tsp. per 16 oz. bottle. After 45 days, but the beer is flat. The taste is OK, but no bubbles. Can I reprime it? Why is my beer not carbonating?

Name: Bruce
State: Montana
Hi Bruce,

As you probably know, beer carbonates in the beer bottle when the yeast in the beer is given an extra dose of sugar (known as priming sugar). The yeast then converts the sugar into CO2. Since the beer bottle is sealed, the CO2 has nowhere to go besides into solution, thus carbonating your beer. This is called bottle conditioning.

If your homebrew beer is flat, it likely means one of three things:

  1. The beer yeast is not consuming the priming sugar due to lack of time or cold temperature,
  2. The beer yeast does not have enough sugar to convert into CO2, or
  3. The beer bottles are not thoroughly sealed.

If you used 1 tsp. of corn sugar per bottle, that should be sufficient. However, if you primed with dried malt extract, this may not be enough to produce the desired carbonation level.

Either way, before you re-prime the flat beer bottles, I would recommend troubleshooting this flat beer in the following order.

  • First, ensure that your flat beer bottles have been sitting in a room with a steady temperature of 70°-75°F. Temperatures lower than this could cause the beer to carbonate very slowly or not at all. Keep in mind that certain closets and storage areas may not be as warm as the rest of the house. If you suspect that the beer bottles were in a cooler storage room, move them somewhere warmer and wait another two-three weeks. By the way, when someone ask: “why is my beer not carbonating?” this is by far the most likely the solution to the problem.Shop Bottle Cappers
  • Second, check that all of the bottles of flat beer have been capped securely. If there’s any kind of leak, the CO2 pressure may be escaping. This could be happening if you’re using twist-off beer bottles instead of pop-off beer bottles. Maybe it was just the first bottle you opened that didn’t have a good seal?

If the first two actions didn’t fix the problem, then you can re-prime the bottles of flat beer. I would only do this if you are certain that the bottles have had at least six to eight weeks of conditioning time in a room at 70°-75°F.

Consider this carefully – if you add too much sugar to the bottles, you run the risk of bottle bombs. Keep in mind that beer bottles primed with honey or DME may require more time than bottles primed with corn sugar.

Here’s how to re-prime beer if you decide to do so: open each bottle and add half as much priming sugar as you did the first time and reseal with sanitized bottle caps. Move the bottles to a safe location where they won’t make a mess or hurt someone if they explode.

Shop Beer BottlesChances are high that all you need to do is give your bottles adequate time at the appropriate temperature. For more ideas about carbonating your homebrew, consider this blog post.

So, if your homebrew beer is flat can you re-prime? Yes. Should you? Maybe, but not likely. Remember re-priming a flat beer is a last resort. Troubleshooting flat beer can be tricky. Just remember, it is only after you have tried to keep the flat beer at a reasonable temperature first, that’s how to re-prime beer.

Thanks again for your question and good luck!
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.

Awesome Terrapin Rye Pale Ale Clone Recipe

Terrapin Rye Pale AleJust like wheat and barley, rye is a cereal grain that can be used in making beer. It’s a huskless grain with an assertive, spicy flavor. To design a rye pale ale beer recipe, one could easily start with a good American pale ale recipe and add between one-half and one pound of rye malt to the mash. This will contribute the distinctive spicy flavor that rye is best known for adding to a brew. Most rye pale ale beer recipes will have at most 10-20% of the grain bill come from malted rye.

Because its protein content is higher than barley, rye can improve body and head retention, but it also tends to get sticky in a mash. If your system is prone to stuck mashes or if your beer recipe uses more than about 20% rye, consider adding some rice hulls to the mash to improve filterability.

There are several good commercial examples of rye pale ale on the market. Terrapin Beer Company from Alpharetta, GA, entered the market with their Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, which won a gold medal in the American Pale Ale category in its first year at the Great American Beer Festival, in 2002. The brewery is now approaching 50,000 barrels of beer a year in production. Below is a Terrapin rye pale ale clone recipe you can brew up.

E. C. Kraus carries a great Rye Pale Ale beer recipe kit from Brewerʼs Best, but feel free to use the tips below to develop your own beer recipe.


Types of Rye

Homebrewers typically work with either rye malt or flaked rye. Rye malt has been germinated and kilned, whereas flaked rye is pressed between hot rollers. Both contribute rye flavor, though the rye malt will be a little more toasty and sweet than the flakes. Both can be added directly to the mash. If brewing a partial mash recipe, combine the rye with some malted barley so the mash doesn’t stick.

Ready to brew a rye pale ale? Try this Terrapin rye pale ale clone or use it as a starting point for your own beer recipe!Shop Steam Freak Kits


Terrapin Rye Pale Ale Clone Recipe – Partial Mash 
Batch Size: 5 gallons

OG: 1.057
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 35

6 lbs. Light Malt Extract
1 lb. Rye Malt
1 lb. Munich Malt
8 oz. Victory Malt
6 oz. Honey Malt
1 tsp. Irish Moss @ 15 mins

.33 oz. Magnum hops @ 60 mins
(4.7 AAUs)
.33 oz. Fuggles hops @ 30 mins
(1.5 AAUs)
.33 oz. Kent Goldings hops @ 20 mins (1.7 AAUs)shop_brew_kettles
.33 oz. Kent Goldings hops @ 10 mins (1.7 AAUs)
1 oz. Cascade hops @ 5 mins (7 AAUs)
1 oz. Amarillo dry hop for 10 days
Yeast: Wyeast American Ale II
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.

Hop Bursting Homebrew 101: Tips for BIG Hop Flavor and Aroma

Hop Bursting A Batch Of Homebrew BeerOver the past several years, IPAs and Double IPAs have been all the rage in the craft beer scene. Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, and others have put hops in the spotlight. Though the term “hop bursting” has only just gained some notoriety, the technique could be the secret the success of these massively popular beers.


So what is hop bursting?

Hop bursting is simply adding massive amounts of late addition hops to the boil. Instead of early additions for the bulk of a beer’s bitterness. These late additions supply most of the IBUs.

Let me explain.

In a standard beer recipe, you may have an ounce of bittering hops, an ounce of flavor hops, and an ounce of aroma hops. Seems pretty balanced. However, since more bitterness is extracted the longer hops are boiled, the majority of the IBUs in this scenario come from the first addition. Just play around with an IBU calculator to see what I mean. With hop bursting, the first addition will be very small or even nonexistent, which means that most or all of the IBUs come from the later additions.

You’ll find that to achieve the same level of IBUs, hop bursting will require significantly more hops in total. However, this technique can help the brewer to achieve very intense hop flavor and aroma without overpowering bitterness.

If you’re a fan of massive hop flavor and aroma, try the hop bursting recipe below!


Hop Bursted Amarillo IPA
(partial mash recipe, five gallons)

OG: 1.064
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 64
Boil time: 60 minutes

6.6 lbs. Light LME
1 lb. Amber DME
1 lb. Caramel 20L malt
Shop Barley Crusher1 lb. Carapils malt
.5 oz. Amarillo hops at :30
1 oz. Amarillo hops at :15
1 tsp. Irish moss at :15
2 oz. Amarillo hops at :10
1.5 oz. Amarillo hops at :5
Yeast: Safale US-05
3/4 cup priming sugar


Steep the crushed Caramel 20L and Carapils malts for 30 minutes in one gallon of water at 152°F. Strain the grains and rinse them with 1 gallon of water at 170°F, collecting the runoff in the boil kettle. Mix in the liquid malt extract and top off to 7 gallons of wort. (To get 64 IBUs, you will need a 7 gallon boil. If using a 5 gallon kettle, top off to 4 gallons and increase the first hop addition to 1.5 oz.)Shop Hops

Boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops according to the schedule. Add 1 teaspoon of Irish moss with 15 minutes left in the boil. Whirlpool, chill, and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. If needed, top off with enough water to make five gallons. Ferment at 66°-70°F for seven days. Rack to secondary for ten days. Bottle or keg as you would normally.

Are you a fan of the hop bursting technique? What’s your strategy? Do you have a hop bursting recipe or schedule you’d like to share? Put it in the comments section 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.

The Difference Between Stouts and Porters

Stout and PorterBeer blogger Bryan Roth explores the subtle differences between two classic beer styles: stouts vs. porters.
Brewing up a variety of beer recipes is one of the reasons why many get into the hobby of homebrewing. While you may be excited about creating something experimental (watermelon wheat, anyone?) honing base beer recipes is important, especially if you want to better understand the beers we love so much.

You may enjoy extra hoppy IPAs, but porters and stouts can offer tons of complex, malt-forward flavors. But what exactly are the differences between the stouts and porters? Sure, they both look dark, but there are plenty of slight differences that go into each beer. But what makes both beer styles different. What is the difference in taste?

Here’s a helpful history lesson: stouts came into existence as a descriptor for a stronger version of a beer style. A “brown stout” in the 1700s was simply a porter with higher alcohol content. Changes to brewing and brewing laws over the next 200 years eventually made way to how we recognize these beers today.

The most important change from the 1700s? The use of roasted barley.

While the BJCP outlines various styles of porters and stouts, here are basic characteristics of what you should aim for when crafting your next version of either, courtesy of Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer. These are the basic characteristics that define the difference between stouts and porters:


 Porter  Stout
 Flavor Creamy roasty-toasty malt, hoppy or not Always roasty; may have caramel and hops too
 Aroma Roasty maltiness; usually little or no hop aroma Roasty malt; with or without hop aroma
 Balance Malt, hops, roast in various proportions Very dry to very sweet (depending on style)


These are slight differences, but important if you want to nail your next batch.

Shop LIquid Malt ExtractAnother tip to consider when creating your recipe is the success of others. According to Ray Daniels’ book, Designing Great Beers, the key difference between the winning porter and stout recipes from the National Homebrew Competition was – no surprise – the use of malt.

The average grain bill of well-performing homebrewed porter used 80 percent pale ale malt while stout beer recipes used an average of 61 percent. The other big difference was the use of roasted barley, which was twice as much in stouts (8 percent) compared to use in most porters (4 percent).

Generally speaking, pale ale malt would supply a beer with more “toasty” flavors. Roasted barley, of course, would impart flavors closely associated to coffee.

That is important, because roasted grains were widely used in successful competition homebrewed stouts (90+ percent) compared to porters, where roasted grains appeared in 30 to 60 percent of “robust” porters, but not at all in brown porters.

All those numbers are to say, for homebrewers, “roasted” is to stouts as “toasty” is to porters.

Shop Home Brew Starter KitIf you plan to enter a stout or porter into a judged homebrewing competition, these slight differences will be important to your success. But even if you’ll just be enjoying your creation at home, a better understanding of these two beer styles can help improve your palate, make you a better brewer and give you some extra tasty homebrew to drink! And, that is the difference between stouts and porters in a nutshell.
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.

Quick Guide To Brewing Beer With Herbs

The results of brewing beer with herbs.Brewing beer with herbs is not some new fad, a product of the recent craft beer boom. Before hops were popular (we’re talking hundreds of years ago), a wide variety of herbs and spices provided the bittering and flavoring characteristics to balance beer’s malty sweetness. Brewing beer with herbs was the norm. By adding herbs in your own homebrew, you can recreate ancient styles of beer (such as Sahti and Scottish Gruit) and also exercise your creative spirit to develop something entirely new. Below are just a short list of herbs, flowers, and other plants that can be used, alone or in combination, to contribute a unique flavor profile to your homebrew:

  • Basil
  • Betony
  • Birch
  • Borage
  • Chamomile
  • Coriander
  • Dandelion
  • Elderflowers
  • Ginger
  • Ginseng
  • Heather
  • Horehound
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Licorice
  • Mint
  • Nettles
  • Oregano
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Thyme






When thinking about how to use herbs in homemade beer, add them in the same way as we do hops. These herbs may be added early or late in boil (depending on whether you’re looking for more bitterness, flavor, or aroma) or to the secondary fermenter, just like with dry hopping. One thing to keep in mind when brewing beer with herbs is that the herbs tend to be more delicate than hops. Many of them don’t need to be boiled as long as hops in order to extract bitterness and flavor.

You can pick these herbs from your own garden, or buy them from the store. Many herbs are available as tea blends, the tea bags making it east and convenient to strain out the herbs.

When developing an herb beer recipe, think about what flavor characteristics work well with the base beer. The herbs should complement the style characteristics, rather then dominate them. (Consult the BJCP guidelines for style 21A for more detailed information.) If brewing a gruit, forgo the hops. Other base beer styles, such as pale ale and wit, can be given an interesting twist by incorporating herbs in addition to the hops.Shop Beer Flavorings

To help start you out brewing beer with herbs, here is a pale ale recipe using oregano. Feel free to substitute basil, rosemary, and other herbs as desired.


Oregano Pale Ale Recipe (5 gal):
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.011
ABV: 5.6%
SRM: 11

8 lbs. Two Row Malt
1 lb. Munich Malt
1 lb. Caramel 40L

Partial Mash:
6 lbs. Golden Light Extract
1 lb. Munich Malt
1 lb. Caramel 40L

1 oz. Northern Brewer @ :60
1 oz. Centennial @ :30
0.5 oz. Tettnanger @:15
0.5 oz Tettnanger @ :5

0.25-1 oz. of fresh oregano* @ :15
1 tsp. Irish Moss @ :15Shop Steam Freak Kits

Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast**
*The oregano can contribute a lot of bitterness and flavor. Up to a full ounce of fresh oregano may be used, but may need to be aged depending on your taste preferences.

**For best results, prepare a yeast starter.

Have you ever tried brewing beer with herbs before? How did it turn out? Do you have an herb beer recipe you’d like to share? Put it in the comments section below.
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.

Blue Moon Clone Recipe (Extract & All-Grain)

Blue Moon Clone BeerMany craft beer fans entered the world of better beer through Blue Moon. It’s an very smooth and citrusy representation of the Belgian Witbier style: pale yellow in color, somewhat hazy from the use of wheat and oats, and with prominent citrus aroma and flavor from orange peel and coriander.

One of the big differences between traditional witbier and Blue Moon is that the latter uses an American ale yeast rather than a Belgian strain. If you want a more traditional interpretation, substitute Wyeast 3942 for the strain listed in the blue moon recipe below. Keep on the low end of the fermentation temperature range to avoid excessive phenolics.

When serving, remember that Belgian wits are supposed to be hazy – try giving that bottle a swirl before you pour it to enhance the haze.

Ready to brew? Then check out these two Blue Moon clone recipes. One of the beer recipes is for homebrewing a Blue Moon using extract in a partial mash. The other is a Blue Moon clone recipe for all-grain homebrewing.


Blue Moon Recipe (Clone)
(Partial Mash Beer Recipe, 5-Gallon Batch)

OG: 1.055
FG: 1.014
IBUs: 9
ABV: 5.4%
SRM: 5

6.6 lbs. Wheat LME
1 lb. Two-Row Brewers Malt
1 lb. White Wheat Malt
.75 lb. Flaked Oats
1 oz. Hallertau hops (3.9 AAUs) @ :60
3 oz. Valencia dried sweet orange peel @ :10
1.5 tsp. fresh ground coriander @ :10
Wyeast 1056: American Ale YeastShop Steam Freak Kits
5 oz. corn sugar for priming

Directions: Prepare a 2L yeast starter. Mash the two-row malt, wheat malt, and flaked oats in 5 quarts of water. Hold temperature at 154°F. for 60 minutes. Strain the wort into the brew kettle, then rinse grains with 1 gallon of water at 170°F., collecting run-off in the brew kettle. Mix in liquid malt extract and add clean water to bring boil volume to 3.5 gallons. Bring to a boil, add hops, and boil for 60 minutes. Add the orange peel and coriander in the last 10 minutes of the boil. Chill wort, top off to 5 gallons, and stir to mix and aerate. Pitch yeast and ferment at 65F for one week, then transfer to secondary for two weeks. Bottle with priming sugar and condition for two weeks. Optional: serve with a slice of orange.


Blue Moon Recipe (Clone)
(All-Grain Beer Recipe, 6-Gallon Batch)

OG: 1.055
FG: 1.014
IBUs: 9
ABV: 5.4%
SRM: 5

5.5 lb. Two-Row Brewers Malt
4.5 lb. White Wheat Malt
1 lb. Flaked Oats
0.6 oz. Hallertau hops (2.4 AAUs) @ :60Shop Conical Fermenter
3 oz. Valencia (sweet) orange peel @ :10
1.5 tsp. fresh ground coriander @ :10
Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast
5 oz. corn sugar for priming

Directions: Prepare a 2L yeast starter. Single infusion mash at 154°F., using 1.5 qts water per pound of grain. Sparge to collect 7.5 gallons of wort. Add hops at beginning of 60-minute boil. Add orange peel and coriander in last 10 minutes of boil. Chill wort, pitch yeast starter, and ferment at 65°F. for one week, then transfer to secondary for two weeks. Bottle with priming sugar and condition for two weeks. Optional: serve with a slice of orange.

Have you ever brewed a Blue Moon clone recipe? How did it go? Share 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.

Late Addition Malt Extract & Late Addition Hops

Late Addition Brewing IngredientsThere are plenty of ways to impact the aroma and flavor of your beer: the beer yeast you choose, additives, and especially malt and hops. But one important “ingredient” that can impact how your beer turns out is often overlooked – time.

In recent years, two methods to create the most optimum homebrew have become popular. For homebrewers using extract, the late addition of malt extract can benefit both the taste and color of your beer, regardless if it is dried malt extract or liquid malt extract. Similarly, any homebrewer can utilize a “hop bursting” technique of late addition hops that’s becoming commonplace for many of the most popular IPAs you’ll find in your bottle shop.

So why switch up your brew day schedule? What are the benefits of late additions? Let’s break it down.


Late Addition Malt Extract (DME/LME)

Whether you’re an extract brewer or an all-grain brewer using malt extract to aid with high gravity beers, waiting until the end of your boil to add all the malt extract may help you perfect your brew.

The benefit of add your malt extract late in the process is simple – it’ll provide greater clarity to your beer as well as increase hop utilization. How those steps take place is a bit more complicated.

To make the best use of malt extract, add 15 to 25 percent at the start of your boil, as your beer recipe instructions tell you to do so. However, by saving the remaining amount to add at the end of your boil, you’re able to avoid a Maillard reaction, a caramelization that leads to the darkening of your beer. Essentially, it’s what happens when sugars get stuck in your pot and begin to harden because of heat. This principal is the same whether you are using liquid malt extract (LME) or dried malt extract (DME).Shop Dried Malt Extract

An added benefit of late addition malt extracts is that they also improve the utilization of hops, allowing for more bittering to come through. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on what beer recipe you’re making and how you prefer your beer to taste.

Late malt extract additions should be added anywhere from when you have 15 minutes left in the boil to flameout. Just turn off your heat source and mix everything in thoroughly before turning the heat back on. If you wait until flameout, the wort will still be hot enough to sanitize everything.


Late Addition Hops

One way to increase hop flavor and aroma and avoid excessive hop bitterness is a technique called “hop bursting.”

The premise is simple: use little or no hops at the beginning of your boil, saving nearly all of them for the “flavoring” and “aroma” addition times at the end of the boil. By doing so, you decrease the alpha acid utilization that adds bitterness and increase the use of oils that lead to fruit, citrus and pine flavors and hop aromas you love so much.

This is particularly important, as the characteristics of late addition hops will greatly impact your senses, especially smell. Even though your tongue helps you out when you taste beer, the sense of smell really helps to drive how you perceive flavors.

Shop HopsA proper hop bursting technique consists of adding hops from 15 minutes left in the boil to after flameout. Remember that the later you add hops, the stronger the aroma. Popular American hop varieties like Simcoe, Amarillo, Cascade, Citra or Centennial will give you a great combination of flavors. Think of hop bursting as an ideal complement to dry-hopping your beer, which also provides strong smells.

If you want an idea of how late addition hops can make a beer taste, try picking up brews made by Stone. Most notably, their popular “Enjoy By” series of IPAs uses hop bursting techniques to create some of the strongest, tastiest hop flavors I’ve ever experienced in a beer.

Half the fun of homebrewing is the potential for experimentation, timing is just one more dynamic that can be toyed with and mastered, so try doing some late addition malt extract and late addition hops, and see how they can work best for you. They may be the key to unlocking your next great homebrew, especially if you’re a hop-head like me!
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.

What is Diastatic Power?… Definition and Chart.

Barley With Diastatic Power In Beer MugIf you’ve been brewing for a while, you’ve probably come across the term “diastatic power” when exploring different malts and learning how to mash. What is diastatic power? What’s the big deal?

A good “diastatic power” (DP) definition would be that it is a measurement of a malted grain’s enzymatic content. When grain is malted, enzymes are produced during germination. These enzymes are responsible for converting the grain’s starches into sugar during mashing. Diastatic power is an indicator of the amount of enzymes available to convert those starches into sugar.

In the US, diastatic power is generally measured in degrees Lintner. Malts with enough DP to convert themselves are at least 30 degrees Lintner; base malts can reach as high as 180 or more. That covers the question as to “what is diastatic power“. Now here’s some actual numbers to take a look at.

Here is a diastatic power chart for some of the more common malted grains:

            Malt                             Degrees Lintner

Briess Red Wheat Malt                    180
Briess White Wheat Malt                 160
Briess Two-Row Malt                      140
Briess Pilsen Malt                            140
Briess Vienna Malt                          130
Briess Rye Malt                               105
Briess Munich Malt 10L                      40
Briess Caramel 20-120                        0
Briess Chocolate Malt                          0Shop Barley Grains
Briess Black Malt                                 0

For most all-grain beer recipes with a substantial amount of base malt, diastatic power isn’t going to be a major issue. DP comes in to play when brewing with a high proportion of specialty malts or unmalted adjuncts. There needs to be enough DP to not only convert the starches in the base grains, but in the specialty malts as well. One of the reasons American adjunct lagers are so high in two-row malt is that the extra DP is needed to convert the adjunct starches into sugar.

Diastatic power is also important when brewing partial mash. Take for example the grain bill for a partial mash recipe such as this one:

6.6 lbs. Light LME
1.5 lb. Caramel 40L
1 lb. Munich Malt (10L)

We know that the Caramel 40L contributes no diastatic power and the Munich only 40 degrees Lintner. The DP available to convert this mini-mash (simply the average by weight of the grains) is only about 16. This is far below the minimum recommended value of 30. Some recommend aiming for 70. In short, the higher the average DP, the more likely your chances are of a successful starch conversion.

There are several possible solutions for the example above:

  1. We could replace the Munich with Vienna malt without a huge impact on flavor and bring up the average diastatic power to 52.
  2. Alternatively, we could add 1 lb. of two-row barley malt to the mini-mash, bringing the average diastatic power to 52, as well.
  3. We could also “cheat” by adding a small amount of diatase enzyme.Shop Barley Crusher

The point is, all it takes is a little tweaking to help make sure the mash has enough DP to convert. The good news is that with a partial mash recipe, the mash represents such a small proportion of the overall gravity that it won’t make a huge difference if it doesn’t. Most of the gravity points will come from the LME.

The next time you brew, calculate your diastatic power and record your brewhouse efficiency. Did you have enough DP for a successful conversion? These are all advantages to know the answer to the question, what is diastatic power.
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.

Westmalle Tripel Clone Recipe (Extract & All-Grain)

Glass Of Belgian TripleTrappist beers are those made at Trappist monasteries; beers made in the Trappist style are called abbey beers. Most are characterized at malt-forward dry ales that are conditioned in the bottle. Belgian yeast strains often produce distinctive fruity or spicy qualities. Belgian beer fans go to great lengths to procure bottles from the eight Trappist breweries.

Westmalle Abbey is a monastery in Malle, Belgium, outside of Antwerp. It was founded in 1794, where brewing began in 1836. Westmalle’s Tripel is probably their most popular commercial brew.

The beer writer Michael Jackson describes the Tripel as: dry with an herbal aroma and fruity and floral flavor against a solid backdrop of malt. He recommends pairing Westmalle Tripel with asparagus, noting that “perhaps the citric note in Westmalle Tripel finds an affinity with that lemon-grassy flavor that also lurks in the plant.”

The Westmalle Tripel clone recipe below comes from the 2008 issue of Brew Your Own magazine. Simulate Westmalle’s water profile by using hard (mineral rich) water.


Westmalle Tripel Clone Recipe
(partial mash recipe, 5 gallon batch)

OG = 1.082
FG = 1.012
IBU = 35
ABV = 8.5%
Boil Time: 90 minutesShop Dried Malt Extract

5.5 lbs. pale malt
1 lb. caramel 10L malt
4 lbs. unhopped light DME
1 lb. clear candi sugar
1 oz. Styrian Goldings hops (3 AAUs) at :90
.75 oz. Tettnang hops (3 AAU) at :60
.5 oz. Fuggle hops (3 AAU) at :30
.5 oz. Saaz hops (2 AAU) at :5
2-3 packs Wyeast 3787: Trappist High Gravity


Directions, Partial-Mash: Prepare a 2L yeast starter the day before brewing using 2 packs of Wyeast. (Alternatively, use three packs without a starter.) On brew day, conduct a mini-mash with the crushed grains using about 3 gallons of clean water. Hold at 152°F. for 90 minutes. Sparge with 3.75 gallons of water at 170°F., collecting wort into boil kettle. Mix in DME and candi sugarShop Steam Freak Kits and bring to a boil. Add hops according to schedule. At end of boil, stir to create a whirlpool, remove from heat and chill wort. Pour wort into sanitized fermenter containing enough clean water to make 5.25 gallons. Pitch yeast at 70°F.. Ferment at 68°F. for two weeks, then condition at 50°F for 3-4 weeks. Prime and bottle, allowing to condition for at least 8 weeks. Age up to a year and serve in your favorite Belgian chalice glass!

Directions, All-Grain Option: Replace the 4 lbs. DME with 6 lbs. pale malt. Use 18 qts. of water for the mash and 20 qts. to sparge. Add the Belgian candi sugar when bringing wort to a boil and follow remainder of recipe above.

This Westmalle Tripel clone recipe is absolutely worth brewing. It’s a great introduction to Abby beers and Belgian beers in general.
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.

Selecting The Right Beer Yeast For Your Homebrew

Assortment Of Beer YeastGuest blogger Billy Broas delivers sound advice for selecting the right yeast strain for your homebrew:

Beer yeast is an underappreciated ingredient in homebrewing. Sure, we know that we must take the right steps to keep it happy: make a yeast starter, control the temperature, aerate, etc. But yeast’s flavor impact on the final product is often overlooked. Sometimes we forget that selecting beer yeast that is appropriate is just as important as nurturing the beer yeast we select.

If you’re trying to brew a beer strictly to style, then it’s best to choose a traditional beer yeast strain. In general, go with an American yeast strain for American styles, an English strain for English styles, etc.

Sometimes when selecting beer yeast you choose a traditional strain, but aren’t happy with the results. You might be tempted to switch to a different beer yeast, but don’t forget about all of the different variables that affect yeast character. The beer yeast you select may actually be perfect, but you pitched it a little too warm.

Pitching temperatures, fermentation temperatures, time, and even fermenter shape all impact the flavor you get from a beer yeast when homebrewing. Try tweaking these variables before jumping strain to strain. I was never a big fan of Wyeast 3068 (the Weihenstephan strain), but once I figured out the correct fermentation temperature it became my favorite strain for German ales.

Of course you don’t always need to go by beer style guidelines. Much of the fun in homebrewing is experimenting. You could try a German Ale yeast in an American Pale Ale or a Bohemian Lager yeast in an Irish Stout. If you factor in the variables mentioned above like temperature and aeration, the potential new flavor profiles become endless.

In addition to flavor and aroma, the beer yeast you select will have a big impact on the mouthfeel of the beer. Have you ever made a beer that tasted too thin? Maybe it finished at a very low gravity and dried out too much. A common corrective action is to use more grain to make a “bigger” beer. Or maybe you add some CaraPils to provide more dextrins.

Perhaps the best solution though is selecting beer yeast with lower attenuation – one that doesn’t ferment that last bit of carbohydrates out of the beer. You can keep the rest of the beer recipe the same and because the new strain won’t ferment as many sugars, the final gravity will be higher, resulting in a fuller-tasting beer.

For example, I love using WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast for my English Pale Ales and IPAs, but my English Mild is too low in gravity for that yeast. It’s a 1.035 original gravity beer, so the WLP007 would make it very thin tasting. To give it more body I use a less attenuation English Ale yeast, such as WLP002.

Selecting beer yeast is not a thoughtless task. Choose your beer yeast wisely when homebrewing, and most importantly, take notes on your batches. With time you’ll find the best beer yeast strain for all of your favorite beer recipes!
Billy Broas is a BJCP beer judge and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show “Colorado Brews.” He teaches an online homebrewing class at The Homebrew Academy and runs a blog about craft beer at BillyBrew.com.