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
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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.

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

All-grain:
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

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

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

Yeast:
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.
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He is a graduate of the Siebel Institute of Technology’s “Start Your Own Brewery” program and the Oskar Blues Brew School in Brevard, NC.

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

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.
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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.

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:
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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!
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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.

How To Brew Witbier

Belgian WitbierWitbier, or bière blanche, in French, is a style of wheat beer native to Belgium. Belgian “white” beer is characterized by its light color and cloudy appearance, usually from the use of unmalted wheat or oats. Moderately hopped, Belgians wits are commonly flavored with coriander, bitter orange peel, and possibly other spices as well. Given its light, fragrant, and refreshing qualities, belgian witbiers are perfect for brewing and drinking in warmer weather. (Can you tell I’m excited for summer?!) So, here’s some insights on how to brew Witbier.

Though once popular throughout Belgium, wits were nearly made extinct until Pierre Celis revived the style in the 1960s. Today, almost every beer drinker knows of Hoegaarden, named for the town where witbiers were made popular, and Blue Moon, the interpretation of the style made by Coors.

In doing some research for this post, I found an interesting tidbit from Michael Jackson, which explains how the Curaçao orange peel and other spices may have found their way into witbiers. In his Beer Companion, he points out that “Belgium was a part of the Netherlands when many spice islands, including the orange-growing territory of Curaçao, were colonized.” It stands to reason that the spice trade influenced what was used in the brewing of witbiers.

Modern interpretations of the style may include some interesting flavoring ingredients. Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina makes a wit called White Thai, which uses lemongrass and ginger root instead of orange peel and coriander.

How To Brew WitbierShop Steam Freak Kits

Witbiers are a fun style to brew and one that you and your non-beer geek friends will likely enjoy throughout the summer. Our Brewcraft Belgian Wit recipe kit includes everything you need to brew a Belgian white. You can also brew your own Blue Moon with Stream Freaks Blue Noon recipe kit. Both of these recipe kits are from extract. If you prefer to formulate your own witbier recipe, read on.

  • Grains – Extract brewers will want to use the lightest malt extract available, probably using a fair amount of wheat malt extract syrup, an extract made from both wheat and barley malt (65/35 wheat to barley malt). All-grain brewers should start with a light pilsner malt for the base of their grain bill. Both might consider using unmalted wheat or oats for added body and the notorious witbier cloudiness.
  • Hops – Traditional European varieties of hops should be used in an authentic Belgian witbier, but feel free to use some American hops if you’d like. According to Michael Jackson, the original Hoegaarden used East Kent Goldings and Saaz, though I’m not sure that’s still the case now that Hoegaarden is owned by AB-InBev. In any event, shoot for 10-20 IBUs.Shop Beer Flavorings
  • Herbs & spices – Coriander and bitter orange peel are the common additions in Belgian whites. Hoegaarden’s “secret” spice is believed to be grains of paradise. This is a good style though for thinking outside the box, so you may wish to throw in some lemon peel, lemongrass, ginger, or chamomile into your witbier depending on your tastes.
  • Yeast – Use a wit beer yeast or other Belgian yeast strain for your witbier.

That’s my take on how to brew Witbier. Are you a fan of Belgian wits? How do you like to brew your own Belgian white?
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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.

Storing Hops: What’s The Best Way?

Homebrewer Storing HopsThe question often comes up: “I’ve had this bag of hops in the refrigerator for over a year…can I still use them?”

In short, yes! However, just storing hops in the refrigerator does not preserve their alpha acids very well, which makes it difficult to predict how they will affect a beer’s bitterness. Hops lose their potency and freshness over time, and only in the case of Lambics are aged hops considered desirable. Further, if not stored properly, hops can absorb some unpleasant odors wafting around your fridge, so it’s important to understand the proper method of storing hops in order to brew the freshest, best beer possible.

 

So, what’s the best way to store hops?

Learning how to store hops is a piece of cake:

  • Good – At a minimum, keep your hops in the refrigerator in an airtight container—like in a mason jar—and use them as soon as possible after purchasing.
  • Better – Even better, store hops in a vacuum-sealed package in the refrigerator. A consumer grade vacuum sealer can come in handy for this purpose.
  • Best – The best method for storing hops is to keep them in an air-flushed, vacuum-sealed package in the freezer. Most homebrewing hops these days are packaged  and stored this way. If it will be more than a few days before brewing with the hops, just toss them in the freezer until brew day.shop_hops

The same goes for storing hops after opening the package. If you have an unused portion of hops, storing the hops in the freezer in an airtight container is the best way to go. Try to use the hops as soon as possible.

 

What if my hops are old? Can I still use them? How does this affect IBUs?

If your have been storing hops in the freezer in an airtight container for less than a year, you should be able to use them without their age having a negative affect on your beer.

If the hops have been stored for longer than a year or just kept in a refrigerator, it might be a good idea to calculate the actual alpha acid content of the hops in order to accurately predict IBUs in the finished beer. All hops should be packaged with an alpha acid content expressed as a percentage. From there, it’s a simple matter of using an aged hop calculator to adjust the alpha acid content and the weight needed to achieve a desired bitterness level.Shop Accurate Scales

Keep in mind that there are many factors affecting bitterness in beer, so calculated IBUs are just an approximation. At the end of the day, it may be worth just buying some fresh hops from the homebrew shop so you can be sure you get the best qualities from your hops as possible.
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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.

Harvesting And Reusing Beer Yeast

Homebrewer Reusing Beer YeastLearning how to harvest, wash, and reuse your beer yeast is a neat skill that gets you one step closer to making beer the way the pros do. Besides, washing and reusing beer yeast can help you save a few bucks so you can get those homebrewing gadgets you’ve always wanted.

 

A few important things to consider before reusing your beer yeast:

  • When harvesting beer yeast, sanitation is very important! When you practice good sanitation, you can reuse yeast for ten generations or more!
  • Yeast should be harvested from a clean and healthy fermentation. Take notes on how your batch turns out. If the beer didn’t come out well, you probably don’t want to reuse the beer yeast.
  • Consider the color of the beer you’re harvesting yeast from. Yeast harvested from a dark beer and pitched into a lighter beer will likely affect the color of your beer, so try to pitch yeast from light beer to a dark one.
  • Just like with color, think about the hoppiness of the beer you’re harvesting yeast from. A yeast slurry from a very hoppy beer may affect the bitterness of your beer.

 

Now, here’s an easy step-by-step guide to harvesting and washing beer yeast. Follow these steps when reusing beer yeast and you’ll have not problems, whatsoever:shop_liquid_beer_yeast

  1. The night before transferring your beer from primary to secondary fermentation, boil a half gallon of water for 20 minutes to sterilize it. Carefully pour the water into a sanitized jar or growler, seal it with a sanitized lid, and place the growler in the refrigerator to cool overnight.
  1. The day of the transfer, clean and sanitize several (four or more) glass jars and lids. Remove the growler of cool water from the fridge.
  1. After transferring to secondary, pour half of the water from the growler onto the yeast cake left behind in the primary fermenter. Swirl the water around to stir up the beer yeast and let sit for several minutes. The slurry will stratify into three layers: watery beer mixture on top, dead yeast and trub on the bottom, and healthy yeast in the middle.
  1. Pour off and discard the watery top layer. Then pour the healthy beer yeast slurry into half of your glass jars, taking care to leave the darker yeast slurry at the bottom of the fermenter. Allow these jars to sit for several minutes.
  1. Shop Stir PlateIn ten minutes or so, the slurry will separate. Just like before, pour off and discard the watery stuff on top, then pour the white yeast slurry into the remaining jars, leaving behind the darkest part of the slurry.
  1. Place the lids on the jars of washed yeast and place in the refrigerator. Don’t forget to label the jars!
  1. Use the harvested beer yeast within a few months, the sooner the better, and prepare a yeast starter to ensure optimal viability for your next batch.

 

Have you ever tried reusing beer yeast from a slurry or cake? Did you end up with more beer yeast than you can use? Yes, you can make bread with it!
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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.

Alternative Techniques For Adding Hops To Beer

Hops – they’reHops Ready To Add To Beer the defining ingredient in many styles of both craft and homebrewed beer. From brown ales to stouts to IPAs, there’s hardly a beer out there that isn’t made with the addition of hops.

You may be aware that adding hops to beer at different points of the boil contribute different characteristics to the finished beer. Hops added early to the boiling wort are responsible for most of the bitterness in the beer, while hops added later to the boil contribute more of the floral, spicy, piney, or citrusy flavor and aroma qualities that hopheads know and love.

If you are following a beer recipe it is customary for it to state the boiling times for the various hop additions, whether it be: 60, 30, 15 or 5 minutes. Just following these times for standard hop additions.

But besides these standard hop additions through out the wort boil, there are a few alternative techniques for adding hops to beer that you may want to have in your homebrewing tool box:

  1. First wort hopsFirst wort hopping involves adding hops while collecting the runnings from an all-grain mash. Simply take the hops that you would add at the end of the boil and place them in the brew kettle as you collect the wort pre-boil. Some brewers believe that this technique results in “a more refined hop aroma, a more uniform bitterness, and a more harmonious beer overall.”
  1. Dry hopDry hopping is the practice of adding hops to the secondary fermenter while the beer is conditioning. This is another technique which adds additional aroma to the beer. As with first wort hopping, low alpha acid aroma hops are best suited for dry hopping. Use a screen, mesh hop bag, or cold crash your beer to separate the hops from the finished beer.
  1. Hop back – This is a method of adding hops to beer that is a little bit more involved. A hop back is a piece of equipment used to recirculate beer through the hops packed into it. For Sierra Nevada,Shop Hops it’s called a torpedo (hence “Torpedo” IPA), and for Dogfish Head it’s called Randal the Enamel Animal. If you’re a do-it-yourself-er, you can build your own hop back using a stainless steel container and standard hardware store fittings.
  1. Foosball table – If you’re a fan of the Dogfish Head IPAs, you’ve probably heard why they’re named 60-Minute, 90-Minute, and 120-Minute. Founder Sam Calagione originally used a jury-rigged foosball table for adding hops gradually throughout the 60-, 90-, or 120-minute boil. The idea is that this “continual hopping” results in a more rounded hop profile. While that may be true, this example highlights how creative ideas can be applied to the brewing process. Don’t be afraid to try out some techniques of your own!

What’s your “go-to” technique for adding hops to beer? Please share in the comments below!
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine!

Pectic Enzyme For WineCan I add pectic enzyme after the fermentation to clarify the wine? Is there a substitute or alternative I should use instead at this time?

Name: Paul D.
State: Idaho
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Hello Paul,

Thanks for the great question. Some beginning winemakers get confused as to when to add pectic enzyme to their wines.

What Is Pectic Enzyme?
The first thing that needs to be understood is that pectic enzyme is not a fining agent or a wine clarifier for wine. It does not clear cloudy particles out of a wine after a fermentation like fining agents. Pectic enzyme is a protein that breaks down pectin in the fruit.

Pectin is the gelatinous material in fruit. It’s the stuff that holds the fruit’s fiber together. It is also the stuff that causes the resulting fruit juice to have the appearance of being cloudy. This is known as a pectin haze.

Once the fruit is crushed and pressed, not only does it release the juice, but it also releases the pectin. The pectin is a highly complex carbohydrate, refracting any light that hits it. This gives the fruit juice a cloudy appearance.

The pectic enzyme is a protein that is capable of breaking down the pectin cells into carbohydrates that are less complex – something that does not refract the light and give the juice a cloudy appearance. Essentially, the pectic enzyme causes a chemical change in the juice. It does not do anything to clear out a substances like a fining agent would; it changes the molecular structure of what’s there so that light my travel more cleanly through it.

 

When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine?
As for winemaking, the optimum time to add pectic enzyme is right after crushing the fruit and before pressing. By breaking down the pectin cells at this stage, you are allowing more juice to release from the fruit’s fiber – a good thing for making wine. If you are not the one doing the crushing and pressing, then the second best time to add pectic enzyme to your wine is at the beginning of the fermentation. This will allow the pectic enzyme to do its thing while the wine fermentation is occurring.Shop Wine Filters

 

Three Things To Note Here:

  1. Pectic enzyme comes in different strengths, so you are better off using the dosage recommended on the package it comes in instead of following the amount called for in your wine recipe.
  1. During a wine fermentation the wine yeast does produce some pectic enzyme of its own. This is why it is possible to have a clear wine without adding pectic enzyme, but you are playing cloudy roulette with your homemade wine by not adding it. Adding pectic enzyme to your wine gives you added insurance that you are going to have a clear-looking wine.
  1. If you do end up with a cloudy wine after the fermentation and you’ve already cleared out all the physical particles with a fining agent such as bentonite or isinglass, your options are few. Pectic enzyme is much more effective during a fermentation than after a fermentation. Your only hope is to add another full dose of pectic enzyme directly to the wine and give it time (sometimes months) to work on breaking down the pectin cells. If you did not add a dose of pectic enzyme at the beginning of fermentation, then you can add a double-dose, now. Pectic enzyme works much slower after a fermentation has completed.

 

Shop Wine KitsUnfortunately, there is no alternative or substitute for pectic enzyme. So if you think you need some, you’ll have to get some. Do not use gelatin from the store. It will not disperse as evenly and readily as gelatin offered by wine supply shops.

I hope I’ve answered your questions and given you a more complete understanding of what pectic enzyme is and what it does for the home winemaker. Just remember it is at the beginning of fermentation that you when you’ll want to add pectic enzyme to your wine. If that ship has sailed, you can add a double-dose of pectic enzyme after the fermentation.

If you’d like to read more you might want to take a look at Why Do Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme.

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.