The weather is changing, the days are shortening, and one of my favorite beers is finding its way onto the shelves. I don’t just mean the rich caramel flavor of this Märzen style lager, but the 206 year-old celebration itself, Oktoberfest!
If you’re like me, you get tingles when you think about hop harvest season. Like a helicopter parent, you’ve coddled your backyard hop bines since they were babies, tending to them religiously and watching proudly as they’ve grown over the summer to be 16, 18, perhaps more than 20 feet tall! And now you’re staring at their beautiful cones, just waiting to be lovingly bombed into that IPA recipe you’ve been itching to brew. The time is now! you think to yourself.
Whether you’re steeping grains for an extract brew or mashing in an all-grain system there are usually a lot of grains involved. Grains add color, body and flavor to every brew but their usefulness doesn’t need to end there. Even after the wort is made, the spent grains have leftover fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids waiting to be used anywhere but the landfill. Beer and food tend to go hand in hand and that is why I recommend incorporating spent grains from your kettle into your kitchen recipes.
In my last post about ‘Keeping it Clean’ I discussed the importance of cleaning your brewing equipment. To all the brewers that are now using alkaline cleaners instead of dish soap, you made my day; your brew will thank you.
The Northern Brewer Milwaukee store may not have a PokeStop, but we can set an old-fashioned trap, knowing that no man, woman or Pokemon can resist some Plinian Legacy homebrew.
If you would have asked me three years ago about hard cider making I might have scoffed and rolled my eyes. I’m a “beer guy.” Two years ago a friend talked me into making a few 6 gallon batches of hard cider using apples from the family farm. It was excellent!
Seems like the answer should be pretty straight-forward: “So I can drink it!”…right? After all, almost everybody who brews started out by bottling their beer.
Dirt and microbes are the mortal enemy of every brewer – but proper cleaning and sanitizing can take your beer from good to great!
You’ve spent hours making your latest creation. You’ve sweated over the mash tun, rested at all the notable temperatures, infused, decocted, whirlpooled, first wort hopped, hop rocketed, chilled, and pitched your yeast. You relax and pour yourself a pint, looking forward to seeing that layer of krausen the next day and hearing the happy sound of healthy yeast pushing off C02. Now, you get to choose your own adventure.
In Part 1 of this topic I mentioned how minerals like Calcium and Magnesium contribute to healthy fermentation, clarity and flavor stability. Here, in Part II, we’ll identify the ideal concentrations of each, address brewing salt additions and explore the effects of pH and alkalinity on your mash conversion. Finally, I’ll explain how to use different ratios of chloride to sulfate to accentuate certain ingredients in your recipe.