Short Pour – Re-used Spent Grains: Re-diculously Delicious

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.


Short Pour – Water Chemistry Part 2 of 2: CaCO3 & pH

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.  


All-Grain Brewing 101: The Basics

Welcome to the world of all-grain brewing! In this video, we’ll give you a crash course of everything you need to know to get started all-grain brewing.

Brewing TV

Brewing with Wil Wheaton on Brewing TV – Part 1

The Brewing TV crew flew down to So-Cal to have a brew day with beer geek, and all around good guy, Wil Wheaton. We wanted to brew a wicked triple IPA, a true Californian creation. The team shot such a huge amount of video and great conversation that we have broken it down into a few segments for you to enjo

Beer Kit Guarantee

Beer Kit GuaranteeBeer Brewing Kits Guaranteed or Free Replacement

Northern Brewer has the most comprehensive offering of beer kits in the world. We have over twenty years of experience in homebrewing and we constantly search for the newest and freshest ingredients to add to our beer kits.

We’re so confident in the quality of our beer kits, we’ll replace any kit, anytime, no questions asked.

We take pride in our tech support and our team is ready to help you with any aspect of your brewing experience. From brew day through fermentation, during bottle or kegging and finally – sharing and enjoying. We’re here to guide you and help make sure your homebrewing experience is a success. We stand behind our promise to help you succeed.


All-Grain Brewing with John Palmer

“How to Brew” author John Palmer stops by Northern Brewer to brew an all-grain batch of a very special recipe. In our video, Palmer discusses his techniques for adding salts to brew water, mashing, batch sparging (versus fly sparging), chilling and fermentation. It’s a full-blown brew day with one of homebrewing’s most influential people. Grab a pint and enjoy the show.

Drew Beechum’s "Brewing on the Ones"

Homebrew All-Star and Beer Advocate columnist Drew Beechum gives his presentation titled “Brewing on the Ones: Zen & the Art of Homebrewing” at the 2012 National Homebrewers Conference. His message is clear: SIMPLIFY!

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Clone Recipe

The good people at Lagunitas have issued a challenge to homebrewers attending the National Homebrew Conference this year – brew Hop Stoopid as close to the original as possible. Here it is in their words:

“Hello to all you Homebrewers out there! Lagunitas Brewing Co has put
together (what WE think is) a cool idea for us all to have some extra fun at
your National Homebrew Conference this year in Seattle.

I’m attaching our recipe for Hop Stoopid. Here’s the challenge:

For those of you coming out to the National Conference this year in Seattle,
why don’t you give our Hop Stoopid recipe a go?? Brew a batch and
see how it turns out. Then bring a bottle of your finished product to the
conference and join us in our suite at the Westin Bellvue, attached to the
Hyatt Regency. We’ll have OUR version of Hop Stoopid there AND our Head
Brewer, Jeremy Marshall! You can sample your beer against ours and see
how close you got. Then you can hang out and talk with Jeremy about the
creativity, challenges and the fun of brewing hoppy beers.”

But for all of you homebrewers not lucky enough to be attending the sold-out NHC this year, here is what they provided for the recipe:

96.7% Canadian Rahr 2-Row
3.3% Briess Victory

Note: mash pH adjusted to 5.4 using small charge of acidulated malt
against 2-row portion above (may not be required, depends on water
chemistry and base malt)
13g CaSO4 added to mash

Collect enough volume for 17.8 degrees Plato after boil (depends on %
utilization & brewhouse efficiency)
10% evaporation = about 16.2 Plato concentrating to 17.8 Plato

90 minute boil.
5 grams of CaSO4 added to boil with first hops

On our system most IBU comes from generic super high alpha
(Summit/Nugget/Apollo/Bravo/Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) T90
pellets and hop extract at the following ratios:

Pellets: contribute 8.6 lbs. of alpha in 85 BBLS
Supercritical CO2 hop extract: 11 lbs. of alpha in 85 BBLS
Both above added at 90 minutes with CaSO4

Middle addition: 22 lbs. Cascade and 22 Chinook with Whirlfloc (at 40
ppm) at 12 minutes remaining in boil

Whirlpool addition (0 minutes): 44 lbs. Simcoe

% utilization and fermentation losses vary quite a bit from system to
system, so take into consideration

Note of Interest: the bitterness alpha all originally came from Simcoe
but in 2007 (“year of the manufactured shortage”) it had to be re-
placed with the generic high alpha but the difference is negligible…

Aerate to 20 ppm O2 and London Ale pitch at 4 lbs./BBL (thick slurry)
or 18 million cells per ml
An FG of 3.6-3.8 is best to simulate final flavor and alcohol so yeast
viability and vitality is essential
Benefits from long warm rest after yeast removal (“transfer to

Very important: Dry Hop Bill

Columbus: 1.2 lbs./bbl
Simcoe: 0.6 lbs./bbl
Chinook: 0.3 lbs./bbl

**Please carefully evaluate quality of the Columbus as it tends to
vary since it is a commodity hop; we select ours very carefully for this
reason and ignore alpha, strictly aroma considered**

Here are my mock-ups of Homebrew-scale recipes:

At 70% efficiency
90 minute boil
OG 1.074

14 lbs 2 row
.5 lb Briess Victory
1 oz Nugget at 90 minutes
5.5 ml Hopshot at 60 minutes
0.65 oz Cascade and 0.65 Chinook at 12 min
1.3 oz Simcoe at flameout, wait 10 min before chilling
Pitch yeast starter of y1028 London Ale
Dry hop with .6 oz Columbus, .3 oz Simcoe, .15 oz Chinook

90 minute boil
OG 1.074

10.25 lbs Gold Malt Syrup
.5 lb Briess Victory
1.5 oz Nugget at 90 minutes
6.5 ml Hopshot at 60 minutes
0.65 oz Cascade and 0.65 Chinook at 12 min
1.3 oz Simcoe at flameout, wait 10 min before chilling
Pitch yeast starter of y1028 London Ale
Dry hop with .6 oz Columbus, .3 oz Simcoe, .15 oz Chinook

Cheers, and good luck!

Common Off Flavors

Select one of the off flavors below to get some more information on why your beer may have this flavor and some ways to prevent it in the future.


Green apples, Cidery/acetic – Appropriate for Light American lagers


  • Premature removal from Yeast
  • Oxidation
  • acetobacter


  • Allow to ferment completely
  • Aerate wort prior to pitching
  • Good sanitation
  • decrease O2 contact after ferementation
  • Extended lagering times


Hot, Spicy, Vinous, Prickly Mouthfeel – Appropriate for Strong Ales & Lagers


  • High amount of fermentables
  • High fermentation temperature
  • Low O2 disolved in wort
  • Under pitching


  • Pitch sufficient amount of yeast
  • Aerate wort well
  • control fermentation temperatures
  • use less fermentables


Mouth puckering is present in flavor and mouthfeel – Not appropriate for any style


  • Poor sanitation
  • excessive hopping
  • excessive wort attenuation
  • boiling grains
  • excessive grain crushing
  • high sparge temps
  • excessively high pH


  • Good sanitation
  • reduce hopping rates
  • use less attenuative yeast
  • Higher Mash temp
  • avoid over crushing grain
  • monitor sparge temps
  • control pH levels


Mouth puckering is present in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel – Appropriate for American IPA & American Pale Ale


  • High Alpha acid hops
  • Long boil times


  • Use hops with lower Alpha Acid
  • Reduce boil times


Butterscotch, Diacetyl, Slick, present in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel – Appropriate for Scotch ales, English ales and Czech Pils


  • Premature racking
  • Low fermentation temps
  • Lactic aid bacteria
  • Mutant yeast


  • Allow to ferment fully
  • Diacetyl rest
  • Monitor fermentation temps
  • Use healthy pure yeast
  • good sanitation

Cardboard / Oxidation

Papery, Stale, Wet Cardboard – Not appropriate for any style


  • Aeration of hot wort
  • Exposure of higher alcohols to oxygen
  • excessive aging


  • Avoid splashing hot wort
  • carefully package beer
  • serve beer in appropriate amount of time


Cloudy, Hazy – Appropriate for German Weizen, Belgian Witbier, Lambics


  • Chill haze – insufficient conversion of mash, little or no hot break in boil or cold break in chill
  • Permanent Haze – High sparge temps
  • Bacterial haze – poor sanitation
  • Powdery or low flocculating yeast


  • Longer Mash times
  • use protien rest
  • vigorous rolling boil
  • cool wort quickly
  • use filtration
  • Reduce sparge temps
  • Improve sanitation
  • Choose more flocculant yeast

Cooked Corn

Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS), Vegetal – Appropriate for American lagers & Cream Ales


  • Wort Bacteria – poor sanitation
  • not boiling wort for at least and hour
  • Covered boil
  • Under pitching yeast
  • poor yeast health
  • over sparging with water below 160F
  • use of adjuncts


  • Good sanitation
  • fresh yeast
  • quick wort cooling
  • proper sparging
  • reduce adjuncts
  • Vigorous uncovered boil
  • Reduce pilsner malt


Strawberries, Plums, Bananas, Peaches, Present in flavor and aroma – Appropriate for Most Ales


  • By-product of fermentation
  • Higher fermentation temperatures increase ester production
  • Warm fermentation with lager yeast
  • Yeast selection


  • Choose low ester producing yeast
  • ferment at lower temperatures
  • keep lager fermentation below 50F

Light Body

Watery, Weak, and Thin Mouthfeel – Appropriate for Light American Lagers & Lambics


  • Low dextrins
  • Poor quality malt
  • Large percentage of adjunct sugars
  • Low mash temperature
  • Protein rest too long


  • Increase dextrin malt
  • use quality malt
  • decrease adjunct sugars
  • use higher mash temp
  • shorten protein rest

Low Head Retention

Flat, Watery


  • Insufficient Proteins in beer create high surface tension
  • Dirty/oily glass
  • Soap residue on glass
  • Low protein grist


  • shorten protein rest
  • Use clean well rinsed glass
  • Use flaked wheat or barley
  • Lower alcohol by lowering amount of grist
  • Use hops with high isoalpha levels


Band-aid, Medicinal, Clove like, Plastic, Smokey – Appropriate for Belgian Styles, German Wheat Beers


  • Wild yeast
  • Improper sanitation
  • Chlorophenols in the water
  • Certain yeast strains produce naturally
  • Over sparging


  • Use proper sanitation methods
  • Charcoal filter water
  • rinse chlorine based sanitizers well
  • Choose low phenol producing yeast
  • Use proper sparging techniques


Sherry, Vinous, Wine-like, Papery, Stale – Appropriate for Barley wines & Old Ales


  • A product of oxidation
  • Aging
  • More prevalent it high alcohol beers


  • Serve younger
  • Decrease oxygen exposure
  • lower grist bill to lower alcohol amount


Tart and Sour – Appropriate for Lambics, Flanders Ales, Berlinner Weiss


  • Lactic Acid from lactic acid bacteria
  • Acetobacter from acetic acid
  • Pediococcus
  • Lactobacillus
  • Poor sanitation
  • High fermentaton temps
  • excessive acid rest
  • mashing too long
  • storage at warm temps
  • poor yeast strain


  • Good sanitation
  • cool fermentation temps
  • cool beer storage
  • mashing for less than 2 hours
  • Fresh healthy yeast