Read all about the ins and outs of brewing beer. From hops to hydrometers, our brewmasters have written hundreds of blog posts to help you brew your best.

Invigorate your boil

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As a lazy homebrewer, I take a few shortcuts when brewing at home. One of these shortcuts is brewing on an otherwise entirely unsuitable, flat glass electric stove.
I do not enjoy this stove in general, but it came with the apartment, so it’s what I use. Although I have a propane burner, it is less than ideal for brewing, since I live/ferment in an upper level apartment, and don’t have much interest in hauling all of my gear up and down the stairs. As it stands, I straddle my 8 gallon megapot over two burners on my less than ideal stovetop. I use an anti-foam agent for stovetop batches, mainly because I often start with 7-7.5 gallons in my 8 gallon megapot. It works very well, though it does fool me into thinking that I’m not boiling aggresively enough, as the surface of the wort is quite calm. Read more

The Importance of Being Hydrated: Dry Yeast Handling

There is a dearth of information out there regarding yeast handling, and probably as much misinformation. Some brewers are still under the impression that dry yeast is inferior to liquid yeast. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the quality of dry yeast now is equal to liquid yeast in almost all cases. Another […]

How to Make Invert Sugar

Ever feel like your brewhouse could use more science nerdery? Try making invert sugar! Read more

Brewing Malt Demystified

Golden Promise … pale malt? Two row? What’s the difference?

School’s in: Read more

Nutrient vs. Energizer: Which Should I Use and When?

Nutrients and Energizers sound pretty beneficial – and they can be! But, what the heck are these products!? Moreover, if you use the wrong stuff or an inappropriate bolus, you can do some major damage to your yeast!  What you need to know about nutrient vs. energizer Read more

Mysteries of the Yeast Starter Revealed

Anyone can make a yeast starter. Don’t believe me? Ok, raise your hand if you’ve ever made a beer. Is your hand in the air? Congratulations, you’ve made a yeast starter before.
A massive, hopped, 5 gallon yeast starter Read more

My Favorite Brewing Sites: Brewing Calculators

p1000074On-line brewing calculators can help you figure out questions as simple as what you should expect as a final gravity, or as complicated as what color beer you will get with which grains. Here are a few that I use on a weekly – if not daily – basis: Read more

Finnish your beer

Ahh … sahti . It’s like drinking a Christmas tree. F or those of you who may be rye-curious, here’s one way to craft a pint of piney cheer:

Kalevala Sahti: the recipe
(five gallons)

  • 9 lbs Munich 40 EBC
  • 9 lbs malted rye
  • 1 lbs flaked oats
  • 1 lb rice hulls
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer pellets (mash hop)
  • 2 lbs (approx) fresh, non-chemically sprayed juniper branches (watch out for Xmas wreaths, y’all)
  • Wyeast 1007

Kalevala Sahti: the process

Layered juniper branches over false bottom in mash tun; add grist, mash hops, and strike water.

Step mashed with rests at 90, 120, 150, and 160 F. Ran the wort off and let cool overnight (if it’s -20 F air temp, you’ll be authentically Finnish). Pitched yeast the following morning. Fermented at 68 F for about 8 days … then kegged. Yup, she’s boozy, yeasty, and ready to drink.

Kalevala Sahti: the tasting notes

Appearance – golden orange, turbid, dense white foam (we carbonated it more than is traditional)

Aroma – balance is way towards intense, pungent, resiny juniper (pine sap and needles) with spicy grain at the back

Flavor – more of that juniper character, strong in the front and tapering through the middle, grudgingly sharing room with bready malt, spicy rye and a suggestion of oats and alcohol. Surprisingly smooth and balanced for a beer of this gravity with nothing but mash hops. Prickly, piney evergreen tree in the aftertaste.

Body – oily and warming

Overall – not as unfamiliar or weird as it might sound … it’s not such a huge leap from Chinook and Simcoe to actual pine bough flavor. And definitely drinkable! Juniper does a nice job standing in for hops and offsetting the sweetness of a doppelbock-strength grain bill.

And finally …

Optimally enjoyed next to an ice floe in a t-shirt on a cold Minnesota day. Don’t forget to pour a little out for your homies in Lappland!