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What to See At HomeBrew Con - The Experimental Brewing Edition

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Come Join Us at the Party of the Year!

By this time next week, we'll be deep, deep in the midst of the AHA's annual homebrew party - HomebrewCon. This year's edition is a return to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for four (ok, three official, but c'mon!) days and nights of beery goodness. Here's our quick guide about what we're doing - what we want to check out and more!

Look Ma, I'm in the Library!

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A few months back, I was contacted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton of Oregon State University and the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives. In an interesting turn of events, they wanted to talk to me about Oregon, homebrewing and my part in the whole scene. They are even archiving all the work we've done and adding it to their collection which includes the pioneering and humbling work of Fred Eckhardt.

The Saison Files - Tasting the Saison Strains of the Yeast Bay

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Less Talk - More Yeast Writings

So you know I'm a Saison Nut, right? It's the style I'm known for more than anything else. It's the style I brew more than anything else. It's playful, expansive, complex and approachable. The style has allowed me lots of room to be creative. You've got my Year of Saisons, my "Your Farmhouse" Saisons, my hoppy Saisons, my Champagne Saisons, my Guacamole Saisons, my Chowdah Saison, etc, etc.

Brew Toy Review - Monster Mill 3

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A quick note before we begin - we will always tell you when a manufacturer has provided us with goods to test. In this case, Monster Brewing Hardware did not provide Drew the mill. This is his review of his purchase.

It's funny the little things that conspire to keep you from doing a thing you love. Time, family, work, obligations are all a part of it, but sometimes it's also just a small pain point that's enough to prevent you from building up the head of steam to overcome the joyful inertia of sitting on your butt (particularly when it's hot and there's A/C inside)

Oh Say Can You See (through your beer)

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In the last couple years, we've been seeing the growth of what I guess you could call a new style of beer....The NorthEast style, usually made as an IPA.  The common factors seems to be a "soft" bitterness (often brought about by adding large amounts of calcium chloride to the water, rather than calcium sulfate which is more usual), a massive hop flavor with a pretty forward aroma, and usually a hazy appearance.  And by "haze", I mean a lot of them look like gravy!  Proponents of the style say "who cares how it looks, it's about the taste".  Others, like myself, are mystified.  Why does a g

Confessions of a Yeast Abuser

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I have a confession to make...I am a yeast abuser. And I have been for years. Yes, I know all the "rules" and try to follow them, but sometimes I fail and resort to....yeast abuse. Recently I brewed a batch of my Rye IPA recipe on my Zymatic. Looking in the fridge, I saw some WY1450 with a date of June 26, 2015....10 months old. I thought "I could make a starter with that", but then I thought "Damn, that would take effort".

Have You Seen Ester?

I remember back to when I brewed my first batch of beer. It seems like yesterday; however, over two decades have elapsed since that faithful day. Much in the world of home brewing has improved dramatically during the last twenty years. An improvement that comes readily to mind is ingredient quality. Those of us who were participating in the hobby during the first home brewing boom can attest to having to work with hops that were often brown and malt that was past its prime. Small-scale brewers used to receive macro brewer cast-offs, and home brewers received the macro cast-offs that small-scale brewers rejected. While poor ingredient quality and selection are a thing of the past, there are areas of home brewing that have changed very little in the last twenty years. One such area is an understanding of fermentation byproducts. We have transitioned from a hobby with an incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts that fermented at room temperature to a hobby that uses temperature-controlled fermentation chambers to mask our incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts. The topics covered in this blog entry are fermentation byproducts and the role that they play in beer flavor.

The Dangers of Brewing with Grapefruit

TLDR - BIG TAKEAWAY - A quick plea to brewers everywhere - for the love of all of everyone - label if your beer uses grapefruit in it. Turns out there's a chance of it causing some nasty side effects. (Actually for that matter - be kind to everyone and label your beers with anything outside the core four.) Edited to add - Taking feedback from various parts of the community and adjusting language to be less hyperbolic Not that long ago, grapefruit was an American breakfast staple.

The Beer World (from an East Bay View)

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This past weekend Denny and I were invited to roam around the Bay Area by one of our podcast sponsors, Craftmeister. Craftmeister was in town to demonstrate their cleaning line to customers and employees at the Bay Area More Beer retail locations and brought us along to autograph copies of B3's latest catalog offering - Experimental Homebrewing!

Carbon Credits

Fermentation is an incredibly complex process that can be mind boggling at times. Brewers like to think of yeast as a microscopic lifeform that transforms the sugars found in wort into alcohol, carbon dioxide gas, and metabolic byproducts that add flavor to the final product. However, in reality, yeast cells do not consume sugar. Yeast cells consume carbon, which they attempt to transform into energy. Alcohol and metabolic byproducts are the results of an inefficient metabolic pathway. The topic of this blog entry is how yeast cells transform compounds collectively known as carbohydrates into energy.

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