BYO News Page

Updated May 24, 2021

Homebrew News

2020 Craft Beer Sales

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The Brewers Association released their 2020 Craft Brewing Industry Production Report, which showed something that most folks were expecting given the business climate last year. In the U.S., craft beer sales fell by 9% year-over-year compared to 2019 with draught sales down more than 40%. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and taproom closures for long durations across many regions, this news is not all that surprising for most in the industry. Craft beer sales represented about 24% of overall beer sales market share in 2020.

One thing is for sure, craft brewers of all sizes, but most notably the small, taproom-focused craft brewers found they needed to diversify, adapt, and grow more business savvy in order to compete and reach customers. The number of craft brewers in the U.S. continued to climb with 716 new breweries opening doors while 346 closed, bringing the total number of operating breweries in the country to an all-time high of 8,764, according to the report.

A Thiol Test For Beer Finally Approved

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The sulfur-containing class of compounds known as thiols have become synonymous with the tropical fruit aromas of New World hops. But they have remained shrouded in mystery due to their extremely low concentrations (ng/L) and highly reactive nature, making them difficult to assay. Using a technique used in the wine world, a team from the Research Institute for Beer and Beverage Analysis out of Berlin, Germany greatly increased sensitivity and tweaked the testing process in order to find what they were looking for . . . a way to reliably assess thiol levels in beer. Hopefully it’s time to see what we’ve been missing.

Cider Vocabulary Standardization

Thurs., June 1 Cidermaking at Cornell University's Teaching Orchard
Photo by Charles A. Parker/Images Plus

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) announced that they have approved a grant of $500,000 to Virginia Tech and Cornell scientists to standardize the vocabulary used for cider. Currently, definitions for criteria such as sweetness levels are set by the individual cider producer. This can mean that one cidery’s “dry” cider may actually contain quite a bit more sugar than another cidery’s. Their goal is not to dictate how different cidermakers make their beverages, but rather to have consumer’s expectations be met. This is similar in a sense to the way many in the wine industry must comply with rules when describing a newly-released wine, such as varietals versus blends.

What’s New

Mangrove Jack’s M12 Kveik Yeast

A top fermenting yeast, Voss kveik offers fast fermentation at very high temperatures while retaining a neutral flavor character with subtle citrus fruit notes. M12 Kveik Yeast is suitable for a range of styles from Norwegian farmhouse ales to hop-forward beers like IPAs. This is both a high attenuation and high flocculation yeast strain that brewers can ferment in the range of 68–104 °F (20–40 °C), but for optimal results between 86–104 °F (30–40 °C).

Cryo Pop™ Blend

Using advanced chemical identification tools, Yakima Chief has developed a new hop pellet blend that is meant to provide strong tropical, stone fruit, and citrus aromas. While designed for single-hop usage, brewers can opt to blend with other hops as well in order to enhance and elevate the characteristics of other varieties. Cryo Pop™ pellets, formerly known as TRI2304CR, are well suited for loading whirlpool and active fermentation dry hop additions with these characteristics, thus creating an environment for yeast and hops to provide maximum aroma expression.

Brewing With Cannabis

A new book from Brewers Publications introduces the convergence of marijuana and brewing in the modern craft beer movement. Learn about the agriculture and biology of cannabis, unique characteristics of the plant, and the similarities between cannabis and hop plants. Delve into how and why the plant produces compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes, how they function, and how to incorporate them into homebrew and commercial beer recipes.

PBW Tablets

Five Star Chemicals is now offering their PBW cleanser in tablet form. There are two tablet sizes available in two different packaging sizes, which means brewers have four different options to choose from. The 2.5 g tablets are to be dissolved in 32 oz., or one qt. (0.95 L) water, for smaller cleaning jobs. The 10 g tablets are designed to be dissolved in one gallon (3.8 L) water. They are effective in both hard and soft water profiles and work in a range of temperatures. Learn more at

New Omega Yeast Strains

Two new ale yeast strains from Omega Yeast, Bananza and Sundew, should be of interest to brewers who are after strong ester characters. Bananza is a hefeweizen strain that has been bred to be POF- (phenolic off-flavor negative). This provides the banana esters, without the clove-like phenolics. Sundew is similar, except it is a Belgian ale yeast strain bred to be POF-. This provides the berry and stone fruit ester character, again without the spicy phenolics. Find out more at

Blichmann G4 Fermenter

Blichmann Engineering has announced the release of their new G4 conical Fermenator. They went back to the drawing board to redesign their conical from the ground up. The G4 Fermenator’s standard features include welded tri-clamp fittings, pressure-rated to 15 psi, aseptic racking arm, brushed exterior and polished interior, plus several additional features available. You can find out more at

Brewer’s Best® Kombucha Kits

A new series of kombucha recipe kits by Brewer’s Best® allows homebrewers to craft their own flavored kombucha at home. Each kit comes with the ingredients to craft one gallon (3.8 L) of fresh kombucha and is available in four flavors: Blackberry, hemp, passion fruit, and raspberry. Note that these kits do not include a SCOBY for fermentation, which needs to be purchased separately from a supplier. SCOBYs are not included since they can be reused time and again and don’t need to be started fresh each time. First time making kombucha? Each kit comes with its own detailed, step-by-step instructions for a successful batch the first time and every time.

Mangrove Jack’s Hophead Ale

Fans of the hazy, juicy style of IPA have a new strain of dry yeast to try out. Mangrove Jack’s has recently released a new strain in their lineup, M66 Hophead Ale. As the name implies, the yeast is ideal for hop-forward beers. Its combination of esters and increased aromatics from enzymatic activity means this strain should work well with New England, hazy, and fruit-forward IPAs. It exhibits medium attenuation and high flocculation. Learn more at


Needless to say, 2020 reshaped the current beerscape and how we as craft beer fans (and makers) make our selections. A new e-commerce platform called BrewScout has launched that caught our attention. They don’t actually sell beer . . . but act like a matchmaker, by pairing beer consumers with breweries that are compatible based on the consumer’s palate and the brewery’s lineup. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, check out

Minibrew Brewing Thermometer

Minibrew is now offering a brewing thermometer that can be used in both
brewhouse settings as well as fermenters. The thermometer has a 4-in. (10.2-cm) stem with an anti-glare glass face and stainless steel body. It is easily calibrated with a calibration nut. This thermometer will thread into the Minibrew’s EZ Seal Bulkhead. No other attachments are necessary. The thermometer provides accurate (±0.9 °F/±0.5 °C) reading in under 10 seconds. Learn more at

Eclipse® Hop

A new Australian hop varietal was introduced by Hop Product Australia (HPA). Eclipse® features strong citrus and pine character, specifically sweet Mandarin, citrus peel zest, and fresh pine needles. Currently, the hop is only available commercially in Australia, but HPA is saying that it will see broader distribution in 2021’s harvest, starting on the commercial brewing distribution chain. In celebration, HPA teamed up with 12 breweries and Australia’s online beer store, Craft Cartel, offering a 12-pack of different beers featuring Eclipse® hops. Learn more at

AB Vickers Aromazyme

A new exogenous enzyme released by Lallemand Brewing’s ABV division exhibits strong beta-glucosidase activity. ABV Aromazyme is engineered to push the biotransformation process, hydrolyzing the glycosidic bonds found in beer. This process liberates monoterpene compounds that are designed to increase the hop aroma and flavor complexity in the final beer. ABV Aromazyme is to be added to the fermenter and intended to be utilized with specific brewing yeast . . . what hops pair best with it is left to the brewer to decide.

Upcoming Events

Homebrew Con June 17–19, 2021

Curated exclusively for American Home-brewers Association (AHA) members, 2021 Homebrew Con will be held online June 17–19 and feature an all-star lineup of speakers. Registration is now open and discounted prices are available until May 31. Winners of the National Homebrew Competition will also be announced during the virtual event. Learn more at

POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 — In-Person BYO Boot Camps

Due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, this event has been postponed. The BYO Boot Camp will now be held November 4–6, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

Featuring an expanded itinerary with three full days of learning, two full days of small-class workshops plus a new full day of brewing seminars featuring all our expert speakers! For more information: