BYO News Page

Updated January 22, 2021

Homebrew News

A Thiol Test For Beer Finally Approved

Photo courtesy of

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.

Monitoring Sour Beers’ Progression

Photo courtesy of The Kernel Brewery

For a long time science has known the various chemicals produced during the long-term souring process using microbes. They can also identify the flavor impacts these compounds have on the unique characteristics of beers like lambics, Flanders reds, and American wild ales. But what has remained in the shadows is a comprehensive study that covers the timeline of how these compounds evolve over the course of the long-term aging process.
Work is being done by a group of scientists out of the University of California-Redlands that is mapping the progression of a broad range of organic acids, esters, and even ethanol every 2–4 weeks from several different batches from Sour Cellars based in Rancho Cucamonga, California. By observing the differing initial conditions and the ways that the beer then transforms, brewers will be able to better understand how their choices affect the downstream product. They have been tracking each batch for one year now and are getting some interesting results including how slowly this development really takes. The research is still ongoing, but their initial findings were presented at the Fall 2020 American Chemical Society’s virtual meeting. To learn more, check out:

Yeast Propagation Dynamics

Two quality control scientists from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. put out a paper this past summer that addressed the environment brewers grow their yeast for propagation purposes. What they did was look at the ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) to find out if brewer’s yeasts (Crabtree-positive organisms — yeast will ferment in the presence of oxygen) prefer a lower or higher ratio. They did grow the yeast in very low-sugar environments (2 °P/1.008 starting gravity) and mixed from low C:N ratio (100) up to high C:N (850). What they found was an increase of 46% in cell production and 27% reduction in fermentation efficiency (more respiration) in the yeast grown in the low C:N environment. This may change the way we look at growing yeast for our starters or for storage. You can purchase the study here:

What’s New

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.

The Big Book Of Cidermaking

Authors Christopher Shockey and Kirsten K. Shockey turn their attention to the world of fermented beverages in a guide to home cidermaking. With advice and step-by-step instructions, The Big Book of Cidermaking equips readers with the skills they need to make the cider they want: Sweet, dry, fruity, farmhouse-style, hopped, barrel-aged, or fortified. The authors have years of experience cultivating an orchard and have conducted many experiments producing their own ciders. This book is for any cidermaker, whether starting with apples fresh from the tree or working with store-bought juice. Cider recipes range from cornelian cherry to ginger, and styles including New England, Spanish, and late-season ciders. You can purchase a copy at bookstores or at:

InfuSsion Mash Tun update

For 2020, Ss Brewtech has updated their InfuSsion Mash Tun with TC (triclamp) ports throughout for easy integration with the rest of their lineup. They have also made changes to several key features and components such as the feet of the tun, the thermometer, and their new Pure Flow Valve (patent pending). Many of the original InfuSsion Mash Tun features remain such as the mash tun’s 5° floor slope to the center drain to eliminate dead space and 1-in. (2.5-cm) thick insulated walls and lid. To learn more, check out

Haas Hopcast

The HAAS® HopCast is a podcast that covers all the latest and greatest happenings in the craft beer industry, with a special focus on hops. Host Micah Cawley talks to innovative brewers and brewing industry experts from around the world about all the latest and greatest happenings in the industry. Episodes run about 35 minutes and they can be found at:

Talus™ Hop

The Hop Breeding Company (HBC), a joint venture between Yakima Chief Ranches LLC and John I. Haas Inc., announced the release of the new proprietary hop Talus™, formerly HBC 692. With aromas of pink grapefruit, citrus rinds, dried roses, pine resin, tropical fruits, and sage, it lends itself to many beer styles, particularly hop-forward beers. It’s the daughter of Sabro® and a local Pacific Northwest open pollination with the goal of deriving new flavors and aromas not traditionally available in hops. To learn more about this new varietal, check out

The Blichmann Grain Mill

Designed for nanobrewers, the Blichmann Grain Mill is compact and built for durability. The grain hopper can hold up to 60 lbs. (27 kg) of grain and the mill’s throughput can crush 12 lbs./minute (5.4 kg/minute), faster than any grain mill in its class. The gear-driven hardened steel rollers with micro flutes eliminate grain shear, which reduces shredding of the hulls helping to reduce polyphenolic extraction from the husk. The rollers are 3 in. x 6 in. (7.6 cm x 15 cm) and the mill’s gap can be adjusted without the need for tools. The Blichmann Grain Mill starts at $995. To learn more, visit

Omega Yeast’s Propper Seltzer™

Just like with meadmaking, yeast nutrients are a must if you plan to ferment your own hard seltzer. Enter Omega Yeast’s newly developed Propper Seltzer™ nutrients, nourishing your favorite beer yeast through a healthy sugar-based fermentation in as little as seven days. This is an all-in-one addition of yeast supplements. Want seltzer even faster? Ferment in four days with Omega Yeast’s Lutra™ kveik. To learn more about this new product being released this fall, visit

Upcoming Events

Brewing Water Treatments with John Palmer February 26, 2021

With a hands-on component, you can learn right along in real-time the practical how-to aspects of getting the most out of your brewing water with the goal of making the best beer possible no matter the style. Registration price includes a BrewLab® water testing kit. Find out more at

All-Grain Brewing Essentials Online Boot Camp with John Palmer and John Blichmann March 26, 2021

This four-hour live online workshop covers all you need to know to successfully make great homebrews using both traditional and newer all-grain brewing techniques. How to Brew author John Palmer and equipment guru John Blichmann will take you through the all-grain process from milling, mashing, and sparging before going into the boil.

Homebrew Experiments Online Boot Camp with Drew Beechum and Denny Conn April 9, 2021

Learn how to conduct your own homebrew experiments. Without reliable results you rely on guesswork instead of facts to improve your brewing. Join two of the true leaders in experimenting with homebrews – podcasters and book authors Drew Beechum and Denny Conn from Experimental Brewing – as they walk you through how to properly conduct your own experiments at home.

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 25–27, 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: