BYO News Page

Updated November 30, 2020

Homebrew News

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:

Malt’s Nitrogen Levels Affect Esters in Beer

Photo courtesy of Mecca Grade Estate Malts

While this finding isn’t 100% new, a recent study by a group from the Animal Science, Foods and Nutrition department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois looked at an array of base malts to find how nitrogen levels affect the ester levels in the final beer. What they found confirmed that higher nitrogen levels in malt indeed leads to more esterification reactions during fermentation. The group looked at the total nitrogen (TN) level and free amino nitrogen (FAN) levels in both wort and beer from several maltsters found across different geographical regions of North America. They then fermented the resulting wort with SafAle S-04 and measured the ester levels in the final beer. What they found was a linear correlation between the TN levels in the malt and key esters found in beer. All the malts tested fell within an average range for TN as too high nitrogen levels can be detrimental to the beer . . . hence why nitrogen-rich North American 6-row is often mashed with low nitrogen adjuncts. Canada is well known to produce 2-row barley malts high in TN but within the acceptable range . . . just one more consideration for brewers to think about when they look at their malt’s spec sheets.

What’s New

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

Ss Brewtech Brew Cube

If you don’t want to have your brew system be a static structure, you should check out the new Brew Cubes from Ss Brewtech. Engineered to be a modular system to allow for a variety of homebrew equipment configurations. With the ability to incorporate new equipment, the Brew Cubes were designed to grow alongside the brewer’s equipment needs and skill level. The core of the Brew Cube is the base kit, and from there, any variety of shelves and accessories can be added. With many of the core accessories available now, Ss Brewtech views this as a long-term platform, and intends to introduce additions over the coming months and years.

FerMonster Strainer

Available in two sizes, MonsterMesh and MiniMesh, these strainers were designed to fit on the tops of FerMonster™ and PET carboys. There are multiple ways these strainers can work for brewers and you can have more than one going at a time. The strainer is designed to be reused multiple times and is dishwasher safe (the top rack only). It is also washing machine safe. Oak chips, dry hops, and fruit are some examples of things that can be added to the strainer in order to prevent clogging.

Rahr North Star Pils™

A new base malt to set your compass by, Rahr North Star Pils™ is malted to meet the requirements of brewers looking for a domestic Pilsner malt with low color and low modification. North Star Pils™ brings overtones of honey and sweet bread with supporting flavor and aroma notes of hay and nutty character. It’s suitable for any beer style, but crafted primarily for use in classic lager styles. It is malted to a target of 38–40 °Kolbach to facilitate easy lautering with any mash regimen. Compared to Rahr Premium Pilsner, North Star Pils™ is a bit lower in both color and modification.

Upcoming Events

Brewery Financials Boot Camp with Audra Gaiziunas January 15, 2021

Learn the financial skills to better understand and manage a small-scale craft brewery’s money needs. During this online workshop, budgeting, inventory management, and standard operating procedures you should have in place will be discussed. Find out more at

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

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: