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BYO News Page

Updated February 1, 2024

Homebrew News

Changing Mashing Protocol to Maximize Sorghum

Sorghum has been used for years to produce beer for people with a gluten intolerance, such as folks who suffer from celiac disease. But the problem is that brewer’s wort made from mashing sorghum grains traditionally has yielded fewer gravity points when compared to wort produced from barley or wheat. But a new study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that it may be the approach brewers have been using to mash sorghum that is the problem. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

The study confirmed that sorghum indeed possesses the necessary enzymes needed to convert starch into sugars that are fermentable by brewer’s yeast. But as the researchers found, the cereal grain yielded far few alpha and beta amylase enzymes, which led to less maltose production. What it does have in more abundance than barley malt is alpha glucosidase enzymes that produce a higher percentage of glucose sugar molecules. Alpha glucosidase does have slightly different optimum mash parameters than standard amylase enzymes, such as a preference for slightly lower pH levels (4.7 is optimum) and cooler mash temperatures (similar to beta amylase). This runs counter to other parameters when dealing with sorghum, such as the high gelatinization and protein solubilization temperatures. The goal of the study was for brewers to gain better brewhouse efficiency from sorghum and produce a higher-quality beer. So, we may see new brewhouse protocols in the future to maximize the handling of this grain. www.acs.org/pressroom/presspacs/2023/november/making-gluten-free-sorghum-based-beers-easier-to-brew-and-enjoy.html

Tastes Great, Less Tilling: Introducing Kernza®

the grain kernza that looks somewhat similar to oats but is relative of wheat.
Photo courtesy of The Land Institute

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is betting on a relatively new grain dubbed Kernza®, a cousin of wheat, to pave the way toward a more sustainable future. Unlike wheat, it’s a perennial grass, which means fields don’t need to be tilled and planted every year. This saves farmers diesel fuel and time. Also, tilling is well-known to cause damage to the soil, hastening depletion of its nutrients. The soil would require less fertilizer as well. On top of those benefits, its roots can grow up to 10 ft. (3 m), which provides strong drought-resistance. 

A native to the prairies of Asia, the grass is called intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium). Researchers at The Land Institute, a nonprofit science organization based in Salinas, Kansas, named the grain harvested from intermediate wheatgrass Kernza® to give it a more marketable title. While still in nascent stages of development as a food crop, Kernza® can be used both as a grain or as a forage for grazing livestock. But there are drawbacks including the fact that the grain is much smaller than wheat or barley. Also, there isn’t an established market yet for it. The USDA listed brewing and distilling as “high-value” markets that could best utilize the grain. Odell Brewing Co. was one of the first breweries to get their hands on the grain and have been happy with its capacity to produce beer having made a lager and a hazy IPA so far with it. www.kunc.org/news/2023-10-30/kernza-the-climate-friendly-grain-enticing-craft-brewers-and-distillers-in-colorado

Hops Can Improve Our Health?

hop pellets and whole cone hops along with a hop bine

A new study has shown that the compounds found in hops reduce the abundance of a gut bacterium associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS). A study published in the journal Microbiome, expressed that hop compounds aid in helping suppress these compounds that are important in their deleterious effects, since an estimated 35 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from the syndrome, a common and serious condition linked with cognitive dysfunction and dementia as well as being a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is associated with abdominal obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and impaired glucose tolerance. The results on mammalian vectors coincides with a decrease in pro-inflammatory gene expression in the gut and adipose tissue, together with alterations in the gut microbiota and bile acid composition. All told, those hoppy beers and hop waters may be positive for your health. microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-023-01637-4

Hop Stocks Down

sunrise over hopyards of the Yakima valley
Photo courtesy of Yakima Chief Hops

A report released by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) noted that the slowdown in the beer market is starting to be seen in the hop growing world as well. The inventory held by U.S. brewers, growers, and dealers was down 4% year-over-year 2023 vs. 2022. Growers have taken note as plantings were down 8.5% in 2023 as well, with Oregon seeing the largest decline at 11%. Does this mean that we may start seeing more of the harder-to-get hop varieties increasingly finding their way down to the homebrew level? Time will tell, but despite dropping reserves the reduced commercial demand may mean those coveted varieties become more available in the homebrew market. www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Regional_Office/Northwest/includes/Publications/Hops/2023/HOP06_1.pdf

New Realm Brewing Co. Teams Up with Auburn University

auburn university and new realm brewing's logos

An announced collaboration between Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Brewing Science and Operations program and Atlanta, Georgia-based New Realm Brewing Co. offers an exciting new look at the way brewing education programs may move. New Realm operates production breweries and distilleries, each with on-site scratch kitchens serving globally inspired, locally sourced fare, in multiple Southeastern U.S. cities. New Realm’s newest location at Auburn opened mid-summer in the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, home to the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences. Students will receive hands-on training in the 7-barrel brewhouse as well as the taproom. New Realm’s head brewer based there will be an affiliated professor alongside team members who will be guest lecturers on a variety of topics including brewing, distilling, recipe development, and supply chain management. https://newrealmbrewing.com/press-auburn-university-and-nrbc-announce-partnership/

What’s New

SafBrew DW-17

500 g brick and 25 g satchet of the new DW-17 yeast and enzyme combo

A new product from Fermentis consists of active dry yeast and enzymes that are meant to produce very dry beers. With an apparent attenuation of 98–102%, don’t expect a sweet aftertaste when using this yeast. The yeast strain is POF+ (phenolic off-flavor positive) and can lend fruity, woody, and slight acidic characters. Fermentis also recommends this yeast to ferment very high-density worts allowing a level of alcohol up to 17% ABV. The enzyme is a glucoamylase from Aspergillus niger (EC 3.2.1.3), which will chop up more complex sugars that the yeast will consume. DW-17 can be direct-pitched into wort and recommended pitch temperature is 68–90 °F (20–32 °C). Available in both 500-g bricks and 25-g sachets. www.fermentis.com/en/product/safbrew-dw-17/

Spike Grain Mill

black grain mill with hopper

A new grain mill from Spike Brewing has a simple dial to adjust the gap between rollers. An integrated motor is connected to hardened 1144 steel rollers via chain drive that won’t stretch or slip like a belt or create wear shavings like gears. Both rollers are chain driven and offset, which are turned at different speeds (1.3:1) as this helps to shear the grain husk. Available in two sizes are Home and Pro models. The Home model features a 1⁄3-hp engine that crushes about 5 lbs. per minute (2.3 kg/min.), weighs 25 lbs. (11 kg), and can hold up to 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) of grain in the hopper. The Pro model has a 1⁄2-hp engine, crushing about 12 lbs. per minute (5.4 kg/min.), weighs 40 lbs. (18 kg), and the hopper can contain about 60 lbs. (27 kg) of grains. www.spikebrewing.com/products/spike-grain-mill

Omega’s DKO (Diacetyl Knock Out) Series

logo with water drops made to look like budding yeast cells

A new series of yeast from Omega Yeast should make those sensitive to diacetyl rejoice. Their DKO series are popular strains of yeast that have been genetically modified to express the ALDC (alpha acetolactate decarboxylase) enzyme, which is known to reduce diacetyl in beer to an undetectable level. This is helpful not just for those typical lager and ale strains that are known to produce diacetyl during normal fermentations, but also from hop creep. This is particularly useful when tank/fermenter space is limited as conditioning time can be shortened. Currently there are eight strains available and each maintain the identical fermentation behaviors and flavor expressions of their parental strains. www.omegayeast.com/news/introducing-the-diacetyl-knock-out-dko-series

Blichmann Engineering 10-gallon (38-L) Grain Basket

10-gallon grain basket from Blichmann Engineering

Crafted from heavy-duty stainless steel with a 400-micron precision mesh, the new grain basket from Blichmann Engineering ensures you achieve clear wort from your mash tun. The grain basket features a comfortable handle and side catches that secure on most 10-gallon (38-L) kettles, including the proprietary BoilerMaker™ brew kettles.  This basket will allow for pairing with their BoilCoil™ electric brew kettle element. Whether you prefer BIAB (Brew-In-A-Bag) or sparge-style brewing, the 10-gallon (38-L) grain basket positions you to capture every drop of wort. The dimensions are as follows: Top diameter of 12.8 in. (32.5 cm), bottom diameter of 8.3 in. (21 cm), and a height of 14.8 in. (37.6 cm), with a bottom allowance of 0.4 in. (10 mm). www.blichmannengineering.com/grain-basket.html

Ss Brewtech Hop Spider

hop spider basket from Ss Brewtech

Hop material in the kettle, whether pellet or whole-cone hops, can be a pain for brewers by clogging transfer lines, heat exchangers, and outlets. Hop spiders have served the role of containing the hop particulates within a confined space that wort can move through. A new hop spider from Ss Brewtech utilizes 400-micron photo-chemical etching to provide the mesh character keeping the hop matter contained. The basket sits inside a custom-designed ring mount with silicone adjustment arms that allow you to set wings of the hop spider to fit on your kettle. Note that the minimum width is 15 in. (38 cm) and the max is 18 in. (46 cm) and the depth of the basket is 15.5 in. (39 cm). The basket width is 6 in. (15 cm) and is made of 304 stainless steel with high-temperature silicone. www.ssbrewtech.com/products/hop-spider

KegLand Saber Refractometer

refractometer with automatic temperature correction feature

A new refractometer with ATC (Auto Temperature Correction) functionality and triple scale means it can be used for brewing, winemaking, and distilling. Water-resistant casing means that brewers can dip the refractometer directly into the wort to obtain a sample. The Saber refractometer will operate when ambient temperature ranges from 50–86 °F (10–30 °C). Since your sample is just a few drops, the liquid will quickly adjust to the temperature of the refractometer, so the temperature of the sample is irrelevant. A manual calibration knob is secured with a lock nut. An LED light helps illuminate the sample to make the scale easier to read in low-light environments. Scale ranges from 1.000–1.130 SG (0–32 °Brix).
Includes refractometer, pipette, carrying case, and USB charging cable. www.morebeer.com/category/refractometers.html

Brewtools F300 Unitank

brewtools unitank with 32–76 gallon capacity

Brewtools has released a new line of unitanks made for ambitious homebrewers and small breweries, available for 32–76 gallons (120–290 L) capacity. These fermenters offer brewers a number of functional accessories and add-on features that make them appealing for those that appreciate flexibility in their system. Their PureBlast™ surface on the fermenter eliminates the use of wax and polishing compounds and does not require passivation. There is a cooling jacket in the vertical walls and multiple ports allow brewers to connect accessories like sensors, heaters, carbonation stones, etc. It’s pressure rated for 30 PSI (2 bar) and has an 8-in. (20-cm) tri-clamp port on top for access and 2-in. (5-cm) tri-clamp dump and racking valves. To order in the U.S., visit www.morebeer.com/products/brewtools-f300-unitank-3276-gallon-capacity-120290l.html

Spike Glycol Chiller

glycol chilling unit from spike brewing which can control 4 fermenters

The new 1⁄2-horsepower Spike Glycol Chiller makes stabilizing and cooling your fermenter temperatures a breeze. Included, brewers will find an integrated glycol drain port, quick- connect fittings for glycol lines, splash-proof lid, locking casters, and a glycol sight glass to check glycol volumes. The 9-gallon (34-L) reservoir provides ample cooling power for lagering two 1-bbl fermenters or four half-barrel or smaller fermenters. In total, brewers can control four 1-bbl fermenters. Plus, it’s compatible with most manufacturer’s fermenters with the correct fittings. The recommended glycol ratio is 2:1. spikebrewing.com/products/spike-glycol-chiller

White Labs WLP077 Tropicale Yeast Blend

banner for new blend of yeast from White Labs

This is a blend of non-GMO yeast strains that have been carefully selected to aid in the release of bound thiol compounds by targeting high enzymatic B-lyase activity. Providing a balance of tropical flavors and aromas, such as passion fruit, grapefruit, and mango, that’s ripe for a juicy, hazy IPA. White Labs says to expect attenuation in the range of 75–82%, along with a lower than usual flocculation rate for brewer’s yeast. This blend of yeast can tolerate alcohol levels upwards of 12% and is STA-1 negative (non-diastatic yeast). For fermentation, try to maintain temperatures between 64–74 °F (17–23 °C) for optimal performance. www.whitelabs.com/yeast-single?id=267&type=YEAST

Solo Panel

spike solo electric panel

Ready to make the jump from propane to electric? The new Solo Panel from Spike Brewing allows for an easy transition with no autotuning required, a 3.2-in. (8.1-cm) LCD screen, and plenty of mounting options. Available in 120V and 240V options, it can handle up to 3000W at 120V and 6000W with the 240V version. Aircraft-style toggle switches turn elements or pumps on and off. There are manual or auto modes, as well as mash or boil modes to control either temperature or percent power delivered to your vessels via a rotary dial. Microprocessor driven, an internal heat sink and fan dissipate the heat. Includes a 6-ft. (1.8-m) power cord and a 10-ft. (3-m) temperature probe. https://spikebrewing.com/products/solo-panel

Brewery Safety Book

front cover of Brewery Safety book

It’s not just about government regulation, it is also about making your brewery the best brewery possible — for your beer, your staff, and your visitors. Breweries face hazards that can be divided into physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, and psychosocial hazards. Learning to address these aspects of safety to ensure a safe product and working environment is key. From physical trauma to chemical irritations, biological hazards to psychosocial hazards, Brewery Safety explores how to think about and avoid these hazards. Learn to evaluate, educate, and execute safety conscious measures to ensure that the working environment, welfare of staff, and the quality of the product are first and foremost. https://www.brewerspublications.com/products/brewery-safety

Horizontal Lagering Tanks

For small-scale craft breweries, new stackable horizontal lagering tanks from Blichmann Engineering are now available for those looking to take their lagers to the next level. Available as single tanks or stacking pairs, they allow brewers to free up fermenter space during lagering. A 5-degree slope ensures a good sedimentation at the bottom of the tank. Available in sizes ranging from 5-BBL up to 30-BBL capacity, horizontal lagering tanks help shorten required lagering times. Other features include a sample port with Perlick-style valve, analog thermometer, carbonation stone, and clean-in-place (CIP) arm and rotary spray ball. https://www.blichmannengineering.com/horizontal-lagering-tanks.html

Upcoming Event

February 9, 2024

BYO Boot Camp logo

Craft Brewery Start-Up Online Boot Camp

Steve Parkes will walk you through the steps, planning decisions, and keys you need to know if you want to launch a commercial craft brewery. He’ll be joined by two experts to round out the interactive, live online workshop: Audra Gaiziunas will discuss business plans and the key financial numbers you need to know starting up a brewery and Matthew McLaughlin will teach you the legal checklist any start-up brewery should have in hand. Learn from their decades of expertise and experience to help you achieve your dream of opening a brewery. www.byo.com/bootcamps/

Issue: December 2023