Beer Style: Specialty Beer Family

The 10 Hardest Beer Styles to Homebrew

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Witbier. Wee Heavey. Tripel. Schwartzbier. Gueze. Eisbock. Dry Stout. Berliner Weisse. American Pilsner – are these the 10 most difficult styles for a homebrewer to pull off? They won’t be after reading our recipes and tips for success.

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Brewing Sour Beers: Tips from the Pros

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Belgians, barrels and Brett — oh my! Tips from three brewers who are sweet on sour beers.


Brewing with Brettanomyces (plus some Brett clones)

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Learn how to put the "British brewing industry fungus" to work in your home brewery. You don’t need to be a lambic brewer to show an interest in this barrel-loving wild yeast. Plus: two wild Brett clone recipes

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Pumpkin Beer

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By modern standards, a pumpkin ale would hardly be considered that wild. But, it was the wildest recipe of 1995 (BYO’s first year). The biggest key to brewing this beer is getting the spice blend right. If you use “supermarket spices,” these amounts should yield a subtly spicy beer.
Decrease the amount if you grind your own whole spices.

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Spruce Bock

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Here’s a hearty holiday beer with an unusual spice — evergreen needles. Spruce tips, the new-growth of spruce trees, give a unique, characteristic flavor to beer. This flavor is not “piney,” as many people suppose. Spruce tips can be found through an internet search. For best results, age your beer several months before sampling it.

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Smoked Maple Amber Ale

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An American-style Amber Ale, with maple sap and syrup.  Maple sap is the clear liquid that maple syrup is made from. In this recipe, maple sap replaces your brewing liquor. Maple sap contains 2.5% sugar on average. (In contrast, maple syrup contains around 66% sugar.) If you don’t have access to maple sap, use water and add an extra 1.66 pints of maple syrup during the boil. The amount of German smoked malt called for will only yield the faintest whiff of smoke. For a stronger smoked flavor, try replacing it with some home-smoked malt (we’d try hickory smoke.

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Original Hempen Ale

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An American-style Ale with roasted hemp seeds. Steve Nordahl, former head brewer at Frederick Brewing Company and the originator of this commercial Hempen Ale told the story of how his hemp beer came to be in a 1999 article for BYO. Hempen Ale was originally meant to be a dark beer, with the flavor of roasted hemp seeds playing a large role in the flavor profile of the beer. Note: In the US, it is legal to possess (and brew with) sterilized hemp seeds. (An internet search will reveal multiple sources for the seeds.) These seeds contain only a trace of THC (the active ingredient
in marijuana) and have no psychoactive effects. However, it is possible that consuming hemp beer may cause you to test positive on some modern drug tests. Use your best judgement of your situation when brewing this beer.

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Stonehenge Stein Beer

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When you wish for new brewing gear, do you ever wish for metamorphic rocks? You might after seeing this recipe. Here’s a recipe for steinbier — a beer whose wort is heated by hot stones.

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Mountain Brew

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Jason Pavento wanted to combine his two favorite beverages, homebrew and Mountain Dew. His creation — Mountain Brew — does just that. We’ve fiddled with his procedures a bit, based on our own experimentation, but the ingredients are the same as his original recipe. The beer turns out light and crisp, with some aroma, but not much flavor from the Mountain Dew. And, in case you’re wondering, neither the preservatives or the caffeine seem to bother the yeast. Mountain Brew is also a very easy to make. So, to mangle a phrase from their ads — just brew it!

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Jolly Rancher Apple Lambic

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Jolly Rancher Apple lambic is a dry, sour beer with the flavor and aroma of Granny Smith apples coming from Jolly Rancher hard candies. This latest version of the recipe is based on the results of three brewings. For best results, let the beer age warm for at least three months.

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Make Your Beer Burn: Bring the Heat of Hot Peppers to Your Brewing

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Find out how to add the heat of hot peppers to your homebrew and which styles of beer go best with the burn. Everything you need to know how to brew your own caliente.

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Lambic Brewing

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Take some wort contaminated with all sorts of microbes, let it “rot” for years and what do you get? One of the most interesting and unique styles of beer on the planet. Find out how to brew this sensational sour beer from Belgium.


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