Mr. Wizard

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Tricks to a better hefeweizen

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German-style hefeweizen is one of my favorite styles of beer, and is a beer type that I feel pretty darn comfortable brewing, with two Great American Beer Festival medals in 2006 (gold) and 2008 (bronze) to boot. I tend to avoid style and recipe questions for this column, but this great style is one that

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Finishing A Fermentation Strong

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Whenever there seems to be an attenuation problem with a batch, I think it always helps to go through a mental check list of the basics. This checklist of mine includes the following: Mashing issues?Yeast nutrients and/or zinc added to the wort? Yeast into wort cooled to the correct temperature?Wort aerated normally?Sufficient yeast added to

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Too Much Yeast? Is over-pitching a problem?

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Averbelen et al. (Impact of Pitching Rate on Yeast Fermentation Performance and Beer Flavour, Applied Microbiology Biotechnology (2009) 82:155–167) demonstrated that increasing pitching rates of lager yeast from 10 to 120 million cells/mL resulted in an increase in fermentation rate, decreased net biomass production when pitching exceeded 80 million cells/mL, higher post-fermentation levels of diacetyl,

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Fading Hop Character

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I think the most difficult thing about trying to troubleshoot brewing problems in my column is not being able to taste the beers that I am being asked about. I sometimes flash to hearing car owners attempt to describe the sounds their cars make to Click and Clack on Car Talk. I just happen to

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Bottle Bombs

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Bottle bombs are really scary because glass shrapnel can cause severe injuries. The first question that always comes to my mind when hearing about this problem is “how old is your glass?” Some brewers re-use bottles over and over again and eventually the bottles begin to fatigue and fail. Breweries using returnable glass bottles have

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Mystery Fermentation

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True mysteries are rarely encountered in a brewery when the facts related to a particular problem are at hand. The problem lies in obtaining the facts and this is particularly true when homebrewing. In a commercial brewing operation it is common for brewers to be in the brewery most of the time and in some

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Adding Water to a Boil

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Brewers, and those of us brewers who write about brewing, have all sorts of rules of thumb to help guide us through our brewing journeys. Boil time is one such rule. Some brewers say to boil for a least an hour to allow all of the things required in the boil to occur, and others

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Hot-Side Aeration

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Identifying that one problem, the thing responsible for the majority of brewing issues, is the dream of every brewer who knows that their beer is just one step away from greatness. And, for many brewers, hot-side aeration (HSA) becomes the boogeyman to conquer. Without smelling and tasting your beers, it is impossible for me to

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Terminal Gravity Woes

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Alpha amylase can be added to the fermenter to aid in attenuation, but it has limited efficacy in converting dextrins and starch into fermentables. The primary role of the endoenzyme alpha amylase in the mash is as a debranching enzyme that chops up amylose and amylopectin into pieces from the interior of these molecules. Although

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Hop Creep Revisited

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I rarely answer similar questions in a single column, but this question pairs well with Greg Hutchinson’s question in this issue about over-carbonation and is a good follow-up to my “Hop Creep Explained” answer from January-February 2019 issue. This is kind of like beer and food pairing, but it is rather a topical pairing! OK,

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Bottle-Condition Like A Champ

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I am not sure how Affligem goes about bottling their beers, but your question generally applies to bottle-conditioned beers, especially those that have very little yeast sediment in the bottle. There are a few unrelated topics that address your question, so I will cover this topic in two short vignettes. Producing clear, bottle-conditioned brews This

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Over-carbonation issues

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This general phenomenon is loosely referred to as gushing and has numerous causes in beer. Typically there is a primary culprit in a case of gushing, but it is not unusual for a single case of gushing to be caused by multiple factors. In order to keep this answer from becoming jumbled, I will address

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424 result(s) found.