Topic: Mr Wizard

Higher Alcohols

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Before you dump your mead down the drain, please read my answer! The aroma you describe is the distinctive scent of ethyl acetate. This nail-polish smelling compound is the most common acetate

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Bottle Bombs

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This question has a rather short, but important answer. Most breweries in the United States use “one-way” glass bottles for packaging. These bottles are lighter in weight compared to returnable bottles and are not intended

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Bottle Conditioning Lagers

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Since you are new to brewing lagers, I would focus 100% of my attention to primary fermentation and how the yeast behaves when fermented at cooler temperatures. Ale brewers are accustomed to

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Outdoor refrigeration

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The refrigeration cycle is pretty nifty and its development began in the late 1700s. The earliest use of commercial refrigeration occurred sometime in the mid 1800s by, you guessed it, breweries. The

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Ramping Up to a Boil

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n a very general sense the time required to bring wort to a boil can cause problems when the time is too long. Holding hot wort for extended time periods leads to

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Adding Extract to Make Big Beers

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I love this idea for a number of reasons. The first reason is that many malt extracts seem to be less fermentable than the preference of my palate. If you open a


Mash pH Importance

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Mash pH is extremely important. Enzyme activity is a function of pH and all enzymes are only active in a relatively narrow range around their optimum pH. In the case of mashing,

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Over-Oxygenation of Wort

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I have been writing this column for nearly 18 years and I think I have been writing about the importance of wort aeration for nearly the same time period. While oxygen is

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Batch Sparging Temperatures

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This question is a bit more about semantics than any real issues with sparge temperature, in my view of things. Bear with me while I explain how commercial brewers normally mash out


Chill Haze

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I am one of those brewers who believe in sticking to the fundamentals of brewing and then bringing in special tools and brewing aids only after knowing that the fundamentals are being

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Hop Oils

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I consider my knowledge on this topic typical for the average craft brewer and will answer your question from my perspective and comment on some of the topics brewers and hop researchers


How many batches does it take to make good beer?

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Wow, this is really the million dollar question. I don’t think there is any magic number of brews that are required before a brewer successfully brews the first batch of good beer.

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