Writer: Ashton Lewis

A New Flavor In A Classic Beer

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Thanks for the interesting question, Joe. I also enjoy all types of beer, so I went to the store and purchased a selection of beers in attempt to put a finger on what you are describing. It sounds like you are describing grain flavors that are either new to your favorite beer or new to

At Home Solera System

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Quick definition for our readers: The solera process is a type of fractional blending used to produce a diverse range of aged liquids including Sherry, vinegar, wine, whiskey, and beer. The term solera comes from solum, loosely meaning “ground” or “bedrock.” The solera system consists of multiple layers of barrels called criaderas, with each layer

Fermenting Beer Under Pressure

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Yes, using gravity to monitor fermentation status is the best method for use at home because observing bubble activity and kräusen appearance are simply not reliable indicators. I am a fan of clear fermenters (like a carboy or FermZilla) because visual observation of movement during fermentation is telling, but that convenience is given up when

Boiling Off the Alcohol In Beer

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Wow! Talk about a blast from the past and a reminder of how brewing trends often slowly develop. The topic of no-alcohol and low-alcohol beers is certainly gaining traction in the world of craft beer as consumer trends are pulling breweries in new directions. Depending on the conditions, enough alcohol vapor could conceivably accumulate in

Fermentation Under Pressure, A Solera System, A New Flavor in a Classic Beer, and Cooking Beer

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Fermenting beer under pressure using a spunding valve in a pressure-rated vessel is something many homebrewers have been experimenting with and Mr. Wizard has some pointers. Also, find out about a solera system, a new flavor in a classic beer, and removing alcohol through heat.

Using Sprouted Grains in Brewing

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Sprouted tricale grain. Photo courtesy of Epiphany Craft Malt Sprouted grains have been used for thousands of years for cooking and brewing, with malt being the ultimate sprouted grain product. The history of food and cooking is largely comprised of stories of trial and error, and the consumption of sprouted grains naturally began without people

Carbonating Thoughts, Star San Water Temperature, and Sprouted Grains

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A homebrewer wonders about carbonating his beer in a keg or growler. Mr. Wizard explains the safety concerns with these two options. Also, is Star San supposed to be diluted in warm or cool water? Get the answer and the scoop on sprouted grains.

Carbonating in Kegs or Growler

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Homebrew draft systems provide users a level of safety in the form of pressure relief valves. Photo by Christian Lavender This is a great question and one I always like answering. Beer can be conditioned, a.k.a. naturally carbonated, by capturing carbon dioxide produced by yeast in a conditioning tank, bottle, can, or keg. The most

Low-Alcohol Beer Production, Gravity Drops and the Effects of a Cold-Water Extraction

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Low- and no-alcohol commercial beer production has seen a noticeable uptick in recent years, especially in the craft beer world. Mr. Wizard explains how to produce one in your homebrewery. Also, an unexplained drop in gravity and re-using cold-mashed grains.

The Effects Of Cold-Water Extraction

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Homebrewers are always pushing the envelope for cool ideas and this one is certainly doable. Let’s start with a quick review of what happens in a cold mash. When milled grains, be they unmalted or malted, are mixed with ambient water, soluble carbohydrates, proteins, and enzymes are brought into solution. Although malt certificates of analyses

An Unexpected Drop in Gravity

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I want to begin with a true confession about how I write this column. Using no special system, I select questions for discussion from those that are sent into BYO. The best questions are those with enough wiggle room to find some fun rabbit holes and angles. And most of the questions I select are

Ways to Brew Low-Alcohol and Non-Alcohol Beers


Before jumping into a review of some of the methods used to produce no- and low-alcohol beers, so-called NABLABs where NABs (non-alcohol beers) contain less than 0.5% ABV and LABs (low-alcohol beers)

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