Writer: Ashton Lewis

Aging Your Homebrew Beer

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Hey Bob, before I attempt to answer this question I just want to let you in on a secret. If I could really answer this question, I would be retired on an island somewhere with few people but great access to brewing supplies. And not to spoil the ending; I don’t have a clue! But

Brewing Beer With Fresh-Picked Hops

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Thanks for the fun question! This topic is a great reminder that beer has been brewed way longer than our scientific understanding of raw materials, brewing, and beer. It wasn’t long ago that landrace hops, or hop types indigenous to an area, were the norm. In these days, brewers knew very little about the brewing

Keys To Brewing A Great Weizen

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I also love hefeweizens and enjoy brewing and drinking weizen beers! Weizen is definitely a yeast-driven style, where fermentation products really define the flavor profile. Let’s set yeast aside for a moment and touch on a few other components of this wonderful style. A great weizen should have a creamy, stable foam, a slightly chewy

A Beer’s Changing Profiles, Copper Questions, and Kräusening For Homebrewers

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A homebrewer trying to clone a beer finds his version has a changing taste profile. Mr. Wizard has some thoughts as to why this may be. Also learn about cleaning copper equipment and the old-school technique of kräusening.

Kräusening For Homebrewers

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Kräusening is a lagering method with two main uses. And both are based on the same basic technique of adding some beer in the “high kräusen” stage of fermentation to beer that has undergone primary fermentation. The attenuation level of the beer being kräusened is what divides the two uses. Let’s start with beer that

Question About Cleaning Copper

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Many brewers and cooks love copperware for its heat transfer properties and attractive appearance. One of the downsides, however, to copper is that pretty, honey-like color turns brown over time and requires polishing to restore the shine. And sometimes, the brownish tint turns green. The good news is that brown and greenish-brown copper surfaces are

A Beer’s Changing Flavor Profile

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Just reading this question makes me want to stop writing and go find one of these great beers! Describing off-flavors can be difficult, especially in beer styles with a combination of special ingredients like coffee and chocolate, special malts, and alcohol. Whether my hunches are correct about the causes of your specific problems are correct

Selecting a Fermenter

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This is a straight-up opinion question and I will give you my thoughts sans specific type or brand. And as a reminder to seasoned readers and news to newer readers, 20 years of my professional career was with a custom, stainless steel equipment company where I saw some pretty interesting brewing equipment. My first thought

The Intricacies of Shelf Stability

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A Wow, this is quite the rabbit hole of a question. Let’s start out with why a fermented beverage, be it beer, wine, seltzer, cider, or some other tasty tipple, may be packaged with fermentable sugars. The most common reason for homebrewers to have fermentable sugars in the package is for bottle conditioning. The idea,

Selecting A Fermenter And The Intricacies Of Shelf Stability

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With a plethora of options available to homebrewers, selecting a fermenter is not a simple task. Mr. Wizard explores some of our options as well as how to stabilize beverages that have been sweetened just prior to packaging.

Brewing with the Wizard


Ashton Lewis has been giving homebrewers advice about brewing on their own systems for 26 years in the “Help Me, Mr. Wizard” column. Now, he lets readers in on the thought process behind his own newly designed homebrewing system where simplicity meets creativity.

Troubleshooting A Recipe

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Nice description of the character in your beer you don’t like. Before getting into an answer, I want to comment on how important good descriptions are when attempting to problem solve. Aromas and flavors are very often challenging to describe because we don’t perceive flavor and aroma as individual signals like an analytical instrument with

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