Writer: BYO Staff

Boil time for small batches

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Brewing small experimental batches is a good way to determine the effect of a particular brewing variable. By changing one variable at a time, you can see how yeast strain, hop variety and fermentation temperature affect beer flavor. Homebrewing techniques are really not much different than those used by very large brewers. The main difference


Fresh hopped beers

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Fresh, unkilned hops can certainly be used in beer and there is no right or wrong way to use them. I think fresh or “green” hops are best for late-hopping because of the great aroma they impart. They also contain a lot of moisture (about 80 percent) and you would have to use a huge


Can I mash in an oven?

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The oven-mash method can be effective. A very slow increase from 100° to 150° F will give all mash enzymes an opportunity to convert the starches in malted barley into fermentable sugars. But the problem with such a long, slow temperature increase is that the wort may turn out to be too fermentable and will


Forgot to add hops during my boil

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There is not much great news to report on this unfortunate oversight. Hops need to be boiled to convert the insoluble alpha-acids into the soluble iso-alpha-acids. Unless the alpha-acids are “isomerized” during boiling, they will not impart bitterness to beer. Now, if you had added the first hop addition and later forgot to add the


“Cara” malts?

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Caramel, cara or crystal malts are synonymous terms describing a large family of malts that are made by changing the kilning process. All malts are kiln-dried to arrest germination. To make caramel malts, the maltster adds a key step, known as “stewing” or saccharification, before drying. The “stewing” step heats moist, unkilned malt (or re-hydrated


Improving all-grain yields

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Before you head to a psychic to have your charts done or make any deals you might later regret, here are a few things you should consider. Low yields can be tracked


Overcarbonated kegs

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I prefer to package beer in kegs for several reasons. Besides being convenient, perhaps the best thing about a keg is that it’s very easy to change the carbonation level in a beer. In your case, you either added too much priming sugar or went overboard with your carbon dioxide pressure during the carbonation step.


What’s the usefulness of beer foam?

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really like beer foam — in fact, I’m kind of obsessive when it comes to beer foam. Any argument about foam is positive in my book, so you shouldn’t feel like an idiot. In a controlled environment, you could probably demonstrate an insulating effect at the surface of beer. But in the hand of the


Using leftover wort to prime next beer

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Priming with wort is very tricky, because wort is not completely fermentable and its fermentability varies from batch to batch. Breweries that bottle-condition with wort determine the fermentability of each lot before use and have tables that enable them to consistently carbonate with it. If you want your barleywine to be its best and want


Can you step up yeast too much prior to pitching?

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Although you had a giant mess on your hands with your excited fermentation, you may have added a normal amount of yeast. In my experience, small yeast packets do not contain enough yeast after they swell to contribute a proper pitching rate to a 5-gallon batch of wort. My opinion is based upon observing the


How can you prevent a vacuum from forming in an airlock during fermentation?

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What happened to your fermenter was due to the relation between gas temperature, volume and pressure. A sealed container will exhibit a decrease in gas pressure if the container is cooled and conversely its pressure will increase when heated. Fermentation airlocks allow gas to escape and a cool carboy that is heated will not build


Reduce tannins during the steep

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The two most influential factors affecting the extraction of tannins from malt into wort are pH and temperature. All-grain brewers are very careful not to allow wort pH to reach more than about pH 6 during sparging because tannin extraction increases with pH. In all-grain brewing wort pH typically rises during the last stages of


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