Wednesday, April 29, 2015

History of malting

Malt, in substantially the same form as we know it today, was an important product long before the days of recorded history. Although its actual origin is buried in antiquity, there is a legend that early Egyptians manufactured malt by placing it in a wicker basket, which was then lowered into the open wells of that time. It was first lowered into the water for steeping, after which it was raised above the water level for germination. The rate of germination was controlled by adjusting the height of the basket within the well. As germination progressed and heat developed, the basket would be lowered to a lower temperature level thus retarding growth and dissipating heat. To accelerate germination, the basket was simply raised to a higher level.

The malt was kept from matting by raising it to the top of the well and agitating the basket. Drying was by natural means, probably a simple process of spreading on the ground, and subjecting it to the direct rays of the sun. The use of malt at this time was thought to be exclusively for beverage purposes. Of course, production of malt during this period was limited by the number of wells, and in efforts to increase production, maltsters next employed man-made cisterns and natural caves. These natural processes continued for centuries, because the next advancement in the malting process is found in the middle European countries. There, as the requirement for malt increased, it was found necessary to develop artificial means of controlling the temperatures and humidity.

The earliest known “malt house” was a simple structure located at the bottom of a hill or mountain adjacent to a stream, which could supply low temperature water by gravity. These houses had massive stone walls with floors of stone or mortar. Small windows set in these heavy walls were the only means of ventilation. Barley would be received into the top of such a house, and dropped into deep cisterns for steeping. From there, it would be deposited in a pile onto the stone floor of the house for germination.

As growth commenced and heat was generated, the malt was shoveled from this pile and spread in a thin bed toward the front of the room. Any necessary further cooling could only be accomplished during the cool evenings or night hours when experienced workmen shoveled the first thin layer of malt forward to another spot on the floor, throwing it into the air, and allowing it to fall in a thin shower. The proper moisture was applied by the simple old-fashioned sprinkling can.

The process of shoveling to control temperature gradually moved the bed from the rear to the forward end of the floor, and as each successive steep was deposited onto the floor from the steeping cistern, it followed its predecessor down the length of the floor. In this way there were on each floor, a number of beds of malt in varying stages of germination. When the malt reached the front of the floor, its germination was completed, and it was shoveled by hand through a trap door into wheel barrows beneath, by means of which it was transported to the kiln for drying.

The kiln, at that time, was simply a room with a tile floor, under which were crude furnaces. The ceiling of the room assumed the shape of a high tapered dome, in which was located a large duct or chimney to pass off the moist hot air. After the germinated malt was spread on the floors, the fires were started, and drying accomplished by simple heating. The malt was agitated from time to tie by a shovel. Later the tile floors were perforated, so that the combustion gases could pass directly through the grain.

All ventilation was by natural draft, and, of course, was influenced greatly by weather conditions. The art of malting under those conditions was one of the highest. The maltster personally controlled all processes, and through highly developed manual skill maintained proper conditions. He alone checked the temperatures, mostly by sense. It was he who determined when more moisture was required. In short, it was exclusively his skill and experience which brought out a finished malt of the proper character. Because temperature controls were dependent on atmospheric conditions, malting at that time was confined to the cool months, which averaged about five months per year. During the rest of the year, the house was completely closed. Naturally, with this short production season, volume was very definitely limited.

The basic principle of these early malt houses again prevailed for centuries, but always with the search for new means of increasing production. It was not until the advent of steam, and later electrical power, that any major change occurred in the malting process. Undoubtedly, some one at some time drove ventilating bellows by water power in an effort to continue malting during the warmer weather, but there is no definite record of such device.

With the advent of modern power, the first changes that occurred were the introduction of ventilating fans and water pumps into the older type houses as described. Later, more modern buildings were introduced incorporating the various devices made available by the new power. In these earliest modern houses, steel tanks were substituted for the old-fashioned cisterns, large fans were employed for ventilation, and adequate sprinkler systems installed. However, the old-fashioned masonry floor still persisted with the consequent heavy work of hand shoveling. It was under these semi-modern methods that malt acquired its present status.

The next step was to the modern construction known as the compartment system. Here the steeped barley is deposited on perforated floors in a single bed through which moist cool air is drawn by fans to control temperatures as desired. Agitation is by means of large turning machines which periodically agitate and redistribute the malt. When germination is completed, the malt is scooped into mechanical conveyors by mechanical shovels. The conveyor deposits it in the kiln house, which again has perforated metal floors through which hot air is drawn by other fans. In this case, however, the floors are sectional, so that they can be opened, and the malt dropped through. It is possible in a modern kiln to reduce the moisture content to 3 percent.

After drying, the malt is dropped directly from the floor to hoppers located beneath, which feed conveyors, which, in turn, transport the finished malt to the cleaning and storing house. The prime object of modern houses is not only to give maximum production in a given area, but to decrease manual labor by the use of mechanical devices. Through all of these centuries, malt as a finished product has changed very little, probably only to the extent that better grades of barley have been developed.

(Courtesy of the Saladin Corporation, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rockin’ Beergarita Recipe:

Rockin’ Beergarita Recipe:beergarita1

Sure to become another classic, this Beergarita recipe is a fun way to have a beer, and to toast – or “Parrot” – a classic mixed drink. In Spanish it might be called a Cerveza Preparada – prepared beer. We’ll just call it a Beergarita.

8 servings
Beergarita Recipe – What you need:
(2) 12 oz. beers. (Use a light lager, or for authenticity, a Mexican lager)

BTW, the Mexican lager is based on the recipes that Austrian and German brewers produced after arriving in Mexico in the 19th century with other European immigrants.

Beergarita Recipe
  • 8 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • (1) 12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 8 Lime slices
  • 1/2 Cup salt
  • One or two pints ice cubes
What you do:
  1. Pour ice in a pitcher.
  2. Add tequila, orange juice and frozen limeaid.
  3. Stir well and thoroughly.
  4. Pour beer over ice – very slowly. It will foam up so a slow pour is essential.
  5. Pour salt on a small plate.|
  6. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glasses.
  7. Dip glasses upside down into the salt plate to coat the rim.
  8. Fill glasses with Beergarita.
  9. Garnish with a lime slice.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Making a Yeast Starter

Making a Yeast Starter

Why should you be making a yeast starter? This highly debated subject has many opinions about it. The bottom line is that there is safety in numbers. The more yeast – in general – the better, or safer you’ll be on brewing day. Use common sense, for too much yeast does not make better beer.
Making  A Yeast Starter for Liquid Yeast
I always make a yeast starter for liquid yeast and it has worked very well. The lag time is minimal and concern about wild yeast or bacterial contamination is reduced or eliminated.
Dry yeast is dehydrated, resting until it is rehydrated. In the dried state, the yeast are shrunken and their numbers are great.
I don’t generally bother with a starter for dry yeast. They do get a rehydration bath, though. The manufacturers suggest the rehydration bath, as it prepares the yeast for its “dive” into your wort, and reduces lag time. Hey, the faster it starts, the sooner the brew is ready. :)

Making a Yeast Starter

For most beers, use the Basic or Normal Gravity Starter for beers with a starting gravity of about 1.040 to 1.060.
If 1.060 or greater gravity brew is being made, a Step-Up Starter is best.

Basic or Normal Gravity Yeast Starter

  • ½ cup light DME dry malt extract (Use a light DME as it will not impact the flavor or color much.)
  • 2 cups distilled or tap water
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Yeast Nutrient

Step-Up Yeast Starter – When Needed

Step-Up Starter:
  1. Start by making a batch of Basic or Normal Gravity Starter for about 1.040. After it’s ready – in 18 to 24 hours, continue:
  2. Make a second batch that has 50% more DME per water. Use:
  • 3/4 cup DME
  • 2 cups water
  • Add the two batches together and let them ferment another 18 to 24 hours. Starters are best used when the yeast is very active. 
  • Caution: If a starter is allowed to stay warm for too long, bacteria or wild yeast can “invade” your mixture – even if covered – since it has not been sterilized, only sanitized. Use within 24 hours when possible. 
  • Higher gravity beer requires more yeast, and the yeast needs to be stronger to ferrment the more potent brew.
Making a Yeast Starter
Beautiful Antique Copper Tank in Dutch Brewery
For Both Types Yeast Starters:
  • Boiler or sauce pan with lid
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Quart canning or heavy duty glass jar (A lab flask may also be used.)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Lid for jar
  1. Bring water and DME to a boil in an open saucepan or boiler, stirring briefly to dissolve the DME. Boil for 10 minutes.Note: DME attracts moisture rapidly – it’s hydroscopic – the DME will clump if not resealed very well for storage.ALERT: Boil-overs may occur if there is not enough room to contain them in your pot. Use a larger pot than you may think is needed.You can withdraw pan from heat briefly to control a potential boil-over.
  2. Be sure and place the lid on the pot as it cools. This keeps out bacteria or wild yeast that may float in on dust.(Dust is in the air and if not locked out – those nasties ride ’em to your brew)
  1. Place the pot with lid on it, into a sink with cold or ice water. Change water as needed to keep cool.
  2. Let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour the DME mixture and yeast together into a jar, cover with aluminum foil or lid and shake well. Hold the foil on tightly to prevent spilling, relax the lid (if used), after shaking.Do not use an air lock.It will prevent oxygen from entering your starter.
  4. Shaking the jar every hour or two will increase the yield of yeast significantly. If you wish to get fancier (more expensive), use a stir plate and lab flask for an even greater yeast count.
  5. Swirl the yeast and slurry, then pitch (dump or pour) when your wort is transferred (poured, pumped or siphoned) to the primary fermenter.
Here’s a chart for a visual aid. Just make sure and place a lid on the pot when cooling!

Yeast Starter Chart
Yeast Starter Steps Illustrated

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HOPS-Boss App Now Available!

The Hops-Boss application is completed for both Android and iOS (iPhones and iPads)!

Now you can add the Hops-Boss automated hops feeder to your existing brew kettle. The new App allows you to program hops addition times into the unit for stand-alone operation or to manually control the feeder. Purchase the hops boss feeder at and download the app from the Google Play store or iTunes.

Here is a video link showing the Hops-Boss hops feeder:

We Want Beer

Want Beer?  Make your beer, your way with the Brew-Boss system.  Check us out at !

We Want Beer

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Grow Your Own Hops

Growing Hops Right At Home Is Easier than You Think

Home brewing is becoming increasingly popular as more and more beer lovers discover just how easy it can be to a cook up a batch of your very own creation. An integral part of the home brewing process are hops, which infuse beer with its signature flavor. While some home brewers choose to purchase hops for the brewing process, many are choosing to grow hops on there own.

What Are Hops?

photo credit

Hops are the female flowers of the plant known as humulus lupulus. Hops are used as a means of flavoring beer, as well playing a role in preserving the beverage. Hops offset the sweetness of malt to create a complex flavor profile that beer lovers crave. Depending on how much and what type of hops are used will determine how bitter a beer may be.

Hops were used as a method of flavoring beer as far back as the 11th century. Before then, many brewers imparted flavor to their beer by use of a variety of herbs and flowers. The resulting brews contained far less alcohol content, and were also more susceptible to spoilage.

Today, hops are an integral part of the brewing process, with many growers taking a scientific approach to this age’s old traditional preparation.
Types of Hops

There are typically two kinds of hops used in brewing. Aroma hops feature a lower acid percentage, which helps bolster the aroma of a beer. These are most commonly used as a means of finishing or conditioning a brew. Conversely, bitter hops feature a higher acid percentage. These are useful when beer is going through the boiling process.

Each of the numerous varieties of hops offers a unique flavor profile. There are many different hop varieties out there you can use to brew your beer. Here are just a few well-known hop varieties, along with a brief description of what they do for your beer:

  • Cascade:  Cascade hops are a well-known American hop created by Oregon State University in 1956. They feature a light and citrusy flavor, such as those found in a variety of pale ales.
  • Bullion: Bullion hops offer a distinctly bitter flavor profile, as found in dark ales and stouts. Dominant flavors include earthy, resin-rich notes that some beer drinkers may find too strong.
  • Challenger: Challenger hops are a very popular English variety thanks to their dual nature. The complex flavor profile includes notes of citrus and toffee, which pairs beautifully with stronger ales.
  • Fuggles: Fuggles are a version of ‘wild’ hops that first came to notice in 1860s Great Britain. Upon their introduction by one Richard Fuggle (hence the name), these hops offered an earthy taste, as exemplified by such beers as English ales, porters, as well as stouts.
  • Columbus: Sometimes referred to as Tomahawk, this hop variety is commonly used for its bitterness.
Tips on Growing Hops

Just about anyone is capable of growing hops right in their own backyards. The process starts with procuring rhizomes, which are root segments are taken from older plants. These can be found from a number of reputable dealers all over the country. Growers can also purchase potted hops plants, which can then be planted in their home gardens.

Maintenance of hops plants is relatively easy, as they are robust enough to withstand many different environmental factors.


It’s best to choose a sunny spot for your hops plants. You’ll also need a means of support as they grow. Hops plants climb as they get bigger, and many growers construct wire supports, which allows the hops plants to curl upward. This is recommended as some vines can grow well over twenty feet long. It’s best to plant your rhizomes at least three feet apart, at a depth of about one to two inches. Plants will grow exceedingly fast at first, with plants sometimes growing a foot per day. It’s best to do your planting early in the spring, once frost is no longer a concern. Take care when watering and fertilizing your plants; too much or too little can prove detrimental to your yield.


Harvest ranges from mid-August to mid-September depending on where you’re located. When harvesting, one should be aware of what to look for to indicate whether your plants are ready. Smell is important in this capacity, as well as the look and feel of the plants. Hops will smell most pungent when ready for harvest, and they should appear light in color and feel dry to the touch when ready. Once harvested, hops should be dried before being incorporated into beer. This can be done using an oven, food dehydrator, or a self-made hop dryer.

Without the addition of hops, beer just wouldn’t be the same. Growing your own for brewing purposes can be a great experience for both master brewers as well as novices. A small home garden is all you need to take your home brewing to a new level.
Planting Hops Around Your Pets

Special thanks to Brian, a commenter below, for pointing out that hops are potentially poisonous to pets. After doing some research, it appears that hops are indeed poisonous to both cats and dogs.

The toxicity can range from mild to severe, and depends on many factors, including the size and breed of your dog, as well as how much they ingested. Symptoms to look out for include: heavy breathing, anxiety, stomach pain, vomiting, extremely high temperatures, elevated heart rate, and in some cases, death. If you suspect your dog has ingested your homegrown hops or hop pellets, then it is highly recommended that you get them to an animal hospital immediately.

Monday, April 20, 2015

YouTube Video of Brew-Boss Automated Electric Homebrew System

Interested in how the Brew Boss System works? Watch our video on YouTube and contact us with any questions you may have.

The Brew-Boss Automated Electric Homebrew System. Showing the new custom made kettle, COFI infusion filter, and the Hops-Boss automated hops dispensing device. Designed for those new to the hobby and for experienced homebrewers.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stainless Steel Heating Element

New from!

We've designed our own heating elements and had them fabricated specifically for Brew Boss. They are designed specifically for brewing. They are made from shiny, durable Stainless Steel and clean up very easily. They look brand new after each brew session. They are 100% stainless steel and will not rust!  Order yours today!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ten Top Tips for Home Brewing Beer


Today we look at 10 tips for brewing better beer. These are things I wish I knew when I started homebrewing but had to learn the hard way. Enjoy!

  1. Use High Quality, Fresh Ingredients – Fresh ingredients make better homebrew. If you started with dry yeast, move up to liquid yeast. If you are an extract brewer, look for fresh extract rather than a can that is several years old. Store liquid yeast in the refrigerator, grains in a cool dry place, and hops in the freezer. Hops, dry malt, yeast, liquid malt and crushed grains all have a limited shelf life and must be used quickly. Crushed grains, dry malt and liquid malt will oxidize over time.
  2. Do your Homework – Designing great beer is one part science and one part art. Why guess on the science part? Switching to brewing software like BeerSmith can make a difference in your brewing as it gives you the opportunity to calculate the color, bitterness and original gravity up front to match your brewing style. As I brewed more, I started reading top brewing books, engaging in discussion forums and browsing the internet for brewing resources. All of these sources, combined with experience and experimentation dramatically impacted my brewing style and consistency in a search for brewing perfection.
  3. Keep It Sterile – Anything that touches your beer after it has started cooling must be sanitized using any of the popular sanitizing solutions (bleach, iodophor, etc). The period immediately after you cool your beer is particularly critical as bacteria and other infections are most likely to take hold before the yeast has started fermentation.
  4. Cool the Wort Quickly – Cooling your beer quickly will increase the fallout of proteins and tannins that are bad for your beer and will also reduce the chance of infection. An immersion wort chiller is a relatively inexpensive investment that will improve the clarity and quality of your beer. Cooling is particularly important for full batch boils.
  5. Boil for 60-90 Minutes – Boiling your wort performs several important functions. It sterilizes your wort, vaporizes many undesirable compounds, releases bittering oils from the hops and coagulates proteins and tannins from the grains so they can fall out during cooling. To achieve all of these noble goals you need to boil for at least 60 minutes, and for lighter styles of beers a longer boil of 90 minutes is desirable.
  6. Control Fermentation Temperature – Though few brewers have dedicated fermentation refrigerators, there are simple methods you can use to maintain a constant temperature for ales during fermentation. The best technique I’ve seen is to pick a cool, dry area in your home and then wrap the fermentor in wet towels and place a fan in front of it. Wet the towels every 12 hours or so, and you should get a steady fermentation temperature in the 66-68F range. Most brewing shops sell stick-on thermometers that can be attached to your fermentation vessel to monitor the temperature.
  7. Switch to a Full Batch Boil – Boiling all of your wort will benefit to your beer. If you are only boiling 2-3 gallons of a 5 gallon batch, then you are not getting the full benefits of a 60-90 minute boil. The purchase of a 7-12 gallon brew pot and (highly recommended) outdoor propane burner (which will make the spouse happy as you now brew outside) are great intermediate steps for moving to all-grain brewing and the full boils will improve your beer.
  8. Use Glass Fermenters – Glass carboys (or stainless) fermenters offer significant advantages over the typical plastic bucket. First they are much easier to clean and sterilize. Second, glass (or stainless) provides a 100% oxygen barrier, where plastic buckets are porous and can leak oxygen if stored for long periods. Third, plastic fermenters often have very poor seals around the top of the bucket and can leak in both directions making it difficult to determine when fermentation has actually completed. A 5 gallon glass carboy will do the job better, and is available at a very reasonable price from most stores.
  9. Make a Yeast Starter – While pitching directly from a tube or packet of liquid yeast is OK, your beer will ferment better if you make a yeast starter first. Boil up a small amount of dried malt extract in a quart of water with 1/4 oz of hops. Cool it well and then pitch your yeast into it 2-3 days before you brew. Install some foil or an airlock over it and place it in a cool dark location. When brew day comes, pitching your starter will result in a quicker start and less risk of infection or off flavors.
  10. Make Long Term Purchases – You may have started brewing with an off-the-shelf kit, but if you enjoy brewing then you are best off making long term purchases rather than a series of short term purchases. For example, early on I bought a 3 gallon pot, then a 5 gallon pot, then an 8 gallon enamel pot and finally a 9 gallon stainless. It would have been much cheaper to jump to the 9 gallon stainless after the 3 gallon pot. Similarly I’ve had several sizes of immersion chillers, finally settling on a two stage 3/8″ diameter copper coil. If you instead make long term purchases (a good pot, a good chiller, glass carboys, a nice mash tun/cooler) you will save a lot of money in the long run.

BeerSmith Brewing Software – Take the guesswork out of brewing

Thursday, April 16, 2015

4 Home-Brewing Mistakes Most Beginners Make

When you start home brewing, mistakes can be discouraging. But they don't have to be. What you see as a mistake could turn out to be a learning experience on the path to great home-brewed beer. Here are four of the most common brewing mistakes and what you can learn from them.

Neglecting Sanitation

"The primary foes of new brewers are wild yeasts and bacteria," says Chris Cohen, founder and president of the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild. You can do everything else perfectly during your brew day, but if your sanitation practices are poor, you'll likely end up with a beer that's been fermented by something other than brewer's yeast. "The result is typically a bad beer that can be sour, over-attenuated, and can have phenolic flavors," Cohen says.

The solution? Clean, clean, clean. And Cohen recommends replacing any plastic brewing gear every year. Scratched plastic creates microscopic hiding places for wild yeast and bacteria and is difficult to properly sanitize.

Overcomplicating the Process

Minneapolis home brewer Michael Porter says that one of the things that confounds new brewers is the overwhelming amount of detail. "Forums and books lead people to think that you have to go to great lengths in order to get good results, while the truth is that brewing is remarkably simple," he says.

Porter says these advanced techniques will help you get maximum yield and consistent results from batch to batch. But they're not absolutely necessary, especially when you're just trying to get the hang of beer making.

"When I first started brewing, I read advice that said you must 'build' your water," Porter says. That's where you add things like salts or gypsum to turn your hard or soft water into the "proper." "And forums are full of people that will make you think that if you skip this step, your beer will be ruined," he says. The reality is that this is important only if you're trying to replicate a commercial beer. For amateur beer making, this isn't necessary, Porter says.

Not Controlling Your Fermentation Temperature

Next to fervent sanitation, Cohen says fermentation-temperature control is one of the most important variables in home brewing. Yeast likes to work within a certain temperature range (your yeast packet should spell out what that range is).

For example, typical American ale yeasts prefer a temperature of between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. "Fermenting at higher-than-recommended temperatures will typically cause the yeast to create more esters, leading to fruity aromas and flavors that may not be appropriate," Cohen says.

Another important thing to keep in mind: The temperature should stay at an even level for the duration of the fermentation. Cohen recommends wrapping your fermenter in a blanket and placing it in a dark closet in the center of your house or apartment to avoid temperature swings. "If the temp drops during fermentation, the yeast will stop working and you'll be left with a very sweet and unpleasant brew," he says.

Too Many Changes at Once

Jamie Floyd, cofounder of Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Ore., advises beginning brewers to take it slow. "It is important when trying to perfect your process to change only one thing at a time," Floyd explains.

For example, if you want a beer with a good amount of caramel flavor and a robust hop profile—but you make a beer that has no caramel flavor and isn't hoppy enough—the best thing to do is change one aspect of the beer at a time so that you can mark the progress, Floyd says. "If you make more than one adjustment at a time you may not know what you did right or wrong the next brew."

Remember, beer making is not an exact science. Chances are good you will make mistakes, especially at the beginning. The key is to learn from those mistakes and have fun in the process.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Proper Beer Serving Temperatures

Ditch the frosty mugs and listen up!

Drinking beer ice-cold may sound like the perfect thirst quencher, but you are potentially missing out on much of a beer’s nuances that make it so worthy of your palate in the first place. But wait! Don’t warm it up too much or you’ll end up with the unenjoyable task of choking down lukewarm beer.

So what is the perfect beer serving temperature?
Temperature’s Effect on Beer

Before jumping into temperature suggestions, it’s important to understand the effects that incorrect serving temperature can have on beer.

Too Cold

Chilling beer below ideal serving temperatures enhances some qualities of beer, while masking others. Sure, anything ice-cold is going to come across as refreshing on a hot day, but beer is to be enjoyed for its flavor, especially if you spent weeks making and managing homebrew!

The biggest issue with beer served too cold is the way the temperature masks many flavors and aromas. The cold temperature slows the volatilization of aromatic compounds causing them to linger in the beer. When these compounds are not released, it dramatically changes the apparent flavor and aroma of the beer, sometimes to the point where it may come across as thin and tasteless.

The cold also enhances qualities like bitterness, dryness and carbonation, which can enhance the “quench” quality, but if paired with a “thin, tasteless” beer can make for a very unpleasant drinking experience with harsh texture. Overly-chilled beer can also exhibit haziness in a usually-clear brew.

Too Hot

Warm beer, on the other hand, does allow for more of the flavors and aromas to come to the forefront, but as beer approaches room temperature the sensations from hop bitterness and carbonation can decrease, which can lead to an almost flat-tasting experience.

It’s also usually pretty obvious you don’t want to drink too warm of beer (unless you’remaking a flip, of course).

Just Right: Suggested Beer Serving Temperatures

So that leads us to the million dollar question: what is the proper serving temperature for beer so that it is refreshing and thirst-quenching while still allowing you to enjoy the bouquet of flavor that makes drinking high quality beer so great!

Unfortunately, there’s not one temperature that is perfect for all beers, but instead it depends on the beer style, brewing process and a little bit of tradition. However, using a few rules basic rules, along with the handy table below, you can make informed decisions on the temperature to serve your next beer. Remember, these are general suggestions and some styles may bend the rules a bit!

Beer Suggested Temperature
American Mainstream Light Lagers33° – 40° F
Pale Lagers, Pilsners38° – 45° F
Cream & Blonde Ales40° – 45° F
Nitro Stouts40° – 45° F
Belgian Pale Ales, Abbey Tripels40° – 45° F
Wheat Beers40° – 50° F
Lambics40° – 50° F
Dark Lagers45° – 50° F
American Pale Ales & IPAs45° – 50° F
Stouts, Porters45° – 55° F
Strong Lagers50° – 55° F
Real & Cask Ales50° – 55° F
Belgian Dubbels50° – 55° F

General Serving Temperature Rules:
  • All beers should be served between 38-55° F.
  • Lagers are served colder than ales.
  • Stronger beers are served warmer than weaker beers.
  • Darker beers are served warmer than lighter beers.
  • Macro lagers are served as cold as the Rockies.
  • Serve beers a few degrees colder than the target temperature, to accommodate for warming from the glass and the drinker’s hands.
Data from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.

Monday, April 13, 2015

June 11-13th, 2015, the National Homebrew Conference

Make your plans now to visit with Brew-Boss at Brew's Up San Diego June 11-13th, 2015, the National Homebrew Conference. We are an exhibiting sponsor again this year and look forward to meeting our Facebook friends!


Registration is Now Open
Conference registration is open only to AHA/BA members 21 years or older.

Membership must be current at the time of registration and the event.
A valid 9-digit AHA/BA member number for each registrant is required.
In compliance with California state law, all attendees of the 2015 AHA National Homebrewers Conference must be American Homebrewers Association or Brewers Association members in good standing at the time of the event, June 11-13, to attend the conference.

Each member registering for the Full Conference package may request ONE guest registration.
  • All guests must also be members of the AHA.
  • Guests can choose between the Full Conference or Social Package registration option.
  • The Social Package registration option is only available for guests of a Full Conference registrant.

Altitude Tickets Account
  • To complete your purchase online, you must have an account with Altitude Tickets.
  • If you applied to register, your account was created for you. Follow the link sent by Altitude Tickets to log into your account and finalize your payment.
  • If you created an account with Altitude Tickets in the past, log in with your account information.
  • If you do not have an Altitude Tickets account, create one.

May 2, 2015 - Celebrate National Homebrew Day!

If you need a brewing system to brew that day, check out and we can get you started.

Big Brew for National Homebrew Day

2014 Big Brew Recap

  • Events: 437
  • Participants: 8,000
  • Batches Made: 2,200
  • Gallons Brewed: 17,550
  • Participating States: 49
  • Participating Countries: 14

May 2, 2015

Celebrate National Homebrew Day
In 1988, May 7 was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created AHA Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day around the world. AHA Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May.
Anyone, even homebrew shops, can host and register a Big Brew event, so invite your friends and family, gather around the brew kettle and join in the global celebration of the greatest hobby there is—homebrewing!
2013 Big Brew

2015 Official Recipes

The 2015 AHA Big Brew recipes come from three time AHA Ninkasi Award winner and current BJCP President, Gordon Strong! This year’s beers are all medal-winning recipes from Gordon’s upcoming book, Modern Homebrew Recipes, to be released in May 2015.
Columbus Pale Ale 
Pale Ale is one of the most popular styles in the world. This recipe for a Columbus Pale Ale is as versatile as it is delicious! The recipe is adaptable to many other hop varieties – feel free to substitute the Columbus hops with your favorite varietal!
From Modern Homebrew Recipes: “[Columbus Pale Ale] represents the classic, old-school type of strong pale ale that was quite common in the early days of craft brewing. It uses a variety of character malts with a traditional hopping regime. It won a number of medals, along with a best-of-show at the Riverside Rumble competition in Ohio.”
Old School Barleywine
The first year that the American Homebrewers Association celebrated Big Brew was in 1998. That year, the AHA encouraged homebrewers worldwide to brew a Barleywine recipe. Now we are celebrating the 19th Big Brew, and bringing Barleywine back for the first time since 1998!
From Modern Homebrew Recipes: “An American style barleywine loosely in the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot balance. Big malt and big hops make this an aggressive style. I won an NHC silver medal with a beer based on this recipe in 2010; it was a blend of mostly five year old with a little bit of one year old to freshen the hop aromatics.”
Killer Kolsch
If you are looking for a way to put a twist on this Kolsch recipe, take a tip from AHA Director, Gary Glass: “I recently got together with some fellow Brewers Association staff members to brew a Kolsch. Inspired by a local brewery, we decided to make a coffee variation of the Kolsch by making a concentrated batch of cold steeped coffee that we then put in a condiment dispenser.  By adding variable doses of the coffee concentrate to a glass of Kolsch, we could customize our coffee Kolsch to our own tastes.”
From Modern Homebrew Recipes: “I fell in love with this style after a visit to Cologne in 2006. I had enjoyed it before, but it didn’t seem like anything special. Trying it fresh made all the difference… The style allows for subtle changes in balance in several components (malt, hop flavor, bitterness, fruitiness), but all were hovering around moderate intensity. I won a number of NHC first round medals with this recipe, which is in the style of a Früh or Reissdorf.”

Celebrate Big Brew in 2015

Don’t Miss the Simultaneous Toast noon CDT on May 2, 2015!

Spread the Joy

  • Promotional materials: if you are hosting a Big Brew event that is open to the public, use the AHA’s downloadable promotional materials to help spread the word about your gathering.
  • Let’s Brew: explore this section for brewing tutorials, tips on making better beer and tasty recipes.
  • Zymurgy: An Introduction to Homebrewing: request copies of the AHA’s guide for the new brewer–or access it onlineOrder deadline for hardcopy shipping is Tuesday, April 21, 2015. 
  • Homebrewopedia: a wiki-style resource containing a large library of recipes, a glossary of brewing terms, homebrew club resources and much more!
  • AHA store: pick up the latest homebrewing books or issues of Zymurgy magazine.

Share the Experience

Be sure to share your stories, pictures and videos from Big Brew on the AHA’s Facebook and Twitter. Tag your posts with #BigBrew.
If you enjoyed your Big Brew experience, join the AHA and participate in our other events!

Contact Matt Bolling, AHA Events & Membership Coordinator | 303.447.0816 x 184 or 1.888.822.6273 x 184 |

ANDY Android emulator and allows you to run the Brew-Boss Android app on a Windows or MAC Laptop or PC

Good news. The Brew-Boss app works wonderfully with the ANDY Android emulator and allows you to run the Brew-Boss Android app on a Windows or MAC Laptop or PC with WiFi capability!

Check it out!

BIG NEWS! We have been very busy at Brew-Boss® designing a completely new system from scratch!

We have completely redesigned the Brew-Boss® System using purpose built components. We've designed, and had custom fabricated, kettles bearing our own logo. These kettles are equipped with TIG welded Tri-Clover type ferrules for the heater and valve. They are durable and look awesome. Better Yet, we have controllers starting at $565 and complete systems starting as low as $1,149 for a 10 Gallon Value system.

Brew-Boss works with Bluestacks Emulator

We had a user try an android emulator called Bluestacks available for Windows and MAC at We tried it ourselves and the Brew-Boss app works great with that emulator. If you want to control your Brew-Boss system with a Windows or MAC laptop, give it a try. You'll need to enable the text to speech in the advanced settings and download voice data, but that is very simple. The PC or laptop you use will require WiFi wireless capability, which all laptops have but few desktops do. Let us know how it works for you. Cheers!

Nice article about Brew-Boss in Food and Beverage magazine. Check it out.

New invention turns your kitchen into a beer lovers paradise

What if you could make your own craft beer in your own home for pennies a glass? Making your own beer offers several benefits. Among them are better quality beer at a lower cost and an the ability to make “Your Beer – Your Way!” Along with this comes the pride in your own beer and the enjoyment of the craft. You can make simple light beers like the major commercial beers or craft beers that tantalize your pallet.

Many people have bad memories of homebrewed beer. You know the guy, he made his own beer and he somehow thinks it tastes good (evidently pride changes your taste buds)! So he pushes that homemade brew on you. You take one sip and have to fight wincing from the awful taste. Instead you force a smile because you don’t want to offend him. You then wait for him to look away so you can pour it down the drain. In the past, making good beer was a true art and took years of experience to master the craft. The Brew-Boss® system allows you to make beer you will love. Your friends will confirm how good it is by drinking you out of beer (based on personal experience)!

In the past, those that wanted to make their own beer went through a common growth process, often learning by failure.

First step was to visit a local homebrew store and purchase a “basic starter kit”. This kit included a couple of white plastic buckets, bucket cover, an airlock, a glass hydrometer, a siphon tube, some tubing, bottle caps a bottle capper, and maybe a how-to dvd. They might also sell you a large kettle to boil your beer in. They would then sell you an ingredient kit that included a molasses type liquid (malt extract) that you mix with water and boil in your own large kettle. These kits are available in many flavors that match various beer styles. The molasses liquid is called an extract, and is basically concentrated beer that you dilute with water. We call these“dump & stir” kits, as that is all you really are doing to make beer, similar to making Jello! These kits range in price from $30 to $50 depending on the beer style and they make 5 gallon batches. Total cost per 12oz bottle is from $0.90 to $2.10 (includes energy cost of boiling, etc. but no labor). As you can see, this is almost more than the cost of just buying a craft beer 6-pack at the local beer outlet! Also, these kits limit your creativity as you can only make recipes that the kit manufactures offer.

To reduce the cost of making beer and increase the creative juices of the brewer looking to personalize their recipes, many homebrewers advance to the 2nd step and begin partial grain brewing. With this step, the homebrewer purchases malt extracts in bulk (usually in 5 gallon buckets) and then use various grains (mainly malted barley) and other flavorings to customize their beers. This reduces the cost slightly over dump & stir kits, but increases the creative latitude of the brewer. This step requires little additional equipment over the basic beginner kits, but most homebrewers, at that point, start to upgrade their equipment as well.

Eventually, homebrewers that continue to expand, move into all-grain brewing. This reduces the cost considerably and gives infinite number of recipe possibilities. This is how the commercial breweries and microbreweries produce their beers. In a nutshell, all-grain brewing adds a step called mashing that basically converts the starches in grain (malted barley) into sugars. The mashing step is not difficult, but represents the most difficult part of brewing. Traditionally, the move to all-grain brewing required a large investment into additional equipment and knowledge. There are many different types of systems that allow you to brew all-grain. Cost of this equipment can range from simple single infusion mash cooler based systems to more advanced HERMS and RIMS based systems that cost thousands of dollars. Most of these systems are gas (propane) based and must be used outdoors. Gas based systems are costly to operate and dangerous, and most of all, don’t provide the control capability for accurate brewing.

Brew-Boss® is already an awesome product, but we want to make it even better, so good in fact it will set the bar for all other homebrew systems. Brew-Boss® is an automated homebrew system that allows the first time homebrewer to jump to All-Grain Brewing, skipping the time and costs associated with the first two steps described earlier. It requires no prior knowledge of homebrewing, but is powerful enough for advanced brewers as well. Brew-Boss® is the most automated brewing system available, talking you through every step!

Brew-Boss® has been providing electric brewing systems for over a year and is ready to jump to the next level with your backing. The existing Brew-Boss® systems are built in relatively low volumes, so taking advantage of mass production techniques is not currently viable. This increases production costs and ultimately the price to the customer.

Our goal with the new offering is to have system components purpose built in volume to reduce overall costs, making the technology available to nearly everyone. The cost of progressing through the three steps described above would exceed the cost of Brew-Boss® by several times, making Brew-Boss® the most cost effective option for all-grain brewing, To get to the next level, we need to do the following:
Create Tooling for New Brew Kettles (prototype shown in video). Currently, we expend substantial labor drilling holes in the kettles we currently use in our systems. We have made arrangements with a supplier to source kettles with holes pre-drilled and high quality welded tri-clamp fittings will be already welded by the supplier. This will eliminate the drilling labor and will provide better connections than the weldless connections used currently. This effort will require substantial financial commitments for tooling.

We have made arrangements with a manufacturer and have had custom made heating elements made just for us, out of stainless steel. The current systems we supply use off the shelf water heater elements that are susceptible to rusting and are difficult to clean. The new elements clean very easily and look like new after a brew session. Tooling for these elements in three different sizes will require a substantial financial outlay as well.

We have made arrangements to have a custom made digital temperature sensor made as well. Digital sensors are more accurate and reliable. It will be supplied with the proper plug to match or controller. Our current design requires labor on our part as we have to manually add the proper plug to the sensor.
The COFI filter shown in the video and pictures is a prototype. We need to work with the manufacture to tool up for high production numbers. We have tested the design and are getting better efficiency than using mesh bags. We are excited to add this unit to our offering.

The goal of this campaign is to allow us to fund the engineering, tooling, and other development costs to have our own custom designed kettles, heaters, control boxes, etc. manufactured for us rather than using off the shelf items from other suppliers. Tooling for our own products will allow us to reduce our component and labor costs, ultimately reducing the cost to the consumer.

We also want to port the Android Application over to the IOS platform. This represents a major effort as the Android application has nearly 2000 hours of development and testing time to date.

Brew-Boss® is available in many sizes and configurations. Basically, you choose the size of your kettle, the voltage you desire, and the mash method (Mesh Bag or COFI Filter).

Complete 240VAC 15 Gallon SystemComplete 240VAC 15 Gallon System

Standard kettles are 10, 15, and 20 gallon capacity. The 10 gallon system makes 5 gallon or smaller batches. The 15 gallon system is capable of 10 gallon or smaller batches, The 20 gallon system is capable of 10 to 15 gallon batches.

Systems are available in two different voltages, 120 volts and 240 volts.

The 120 volt system requires two separate 15 amp circuits in your home and will only work with the 10 gallon kettle as there simply is not enough electrical heating capacity (3000 watts total) to heat more water to that to a boil.

The 240 volt system is available in all three kettle sizes in 3500 watt or 5500 watt options. The 3500 watt version is designed for international customers that have 20 amp limitations on their 220-240 volt circuits. The 3500 watt can also be used in the 10 gallon kettle option for USA customers, but is not recommended for the larger 15 or 20 gallon kettles. The 5500 watt heater option requires a 240 volt 30 amp circuit and is the most powerful (fastest) heating option.

A pump is also supplied for recirculating the wort in the kettle during the mash process. All stainless steel fittings and high temperature brewery grade hoses are also supplied.

Everything fits inside the kettle, so storage is simple. Place everything inside the kettle and stow in a closet.

The basic Brew-Boss® system is a Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) system that utilizes a mesh bag to contain the grains inside the kettle during the brewing process. The entire brewing process occurs in a single kettle.
The basic brewing process is as follows:

  • Fill the kettle with the appropriate amount of water.
  • The controller heats the water to a starting temperature called the strike temperature.
  • Add the Grains to the kettle in the mesh bag or COFI filter.
  • The controller holds the temperatures for predetermined amounts of time while recirculating with the pump.
  • Remove the grain bag or COFI filter.
  • The controller boils the contents for the predetermined amount of time. You add hops at the appropriate times or the Hops-Boss device adds them automatically.
  • You cool the contents to room temperature using a chiller.
  • Transfer the contents of the kettle to a fermenter.
  • Add Yeast
  • Install Air Lock on fermenter.
  • When bubbling stops (about 1 week), remove sediment.
  • Wait another week for fermentation to complete and sediment to settle out.
  • Transfer to keg.
  • Chill and carbonate.

The bag is simply removed before the boil after the sugars are extracted from the grains.

Mesh Bag Installed on Kettle

The new Brew-Boss® Advanced system uses a newly designed, patent pending, infusion filter we call the COFI Filter. COFI is an acronym for Center Out Forced Infusion. This design uses a special stainless steel mesh filter, instead of a mesh bag, to contain the grains during the mash cycle. It provides better saturation of the grains as well as some other benefits.

COFI Filter Unit

The COFI filter unit also has a central infusion tube that has flow matched holes that force recirculated water through the grains from the center of the filter. This increases the efficiency of the mash process.

Spray Pattern of Central Infusion Tube

The COFI filter also has a unique false bottom that compresses the grains when the filter is being removed by lifting from the central infusion tube. The squeezing action forces much of the left over sweetness out of the grains.

Squeezing Action on Wet Grains

For both the BIAB and COFI versions, a high temperature brew pump is used to recirculate the water in the kettle during the mash process.

The Brew-Boss® controller is equipped with its own internal wireless wi-fi router and hardware to drive the high current heating element and a pump. A digital temperature probe plugs into the controller to allow monitoring of the kettle temperature.

The system uses the Android tablet platform as it provides voice capability as well as excellent control capability. It is planned to port the app to IOS in the future.

Android Application Screen Showing Temperature Profile Graph for Complete Brew Session

The Brew-Boss Android app connects wirelessly to the Brew-Boss® controller and does all the heavy lifting to control all aspects of the brew system. It also provides the ability to customize the brew process.

The Hops-Boss is an automatic pellet hops feeder that interfaces wirelessly to the Brew Boss controller and allows you to dispense up to seven (7) different hops additions at the times you specify during the brew session. It can also be used to dispense other finings such as Irish Moss, etc. Never miss a hops addition again!The Hops-Boss is constructed from 304 Stainless Steel with specially machined plastic Hops-Cups (we call them Mortar Shells) and simply sits on the edge of nearly any kettle. Each cup holds about 1.75 oz of pellet hops or over 3/4 lb for all 7 cups!