Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Brew Boss Stand with 22" x 22" Platform

Brew Boss Stand 22" x 22" Platform

Check our new Brew Stand! Perfect addition to your Brew-Boss brewing system.


Get yours today!

Brew Boss Electric Homebrew Equipment


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Beer is the Answer

Make your own beer with Brew Boss Electric #Homebrew Equipment!

#Brew-Boss® home brew system, it is an all electric home brewing system that allows home brewers to brew extract or all-grain recipes with complete and accurate automatic control of temperature and timing. Automated control provides consistent results every time. No other system available offers this level of automated brew control. It actually talks you through the brew process.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Brew Boss COFI Filter

www.brew-boss.com Electric Homebrew Equipment  #ebiab #beer

Brew-Boss is the only system available that includes a NEW patent pending technology we call the COFI filter. COFI is an acronym for 


The Brew-Boss COFI filter is an exciting new patent pending technology that optimizes the efficiency of Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) type brewing. The filter is manufactured from 304 grade stainless steel mesh which holds the grain during the mash process, but allows water to flow through.

A central infusion tube, that is perforated with a series of flow-matched holes, extends all the way to the bottom of the filter.

During the mash cycle, water/wort is continuously pumped from the bottom of the kettle to the top of the filter, into the central infusion tube, where it is forced through the grain bed. Water passing through the grain bed flows out of the filter to the bottom of the kettle. This Center Out Forced Infusion (COFI) technology assures that all the grain is in constant contact with the mash water and that there are no dead spots. No stirring is required as the system is self agitating and efficiency is thereby optimized. The COFI filter is also very easy to clean, simply invert it in a sink and spray it with your sprayer! Because it is made of stainless steel, it will not rust and will last indefinitely.

The central infusion tube is also connected to a false bottom. After mashing is completed, the elbow fitting at the top of the COFI filter is exchanged with a lifting ring. When removing the filter, the filter is lifted by the lift ring. This brings the false bottom towards the fixed cover, allowing the weight of the filter to squeeze the grain. This squeezing action extracts much of the trapped sweet wort from the grain.

Visit our website and order yours today!  www.brew-boss.com 
Electric Homebrew Equipment

Monday, October 3, 2016

Homebrew Recipe: Pumpkin Belgian Strong Ale


If you are a pumpkin lover (the beer or the squash), this Belgian strong ale homebrew recipe is worth your precious brewing time!

Make sure you don’t just stop by the church pumpkin patch for this one, though! We suggest an heirloom variety like a Blue Jarrahdale, Blue or White Cinderella, or Long Island Cheese. Or just ask your local farmer for a “pie” pumpkin, and they should be able to hook you up with what you need for this seasonal brew. Just remember: the lumpier, the more colorful, and the weirder the name, the better!

While the pumpkin doesn’t offer too much in terms of fermentable sugars, the flavor comes out wonderfully in the finish. Tasters of this recipe say that there is an underlying pepper note, like a mild jalapeƱo, that complements the spicy flaked rye malt as well. This recipe came from an article called “Brewing with Food: Oddities in the Mashtun” by John Lieberman, featured in the November/December 2006 issue of Zymurgy.
Julie: A Pumpkin Belgian Strong Ale | Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer


  • For 5 gallons (19 L)
    • 7.75 lb (3.5 kg) American pale malt
    • 2.25 lb (1.0 kg) Belgian Pilsner malt
    • 1.8 lb (0.8 kg) German wheat malt
    • 0.45 lb (0.2 kg) Belgian aromatic malt
    • 0.45 lb (0.2 kg) American Vienna malt
    • 0.45 lb (0.2 kg) flaked rye
    • 0.33 lb (0.15 kg) American chocolate malt
    • 11.33 lb (5.1 kg) heirloom pumpkin
    • 0.9 oz (26 g) Nugget whole hops (mash hops)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Liberty pellet hops (30 min.)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Liberty pellet hops (15 min.)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Liberty pellet hops (5 min.)
    • 1.5 cinnamon sticks (10 min.)
    • 1.5 fresh ground nutmeg seeds (10 min.)
    • 1.33 oz juniper berries (7 days in secondary)
    • Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale Yeast


    • Original Gravity: 1.089
    • IBU: 41.2
    • Boil Time: 90 minutes
    • Efficiency: 75%


    Bake pumpkin at 325° F (163° C) for two hours. Peel skin from the meat of the pumpkin, cut up pumpkin, and add to mash along with Nugget mash hops. Mash at 150° F (65° C) for 60 minutes. Sparge with 170°F (76°C) water.

    Partial Mash substitution:

    Mash 1 pound (454 g) of baked pumpkin with 3 pounds (1.36 kg) of 6-row pale malt, flaked rye, and Nugget hops at 150° F (65° C) for 60 minutes. Sparge with 170° F (76° C) water. Stir 9 pounds (4.08 kg) of light liquid malt extract into the mini-mash run-off, then follow your normal boil procedure.

    Saturday, October 1, 2016

    How to Store Hops

    By Dave Carpenter

    The hop harvest is upon us!

    Hops come but twice a year: once in the northern hemisphere and once in the southern. Whether you grow hops in your backyard, purchase in bulk from the farm, or buy as you go at ye olde homebrew store, knowing how to store those bitter cones of joy is key to keeping them fresh and in top condition. Here’s what you need to know.

    1. Keep hops away from oxygen. Oxygen is bad, bad, bad for your hops, and limiting exposure to O2 is critical to long-term storage. Professional growers and distributors store and ship hops in nitrogen-flushed or vacuum-sealed bags. Nitrogen probably isn’t an option for homebrewers, but if you keep a lot of hops around, it’s well worth investing in a home vacuum sealer. Some models can accommodate a mason jar attachment, which will suck the air right out of a glass jar, a good option if you need to get in and out of your stash frequently. Vacuum sealers are also great for storing leftovers and playing pranks on your co-workers. Imagine the hijinks that will ensue when Bob from accounting comes back from vacation to find his mouse, pens, stapler, and employee-of-the-month award all safely vacuum-sealed and floating in the aquarium.
    2. Keep hops away from heat. Generally speaking, the colder you store your hops, the longer they’ll last, not just in terms of aroma and flavor, but also with respect to alpha acid preservation. The best spot is in the bottom of a chest freezer, one that you haven’t modified for fermentation. The freezer in your kitchen fridge will work, too, but today’s frost-free models go through cycles of cold and relative warmth to keep frost at bay. Try surrounding your hops with frozen water bottles or ice packs to stabilize the temperature.
    3. Keep hops away from light. If you keep those hops in the freezer, which you should, then light shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Nonetheless, it’s worth considering, especially if you have energy-inefficient loved ones who like to stand with the freezer door open as they evaluate their snacking options. The easiest solution is to just keep your vacuum-sealed hops in a trash bag or other opaque container. A higher-tech option is to use Mylar-lined oxygen-barrier vacuum bags, which have the added bonus of being completely impervious to oxygen.

    Along with avoiding oxygen, heat, and light, remember that if you grow your own hops and aren’t using them right away in a wet-hopped beer, you’ll also want to dry your hops before storage.

    Properly stored hops will last for at least a year, and with the right attention to detail, it’s not uncommon to get several years out of them. Just get them right back into a cold, dark, oxygen-free environment right after you use what you need.

    Friday, September 30, 2016

    Brew Boss Customer Comment

    We love when our customer send us emails like this!

    My only regret with my Brew Boss system is that I waited too long to change from my 3 vessel all grain system. The personal customer service from Darin, quality of the products and, most importantly, the finished beer are top notch! I have 2 small children and the Brew Boss still gives me satisfaction of all grain brewing, while saving me valuable time.

    Looking forward to my new pickup tube to arrive!
    Ron C. 9/22/16


    Your Beer, Your Way!!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Tri-Clamp Pickup Tube

    Buy Now:
    Tri-Clamp Pickup Tube

    by BREW-BOSS www.brew-boss.com

    This durable Tri-Clamp pickup tube is constructed of beautiful polished 304 stainless steel. It attaches directly to the Tri-Clamp ferrule on the Brew-Boss kettle using a Tri-Clamp gasket and Tri-Clamp Clamp (gasket and clamp not included). It allows you to drain nearly all of the wort out of your kettle without tipping the kettle and disrupting the trub on the bottom. Mount this between your kettle and valve or between your kettle and pump. Includes pick-up tube with 1.5" Tri-Clamp ferrules.



    Thursday, July 21, 2016

    Brew Boss: Single Vessel Brewing Systems Pt1 – Overview

    Single Vessel Brewing Systems Pt1 – Overview


    Brew-Boss Controller-F

    Digital control panel for the Brew-Boss

    Brew Boss

    Brew-Boss 20-gallon COFI 240V has nice equipment features with good quality, and is easy to clean. None of the other systems come even close to the amount of control and features of its Brew-Boss software/controller and the integration with BeerSmith is a huge plus. The 240V electric power again shows its prowess in time to heat the mash and ability to moderate the boil intensity. (The time in my summary table is for a 13-gallon batch.)

    Time Savings

    It’s difficult to have a pure comparison in brewing time, as every brew day brings its own surprise challenges you get an opportunity to learn from, batch sizes can be different, grain bills lighter or heavier, etc. With the evaluations here, I brewed different beer styles in order to exercise the equipment through a variety of beer styles. There is also a learning curve on the systems where you figure out little efficiencies to speed up the process. Almost all of these systems have advertised brew times that are notably faster than what I’ve achieved. Those advertised numbers are all probably real, but they should be considered the best you’d ever be able to achieve once you’ve mastered the system and are brewing a simple recipe, not your “average brew day”. That all being said, one of the key aspects I set out to judge across these systems was if they really could shorten the brew day. So here’s an analysis of my numbers (displayed in Hours:Minutes format), and compared to my personal historical times from my start with extract brewing and my more recent all-grain 3-vessel brewing:

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Brew Boss- Single Vessel Brewing Systems Pt2 – Reviews

    Single Vessel Brewing Systems Pt2 – Reviews



    Brew-Boss 20-gallon COFI 240V

    Brew Boss

    Brew Boss

    Brew-Boss has multiple different systems for all-in-one brewing. They range in price and in functionality. They all use the Brew-Boss controller and its impressive software, and make use of custom kettles with tri-clamp fittings to make cleaning super easy. The mashing options start with a false bottom and regular BIAB bag, step up to a stainless steel mesh basket with a type of “trickle down” sprinkler head to drip recirculating wort, and the top of the line option is what they call COFI center infusion basket. With the COFI basket, recirculating wort gets pumped into a rod that goes down through the center of the mash basket filled with your grains, and then sprays out through holes along its surface to circulate wort throughout the grain bed at all levels. There’s also a dizzying array of accessories and add-ons, with the fanciest being a rotating hop dispenser. You fill each cup with your hop additions, and it will automatically rotate around at the prescribed time and drop in your hop additions.

    The kettles are high quality and have nice features like etched volume markings, and the tri-clamp fittings. The COFI recirculation mash basket seems to have some logical advantages of making sure you’re getting all corners of your grain washed, but I suppose someone could debate the benefits of almost all of these systems for wort re-circulation during mash. The one thing that’s beyond debate is how special the controller/software is. You simply export your recipe from BeerSmith with hop additions, mash temperature/time steps, and boil times and the software automatically converts it to a program to run your brew day. It will heat your water to the prescribed strike temperature, prompt you to add grains in your basket, and go about whatever complicated or simple mash profile you created. It will then prompt you to remove the basket and get busy heating the wort to a boil. With some sophisticated algorithms, it automatically detects when a boil has been reached and then maintains power output at the boil level you set, and then sets timers for your hop additions. Messages prompt you for hop additions at time left in the boil you’ve set up in your recipe, and when all’s done, kills the power so you can start chilling. It knows when to turn your pump on and off and automatically controls that.

    The controller also has Wi-Fi so you can monitor your brew session without having to be chained to your kettle, and you can also adjust power output, mash step times, etc. all on the fly. This level of automation may be over the top for some, and you can always use it in full manual control for turning the pump on and off, and controlling electric output. But if you’re looking for repeatability in process, it’s hard to argue with this type of system. Temperature control on mash steps was impressive with fast rising temperature rates, but without overshoot.

    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    Recipe: Collective Hoppiness

    Brew Boss Electric #Homebrew Equipment - Brew All Grain Today! www.brew-boss.com

    Recipe: Collective Hoppiness

    In 2011, Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Company, teamed up with the American Homebrewers Association to create a dream collaboration beer appropriately named Collective Hoppiness. Quite literally a collective effort, Wynkoop hosted a rally in which the brew’s hop additions were continuously added over a 90-minute period by local members of the AHA and 210 members who participated in the hopping of the beer.

    Wynkoop describes the beer as “an unctuous imperial red ale made with premium two-row base malt, small amounts of rye, aromatic malts and flaked oats, and five kinds of hops (Summit, Cascade, Sorachi Ace, Amarillo, and Columbus). All fermented with an English ale yeast. Ultra hoppy from start to finish, the beer finished at 8% ABV and has approximately 100 IBUs.” We couldn’t help but think that a bunch of hop-lovin’ homebrewers would want the opportunity to brew this hoppy masterpiece, so we’ve scaled it down to a 5-gallon batch for our members’ brewing enjoyment. This recipe was featured in the 2012 May/June Zymurgy courtesy of Brad Landman at Wynkoop Brewing.

    Collective Hoppiness | Imperial IPA


  • For 5 gallons (18.93 L)
    • 12.5 lb. (3 kg) Rahr premium two-row pale malt
    • 2.0 lb. (0.9 kg) Weyermann CaraRye® malt
    • 6.5 oz. (184 g) Flaked oats
    • 6.5 oz. (184 g) Simpsons aromatic malt
    • 3.3 oz. (94 g) Crisp dark chocolate malt
    • 1.0 oz. (28 g) Columbus, 14.4% a.a. (60 min)
    • 1.0 oz. (28 g) Columbus, 141.4% a.a. (30 min)
    • 0.75 oz. (21 g) Summit, 18.5% a.a. (20 min)
    • 1.0 oz. (28 g) Summit, 18.5% a.a. (10 min)
    • 0.25 oz. (7 g ) Amarillo, 8.5% a.a. (6 min)
    • 1.0 oz. (28 g) Sorachi Ace, 14.9% a.a. (3 min)
    • 1.0 oz. (28 g) Cascade (dry)
    • British ale yeast


    • Original Gravity: 1.083
    • IBU: 120+ (estimated)
    • SRM: 19.5 (estimated)
    • Boil Time: 60 minutes
    • Efficiency: 75%


    Mash grains at 153° F (67° C) for 60 minutes. Hops can be boiled as traditional one-time additions or added continuously according to the following schedule: 2 oz. Colombus from 60–30 minutes; 1.75 oz. Summit from 30–10 minutes; 0.25 oz. Amarillo from 10–5 minutes; 1 oz. Sorachi Ace from 5–0 minutes; and the dry hop addition of 1 oz. Cascade in secondary.

    Extract Version

    Use 9.45 lb. (4.29 kg) pale malt extract, 1.5 lb. (0.68 kg) Weyermann CaraRye® malt, 2.5 oz. (71 g) Crisp dark chocolate malt, and 7.0 oz. (198 g) Weyermann CaraVienne® malt. Steep grains for 20 minutes in 150–160° F (66–71° C) water; strain, rinse, add extract, and proceed with boil.

    Thursday, July 14, 2016

    Brooklyn Brewery Tips on Yeast Health

    Brew Boss All Grain Electric Brewing Systems www.brew-boss.com

    yeast starter

    by John Moorhead, National Homebrew Competition Director & AHA Project Coordinator

    Yeast is absolutely critical to beer, which makes it critical to you as a homebrewer. On a basic level, yeast converts sugar to ethanol and CO2, but there is so much to discover and explore with yeast you couldn’t put it in one article (which is why books are dedicated to the subject matter).

    We did ourselves and you a favor and passed on writing a book. Instead, we focused on yeast starters and yeast health, and chatted with Drew Bombard, Brooklyn Brewery Lab Manager & Microbiologist, about how to make happy, healthy yeast.

    What is the purpose of a starter?

    The purpose of a starter is to produce a new, healthy, viable, pure culture of yeast that can be used to carry out the fermentation of wort into clean beer.

    Do I always need to make a starter?

    No, after a starter has been used for its first fermentation, it can be harvested and reused for subsequent fermentations. It is typically better to keep reusing yeast for multiple fermentations than to make a new starter for every fermentation, so long as you can ensure the yeast is stored and handled appropriately in between fermentations.

    When shouldn’t I use a starter?

    This may sound obvious, but if you already have good, healthy, clean yeast handy then there is no need to make a fresh starter. The best way to handle yeast is to plan brews to be pitched with harvested yeast. When one brew is at or near terminal gravity, be ready to brew your next batch so you can pitch this new wort with the yeast from the previous batch.

    Young cultures (starters, first generations, and second gens) and old generations (10th and up) may not always preform as well as mature generations (third through ninth). Making a starter is not only unnecessary, but it can also be less effective than using harvested yeast.

    Should I add hops when I make a yeast starter?

    Yes, but you don’t want to add too many. The ideal wort for a starter should consist of mostly pale malts and little to no roasted malt, and you should target about 8–12° Plato, and maybe 15–25 IBUs. You can propagate yeast in many different worts with success, but ideally the wort you propagate in shouldn’t be too strong in any one dimension.

    Should I add oxygen to my starter?

    Yes, or sterile air. The idea of a starter is to grow many healthy and clean yeast cells from few. Yeast will undergo aerobic respiration in the presence of wort and air or O2and begin to multiply rapidly while also consuming wort sugars and nutrients. In order to increase yeast biomass, you will need to aerate your wort continuously while propagating.

    How much yeast or how big a starter do I need?

    Both depend on how much wort you need to ferment and how strong the wort is. We aim to pitch our wort with about 1 million cells/mL of wort per degree Plato. So, if we brew a wort with a starting gravity of 10° Plato, we would need the pitch rate to be about 10 million cells/mL of wort. If you know the volume of wort you want to ferment and the gravity of that wort, then you can calculate how many cells you’d need to carry out the fermentation.

    Does a starter need to be kept at the same temperature as it is going to ferment the batch of beer later?

    No, it can be propagated at room temperature. But if you can’t use it right away after propagation is done, store it cold to preserve vitality and viability.

    Can too small or too large a starter be bad for the yeast?

    Yes, usually the rule of thumb while propagating yeast is to use a 1:10 ratio of yeast to wort when starting or stepping up a starter. So if you start with 10 mL of yeast, you’d want to prop it in about 100 mL of wort. Once the yeast cells have grown into this volume, it can then be stepped up into 1,000 mL (1 L) of wort and continue to grow. So on and so forth. Using the 1:10 ratio is really easy and provides good results.

    If I’m making a high gravity beer, shouldn’t I make a high gravity starter so the yeast become acclimated?

    I would say no. The idea here being you want to have the happiest, healthiest yeast possible to go into a high-gravity (high-stress!) wort. If you grow the proper amount (for the appropriate pitch rate!) of yeast in a nice, mellow, neutral wort, it will come out super happy and strong and ready to tackle anything. If you try to grow yeast in a high-gravity wort, you’re not giving them the ideal conditions for growing into healthy culture. You then compound the situation by pitching this unhappy yeast into a high-gravity beer.

    I’d grow a large volume of yeast in a nice, easy wort and let the strongest happiest yeast tackle the big, burly, high-gravity stuff. One more thing to add—I would not suggest harvesting and reusing the yeast from really big, burly brews for the exact reasons I just described.

    Can I pitch a smaller portion of yeast into the same sized starter and get the same amount of cells at the end?

    You probably could, but the health of your yeast will be best if you follow the 1:10 ratio for stepping up propagations. After all, just because you have cells doesn’t mean they’re healthy or ready to carry out a clean fermentation. The goal is to grow the best yeast possible. Practice patience and take the necessary steps to do so.

    What are some counting techniques and math for yeast cell count on the homebrewing level?

    For those with a hemocytometer and a microscope, counting can be easy. There are no real tricks that come to mind. Plan your target pitch rate based on wort gravity. and count your pitching slurry cell density by weight. Then use weight to determine how much of your slurry you’d need to provide the given volume of wort with the proper number of cells.

    How do starting gravity and fermentation temperature affect the finished beers in regards to yeast metabolism?

    This is a good question and one that I will admit I wish I knew more about. What I do know is that each strain of yeast is different and will have a different set of ideal conditions for fermentation. Starting gravity, fermentation temperature, wort composition, aeration of wort, and condition of yeast are some of the many factors that play all important roles in fermentation and metabolism.

    Fermentation temperature is a very important one. Every strain of yeast has an ideal fermentation temperature range. It’s my understanding that this range provides the best opportunity for metabolism while giving you a little bit of playing room to try to coax different flavor compounds out of your yeast.

    For example fermenting at the high end of a given range may bring out more aroma compounds in class A, while running it at the lower end might bring out less of A and more of B. What those compounds are depends on many things. So long as your beer tastes good and you’re having fun while making it, you’re doing it right! Kind of a lame answer, but it’s a pretty broad question.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    Recipe: Beer Butter Popcorn

    Electric all grain brewing by brew boss www.brew-boss.com

    RECIPE BY JACKIE DODD, draft magazine

    The smell of freshly popped kernels is reason enough to give this recipe a try. The “three-kernel” method of popping corn is foolproof and will leave you with no burnt and very few unpopped pieces. The secret: Use an already-warm pan to make a quick beer butter.

    Makes: 2 to 4 servings


    3 tablespoons canola oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    1⁄3 cup popcorn kernels
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon IPA
    1 teaspoon brown sugar


    1. In a large pot with a lid, heat the canola oil, salt and three popcorn kernels.
    2. Once the popcorn starts to pop, remove from heat, add the remaining popcorn and replace the lid tightly on the pot. Wait 30 seconds and place the pot back onto the heat.
    3. Popcorn should start popping immediately. Shake the pan back and forth a few times during cooking. Cook until the popping stops and there are several seconds between pops.
    4. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
    5. Return the pot to heat and combine remaining ingredients, cooking until the butter has melted and is well-combined with the beer and brown sugar.
    6. Slowly pour butter onto popcorn, tossing gently.
    7. Serve immediately.


    Sunday, July 10, 2016

    Why Czech lager is just better

    , Draft magazine
    Photo by Joe Stange

    So, I’m hooked on Czech lager. A total goner.

    It’s an unlikely development, bordering on pathetic, given my own absurdly lucky situation. I’m American with plenty of exposure to our own exciting variety; I write a guidebook on Belgium and go there as often as I can, so I get to drink plenty of those beauties and oddities; plus I live in Germany, a beer paradise in its own right.

    Yet a few trips to the Czech Republic over the past year have done a job on me.

    For science and for art I list below the reasons why, as best as I understand them, plus some other thoughts related to the civilized magic of acquired taste.

    Some of this is technical, other bits are borderline stupid. Love is preposterous.

    • It just tastes better. I’ll get into specifics below, but first things first: Czech lager generally has far more flavor than those from the global flood it inspired, including all those international beers that we lazily call “pilsner.”
    • But don’t call it pilsner (unless it’s the Pilsner). The rest of the world has diluted and lightened and emptied “pilsner.” We have ruined the word and it doesn’t make sense to apply it flavorful Czech beer (except the very special Plzensky Prazdroj, a.k.a. Pilsner Urquell). Anyway, the Czechs don’t call it that either. They refer to their golden lager as svetly lezak (say it: SVYET-lee LEH-zhack). I like that better. It sounds exotic, like something worthy of new attention.
    • Balance. It’s not a code word for bland. There is an art to balancing real character, and—with regard to golden lager—the Czechs have been working on it for 170-odd years.
    • The stubborn, arcane value of decoction mashing. It’s an old brewing method from the days before thermometers, and most Czech brewers stick to it religiously. Once or twice or even thrice during the mash, they take a portion of that beautiful sludge and boil it separately. Then they return it to the rest of the mash. It takes much longer and consumes more energy, but benefits to drinkers (that’s us!) include deeper, richer malt flavor, residual sweetness, and sturdier foam. Yet it also tends to have a body that is light and digestible enough to consume in quantity.
    • Quantity! The Czechs drink more beer than anyone on Earth, 142 liters per person per year. Nobody else is close. There might be a reason for that.
    • One of the many ways that brewing scientists are useful: Whenever one of them tells us that some old method is a waste of time and energy—and that’s what many of them say about decoction—that’s our cue to run as fast as we can to a brewer that still uses that method and taste the results for ourselves.
    • Floor malting: looks cool, and is cool. To get the full benefits of decoction, you want malt that is less modified—essentially, less malted—than most modern malts. The Czechs specialize in this, with their old-fashioned Bohemian floor-malted barley. It has a richer aroma and flavor that is best unlocked by decoction.
    • See how this is all fitting together?
    • That color. It is not pale straw, it is more often a deep, burnished gold—another gift from decoction and itsMaillard reaction. That immediately appealing color might be why imitations proliferated in the late 19th century, as clear glassware became more affordable to working people.
    • Also, dark lager. It is not like German dunkel or schwarzbier. Czech tmavy lezak is just as drinkable as those but usually with a richer, deeper malt taste. There is amber lager too. It’s good. But a very large percentage of what the Czechs themselves drink is gorgeously golden svetly.
    • Those great, clear, bulbous mugs, especially the dimpled ones. They accommodate lots of creamy foam and lots of beer, both. They turn a golden liquid into a museum-piece jewel, particularly when touched by light. Their heft and thick handles feel important, requiring use of the entire arm. They promise satisfaction.
    • Hops! You like them. Me too. The Czechs use a lot, almost exclusively Saaz. Your typical svetly has an IBU of 30-40, though a few go lower or higher than that. Typically there are equal additions for bittering, flavor and aroma, teasing out beguiling complexity from the noblest of Noble hops. Tasting several different brands last weekend I most often noted citrus, herbs, mint and nettles (though I always like it most when I stop trying to identify descriptors and just enjoy it).
    • That funny degree system. Czech lager invariably has a number attached to it—usually somewhere from 8 to 14, with the most common from 10 to 13. That number is the beer’s degrees on a Balling scale, similar to the Plato scale used by brewers. Karl Balling was Bohemian, by the way, and he created the world’s first scale for measuring the density of beer before fermentation. Basically it’s a measure of how much sugar was in there; in practice, it gives us a rough idea of how much alcohol we’re consuming. The flagship of most Czech breweries is a 12-degree svetly lezak, usually somewhere around 5% alcohol by volume.
    • Finally… diacetyl! With many Czech lagers you might smell a whiff of something resembling popcorn butter. Whether or not this is a fault is ultimately up to you. I used to hate it, then I learned to like it. An American geek I met in a Czech bar told me he didn’t like most Czech lagers because he found them “unclean.” I found it very sad. So: What if diacetyl is an acquired taste? 

    Here is something I really did last year: I bought a crate of Pilsner Urquell and drank my way through it (not in one sitting), to see if I could desensitize myself to diacetyl. I really wanted to like Czech lager. I suppose it worked. Anyway, the things that are easy to like are usually not as entertaining, or as addictive.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2016

    Hop Options for the Adventurous Brewer



    Whether you love the bitter fruit and flower flavors of the American Cascade hop, the double bitterness punch of Centennial, or the herbal, piney goodness of Northern Brewer, hop-heads around the world have plenty of options when it comes to their favorite flowers. Most novice brewers are familiar with 5 to 10 different hops, but with over 100 varieties in commercial use and many more in development, you may be missing out on some great opportunities to introduce new flavors by using lesser known or newer hop varieties. Here are a few hot options if you’re feeling adventurous!

    1. Nelson Sauvin

    Nelson Sauvin – the white wine hop

    Originating from New Zealand, this hop exhibits the typical spicy characteristic the area is known for, but with one major twist – it has a similar aroma to Sauvignon Blanc grapes! It has also been associated with other flavors and aromas including crushed gooseberry, passion fruit and tangerine. This is a great dual purpose hop that can be added to your boil whenever you want depending on how you want to utilize its aromatic and bittering properties. According to ychhops.com, this hop was developed by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research and released in the year 2000. If you want to try commercial beers that use this hop, look for the following at your local craft beer store:

    Mikkeller – Single Hop Nelson Sauvin IPA
    Widmer Brothers Brewing – Nelson Imperial IPA
    Alpine Beer Company – Nelson
    Prairie – Merica

    2. Hopsteiner Lemondrop

    Lemondrop – a citrusy, refreshing hop option

    Known as “Super Cascade”, this US bred hop features aromas of lemon, mint, green tea, and a hint of melon. Homebrewers know a true lemon flavor is difficult to pull off, and this hop appears to be an answer to that particular prayer. Hopsteiner released this hop for limited experimentation in 2012, and started migrating it to the commercial stage for the 2014 crop year. It was difficult to find beers that featured Lemondrop, but it should become more prevalent in the next year or so. If you want to try Lemondrop in a commercial brew, you’ll have to snag one of the brews below:

    Deschutes – Hop Henge Imperial IPA
    Stone Brewing – Delicious IPA

    3. Azacca

    Azacca – A distinct, unique tropical flavor.

    Named after the Haitian god of agriculture, Azacca boasts some extraordinarily unique fruity flavors that you won’t find in other fruity/citrusy hops. Mango, papaya and orange flavors dominate with subtle spiciness and a hint of grass. The hops high myrcene content makes it extremely aromatic with very soft bitterness, making it perfect for the late stage boil or dry-hopping. Released in 2014, there are a handful of beers where Azacca takes the center stage:

    Victory Brewing – Hop Ranch
    Cigar City – Azacca
    Wicked Weed – Lupulin Lab IPA: Azacca
    Founders – Azacca IPA

    4. Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s Hop Blend

    Hop ‘blends’ were created to alleviate shortages of high demand hops.

    As mentioned earlier, most novice brewers cut their teeth with a handful of well known hops. The ubiquitous “C” hops include Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, Cluster, Columbus and Crystal. Hopunion saw fit to blend all of these popular varieties plus some experimental flowers into a single hop! Aromatic qualities include citrus, floral, earthy, and grapefruit. 

    Some homebrewers warn that the 7C hop has so much variety that using it in a single-malt-and-single-hop (SMaSH) beer will produce a “miscellaneously hoppy” flavor. Other brewers disagree, and suggest that when paired with the right malt (rye, for example), the flavors and aroma really compliment each other. Experimentation is obviously encouraged, but this hop may find its groove as an early- or middle-stage boil addition with a different, more defined aromatic hop at late-stage or dry hop. Commercial brews showcasing this hop were difficult to come by, and it may be hard to find one outside a local taproom.

    Twains – Tropicalia IPA
    Top Rung – Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Pale Ale

    5. Polaris

    Mint is a surprising dark horse of beer flavors

    Alpha acids are what give hops their bittering potential as they are isomerized during the boil to deliver the final IBU (international bittering unit) value of the brew. Alpha acid content is generally given as a percentage range; multiple factors, such as growing conditions and drying methods, can affect the actual alpha acid content. Some hops like Saaz only have 2 – 5% AA, while heavy bitterness hitters like Chinook can top out at 14%. But even Chinook takes a back seat to the king of bittering hops – Polaris. Polaris hops range from a whopping 18 – 23% AA content. But don’t let the high AA content fool you into thinking Polaris can only bring bitterness to the table. It also boasts an incredible floral/fruity aroma accented by notes of fresh mint and eucalyptus, owing its penetrating fragrance to high oil concentration. Commercial options to try include:

    The Kernel Brewery – Pale Ale (Polaris Apollo Columbus)
    Hermitage Brewing – Single Hop Series – Polaris

    At the heart of homebrewing is (or should be) an earnest love of experimentation through trial-and-error. There’s nothing quite like wowing your friends with a beer you thought up on your own and tweaked to perfection. Recipes and kits are excellent ways to sample a variety of homebrews with good repeatability and known outcomes. But hopefully this exploration of lesser known hops encourages you to get out there and try something new!

    If you want to read more about the DIY aspect of homebrew or see some other cool projects, check out my blog at castleseven.net, or follow me on Twitter (@TheCastleSeven).

    What lesser used hops do you like?

    Until next time, happy brewing!

    Monday, July 4, 2016

    Saturday, July 2, 2016

    Brewing Entrepreneurs – Darin Danelski

    Brewing Entrepreneurs – Darin Danelski

    When you hear the expression ‘Mad Scientist’, specific images come to mind. For me, it’s images from Disney movies – either in cartoon form or black & white movies. Although this image doesn’t match Darin Danelski’s appearance, as I toured around his work at U Brew U in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, that’s the idea that kept coming into my head. I went there to review Darin’s Brew-Boss electric brewing system and controller. But while there, I got to see all kinds on inventions Darin had created, or was in the process of developing.

    entrepreneur Daren Danelski
    Darin Danelski
    As we talked about the Brew-Boss system, conversation would drift one way or the other and next thing I knew, Darin was walking me over to “check this out” or “let me show you how I tried to solve that problem.” His inventions cover the full range of the homebrewing hobby, all with a sophistication that leaves you saying, “Wow, that’s slick!” With a Mechanical Engineering degree, he worked as an Automation Engineer for many years before diving into Brew-Boss full time. That means he has years of experience coming up with ideas for how to make processes faster, more efficient, and more repeatable. And, it’s with that approach that he tries to solve those problems in the homebrewing world.

    Darin Danelski’s Big Invention

    Darin’s first homebrewing invention that met with success was called picoBrew (Not associated with PicoBrew, Inc.), which was an automated single vessel Brew-In-A-Bag system with a touch screen controller. It used off the shelf components for the brewing hardware, but the controller was custom designed by Darin. It was a stand-alone system that could operate independently, or be connected to a laptop. It eventually evolved into the newer Brew-Boss system that he sells today.

    Darin’s First Pico-Brew System
    The origins of this system laid in a problem he was trying to tackle for his personal homebrewing projects. He wanted to create a system that was fully automated, would improve his brewing process repeat-ability, and reduce the time needed to brew his beer. He built a fully-automated 3-vessel HERMS electric brewing system. And by fully-automated, that meant all he had to do was crush the grain at the start, and add yeast at the end. Everything else from measuring and adding water and ingredients, as well as controlling temperatures and wort transfer was fully automated by his system. But as slick as that was, it only solved half of the problem he set out to solve. It made great, repeatable beer, but as Darin explained, “A typical 10 gallon batch took over 7 hours, and most of that time was spent sanitizing beforehand and cleaning afterward. I despised the cleaning and time spent cleaning. It saved me no time over my cooler mash system.”

    Back to the Beginning

    Darin started doing BIAB mashes in the mid-90’s before it was popular, or perhaps even had its own recognizable acronym. For him, it was a way to speed up the mashing process. Seeing the growing popularity of the BIAB process, he decided to take the time-saving aspects of that process and combine it with an automatically controlled electric system, like he had developed with his 3-vessel system at home. When that worked out well, he started getting comments from other homebrewers that wanted him to make them one. From there, he started selling a few on eBay, and eventually launched his own website to sell them.
    In the early days, he was fabricating the equipment himself at home with some high-end machine shop equipment he had. But once demand started to outpace his ability to build them, he had to search out a manufacturing partner. To keep prices within the reach of homebrewers he had to develop relationships overseas. Although per-piece prices were kept affordable, it did require ordering equipment by the container-full, not in small batches. The initial prototype stage required a financial commitment to get the first parts made and shipped. Then he tested thoroughly to ensure it functioned as intended. For perspective, he notes that his first kettle prototype cost him over $2,000!

    After successfully passing through the prototype trials, he had to order his first production parts. With minimum order quantities of 200 parts, and having 3 different kettle sizes, his first shipment contained 600 kettles. Nervous about whether he’d be able to move that much inventory, he was relieved when after 9 months he had gone through all of those parts. Darin describes the growth, “When I started, I was selling about 2-3 systems a week. That has grown to about 2-3 per day, and peaks around Christmas where I sold over 70 systems in one day!”

    Moving Forward

    As he moves forward with his business, he has to decide which ideas he’ll pursue and which ones he won’t. Some products on his website may get very low sales and then all of a sudden he’ll get a lot of orders all at once. He also gets a lot of requests from brewers and homebrewers for equipment they’d like, and they ask him to build it. To sort through it all, he says, “I pursue items that people request, that I feel would have mass market appeal, and be able to be sold at a reasonable price.” So keep an eye on this mad scientist for the creative solution to that brewing problem you have, or maybe even the brewing problem you didn’t realize you had until you saw someone figure out a solution for it.
    brewboss system by Darin Danelski
    The BrewBoss System as it stands today.
    Brad is a full-on craft beer geek, talking about craft beer and homebrewing to any and all that will listen.  He has a small website, where he has craft beer travel stories, homebrewing, and beer reviews, from a Michigan home base (www.beersnobby.com).

    Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Enzymes in Beer: What’s Happening In the Mash

    #mash #makeyourownbeer Brew Boss Electric Homebrew Equipment www.brew-boss.com
    Enzymes in Beer

    by John Moorhead, National Homebrew Competition Director

    As homebrewers, we’re usually never satisfied until we know how things work. We constantly ask why and how something is done until we understand the basic concept. When you start brewing all-grain, you hit a certain temperature to hit a specific characteristic because you were told to do so. You start picking up on words like alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, mash out and protein rest, and now you’re more curious than ever about what’s going on in the mash.

    Here we’ll discuss the enzymes in beer, which convert the starch in malt into soluble sugars. By understanding and making enzymes work for you, an all-grain brewer can control a multitude of components in their beer. Here is a list of the attributes of a beer that can be controlled during the mashing process:

    • Aroma
    • Flavor
    • Body
    • Overall mouthfeel
    • Attenuation
    • Color
    • Alcohol content

    What Are Enzymes In Beer?

    Enzymes are proteins that are found practically everywhere—your saliva and digestive system, plant photosynthesis, and most importantly, your livers. They have an important role as a non-living biomolecule because they catalyze biochemical reactions. Each enzyme is made up of several thousand different amino acid chains which take on specific shapes suited for specific jobs. In other words, they make reactions occur quickly and at the temperatures of living organisms. They join molecules together, take large molecules apart and rearrange molecules into something different.

    Each biochemical reactions is catalyzed by a very specific enzyme. The molecule the enzyme acts on is called a substrate, and the enzyme is usually named after the substrate (i.e. Beta-Glucanase acts on Beta-Glucans). Just know that the enzyme’s shape is fragile and can be damaged by a multitude of factors, thereby rendering the enzyme unable to act as a catalyst. This is called denaturing the enzyme, and once it’s been damaged, it’s very difficult to renature it.

    The rate at which the chemical reaction occurs is affected by temperature, enzyme and substrate concentration and pH. Enzymes catalyze reactions more quickly as temperature increases in their specific range. But, they’re also denatured by heating above their specified range, and reach peak activity just before they are destroyed.
    Malt Enzymes Homebrewing

    Mashing Enzymes In Beer

    All the enzymes you’ll need for conversion are present in the final malt. The malting process develops enzymes that reduce starches and proteins during malting and mashing, which helps create better clarity, head retention and body.

    For homebrewers, we are concerned with the activity of two primary enzymes in beer: alpha- and beta-amylase.

    Alpha-amylase breaks down large, complex, insoluble starch molecules into smaller, soluble molecules for the beta-amylase. It is stable in hot, watery mashes and will convert starch to soluble sugars in a temperature range from 145°F to 158°F.

    Remember that the temperature range is important because as you reach higher temperatures, the denaturation process increases and enzymes are mostly gone within five minutes. Pouring grains into hotter “strike” water to account for temperature drops can cause problems, too. Exposure to hotter temperatures even for a few seconds can affect enzymatic activity, so make sure to get your temperature down as quickly as possible.

    Beta-amylase is the other mash enzyme capable of breaking down starches and creating soluble sugars. After the alpha-amylase enzymes create smaller soluble molecules, the beta-amylase enzymes create most of the fermentable sugars by breaking down starch to create maltose, glucose and maltose. These enzymes help create lighter bodies and more alcohol and are most active from 131°F-149°F. As the temperature approaches 149°F, these enzymes are operating extremely fast, but are also being denatured quickly. In short, if the mash is held at a temperature within the beta-amylase range, then a greater proportion of soluble sugars will be maltose and thereby be more fermentable.
    Temperature Rests in the Mash

    Mash temperatures play a very critical role in determining the body, fermentability and developing the aroma and flavor profile of your beer. Depending on the style of beer brewed and the type of malt and/or adjuncts used, a different mash temperature or a combination of temperatures and schedule may be best for the brewing beer.
    NameTemperaturepH RangeDescription
    Phytase (Acid) Rest86° – 126°F5.0 – 5.5Acidifies the mash. Best with under modified malts. Will not reduce the pH a lot by itself. More of a historical method used with pale malt in Pilsen due to water devoid of minerals.
    Beta-Glucanase Rest95°-113°F4.5-5.0Beta-glucans are carbohydrates found in the protein layer in grains. Found in rye, wheat, oats and under modified malts. Not needed for well modified grains. Good to use if you’re using 25% or more of un-malted barley, wheat, rye and oats.
    Proteinase (Protein Rest)111°-131°F4.2-5.3Optimal from 122°F. Breaks down peptones, polypeptides and peptides to make them smaller, improving clarity without negatively affecting head retention or body. Breaks down long-chain proteins to medium and short-chains. Typically done for 15-30 minutes.
    Peptidase Rest115°-135°FBelow 5.3Breaks down polypeptides and peptides to amino acids. In fully modified malts has done its work during malting process.
    Cytase Rest113°-131° F5.5Dissolves protective cellulose coating of barley grains, giving access to the starch. Good for under modified malt, and un-mlated barley, wheat, rye and oats if using more than 25%.
    Beta-Amylase131°-150°F5.0-5.6This rest works well at 153°F as a compromise for beta and alpha rests. Creates small sugar chains that are highly fermentable and leaves the lowest finished gravity and lightest body. One of the diastatic enzymes required for saccharification.
    Alpha-Amylase149°-162°F5.3-5.8Produces glucose, maltose and un-fermentable dextrins. Leaves the highest finished gravity and fuller body. Can be slower to work than beta-amylase. Most active at 158°F.
    Malt Enzymes Homebrewing

    Influencing Factors on Denaturing Enzymes in Beer

    Alpha and beta-amylase act together to degrade starches to produce a range of soluble sugars in the wort. Below a certain temperature (149°F), alpha-amylase activity is low and so the large starch molecules remain insoluble because the enzyme is unable to break them up. Same goes for above a certain temperature (150° F), beta-amylase activity is hindered, limiting the amount of fermentable sugars for the wort.

    These temperature ranges are small, and leaves little room for a brewer to operate and influence the types of sugars that end up in the wort. A lower temperature results in a wort that is more fermentable but may yield slightly less, while a higher temperature will yield less fermentability but increased extract efficiency. Here are some important influencing factors on denaturing enzymes in beer.
    • Enzyme and substrate concentration
    • Temperature
    • pH

    Enzyme & Substrate Concentration

    Enzyme and substrate concentration is how concentrated your mash is, and mostly dependent on mash thickness. Although not a critical factor, mash thickness is still important to consider when you start mashing. A thick mash is anywhere between 1-1.25 quarts water/pound of grain.

    A thick mash gives a quicker starch conversion and is more beneficial for protein breakdown because it offers better protection for your enzymes (i.e. beta-amylase). It’s more suited for step mashes because enzymes are not denatured as fast by temperature increases. A thin mash is anywhere around 2 quarts water/pound of grain, which dilutes the concentration of enzymes and thereby gives them less protection, a slower conversion, but provides a more fermentable mash because the enzymes are not inhibited by a higher concentration of sugars.


    Each enzyme has an optimum temperature, the temperature at which the enzyme is most active. Once the temperature goes below or above the temperature range, you affect the productivity of that enzyme. Think about a cold morning. You’re lethargic and slow, but as it warms up you start to move faster and your energy improves. However, if it gets too hot, you start to slow down again. This is essentially how enzymes work. More specifically, the active site on the enzyme changes and the substrate that pairs with the enzyme will no longer fit and becomes inactive.


    Mash pH is another factor that affects the activity of various enzymes. It should fall within a range of about 5.2 to 5.5 for the primary enzyme activity. If you mash using distilled water, you’ll end up with a pH in between 5.8 and 6.0. Adding calcium ions to the water will cause the mash pH to drop down into the 5.5 to 5.6 range, with additional calcium ions dropping it further. You’ll want to use a pH strip to calibrate your water pH level as you mash.

     Key Take Aways

    • Although enzymes are fragile, they are reusable and generally affected by temperature and pH.
    • Enzymes have an optimum temperature and pH that they are most active.
    • Enzymes have a significant affect on finished beer and are also present in yeast cells.
    • Understand the primary mash enzymes (alpha and beta-amylase) and their optimal temperature and pH levels to achieve best results.
    • It’s important to understand the factors that denature enzymes.
    • Know what you want to accomplish before deciding your mash technique.