Monday, 23 February 2015

Weekly Link Roundup...

Whirlpool Hopping - 80°C vs 100°C - It's widely regarded that if you want extract as much aroma and flavour out of your hops you would whirlpool at 80°C, which is just below the threshold in which the hop oil would boil off. The mythbusters at Port66 wanted to put this too the test, whirling pooling batches at both 80°C and 100°C, with some pretty surprising results.

The Fine Art of Matching Beer with Bar Snacks - Ever wonder what beer to pair with snacks such as Twiglets or Pickled Onion Monster Munch? Wonder no more, The Telegraph have done the hard work...

What is it That Ferments a Lambic? - Larsblog looks at a new study into what actually happens when brewing a Lambic. The short answer - A LOT! It's not as science heavy as you'd think, so don't be put off reading it!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

White Labs Coming to Europe...

In a surprise announcement yesterday the yeast harvesting masters at White Labs announced plans to open a European office in Copenhagen, Denmark. Even more surprising (and exciting) is they've teamed up with superstar brewers, Mikkeller and 3 Floyds Brewing Co., occupying a space in their upcoming joint brewpub venture Warpigs. This is certainly good news for European brewers, with increased distribution and even some small scale production, which as a homebrewers we'll unlikely benefit from, but the prospect of getting my mitts on some of their PurePitch packaged yeast with minimal supply chains is great news!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Weekly Link Roundup...

With there being so many good beer and homebrewing blogs out there I've decided to start doing an occasional roundup of some of the more interesting blog posts that have caught my eye throughout the last week or so.

Hops and Flucloxacillin - Rob Lovatt of Thornbridge talks about hop desensitisation and recalibrating your palate to enjoy some of the less hoppy beer styles that are out there.

NEW ENTRANT: Cloudwater Brew Co - The Brewery Manual have a chat with former Marble brewer James Campbell's about his new venture - Cloudwater Brew Co., a new 24 hectolitre brewery launching soon in Manchester.

Yeast, Brewing Myths and the Ideal House Strain - James Kemp, experienced brewer of the popular homebrewing blog Port 66 discusses British beer styles, which a lot of British brewers have fallen out of love with, and reclaiming the yeast strains behind them.

You Steam, I Steam, We All Steam For... - Brulosophy's latest experiment pits two steam beer yeast strains from Whitelabs and Wyeast, both of which are purported to have come from the same source. The results aren't that surprising, but it's interesting nevertheless.

Take it to the Bridge - Phil of Beersay stops buy the Thornbridge mothership to pick up some Jaipur X and of course have a nosey around the brewery.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Need More Input Part 3...

Brewing Up a Business - Sam Calagione
Knowing the direction that I want to take this beer brewing hobby of mine the wife bought me this book to spur me on. If you don’t already know, Sam Calagione is the founder of famed US brewery Dogfish Head, and despite being obviously US-centric, a lot of what Sam talks about is universal. He doesn’t go in-depth into the ins-and-outs of running a brewing business, which wouldn’t be applicable to anyone outside of the state of Delaware, but instead talks about the culture and ethos behind the business, along with it’s history, which I found to be very inspirational. There were many standout moments, such as the origin of the famed 60 Minute IPA and invention of “Randall The Enamel Animal” (something I hadn’t realised was credited to Dogfish Head!). There were certain chapters I did skim read, on subjects that weren’t really applicable to myself, such as managing staff, but all-in-all it was an excellent read.

Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation - Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff
Written by the head honcho of Whitelabs (along with famed homebrewer Jamil Zainasheff) there was no shadow of doubt that this was going to be the defacto bible on the subject of yeast. If you want to be serious about brewing beer this book is a must read and gives invaluable advice on the matter of yeast wrangling. There are some science heavy sections that are more geared towards breweries that can afford a dedicated lab area, but I’d like to think that one day I can make use of that knowledge. I did notice that some of the information contradicted what is written on a vial of Whitelabs yeast, such as pitchable amounts and ideal temperatures, but these things aren’t set in stone so I guess it’s up to the brewer how they want to handle things. I had always tried to avoid messing too much with yeast as it seemed like something more akin to witchcraft, but after reading this there was no fear and I’m now the proud owner of a conical flask and knock out my own yeast starters with confidence. Out of all the books out there on the subject of brewing this is without a doubt in the top 3 you should read,

American Sour Beers - Michael Tonsmeire
I’ve always had a thing for sour beers but I had never considered brewing one as it all seemed a bit too complicated, but this book has done a great job of dispelling the myths surround this dark art. Written by Michael Tonsmeire, author of The Mad Fermentationist blog, you know the subject is in good hands and he certainly does a great job of talking you through the various methods of souring a beer. In fact, before he gets into the nitty gritty of things he advises to start a sour brew as you read through the book so that you can follow the beers journey first hand. Along with the methods employed, he also talks about the origin of sour beers in Europe before turning his attention to the title subject matter - American sour beers and the breweries that produce them, such as Lost Abbey and Russian River. Each brewery has their own methods and this book does a sterling job at conveying them through a series of flow charts, making it a piece of cake to follow. The latter part of the book has some of Michael’s own tried and tested recipes which make for a good starting point for anyone wanting to try their hand. If you have a taste for the sours then you really can’t afford to miss out on this super read, even if you don’t plan on brewing one! For me personally, this is right up there with ‘Yeast’ for importance of information.

Brew Like a Monk - Stan Hieronymus
This book is getting a little long in the tooth now, but the information contained within is all still very relevant. Despite what the title suggests it’s more of a history lesson on the beers and breweries of Belgium, than it is a guide to brewing beers. The recipes for all of these famed beers are closely guarded secrets so what you’ll find instead are some best guess approximations, but even then you’ll probably struggle to replicate some of the complicated brewing methods. Thankfully the last part of the book has recipes of Belgian style ales from brewers at various well known US breweries that are a little easier to follow. You probably won’t end up brewing like a monk, but it is still an excellent read and gives a great insight into some of the inner workings of famous Belgian breweries.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Macc Homebrew Featured...

After Tom's recent article on American Homebrewers Association on building your own DIY hopback, it's now Macclesfield Homebrew Clubs turn in the spotlight in their regular Club of the Week feature! It gives a good insight on the club, what we're about and when we meet, so if you're interested in attending give it a read.

We've also now got our own website at, which will let you know when our next meet is. Come on down!