No-Bull Directions For Using One Step No Rinse Cleanser

One Step No Rinse CleanserThe directions on the container of One Step No Rinse Cleanser simply say to rinse your equipment with the solution. Is there a minimum amount of contact time one must allow for the solution to work prior to using the sanitized equipment? The results of an online search stated anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. I know the safe route would be to let it sit for at least 2 minutes, but I’d rather not stand there waiting if I don’t have to.

Name: Paul
State: Missouri
—–
Hello Paul,

The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is actually an oxygenating cleanser. This means that it uses a burst of oxygen from the solution to do the sanitizing. This high oxygen level actually destroys any unwanted microbes.

The great thing about any oxygenating cleanser is that it gives the biggest burst of oxygen while the solution is evaporating off the surface of what is being sanitized. In other words, the contact time with the solution is not what really matters. What matters is that the solution be allowed to evaporate without interruption after being taken out of the solution. The amount of time in the One Step solution is not critical. This is way the directions seem so vague.

The only situation when the length of time would matter is if you are treating a piece of equipment that has a lot of tight spots, or has a surface that is complex and Shop Basic A Cleansernot smooth. A couple examples of this would be a nylon brush or a straining screen. In both cases you would want to give “some” time for the solution to work its way in between and onto the surface of each nylon bristle or into the corner of each square of the screen. This could require a few seconds due to the surface tension of the solution.

The flip-side of this is when sanitizing a surface that is smooth, like glass, no time is required in the solution at all. Just dip or apply with a rag and allow to evaporate. Again, the evaporation from the surface is what’s key, not the time in the solution.

If you want to get the most out of the One Step No Rinse Cleanser you would allow your equipment to dry completely before using. However, I understand that following such directions would not be practical in a lot of situations, since it would make things way too time consuming. So as a matter of practicality, I would follow these directions: dip or or wipe with a rag the equipment with the solution of One Step No Rinse Cleanser, then allow to dry for 5 minutes.

One final not I’d like to make is that the One Step No Rinse Cleanser is not a Shop Sanitizerssoap or detergent in any way. It is not designed for or intended to release grime from your wine making equipment. This is something that needs to be done with a dish soap or similar, beforehand. The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is strictly for sanitizing your wine making equipment. It is designed to kill any molds, bacteria, etc.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Pickle Beer: A Sour Summer Favorite

Pickle beer in the summerAhh summer. 

There’s nothing like a cold, refreshing drink on a hot, sunny day in the thick of this beloved season. 

As the country slowly begins to reopen, our summer is off to a sluggish start. But that doesn’t mean your favorite summer drink has to be put on hold.

So, let’s crack open a cold pickled beer.

What is Pickle Beer?

We admit, pickle beer sounds… weird. 

But it is a surprising new trend that is loved by many. This sour beverage has the taste and aroma of pickles. 

Here are some popular pickle beers, and recipes to make your own!

Sweet and Sour

We all know pickles can taste sweet or sour depending on the fermentation of the cucumber. This also applies when crafting your pickle beer. The most popular version of pickle beers are the ones that are sweet, but pack a sour punch. 

Here are our personal favorites:

El Gran Pepinillo

  • ABV: 5.8%
  • Mexican-style beer made with Best Maid pickles and Mexican chilli peppers. This beer has a spicy kick, but is light and refreshing.

Best Maid Spicy Pickle Beer

  • ABV: 4.7%
  • This beer has spice at first sip! This is best for those who really like a kick. 

Urban Artifact Pickle 

  • ABV: 4.3%
  • German-style goose beer using cucumber, fresh dill, sea salt, and coriander. Try this beer with a burger or rueben to enhance the flavor. 

New PKL FKR Pickle Berliner  

  • ABV: 3.2%
  • This brew uses refermented Berliner weiss ale with bacteria and wild yeast. Pickle juice is added to the blend after fermentation.

Making Pickle Beer

There are many different ways you can make your pickle beer ranging from quick and easy, to long and challenging. 

Depending on time and skill level, give one of these two recipes a try!

Just Add Pickle Juice

The easiest way to make pickle beer is adding pickle juice to your favorite beer.

If you’re brewing your own batch at home, simply add the pickle juice to your mixture. This is the most common way home brewers make their pickle beer. 

*Pro tip* – Add spices such as coriander, chili pepper, etc to give your beer some extra flare.

Fermenting Cucumber

If you want to get really creative, make your pickle juice from scratch! 

Here is a step by step on how to create various types of pickles and pickle brine

After making your own pickle juice, you can add it to your beer’s fermentation process. This creates a stronger aroma and taste. 

If you’re new to brewing beer, check out our blog just for beginners!  

Cheers!

 

Nut-Flavored Beer: The New Trend Worth a Taste

Stuck at home? Pass the time with a new brew.

Woman reading and drinking beer

Spending time at home can get a little stale, which is why you need a new companion by your side as you organize your closet or watch mindless hours of television (no judgments). 

We recommend taking this time to try something new, daring, and exciting, like… nutty beer. It’s a rising trend in the beer community, definitely worth a taste, and a great way to pass the time. 

Of course, if you or a family member has a peanut allergy, please do not try this at home. Check out our other ideas instead here.

Popular Peanut Butter Beers

It’s important to note that many breweries craft their nut beer differently, so you can’t go wrong as you experiment. There are a variety of nut types, textures, and flavors to use, so grab whatever you have at home!

Here are some popular peanut flavors from breweries around the United States to help you get an idea of where to start:

Rusty Rail Brewing | Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold is Rusty Rail’s best-selling beer in Pennsylvania. It’s an imperial peanut butter hefeweizen combining banana esters and peanut butter to make a distinct, popular nutty brew.

If you’re ever in Pennsylvania, try it out. They are the largest brewpub in the state too!

Mast Landing Brewery | Gunner’s Daughter

Gunner’s Daughter is a best-seller for a reason. With peanut butter and milk stout flavors, this brew pays homage to a beloved Halloween candy – Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups.  This beer was supposed to be a one-time special release, but it quickly became a year-round staple. 

If you have Reeses’ at home, consider adding them to your recipe.

Lakewood Brewing | Peanut Butter Temptress

Peanut Butter Temptress was a popular brew that constantly sold out because it was delicious, but difficult to make. They used a combination of dry peanuts and milk stout to capture the rare taste.

DIY Nutty Brew

Since you can’t go to the brewery, we’re bringing the brewery to you. Let’s look at how a couple different breweries make their batches so you can see how to replicate it at home. 

Remember, making the perfect nutty brew takes time, so be patient.

Tin Whiskers Brewing Company

Tin Whiskers uses PB2 powdered peanut butter by pressing the nuts to remove most of the oil. It’s important to get the oil out so the head retention does not reduce. 

Once the peanuts are powdered, this brewery adds the mixture into the brew after fermentation when the temperature of the brew is cooled. 

Key Ingredients: Nut Goodie Porter and Salted Nut Roll Ale candy from Pearson’s Candy Company. 

If you don’t have this candy at home, no problem. Although it’s a little messy, you can use organic peanut butter as a substitute, and add it after fermentation. (Just make sure it’s not too hot!)

O.H.S.O Eatery & Nano-Brewery

This brewery does a three step process when making their nut-flavored beer. You can choose to do all three or just one! 

The team uses powdered, whole, and extract peanuts for their three layer nutty beer. The first step they take is adding honey, lactose, and sea salt to the boil, and then finish by adding PB2. 

Similar to dry hopping, the next step is to add dry honey roasted whole peanuts after fermentation, and then let this mixture sit for no more than five days. After this, they add a little bit of peanut extract to enhance the aroma of the beer. 

If you don’t have peanut extract or PB2, regular peanut butter and nuts will work fine for this recipe. Just add the peanut butter to the boil, and the nuts after fermentation. You can also substitute the peanut extract with vanilla extract and see how that goes! (Either way, it will be fine without it). 

There are many different combinations of nuts and methods you can try in order to achieve the brew you want, just keep trying different flavors from your pantry!

Stay safe, always practice good kitchen hygiene, and let us know how you’re enjoying your nutty brews in the comments below. 

Happy brewing!

What are Hops? A Guide to Adding Hops to your Beer

Hops in beer“I said a hip, HOP…”

Today, we’re talking about hops, and it’s not the kind Rapper’s Delight told us about.

Hops are a popular ingredient used to give the beer a certain smell and taste. You might have heard people refer to a beer as “hoppy” before, but what does that really mean?

The Hop Plant
A hop is a flower used for bittering, flavoring, and adding aromas to your beer.

Each hop has elements that can intensify smell, sweeten, or strengthen the bitterness of beer. There are different types of essential oils that control the aroma and flavoring of a hop, and different levels of alpha acids that control the bitterness.

You can use a variety of hops to achieve the smell and flavor of your choice!

Hoppy Strains

There are 3 main types of hops: Noble, American, and English. And each type offers a variety of options for your brew.

Noble Hops

Noble hops are found in Germany and the Czech Republic. They have a high amount of essential oils that intensify flavors and aromas, and a low alpha acid level that reduces bittering. Here are some of the classic Noble hops:

Saaz
­          Acid level: 3-5%
­          Style: Traditional Noble hop
­          Flavor Profile: Earthy, spicy, herbal

Lubelski
­          Acid level: 3-5%
­          Style: Substitution to Saaz
­          Flavor Profile: Floral, magnolia, lavender

Tettnanger
­          Acid level: 3-6%
­          Style: Traditional Noble hop
­          Flavor Profile: Spicy, floral

American Hops

American hops are grown right here in the U.S. They’re known for having high levels of myrcene that create stronger aromas. Here are some of our favorites:

Brewer’s Gold
­          Acid level: 6-10%
­          Style: Bittering hop
­          Flavor Profile: Spicy, blackberry currant

Cascade
­          Acid level: 4.5-7%
­          Style: Strong bittering and intense aroma
­          Flavor Profile: Citrus, grapefruit

Amarillo
­          Acid level: 8-11%
­          Style: Substitution to Cascade
­          Flavor Profile: Orange citrus

English Hops

English hops are found in (drumroll please) England. They have a low level of myrcene oil which makes their aroma milder. Here are three of the most popular English hops:

Sovereign
­        ­  Acid level: 4.5-6.5%
­          Style: Balancing hop
­          Flavor Profile: Fruity, floral, earthy

Sussex
­          Acid level: 4.3-5.8%
­          Style: Tropical
­          Flavor Profile: Citrus

Target
­          Acid level: 8-13%
­          Style: Strong bittering and intense aroma
­          Flavor Profile: Sage, floral, spice, citrus

Now that you know the types of hops, let’s talk about how to use them.

Hoppy Brewing

There are a variety of ways to achieve your perfect hoppy brew. So whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned brewer, there are multiple methods to get you hoppin’ along.

Dry Hopping

Dry hopping is best used with hops with strong flavors or aromas that are added after fermentation.

This method can take up to 10 days, but we promise it’s worth the wait. We recommend using a Sussex hop for this method.

First Wort Hopping

First Wort Hopping relies on hops with low acid-levels to achieve a balanced taste and smell. It produces a smooth bitterness that compliments the smell of the beer. Brewers should toss 30-50% of the hops into the kettle before boiling the wort.

Though not as common, we suggest trying this method using Tettnanger hops.

Randall

Hoppy brews can also be achieved using a Randall device. This device filters the beer through the hops, allowing the strong flavors to seep into the beer – similar to a water filter! Randall devices are a no-stress, no-mess way to brew the perfect hoppy beer.

*CAUTION*

This method brews large quantities. So throw a party to share the amazing beer you just made!

Cascade is a great hop to use in your first batch.

Remember, there are more hops and methods to try than what we’ve shared… So HOP on over to eckraus.com and learn more about different tools, methods, recipes and more.

Hoppy brewing!

When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine!

Pectic Enzyme For WineCan I add pectic enzyme after the fermentation to clarify the wine? Is there a substitute or alternative I should use instead at this time?

Name: Paul D.
State: Idaho
—–
Hello Paul,

Thanks for the great question. Some beginning winemakers get confused as to when to add pectic enzyme to their wines.

What Is Pectic Enzyme?
The first thing that needs to be understood is that pectic enzyme is not a fining agent or a wine clarifier for wine. It does not clear cloudy particles out of a wine after a fermentation like fining agents. Pectic enzyme is a protein that breaks down pectin in the fruit.

Pectin is the gelatinous material in fruit. It’s the stuff that holds the fruit’s fiber together. It is also the stuff that causes the resulting fruit juice to have the appearance of being cloudy. This is known as a pectin haze.

Once the fruit is crushed and pressed, not only does it release the juice, but it also releases the pectin. The pectin is a highly complex carbohydrate, refracting any light that hits it. This gives the fruit juice a cloudy appearance.

The pectic enzyme is a protein that is capable of breaking down the pectin cells into carbohydrates that are less complex – something that does not refract the light and give the juice a cloudy appearance. Essentially, the pectic enzyme causes a molecular change in the juice. It does not do anything to clear out a substances like a fining agent would; it changes the molecular structure of what’s there so that light may travel more cleanly through it.

 

When To Add Pectic Enzyme To Your Wine?
As for winemaking, the optimum time to add pectic enzyme is right after crushing the fruit and before pressing. By breaking down the pectin cells at this stage, you are allowing more juice to release from the fruit’s fiber – a good thing for making wine. If you are not the one doing the crushing and pressing, then the second best time to add pectic enzyme to your wine is at the beginning of the fermentation. This will allow the pectic enzyme to do its thing while the wine fermentation is occurring.Shop Wine Filters

 

Three Things To Note Here:

  1. Pectic enzyme comes in different strengths, so you are better off using the dosage recommended on the package it comes in instead of following the amount called for in your wine recipe.
  1. During a wine fermentation the wine yeast does produce some pectic enzyme of its own. This is why it is possible to have a clear wine without adding pectic enzyme, but you are playing cloudy roulette with your homemade wine by not adding it. Adding pectic enzyme to your wine gives you added insurance that you are going to have a clear-looking wine.
  1. If you do end up with a cloudy wine after the fermentation and you’ve already cleared out all the physical particles with a fining agent such as bentonite or isinglass, your options are few. Pectic enzyme is much more effective during a fermentation than after a fermentation. Your only hope is to add another full dose of pectic enzyme directly to the wine and give it time (sometimes months) to work on breaking down the pectin cells. If you did not add a dose of pectic enzyme at the beginning of fermentation, then you can add a double-dose, now. Pectic enzyme works much slower after a fermentation has completed.

 

Shop Wine KitsUnfortunately, there is no alternative or substitute for pectic enzyme. So if you think you need some, you’ll have to get some. Do not use gelatin from the store. It will not disperse as evenly and readily as gelatin offered by wine supply shops.

I hope I’ve answered your questions and given you a more complete understanding of what pectic enzyme is and what it does for the home winemaker. Just remember it is at the beginning of fermentation that you when you’ll want to add pectic enzyme to your wine. If that ship has sailed, you can add a double-dose of pectic enzyme after the fermentation.

If you’d like to read more you might want to take a look at Why Do Wine Recipes Call For Pectic Enzyme.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

A Simple Guide to Beer Brewing Additives

Homebrewer Adding Beer Brewing AdditivesUnless adhering to the strict rules of Reinheitsgebot, brewers will sometimes use ingredients that fall outside of the main categories of malt, hops, water, and yeast. The use of these beer brewing additives can greatly improve a beer’s clarity, fermentation performance, or flavor.

This is a guide to some of the most common beer brewing additives used in home beer making.

 

Finings/Clarifiers

These additives, often called “fining agents,” help to improve the clarity of your homebrew:

  • Irish Moss – A coagulant added at the end of the boil, Irish Moss helps proteins form into clumps and settle out of suspension. For a five-gallon batch, add a 1/2 tablespoon during the last 15 minutes of the boil. Made from seaweed, Irish Moss is sometime referred to as “carrageenan.” Of these beer brewing additives, it’s the most commonly used.
  • Gelatin – Gelatin is a colorless and tasteless compound that attaches to negatively-charged particles in your beer, helping them settle out of suspension. For a five-gallon batch, dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin in 1 cup of hot, pre-boiled water. Once dissolved, let cool and pour into secondary fermenter, racking your beer on top of it. Gelatin is derived from animal collagen, so don’t feed to your vegetarian friends!
  • Isinglass – Made from fish bladders, isinglass is a very common fining agent used in both winemaking and brewing. But don’t worry — used properly, it won’t affect the flavor of your beer. It’s added to the secondary fermenter in the same way as gelatin. One teaspoon is sufficient for a five-gallon batch of homebrew.Shop Irish Moss

 

Water Treatment

The minerals in your brewing water can have a profound effect on the flavor of your finished beer. Mineral beer brewing additives are typically used either to recreate a water profile from a certain part of the world or to adjust the mash pH. It’s generally recommended to get a water profile report of your city water, before adding minerals. Otherwise, start with reverse osmosis (RO) water, which has had all minerals removed, then add the ones you need.

  • Burton Water Salts – These minerals are added to brewing water to simulate the water profile of Burton-on-Trent in the UK. They are often used when brewing English pale ales (think Bass Pale Ale). This mix includes papain, an organic compound which helps to prevent chill haze.
  • Calcium Carbonate – Also know as chalk, calcium carbonate is a food-grade mineral blend. It’s one of the few beer brewing additives that raises mash pH (lowers acidity). Carbonate-rich water can help enhance hops bitterness.
  • Gypsum – Gypsum is a mineral blend composed of calcium sulfate. It lowers mash pH.

 

Yeast Nutrientshop_gypsum

  • Yeast Nutrient – In addition to sugar, beer yeast requires certain nutrients in order to reproduce and convert sugar into alcohol. When it comes to brewing beers made with a high level of adjuncts, yeast nutrient can give the yeast an extra boost that will help them complete fermentation. It can also help achieve a lower final gravity and a drier tasting beer with less residual sugar.

 

Preservatives

  • Ascorbic Acid – Also known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid acts as an oxygen scavenger. Oxygen in beer creates oxidation, which results in stale flavors, often described as wet cardboard. Add a 1/2 teaspoon to your beer when it’s time to bottle.

Do you use beer brewing additives in your home beer making, or are a home brew purist?
—–
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

Awesome Terrapin Rye Pale Ale Clone Recipe

Terrapin Rye Pale AleJust like wheat and barley, rye is a cereal grain that can be used in making beer. It’s a huskless grain with an assertive, spicy flavor. To design a rye pale ale beer recipe, one could easily start with a good American pale ale recipe and add between one-half and one pound of rye malt to the mash. This will contribute the distinctive spicy flavor that rye is best known for adding to a brew. Most rye pale ale beer recipes will have at most 10-20% of the grain bill come from malted rye.

Because its protein content is higher than barley, rye can improve body and head retention, but it also tends to get sticky in a mash. If your system is prone to stuck mashes or if your beer recipe uses more than about 20% rye, consider adding some rice hulls to the mash to improve filterability.

There are several good commercial examples of rye pale ale on the market. Terrapin Beer Company from Alpharetta, GA, entered the market with their Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, which won a gold medal in the American Pale Ale category in its first year at the Great American Beer Festival, in 2002. The brewery is now approaching 50,000 barrels of beer a year in production. Below is a Terrapin rye pale ale clone recipe you can brew up.

E. C. Kraus carries a great Rye Pale Ale beer recipe kit from Brewerʼs Best, but feel free to use the tips below to develop your own beer recipe.

 

Types of Rye

Homebrewers typically work with either rye malt or flaked rye. Rye malt has been germinated and kilned, whereas flaked rye is pressed between hot rollers. Both contribute rye flavor, though the rye malt will be a little more toasty and sweet than the flakes. Both can be added directly to the mash. If brewing a partial mash recipe, combine the rye with some malted barley so the mash doesn’t stick.

Ready to brew a rye pale ale? Try this Terrapin rye pale ale clone or use it as a starting point for your own beer recipe!Shop Steam Freak Kits

 

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale Clone Recipe – Partial Mash 
Batch Size: 5 gallons

OG: 1.057
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 35

6 lbs. Light Malt Extract
1 lb. Rye Malt
1 lb. Munich Malt
8 oz. Victory Malt
6 oz. Honey Malt
1 tsp. Irish Moss @ 15 mins

.33 oz. Magnum hops @ 60 mins
(4.7 AAUs)
.33 oz. Fuggles hops @ 30 mins
(1.5 AAUs)
.33 oz. Kent Goldings hops @ 20 mins (1.7 AAUs)shop_brew_kettles
.33 oz. Kent Goldings hops @ 10 mins (1.7 AAUs)
1 oz. Cascade hops @ 5 mins (7 AAUs)
1 oz. Amarillo dry hop for 10 days
Yeast: Wyeast American Ale II
—–
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

How to Calculate IBUs When Brewing Beer

Hops To Be CalculatedIf you are brewing a specific style of beer or recreating one of your previous batches, calculating your IBUs, or International Bittering Units, that are provided by the hops is one way to dial in the accuracy of your homebrew. There are plenty of free online calculators that will do this for you, but by understanding how to calculate IBUs, you can take your brewing skills to the next level.

Note: IBUs only measure the hop bitterness, or isomerized alpha acids in a beer. Aromas are derived from hops oils, not alpha acids.

 

How To Calculate IBUs

You can use this calculation before your brew using estimated values, or afterwards to get a more accurate figure.

Before we can calculate the IBUs of a beer, these are the factors we need to know:

  • W – The weight of the hops in the homebrew recipe (usually in ounces in the US).
  • AA – The alpha-acids of the hops in your recipe, expressed as AA%.
  • U – Hops utilization rates (see chart at the bottom). You will need to know the length of time (in minutes) that each of the hops will be boiled in to the wort, as well as the gravity of wort at the end of the boil (in gallons).
  • V – Volume of wort (in gallons) at the end of the boil.

This is the formula for calculating IBUs:

IBUs = (AA% x U x W x 7489)/V

But where does the 7489 come from? This is a correction value that helps us complete the formula in US units (to compute in metric units, calculate weight in grams, volume in liters, and change the correction value to 1000).shop_hops

So, what you will do is calculate the IBUs for each hop addition in your homebrew recipe, then add them all together to calculate the total IBUs in a beer.

As an example, this past weekend I brewed a 10 gallon batch of American Brown Ale with a starting gravity of 1.060 and the following hop schedule:

  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings hops (5.2 AA%) at 60 minutes left in boil
  • 1 oz. Willamette (4.7 AA%) at :30
  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings (5.2 AA%) at :10

Let’s plug in some number to see how to calculate the IBUs. Starting with the first hop addition, we input the alpha acids as a decimal. (Remember to shift the decimal two places to change it from a percentage to a decimal number.) Then, we need to look at the hops utilization rate when boiled for a 60 minute boil in 1.060 gravity wort. Looking at the chart below, that number is 0.211. The weight is 2 and the volume is 10:

IBUs of first addition = (.052 x .211 x 2 x 7489)/10 = 16.43 IBUs

Then we do it again for each of the next two additions:

IBUs of second addition = (.047 x .162 x 1 x 7489)/10 = 5.7 IBUs

IBUs of third addition = (.052 x .076 x 2 x 7489)/10 = 5.92 IBUs 

Add them all together, and the total IBUs for this beer is about 28 IBUs.

Shop Steam Freak KitsThat’s how to calculate IBUs. As with many things in homebrewing, IBUs are an approximation. There are a lot of factors in play, but knowing how to calculate IBUs gives you a lot more control over your brew. Plus, if you want to recreate a beer recipe that you’ve brewed before, but with hops that have different alpha acid percentages, you can use the formula to adjust the weight of each hops addition needed to arrive at the same IBUs.

Do you calculate the IBUs of your homebrew? Do you use an online calculator or do you go the old fashioned route?

 

Hops Utilization Chart

Hops Utilization Chart

—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Home Brewing With Wheat

Malted Wheat For Home BrewingWheat has been used in making beer for hundreds, probably thousands of years. In Germany, it was once such a popular ingredient that the government implemented Reinheitsgebot, which put a restriction on brewing with wheat to make sure there was enough wheat for making bread.

Modern home brewers have no such restriction. There are several styles of beer we enjoy today that call for the use of wheat:

  • American wheat beers, weizens, witbiers, and weissbiers are brewed with high proportions of wheat in the malt bill (sometimes 50 percent or more).
  • There are a number of other beer styles where we might see a smaller proportion (20 percent or less) of wheat used for body or flavor, such as in Belgian saisons.
  • Wheat may also be used in small amounts (up to 10 percent) to improve body or head stability in other styles, such as pale ales or stouts.
  • Lambics are often brewed with about 30% unmalted wheat.

 

Home brewing with wheat malt vs. barley malt

When home brewing with wheat, it’s important to think about some of the differences between wheat and barley:

  • Flavor – Compared to barley, wheat has a flavor that’s more, well, wheaty or bread-like. It’s often used to help make beers smoother in both flavor and mouthfeel. These characteristics often make wheat a good base malt for fruit beers.
  • No husk – Wheat also has no husk and a smaller kernel, which come into play when brewing all-grain beers. The lack of husk makes it a little more challenging when lautering, but on the other hand, no husk means less tannins.
  • Protein – Finally, wheat generally has a higher protein content than barley. This is why wheat is often used to improve head stability. The flip side is that the higher protein content can make the beer more hazy.

 

Different ways to go about home brewing with wheat:

  • Wheat extractShop Liquid Malt Extract – The easiest way to start home brewing with wheat is to us wheat malt extract. Use it in the same way you would any other dry or liquid malt extracts. Steam Freak Wheat LME is typically 65 percent wheat and 35 percent barley, whereas the Munton’s Wheat DME is 55 percent wheat and 45 percent barley. These ratios are important to keep in mind in terms of flavor and when converting an extract recipe to all grain.
  • Malted Wheat – Malted wheat needs to be mashed. Since wheat has no husk, it’s often recommended to us rice hulls along with it to improve filterability through the grain bed. We carry both Red Wheat Malt, which has an assertive wheat flavor, and White Wheat Malt, which is a little more subtle.
  • Flaked Wheat – Flaked wheat is unmalted wheat which has been processed through hot rollers. This process gelatinizes the starches so you don’t have to worry about converting sugars in the mash.
  • Torrified WheatTorrified wheat has been ruptured (sort of like popcorn) to make the starches in the grain more accessible. It should be mashed with a standard base malt for conversion to take place.
  • Unmalted Wheat – Raw, unmalted wheat is sometimes used for flavor, body, and head stability, but won’t contribute much in the way of fermentable sugars unless it is cooked in the brewhouse.

Do you like to home brew with wheat? What are your favorite styles of wheat beer?

—–
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Style Guide For Brewing Brown Ales

Home Brewed Brown AleGenerally speaking, brown ales are relatively mild and malt-forward beers that pair well with many different foods. Sometimes brown ales are nutty. This is from the character of the malted barley being used. Whether you prefer the classic, English version or the slightly more hoppy and robust American-style, brown ales make for good drinking. And without a doubt, brewing brown ales is well worth the effort.

You could try brewing an English brown ale from a kit, or follow a brown ale beer recipe, but sometimes it’s fun to develop your own beer recipe. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for brewing your own brown ale:

 

Style Guidelines For Brewing Brown Ales

  • ABV: Brown ales tend to be fairly sessionable, usually 4.2 – 5.4% alcohol by volume. American brown ales go as high as 6.2% ABV.
  • IBUs: English brown ales range from 20-30 IBUs. Again, American versions tend to push the envelope a bit, reaching 40 IBUs or higher.
  • Color: Northern English versions are copper to light brown in color, 12-22 degrees on the SRM color scale. Southern English and American brown ales reach as high as 35 SRM.

 

Water Treatment For Brewing Brown Ales

If brewing English brown Ale, try to recreate the hard water of the UK. To simulate a beer from Burton-on-Trent, use some gypsum and calcium carbonate, or Burton water salts. A brew from London will be high in sodium (100 ppm) and fairly high in carbonate (160 ppm). Note: You should know the mineral content of the water you’re brewing with before you start amending it.

 

Typical Grain Bill For Brewing Brown Ales

  • All-Grain: As with many beers, a standard 2-row malt will be the foundation (70% or more) of your brew’s grain bill. A US 2-Row Malt will work, or try using Maris Otter for an English Brown. Chocolate Malt is the next most important component of the grain bill and will lend the beer a somewhat roasty, slightly bitter chocolate flavor. You don’t need a lot: 4-8 oz. for a 5 gallon batch should be sufficient (less if using other kilned malts). You may also wish to use up to 1 lb. of Crystal Malt, and maybe a pinch (2 oz. or less) of Roasted Barley if you’d like a more roasty beer.Shop Steam Freak Kits
  • Extract: If brewing with extract, use a combination of light and dark malt extracts or 100% Amber Extract. Definitely consider steeping a little chocolate malt with some lightly kilned crystal malt. Note: Steeping even a little chocolate malt will add a lot of color. To keep your beer brown and not black, steep at most about 4 oz. of chocolate malt.

 

Adjuncts For Brewing Brown Ales

You may want to consider using a pound or so of brown sugar or a ½ pound of molasses for color and complexity.

 

Hops For Brewing Brown Ales

If brewing an English brown ale, stick with the classics: East Kent Goldings or Fuggles. For American brown ales, use primarily US-grown varieties. Consider finishing with Cascade, America’s most popular hop.

 

Yeast For Brewing Brown AlesShop Liquid Malt Extract

For an English Brown Ale, consider using Wyeast’s #1098 British Ale or #1028 London Ale. Nottingham is a good dry beer yeast. If brewing an American brown ale, try Safale US-05 or Wyeast’s #1056 American Ale. Or, if you want to get really creative, use a Belgian Ale Yeast to make it a Belgian brown ale!

So do you have a good Brown Ale recipe? What flavors do you look for when brewing brown ales?
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.