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 Adventures in Homebrewing and learn more about different tools, methods, recipes and more.

Hoppy brewing!

Heady Topper Double IPA Clone Recipe


Heady Topper Double IPAThe Alchemist’s Heady Topper is one of the most coveted beers in America. Beer fans drive from all over the country for the chance to get “Heady” straight from the brewery in Waterbury, VT, and it’s not uncommon for people to line up for hours outside their favorite beer retailer in anticipation of a delivery of this ridiculously hoppy American Double IPA.
With any beer this popular, homebrewers naturally want to clone it. On the homebrewing website HomebrewTalk, there’s one thread with nearly 3000 comments from people trying to develop their own Heady Topper recipe!
Luckily, I have a friend who has brewed several batches to dial in his own Heady Topper double IPA clone recipe. When I visited him last winter, we did a side-by-side blind tasting and the two beers were nearly indistinguishable. With his permission, I’ve shared the recipe below. But first, some considerations.
 
Yeast
Many homebrewers believe that the single most important part of cloning this beer is to use the same yeast as the Alchemist uses in Heady Topper, but since it’s a proprietary strain, this is easier said than done. One option is to harvest yeast from a can of Heady (see How to Harvest Yeast from a Commercial Beer), but even obtaining a can of Heady can be a challenge. There are a few boutique yeast shops that offer cultured strains of the famous “Conan” yeast. The easiest option is to use a similar strain. I’ve included Wyeast’s London Ale 1028 as a substitute. Just be sure to build a yeast starter!
 
Hops
This beer uses a lot of hops! Most of them are added at the end of the boil during the whirlpool. If you read our recent post about hop oils, you know that many of the aromatic oils are driven off at higher temperatures. To preserve those oils, allow the wort to cool slightly before adding the whirlpool hops. If your brew kettle has a ball valve, you may want to invest in a torpedo screen to prevent all those hops from clogging it.
Ready to brew this Heady Topper Clone? Try this all-grain recipe, or use the partial mash option below. Happy brewing!
 
Sam’s Heady Topper Double IPA Clone Recipe
(5-gallon batch, all-grain)
Specs
OG: 1.078
FG: 1.017
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 120+
SRM: 6-7
Ingredients
MALT:

HOPS – This beer uses a lot of hops! You’ll need a total of:

2.5 oz. Summit at :60
.25 oz. Amarillo at :5
.25 oz. Cascade at :5
.25 oz. Centennial at :5
.25 oz. Summit at :5
1.5 oz. Centennial at :0
1 oz. Summit at :0
.5 oz. Citra at :0Shop Hops
.25 oz. Cascade at :0
.25 oz. Amarillo at :0
.75 oz. Centennial, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Citra, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Summit, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Amarillo, dry-hopped for 8 days
.5 oz. Centennial, dry-hopped for 4 days
.5 oz. Cascade, dry-hopped for 4 days
.5 oz. Summit, dry-hopped for 4 days
YEAST:
“Conan” yeast harvested from a can of Heady Topper or Wyeast 1028: London Ale – prepare a 2L starter
Directions
Mash crushed grains in about 6 gallons of clean, chlorine-free water at 150˚F for 60 minutes. Sparge to collect about 7 gallons of wort in the kettle, then bring wort to a boil. Add hops according to schedule above. For the 0 minute additions, add the hops gradually after cutting off the heat, allowing the hops to steep in the wort as you chill it down, at least 30 minutes, or for as long as an hour. When the wort temperature reaches 68˚F, transfer to a fermenter and pitch the yeast starter. Ferment for 7 days at 68˚F, then pitch first round of dry hops. After 4 days, transfer to secondary fermenter and pitch second round of dry hops. After four days, bottle or keg. Beer will be ready to drink in 1-2 weeks.
Partial Mash Option: Replace the two-row and pilsner malts with 9 lbs. light DME. If boiling in a five-gallon kettle, add half the DME at the end of the boil.
Do you have a Heady Topper double IPA clone recipe you’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below.
Looking for more super hoppy beer recipes? Try the Uinta Dubhe Clone and the Ithaca Flower Power Clone!

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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 and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

Brewing An Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA Clone Beer Recipe

Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA CloneI was drinking one of my favorite beers last night and felt compelled to share a clone beer recipe for it. It was the Dubhe Imperial Black IPA from Uinta Brewing Co. of Salt Lake City, Utah. Uinta is one of may favorite American breweries and they make some fantastic beers. If you haven’t tried any of them yet, I highly encourage you to take a tour of their beer selection.
Their Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA is a BIG beer: pitch black, 9.2% ABV, 109 IBUs. As dark as it is, it’s surprisingly not very heavy on the roasted flavors. Hops are a major factor, with huge spicy and citrus characteristics throwing themselves across the palate. There’s some light toasty and nutty character, which could come from the use of toasted hemp seeds. At 9.2% alcohol by volume, this beer is definitely a sipper.
Scouring the internet for tips and advice, I came across the Jamil Show on the Brewing Network. Jamil Zainasheff is something of a rockstar in the homebrewing world. He’s the author of two books about brewing, he writes the style guide section of Brew Your Own magazine, and has brewed dozens (maybe even hundreds) of award-winning homebrew beer recipes.
In one episode of the show, they interview a brewer from Uinta Brewing Co. to get the details on Dubhe. Here are some key points from the episode for brewing an all-grain version:
 

  • Shop GypsumUinta Dubhe uses a single step infusion mash at 152˚F. (To make enough beer for their 120-barrel batch, they have to mash twice and boil three times – a 22-hour brew day!)
  • The brewer recommends using calcium sulfate (a.k.a. gypsum) for water hardness (can help accentuate the hop character).
  • The brewer goes into a lot of detail about grain and hop ratios. I’ve scaled them down for a 5.5-gallon batch in the clone beer recipe below.
  • The brewer recommends using yeast nutrient since this is such a high gravity beer (normally added in the last 15 minutes of the boil).
  • Ferment at 68˚F.
  • Dry hop with Falconer’s Flight hops for about three weeks.
  • Uinta Dubhe uses a proprietary yeast strain, but the brewer recommends California ale yeast or German ale yeast.

 
Though the brewer admitted that a craft beer this big is “not a very efficient use of raw ingredients,” I highly recommend giving it a shot – especially if you love hops!Shop Yeast Energizer
Here are some additional tips for brewing this Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA clone:
 

  • The clone beer recipe below assumes a 75% mash efficiency. It can be difficult to get a good efficiency with such a high gravity beer, so you may want to increase the grain bill by 10% or so to make sure you hit your numbers.
  • Assume a fair amount of volume will be lost in the trub, both at the end of the boil and after fermentation.
  • Also, boil-off volume should be adjusted to accommodate the longer, two-hour boil.
  • Hemp seeds can be found at a specialty grocery or health food store. I’d suggest toasting them in a dry skillet for several minutes to increase the toasty flavor and reduce the likelihood of them getting too soggy and clogging the mash.

 
This is a great beer for drinking year-round, but it’s also a strong beer, so it should age well. Don’t feel like you need to drink it all at once!
Ready to give it a shot? Check out the clone beer recipe below!Shop Barley Grains
 
Black as Night DIPA (Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA Clone) 
(all-grain recipe, 5.5 gallon batch)
Specs 
OG: 1.093
FG: 1.023
ABV: 9.2%
IBUs: 120+
SRM: 40+
Ingredients 
16.2 lbs. Pale 2-Row malt
2 lbs. Munich 10L malt
2 lb. Crystal 60L malt
1 lbs. Chocolate malt
.25 lb. Roasted barley Shop Hops
.25 lb Carafa III
.25 lb. toasted hemp seeds added to last 15 mins. of mash (use a grain bag)
1.5 oz. Chinook hops at :60 left in boil
2.5 oz. Columbus hops at :30 left in boil
2 tsp. Yeast nutrient at :15 left in boil
1.4 oz. Bravo hops at :5 left in boil
1.4 oz. Columbus hops at :5 left in boil
1.4 oz. Bravo hops during 60-minute whirlpool
3 oz Falconer’s Flight hops dry-hopped for 21 days
3 packets Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast or Wyeast 1007: German Ale Yeast (into a 2L yeast starter)
 
Directions: Mash crushed grains at 152˚F for 60 minutes. Add toasted hemp seeds during last 15 minutes of mash. Sparge to collect a total of roughly 9 Shop Steam Freak Kitsgallons of wort in the brew kettle. Boil for 120 minutes. Add hops according to schedule above. Whirlpool for one hour. Chill wort to 65-70˚F and oxygenate. Ferment at 68˚F. Add dry hops to secondary fermenter and allow for 3 weeks in secondary. Cold crash prior to kegging or bottling to help dry hops settle out.
Have you brewed a Black IPA before? What tips do you have about brewing a Black IPA? Share in the comments below!
—–
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 and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

6 of the Strangest Beer Recipes You’ve Ever Seen

Glowing BeerEvery homebrewer likes to experiment. That’s part of what draws us to the hobby. But sometimes that experimentation can get a little out of hand. Just how far is too far?
Personally, I feel that every batch of homebrew is an opportunity to learn something new about making beer at home. Whether the beer turns out great or you have to dump the batch, there’s always something to be learned about ingredients, techniques, and yes, maybe even yourself. So in that respect, it’s impossible to go to far or make a beer that’s too weird.
But if you want to brew a strange beer that’s actually drinkable, try a recipe that’s been tested before. Here are six strange beer recipes to get you started:

  • Sweet Potato Buckwheat Ale – This is a gluten-free beer recipe I devised for my girlfriend. More than anything else, she misses hoppy beers, so the sweet potato and buckwheat in this recipe offer a gluten-free backdrop for some Willamette hops. I highly recommend roasting the sweet potatoes before mashing. This recipe also lets you take a shot at malting some buckwheat. If you’re not gluten-free, you might consider swapping the molasses for some light DME.
  • Gruit (Partial Mash & All Grain) – Gruit is an ancient style of ale flavored with herbs and spices instead of hops (though hops can be used as well). Based on the number of herbs out there, there are an endless number of possible variations of gruit. This blog post features three gruit recipes for you to choose from.
  • Pomegranate Wheat Dopplebock (Extract)This strange — but intriguing — beer recipe that combines at least three different beer styles: fruit beer, wheat beer, German bock. It’s a relatively simple recipe, using 9 lbs. of wheat DME along with a small variety of specialty grains and 1.5 lbs. turbinado sugar. The trick here is extracting the juice from the pomegranate. You’ll find it easiest to just add pomegranate juice to the secondary fermenter.
  • Wild Root Brown Ale (All-Grain) – The bulk of this brown ale recipe is normal enough: pale malt, roasted malts, and chocolate malts, Cascade hops, Galena hops, Nugget hops, American ale yeast. What’s really strange about this beer recipe is the pound of wild rice, mashed separately, then mixed with the other grains, and the use of roasted dandelion root, which contributes a roasty, nutty, slightly licorice flavor to the beer. Sounds pretty good!
  • Smoked Pumpkin Seed Saison (Partial Mash & All-Grain) – This beer recipe requires the brewer to smoke some pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. These ingredients are simply mashed along with the grains in the mash. For additional complexity, the recipe adds cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, all towards the end of the boil. Keep this in mind for after you carve that Halloween pumpkin!

There are plenty more strange beer recipes out there – what are some of the weirdest beers you’ve ever made?

———————————–
David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, 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.

Homegrown Hops for Homebrewed Beer?

Image Courtesy of botanical.com


Due to the growing environmental changes and the desire to feature “farm to table” edibles and drinks today, more and more farmers and beer breweries are looking into growing their own hops. These farmers aren’t only selling their hops but they are also doing their own home beer brewing.
Interested in growing your own hops and brewing your own beer? Here is a complete guide to everything you will need to know about growing your own hops, so start your planning now!
A hop plant is a perennial that will flower during the summer months. Hop cones will begin to grow from the sidearms of the plant causing the flowering process to occur. In order for the flowering process to occur properly there needs to be at least 120 days which are frost free, there must be ample moisture and there must be plenty of lengthy sunny days.
First, you will need to order your own Rhizomes (a piece of root taken from a larger hop plant), which are only available about once a year, typically in March or April. Next you will want to decide where to plant your own Rhizome. The best place to plant will be in a southern light exposure area with well-drained soil. Make sure to plant your root about a foot deep and begin to think about what you will use to help strengthen the plant as it grows.
Typically, late August or September is when you will want to harvest your hops. Once you begin harvesting make sure to lay everything down flat so it can dry and you can begin to pick off your hop cones for further drying. Don’t forget to research the general alpha acid range of the hops you grew to determine how much to use in your own brew.
Remember that hops have a minimal root system so the production will only get better and better as the years go on! And, don’t forget you’ll need a beer brewing kit to actually brew your creation!

How To Pair Beer With Food

Image courtesy of https://www.scientificamerican.com/


For a beverage consisting of so few ingredients, beer makes a huge statement.  Its rich diversity of flavors, aromas and textures make it the ideal partner for almost any meal.  As a homebrewing citizen, one of the greatest challenges you might face is finding the right grub to compliment your brew.  With so many possibilities, it can be a challenge to know where to begin.
The best place to start is with the profile of your beer since this will govern its interactivity with food.  This is determined by three main ingredients: malt, hops, and yeast.  Malt is sweet and often adds hints of chocolate or coffee to malt-heavy beers such as stouts and porters.  Hops are considerably more dynamic and will add bitter, spicy, floral and/or fruity flavors to beers, most pronouncedly in India Pale Ales.  Then there are the more yeasty beers, such as American wheat beers and German hefeweizens, which are generally lighter with heavy yeasty flavors.  Together, these ingredients bring out the sweet, bitter, spicy and rich features in the product of your beer brewing experience.
The next step is determining how you want your food to relate to your beer.  Oftentimes, the best partnerships arise from shared flavors and aromas.  The key is finding the correct balance in the harmonies you wish to create through complementary or contrasting flavors.  As a general rule of thumb you should keep the strength of your food and beer consistent, but there are otherwise no wrong answers. With homebrewing kits, the flavor creation possibilities are endless.  In the end, the way in which you consume your brew is the final step in getting the most out of your beer brewing kits.

Beer Brewing Safety

 

Image Courtesy of https://collegecurlies.blogspot.com/


Beer brewing is a time-honored tradition that has been under development for thousands of years.  Today, over 750,000 Americans engage in the practice from the comfort of their own homes.  Thanks to the conception of beer brewing kits, it is now safer than ever for you to unleash your inner brewmaster.
The notion of a safe home brew is not an oxymoron; reality portrays an exercise that is no more dangerous than cooking pasta.  It is a complex albeit easy process that requires around four to five hours of work spread out over a minimum of a four week period.  It consists of five steps: brewing, cooling and fermenting, priming and bottling, aging, and everyone’s favorite, drinking.  Unlike distillation, the process used to make hard liquors, homebrewing does not involve high pressures or flammable liquids.  Instead, it incorporates yeast and boiling liquids in a fashion similar to making a loaf of bread or a pot of spaghetti.
The fact of the matter is that the most unsafe element of beer brewing is already installed in your home.  While purpose-built propane burners are available for purchase, most aficionados choose to brew beer on the same stoves on which they prepare their meals.  This is not to say homebrewing is without its risks; however, a good brewer will identify them ahead of time and prepare accordingly.  In addition to acquiring a quality beer making equipment, you can follow this list of general guidelines to ensure a positive brewing experience:
–       Be aware.  The fermentation process produces carbon dioxide and inhaling large quantities can cause you to black out.  While this poses a much greater risk at commercial breweries, it is still something to be mindful of.
–       Glass breaks.  This seemingly obvious fact can become painfully apparent at inopportune times.  In order to avoid accidents, you might want to consider using plastic carboys as opposed to glass ones during the fermentation process.  The former is less likely to break and has no adverse effect on taste.  You also need to make sure your beer is fully fermented before bottling to prevent your bottles from exploding.  Once preserved, be sure to store it in cool, dark conditions.
–       Be mindful when boiling water or wort.  Do not leave your pots unattended, ever, and make sure they are large enough to contain the heated liquids.  Keep in mind that what you are boiling is hot and is occasionally liable to boil over.
–       Respect your equipment and ingredients.  Everything should be fresh, stored properly, and sterilized.  Older or improperly stored ingredients can ruin a batch, and good sanitation is necessary to avoid contamination.  You are incubating a living entity and you want to take the best care possible to ensure a healthy and full development.

Five Stages of Homebrewing

 

Beer Brewing Kits - Homebrewing

Source: homegrownhobby.com


Homebrewing – a rapidly growing hobby, yet still a time-honored tradition. Brewing your own ales, lagers and stouts allows you total control in your beer’s taste, strength, crispness, etc. By having creative control over your bottle of brew – beer lovers can enjoy beers to their exact taste. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment, knowing that your efforts produced something of value to you.
Beer brewing kits help make this happen – but what goes into the brewing process? Beer brewing comes in five stages, which means you’re just five stages away from enjoying a delicious cold one.
What’s in wort? – Pale malt extract and hops are boiled together with water for about an hour to sterilize the extract and release the bittering qualities of the hops.  Frequently grains are steeped in the mixture prior to the boil to add additional color and flavor complexity. This hot mixture is called a wort.
Chill Out and Ferment for a While – The hot wort is cooled to room temperature and siphoned to a fermenter where it is combined with more water to achieve the desired batch size.  Once the mixture drops to room temperature, brewing yeast is added to start the fermentation process.  Cleanliness and sanitation are very important since bacteria in this state can easily infect the wort.  An airlock is used to keep the fermenter sealed during fermentation.  Your beer will ferment for 1-2 weeks.
All Bottled Up – Once the beer is fully fermented, it is siphoned once again, this time to a container for bottling.  This begins the priming process, when priming sugars such as corn sugar are mixed with the beer.  The beer is siphoned into bottles and each bottle is capped with beer bottling equipment.
Age is more than a number – Once the beer has been bottled it needs to age for 2-6 weeks.  During aging the yeast will ferment the remaining sugar you added and create carbon dioxide.  This carbon dioxide will naturally carbonate your beer so it is nice and bubbly.  In addition, undesirable sediments such as excess yeast and proteins will drop out of the beer during aging and this will enhance the flavor of your beer.  In may take several months to reach peak flavor, though homemade beer usually drinkable after a month.
Enjoy – Once the brew is properly aged, pop them in the fridge to cool once last time. Then, lay back, crack one open and enjoy!

The Science and Art of Home Wine & Beer

Step in your local grocery store, stroll down to the beer and wine aisles and take a good look. Some of the words that come to mind: vast, impressive, confusing, overwhelming. Why is this bottle $59 dollars and this one is $11? What do the labels really mean? How do you know where to begin?
You don’t need a sommelier to help you navigate the world of wine. And, just because one brand of beer had a funny Superbowl commercial doesn’t mean it’s any better than the rest. If you really want to drink the best beer and wine you’ll ever have, you can brew beer and make wine at home, yourself, for pennies on what you’d spend at the store.
You Don’t Have to Grow Grapes
Home Wine Making and Beer Brewing making doesn’t mean you need a field of grapes or hops in your backyard. Like any chef preparing a quality meal, you can buy top-quality ingredients, as well as beer brewing kits and wine-making equipment. Home brewing will give you a unique experience, a one-of-a-kind perspective on the process, and a point of pride when you’re done. All you need are the right ingredients, some bottles, and the desire and time.
You Can Get Cheap Beer and Wine Anywhere
You may find other kits that let you make your own beer and wine with very little effort. Don’t forget, what you get out of it is only what you put into it. Don’t go for quick — choose quality.
It’s a Science and an Art 
Like any good recipe, wine and beer making requires you to follow a rigid set of directions to ensure success. The art lies in the subtle nuances that you create to make it your own. You need to learn the rules before you know when to break them. There are recipes for beer and wine all over the Internet. There are even websites devoted to each one. Take the time and study how the pros do it. Adventures in Homebrewing has detailed instructions that can turn you into an expert in no time.
Patience is a Virtue but Waiting is Hard
When you have created your masterpiece, you still need to let nature do its work. Complex chemical reactions turning sugar into alcohol take time. Your perseverance will be greatly rewarded.
Indulge Your Ego
Aside from the joy of drinking your homemade beverages, some say naming your brew and creating your own labels is the most fun. Since glass bottle can easily be recycled, and even washed and reused, there is no reason not to house your spirits in quality containers with a bright colorful label proclaiming yourself as the proud brew master.
Get Started
Now that you are ready to start, Adventures in Homebrewing can walk you through the steps. Adventures in Homebrewing has an extensive selection of home wine making supplies and equipment along with beer brewing kits. With more than 40 years of experience under our belts, we can answer any questions you may have. In no time at all, you’ll be making beer and wine with your own hands

Homebrewing by the Seasons

Ever wonder why you have a subconscious thirst for a full bodied beer when there’s snow on the ground? Or how about a beer that offers a certain level of refreshing crispness when you’re at the picnic table for a 4th of July party?  Perhaps you’re at a renaissance fair on a cool fall day and you have your palate is craving a brew that’s malty instead of hoppy.  Beer Brewing kits can quell these cravings and provide a fun, rewarding way to put your own stamp on brewing beer at home.
Most seasonal home brewing recipes offer obvious generic names to stand out amongst other recipes.  Names such as “Winter Lager” and “Summer Ale” come to mind.  While these recipes are, in their own rite, still very satisfying beers, there are many more recipes for home brews that coincide with the seasons.  To enjoy these beers during the season in which they are designed for it is recommended that you give ample time for preparation and fermentation.  Starting the process during the prior month of its consumption is the typical practice. (For example, to enjoy a summer beer in the summer, start the process during spring.)
 

Winter Style Beers

Winter style beers are typically brewed to yield high percentages of alcohol to get you through the cold winter months.  The colors usually range between light brown and black.
Scotch Ale– Scotch Ales are considered a fairly strong beer with colors ranging from amber to light brown. They tend to be sweet and full bodied with a pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor. They can typically yield an ABV% ranging between 6-11.
Winter Warmers– Winter Warmers are the typical winter beers.  Most commercial winter lagers are modeled in the Winter Warmer fashion.  They tend to rely heavily on a malty sweet presence rather than a hoppy bitterness.  Winter warmers can typically yield an ABV% ranging between 6 and 9 and their colors range from reddish-brown to pitch black.
 

Spring Style Beers

Spring style beers begin to transition from the heavier, darker beers into beers that emphasize wheat flavoring.  They offer a myriad of characteristics including beers that are citrusy, cloudy, crisp and refreshing.
Bocks– Bocks are common spring beers that offer medium to full bodied profiles, but no roast flavor.  They tend to favor more of a malty influence with low levels of hop bitterness.  They are generally brown to dark red in color, but bock variants such as Maibock can come in a golden color.  Transitioning from the stronger winter beers, the Bock’s ABV% ranges between 5.5 and 7.5.
American Blond Ales– Blond Ales offer pale yellow to deep gold colors. It is an all malt brew, with most showing a level of subdued fruitiness. Hop character is of the noble variety, or similar, leaving a light to medium bitterness. A balanced beer, light bodied and sometimes lager like.  Blonde Ales generally hold a ABV% between 4-7.
 

Summer Style Beers

Summer style beers are brewed to be relatively pale, light, crisp and relying heavily on wheat elements and citrus nodes that are smooth and pleasing to the palate.
Saison– Saisons are traditionally brewed in the winter, to be enjoyed throughout summer. It is a French beer in origin but has a strong following in the United States.  Saisons typically are fruity in aroma and flavor resembling a wheat beer and brewed with heavy amounts of spice to build a mild tartness.  The typical “summer ale” is modeled off of Saison Variants.  They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.  The ABV% of Saison beers range between 5 and 8.
Kolsch– Light to medium in body with a very pale to clear color, hop bitterness is medium to slightly assertive. Some versions of Kolsch are considered to be very similar to pilsners.  ABV% ranges from 4-6.
 

Fall Style Beers

Fall style beers, typically varieties of ales, are brewed to transition back into the cooler fall months.  They generally rely on malty, spicy elements to provide a beer that is sweeter than it is bitter.
Pumpkin Ale– The Pumpkin Ale is quite varied and can sometimes be referred to as a variant of Harvest Ales.  Flavorings can come from actual hand cut pumpkins to pumpkin purees.   These beers also tend to contain ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pumpkin Ales are typically malty, with a spicy aftertaste due to the combination of the “pumpkin pie spices.”  The ABV% of Pumpkin Ales range between 4 and 7.
Marzen/Oktoberfest– The prototypical fall beer, Marzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.  The common Marzenbier contains roughly 5-6% ABV and has a mild hop profile relying mostly on a malty influence to blend its robust flavor.