The Grist: the Mad Fermentationist, Brad Smith, HomebrewDad, Jon Abernathy

The Top 4 Homebrewing Blog Posts

Missed ’em? Here are the best homebrewing blog posts published during the week of 20.07.2015 – 26.07.2015.

The frugal brewer

The Mad Fermentationist:

Homebrewing is a hobby that always has a shiny new piece of gear to buy with your beer money.

I remember when I brewed my first batch of beer. I was living in a small, bachelor apartment in Leeds. You know, the type that you have to bend over sideways to cook a meal on the stove? That was me a few years ago.

I started because I was interested in the brewing process. And because I thought I could save some money.

But because I was new to the hobby, I ended up spending money on things that simply weren’t necessary.

All those shiny new pieces of kit that you think will help you to brew a better beer – actually don’t always help.

What you need is the right gear. The gear that lasts. The gear that gives you the best return for your money. The essentials.

How do you take your (hop) tea?

Brad Smith writing for BeerSmith Home Brewing:

Hop tea … probably the easiest way to get an idea of hop bitterness and boil flavor without brewing a full batch of beer.

Delving into 4, easy to try techniques, Brad explains how you can make your own hop tea. I recently gave it a go when I brewed the Backwards Blonde.

For this brew I mashed the grains using hop tea.

Crazy? Probably. (We’ll soon find out when I get around to bottling it).

But I have this irking suspicion that we, as homebrewers, could use hops in more creative ways than we usually do by adding them directly to the boil.

Do you use any unique methods to add hop bitterness / aroma to your beer? Join the conversation by posting a comment below.

A technique for the old school

HomebrewDad for BrewUnited:

In the interest of creating more flavorful brews (and of the brewers getting as much bang for their buck as possible), the technique of decoction mashing came to be.

See, here’s something that really interests me. A technique, not a piece of equipment, that can set your brew apart from the others.

It doesn’t consist of flipping a switch, or programming your computer. Just good ol’ manual labour.

Some might call it a craft.

Big beer, little beer, craft beer

Jon Abernathy for The Brew Site:

For the past couple of decades, Pabst has been a contract brewer (or a gypsy brewer, perhaps?) without their own brewery, so the idea of establishing a brewery to be used as an experimental test bed for old and possibly new recipes sounds very, well, craft-beer-like.

Forgive me for being pedantic.

But what the hell makes a beer a craft beer?

Is it the batch size? Is it the techniques employed to brew the beer? What is it?

And could Pabst EVER brew a recipe that is craft-beer-like?

Oh shit! A new term.

I’d really like to know your thoughts on what makes a beer a craft beer. Join the discussion by posting a comment below!

See you in next week’s edition of the Grist!


Home brew beer fanatic and lover of all things Kölsch. Follow me on Twitter!

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  1. Chino Brews says

    I have no idea what “craft beer” is. I just use the word “beer” mostly. It’s like the suits my grandfather (and his tailors) used to cut and stitch by hand, and now “tailored” suits are merely hand-measured, but cut on an Italian fabric cutting machine in China, sewed using machines and glue, and then adjusted in a couple places in a second fitting

    I think most people would agree that Surly makes “craft beer”. I was lucky enough to check out their much-lauded new facility eight days ago. It is a palace to brewing. But it is a fully-industrialized brewery, and there is probably the same amount of “crafting” happening on their brewery floor as in a huge Bud Light production facility. It’s all beer.

    If you want to see hand-crafted beer, you need to drive about 110 miles Southeast from Surly’s new production facility, where Joe Pond, sole proprietor and sole employee of Olvalde Farmhouse Ales is putting out 750 ml bottles of ale on his little system. Joe is a former Summit and Goose Island brewer, and now makes a true farm-to-cellar beer — everything that goes in the bottle, save the bottle itself, labels, and caps/corks, was produced on his farm with his labor. It would be hard to argue that is not “craft beer”.

    • says

      I agree with you. I the term is almost meaningless – there are good beers, and bad beers. But, there’s something about production size that makes me wonder. Do you think there is any correlation?

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