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The $30 Electric HLT

It is exactly as dangerous as it looks.

Heat sticks are becoming popular among home brewers, and for good reason. Having two heated vessels really streamlines a brew day, and makes double brew days significantly less painful. And the economics of electric heat are compelling (in fact, that’s the way I’ve decided to go [...]

A More Accurate Approach to Draft System Balancing

Balancing a draft system is one of those things that should be easy, but inevitably ends up requiring some trial and error. The basic principle seems sound: beverage tubing supplies some characteristic resistance per unit length (2-3 psi/ft for 3/16″ ID tubing), and all one needs to do is divide that into the desired serving [...]

They Made Something Darker

NASA’s developed a new material that absorbs 99.5% of visible and UV light, versus

Simple Sugars and Specific Gravity

A pound of sugar per five gallons of beer will add nine points to the original gravity and reduce the final gravity by two points.

We’ve all heard it. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve even parroted it myself in the past. But it’s only half true.

The OG contribution of simple sugars is certainly [...]

Reverse Mashing 2

Background

Last time I toyed with the idea of “reverse mashing”, I found that an unheated kitchen isn’t a great place to do mashing experiments in the winter. Fortunately, I have a new toy available in the form of an oven with a “Warm” (170°F – 77°C) setting, and so I was able to perform [...]

Dry Yeast Viability, Take Two

Background

The last time I published the results of some dry yeast viability testing, I made the assumption that the reduction in viability that resulted from rehydrating the yeast in wort rather than water would have flavor impacts similar to under-pitching a liquid yeast culture. Shortly thereafter, James Spencer of Basic Brewing and Chris Colby [...]

Refractometer FG Results

Last time I wrote about refractometry in brewing, I had developed a correlation for determining FGs from refractometer readings that, in my own brewing, seemed to be an improvement on the correlation used in (to the best of my knowledge) all contemporary brewing software, spreadsheets, etc. A total of eight brewer-instrument pairs contributed additional data [...]

Dry Yeast Viability

Background

One ongoing point of contention among brewers is what benefits, if any, result from rehydrating dry yeasts according to manufacturers’ recommendations, as opposed to simply adding the yeast directly to the fermenter. On the technical level, there would appear to be a consensus for a substantial reduction in viability when rehydrating in wort, with [...]

Reverse Mashing

Background

It’s probably fair to state that a majority of breweries operating today are employing single-infusion mashes – that is, they target a single temperature and try to maintain it throughout the entire mash. Broadly speaking, that temperature would almost always be in the range 63-72°C (145-162°F). When a highly fermentable wort is desired, it [...]

Of Ice and 10°P

Keep any Leonardo DiCaprio jokes to yourself.

Winters in Colorado are rough. Aside from the minor annoyances, like not being able to feel my toes for hours at a time, there are major obstacles to be overcome. Where can I brew when my deck has five feet of snow covering it?

So after six [...]