Monday, February 17, 2014

Quick Post before Work

I cannot stress this enough, when Homebrewing certain knowledge is absolutely essential to create great beer. While the internet can be a great problem solving tool in the short run, (this is going to be sort of shooting myself in the foot) do not trust most of the crud that you read on the internet. There are some phenomenal tools that are on the internet from trusted names in the brewing industry. I'll run down a few of them in this post, in addition to recommending some literature that comes in the actual print form.

1. How to Brew by John Palmer is available online for free. John is one of those masterful brewers who have been doing it since before I was born and before a lot of modern conveniences that we enjoy today as homebrews were available (good fresh hops in wide selection, fresh and good extracts, availability of cheap modified grains, and such a wide array of yeasts individually packaged and maintained to say a few.) You can find his book at as well as in print media via or others. Keep in mind however that the free online version is the first edition, and presents useful, but sometimes out of date information. I recommend getting the 3rd edition in print.

2. YouTube is general is an awesome place for how-to videos and DIY build videos, but of course this is advice that pretty much pertains to everything.

3. Jamil Zainasheff's yeast calculator, and Yeast: a Practical Guide to Fermentation. The former can be found at and the book, along with John Palmer's How to Brew, is published by Brewer's Publications and can be found pretty easily. Hands down, Yeast is a book that changed the way I brew, and since reading it, I have found that my beer has become much, much better. The amount of information in this book that is useful for brewing is impossible to sum up here. The point is, read it. Read it now. Additionally, after reading Yeast, you will understand how wonderful Jamil's yeast calculator is in understanding pitching rates and the necessary amount of yeast to properly ferment your beer.

4. For the Love of Hops, by Stan Hieronymus is another fantastic book in the Brewer's Elements' series, and for me aids in quick reference when deciding and evaluating beer based on its hop profile. An invaluable resource for hop-headed tasters and brewers alike. I particularly like the foreword written by Ken Grossman. I got a little emotional reading it, not even lying.

5. Another one of my favorite books that I'm reading currently is Tasting Beer: A Guide to the World's Greatest Beverage by Randy Mosher. So far, this book has broadened by understanding of beer from the drinker's point of view, and inspired me to take a much more evaluative step towards refining my palate. Drinking beer is easy, but really articulating and meaning every single word that you use to describe that beer is very hard to do. For example, when was the last time someone described an IPA as tropical fruit and piney. Guess what? Most IPAs are going to be tropical and citrusy to an extent. Being precise and honest when tasting beer is essential to growing as a beer drinker. Tasting Beer is a great start towards achieving this goal.

6. There are a couple great forums and websites that need to be repeated, but more than likely if you've found my little blog then you've been there first. I'll just run down their links quickly.,,,,, and Beerpulse is an amazing resource for news in the brewing industry. I check it daily.

Well, that's all for this quick one. There is definitely much more literature and resources out there that will aid in Homebrewing as well as general beer knowledge, but this is all I could type out in forty minutes. I hope everyone has an awesome rest of their night and if you've gotten this far, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. Feel free to post in the comments or email me if you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to respond when I get home from work or tomorrow.

Happy brewing y'all!

First Post, an Introduction

A little about me before we get started.

I'm 25, newly single, and I've been a homebrewer for about four and a half years, starting with extract back in college and quickly moving to all-grain as soon as I could. I love beer, and would eventually like to make it my fully sustaining career moving eventually towards opening up my own brewery (I know, an original idea). I currently work for a World of Beer (which is a chain bar based in Florida, focusing on having fifty drafts and five-hundred bottles). It's nice to be immersed in such a huge selection of beers and general beer nerdiness. I am currently studying for the second level of the Certified Cicerone program, which has been a wonderful platform with which to learn the in's and out's of beer. 

I've brewed a lot of beer, all in five-gallon batches, and keg all of it. I am looking into doing 10-gallon batches, which will allow for a lot more experimentation with adjuncts. I have what is basically shaping up to a small brewery/bar in my one-bedroom apartment's living room (which I am very proud of). It is complete with a four-tap keezer, which I use to serve and force carbonate all of my beer, in addition to storing some bottles, a small fermentation chamber that can hold two six and a half gallon carboys, a blow-off tube going into a growler, a stirstarter and a 2000ml Erlenmeyer flask for making yeast starters. This is in addition to a giant garage shelf that I use to hold and organize my equipment. I've included some pictures below. 

As most of you know, but some may not, fermentation is the most important aspect of brewing beer. Yeast, in order to be happy and make sweet sweet booze, need to be away from light, in a temperature controlled environment and sanitary. Having  an old kegerator that I've converted into this works wonders for the quality and consistency of my beer. 

This is a four-tap keezer build, which is pretty straightforward once you understand the mechanics behind kegging and building a balanced draft system from scratch. Looks cool, but it's pretty simple. I'll do a post detailing how I built it soon. It has done absolute wonders for my brewing in as far as convenience, and reminding me that I currently have three taps open, so I need to get brewing! 

Looks disorganized, but it's not. I'm just sort of a messy person. Everything that I need is right there though. It's like having a pile of clothes on the floor. Looks terrible, but super functional. 
Lastly, I have to say that I live in a great beer town. Jacksonville, Florida has over seven breweries, including Green Room Brewing and Engine 15 which are within biking distance of my apartment. Bold City is by far the biggest, brewing on a 20bbl system and having the most brand recognition in north Florida. Intuition is probably the most celebrated, due to the quality of their core brand canning. Green Room is my personal favorite, simply because I think they brew wonderful beer and are amazing people. We have a very interesting and lively homebrew club, called the Cowford Ale Sharing Klub (C.A.S.K.) and two homebrew supply shops, called Just Brew It. Without these breweries and the readily available advice and guidance from brewers and helpful enthusiasts, I would not be brewing the beer that I am today. 

With that, I think I've done enough groundwork to start talking about my own beer next post. I think I'll do a post updating with my first double-batch on Tuesday, 2/18! 

Happy brewing!